Before Sunrise By Mikhail Zoshchenko (Novel Review)

By Mikhail Zoshchenko, translated by Gary Kern
Ardis, $40, January 1974, 978-0882330617

Mikhail Zoshchenko’s Before Sunrise. This is a novel that is unique in both form and content. It combines elements of autobiography, memoirs, fiction, and meta-fiction. Zoshchenko’s protagonist speaks in the first person and in the present tense. He wanted to know why depression and anxiety chased him all his life, and in his mission to decipher the underlying causes, he finds himself studying scientists like Pavlov and Freud, and applying—with caution—their theories and recent discoveries to end the misery that shadowed over the first three decades of his time under the sun.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

2 Kudos

The Bottom Billion By Paul Collier

By Paul Collier
Oxford University Press, 224 pp., $15, August 2008, 9780195373387

Amazon, Bookshop

Ask any ‘third worlder’—including me—and chances are, he/she will tell you how dirty and poor his/her country is, and how it is likely to remain that way in the foreseeable future. Why are some nations poor? Why these nations stay dirty and undeveloped despite our globalized reality? And why are they likely to stay poor, unless something is done? And, if we want to do something, what should we do about it? This post is about all of these questions—a summary and a review written while reading Paul Collier’s Book: The Bottom Billion.


Paul Collier developed a notion he named the “conflict trap”. His aim is to show how some economic conditions prompt civil war, and how the resulting conflict often becomes a trap—one that is hard to escape.
Four different traps are behind the horrible situation people are living within the bottom billion:

  1. The Conflict Trap
  2. The Natural Resources Trap
  3. The Trap of Being Landlocked
  4. The Trap of Bad Governance in a Small Country

Globalization to the Rescue?

Even during the golden decade—between the end of the cold war and 9/11—these countries still suffered, and captured nothing of what the rest of the world has been going through. In fact, income during this same decade fell by 5%.

That’s why the later countries escape the traps, and begin to take the right track, the harder it is for them to catch up, because the global market is now much more tough for new participants than it was in the 1980s.

The Struggle for the Bottom Billion

The author isn’t trying to offer a one and only explanation for the failures of certain nations to catch up with the Global development train—of beginning to reduce poverty for the first time in history since the 1980s. He acknowledges the diversity of the situation within the bottom billion.

The left could learn that maybe some instruments they’d been avoiding to use—like military interventions—are sometimes effective, or even the only viable option to improve or change the situation.
And, the right can learn that “global growth” doesn’t always bring relief to the Bottom Billion.

The problem matters. And it matters even more to voters and decision makers in the developed world. Because, if they keep ignoring what’s happening within the Bottom Billion, soon enough, the ramifications will land themselves clear in the west—think mass immigration, terrorism, etc..

Paul Collier intended this book to be an enjoyable read through keeping “clear of footnotes and the rest of the usual grim apparatus of professional scholarship,” as he declared from the start.

Nor that this book is a chewing gum for the mind—if you have an attention for details, then all you have to do is to take a look at the book’s ending section and you will find what amuses your tastes and your erudite cravings.

Paul Collier

Paul Collier is a professor at Oxford. He had directed the World Bank’s research department. He’d also taught at Harvard.

Paul Collier’s previous books include Wars, Guns and Votes: Democracy in Dangerous Places, and Greed is Dead: Politics after Individualism.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

0 Kudos

Dining in The Dark by Bryan Miller (Book Review)

“Dining in the Dark: A Famed
Restaurant Critic’s Struggle with and Triumph Over Depression”By Bryan Miller
Skyhorse, September 2021, 9781510760394, Hardcover, 216 pages, $22.99 USD, $32.00 CAD, Biography & Autobiography/Personal Memoirs
Amazon || Bookshop || Barnes&Noble

How can one graduate from Columbia, have a good start as a journalist at the Journal Inquirer, get hired as a restaurant critic by the New York Times, have a lovely french sweetheart as his bride, and then lose it all?

Bryan Miller was hit by depression. “The black bear,” as he chose to name it, emptied his bank account, ruined his career—as one of the most celebrated restaurant critics of his generation—and took his home from him, “a seven-bedroom farmhouse on five lush acres,” as well as “a good number of friends.”

Bryan Miller reviewed restaurants for more than a decade at the astonishing frequency of “five to six nights a week in the company of one or two couples,” appearing on TV almost every week, while writing magazine features and giving speeches for culinary events. He dined out more than 5100 times during his career.

By his own admission, he had “what was widely considered the best job in food journalism,” a position most people would only dream about; tasting food and giving their opinions on fancy NYC restaurants for a living.

Although Miller admits that his depression had begun in 1982, the first sign he’d felt was one morning in November 1983, when he woke up to work on some reviews, but all he really wanted is go back to bed and continue sleeping (he’d mistaken it for fatigue back then, a common assumption among unaware depressives).

For a young Miller, with goals and career ambitions, taking the first step to counter-attack his depression was to simply admit the malady—something he equated with acknowledging that he’d joined the ranks of the defeated— and visit a doctor. He took some time, but he did it in the end. The doctor first prescribed him Nardil—a Monoamine Oxidose Inhibitor (MAO)—a classic old staple for treating depression that gave Miller “the most relief,” but made him depressed “at certain levels.”

Miller was prescribed 90mg of Nardil, a drug that he described as a “real party pooper,” due to its effect—at such high dosages—on one’s libido, sex life, and overall energy levels.

Nevertheless, Bryan and his first wife Anne were on a roll during the early 1980s—fully aware back then, that they were living their best years—and still, they sensed that “big things were on the horizon,” and as a result, their early marriage years were so sweet and adventurous—with countless visits to the best restaurants New York, Morocco, and Europe had to offer—from Marrakesh to Salamanca.

But his affairs were as unpredictable as his life outcomes, and his depression soon worsened, affecting his life—at home and at work—making him go on a path that ultimately left him jobless, penniless, and alone. Even his writing, which could had been a form of escapism, turned into a dreadful task he avoided when he wasn’t in the mood.

When depressed, Miller took up to two days to write a review. But when he felt health and motivated, it took him 1/12th of that (four hours) to get the job done; He wrote up to 4000 words when he wasn’t “suicidally ill.”

He called what one experiences during his/her childhood as “indelible tattoos,” events that shape our attitude towards the world and how we act in the world “at no matter what age.” His father died when Bryan was three at the age of twenty five.

At one point, amidst his collapsing career and health, he discovered he’d got a tumor and had to get rid of it, a process that eventually made one of his ears “decorative,” and deaf.

Everything kept falling apart. His mother married again, a cardiologist named Lucian, “the iron man for his robust health and imperturbable nature,” who helped him “medically and otherwise, on many occasions.” Then, his mother got dementia which broke his heart as he watched her deteriorating condition.

But he tried! He tried teaching writing at the Culinary Institute of America, and after just two lecture, the dean told him that he should “improve his meager pedagogical skills at another institution.”
Then, he tried freelance book editing and was fired by clients. He hit a point when his net worth was $16.10. He “laughed, and taped,” the bank statement to the wall.

At the end of the book, Bryan declares: “I am reacquainted with life.”

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

3 Kudos

Marijuana Hater’s Guide to Making a Billion Dollars from Hemp by Matthew Harmon (Book Review)

Marijuana Hater’s Guide to Making a Billion Dollars from Hemp: The Next Disruptive Industry
By Matthew Harmon
Farmbridge California, 181pp, Paperback, $19.99, April 20th 2021, 978-1735674704

Amazon || Bookshop || Kobo

In Cryptocurrencies, those who had gotten in early, took huge risks in an unknown medium of exchange and with zero guarantees of returns, have been reaping most of the profits since bitcoin has become the new cool thing. Cannabis is not different. At the time of writing this article, China is on the top of the Leaders Board of the global Industrial Hemp market—the world’s largest producer and exporter “producing over half of the world’s supply,”1—which isn’t a strange thing at all considering that the world’s first paper was produced in China (circa 150 BC) using hemp. The origins of cannabis though are still unknown, and are the subject of an ongoing debate (while the general consensus assigns the plant’s historical roots to Asia).

As the world prepares for a Cannabis revolution, few know the difference between Cannabis, Hemp, and Marijuana.
Cannabis is the plant. Hemp and Marijuana are both produced from the Cannabis plant—although their cultivation, setup, and processing are different. The plant is said to be dioecious: it is either a male plant or a female plant. We know that there are three species of Cannabis: Cannabis sativa L., Cannabis ruderalis, and Cannabis indica.

Indica hast the highest amount of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol: one out of the 113 total cannabinoids found in the plant; it is a psychoactive agent that “affects brain function and causes alterations in perception, mood, and cognition,” making us feel ‘high‘).

SativaL., which was discovered by Swedish botanist Carolus Linnarus in 1753, is usually the perfect species for producing Hemp. And ruderalis is characterized by its high CBD concentration; CBD: Cannabidiol, another one of the 113 Cannabinoids found in the plant, believed to be the one that “gives the plant its medicinal properties.”

While industrial hemp can grow in as little as 100 days, it usually takes 4 to 6 months from seed to harvest. A typical hemp field is highly dense with near-unlimited scalability—one acre of a hemp field have hundreds of thousands of plants—and reaching up to 16 feet high.

“You can’t get high on industrial hemp, even if you were able to ingest an entire field of the stuff,” because it contains a negligible amount of THC and a significant amount of CBD. Policy makers set a limit on how much THC industrial hemp can legally have: no more than 0.3% “on a draw weight basis.”

Marijuana crop takes anywhere between 60 and 90 days to grow within indoor environment, and demands a humid atmosphere “for proper development,” whereas grown outdoor, the plant requires even more care and attention to details. The farmer must prevent the male plants from cross-pollinating its female counterparts “because pollination inhibits a female plant from producing high concentrations of THC. And, of course, it’s the THC that makes a good crop for recreational use.”

Often, at about the sixth week of growth, the farmer checks the gender of the plant, and depending on his goals—industrial hemp, marijuana, or high CBD crop for the pharmaceutical industry—he/she may choose to keep a uni-sex Cannabis field.

When we talk about a hemp industrial revolution, we are talking about the possible number of products, tools, resources, and technologies that we can derive from the Cannabis plant—a number limited only by our entrepreneurial imaginations and governmental hurdles.

Speaking about governments and hurdles, the campaign against Cannabis isn’t new, dating back to the last decade of the 19th century. Led by the Progressive Movement who were great fans of prohibition, the campaign succeeded in pushing forward and enacting four Acts in the span of 9 years: the Pure Food and Drug Act (1906), the Poison Act (1907), the Trowns-Boylan Act (1914), and the Harrison Narcotics Act (1914), leading to the establishment of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) in 1930.

Harry J. Aslinger ran a campaign, starting in the 1930s, creating a confusion among people around the effects of the plant on mental and physical health. This confusion was made even worse by some farmers who used the word ‘hemp’ as a camouflage to “avoid the stigma of what they were really growing.”

By 1931, Marijuana was outlawed by 29 US states. While Aslinger enjoyed a long career as the Commissioner of the FBN, lasting 32 years in office, and working during the terms of five US presidents: Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy.

In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act came to require “every person who sold any Hemp, Cannabis, or Marijuana products to register with the IRS and pay a special occupational tax, as well as requiring written transfer forms.”

Then came WWII, and the US government started a campaign to promote the production of hemp. War Hemp Industries (WHI) was launched, along with private partners. WHI—along with USDA—encouraged farmers to grow hemp as part of the Hemp for Victory Program (they’d even released a movie: Hemp for Victory [1942]).

As soon as WWII had elapsed, Harry Aslinger started lobbying worldwide against Cannabis, resulting in the 1961 UN’s adoption of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, “a treaty that prohibited the production and trade of specific drugs including Cannabis.”

Article.28, Section.2 of the Convention mentions that it “shall not apply to the cultivation of the cannabis plant exclusively for industrial purposes (fiber and seed) or horticultural purposes.”

In 1965, Activist and Clinical psychologist Timothy Leary was arrested (in Texas) possessing Marijuana. Dr. Leary figured that the Marihuana Tax Act—the ground for arresting him—was unconstitutional to begin with and had gone to challenge it in the Supreme Court. He argued that the Marihuana Tax Act “required self-incrimination, which violated the Fifth Amendment.”
Leary was right. He won the case prompting the establishment to replace the old with the new (a new Act): the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) which went into effect in 1971.

Marijuana was one of these drugs that had been so demonized in my mind that I couldn’t understand why so many people were trying to legalize it.

In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse (also known as the Shafer Commission) produced a report concluding that not even a “single human fatality in the US proven to have solely resulted from the use of Marijuana.” President Nixon rejected the report even though he was the one who had carefully selected the members of the Shafer Commission. The War on Drugs continued.

Just like there were people like Aslinger who lobbied to kill the hemp industry, there were others who were pushing back against their interests and agendas. In 1989, a group of entrepreneurs founded the Business Alliance of Commerce in Hemp. Two years later, the Hemp Council was created to started organizing rallies and events that promoted Hemp products

By 1996, over 300 companies in the US were manufacturing a wide range of hemp products—everything from luggage and soap to paper and toys to seed grain and surfboards.

The potential commercial products that can be made out of the Cannabis plant are near-unlimited; from face wash, shampoo, and soap to a nontoxic hemp bio-plastic biodegradable within six months.

The author, Matthew Harmon, has been researching Cannabis for more than a decade. Born into a religious family and growing up within a conservative 1980s political atmosphere, he used to believe that marijuana is as dangerous as Cocaine and Alcohol.
Nowadays, Harmon is betting that it “will be legal,” with no ambiguity between the state and federal level, “in the next seven years.”

The book reads like an extensive course on the history of the plant, its commercial and medicinal potential, and its future. It is an invaluable resource for every entrepreneur that has ever thought of stepping into the hemp industry. Those who know nothing about Cannabis, and those who’ve been investing in it for years will both enjoy this book.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

5 Kudos

Alex Becker’s 10 Pillars of Wealth (Book Summary & Review)

That’s why I had to write this book: to set the record straight about online businesses and generating wealth in general.

Alex Becker

PS: This is a long post for focused and curious minds only. So if you are a caffeine addict, grab a cup of coffee (like these clean bulletproof bean from Mlama, Tanzania), and follow through this post about WEALTH.

Pillar: an upright shaft that supports an overhead structure. (Merriam-Webster’s Online Thesaurus)

Oh Pillars! And the first thing that came to mind is a picture of these beautiful Greek temples. Good old style marble Greek Pillars. But in Alex Becker’s book, there are Pillars too, but pillars of wealth, and they count up to 10. These are your Core Beliefs, your basic yet essential weapons on your way to wealth.

This book is about grounding new beliefs in our heads, while eliminating old poisonous and limiting ones that we usually inherit from our environments. It turns out there is a way to win in life (at least financially) and there is a way that gets us there. Once we figure out the road, once we start making ‘a little bit of money’ we can’t help but want to make even more.

The reason why so many people get rich and others stay poor, is that those who have gotten rich came to a very low or bad point in life AND consequently they decided there is no way they are going to stay that way, they reached rock bottom and they know how things look, feel, and smell down there so they decided to promise themselves that no matter what they will escape serfdom, they said to themselves ‘By god I am gonna be financially independent’.

You have to reject the idea that to become rich you need to e special, a marketing genius, or lucky. The author warns us from the start, that is the number one prerequisite before plunging into the rest of the book.

I like how Alex compares the difficulty of getting rich to that of improving at video games, though I don’t pay video games, I could get his point, which is summarized in 3 parts:

  1. Believe you can get great at something.
  2. Then play the ‘game’ over and over again
  3. Don’t give up until 1 is accomplished

==>Break the limiting beliefs.

About Alex Becker

The most woke empty house billionaire business guy, also known as Alex Becker.

  • He completed his four years term with the Air Force.
  • He started looking for way to generate income online.
  • He stumbled upon SEO.
  • Alex started building websites, ranking them really good on Google, and started to make an income. At one point he got so good at SEO, within few months, that he was offered a job at a marketing agency; he took it.

I began to work on my own business every second I got so I could grow it enough that I could quit my marketing agency job. When I got home from my job, I worked. While my friends were playing video games at night, I worked. While everyone I knew was at the pool drinking on the weekend, I worked.
Then, two months later, I was generating over $20,000 a month from my business, not including my job’s paycheck. At that point, I quit my job and never looked back.

  • With $6,000 in his retirement account, he went all in with his online business.
  • He built an SEO business from scratch called ‘Source Wave’, scaled it, and then sold it.

3 Different Types of Businesses

  • CF:
Cash Flow Businesses

Cash Flow Businesses (CF) are the easiest to start. They require little to no capital.No staff or overhead. You can start a CF business from your bedroom if you want.
These businesses take a lot of time to run and manage, because it is usually a one -man operation; you will be the one providing a service to a client, marketing and promoting your services, and also the one doing the accounting and every other details. And that’s why, scaling this business is often not an option, and a well-defined cap on revenues, income & profits can estimated from the beginning. With all this being said, expect a profit margin up to 90%.

  • High Investment Scalable Businesses (HIS):
High Investment Scalable Businesses

This is the type of business that Venture Capitalists, like Naval Ravikant or Chamath Palihapitiya, are constantly looking for to invest in. These businesses oftentimes ‘explode out of nowhere’ even after years of being stuck or incurring losses.
These businesses are very scalable by their own definition. In a business like this, you need to pay close attention to every little detail: hiring the right people, studying competitors, and doing proper market research, etc…
Lunching a High Investment Scalable business requires some chunk of starting capital however. And that’s why, Alex Becker advises the reader who are still beginners to start with Cash Flow Business and then they can put their into a HIS business, should they want to. This model of businesses is very scalable, and usually can be automated.

  • Long-Term Investment Businesses (LTI):
Long-Term Investment Businesses

This is where you can ‘park’ your money and can expect sometimes as high as 10%-15% ROI per year. Think investing in rental properties or in restaurants. It is relatively safe form of investing (as long as the economy doesn’t collapse) and the businesses you invest your money in are still sell-able.

Decide to Become Wealthy at Any Cost

The longer I live, the more I am certain that the great difference between men—between the feeble and the powerful, the great and the insignificant—is energy, invincible determination—a purpose once fixed, and then—death or victory!

Thomas Fowell Buxton

By god, I am going to get rich! It’s a personal decision, a kind-of an intimate transaction between you and you only, you have your own reasons and motives and no body has the right to ask you about them. Just make them fuel you. Alex Becker, and throughout the book, emphasize the importance of getting to a very low point or extremely bad situation in life where for some people this decision becomes inevitably, and hence becoming wealthy becomes inevitable. (it’s just a matter of time)

Most people never become wealthy. Why? They never decide to get rich. And why? Because, they don’t believe that they can get rich because of X, Y, and Z.

As selfish as it looks on paper, and in life, believing it, seeing it, perceiving the whole thing before it comes to fruition is an indispensable prerequisite to actually getting it.
You may not a be spiritual person, you may not believe in superstitions, and stick only to reason and rationality, even so, you got to have this one belief, a one that has nothing to back it in today’s reality but that you have to have to get to your destination.

Reject Getting Rich Slow

This one from Becker really reminds me of MJ DeMacro’s The Millionaire FastLane. I wouldn’t even be surprised that DeMacro inspired Alex to go on and achieve what he has achieved so far

Don’t be “mildly miserable” like the rest. They are wrong, and that’s why they are the stuck traffic fighter who end up in jobs they hate because it’s ‘secure’.

The slow low risk way to getting wealthy is not risk free at all. In fact, its risks are uncontrollable. You are gambling your future’s outcome on variables outside the scope of your control; things like the economy, the value of the currency you are holding your savings in, the performance of the company you are working for(and whether or not they are going to lay off some employees when the going gets tough).

getting rich slowly requires you to spend 71 percent of your days for the rest of your young life at work.

The big reward at the end of the work tunnel. It’s an illusion! You might day before even get to there.

Get-rich slowly:

  • extreme financial hardships
  • zero control on your financial future
  • spend 71% of your young lifespan on work(5 days out of 7 a week)
  • No chance of getting your dream/fantasy life
  • Constantly living under financial stress (worrying about money all the time)
  • All you your decision are based around money (or the lack of it)

Separate Your Time from Your Income

Everyone have limited time (24 hours a day), so trying to tie your income to your disposable time is a very bad idea and it is literally putting a cap on how much money you will be making from the start. It’s been said over and over again, nobody ever got rich alone. You need other people to help you produce, sell , promote, communicate, and eventually buy from you. This is the reason why many successful business-people are good at dealing with people. And even the ones who are not so good at dealing with people and still went on to be successful, often you will discover that they hired the right employees to take care of that for them.

And so, you are facing two options:
=>Either you spend all your time trying to do everything by yourself, and therefore your income isn’t under your control
=>Or you increase the value of your time and completely separate your time from your income

Instead of spending our time working, we should spend our time creating systems that do the work for us.

  • Clone yourself, either by hiring a super productive team, by building or buying, or subscribing to AI/tech/tools, that will bring your expenses down and profits up. (Examples would be using services like Fiverr Business for outsourcing and hiring across borders, solutions like Tipalti that will take care of your Invoice Management + TAX, VAT, and Global Payments to your clients/suppliers, companies like Ripl for upping your branded content game on social media, or using Yelp for Business to connect to new customers, or Banking easier with Bank Novo, or IncFile for incorporating your LLC or Corporation for as low as $49)
  • Find a process or formula that works, then clone it.
  • It is better to have a business that has a 30% profit margin, but that can be scaled to $10 million a year and then can be sold for tens of millions than to have a one man run business, that will turn into a chaos the minute you get sick and be hospitalized for few weeks.

All you need to be working on right now, is excellent business-planning, automation, and properly cloning yourself through effective hiring, and the next thing you know, is that your time-consuming intense business is turning into a time independent money-making machine.

Take any business idea you have in your mind right now and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can the process be automated?
  • Is generating $500 worth of sales requires the same amount of energy and steps as generating $10,000 if sales?
  • Can the business be scaled, by hiring more staff and/or developing technologies and solutions?
  • Does the business have the potential of significantly rising in value in the next couple of years, and eventually be sold for tens of millions?

The most successful businesses out there, have their owner(s)’ time separated from their revenues & profits.
=> They’ve created a process that works at soling a particular problem process, a process that customers want. They’ve priced the process competitively. And the rest takes care of itself.

Accept That You Must Be Better Than The Rest

  • As egotistic as it might sound, this is one of the most important pillars that Becker presents to us through this book.

By wanting to become wealthy, you are also saying that you want to accept the challenge to be better at making money than 99 percent of the people on this planet.

  • Follow the Belief,Actions, & Results (BLR) System.
  • Embrace the power of accepting the necessity of greatness

Remember that desiring to be wealthy is by its nature desiring to put oneself into the top 1%. If it was much more common to be wealthy in our society, then the logical conclusion is that it doesn’t take more than being average. Unfortunately, this is not the case in real life. In fact, last time I checked one of those Credit Suisse annual reports about Global Wealth Inequality, it was 0.9% of the world’s population who owned more than half of the assets.

It’s Been 100% Your Fault

Blaming your current situation in life on family, friends, teachers, environment or government is a waste of your time.

You need a complete shift in your attitude towards your reality.

Take back your life from your “whys”.

Controlling your future outcomes is up to you as well

Adopting an Abundance Mindset

How you act reflects the type of mindset you have either towards money, or any other endeavor. The belief in abundance is required here. Anything that has to d with scarcity thinking will hold you back. And so if you want to keep going when the going gets tough in business, you should never have a mental limit to how much money you can make.

  • Mr. Never Take Risks (Super Scarcity Mind-Set): “I am going to spend my life working for someone else making him wealthy, save some of what I earn and hopefully I can retire by the age of 65. Starting a business is too risky for me. Entrepreneurship is not my cup of tea”
  • Mr. Watch But Not Do (Extreme Scarcity Mind-Set): “It is simply not possible and it sucks, so why should I bother?!”
  • Mr. Brute Force (High Abundance Mind-Set): “I know it is risky, and sometimes it will suck, but I am going to try anyway, because If I constantly throw Sh*t against the wall, I know that eventually something will stick”
  • Mr. ‘Ladies’ Man (Educated Abundance Mind-Set):
    =>Takes calibrated social risks.
    =>Acknowledges the fact that he will never be liked by everyone.
    =>100% Confident that he will get what he wants eventually & Self-aware.

In wealth, you only need to ‘get laid’ once.

Alex Becker

It’s hard to have an abundance mind-set & beliefs without actually having abundance.

=>That’s why, you have to trick your mind into believing we have abundance in the here and now, thus altering your core beliefs.

Achieving Abundance as a Newcomer of Wealth

**When you have a limited mind-set, you only focus on ways and trick that will help you save money.

By solely focusing on conservation, you will never be able to expand.

Abundance = Progress

Scarcity = Lack of Progress

Instead of directing your energy towards saving extra dollars here and there, so you can SPEND them later, Smart Entrepreneurs focus on putting their money towards their projects, so that every dollar can bring 5, 6 or even 10 dollars.

==> Adopt this 5th pillar into your life immediately.

Focus on ‘What Is’ Instead of ‘What If’

Discover the number one problem that is depraving you of what you want right now.

Learn everything you can about that problem

Work on the problem until it’s fixed

Move to the next problem and repeat from 1 again until it’s fixed.

Don’t try to learn and speculate about the possible things that can go wrong, just focus on the number one obstacle in front of you.

you must stop thinking about it and stop planning it, and just take action.

Alex Becker

Avoid being locked down in “perfection paralysis” land at at costs. Action is your only way to remedy!

=>Master the only immediate problem you have in the here and now.

Hurry up and make mistakes. The most guaranteeing thing you can do to fail is to never try anything.

Mapping Out Actions That Achieve Goals

The fact is big, giant & successful companies take a lot of time to become profitable. Good things often take times(including learning the piano, or learning a new language), and if you are in doubt about this just ask Warren Buffet (e.g. Amazon didn’t reap a profit in 20 years)

Confusing, right? How can popular companies be worth so much money without being profitable? Because they are moving in the direction of global domination and will be massively profitable because of the amount of leverage they are gaining.

Alex Becker

Creating a plan to reach your target is, in many cases, more important than the target itself. They say that each one minute spent planning can save up to ten minutes in execution. And whether that is right or not, one cannot deny the benefits of planning, even if the planning part would differ so much from the executing part later on, something which will inevitably happen from time to time, it is still helpful and relevant thing to do before jumping into uncharted business territories

Traffic fighters often miss this and think about their goal as a “success event”. They are only capable of noticing the event. They can sketch the map, seeing the trees for the forest is practically unimaginable for them

Questions any aspiring businessperson should ask him/herself:

  • How much money will you be making?
  • What will you be known for?
  • How long will it take you?
  • Would would be your ideal customer?
  • What will your product be?
  • How many customers do you need to reach your monetary goal?
  • Who needs to support you to reach your main goal?

You need to completely ‘re-engineer’ how you define your goals.


Very few of them make their fortunes in a ‘single event’ (it’s not like the lottery)
Even the massive buyouts you hear about them in the news, are the result of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny events leading to the BIG ONE EVENT.
These tiny actions themselves can be further decomposed into daily ‘micro-actions’
The first thing they do is SET GIANT TARGETS
STEP1: Wat is Your Big Goal?
=> This cannot be vague or blurry. It must be clear and quantifiable.
=> You must have a clear end in mind as well as a ‘way’ to get there(e.h. selling real estate, growing avocados, providing a service to stopover travelers, etc..)
Use your imaginary ideal lifestyle and how it looks like in your mind to define exactly how big your goals should be

In this section of the book, Becker introduces a simple exercise: It consists of writing down what you want in specific details. However, he also suggests not including any ‘Grand’ or super Grand desires such as owning mansions, private jets, or sports team, as they will impede and ‘complicate’ the process.

  • Make $500,000 in Sales.

Step2: What Are the five smaller goals you must achieve to reach your bigger goals?
=>List these smaller goals in chronological order

  • Reach a daily output of 200 Cold Calls/day
  • Reach an average daily Sales of 20sales/day
  • Have Access to more contacts to cold call
  • Improve your sales pitch
  • Write 5000 words per day

Sign up for more Affiliate network
==> These will make your bigger target much more manageable. And, it will shift your thinking from “How can I make X amount of dollars?” to “How can produce or make X, and sell Y amount of it in Z years or months?”.
Step3: Break down each the smaller steps into even smaller tasks:
=>Write a Sitemap for Google Crawlers
=>Write at a pace of 1000 words per hour (84 words/5minutes)
=>Apply to more affiliate networks after my first $10,000K check.

Focus Solely on What Gets You Paid

Everything that can be delegated, eliminated or outsourced must be delegated, eliminated or outsourced.

Remember, it’s not always about working 80 to 100 hours a week, driving yourself towards burnout and inevitable health issues. A person who works as little as 10 hours per week but DIRECTS a total of 400 hours per week out of his employees/team will accomplish far more than he will ever do on his own.

The things that you are doing and are contributing little or noting to getting you paid are your income stealers. These are literally stealing from $$$ from your bank account each time you spend time on them and not on your ONE thing; the thing that gets you paid.

They Give Money to People That Get People

One thing you gotta realize is that you will never be able to get rich without other people.

What is money, then? Money is power over other people.

Wealth is power. By trying to get rich, you are in essence trying to gain some form of power over others, so you can buy their labor, time, and products with that power.

You have to become a great influencer on other people’s decisions. You have to persuade and convince them.
==> This is why, if you could learn one thing only, you should be learning how to sell.

  • Don’t just sell products. Instead, provide and sell emotions.
  • Being comfortable with people

Finding Competitive Friends and Suitable Mentors

Birds of a feather, do flock together

Imagine if, right after reading this book, you spent every waking minute working at getting rich like a psycho. Seriously, picture waking up, turning on your computer, working for twenty hours, and stopping only to pee and eat whatever food you own that doesn’t need to be cooked, then passing out from exhaustion and waking up four hours later to do it all over again. Then imagine doing this for months and months without taking breaks or vacations or even weekends off.

Unlike the other ‘mind-set pillars’, this one can and should be applied in real ‘physical’ life.

The best way to trigger the kind of obsessed work ethic is being a part of a community of like-minded people. It will push you to compete in a friendly way.

Look around you right now and try to closely examine your environment. Do they care about money or do they watch Drama on TV? If the answer is the latter, then you are more likely to want to fit in to the group’s ritual, and probably you have little or no motivation at all to do something out of the norm.

Join as many free groups of people you want to be like right now. People already successful at their own businesses, people who have created massive wealth, or currently doing so.
=> Then, keep track of the ‘leaders’ within these groups, and find out where they hang out.
=>Make friends with them, and ask them questions.

The minute you start talking to your circle of friends about opportunities to make money, to kill it, and they respond with disinterest, mockery, and skepticism, then you know you are operating withing a damaging group that is only putting you down.

Start by joining free Facebook groups with people you can relate to what they are doing or had already done what you want to do. Pick up the leaders out of these groups and try to reach them. After successfully reaching them, fear not! ASK THEM QUESTIONS! Also try to build relationships with people above your level, but not that much above your level. Use these groups to keep motivated and continually learn from the best around you.

MENTORS can help you go through the obstacles and hurdles you are going to go through much faster and with less trouble.

a Mentor: Someone who has arrived in your own terms. Someone, who has already accomplished what you are aiming to accomplish.

Look for a mentor who is at a level ‘above you’, but not way too much above your level.
=> Example: If you are not generating any income at the moment, and you shouldn’t be approaching a mentor who is earning $100,000 a month. The line of communication between you won’t be clear and you wouldn’t relate to each other. Instead, you should be focusing on getting a mentor that is generating $3000 to $5000 per month for instance.

AVOID false mentors:

  • There are two types of mentors:
  • Those who make 90% of their income mentoring (think Dan Pena lol)
  • Those who make most of their money from their main business, and mentor on the side

The Final Word

  • Society’s safe route to wealth generation is not that safe
  • Decide you will be rich at any cost
  • Dodge the Slow road to wealth
  • Believe you are better than the competition
  • Take 100% responsibility for all mistakes incurred
  • Delegate, Outsource, Eliminate
  • Clone Yourself, and Operate on Auto-Pilot
  • Break down those giant targets into smaller milestones, and then break down further
  • Focus on the one thing that gets you paid, and resolve to do that only! This is your ONE thing!
  • Hang out with people who have achieved or are achieving what you want, pay for the privilege if necessary! (Like Attending The Rich Dad Summit)
  • Believe that there is out there all the wealth you want to get

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

1 Kudos

MJ DeMarco The Millionaire Fastlane Book Review

What is invisible to the EYE? According to MJ Demarco, it’s the Fastlane road to wealth.

A Fastlane? A highway? A fast way to wealth? Isn’t the title a bit suspicious? DeMarco doesn’t care, he built his Empire, his online tribe (The FastLane Forum) around it and the guy keeps going. And it’s all encapsulated in the preface of The Millionaire Fastlane when he says:

Thankfully, your belief (or disbelief) of Fastlane strategy doesn’t change my reality; it only changes yours. Let me repeat: What you think of the Fastlane doesn’t change my reality; its purpose is to change yours.

We all have our own revelations and Eureka moments in our lives. The author traces it back to his teenage years. Back then he encountered a young man driving a Lamborghini Countach and asked how he could afford such a car. “I’m an inventor,” the young man replied.

For DeMarco himself back then, the Lamborghini symbolized wealth, happiness, and freedom.

The book itself represents a trending cult nowadays that revolts against the traditional old school approach to creating wealth, and against the 401K, against the “go to college and get a job and save 10% of you income…”

That burning question: How do You get rich?

If you aren’t wealthy, STOP doing what you’re doing. STOP following the conventional wisdom. STOP following the crowd and using the wrong formula. STOP following the roadmap that forsakes dreams and leads to mediocrity. STOP traveling roads with punitive speed limits and endless detours. I call it “anti-advice,” and much of this book follows this prescription.

The Millionaire FastLane isn’t only a book compromised of words and sentences grouped together. There are equations too. Equations relating to assets, to profits and to leverage.

MJ Demarco walks us through his wealth building philosophy using simple and easy to get definitions and equations. You don’t have to hack through a verbiage when reading the book.

His Favorite Equation?

Wealth = Net Profit + Asset Value

Throughout the book, the author is continually making a distinction between two groups: Slowlaners and Fastlaners. The former focus on Creating Assets and Raising Net Profit, and the latter focus on getting a job and saving 10% per month for 40 years or more and THEN retiring.

He challenges us into thinking about creating our own Money Making Systems instead of relying on a paycheck and putting all our eggs in one basket, to recruit what he calls our “Freedom Fighters”:

DeMarco also explains what he calls The Law of Effection (Not The Law of Attraction), which basically translates to: If you want to make millions of dollars, affect the lives of millions of people.

He encourages us to Operate as a Corporation. To control your vehicle—you he points out—you must establish a setup that pays you first and the government last.

Every dollar saved is another freedom fighter in your army. If your money is fighting for you, your time is freed and you break the equation of “time for money.”

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

0 Kudos

Sean Platt & Johnny Truant’s Write. Publish. Repeat. Book Review

I like how Sean Platt and Johnny Truant collaborate with each other to continuously produce valuable work.

In Write. Publish. Repeat. Platt and Johnny clarify from the beginning that in order to ‘make it’ as a self-published author, you must approach this venture—the writing—as a business, your books/writing as your products, and the reader as a buyer.

As much as there is a lot of valuable advice within this wonderful book, there is also a great deal of focus on the marketing and promotional side that every aspiring author who wants to ‘make it’ has to go through and do it as good as—if not better than—traditional publishers.

Still, with Platt & Truant focus’  on the promotional side, they didn’t ignore the inevitable reality, the ongoing necessity for any writer to continue producing a constant flow of work, an output; This approach of focusing on continually putting your work out there and forcing oneself to ship everyday reminds me of Isaac Asimov’s approach to it too. This is definitely a wonderful book for any aspiring writer. I like it when Sean Platt and Johnny Truant sum up the core ideas for their book:

Write great stuff, get that great stuff out into the world, connect with your readers, and then do that same thing over and over and over again.
In other words: Write. Publish. Repeat.

Write. Publish. Repeat.

Platt and Truant are JA Konrath on steroids. They share with him their ability to put out great work out there often, but with the promotional side. Konrath believes in luck. They don’t! They are super optimistic about the publishing landscape:

THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BETTER time to be an indie.

Write. Publish. Repeat.

I like their honesty too. They are not here to promise you a get-rich-quick scheme or anything of that nature, and they make it clear from the start of the book. They’ve been through the process themselves, and they know that while the rewards can be huge and beyond one’s imaginations and wildest dreams, it is still a long-term game: a game that requires patience, passion, and perseverance.

If you have a few books (or only one) and aren’t planning to write more, you’re as doomed today, during the e-book revolution, as you would have been during the query-and-hope days.

Write. Publish. Repeat.

Platt & Truant emphasize the importance of the quantity of your work/output in the marketplace—though, also not ignoring the quality. And this is applicable for both fiction and nonfiction indie authors. And, in my estimation, the greatest part of Write. Publish. Repeat. is the appendix at the end of the book where they interviewed some of the most successful indie authors like Joanna Penn and Hugh Howey.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

0 Kudos

Philip Roth’s The Humbling Book Review

Very often, the very first sentence that I begin with is not the first sentence that I end with. And in the case of The Humbling, it is.

Philip Roth
Philip Roth The Humbling Book Review
Art Work & Book Cover, Courtesy of The Publisher, Used only for review and criticism.
  • Author: Philip Roth
  • Title: The Humbling
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Published: 2009
  • Page Count: 140

“He’d lost his magic,” that’s how Philip Roth started The Humbling. Later he said, in an interview, that he’d heard about an actor who couldn’t act anymore and so he started from there.

After more than forty years since he’d come to auditions in New York, and after a successful career as a play actor—appearing in movies as well— Simon Axler found himself, at the age of sixty five, unable to do the acting, unable of even memorizing a line or two, unable to be whom he used to be.

Axler felt that now he has become naked in front of the fans and the critics and everyone. He doubted that he had had any talent at all from the start.

The worst of it was that he saw through his breakdown the same way he could see through his acting. The suffering was excruciating and yet he doubted that it was genuine, which made it even worse. He did not know how he was going to get from one minute to the next, his mind fell as though it were melting, he was terrified to be alone, he could not sleep more than two or three hours a night, he scarcely ate, he thought everyday of killing himself with the gun in the attic—a Remington 870 pump-action shotgun that he kept in the isolated farmhouse for self-defense—and still the whole thing seemed to be an act, a bad act.

Philip Roth, The Humbling.

From then onwards, Axler’s days were characterized by suffer. And the reader is taken through a tour in the life of Simon Axler as a man and as an actor, as a lover and as a depressive.

In a way, I felt while reading the novel that Roth—and from the beginning —is pushing the protagonist towards one ultimate end: suicide.

ALL AT ONCE Axler was alone in the house in the country and terrified of killing himself. Now there was nothing stopping him. Now he could go ahead and do what he’d found himself unable to do while she was still there: walk up the stairs to the attic, load the gun, put the barrel in his mouth, and reach down with his long arms to pull the trigger. The gun as the sequel to the wife.

Philip Roth, The Humbling.

Though Axler tried to love life the way he used to, tried by giving it one more shot with love and tenderness and intimacy. He tried before that to know at least why he couldn’t act anymore by getting psychoanalyzed and spending twenty six days at a psychiatric hospital. He tried and tried and tried; he failed.

There are two main characters that affected Axler’s destiny through the novel.

The first is the woman he met at the Kennedy Center while he was there for a twenty Six day psychiatric therapy. Her name is Syvil Van Buren.

At first when they met, Philip Roth clearly notified the reader that the two characters share some similiarities and have some common ground. They approached one another one another, sat down and ate their meals and talked.

Sybil Van Buren opened up to Simon Axler, about what she saw with her own eyes, when one day she came back to pick up something she’d forgotten at home and to her shock and what she discovered her husband had been probably doing to her little sweetheart without her knowing.

And so both, Axler and Van Buren, shared their inability of ending their own suffering.

And then comes Pegeen. Another character that have deeply affected Axler. She was lesbian and twenty five years younger than him. He’d known her and known her parents long before she was even born.

With Pegeen, Axler began to regain some hope. He began to change. And he changed her as well—or so he thought. He bought her new clothes. He led her into getting a new haircut; a more girly one. She moved in to live with him. They jumped into some intimate adventures.

Even when Pegeen’s parents didn’t respond well to them being together—they even seemed to accept her being lesbian over being with him; an old depressive actor who couldn’t act anymore and whose spinal and mental problems are enough to make any potential partner calculate her long term moves wisely—even then he didn’t give a damn, he didn’t care. All too well.

All too well till he wakes up one morning and Pegeen decides that it’s over. She takes her stuff from the room that she had rearranged for herself in his farmhouse. The rest is for you to discover on your own! Buy the novel.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book.

1 Kudos