One summer I was staying in a hotel in the coastal North African town of Hammamet. My first evening there, and while I was in the lobby, I met a Saudi Arabian chemistry professor drinking a beer and surfing the web using an iPad. We talked and it turned out we shared some interests. One of these was politics. As we progressed in our chitchat one question popped up into my mind—one that I’d been curious about and more curious hearing a Saudi’s opinion on the issue. So, in the middle of the conversation, I threw at him a question: “Don’t you think that one day Iran and Saudi Arabia would be strong allies, the way Israel and America are, collaborating with each other militarily and economically? I can’t stop thinking how the Middle East would look like if they do so, and more importantly, who’s best interest is served when Saudi Arabia and Iran always stay in conflict?” The guy was surprised by the question thrown at him, and he simply ignored the possibility. “Why not, “I thought to myself. I still think about the possibility to this day. You may say that it’s not possible because of “history”. Well history is in the making as long as the world and mankind coexist. When The Suez Canal Company built the Suez Canal in the late 19th century, history changed. The same thing happened when the US built The Panama Canal. Both Canals altered geography and history—in that same order.
Sustainable peace and security require good bilateral relations and regional cooperation between Tehran and Riyadh. Iran and Saudi Arabia have significant differences, but they share common interests in many critical issues, such as energy security, nuclear nonproliferation, and Middle East stability.
As I am writing this in my daily journal, Biden, and after 5 weeks inside the White House, has just announced more American sanctions on Russia (Because of an attempted Alexei Navalny assassination by poisoning). He has just bombed Iranian targets in Syria (while trying to negotiate with Iran). He is also putting more and more pressure on Saudi Arabia after The US Intelligence came to the conclusion—one that was intentionally communicated to the public—that Mohammed Bin Salman (aka MBS) was the one pulling the strings, orchestrating the Jamal Kashuqgi’s murder in Turkey, an event that neither journalists nor the people of Istanbul will ever forget.
Nothing is impossible in politics. But, it seems the possibility of Iran and Saudi Arabia becoming regional allies, getting together, and going over all the conflicts of the past, is unlikely to happen in the near future—though I think it is still possible, under the right circumstances.
Interesting Related Books:
Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East
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:
Believe you can get great at something.
Then play the ‘game’ over and over again
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.
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):
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):
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
=>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.
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.
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.
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.
HOW MULTIMILLIONAIRES PLAN & REACH THEIR 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. Example:
Step2: What Are the five smaller goals you must achieve to reach your bigger goals? =>List these smaller goals in chronological order Example:
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
The biggest challenge we face during our lifetimes, more than any other generation across history, is information overload. And if don’t take control of what’s coming at us, information and input coming from all the possible places (from TV to Netflix to Twitter to Instagram), it will take control of us. It will own us and it will run our lives and make us feel miserable.
This is a book that had been recommended to me by a fellow writer and blogger. The ONE thing focuses on the finding that one and only thing that matters the most in your journey towards your goals, and what you need to do to make reserved or “blocked” time for that thing and protect that block with all you got.
Here are the top X things and principles I learned while reading the book:
Go as Small as Possible:
No matter how big your goal or how success conscious are you, or where you want to be, you will have to start small (and often very small) if you really want to get there.
Many people think that going for a big target also means or implies starting to shoot for the moon fresh from the start. That is false, and can only get you to give up so soon. Reduce it to its childish terms/components and it becomes simple, measurable, and attainable.
Your job is to find ONE thing and one only such that by doing it, everything else becomes easier, unnecessary, or obsolete.
Then, you commit to al least 4 hours each day to doing that One thing.
Until my ONE thing is done—everything else is a distraction!
By starting to do our ONE thing, we begin to line up your dominoes. We line up enough of them over the years, and we enjoy the benefits of The Domino Effect.
At its core, it is a geometric progression. And it very much resembles a very long train: “it starts out too slow to notice, until it’s moving too fast to stop”.
=> Success, by the domino logic, is built sequentially (one THING at a time)
Success Leaves Clues:
The misinformation, myths, and lies keeping us from embracing and accepting the fact we only need ONE THING. These are false claims thrown at us over and over again, start to become familiar and start to sound like they are true.
Beware of the six thrown lies that will be thrown at you time and time again. They will keep you poor, unfocused, and miserable.
Beware of the six thrown lies that will be thrown at you time and time again. They will keep you poor, unfocused, and miserable—here they are the six lies:
Everything Matters Equally
A Disciplined Life
Willpower is always on Will-Call
A Balanced Life
Big Is Bad
Don’t spread yourself too thin!
Someone may be telling you that everything matters equally, and that you never know what could turn out the thing that matters the most and that, that’s why, you should hedge your bets.
Well, if that’s the case and you still don’t know what your ONE thing is, then and as the author tells us, your ONE thing at the moment is to find that ONE thing.
Move from ‘E’ to ‘P’: E stands for Entrepreneurial, and P stands for Purposeful. E is doing thing with energy, curiosity, excitement and enthusiasm.
‘E’ will lead you to Disappointment => Resignation => Greener Pastures => The Cycle Continues
P is doing whatever it takes to get to certain level or point. And it will lead you to Focus => Models =>Systems => Breakthroughs Do not accept plateaus just because it is something you think it is beyond your natural ability. That creates an artificial limit on your future potential & possibilities in life.
Live the Accountability Cycle: The contrast here is: Accountable vs Victim This is the most important of among the three commitments. With this, you’ll absorb the ceilings you’ll encounter and you will keep going.
=> Don’t fight reality or ignore it. Work around it.
Invitations and interruptions will come at you from everywhere imaginable.
Your Inability to day ‘NO’: This is why the author advises to build our own bunker, have blocked time, and protect it by never leaving the bunker or letting anyone or anything interrupt us while doing our ONE thing.
Fear of Chaos: Messes are inevitable on your way to success and big results.
Poor Health Habits: Your body is the vehicle that carries you through experiencing life. Don’t delude yourself by pretending you can go four days without sleep or one day on one meal and that you can get away with it. Your health is like a credit card: borrow now, pay later with interest. Take care of your health!
Environment Doesn’t Support Your Goals: This is the most challenging obstacle to overcome. I know really, because I come from such an environment. It works like a bucket of crabs, with you being the one crab that is about to escape, so everyone else down there starts to pull you back down.
Your environment is simply who you see and what you experience every day.
Many people don’t know that the half-life of caffeine can get up to 12 hours. Most of us think that the half-life is only three or four hours. Well it depend on many factors, including: age, sex, metabolism, weight, and of course genetics. Coffee has also a bad reputation for being positively correlated with depression (sometimes even clinical depression). Among the things that I hate about coffee, its effect on mood and sleep schedule are the most disturbing.
5 Things I hate about Coffee:
It dehydrates me
It affects my sleep (sleep schedule and depth)
It affects my mood (3 or fours hours after drinking it)
The more I consume of it, the less effect it has on my productivity, and the more I need to get the same ‘push’
Will Society Stop Relying On Caffeine One Day?
Enough of me whining about its bad effects. As a side note, I am not neglecting the positive side of consuming caffeine. As a matter of fact, without coffee, we would have the kind of development we have today in our world. Caffeine pushed the boundaries of what was possible for human productivity. If tomorrow morning we wake up to a decaffeinated world, I think that 90% of the population won’t be able to work. It is that addictive! It is that popular! And speaking about its popularity, it is the second most drunk beverage in America (after water).
Some people even say that, without coffee, we wouldn’t have had The Renaissance Age altogether.
Timeline of First European Interactions With Coffee:
When coffee was introduced to Europe through Turkish Muslim slaves (imprisoned by the Knights of Saint John in the Island of Malta, following the Ottoman’s Empire Trial to Capture Malta) back in 1565.
Venetian Merchants introduced the beverage to the wealthy of Venice in the late 1500s thanks to trade with North Africa & The East.
1573: German Botanist/Physician Leonhard Rauwolf became the first European to mention Coffee as chaube, following his interaction with the plant while visiting Aleppo
1591: Venetian Physician Prospero Alpini publishes the first pamphlet describing the plant in Europe
The first European coffee shop just opened in Venice circa 1645
Book One: The Science and Culture of the World’s Most Popular Drug by Bennett Alan Weinberg and Bonnie K. Bealer
An amazing read for those of us who are curious about the history, the literature, the science, and the culture specifics of drinking and consuming coffee.
This book dig deep into the details of the beverage. Readers with an appetite for historical account and facts will definitely enjoy it.
You may be surprised to learn that, at the time of their discovery and early use, both coffee and tea and, much later, cola elixirs, were regarded exclusively as medicines.
From the discovery of caffeine, its historical and cultural roots, to its chemical properties and health effects, this book will be one of your most pleasant reads about drugs in general.
Note: The book contains a set of four curiosity stimulating appendices. One of them mentions important studies to read on the physical effects of caffeine. (for those who care even more about details)
Book Two: Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts and Hooks Us by Murray Carpenter
How is it like being hooked on caffeine? Murray Carpenter will make you enjoy reading about the substance. He first differentiate between “Traditional” and “Modern” Caffeine. Hen then goes on to explore the deeper effect of the drug on our minds and bodies.
My favorite part of this book is the last one, titled “Corralling Caffeine”. The author here at first takes us into a historical period when the substance were not red flagged or regulated by government agencies, and how that changed over time, when regulators decided to check on (and sometimes even force certain technical regulation on companies producing soda water and other kind of beverages) “caffeine’s safety as a food additive”.
Book Three: Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture By Taylor Clark
I like how Clark begins this book by introducing us to the man behind the engineering of “the perfect cup of coffee” Samuel Cate Prescott. This book is an enjoyable nonfiction read for those with a taste for well researched and kind of a journalistic narrative style. There is a great coverage of history in this book as well. (Everything from 18th century style trials and errors to early 1920s revelations about the world’s most consumed beverage)
The part where the author presents his take on Starbucks is titled “Green-Apron Army”. The best and funniest part of it all is where Taylor takes us into the daily ritual of an average Starbucks barista.
Book Four: Caffeine Blues: Wake Up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug by Stephen Cherniske
Blues: a state or spell of low spirits (Merriam-Webster’s Online Thesaurus)
This is a warnings book about the negative implications of being addicted to a substance such as Caffeine. The book begin with the author’s take on the ideal dose, the excessive dose, and the dangerous dose. Then he takes us into a journey of discovery regarding what happens to the mind, body, and spirit when interacting with caffeine. All of the this is accompanied by an assessment to see whether or not you are really addicted to coffee and its demons.
The most interesting part of this book for me was the one where Stephen talks about the politics of the industry (titled Politics and Pushers):
Did you know that two of the most profitable companies in the world are the leading cola companies? And that some of the fastest-growing corporations today are the coffee bar chains? These companies produce mostly beverages with no nutritional value—and yet the explosion in the caffeine industry is unparalleled in the history of commerce. It has to do with the fact that caffeine is addictive, unregulated, and cheap.
Book Five: Lessons on Caffeine, Cannabis & Co: Plant-derived Drugs and their Interaction with Human Receptors by Angelika Böttger, Ute Vothknecht, Cordelia Bolle, and Alexander Wolf
Even though this is a textbook, I wanted to include it on my list because it is such a wonderful read, especially for those who love technical details and detailed work with grounds on numerous scientific studies. For instance, you will learn how Adenosine (one of the four building blocks of our DNA & RNA) and Caffeine interact together. And how the latter binds to the same receptors as the former, thus acting as its “competitive antagonist”.
The best part of this textbook for me was the on where the authors introduced me to the history of the medical use of plants as Medicine.
The world relies on coffee to get work done. It is just a fact of our modern reality. It doesn’t mean it is a bad thing. But, if we are consuming a substance on a daily basis (and we are dependent on it to get things done) we should at least be aware its nature, its cons, and its long run ramifications on our bodies and overall health.
A redditor recommended Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way to me. I’d never heard of the book before this guy told me about it. And so I went on and grabbed a copy. And while reading, I took some notes and here is my little summary, review, and criticism. ( Buy The Book. ) Note: Each chapter in the book is a week, that’s how the author chose to organize the book.
No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.
Julia believes we are creatives in one way or another. She really believes in that, and it shows (within the book). All we have to do, she points out, is “freeing people’s creativity”.
Her idea is to build some sort of “pathways” within our consciousness, and in turn, within these same “pathways” your creativity actually works.
The author refers to these basic principles as “Spiritual Electricity” through which the artist shall recover and discover his creativity.
Some of the principles mentioned:
Creativity is the natural order of life.
Open yourself to creativity and, you open yourself to the “creator’s creativity” within all of us.
You can refuse to be creative, but it is against “our true nature”.
The author introduces the concept of a “creative withdrawal”. And unlike Caffeine withdrawal, here she explains we are withdrawing “to” something instead of withdrawing “from” something like a substance. And the thing we are withdrawing to, in this case, is ourselves!
How do you know if you are creatively blocked? Jealousy is an excellent clue
Well, I can relate to that somehow. And, if you find yourself when (when reading like a maniac like me) that most books in the market are like shit and that you probably could write a something better than 95% of published book out there, then that’s a sign! And here, Julia Cameron offers us some tips, among them:
To stop telling ourselves that it is too late to pursue it
To stop using our financial situation as an excuse not to pursue it
To stop associating your creative side with your ego (even though it might be true in my opinion, George Orwell thought so in his essay WHY I WRITE)
To stop undervaluing dreams and to really believe that they matter
To not give a sh*t if you family and friends will think you are crazy (they probably will, in my estimation, but they don’t and will never matter)
Creativity is not a luxury (I agree that sometimes, it is an urge and a necessity)
The Basic Tools
Julia Cameron presents two tools here: what she calls “the morning pages” and “the artist date”.
The morning pages:
You need to find your creativity. But, how? Cameron here suggests “the morning pages” method.
Put simply, the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness:“Oh, god, another morning. I have NOTHING to say. I need to wash the curtains. Did I get my laundry yesterday? Blah, blah, blah …”
This is when you set aside few hours each week to nurture and “date” your inner creative self, “your inner artist”.
The idea here, is that your inner creative needs to be taken care of, and taken out on a regular basis. And for that, the author is seriously telling us to set aside a block of time each week just to do that.
Recovering a Sense of Safety
All young artist yearn for acknowledgement, and they often don’t get it neither from family nor from friends, thus they are “shadow artists” (this kinds of reminds me of Saul Bellow when he once said “yes, I didn’t want to be ignored”)
Very often in our society, the artistic urge within a child is suppressed
Families usually discourage their children to pursue a career in Arts.
Usually, the child that has a creative energy within him and surrender to the environment pressure to go for a “real job, ” often later in life, when in his forties or fifties, go back and try to pursue that dream again
To make the jump, from obscurity to pursuing their artistic dreams, shadow artists must start taking themselves seriously
Your Artist is like a kid: nurture it
Take yourself seriously, but don’t take your early work very seriously or compare it unfavorably to the masters’
To recover go “gently and slowly”
Creative healing is like a “marathon”
To be a good artist, you must be willing to be a bad artist at first (and maybe even be bad a log period of time at first)
Your core negative beliefs are your worst enemies
Your affirmations are like your army,use them often
Recovering a Sense of Identity
Self-definition is quite important in creative healing
Go sane! Unstuck yourself!
Believing your inner self-attacks will make you remain “victimized”
Self-doubt often leads us, blindly, into self-sabotage
Creativity thrives when accept ourselves and when we associate positively with our self-definition
Toxic company can block our artist growth
We are our inner artist’s own parent
Your “blocked” friends won’t support your healing/recovery
Avoid “Crazymakers” at all costs
Our inner skepticism is our worst enemy
A creative life involves a great deal of “Attention”
Recovering a Sense of Power
Take you anger, use it as fuel, do something with it
Don’t ignore the powerful signal of synchronicity
Learn to separate the useful criticism from the trash criticism
Shadow creative, ignored by their inner circle feel shameful about their own talent, usually doubt it, and run away from it for years
Growth happens to you in chunks, take it easy on down/low days, they happen to everyone
Recovering a Sense of Identity
The process of identifying a self inevitably involves loss as well as gain.
You must experiment, and see what works for you as an artist, everyone is different
Your credibility lies with you and your output
You cannot plan your creative career (even if you try)
Your self-respect arises from doing your work
You don’t need to be rich, but you need to support yourself (don’t be the starving artist)
Recovering a Sense of Faith
Meet the prerequisites of creativity: receptivity, faith, and trust
Have the courage to admit your inner dream, you are intended to create
There is a path for you
Creativity begins in darkness; we need to trust it, as ideas start and grow there
Mystery is at the heart of creativity
Julia Cameron’s Online Course
If you like the book so much that you want to seriously invest in your creative journey and awakening the giant within, then luckily for you, the author, Julia Cameron is offering a twelve weeks online course: The Artist’s Way Online Course that will perfectly complement your reading of the book.
Follow The Author: Julia Cameron’s Online Presence
What is Logic? Have you ever thought about the question? Have you ever tried to come up with your own definition? If, yes, then you are interested in a discipline that dates back to the 4th century BC, practiced worldwide by man and woman whose professional title is simply: Logicians.
Logic as a subject itself find its deepest roots in Philosophy. In my effort to understand Logic, I came across the book: Logic: A Very Short Introduction by Graham Priest, and so I read it and this post is a summary of my own of the book. It will make understanding the basics of Logic a piece of cake for you. Some basic terminology is introduced along with syntax that requires little to no mathematical background. In fact, I believe, after grasping this book, you will have much easier time pursuing disciplines such as Computer Science, Mathematics and Philosophy.
The Concept of Validity
Validity is a cornerstone concept in the study of Logic. There are two main types of validity:
But to understand each, you first have to understand some basic terminology:
Premise: The part of the inference that gives reason to something
Conclusion: The part of the inference that get its reason and ground from the premise(s).
Inference: Snippets of reasoning. They are made of a set of premises and a conclusion
The whole concern of Logic, as Graham Priest puts it, is whether the conclusion follows from the premise(s). And when it does follows from the premise(s), Logicians call the whole inference Valid.
So, the central aim of logic is to understand validity.
Graham Priest – LOGIC: A Very Short Introduction
When is an inference Deductively Valid?
An inference is deductively valid, when there isn’t a single case where the premise(s) are true and the conclusion isn’t also true.
And When is an inference Inductively Valid?
An inference is inductively valid, when the premise(s) give good reason for the conclusion, but not good enough to draw a final conclusion upon them.
In any inference, sentences can either be True or False–hence, the concepts of Truth and Falsity. If a sentence is true, then we assign it the truth value T. Else, we assign it the truth value F. As you can guess, T and F stand for True and False, respectively.
Grammar Form: OR | Syntax Form: A V B, where A, B are sentences. When a sentence has the logical operator OR within it, we call it a Disjunction. And, we call sentences at both sides of the ‘OR’ disjuncts.
Grammar Form: AND | Syntax Form: A & B, where A,B are sentences. When a sentence has the logical operator AND within it, we call it a Conjunction. And, we call sentences at both sides of ‘OR’ conjuncts.
Grammar Form: NOT | Syntax Form: ¬S, where S a sentence. If S is a sentence, then ¬S is called the Negation of S.
While we are at it, let us define what a sentence is based on traditional grammar:
A sentence, at its simplest form, is composed of: Subject + Predicate.
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:
a subject is: that of which a quality, attribute, or relation may be affirmed or in which it may inhere
a predicate is: something that is affirmed or denied of the subject in a proposition in logic
Note that you can also chain inferences. For instance: Let W be the sentence ‘Ben Wajdi is a writer’. Let N be the sentence ‘Ben Wajdi was born somewhere in North Africa’. Let Y the sentence ‘Ben Wajdi is a North African-born Writer’. Let F be the sentence ‘Be Wajdi is French’. Now, if we chain all of the above inferences in the following way:
Truth Conditions for Negation:
S has the truth value T, if ¬S has the truth value F
¬S has the truth value T, if S has the truth value F
Truth Conditions for Disjunction:
The disjunction Q v R has the truth value T, if either one of the disjuncts has the truth value T
The disjunction Q v R has the truth value F, only if both disjuncts have the truth value F
Truth Conditions for Conjunction:
The conjunction Q & R has the truth value T, if each of the conjuncts has the truth value T on its own
The conjunction Q & R has the truth value F, if either one of the conjuncts has the truth value F
Truth Table for the Negation of S, where S is a sentence
Q v R
Truth table for the disjunction Q v R, read ‘either Q or R’
Q & R
Truth table for the conjunction Q & R, read ‘Q and R’
Quantifiers & Names
Modern Logicians call words like ‘nobody’, ‘someone’ or ‘everyone’ Quantifiers and when they appear in a sentence they are distinguished from words like ‘Ben Wajdi’ or ‘David Cohen’ because these are Names. And even if both Quantifiers and Names can both serve as subjects, they tend to work differently.
So How do they differ?
a situation comes furnished with a stock of objects
the relevant objects can be people, or any other collection of objects depending on the situation
all the names we generate about this situation refer to one of the objects in this collection
thus if we write W for ‘Wajdi’, w refers to one of these objects
and if we write A for ‘author’, then the sentence wA is true in the situation just if the object referred to by w has the property expressed by A.
if we use a quantifier like ‘someone’ and say “someone is an author’ then this is true in the situation that there is an object or other in the relevant domain, (an object x in the collection of objects such as) that happen to be an author
we denote ‘some object x is such that’ as ∃x
thus, if we want to write ‘∃x x is an author’ we can write it simply as: ∃x xA
=> Logicians call ∃x a Particular Quantifier
The Universal Quantifier
Now, let’s talk about another type of quantifier: ‘everyone’
For instance: if we say ‘everyone is depressed’
For the sentence to be true, all the objects in the collection of objects must have the property ‘depressed’
in other words, ‘Every object, x, is such that x is Depressed’
Let’s denote the property ‘depressed’ as D, then we can write the whole inference as: ∀x xD
Logician call ∀x a Universal Quantifier
And so, names and quantifiers work differently. The best evidence is that Logicians will write ‘Wajdi is an author’ and ‘Someone is an author’ differently–∃w wA and ∀x xA respectively. And the key takeaway from all of this is that an inference when examined merely through its grammatical form it can mislead us when judging its validity.
Quantifiers play a central role in many important arguments in mathematics and philosophy.
Graham Priest – LOGIC: A Very Short Introduction
Graham Priest then walks us through a popular argument for the existence of God: The Cosmological Argument (very interesting read it in the book, pages 21-22)
We’ve seen already that at its simplest form, a sentence is a subject and a predicate. We’ve also seen that a subject can be a name or can be a quantifier. But, it also can be what logicians call a Definite Description.
A definite description has the form of ‘the thing satisfying such and such a condition’. Example: ‘The man who wrote the first novel in history’.
Th author reminds as that thanks to ‘one of the founders of modern Logic’ English Philosopher and Mathematician Bertrand Russel, we can write the above sentence as:
Rewrite ‘the man who wrote the first novel in history’ as ‘the object, x, such that x is a man and x wrote the first novl in history’
Now let’s write ix for ‘the object, x, such that’
Then, our previous sentence becomes ‘ix(x is a man and x wrote the first novel in history)
And, if we write M for ‘is a man’ and N for ‘wrote the first novel in history’ then we can write the whole thing as => ix(xM & xN)
The general syntax for a description is: ixcx, where cx is some condition containing occurrences of x.
We know that definite descriptions can take the role of subjects. And we also know that subject + predicate make a sentence. Hence, if we write the predicate ‘was born in Spain’ as U, then the sentence ‘the man who wrote the first novel in history was born in Spain’ bceomes ix(xM & xN)U.
We can write µ as a shorthand for ix(xM & xN), then the whole sentence/inference becomes: µU
Remember, in the last section we talked about the differences between Names and Quantifiers. Rest assured if you have questions going in your mind about the classification of Descriptions because they are considered Names.
==> And so, in the above example, the sentence µU is true only if the object referred to by phrase/description µ has the property expressed by U.
The author here warns us that even though Descriptions are Names, they are a special kind of Name. Unlike ‘proper names’ like ‘Wajdi’ and ‘Ben’, Descriptions carry information, and often properties, about the object within it. For instance, the Definite Description ‘the man who wrote the first novel in history’ carries within it two properties about the object: he is a man + he wrote the first novel in history.
This is a special case of something more general, namely: the thing satisfying such and such a condition, satisfies that very condition. This is often called the Characterization Principle (a thing has those properties by which it is characterized).
Graham Priest – LOGIC: A Very Short Introduction
==> Here, the author talks about the Ontological Argument for the existence of god. Go on and read it in the book if you’re interested, I didn’t cover it here for the sake of brevity.
Something else you need to know about descriptions: if µP is a sentence, µ description and P a predicate, and if the object referred to within the description µ does not really exist, then µP is false. But here again, Graham Priest warns us that it is not always the case, and that this is when we start encountering some weird behavior regarding Descriptions. Sometimes, it turns out, the object referred to can be kind of ‘imaginary’ or ‘not real’ and still the property P attached to it can still hold and be true. An example the author present is about ‘Zeus’. After all, ‘Zus’ didn’t really exist, nor did he live on ‘Mount Olympus’, yet still the property of ‘was worshiped by ancient Greeks’ is still true. And so, the author reminds us that there are some cases, where the object does not exist yet still there are truths about it.
This is a series of posts about Accounting. They are simply a rearranged version of my notes and summaries while reading the textbook Financial Accounting: IFRS, 3rd edition by Jerry Weydgandt, Paul Kimmel and Donald Kieso. Taking the auto-education route myself, I know how important notes are to make sure I understand the material within a book ( or several of them). I know too, that sometimes you may need extraordinary level of commitment and motivation to keep going, especially when you get stuck as you will often do throughout your journey towards learning or mastering something. And so, these posts are for my fellow autodidacts out there, who believe in themselves and who know from within that they don’t need anyone to ‘teach them’; they can learn it themselves. Keep Learning!
You have to know accounting. It’s the language of practical business life. It was a very useful thing to deliver to civilization. I’ve heard it came to civilization through Venice which of course was once the great commercial power in the Mediterranean. However, double entry bookkeeping was a hell of an invention.
Although Accounting is one popular major across colleges, many businesses spend money to make their employees more ‘financially literate’. That often means, understanding ‘the numbers’. Which in turn, mean getting familiar with Accounting and its lingo.
Accounting Simply Defined
Here is the formal definition pulled out straight from the Financial Accounting Textbook 3rd edition (IFRS Edition):
Accounting basically is the process of identifying, recording and communicating the economic events (usually monetary transactions, more on that later on within the monetary unit assumption ) of an organization (often, a business, but also can be a non-profit or a government agency/subsidiary) to ‘interested users’.
Who Uses Accounting?
External users: Debtors, Creditors, Investors/Shareholders, Government Agencies, etc..
Internal Users: Managers, Decision Makers, etc..
When they prepare financial statements, accountants follow a well defined set of terms and guidelines. And depending on which country or jurisdiction the business is based in, these guidelines can differ.
We call these guidelines Accounting Standards, and they are set by either one of two organizations(also called accounting standard-setting bodies) The IASB(International Accounting Standards Board, its headquarters is in London) or The FASB(Financial Accounting Standards Board).
IFRS is one of these accounting standards. It is set and updated by the IASB and used by businesses in 130 countries. Businesses in the US however use GAAP(generally accepted accounting standards) which is another type of accounting standards set and updated by the FASB.
While in this post, I use IFRS, all the principles are applicable to GAAP as well.
The Measurement Principle
In IFRS, we either use the historical cost principle or the fair value principle when recording assets. When using the historical cost principle, we must record asset at their original cost. For instance, if the company bought a 10 acre piece of land ten years ago at $2,500 per acre, then according to the historical cost principal, we must record the asset value as $25,000, even though the current market value of the land may have risen over time(to say $3,150 per acre). On the other hand, if we choose to follow the fair value principle, we must report assets and liabilities at fair value. Fair value means the current market price to sell an asset or settle a debt. There is a trade-off when choosing between using either the historical cost principle or the fair value principle: a trade-off between relevance and faithful presentation.
Generally, and because IFRS allows the usage of both principle, companies choose to use the fair value principle only when it is perceived as necessary—assets that are often traded on a daily basis or real time or whose prices can be easily determined e.g. investment securities, bonds, etc…
The Monetary Unit Assumption
According to the Monetary Unit Assumption, companies should only record business transactions that can be measured using monetary unit. Hence, business events that cannot be measured in monetary units—and though they can be important to managers and decision makers or to the operation of the business as a whole—such as the attitude of employees (think labor unions and strikes) or the deteriorating health of the CEO should not be included in financial records of a company.
The Economic Entity Assumption
As business owners, we should keep our personal living costs, our personal economic records separate from that of our business. By doing that, we abide by the Economic Entity Principle. ==> The best way to do that? Register a Proprietorship, a Partnership, a Limited Liability Company, or better yet a Corporation!
The Accounting Equation
Assets = Liabilities + Equity
As a business, our assets are everything we have as a resource. That includes the cash in our business accounts, the equipment in our factories, the furniture in our headquarters, the patents we registered as ours, the technology we’ve invented such as source code properties (assets such as patents, and technologies are often called intangible assets). ==> So, our Assets are all our Resources.
Now, Liabilities are our Debtors claims against our assets. So, if we have a total assets value of $150,000 and our debtors’ claims on those assets are $50,000, then we owe those $50,000 to our debtors (creditors/suppliers, etc..) and that is our Liabilities.
Liabilities can include: Notes Payable to a Bank, Accounts Payable to Suppliers, or Salaries Payable to employees, Sales/Real Estate Taxes payable to the government.
Now, subtract the Liabilities from the Assets, and you get the Equity: our Shareholders’ claims on Assets. And by the way, in the case of bankruptcy, debtors are paid first, and the rest, if any remains, goes to the shareholders—often referred to as residual equity.
Equity itself generally consists of:
Share Capital—Ordinary: The Sum of the face value of all issued Shares—a piece of the company sold to public investors (usually for cash)
Retained Earnings= Revenues – Expenses – Dividends ==> Expenses decrease equity, while Revenues and new Shares sold to outside investors increase equity ==> Dividends: these are distributed to shareholders, as a result of a net income and an agreement within the board of directors that this is the best use of the increase in assets (they can choose not to distribute dividends instead and reinvest the net income into the business). Dividends, when they are distributed, decrease equity. ==>
The effects of business transactions on the accounting equation:
Let’s define transactions! Transactions are the business events that are worth recording by accountants. They can be classified into:
External Transaction: these involve business transaction between our company and an external entity or enterprise
Internal Transaction: these are the economic events that happen within our company
All in all, the company records the transaction only if the event affects the accounting equation.
The 5 Financial Statements
There are 5 financial statements that one must learn to read and interpret:
The Income Statement
The Retained Earnings Statement
The Balance Sheet (AKA The Statement of Financial Position)
Iran’s opposition to foreign powers interfering in its domestic affairs reflect its historical urge for sovereignty, it stems from the fact that a nation, with such a rich history and culture, a nation that had been invaded and exploited by the Russian and by the British during the last two centuries, needs and deserves a place amongst the developed nations.
And so, Iran is “cursed” by its own Geostrategic importance and rich natural resources (Patrikarakos, 2012).
During the 20th century, and apart from the 1979 Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution, Iran went through three military coups.
Overthrowing Reza Shah (1941)
One of them happened when Reza Shah was ‘peacefully’ overthrown on September 16th 1941, put in an ‘unmarked car’ and was dubbed ex-Shah now after the British had decided that his time in power had come to an end. The next day, at 4:30 in the afternoon, his 21-year-old son Mohamed Reza Pahlavi emerged as the new Shah of Iran. His reign will last till 1979.
Why did they overthrown him? Well, Britain and The Soviet Union, launched Operation Countenance on August 25th 1941, after feeling that Reza Shah’s official position of neutrality is suspicious and after watching Iran and Germany get ‘uncomfortably close’ during the 1930s. The Operation would consist of invading Iran in order to secure Iran’s oilfields and supply lines, after Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, began invading USSR, breaking the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact between them (Patrikarakos, 2012).
Ending The Qajar Dynasty (1925)
You go back twenty years earlier, in 1925 to be accurate, and you discover that the same British that removed Reza Shah from power are the ones who made him The Shah after they ended a century-old Qajar Dynasty.
The same pattern seems to continue, but this time with Prime Minister Mohamed Mossadeq—who had been democratically elected—was overthrown by a CIA American-British engineered coup d’état, as part of Operation Ajax. Mossadeq’s popularity grew to a level that became concerning to the Shah. Few months after being overthrown, the nationalist leader, was “led into his court trial”. During his reign as a prime minister, he stood for his country and, he was known for his “honesty and integrity, strongly opposing foreign meddling in Iran at the time when most Iranians perceived many of their economic and political hardships as originating from such influence”(Petherick, 2006 ). Eventually, he was sentenced due death, and hadn’t it been for his age— later, the sentence was commuted—he would’ve faced the same end as that of Saddam Hussein, forty years earlier.
And so, Iran had had THREE military coups during 28 years (1925-1953).
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…”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
I like how
Sean Platt and Johnny Truant collaborate with each other to continuously produce
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.
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:
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.
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.