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Tools of Titans Book Summary

Introduction

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata, and that’s the book summary of “Tools of Titans,” written by Tim Ferris. 

Why this Book?

If you could have the possibility to have a chat with the most successful people of our recent years, what questions would you ask them? 

Synopsis

“Tools of Titans” is a book that does that, in an easy format. Interviewing more of the 200 successful “Titans” of our world. Anyway, is it really possible to become successful, also for you, by adopting the favorite strategies of those masters? Let’s discover it together.

Who’s it for? 

  • People that have a burning desire to become successful;
  • Ambitious people that hate failure and have high projects that want to bring to life;
  • Entrepreneurs, personal development freaks, and everybody that loves implementing life hacks.

What You’ll Learn from it

  • The best winning practices from the most successful people in the world;
  • What mindsets are more likely to make you thrive in business and life;
  • Strategies to become happier, more fulfilled, and productive. 

In a Nutshell

Success always leaves clues, and those are the clues that Tim Ferris wants to teach us with his book. The secret of success, anyway, doesn’t lie only is knowing what those clues are but in implementing them on a regular basis. Then, you’ll probably make it as the Titans did.

3 Sentence Summary

  • Sometimes bad life experiences can teach us we don’t want and propel us towards a better life. Put yourself in uncomfortable situations where you embrace fear and go out of your comfort zone consistently. Growth will be a natural byproduct of such an attitude.
  • Most of the time, entrepreneurial success requires staying focussed in the face of distractions and pressure from other people. Thus, having the ability to keep on going even when others criticize, you will be essential for your success.
  • If you want to make it with a business, acquire the trust of 1000 people, make them your core fans, and serve them the best you can. Then they will purchase almost everything from you and, if you do the math, making them spend $150 a year will make you earn a huge profit.

Big Ideas

Those are the most relevant ideas expressed in the book that we’ll explore together.

  1. Model & Contribute
  2. Discomfort is a Teacher
  3. Adopt Long-Term Systems
  4. Get 1000 True Fans
  5. Be Focussed

Time to learn more about them now!

Big Idea #1: Model & Contribute

Success always leaves clues. If you want to become successful, the best thing you can do is take the example of the people that have already gotten to where you want to get. The route has already been paved, so why not modeling their behavior? 

If you don’t know what to do with your life, anyway, I’d suggest you follow Tony Robbins’ advice and contribute to people’s lives.

Tony says that the majority of unhappiness comes because we put too much focus on ourselves, rather than thinking about how we can help others. 

Moreover, he advises to ask yourself quality questions because they force you to think about quality answers that, ultimately, will bring you a high-quality life. 

A Relatable Example

If you find yourself stuck in a particular position where you don’t know what to do, the best thing you can do is act the shit out of you. 

In the book, here’s this story of a donkey that couldn’t decide between drinking water or eating hay. He stood still in front of the two for hours until he died of thirst. 

If he drank water, he could have gotten more time to eat hay and have both of them. Many people act like this donkey, not knowing what to do with their lives and ending up doing nothing. 

Start doing something, whether that’s writing one word instead of a book, making a video instead of getting 1 Million subscribers, or going to the gym once instead of seeking the perfect body right away. The rest will come.

Big Idea #2: Discomfort is a Teacher

Everybody knows that hard work brings to success, but what about having a hard job? That’s the case of Chris Sacca, a successful investor in the area of San Francisco as things haven’t always been nice roses for him.

When he was young, Sacca used to work at very bad jobs, like cleaning septic tanks full of excrements while his superiors were giving him rough orders.

Shocked by this experience, he used it as a momentum to create a different life for himself. This shows how, sometimes, the bad experiences we get in life can serve us as a reminder for what we don’t want and propel us towards what we want. 

Live a life where you put yourself in uncomfortable situations, where you embrace fear and go out of your comfort zone consistently.

A Relatable Example

I never personally cleaned septic tanks, but I remember summer 2015 working in Ibiza as a party ticket seller. 

It was a cool job, but when you had to stay 10 hours under the boiling sun, talking to hundreds of people every single day, it can be an exhausting task even for the most social person (me). 

From that experience, I understood that I didn’t want a job that, after it was done, all I dreamed of doing was sleeping. That gave me the motivation to pursue my entrepreneurial career where even if I work a lot, I have the freedom to manage my life as I want.

Big Idea #3: Adopt Long-Term Systems

Rather than setting short term goals, go for long-term systems. Many entrepreneurs fail with their businesses because they only set goals that, by nature, foresee a specific result to be reached. 

Sometimes, anyway, reaching those results doesn’t depend only on you, and whenever you don’t reach the goal that you’ve set for yourself, you can end up thinking of yourself as a failure. 

Instead, if you practice a skill consistently and make it a part of your routine, you are building a system to success because it’s inevitable that the more you practice something, the more successful you’ll become at it. 

A Relatable Example

Years ago, when I started approaching women cold, I used to set specific monthly and yearly goals, determining how many women I should have slept by that time. 

This process ended up to be detrimental both for my wellbeing and for the enjoyment of meeting women, as I would never meet my goals. 

Nowadays, instead, I just have a very simple system where, whenever I see an attractive woman, I go talk to her, regardless of the outcome. 

By adopting this system, not only I relieved myself of all the unnecessary pressure coming from having specific goals set, but it kept me consistent and helped me build solid cold approaching skills over the course of the latest years.

Big Idea #4: Get 1000 True Fans

If you can make 1000 people happy and get them to spend $150 every year on your products, you have a six-figure income every year. Sounds crazy? 

Yes, a little, but it’s actually like that. Many business starters think that the only way they can make it is by going huge and targeting hundreds of thousands of people when, in reality, you just need a solid fan base to make it. 

That’s how niche products or services keep thriving. They focussed on building a trustworthy fan base that keeps coming over and over again. 

It’s important, anyway, that you manage to inspire trust in those people and keep serving them at your best as core fans will do almost anything to get your products or services. 

A Relatable Example

Many musicians believe that in order to make a living with music, they need to have a huge fan base. 

The reality is that if you have 1000 true fans and can get them to pay you $5 a month to support your creations (on Patreon for instance), you’d have high enough income to make a living; apart from all the money, you can make on Spotify, Youtube, etc. 

This is just an example but works well also for other businesses, as well as it’s actually a principle that can be applied almost everywhere. 

Big Idea #5: Be Focussed

Most of the time, entrepreneurial success requires staying focussed in the face of distractions and pressure from other people. When you start thinking with your own head and do unconventional things, then people will most likely start to put pressure on you. 

Maybe you want to start a new business, but your friend tells you not to do it because it’s too risky. Or, maybe, you started your business for some months, but you didn’t see any money coming in, and so your parents put pressure on you. 

Whatever the case, having the ability to stay focused on your path will be essential for your success.

A Relatable Example

It took me a long time to become comfortable staying focussed on my path without caring for what people said about me. 

The biggest risk I’ve taken so far has been to quit the corporate career (for which I devoted 5 years of my life) to go solo and work as a freelance coach and entrepreneur. 

Today almost live the life of my dreams, and every day, it’s a great opportunity for me to learn, grow, and experiment. 

Anyway, along the path, I got criticized a lot for my choices (and I still do) from my family, colleagues, and distant friends. Imagine how much would I have missed out of I listened to what they told me?

Conclusion & Takeaway

There’s no single path to success, you can only take inspiration from others but never replicate another’s path. Anyway, if you implement the habits that helped the titans of the world to make it, you will most likely than not make it as well. 

My Advice for You

My personal advice today is that you get a mentor that has already achieved the results you want. This way, it will be easier for you to discover what he has done to get to where he is in a more direct way rather than taking information online. 

About The Author

Tim Ferris, an American Entrepreneur, Investor, and Podcaster from New York. After getting a degree from Princeton University in East-Asian studies, he started his own company that then sold making huge profits. 

During that period, he started writing his first book, “The 4-hour workweek,” that has been one of the many successes that brought him to become a multi best-selling author. 

“Tools of Titans” is the byproduct of various conversations with nearly 200 world-changers and personalities of different backgrounds like billionaires, celebrities, and other influential figures.  

Reading Suggestions

  • “The 4 Hour Body” – Tim Ferris
  • “Extreme Ownership” – Jocko Willink
  • “The Obstacle is the Way” – Ryan Holiday
  • “Start with Why” – Simon Sinek
  • “Zero to One” – Blake Masters

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How to Read Literature Like a Professor Book Summary

Introduction

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata, and that’s the book summary of “How to Read Literature Like a Professor” by Thomas C. Foster. 

Why this Book?

What if every literature text has some hidden meanings that are evident only to the most attentive reader? Without the proper tools, you’d be missing out on a deeper understanding of the work. 

If you want to learn how to decode messages in literary works, keep reading as that’s probably the right book summary for you.

Synopsis

How to Read Literature Like a Professor is a book that aims at teaching its readers what differentiates an amateur reader from a professional one. Anyway, is it really possible to become a professional reader even without being a professor? Let’s discover it together.

Who’s it for? 

  • People that would like to make their reading experience more enjoyable;
  • People that would like to get a deeper understanding of how literature works;
  • Curious people that would like to learn how to uncover the secret messages in literature works.

What You’ll Learn from it

  • How to read between the lines of any literature piece;
  • What all great stories have in common and how they are structured;
  • How to identify the interplay between classic and modern literature.

In a Nutshell

  • There is only one story, and every story created is just a small part of a bigger story that’s going on, that’s why literature is a way with which we humans get to know each other, talking about each other. The secret messages in any literary work are nothing but references to universal truths and archetypes.

3 Sentence Summary

  • Symbolism can’t be reduced to one single thing, and that’s precisely the purpose of a symbol; ambiguity. This gives the reader the possibility of limitless interpretations that will be derived with their pre-existing knowledge.
  • No literary work is completely original. This phenomenon is called intertextuality and is widely used to trigger memories so that the reader can enjoy the work more and also to let the author say more with fewer words. 
  • Seasons and weather conditions are used to evoke something specific in the reader. For example, spring is usually associated with happiness, summer with passion and romance, autumn with aging, and winter with death. Rain, fog, and other weather conditions are also used to evoke something specific.

Big Ideas

Those are the most relevant ideas expressed in the book that we’ll explore together.

  1. Understand the Fundamental Elements of Literature
  2. The Quest Structure is Everywhere
  3. Symbolism is Free of Interpretation 
  4. Watch for Literary References 
  5. Characters’ Traits & Settings Have their Purpose

Let’s explore them together now:

Big Idea #1: Understand the Fundamental Elements of Literature

Literature work is like an iceberg; what you see on the surface is not everything that exists. In order to better understand how literature works, it’s important that you understand the most frequent elements that are used by writers in their works. 

Those elements are:

  • Symbols
  • Memory 
  • Patterns

Writers use those elements to enrich the reading experience and to keep you coming back to read their works and to provide other levels of reading. 

The majority of people only get to the surface of their works and can only grasp the first level of reading (the actual story). To become a proficient reader, though, you should understand reading from an emotional level as well.

A Relatable Example

Let’s make an example of the various literary elements that evoke an emotional connection to the work from the reader’s side.

Memory

The use of memory is where the reader makes connections between that specific book he is reading and others he’s already read so that he makes a comparison between them. 

The typical Professor always has the feeling he has already encountered a particular scene because he typically reads lots of books, that’s why professors always wonder, “where did I read this before?” 

Symbols

Symbols are used by the author to represent something in particular. Whenever in the presence of a symbol, the reader should ask himself what a particular object, figure, or event stands for in the plot. 

Patterns

Patterns are details, ideas, characters, events, or objects that seem to appear again and again during the story. 

Patterns are nothing but a reflection of archetypes that are the original model from where similar things are patterned after. If you read enough, you will know how to look and where to look.

Big Idea #2: The Quest Structure is Everywhere 

Every little story that you have encountered or will encounter in your life is nothing but an addition to the one single greatest story. 

That story is what makes us human beings in this life, and is generally linked to survival and reproduction. That’s the structure of almost every story that has ever been written:

1: There is a hero;

2: That hero needs to go to a specific place or destination for a particular reason;

3: The hero must face some challenges during his path;

4: After he faces the challenges he learns something about him, life or the function of the universe getting an epiphany;

5: The hero generally comes back as a new, transformed person.

This structure is often referred to as the “Hero’s Journey.” The various authors take that conventional structure and change its details to create a new story. 

A Relatable Example

As you can see the pattern in this story structure usually is: 

1: Departure

2: Initiation

3: Return

During the process, the hero changes from the person he is to the one he needs to be. One example of that of Luke Skywalker in “Star Wars,” Frodo in The “Lord of the Rings,” Harry in “Harry Potter,” and so on in many other stories.

Big Idea #3: Symbolism is Free of Interpretation 

People generally expect symbols to mean something. Some of their meanings can be actually understood, like the presence of a white flag that can signify “don’t shoot,” “giving up,” or “we come in peace.” 

Anyway, some symbolism can’t be reduced to one single thing, and that’s precisely the purpose of a symbol; ambiguity. 

This gives the reader the possibility of limitless interpretations that will be derived with their pre-existing knowledge. This means that the interpretation will largely depend on the individual and thus won’t be standardized. 

A symbolism that has a definite meaning is an allegory instead where things stand for other things on a 1-1 basis and convey a specific message as clearly as possible.

A Relatable Example

For example, George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” is an allegory for the obvious meaning that people that make revolutions and win them, once they get into powerful positions, are corrupted by them, exposing the weak human nature.

An example of symbolism instead can be seen in “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. 

He writes about the Mississippi river as being both dangerous, when it provokes a flood that destroys things and kills people, and safe when it represents a road to freedom for the protagonist.

Big Idea #4: Watch for Literary References 

If you didn’t know, all books borrow ideas from each other; thus, no literary work is completely original. 

That phenomenon is called intertextuality and is a widely accepted one both to make a tribute to the greatest writers and also because that’s how human creativity works. 

That’s why readers must reconsider the characters they meet in the novels; that might come from another work.

This entails that often find generally universal messages about the human condition. We find such messages in Biblical references, Christ figures, and references to Shakespeare as well. 

The more you read and become acquainted with literature, the more you’ll catch those references. Writers do this to make you enjoy their work more and so that they can say more with fewer words. 

A Relatable Example

Biblical references

You can find biblical references almost everywhere in American and European literature. Usually, those biblical references relate to characters that are submerged in water and then come back alive as a reference to baptism. 

Some typical references to the Bible are gardens, serpents, milk, plagues, partying of waters, honey, floor, fishes, slavery, 40 days, etc. 

Shakespeares is almost everywhere

Between the 18th and 21st centuries, Shakespeare can be practically found everywhere. In literature, the reference to Shakespeare can be events like women drowning that refer to “Hamlet” or the impossible love between two people, clearly reminding us of “Romeo and Juliet.”

A famous one, for example, is Jane Smiley that in the 1991 novel “A Thousand Acres” refers to “King Lear” by Shakespeare with the acts of greed, gratitude, and love.

Myths

In literature, we need myths because they are a way to get to know each other talking about each other. Spartans, Romans, and Greeks myths are present in our literary culture much more than we believe. 

We need to write about those myths because we want to feel like we have a potential for greatness, even if we are humans. 

The Iliad is a great example of human nature brought into a setting where non-human things are possible, praising heroism, courage, and the fight for noble values. 

Big Idea #5: Characters’ Traits & Settings Have their Purpose

Every story needs a setting to evoke certain emotions in the reader, this means that in novels, the weather is never just weather. 

Water, for example, evokes strong emotions in us because the majority of people are afraid of drowning. That’s why some writers use rain as a way to set scenes with specific moods. 

Seasons are also correlated with specific emotions or concepts. For example, spring is usually associated with happiness, summer with passion and romance, autumn with aging, and winter with death. 

Another important element to notice when reading literature is the physical traits intentionally given to the character by the author. Acquired scars or birth defects can determine what the character’s role is in the novel. 

A Relatable Example

Thomas Hardy has written a novel where the setting he chose is a dark and stormy night. In this case, he used the rain for plot reasons so that the people in the novel would group together when the storm arrived. 

Rain can also be used as a way to symbolically cleanse a specific character or to signify democracy when it falls onto everyone equally. 

An example of a physical trait that gives the character a specific role can be found in Harry Potter’s where his scar signifies he is destined for greatness. 

Conclusion & Takeaway

Literature has definitely more than meets the eye. To really enjoy reading literature as experts do it understand the elements that are often put in the works and read as much as you can. 

Have fun with your discovery process as the more you read and the more enjoyment you will draw from each new book.

My Advice For You

​Since I’m not an expert in literature, I leave you with the advice of the author of reading more and more so that you get more proficient at understanding literature. In the end, practice makes perfect, as many successful people often say. 

This way, you’ll be able to read between the lines of those works and uncover the surety messages that are hiding in plain sight.

About the Author

Thomas C. Foster grew up in West Cornfield, Ohio. He first studied English at Dartmouth College, later continued his studies at Michigan State University. He teaches literature since 1975 and nowadays gives talks and workshops on how to understand literary works.

Reading Suggestions

  • “How to Read Poetry Like a Professor” – Thomas C. Foster
  • “How to Read Novels Like a Professor” – Thomas C. Foster
  • “How to Read a Book” – Mortimer J. Adler
  • “The Kite Runner” – Khaled Hosseini
  • “The Poisonwood Bible” – Barbara Kingsolver

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Never Eat Alone Book Summary

Introduction

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata, and that’s the book summary of “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. 

Why this Book?

Would you like to expand your social network and to create strong and long-lasting relationships to increase your success chances, but you don’t know where to start from? Keep reading, as that’s probably the right book summary for you.

Synopsis

“Never Eat Alone” is a book that is aimed at helping people with weak social connections expand their social circle by adopting some simple strategies and mindset. 

Anyway, is it really true that everybody can do this, even if their current social situation is desperate? Let’s discover it together.

Who’s it for? 

  • People that struggle with creating sustainable personal and business relationships;
  • People with an under-developed social and business circle;
  • Shy people that would love to learn new networking strategy.

What You’ll Learn from it

  • How to relate to people effectively and build long-lasting relationships;
  • Strategies to speed up the expansion of your social network;
  • Some tips to increase your personal magnetism and social influence.

In a Nutshell

To build a long term successful career, you need the strong foundations of a solid network. 

To create such a network, adopt the mindset of the helper when you’re with people and connect with them on a deep level to ensure the connections are strong and genuine. 

To increase your chances of success, get a mentor that has already gotten the results you want, and stay around people that hold many connections.

3 Sentence Summary

  • Always be the value provider when you’re around people as nobody likes to be exploited or to stay with selfish people.
  • What matters is not how much time you spend with people but the quality of the time you spend with them.
  • Get to know people that have lots of connections and get a mentor. Finally, decide what your goals are and connect with the people that can help you achieve them.

Big Ideas

Those are the most relevant ideas expressed in the book that we’ll explore together.

  1. Help Others First
  2. Connect Deeply
  3. Leverage Super Connectors & Mentors
  4. Develop your own Brand
  5. Set your Goals and Act!

Let’s explore them together now:

Big Idea #1: Help Others First

If you want to grow your network, the first thing you should work on is your mindset, and the most important principle to follow when it comes to connecting with people is to be the value provider. 

People are not meant to be used as objects to help you achieve your goals, nobody likes to be used and thus to stay with selfish people.

When you put yourself as the helper, whether this means giving emotional support to people, helping them out with their career, or introducing them to others, you’re building trust. 

People want somebody that will help them become successful when you help them out first, then you can ask for what you need without any problems. 

Always remember to do it authentically and not to expect anything in return when you help people out; this will build trust and mutual understanding. 

Moreover, be ready every single day to connect with people and make new contacts and approach your network building more like a marathon runner than a sprinter. 

A Relatable Example

Bill Clinton was very social and knew many people, and already at his young age, he used to write down the names of people he met during his day on his index cards. 

He did so to record the status of everybody he met during the day because he exactly knew what his goals were and that developing good relationships with people was key to reach them.

Big Idea #2: Connect Deeply

What really makes the difference when creating social relationships is not how much time you spend with people, but the quality time you spend with those people. To develop strong bonds between you and others is essential to share things with each other. 

This might be sharing an interest, to exchange ideas, to get to know each other’s experiences or to talk about each other’s future plans and desires.

Do not make small talks with people if you want to connect with them to another level but share something interesting on a friendship level rather than a business one. You’ll be surprised by how many meaningful relationships you’ll manage to establish.

A Relatable Example

One advice Keith Ferrazzi gives to create such moments is by hosting dinner parties with the people you want to build a relationship with. When you eat with people, it’s common to share things that are beyond the surface and to connect to a deeper level. 

The author suggests organizing those dinner parties regardless of your budget because, in the end, what’s important is to gather together.

Big Idea #3: Leverage Super Connectors & Mentors

One great tip the author gives is connecting with what he calls “super connectors.” Those are people that have thousands of contacts that generally are into Politics, Lobbying, Public Relations, Journalism, and Club and Restaurant Managers. 

If you want to maximize the chances to connect with the right people, get to know them as connecting people is what they regularly do on a daily basis. 

Another tip he gives is to have the right mentors around you. It’s not a surprise that the people who got guided by mentors drastically improved their success chances. 

People around you will determine how successful you’ll become, so stay with the ones that have already achieved the results you want. Anyway, always remember to find out what you can do for them and then think of how they can help you. 

A Relatable Example

When I was producing music back in 2014, I was looking for a way to work in the music industry so that I could maximize my probabilities to get my songs heard. Fate wanted that one day, while I was a good friend of mine’s house, he showed me a guy he knew on facebook that worked in a famous record label as a journalist. I contacted that guy and told him my intentions. 

He passed me the email of that record label’s boss and told me to contact him under his name. I contacted the boss and told him about my plans and that I could also work for free in exchange to work alongside him and grow. (he was very powerful and is a V.I.P. in the music industry). 

He accepted my proposal, and so I moved to where he lived to get mentored. Spending time with him has been almost a life-changing experience for me as he probably is the smartest person I’ve ever met to date; that’s the power of mentorship.

Big Idea #4: Develop your own Brand

In order to stand out from the crowd, you should understand which type of person you want to be and how you would like to be perceived by others. 

You should start developing your own personal branding message, and you can do this by deciding on what clothes to wear, how to pose yourself with people, and the energy you convey when you’re with others.

A Relatable Example

The author advises to ask you the following questions to make it easier for you to develop that unique character of yours. 

1: What do I want people to think of when they hear my name, and what would I like to be known for?

2: What am I good and bad at?

3: How am I different from others?

4: What can I do to feel like a worthy individual?

Big Idea #5: Set your Goals and Act!

Finally, to concretely step up your social game, you should set your goals and act upon them. Make them as clear and concrete as possible and develop a plan to reach them. 

To maximize the reach of your goal, start with your long term one first, then move to the middle term and finally to the short term goal with a backward strategy.

While you develop your plan to reach your goals, it’s also important that you develop a lifestyle of passion because, with it, it will be much easier to draw people to you. 

To do this, the author suggests to find out your blue flame that is basically the point where your passion and abilities meet. 

A Relatable Example

To find out what your blue flame is, do the following:

1: Make a list of all your dreams and of all the goals you want to reach;

2: Make a list of all the things you truly enjoy doing.

3: Combine the two lists and see where the two things overlap, your blue flame lies over there.

Conclusion & Takeaway

Your network will greatly determine the degree of success you’ll achieve in your life. You can do things alone and still be successful, but surely you will become even more successful and more quickly with the help of other people. 

Start planting your seeds little by little, and, over time, they will grow up to a beautiful social network.

My Advice For You

I probably was the least social person I knew when I was younger. After years of crafting my social skills, the best advice I feel like giving you is to talk to as many people as possible and to challenge your social fears when you’re with them consciously. 

This way you’ll achieve total social freedom and, believe me, there are few things in my opinion that feel as good as being able to talk to everybody you want wherever you want and be as comfortable as talking to your best friend while you do it.

About the Author

Keith Ferrazzi is an expert when it comes to business and marketing. He started his career from the bottom but due to his drive and intelligence, he made it to top of the corporate ladder, becoming one of the most requested marketing figures in the U.S. 

Today he works in his own consulting firm “Ferrazzi Greenlight” where he teaches the importance of healthy relationships to achieve business success.

Reading Suggestions

  • “Who’s got your back?” – Keith Ferrazzi
  • “How to Talk to Anyone” – Leil Lowndes
  • “How to Win Friends and Influence People” – Dale Carnegie
  • “Getting to Yes” – Roger Fisher
  • “Give and Take” – Adam Grant

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Think Like a Freak Book Summary

Introduction

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata, and that’s the book summary of “Think Like a Freak” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. 

Why this Book?

What if I told you that everybody can become a creative genius by adopting the right mindset and attitude towards life? If you want to learn more about that, keep reading as that’s probably the right book summary for you.

Synopsis

“Think Like a Freak” is a book that is aimed at challenging the way you think about everyday things and inspire you to adopt new perspectives. The authors claim that creativity can be hacked, but is it really true? Let’s discover it together.

Who’s it for? 

  • Everybody confused about what belief system to adopt to become successful;
  • People who are easily influenced by other’s opinions;
  • People that believe to know it all or that take things too seriously.

What You’ll Learn from it

  • How to upgrade your thinking and belief system;
  • A simple tip to persuade people more easily;
  • How to keep your mind receptive to new ideas.

In a Nutshell

We are creative beings at our core, and if we manage to keep our mind free of dogma and open to learning new things, then we will start to think more creatively. Moreover, if we can keep a child-like attitude to life, we will start to think like freaks and upgrade our thinking patterns.

3 Sentence Summary

  • Instead of trying to solve problems by looking at one aspect only, get to the root cause of the problem and look at it from different perspectives to harness new creative ways to solve it.
  • Stop pretending to know everything because this will make your mind believe you have nothing more to learn, causing it to shut down when exposed to new information.
  • Violate conventions and try to do things in ways that haven’t been tried before. Don’t be afraid to experiment and to put your own style in everything you do.

Big Ideas

Those are the most relevant ideas expressed in the book that we’ll explore together.

  1. Find the Root Cause & Solve Small Problems
  2. Think Like a Child
  3. It’s Fine not to Know everything
  4. Understand how to Persuade 
  5. Violate Conventions

Let’s explore them together now:

Big Idea #1: Find the Root Cause & Solve Small Problems

The authors here talk about the importance of finding out the root cause of any problems you want to solve. Sometimes we get caught in finding the solution to a problem without looking at what’s the cause of the problem itself. 

He also talks about the idea of focussing on the solution of smaller problems at first and once they are solved, to focus on the biggest ones.

The advantages of such thinking are that small questions get generally less attention, and it’s easier to change something small first. Solving small problems will give you faster solutions and, thus, quicker rewards. 

This will eventually help you solve bigger problems as well as they’re just a sum of many small problems, according to the author.

A Relatable Example

The authors make an example of the longtime hot dog eater champion Takeru Kobayashi that in order to eat more hot dogs, he didn’t ask himself, “How can I eat more hot dogs” but asked himself, “how can I make hot dogs easier to eat?” 

That gave him a new perspective on what to focus his energies, and even though he wasn’t famous yet when he got this idea, he later managed to surpass all his competitors and to establish himself as the champion. 

Big Idea #2: Think Like a Child

Another great tip that the authors give is to harness the natural childish creativity that every one of us possesses. You can do this by having fun while you work, being always curious to learn and discover new things and by challenging things that are often given for granted by people. 

Children generally have an advantage over adults because they know how to have a broader focus and to see things from various perspectives rather than getting caught in the focus trap. 

That’s why they’re better at finding out magicians’ tricks that usually work because they direct your focus to a specific place. 

A Relatable Example

When you open your mind to new possibilities, you will make it receptive to the absorption of new information. 

When you instead believe to know everything in a specific subject, you will have no reason to keep information in as your mind believes that it knows it all and thus will shut down towards new perspectives. 

As Albert Einstein said, the mind is like a parachute; it works only if you open it. 

Big Idea #3: It’s Fine not to Know everything

Some people are so afraid to admit they don’t know the answer to a particular problem or question that they often end up lying to protect their image not to look incompetent. 

The reality is that overconfidence is bad and doesn’t help others around you, yet 80% of people fake knowledge of subjects to avoid looking stupid.

If you admit you don’t know something when a specific circumstance will arise, people will trust you more. Moreover, you will keep your mind open to learn new things, and this will make you an even more knowledgeable individual!

A Relatable Example

The authors warn taking tips from experts in their field unless they’re humble because often they don’t publicly disclose they don’t know something. Another reason why many people keep their minds shut to new information is caused by confirmation bias. 

This happens because people are too busy to rethink the way they think so they don’t often engage in metacognition (the act of thinking about thinking). 

Metacognition anyway is an essential practice to adopt in life because it can help you stop being at the mercy of people, the environment, and urges of the body. Try thinking about your own thought for 15 minutes a day and see how your beliefs get a new shape.

Big Idea #4: Understand how to Persuade 

A skill that comes really handy in life is the art of persuasion. In the book, the authors explain how important listening to other people’s arguments is before trying to persuade them about something. 

Generally, avoid making your argument perfect and allow some imperfections to be in it; otherwise, people will trust you less.

If you find somebody hard to persuade, probably this person is taking from an ideological point of view. 

In this case, use rationality but always remember to show both the good sides and the bad ones of your argument as benefits without costs don’t exist in life, and people intuitively know that.

Finally, to effectively persuade somebody to use stories. We as humans are wired to stories because that was a way our ancestors used to pass on knowledge to us. 

With stories, we can easily put ourselves in other’s shoes and thus learn their principles easier due to the emotional involvement in them.

A Relatable Example

Robert Cialdini, an American psychologist and researchers on persuasion, found out that a great way to persuade people is by using the herd effect. 

Since the majority of people do things just because others do, if you want to persuade somebody about something, just say that the majority of people are interested in your idea, activity or whatever else you want to promote.

Big Idea #5: Violate Conventions

Adopting conventional beliefs isn’t always good because you might end up a victim of the herd effect. Most people do certain things just because they’ve been told to or because it’s popular to do them. 

They don’t spend some time questioning the “why” behind certain thought patterns or actions. 

If you want to upgrade your thinking and become a super-human, base your thoughts on statistical evidence and not on simple conventions. Generally, those conventions are just limits that don’t exist, or as the authors put them, artificial limits. 

Can you base your entire life on artificial limits only? I guess not.

A Relatable Example

An example of that is the popular phrase, “A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.” This quote, even if it sounds like the quote that Rocky Balboa would go for, is really bad advice. Why? Because it’s obvious that, sometimes, quitting is good! 

Think for a second of all the sunk costs that there are once you invest too much on one idea. 

Not to talk to the opportunity cost of trying out one different thing. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should quit everything you start (and I don’t think you’re that dumb even to do that) but at least be flexible! 

Conclusion & Takeaway

The way you think will greatly influence your life from every aspect of it. If you manage to think outside the box and to think for yourself instead of following the herd, you can make your life great, like the ones of many successful people out there. 

Stop pretending to know everything and keep your mind open, having a child-like attitude towards learning and problem-solving.

My Advice For You

My advice for you is to make a weekend retreat into a calm place where nobody disturbs you, avoiding as much as possible contact with other people. 

This includes a smartphone, computer, and anything else that might get in the way of staying in contact with yourself. What should you do during those days? Think.

About what? About whatever you want, as long as it’s you engaging your pre-frontal cortex and it’s not somebody else thinking at your place. 

You won’t become crazy spending 2 days alone trust me; at most, you will come back home smarter than before. Remember to take a notepad with you to jolt down all the things that you came to understand.

About the Authors

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner are an economist and New York Times journalist, respectively. Apart from writing this book together, they collaborated on “Freakonomics,” a major success on how to apply economic theories on various subjects. 

The two are both respected figures in the United States due to the many public recognitions they received.

Reading Suggestions

  • “Freakonomics” – Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
  • “When to rob a bank” – Steven Levitt
  • “The Art of Thinking Clearly” – Rolf Dobelli
  • “The Tipping Point” – Malcolm Gladwell
  • “Everybody Lies” – Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

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Fast Food Nation Book Summary

Introduction

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata and that’s the book summary of “Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser. 

Why this Book?

Would you like to know what hides beyond the tasty fast food business? Keep reading as that’s probably the right book summary for you.

Mystery Synopsis

“Fast Food Nation” by Eric Schlosser is a book aimed at examining the burden that the fast-food industry has been causing in the US in the latest years. The fast-food world seems to be an environment where everything is shiny and perfect but is it really like that? Let’s discover it together.

Who’s it for? 

  • Everybody that loves or is addicted to fast foods;
  • People that want to really know what hides behind the fast-food industry;
  • Everybody wanting to improve their health condition and eat more responsibly.

What You’ll Learn from it

  • The filthy lies we are fed by the fast-food corporations;
  • The health consequences that the fast-food phenomenon caused on people and the environment;
  • Other damages that the fast-food industry is causing for years.

In a Nutshell

  • The fast-food industry is cancer for our world because it is destroying our economy, our environment and the lives of many people and animals. Its business model is all based on profit, carried on through lies and through the manipulation of people’s minds.

3 Sentence Summary

  • More than 200.000 people every single day suffer from food poisoning derived from the consumption of fast food products. One of those causes is the artificial flavors that are added to products in the fast-food chains, another one is the presence of excrements in the fast-food meat.
  • The workforce of fast food companies is usually comprised of teenagers, immigrants and, generally speaking, poor people. This happens intentionally because they are temporary and low-cost resources that require low or even no training.
  • The recipient of their marketing is children that are lured into the shops by the colorful environment, the playgrounds and Ronald McDonald. The children, manipulated and used as a bait, push their parents to come with them to McDonald’s, making the company earn more profits.

Big Ideas

Those are the most relevant ideas expressed in the book that we’ll explore together.

  1. Fast Foods Exploit their Employees 
  2. Damage to the Farming & Meat Market
  3. Damage to the Health of People
  4. Health Risk of Employees
  5. Children and Teenagers are the Targets

Let’s explore them together now:

Big Idea #1: Fast Foods Exploit their Employees 

Mc Donalds has been the first company to start this fast-food phenomenon. At first, it started slow and as a normal restaurant but then the two founding brothers found a way to avoid restaurant routine issues like the management of the staff and of its tasks. 

That’s when they started to think of some ways with which they could avoid such complications. 

They started training employees with specific tasks and their business began to thrive. Later on, seeing the success that Mcdonald’s was achieving other industry giants like KFC, Burger King and many more followed.

A Relatable Example

The employee policy of those fast-food chains is very simple; they are temporary and at low cost by design. This means that they won’t be subjects of a great amount of investment from the companies and thus will be very easy to replace. 

This workforce is usually comprised of teenagers, immigrants and, generally speaking, poor people. From this evidence, we can realize that a high turnover rate is not a problem for those companies. 

Moreover, all the subsidiary money received from the federal government (that is supposed to be spent on employee training) is instead used on research and development of those fast-food companies.

Big Idea #2: Damage to the Farming & Meat Market

With the advent of those major companies that own huge lots of terrain, family farming basically becomes an anomaly. 

They are so powerful that influence the majority of industrial agriculture, favoring the use of preservatives, pesticides, herbicides, and other substances that protect crops from premature degeneration. 

This shows how big corporations rule everything and how the chemicals they use poison both the food and the water near their facilities. 

A Relatable Example

In the farming market, potatoes are generally controlled by huge multinational corporation. This is a great obstacle to individual farmers that have trouble keeping up financially. Like in the potato market, the meat market is also controlled by major companies, in this case, is 4. 

Few independent ranchers still remain but they have to accept the low prices proposed by the gigantic 4 and obey their rules. 

Big Idea #3: Damage to the Health of People

Apart from damaging local economies, one of the worst consequences of the fast-food phenomenon is the proliferation of food born illnesses amongst people. Those inborn illnesses are caused by various factors and are the cause of the food poisonings of more than 200.000 people every single day. One of those food poisoning causes is the artificial flavors that are added to sweet and other products in the fast-food chains.

Another cause is the contaminated meat that is produced and then sold in fast foods. This contamination usually happens because often in the meat sold in the fast foods there are deadly bacteria, derived from the contamination from cattle feces in the production factories. 

A Relatable Example

Sometimes the meat that consumers eat at fast food gets involuntarily mixed with animal excrements because of unsanitary working conditions, the too-high speed of assembly lines, and also when there are new or unskilled workers in the workplace. Companies like Mc Donalds also are aware of the possibility to contaminate their consumers because they feed cows with dead horses, pigs, and poultry, causing them to get bacteria that consumers later ingest.

Big Idea #4: Health Risk of Employees

Consumers aren’t the only ones to risk their health and lives when talking about the fast-food industry. The employment process promoted by those companies is one that foresees the exploitation of the weak in favor of higher profits and a high turnover rate.

Companies like McDonald’s do this by employing people under the age of 20 and creating an assembly line labor that requires short o no training at all. Workers in the factories spend more than 10 hours cutting meat and animal carcasses. 

Since their job is by its very nature very robotic, they suffer from long term muscle pain for the repeated movements they make. Sometimes they even get injured but if they lose their fingers while working are often paid less than 5 thousand dollars for the incident. 

A Relatable Example

Some employees have even riskier tasks like cleaning the working machines with 180 degrees water mixed with chlorine. Those generally are the poorest people that often suffer from headaches, while others even die during the cleaning process suffocated by the chemicals. The majority of those employees must use drugs to over-perform while they work to meet their demands. 

Big Idea #5: Children and Teenagers are on the Target

If you think that McDonald’s markets its products to adults, think again. Their marketing starts before each one of us even decide to consume a hamburger. 

Why? Because they target children that are in primary schools, middle schools (and sometimes even kindergartens). What’s most scary in my opinion is that McDonald’s also partnered with big companies like Disney, which helped them to create welcoming environments for children. 

A Relatable Example

Those children are attracted by characters like Ronald Mc Donald, along with the colorful environment of McDonald’s and the playgrounds that are installed in them. 

It’s all a trap as you can see because once children get to see those shiny toys, they push their parents to bring them there and, thus they also get lured into the trap. 

Try to think for a second the typical McDonald’s without the colors, the playgrounds, and the happy faces but think of them as slaughterhouses where children are lured in. 

Then imagine those children getting out of those evil places with some those health-destroying substances in their stomach, that give them food poisoning and make them obese. What do you really see now?

Conclusion & Takeaway

It seems like our world is crumbling down because of those corporations that only think about profit

It’s a bad situation. Better not to think about consequences but what legacy are we creating? Automation must be used well

My Advice For You

If you have family members or friends that consume fast foods, talk to them about what’s really going on below the surface. Show them the videos circulating on the internet, showing how those companies operate and why they operate this way (profit). 

Cut out on fast food for 30 days as a challenge and then see how you feel and if you can refuse to hang with your friends when they propose you fast food. 

See if they respect your healthy choice by telling them why you’re doing this and discover if they care about you or if they just want to drag you down to their unconscious eating habits. 

I’ve cut out fast foods from my life for about 7 years now and I feel better than ever. It won’t be easy at the beginning but trust me it will pay off in the long term.

About the Author

Eric Schlosser is an investigative writer and American journalist. He studied American history at Princeton University and later got a degree in British Imperial History at Oxford University. 

He has written other successful expose’s apart from “Fast Food Nation” like “Reefer Madness” and “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident and the Illusion of Safety.” 

Apart from writing books he has been of help in the development of various documentaries and films as a producer. He almost won a Pulitzer Prize for history in 2014 and now is on his way to finishing another book on the American prison system.

Reading Suggestions

  • “Command and Control” – Eric Schlosser
  • “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” – Michael Pollan
  • “Freakonomics” – Steven Levitt
  • “Nickel and Dimed” – Barbara Ehrenreich
  • “The Jungle” – Uptown Sinclair

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How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big Book Summary

Introduction

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata and that’s the book summary of “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” by Scott Adams. Enjoy your read!

Why this Book?

Are you looking for a way to maximize your success chances while at the same time avoiding getting at the end of the day tired of your work? Keep reading as that’s probably the right book summary for you.

Who’s this Book for? 

  • Employees stuck in their routine and struggling with the fear of failure;
  • Ambitious people believing that to succeed, a talent on something and a clear goal is necessary;
  • Everybody unmotivated to keep going and that finds it hard to make definitive life-changing decisions.

What You’ll Learn from this Book

  • Why systems are better than goals to achieve success;
  • How to maximize your energy levels and keep you active most of the times;
  • Why possessing many skills is preferable to being a specialist in today’s world.

The Book in a Nutshell

  • Failure is a normal part of our life journey but if we keep a system of habits that lead us towards our goals, the risk of failure will be hugely reduced. Moreover, if you manage to develop a set of different skills during your career and to surround yourself with the right energy and people, your chinches of success will skyrocket. 

3 Sentence Summary

  • Setting goals is not the best way to reach success because on the way to measure it, people generally lose motivation. Having a system works better because when you do a specific activity consistently, it will keep you accountable and motivated to go on.
  • Scott noticed how the majority of the people that became successful, made a conscious decision to succeed and let wishing out of their vocabulary. That conscious decision implied that the would not have acted the same way again.
  • In our society, nowadays, it’s preferable to possess many skills rather than just one because the more the world changes and the more the market need for people that can do more than one thing. Combine your skills in such a way that they are complementary and choose them wisely because possessing just any skill won’t be enough.

Big Ideas

Those are the most relevant ideas expressed in the book that we’ll explore together.

  1. Manage Your Personal Energy
  2. Multiple failures won’t prevent you from Succeeding
  3. Having Systems are better than Setting Goals
  4. Decide, Don’t Wish!
  5. Acquire many Skills

Let’s explore them together now:

Big Idea #1: Manage Your Personal Energy

Another concept that the author talks about in his book is energy management. The first advice he gives here is to separate the place where you work from the space where you relax.

Apart from that, he says that each one of us has his own body rhythm and that because of that we must adapt to it in order to function effectively. Don’t just work at a specific time because others told you to do it. When are you the most productive? And the most creative? It’s all about knowing thyself. 

Next, the author talks about how important it is to understand what tasks drain you of energy and which ones give you energy. Those activities could really be anything, like dancing, writing, reading a journal, shopping, working out, socializing, solving problems and so on. In his was, for example, shopping drains him of energy while blogging fills him with energy.

Then the importance of a good diet is also stressed. The perfect diet for you can be found with the same concept expressed above; which foods give you energy and which ones rob you of energy? Fitness is also important as keeping the body moving is a way with which you can keep the energy flowing without getting stuck.

A Relatable Example

When it comes to energy it’s important to understand the concept of associate energy as the author calls it. In his book, he talks about a friend of his that once told him that he would move into an affluent block so that he would have become affluent himself.

Scott Adams at first thought that his friend was nuts, in reality, he was right because the people we associate ourselves can greatly influence us, especially if we spend a lot of time with them. The author also remembers that before starting to write his comics, he was spending his time with various aspiring writers that, it seems like they influenced him.

Big Idea #2: Multiple failures won’t prevent you from Succeeding

Many people are terrified of the idea of failing, let alone the idea of failing in more than one project. You know, Scott Adams failed at dozens of projects and failed at more things than what most people are even willing to try. 

In fact, he was fired from a phone company, then started a burrito chain business than went down as well as failed at dozens of other projects. What he says is that you must always keep the optimism in your mood and have the belief that eventually something will work out.

Success, most of there time, depends on timing the idea rather than having the right one, apart from possessing a specific skill set that would turn useful at that moment. Scott Adams was successful because it turned out that his idea, develop with a set of skills accumulated during his many failures, was promoted at the right time. That’s why you don’t have to be scared to keep trying. 

A Relatable Example

Want to know my story? I probably failed as many times as Scott Adams did and I’m just 26 at the time this article is being written. Those have been my failures so far.

1: When I was 18 I went to the Italian Air Force to become a military pilot but then dropped out as I didn’t like it.

2: Then went to study economics and I even graduated but didn’t like the subject and decided not to work in this field. 

3: During my college times I wanted to work as PR to make some money while knowing people but didn’t bring enough at parties and had to quit it. 

4: Then I worked as an Electronic Dance Music producer but never made it and thus failed. 

5: Then I started a personal development blog with a friend of mine that made us earn less than $200, fail. 

6: Later I worked at a famous record label in Italy but had an issue with the boss and quit it. 

7: After that, I worked as a sales representative in Barcelona but I was told not to continue after the probation period. 

Now I have my own coaching business that slowly is taking off and this website is my first real success, anyway I had been a writer for many years without seeing any result whatsoever. You ahem to keep trying because as Scott said, you can fail but the amount of skills you’ll acquire during the way will be invaluable, just as it has been with me.

Big Idea #3: Having Systems are better than Setting Goals

The self-help industry stresses a lot on the concept of setting goals, like if it is the holy grail to reach success. In reality, what Scott Adams says, is that goals are not the best way to become successful as they put a mental strain on you that is never relieved until you reach that goal.

Moreover, goals come with a predetermined end-point that once gotten puts you in a mental state of void as you have nothing else to strive for. Lastly, whenever you check how you’re doing with your life, you will feel like a failure every time you didn’t get closer to your goal (weighting yourself for example). 

This puts you in a continuous state of failure, that is nothing else than your body producing cortisol instead of dopamine. How can we overcome that? By creating a system according to Scott Adams. Having a system works better than having a goal because you just have to do a specific activity every day. Then this activity, if done consistently, will keep you accountable and motivated to keep at doing it.

A Relatable Example

Scott in his book talks about Mark Zuckerberg’s system. In fact, he never had the goal to create largest social media company in the world. He just followed a system that eventually proved to be right. That’s why goals are generally pathways to failure if they’re not backed up with a systems that it what concretely gives you the tools you need for success.

Big Idea #4: Decide, Don’t Wish!

Many people wish they could be richer, happier, fitter or more famous. The problem with wishing is that there is no correlation between it and taking action unless you actually decide to become all the above-mentioned things.

Scott notices how all the people that made it to success made a conscious decision to succeed one day. That conscious decision implied that they would eventually need to make concrete choices that were completely different from the previous ones, as the word decisions literally means cutting out.

Then Scott says that once you make your decision you must become aware of the price to pay for that decision and be willing to pay it. Once you know the price to pay and are willing to pay it, just do it without second-guessing yourself. 

A Relatable Example

Talking about my story a little bit, I was a very shy guy when I was young. I could express myself around people, let alone women. That made me suffer so much that one day I literally said to myself that I had to change, or my life would have remained the same shitty one I had. That decision I made that day, at the bottom of depression changed my life for the better because I completely refused to be the person I was before. 

That’s when I started socializing, making new friends and talking to women in a way I had never done before. I proved myself right eventually as now I’m a socially free person, apart from being truly satisfied with my dating and social skills. What life-changing decision will you take today?

Big Idea #5: Acquire many Skills

Scott Adams is one of those men that supports the idea of possessing various skills instead of becoming a master in one single one. He says that you can succeed both by possessing a very strong skill or by possessing many of them that are complementary and that make you stand out from the crowd.

That’s why he says that you shouldn’t be the best at one thing but moderately good in various things so that you can stand out fro the crowd. But is it just enough to possess various skills to be successful? 

Not at all, in fact the trick is to have some skills that are complementary, like being with a writer and a speaker (with which you can promote your written products).

Every skill you acquire, he says, doubles your odds of success and makes you a much more valuable piece in today’s market. Choose your skills well anyway because the world is in constant change and just possessing any combination of various skills won’t be enough to make you successful. 

A Relatable Example

In his book, he talks about failing many times and only after having failed many times at different thing she managed to acquire skills that were very competitive in the market.

Anyway in order to make it happen this way he had to be the first one to believe in himself and to create some products that had that x-factor that eventually made them successful. If nobody has already done what you want to do it doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be successful. 

Conclusion & Takeaway

Don’t let failure put you down. Adopt a smart system that is applied every day and, with patience, success will come. In the end, we don’t have a magic wand that will make our dreams come true but by following the advice Scott Adams gave use, we can maximize the probability of that event. 

My Advice For You

If you want to try a new thing, do it because you never know what you can learn from it. Anyway if you’re struggling financially, I would suggest you start first with a job that provides you financial stability so that you don’t stress yourself on how to make a living.

I tell you that from my personal experience because when I was producing music I didn’t have a job and I was supported by my parents. This made me stressful over time and, when I eventually failed with my project I found myself without a job and without money savings.

More About the Author

Scott Adams was raised in a small town in upstate New York. He studied at Hartwick College from which he graduated with a bachelor in economics in 1979, then he got an MBA from Berkeley California.

After that he started working an office worker, anyway in the meantime started working on his Dilbert character that eventually became a worldwide phenomenon. Today he owns a blog where he writes about American politics, specifically he likes to write about how Trump should think of America.

Reading Suggestions

  • “Good to Great” – Jim Collins
  • “Zero to One” –  Peter Thiel
  • “Principles” – Ray Dalio
  • “The four-hour workweek” – Tim Ferris
  • “Essentialism” – Greg McKeown

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DJ Khaled’s Net Worth (Updated 2020)

Basic Information

Name:Khaled Mohamed Khaled
Nickname:DJ Khaled, Beat Novacane, Arab Attack, Mr. Miami
Birth Date:November 26, 1975 (age 43)
Occupation:Rapper, DJ, Songwriter, Record Producer, A&R.
Net-Worth:US $65 million
Spouse:Nicole Tuck
Children:1
Zodiac Sign:Sagittarius

Introduction

Today, Success Titan presents you the man that is one of the most known faces in the rap industries. He went from being a DJ at high school parties to becoming a dominator in his field, releasing 9 studio albums and collaborating with the greatest artists in rap and hip hop. Thanks to his passion for music, drive to succeed, and social skills, he amassed an estimated fortune of US $65 million. I’m Sal Damiata from Success Titan, and that’s DJ Khaled’s story.

Early life

DJ Khaled was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, from Palestinian parents. They were two musicians playing Arabic music that emigrated from Palestine in search of a better life, so they chose to settle in the US. Due to the early influence of his parents, DJ Khaled started to appreciate music and began experimenting with it from an early age. 

At first, he had developed a general sense of music but later on developed an interred in rap music. At 14, he was already mixing dance and hip hop music while he studied in high school.

Career & Hustle

In 1993 he started working in a record store in New Orleans, where he met for the first time Birdman and Lil Wayne. Later on, he began working on his college radio, where he would improve his DJ’ing practice. This started to increase his influence so much that he started to throw parties where he used to play sets that were really appreciated by his peers.

Talking about more serious work, he started collaborating with the rapper Luther Campbell, that gave him enough experience to later assist in the production of the albums of Terror Squad, Fat Joe, and Fabulous. In 2003 he began hosting his own radio show called The Takeover, where he used to perform under his all different nicknames that we know today. This show started to give him enough visibility, new connections, and a platform from where he could launch his music as he did just 3 years later.

The Turning Point

We can consider June 6, 2006, the turning point of his career when his debut album “Listennn… the Album” premiered on Billboard top 200 at 12th place after having been released.

Success Knocks on DJ Khaled’s Door

The real success, anyway, occurred on June 4, 2008, when RIAA certified his single “I’m So Hood” of his third album, Platinum. That was one of his best years as apart from the platinum certification, he also won the best DJ of the Year awards both from BET Hip Hop Awards and Ozone Awards.

After those first 3 album successes, he was made president for Def Jam South in 2009. The rest of his story consists of the publication of other albums, some successful, others not as much. In any case, due to his personality and understanding of marketing, he has always managed to get him enough visibility to keep his face one of the most recognized in the American rap industry.

3 Lessons we can learn from DJ Khaled’s story

Lesson 1: Follow Your Passion 

DJ Khaled didn’t become one of the greatest mathematics teachers, footballers, or software developers in the world. He became one of the greatest artists in the hip hop industry because that’s his passion. Without such a willingness to keep going for a purpose bigger than fame or money, he wouldn’t have gotten to where he is now.

Lesson 2: Develop a Great Network

One of the elements that contributed to DJ Khaled’s success was undoubtedly the fact that he has always been surrounded by many friends and influential people. Back early, he understood the power of networking and that you are only 3 connections away from the person that could make you successful.

Lesson 3: Leverage Media Power

It isn’t a surprise that DJ Khaled started his own radio show before getting famous. The power of mass media to influence pole should never be underestimated if you want to make it big. That’s how, in fact, DJ Khaled managed to make a bigger portion of his connections and to get his name circulating out there.

5 Tips to Succeed According to DJ Khaled

Tip #1: Never give up

Why would you ever give up? As DJ Khaled said, to have food, you gotta pay it, and to pay that food, you have to make money. So go out there and make this effin’ money he says! That’s right, how can you ever be happy if you don’t have enough financial resources to provide to your family and to you? Develop a plan and if you have a goal to reach, just reach it and never give up because the moment you give up on your dreams, on your success, on abundance you’ve lost.

Tip #2: Uplift yourself and others

Problems are going to hit you no matter what. When you understand this, you’ll feel pain at the beginning, but then you’ll get used to that pain, and once you get used to something, it doesn’t scare you anymore. Become comfortable with facing adversity, and when you do, you will be able to develop an uplifter spirit that will not only help you go through the worst moments in life but also inspire other people to make it when all hopes seem to be gone.

Tip #3: Serve Your Customers

DJ Khaled is all about pleasing his fans and making them happy and excited. DJ Khaled understands that he is rich because of them and not because he just cared about himself. His fans made him the man he is now, no surprise that he shows them so much respect and love as at the end if you are successful most of the time will depend on other people.

Tip #4: Be a Maverick

DJ Khaled talks of how he’s never had an open door for him for his entire life. What he said is that he made the opportunities for himself even if he didn’t have them. There’s a famous quote that says, “When opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” This means becoming the master of your own fate no matter what’s going on in the outside world.

Tip #5: Love Your Craft

DJ Khaled knows that he is so good at what he does not only because he loves serving his fans but first and foremost because the way he serves them (music and entertainment) is something he loves to do. He only does things that are really organic to him with his own vision and point of view. If you don’t love what you do or do not feel good while you do your work, wither for yourself or for other people, then you probably aren’t doing what you love.

7 Curiosities About DJ Khaled

  1. He loved throwing parties since he was young and still throws some of the biggest ones amongst celebrities.
  2. He streamed the birth of his first son live on his Snapchat account.
  3. In 2016 he wrote his first book, which talks about his take on success.
  4. He owns a $10 million house in Beverly Hills.
  5. He is a sneakers collection and owns more than a thousand of them.
  6. He proposed to Nicky Minaj on MTV with a $500,000 Rafaello & Co. 10 carat diamond ring.
  7. He once appeared as a cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming.

10 Quotes from DJ Khaled

  1. “Some people can’t handle success, I can.”
  2. “You gotta water your plants. Nobody can water them for you.”
  3. “I’m all about peace. I’m all about unity. I’m all about love.”
  4. “I’m gonna go hard no matter what because I gotta feed my family, and I gotta feed myself.”
  5. “The key is that I’m the king.”
  6. “Keep all jealous people away from you.”
  7. “The key is, to be honest. Be honest, but don’t play yourself.”
  8. “It’s all about vibes.”
  9. “I remember when I ain’t have a jacuzzi.”
  10. “Embrace your blessings, embrace peace.”

Conclusion

DJ Khaled is surely one of the most respected men in the rap industry. From a simple DJ, he quickly made a name for himself and became one of the greatest rap and hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in the world. We don’t know what his next move will be, but for sure it will make a lot of noise just like he does in his parties.

Your Take-Away for Today 

Now that you know how DJ Khaled made it, what can you apply in your life from what he has done? I believe one of the greatest takeaways that we can learn is that you should always be hungry for success as if you have nothing that pushes you to become a better person than yesterday, what do you live for? That’s just my personal opinion, what do you think instead? Comment below!

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Jake Paul’s Net Worth (Updated 2020)

Basic Information

Name:Jake Joseph Paul
Nickname:Jake Paul
Birth Date:January 17, 1997 (age 22)
Occupation:YouTuber, Actor.
Net-Worth:US $13.5 million
Spouse:Tana Mongeau
Children:None
Zodiac Sign:Capricorn

Introduction

Jake Joseph Paul is an American Youtuber, Actor and web personality. He went from wanting to become a respected Navy Seal to becoming one of the greatest entertainers of the web. Thanks to his comedy skills, looks, and charisma, he amassed an estimated fortune of US $13.5 million. I’m Sal Damiata from Success Titan and that’s Jake Paul’s story.

Early life

Jake Joseph Paul was born in Cleveland Ohio, son of a realtor that later got divorced from his mother, eventually getting remarried with a doctor. He is the brother of Logan Paul, another internet personality and youngsters celebrity that you also probably know.

Since an early age, Jack had always been a sports fan. Being driven by his unstoppable competitive spirit, he participated in local school football leagues, apart from taking on other competitive sports in the future like wrestling.

Once he was in his middle teens, he got a camera gifted from his dad with which he and his brother Logan used to fool around. They started recording short funny scenes of their days and uploaded their videos on youtube, resulting in low view counts at the beginning.

After the youtube experiment, the two brothers decided to leave it for the moment, so Jake decided to try out wrestling. It was his sophomore year at the time and even though he liked what he was doing, he found himself lost, without a clear future vision to pursue.

Career & Hustle

After careful thinking, he made up his mind and decided to join the Navy Seals as this career path seemed to offer Jack what he needed; a competitive spirit and a purpose, like serving the United States. 

He started training for the program while still at home but then, persuaded by his brother Logan, he second-guessed himself and went back to Youtube. Things again didn’t work out well for the brothers with Youtube but the hopes didn’t seem to be lost as a brand new social media platform had just come out; Vine.

He started making videos on Vine with his brother Logan, challenging him to get the highest follower count. Video after video their popularity rose, until one, became viral and made them local celebrities first, then worldwide ones with several million followers.

How about making money? According to Jake, while he was getting paid through sponsoring products on Vine, he made more money than his parents.

This made him understand that probably he could make it even bigger just by creating videos. That’s when he decided to move to LA to further advance his acting career, with the full support of his incredulous parents.

The Turning Point

Landed on LA, he started taking acting classes and subscribed to improvisations comedy. Those activities led the foundation for a solid acting career, apart from helping him get new and key connections in the industry.

In fact, not surprisingly, after that period he got his first acting scene in the movie “Mono” produced by Fox, later he got into “Dance Camp” with YouTube Red.

Success Knocks on Jake Paul’s Door

Jake can seem to be pretty superficial at first and not to possess any business mind whatsoever. Well, that’s totally wrong in fact he didn’t stop his career only to acting but created his own social media marketing company “Team 10” to help other creators and brands interested in getting popular grow their following.

Parallel to that, he kept going on with his acting career and auditioned for Disney Channel to participate in the show “Bizaardvark” that he eventually managed to get. He thus became one of the first social media influencers to regularly appear on the small screen.

From there, things skyrocketed even more until today where Jack Paul is one of the youngest and biggest stars on youtube and other social media.

3 Lessons we can learn from Jake Paul’s story

Lesson 1: Be Competitive

Jake never stopped to pursue the things he wanted, even if this meant failing big in many of his endeavors. His competitive spirit moreover never settled for average things but pushed him to show up as a better version of himself every time he had he had the opportunity to show up. We know that being competitive and being on a journey for success most often than not makes people succeed over who gives up soon; what’s vital anyway is being competitive with oneself and not getting caught in the fruitless competition with other people.

Lesson 2: Experiment new things

As said before Jack didn’t only choose one path to pursue until he was convinced that it was what he truly wanted. From wanting to become a youtube star to a pro wrestler to a Navy Seal and until he became an entertainer and actor, Jake has tried many things. When you experiment with new things every day, it’s inevitable that your brain will develop new and more complicate neural connections that, one day, might turn out to be useful to you when a new business idea must be executed with a particular set of skills.

Lesson 3: Change Environment

Jake knew that he couldn’t have become that successful by staying around the same people in the same place all the time. He understood the power of effective networking and that’s why he moved to L.A. There he imagined he would have met many people that could help him advance his career, apart from having better learning opportunities with better local institutions. He wasn’t wrong and once there he used as much of the city as he could, both from a learning point of view (the classes he subscribed) and from a networking one (the friends he made). That was surely a huge factor contributing to his success.

5 Tips to Succeed According to Jake Paul

Tip #1: Put in the work

In life, nothing comes for free. If you don’t put in the work, realize nobody is going to make it for you, unless you pay that person or offer something else in exchange. This doesn’t mean you must necessarily be a workaholic as this can cause you more harm than good. Anyway, you should put hours on your craft and probably work much more at the beginning, especially when money and fame still didn’t come. If you want to succeed start working smart and producing like a machine, then you’ll have all the time you want to relax and enjoy your life.

Tip #2: Surpass your own limits

Being the best version of yourself has been his motto during his personal development years. He understood that in order to achieve greatness we must confront ourselves with our worst enemy, that is, ourselves! Sometimes we think that others are here to destroy us when in reality it’s most of the time us that let them influence our lives. Compare yourself to the version you were yesterday and always show up as your best version from a physical, mental and spiritual point of view.

Tip #3: Set Goals

Setting goals has helped Jake overcome his problems when he was in high school and got bullied. He said that using affirmations and having a clear direction where to go help him stay focussed and avoid getting distracted (or even worse dragged down) by unhappy people and haters. Setting goals is a way with which you can really decide what your standards are and thus, become the master of your own fate. When you set your standards too high some people will start hating you and will try to bring you back to their level. What you should do instead is keep going because at this new level you’ll meet people with which you’ll resonate better and that will help you get even higher.

Tip #4: Rise Above Haters

Haters gonna hate, most of the time. As Jake Paul said, his haters told him the worst things you can ever imagine “You name it, they said it to me”. What do you think would have happened if he got influenced by the words of his haters? He would still be in his garden trying to figure out how to become successful or, worse, he would be in a job he didn’t like, just because of his fear of other’s opinions. Luckily that wasn’t his reality, that’s why we see him shine through the media critics and the thousands of insults he gets on his social media channels. Rise above haters because haters gonna hate.

Tip #5: Keep Moving and Thing Big

As the author of the book “The magic of thinking big” points out, having huge dreams is not for fools but for huge minds. That’s what Jake has always been about, in fact, he always dreamed of becoming one of the greatest actors in the Hollywood scene. Maybe he is not one of the biggest names out there yet but who knows if one day he’ll make it? In any case, the quote “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.’ sounds perfect in this case as he still achieved great success by shooting for something big.

7  Curiosities About Jake Paul

  1. One day he was invited to a party at the white house and to entertain his youtube followers he made a video of him escaping from a toilet in the night without being caught by the guards.
  2. He claims that once he has seen a ghost during a trip.
  3. He claims never to have liked school and still doesn’t’.
  4. Once he moved to LA he bought a motorbike than later sold because it was too dangerous.
  5. He wrote a book called “you gotta want it.”
  6. He released a music video on youtube that is the third most disliked video ever on the platform.
  7. Since 2019 he dates Tana Mongeau to whom he’s not officially married.

10 Quotes from Jake Paul

  1. “Nobody’s life is perfect, and each individual will have their own struggles and stipulations.”
  2. “You can become whoever you want to be. You can do what you want to do.”
  3. “You’re only one video away from going viral and changing your life.”
  4. “I get to do what I want. And I get paid millions of dollars to do it.”
  5. “When I stopped caring about every other content creator, I became the best one.”
  6. “I had to overcome bullies and other people. I overcame this with positive affirmations and setting goals.”
  7. “I’m gonna forget all the negative press and focus on being the best version of myself.”
  8. “Off-camera I’m chill and laid-back. I don’t know if the word is shy or reserved but I’m always thinking.”
  9. “Don’t believe the fake media”
  10. “I’m not here to hurt anyone or harm anyone”

Conclusion

Jake Paul is one of the greatest examples of a guy coming from nowhere that eventually made it to success exploiting his talents. Thanks to his skills as an entertainer and a business-minded attitude he managed to accumulate a fortune of US $13.5 million.

Your Take-Away for Today 

Now that you know how Jake Paul made it, what can you apply in your life from what he has done? I believe one of the greatest takeaways that we can learn is to never give up and to always shoot for your dreams by taking risks, even if this might hurt at times.

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6ix9ine’s (Tekashi69) Net Worth (Updated 2020)

Information

Name:Daniel Hernandez
Nickname:6ix9ine, Tekashi69, Tekashi 6ix9ine
Birth Date:May 8, 1996 (age 23)
Occupation:Rapper, Songwriter
Net-Worth:$4.5 million
Spouse:None
Children:1
Zodiac Sign:Taurus

Introduction

Daniel Hernandez a.k.a. 6ix9ine is an American rapper and songwriter, best known for his outlandish style and for his most successful single “Fefe”. He quickly rose to fame after just 3 years of activity, becoming one of the youngest and most controversial rappers to make it big in America. Nowadays, after his musical success, he managed to accumulate a fortune of $4.5 million.

Early life

He was born in Brooklyn son of a Mexican mother and a Puerto Rican father that was unfortunately shot to death when Daniel was just 13. This changed his life completely as since he had to help out his mother with finances, he started selling drugs on the streets while doing odd jobs in the meantime.

He has always had the reputation to be the class clown even though he never got bullied. This made him very popular, in fact, he knew many people in his school that helped him in establishing his influence. 

His early life wasn’t a calm one as he developed his rebel personality after his father’s death. This trait put him into troubles many times, like when he assaulted the owner at a place where he was working. He also got caught while selling heroin and later got to jail but likely he managed to save himself because he was a minor.

Career & Hustle

His career didn’t start as a typical one, in fact, he started producing songs just for fun. That fun, combined with his appreciated songs and with his popularity, helped him rise through the ranks and getting views on Youtube. 

After the early youtube popularity, he got some following in Slovakia where he even got his first tour. His first sold-out performance occurred in Prague instead, turning out to be a huge success.

The Turning Point

The turning point of his career occurred when he started to become known in the hip hop industry after his single “Gummo” was released in 2017. Gummo became quickly viral and hit the top 15 billboard charts and even got a platinum certification, making it his first major success that catapulted 6ix9ine into the spotlight.

Success Knocks on 6ix9ine’s Door

His success didn’t stop there anyway as in February 2018 he released his first album that eventually got at number 4 on the Billboard 200 album chart, surpassing his previous limits. This made him even more respected and influential so that he started collaborating with big names such as Nicky Minaj, Young Tug, A Boogie with Doodie, Trippieredd and many more. 

The rest is just history, in fact unfortunately in 2019 he pled guilty to nine charges and potentially sentencing him to a 47 years period in prison unless he testifies against his fellow gang members in the ongoing investigations.

3 Lessons we can learn from 6ix9ine’s story

Lesson 1: Get people’s attention

Everything can be said about 6ix9ine but not sure that he’s not good at getting people’s attention. With his face completely covered in tattoos and his rainbow-like hair, he is for sure one of the funniest yet unique web characters of the latest years. He probably did this both because that’s a part of who he is and also because he knew that by looking this way he would have caught people’s attention.

Lesson 2: Go where you are appreciated

6ix9ine might have had the ambition to become famous in the United States and in fact, he managed to get famous there eventually. Anyway, his first fanbase was in Slovakia that probably wasn’t the place where he imagined to make his greatest shows. Anyway, since that was the place where his music was appreciated, he let go of the idea of fighting to get his music heard where he wanted and instead he went with the flow and wit what people wanted. That behavior eventually paid off as from there he got more confident and became bigger and bigger until he eventually got successful in the United States as well.

Lesson 3: Leverage your Popularity

One smart thing that 6ix9ine did was to leverage his connections and popularity to get him famous as soon as possible. Many people nowadays don’t understand how powerful having a strong network can be in almost any business area. Apart from that it also feels good (apart from being fun) to have many friends to which we can count.

5 Tips to Succeed According to 6ix9ine

Tip #1: Think Different

If you want to be successful in life you can’t just be like anybody else or you’ll end up being a copy of somebody who has already existed. 6ix9ine maybe didn’t read 100 personal growth books but for sure this mindset has always been embedded in the way he thought. In the end, if we think about it, only the people who can effectively differentiate themselves from others are the ones that we remember the most, even if our memory of them is a negative one. Be different and you’ll probably be successful in life, apart from being remembered as a unique individual, just like Steve Jobs had done.

Tip #2: Don’t care about what others think

If you care too much about what others think you’ll be paralyzed due to your fear to act and will hardly achieve any success. If you really want to be a person of success, start to think for yourself and to do the things that are the closest to your values instead of always being drifted away from other’s opinions of you. In the end, the people that managed to become successful haven’t been the ones that were constantly looking for others’ approval but the ones that had a so firm belief in themselves that nobody could demolish it.

Tip #3: Do what you want

6ix9ine hasn’t been the classic artist that created the type of songs that people wanted. He rather focussed on creating a product that was unique and that resonated with him, regardless of what the market trends were. That actually was a genius move because in art you can’t predict how people will respond, thus the best way to maximize your success is to truly be yourself. 

Tip #4: Some attention is better than no attention

That’s why we often hear 6ix9ine talking that he likes when people hate him. This makes him feel important and more than anything, gives him, even more, exposure and attention. That’s proof that he understands that when people hate you they’re actually feeding your energy and influence rather than putting you down that would be better accomplished with indifference. Hate and love are two faces of the same medal that melts under the act of indifference. The majority of artists know that indifference is what will kill them one day or another, that’s why they often use provocations or other means to keep their names high.

Tip #5: Be yourself

Finally, the best tip he gives to people is just to be unapologetically themselves and to express their true identity without feeling ashamed of it, even if this could make somebody upset. When you are yourself it’s inevitable that some people will like you for who you are and others won’t. It’s simply the way things work in our world, so make it a priority to be yourself first because that’s how you’ll be happy and happy people always serve the community better. 

7  Curiosities About 6ix9ine

  1. Due to his crimes, he will possibly face a 47-year prison sentence.
  2. Due to his snitching in court he has lost a lot of his credibility and trust from other rappers.
  3. He once choked a 16 years old boy at a mall.
  4. In July 2018 he was kidnapped, beaten up and stolen $785.000 worth of goods.
  5. The mother of his daughter is Sara Molina.
  6. He got deleted many of his Instagram accounts due to inappropriate content.
  7. He reportedly slept with an underage girl without her consent.

10 Quotes from 6ix9ine

  1. “I can’t sit here and satisfy the world”
  2. “I don’t really want no friends”
  3. “There is a difference between being a gangsta and a stupid”
  4. “People hate me because I’m arrogant”
  5. “I take no loss.”
  6. “I’m running the game”
  7. “I’m ready to die and I’m ready to kill”
  8. “I came out of nowhere and passed many people real quick”
  9. “Just be yourself”
  10. “I know who I am”

Conclusion

6ix9ine is surely one of the most discussed artists of the latest years both due to his appearance and crazy actions. Unfortunately, he lost the opportunity to further develop his career due to his bad temper and immature behaviors, anyway if he will ever come out of jail soon we might see him again triumphing over the screens.

Your Take-Away for Today 

If 6ix9ine will be here to stay or to go will only be discovered with time, for now, we can say that despite the bad behavior that put him into trouble, this man has been able to create a career for himself out of nowhere. That’s not something everybody can do, so let’s take the positive things he’s done and get inspired by his courage and for the loyalty to his true self.

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma Book Summary

Introduction 

Hi Success Titan reader, I’m Sal Damiata and that’s the book summary of The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. Enjoy your read!

Who’s this book for? 

  • Everybody lacking awareness of how the US food chains work.
  • Everybody purchasing food without any awareness of how they are produced
  • Everybody that doesn’t like how the food economy works and wants to find a way out.

What you’ll learn from this book 

  • How to make healthy food choices for you and your loved ones.
  • How food choices inevitably affect our finances, health, and planet.
  • How to rediscover tackle the negatives of industrial food production and rediscover true pleasure in food.

The book in a nutshell

  • Much of the food we consume today is produced industrially and this entails unethical practices, environment damage, and high economic costs. Eating is an agricultural, biological and political act that we all should take more responsibly for the good ow our own species.

Three sentence summary

  • According to Pollan, 1/4 of all items in the US supermarket are made of corn. Some examples are eggs, chicken, corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup, candies, ice cream, cereals, chewing gum, and mayonnaise. Also, drinks are not excluded here, for example, sodas like Coca Cola, Spite and Ice Tea are made 100% out of corn apart from the water component. 
  • Organic food today is mostly crap because due to the movement gaining popularity, small farms couldn’t keep up with the market demand and expanded by sacrificing some of the original movement ideals.
  • Purchasing food from local farms is one of the best choices you can make as it will reduce the costs of transportation of food, it will support local farms and positively contribute to the health of our environment.

Big Ideas

Those are the most relevant ideas expressed in the book that we’ll explore together.

  1. Eating is an agricultural, biological and political act 
  2. We are fed Corn
  3. Organic is more a label than a food 
  4. CAFOs vs. Management-intensive grazing
  5. Buy from local farms

Let’s explore them together now:

Big Idea #1: Eating is an agricultural, biological and political act  

Nowadays we live in a globalized and highly industrialized world where we can have almost every type of food we want at any time. This leaves us in a constant choice dilemma on what foods to purchase, a choice that will inevitably have an impact on our world.

Food, according to Pollan, is the bounty of the earth and power of the sun captured by plants and animals. With the advent of industrial agriculture, anyway, the demand for food was so high that the natural sun cycle was not enough to satisfy it. That’s when farming techniques came into usage, letting us produce higher quantities of food, even if they were off-season. 

This inevitably came with some costs, like polluted water and air, chemicals and pesticides being pumped into our foods, poor animal treatment and the spreading of diseases. 

A Relatable Example

Before the advent of today’s technology, we used to get 2 calories of food energy from 1 calorie of fossil fuel energy. Today we only get 1 calorie of food with 10 calories of fossil fuel energy used. 

Americans use oil to grow corn, and then corn to make an oil substitute. This means that 17% of our fossil fuel actually feeds us while another 18% is used for transportation, factors contributing to climate change. The majority of the food in the US (and oftentimes in other parts of the world) is so polluted and low quality that today’s generation of people gets diabetes much more frequently. So much that it will be the first generation dying earlier than their parents, due to their poor diets.

Moreover today’s food culture is costing the US citizens more than they know, in fact, the American government subsidizes the big food industries with more than $25 Billion a year, making the production of those foods per on the taxpayers themselves, i.e. the citizens. 

Big Idea #2: We are fed Corn 

Corn is a very adaptive and genetically robust plant that can be harvested largely today thanks to the new technologies. In fact, in 1920 farmers could only produce 20 bushels of corn per acre, today they can produce more than 180 bushels per acre.  

Why is there an overproduction of corn? First of all, corn is cheaper than the other edible plants and it’s also subsidized by the American government so that there is always an overproduction of it. Pollan states that 80% of our calories are only coming from 4 or 5 different plants instead of the hundreds of thousands we could consume.

A Relatable Example

According to Pollan, 1/4 of all items in the US supermarket are made of corn. Some examples are eggs, chicken, corn starch, corn oil, corn syrup, candies, ice cream, cereals, chewing gum, and mayonnaise. Also, drinks are not excluded here, for example, sodas like Coca Cola, Spite and Ice Tea are made 100% out of corn apart from the water component. 

What about corn percentages in fast food chains? Milkshakes are made of 78% of corn, chicken nuggets 56%, cheeseburgers 52% and french fries 23%. The cows we eat, moreover, are fed with the surplus corn produced even if they’re supposed to eat grass.

Big Idea #3: Organic is more a label than a food 

The phenomenon of organic food surged as a consequence of the awareness of how regular food was produced, stored and delivered to provide a better health solution to consumers. Real organic food is much better than the regular one (even if that should be the regular one) as apart from having a better taste and quality, it also contains cancer-fighting polyphenols. Anyway, even if that phenomenon was born with the best intentions and was a good one at the beginning, it ended up getting corrupted by government intervention. 

Organic food today is mostly crap because due to the movement gaining popularity, small farms couldn’t keep up with the market demand and expanded by sacrificing some of the original movement ideals. The problem is that the US government made allowance for the organic label with no strict regulations and vague standards to big industries as well, so that could have it instead of only small ones. This means the majority of what you find out there is not organic but a fake organic, just like the label representing the happy cows wandering through the grass. 

A Relatable Example

As Pollen found out, many products meat labeled organic were produced with animals that were kept in small and constricted spaces for the first 5 weeks of their lives and then allowed to go into open spaces for the other 2 weeks (since they lived 7 weeks in total). 

The problem is that those animals have been conditioned to stay inside after the first 5 weeks as their food and water was inside and they never went to the open spaces that would make them grow as organic. That’s another business lie put in front of our eyes but what’s the reason for all of that? To make supermarkets profit more by always having food on their shelves regardless of seasonability or natural availability of products. 

Big Idea #4: CAFOs vs. Management-intensive grazing 

A CAFO is a concentrated animal feeding operation, representing an animal feeding area where more than 1000 animal units are grouped for more than 45 days each year. In those areas, animals are treated unethically, just as you’ve probably seen in many videos circulating on the internet. In those places where the majority of the meat that Americans consume is produced, diseases amongst animals are very common as they are only corn feed even if they’re not supposed to eat corn. 

Eating a diet that’s not there makes those animals sick as it weakens their immune system and so they are injected antibiotics to keep them alive. They are constantly filled with those antibiotics that they develop antibiotic resistance superbugs that we later inject and can’t defeat with medicines. 

A Relatable Example

As concerns plant cultivation and livestock, growing grass instead of corn with management intensive grazing is a much better solution. Management-intensive grazing is a farming technique where livestock are moved into various portions of the pasture while others rest. This promotes optimum grass growth using the plants’ natural growth cycle by using the natural relationships between grass and cows. 

Animals enjoy their natural diets and avoid contracting diseases and infecting us in return and the environment doesn’t suffer the pollution of water of chemicals and hormones. 

Big Idea #5: Buy from local farms 

We saw how today’s’ food culture is emptying our pockets, destroying our health and the environment along with treating millions of animals unethically every month. This reinforces the first idea that eating is a biological, political and agricultural act. How can we avoid such a culture and progress towards a more sustainable generation of humans?

A Relatable Example

Pollen advices purchasing food from local farms for various reasons. One of those is the reduction of transportation costs and thus of the Co2 emissions negatively impacting our environment. Another reason for that is that by supporting local farms we encourage them to keep producing without sacrificing the quality of their products or adapting to big industry standards. 

This means they’ll avoid using pesticides and will keep producing food that is created in accordance with the natural ecosystem, thus promoting the stability and harmony of our environment and making our life on earth as humans as best as possible.

Conclusion & Takeaway

Our eating choices play a huge role in how society develops, make it a priority to eat in a way that is responsible as every action has a consequence, just as every cause has an effect. The consumer can be a creator of a new food chain but only if he starts to shop for values and not perceived value of the food itself. 

My Personal Advice 

I believe that everybody being aware of this has his own responsibility and must recognize that action must be taken to change our world for the better. Together we can make this change possible not only for us but also for the future of our children and the prosperity of humankind and its related species on this planet. Start today with your contribution, even if small as you never know how many people you could be impacting with your intervention. Thanks for your collaboration.

More About The Author

Michael Pollan is an American author, journalist, and activist. He was an unconscious eater, just like many people worldwide, until he found himself behind the curtain of food production by visiting farms. He then started making his own research until he found out the facts outlined in his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma”. Today he is a contributor writer at the New York Times Magazine, apart from participating in various documentaries centered in his food-related subjects.

Reading Suggestions

  • “In Defense of Food” – Michael Pollan
  • “Fast Food Nation” – Eric Schlosser
  • “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” – Barbara Kingsolver
  • “The China Study” – T. Colin Campbell 
  • “How not to Die” – Gene Stone