Smartcuts - Shane Snow

  • Hack the Ladder. The greats usually don't make it to the top by going the traditional/linear route.  It's easier to trade up quickly when you are jumping from one ladder to a different ladder than to go up a single ladder one step at a time.
  • Find Organic Mentors.  Formal mentor relationships have shown to be pointless.  To benefit from a mentor relationship, it has to be a real relationship - one where you both genuinely care about each other.  Find someone who can really help you and really cares about you.
  • Get Feedback as Quickly as Possible.  Honest feedback = potential for growth.  The more you get, the quicker you get it, the more/quicker you can grow.  Find quick feedback loops.  Find honest feedback loops.  Fail fast and fail often.  Don't point the figure at external variables when you fail.  Find out how you can improve.  Watch others.  Find out why/what/how they succeed and fail.
  • Use existing tools that will help you do things better and faster.  If no tool exists, build it.  What is the desired end results?  What can help you get that result the quickest?  Leave everything else behind.  It will slow you down.
  • Dabble with emerging trends/tools/markets/etc.  The greats don't just happen to be in the right place at the right time.  They are dipping their toes in different waters, keeping their ear to the ground to see what "waves" are coming up next that they can ride.  Converging waves are even better.  Are there two emerging trends/tools that are "swelling" that you can bring together to form a mega-wave?  Have a plan.  But don't stick to that plan at all costs.  Times change.  Trend-watch.  Dabble.  Experiment.
  • Seek out superconnectors and be generous.  Superconnectors are people/tools that give you access to lots of other people.  Instead of trying to make friends with 10 influential people, make friends with one person who has 10 influential friends.  Instead of talking to one person via phone, talk to one thousand people online.  But getting in front of a lot of people is useless without winning them over - which can happen through generosity.
  • Do now what you want to be noticed for later.  Don't wait for the "right time" or a stroke of luck before you start being/creating what you want to be the best at.  Greatness doesn't come from a moment, though it is usually a moment/inflection point that throws the greats into the spotlight, giving them momentum that can only be capitalized on if they have been doing the hard work for months/years prior.
  • Constraints lead to simplicity.  Simplicity leads to disruptive innovation.  Embrace constraints.  That's where real creativity thrives.  It forces you back to the basics and great new innovations are always more simple than the previous generation.  Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.
  • Think bigger. 10x bigger. Huge thinking is powerful because it is easier than thinking small.  It forces you to be creative, innovative and bold.  It gives you less competition (because they're all thinking 10% bigger).  And it gives you a passion and purpose that will fuel you through inevitable tough times (you don't get much passion from working towards incremental improvements). 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion - Robert Cialdini

  • The amount of stimuli/messages we receive everyday is more than our brains can process.  To get by, we rely heavily on shortcuts - principles that allow us to make decisions based on a trigger.  For example: based on experience and teachings, we might assume that if a piece of jewelry is expensive it must be very nice and valuable.  Expensive (trigger) = good.
  • When we understand what these principles and triggers are, they can be used to take advantage of peoples automatic response to them.
  • Reciprocity Rule: if I give you something, you have an internal obligation to give something back to me of equal or greater value.
  • Contrast Principle: my perception of something is strongly influenced by what I have previously seen, especially immediately before it.  If I see a $1,000 shirt right after seeing a $10 shirt, I perceive its value and price point differently than if I were shown the $10 shirt before seeing the $1,000 shirt.  Or what if I saw a $100,000 shirt right before seeing the $1,000 shirt?
  • Rejection-then-Retreat tactic:  Offer something large, when denied, retreat to a smaller offer - the one you ultimately wanted to sell.  When they feel responsible for the outcome they are more likely to do it.  When they "influence" you to a concession/compromise, they are more satisfied and likely to agree to do more business in future.
  • Commitment and Consistency:  two things we are hardwired for.  Once we take a stance on something, we are way more likely to act in a way that is consistent with what we have committed to.  How to use in business:  start potential customers with a small commitment.  They will be more inclined to continue in that direction (working with you, supporting that cause, spending money on that type of service/product) in the future.  Even better if commitment is public = more likely to stay consistent with that action.
  • Social Proof: if everyone else is doing it, it must be good/right.
  • Liking: people are more willing to engage if you seem similar to them, or if they just generally like you.  Find/point out way you are similar.  Physical appearance should be similar or one step above them.  Compliment them.  "I am on your side/we are in this together."  Association principle:  be associated with things they like/want/respect.
  • Authority Principle: if someone with authority claims it, it must be true.
  • Scarcity Rule: people don't want to miss out.  If it's in limited supply/will expire/might miss out, they will act less rationally.

Money: Master the Game - Tony Robbins

  • The most important financial decision you will ever make: decide what percentage of your income you will religiously save/invest.  Recommended: 15% or more.  Never fail to stick to this percentage.  Rain or shine.
  • Invest in index funds.  Not mutual funds.
  • Decide how much you will allocate to your "Risk/Growth Bucket" and how much you will put in your "Security/Peace of Mind Bucket".  This is determined mainly by how old you are (the younger, the more you can afford to put in Risk/Growth) and your risk tolerance (the more risk averse, the more you should put in Security/Peace of Mind).  Ideally, 70% in Risk and 30% in Security.  If older/more risk averse, do 60/40 or 50/50.  If really old, then even less in Risk Bucket.
  • How to allocate within the Bucket:
    • Risk/Growth Bucket:
      • 20% in Domestic Stock
      • 20% in International Stock
      • 10% in Emerging Stock Markets
      • 20% in Real Estate Investment Trusts
    • Security/Peace of Mind Bucket:
      • 15% in Long-Term US Treasuries
      • 15% in Treasury Inflation Protected Securities
  • Have a third Bucket - your Dream Bucket.  Have a certain percentage of your save/invest money go into this "bucket" to help fuel your dreams.  What do you want/need to do to keep you emotionally filled?  This is how you fund those things.
  • Use Dollar-Cost Averaging -  contribute regular set amounts into each investment monthly, regardless of how well it is performing.  This seems counterintuitive (emotionally, you want to feed the investments that are doing well and not the failing ones) but over the long run this wins.  Don't argue with Buffet.
  • Rebalance Annually.  Your portfolio will get out of balance as some investments do better than others. (Risk/Security = 70/30.  Domestic/International = 20/20. Etc.)  Once a year, rebalance to fit your decided percentages.  Again, this may be tough emotionally and feel counterintuitive when you have to sell some stocks that are doing awesome, but over the long run this will save you.
  • Check out Fixed Indexed Annuities (he refers to them as Hybrid Annuities).  They can be a pretty cool tool for some people.  You pay in a certain amount monthly for a pre-determined return (ex: 7% annually) for a pre-determined amount of time (ex: 20 years).  Then, when you want to "turn it on" you start getting a monthly income check from it.  The longer you wait to turn it on, the more the monthly check will be.
  • Have a fiduciary manage your portfolio.  They're required by law to be unbiased and give you the best advice.
  • Use StrongholdFinancial.com.  Also good - Vanguard and Schwab.