Category Archives: Personal Development Book

Information and reviews of personal development books. These books have been read by myself and I will provide a review of their use for self development and motivation.

Crush It! – Review of Gary Vaynerchuck’s Social Media Book

If you are involved in social media then no doubt you will have heard of the book Crush It!, by Gary Vaynerchuck.

Gary Vaynerchuck is the guy behind, the excellent video blog that has taken the Wine world by Storm.

Gary has a unique and passionate approach to his work and this is very clear from the reviews he offers via his site. He has built to what it is today mainly by leveraging social media such as Facebook and Twitter.

This book is very up to date and covers cashing in on your passion by utilizing social media web services such as Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and Twitter.

Just looking at the back page of the book shows comments from people such as Tony Robbins, Kevin Rose and Tim Ferris. Hey, if these guys are reading this then shouldn’t you?

Take a quick look at the video below to get a taste of what Gary is about.

It is quite fitting that I first heard about this book via Twitter. Somebody who I follow had sent out a tweet regarding the fact that he had just ordered this book, and this was around 6 months before the launch date.

The book is about social media marketing and it has been excellently marketing via social media.

I used Twitter search to research the book further, having never heard of Gary or and then proceeded straight over to Amazon and placed a pre-order for the book. This was some six months before the estimate release date for the book.

I got my book as soon as it was released and luckily, the coincided with a trip to the Lake District so I could make time to read it and see if the book lived up with the hype.

It is always hard to read a book that has had so much hype as you expect so much from it. Some of the best books I have ever read have been unknown books with catchy or absurd titles that have somehow called to me to read them.

The book consists of 142 pages in 13 chapters. It starts with a great opening chapter that covers who Gary is and where he started. The first chapter is titled “Passion is Everything” and it is easy to feel the passion that Gary has from simply reading this opening chapter.

The book then goes into explaining the model that Gary used in order to launch and make into the successful site that it is today. His passion combined with an excellent work ethic and determination has shaped Gary’s future. He learned to leverage the tools at his disposal such as video blogging and Twitter to reach out to a very wide audience.

Gary reports some paltry results from traditional advertising such as billboards and then some amazing results from simply tweeting about discount codes and offers via Twitter. Traditional advertising is costly and hard to measure the return on investment where social media is generally free and the results are electronic so can be tracked with a good analytics program and a nugget of knowledge.

In summary, this is a very up to date book that provides motivation and instruction on how to utilize social media as a marketing tool to launch an online business. It is quite a short book at 142 pages and one that I managed to finish in just two sessions. It did spark a few thinking points for myself, which is my usual marking scheme when reviewing a book although I would have like to have seen more detail and some areas and also more case studies referenced but I guess Gary is building this from his own experience.

This is a good book and bang up to date covering aspects of Facebook and Twitter that are hot topics right now. It is great to see how you can leverage these social media technologies for the benefit of your business and Gary is a prime example of this success.

Good luck with buying the Jets!

You can follow Gary here on twitter.

If you are involved in online marketing or interested in social media then this is a must read so go ahead and check it out.

Below is the parody music video Gary did for Crush It. Another great use of social media to promote his book.

Have you read this book and do you have any comments? If so, I would love to hear them.

Productivity, Motivation, and Personal Development Links – 5th April 2009

I am again sat writing this on the train from Leeds to London. Still enjoying the Free WiFi on the train and looking forward to another two days on a course down in London.

Life is still very busy for me. We had our best ever month at my business last month so there is plenty of work to do which is keeping me busier than I normally like.

Lots of projects to work on and lots of chance to test my productivity and organizational skills. I have just taken the decision to employ our first administrative assistant and I am looking forward to working with her to remove some of my administrative burden.

Here are my collection of links for this week.

  • My first link for this week is a link to the GTD blog of Kelly Forrister and a post about the GTD for Personal Finance. With the economy being in the state it is, I am sure that this is a good read that will be shared by many due to the ideas presented.
  • My third link is a link to a great post from Mashable which is a guide to better web working from your Apple iPhone.
  • My fourth link is a link to the latest release notes for Jello Dashboard. This is a Microsoft Outlook GTD Dashboard that I am sure I would take a better look at if I was a Windows user. I would be interested to hear of any good or bad reviews of this product.
  • My fifth and last link is a link to a great blog that I have just found called Books that can change your life. As you would imagine, this is a blog about some great productivity and motivational books that can change your life!. I found this via the authors review of the Getting Things Done book from David Allen.

Wishing you all a great week! Hopefully I will get some more posts out of draft and onto the site this week!

Tycoon – Peter Jones Book Review

Tycoon Peter JonesI do not know how well known Peter Jones is in the US but here in the UK Peter Jones is an Entrepreneur who is part of the Dragons Den TV series. Dragons Den is an investment business show shown on the BBC.

I love Dragons Den, although I must admit that the last series has been turning more into a media circus with more “just for TV” business ideas being aired.

I read and reviewed “Anyone Can Do It“, the book from fellow Dragon, Duncan Bannatyne back in the early days of this blog.

I have had Tycoon, the book by Peter Jones for quite a while and eventually got around to reading it.

For some reason, I never really took to Peter Jones when watching him on Dragons Den. He reminds me of somebody that I do not like so maybe this is the reason. I also sometimes disagree with his actions and opinions on Dragons Den but one thing you cannot argue with is the fact that he has amassed a great wealth on his own from his Mobile Phone companies.

Peter Jones has also endured the hard times when his first company went under. This makes me realize that Peter Jones has really earned the wealth that he now enjoys.

So, what about his book. Well, to be honest I was pleasantly surprised with the book and actually enjoyed it. It was one of those books which I thought I would not like so had pre-conceived ideas about it even before I had started it.

I do have a problem with the word “Tycoon“. It does not really strike me as a positive word when referring to wealth. The word drums up images of an overpaid sleazy businessman and the use of the word Tycoon in the book is in my opinion over the top. Each time I read about the “Tycoon Mindset” I cringed.

The book is split into eight chapters:

  1. The Ten Golden Rules
  2. Put Your Imagination to Work
  3. What’s the Big Idea?
  4. Planning and Pitching
  5. Ignition, Making it Happen
  6. Building Your Future
  7. My Time on TV
  8. Final Word

Now, being an entrepreneur myself, involved in a 2 year old start up business a lot of what this book promoted was what I was going through and it did offer some good advice.

The book started off quite weak and then greatly improved to the point where I really was getting benefit from the book. It is a book which I would recommend to anybody looking at starting a business.

I think this book will really only appeal to you if you are looking to make the jump into your own business or if you are already running your own small business and toying with the idea of looking for investment.

I would not rank this book in the same inspirational league as How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis but it is worth the read if you fall into the categories that I just mentioned.

Keeping on the theme of Dragons Den I am currently reading the book from James Caan. Review will follow and I am enjoying the book so far.

have you read this or other books from any of the Dragons Den investors? Would love to hear if you have.

Books to Read at Christmas – Well, books that a productivity blogger would read

I have just ordered myself two books to read over the holiday season. Now, these are not your traditional festive tales of snowmen and Santa Claus, but what would you expect from a productivity blogger?

The Creative HabitMaking it all work
The first book I ordered is The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I first heard about this book via 43Folders and as I normally like the book recommendations from Merlin Mann I thought I would order it on Amazon and read it for myself.

What makes someone creative? How does someone face the empty page, the empty stage and making something where nothing existed before? Not just a dilemma for the artist, it is something everyone faces everyday.

What will I cook that isn’t boring? How can I make that memo persuasive? What sales pitch will increase the order, get me the job, lock in that bonus? These too, are creative acts, and they all share a common need: proper preparation.

For Twyla Tharp, creativity is no mystery; it’s the product of hard work and preparation, of knowing one’s aims and one’s subject, of learning from approaches taken in the past. It’s a process undertaken every day. It’s a habit.

The Creative Habit is not merely a look inside the mind of a remarkable woman with remarkable skills, but a programmatic, inspiring, encouraging guide to help each of us achieve our fullest creative potential.

The second book is Making it all Work by David Allen. This is a book I am really looking forward to reading and it is supposed to start where Getting Things Done left. This is a productivity book that we are all looking forward to it and I must admit that this will be my first read as I want to get the book digested and provide the review as fast as I can.

David Allen’s Getting Things Done hit a nerve and ignited a movement with businesses, students, soccer moms, and techies all the way from Silicon Valley to Europe and Asia.

Now, David Allen leads the world on a new path to achieve focus, control, and perspective. Throw out everything you know about productivity- Making It All Work will make life and work a game you can win.

For those who have already experienced the clarity of mind from reading Getting Things Done, Making It All Work will take the process to the next level. David Allen shows us how to excel in dealing with our daily commitments, the unexpected, and the information overload that threatens to drown us.

Making It All Work provides an instantly usable, success-building tool kit for staying ahead of the game. Making It All Work addresses: how to figure out where you are in life and what you need; how to be your own consultant and a CEO of your life; moving from hope to trust in decision-making; when not to set goals; harnessing intuition, spontaneity, and serendipity; and why life is like business and business is like life.

I am looking forward to my Christmas reading. Do you have anything planned to read over the festive period? If so, I would love to hear about it.

Seven Decisions for Success Mind Map

Travelers GiftWhilst going through some old posts from this blog, I pulled out a review of a great book that I read, and reviewed pretty much within the first month of launching this blog.

The book was the Travelers Gift, Seven Decisions that Determine Personal Success, by Andy Andrews. As the blog has just launched, I think I had around 5 subscribers and I knew all of them!

The book talks about the Seven Decisions for Success. These are based around a story that the author takes you on. This is a motivational and self development book that is based on a fictional story, very similar to the great Og Mandino books.

These seven decisions are based upon stories from inspirational figures from history. The seven decisions are as follows:

  • The Buck Stops Here – Based on Harry Truman
  • I Will Seek Wisdom – Based on King Solomon
  • I am a Person of Action – Based on Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain
  • I Have a Decided Heart – Based on Christopher Columbus
  • Today I will Choose to be Happy – Based on Anne Frank
  • I Will Greet This Day With a Forgiving Spirit – Based on Abraham Lincoln
  • I Will Persist Without Exception – Based on The Angel Gabriel

I created a free Mind Map for you all to download and read. The Mind Map contains the overview of each of the Seven Decisions For Success as told in the book.

Click on the thumbnail above to download the Mind Map or Follow this Link.

Be sure to also check out the Original Post Review of this Book.

I am thinking of doing some more Mind Maps like this so please let me know your thoughts and if you all like these or not.

Feel free to pass this post on and please share it, I would love as many people as possible to benefit from the Mind Map.

ProBlogger – Blog Your Way to a Six Figure Income Book Review

ProBlogger Book ReviewI came across the ProBlogger site when I first got into blogging a couple of years ago. I used to read the ProBlogger blog and picked up some great tips from it in the early days. The ProBlogger blog is written by Darren Rowse.

The Problogger book caught my attention when it first came out although I never got around to buying it. I then met Chris Garrett at a Northern UK Bloggers Meetup and thought it was only right at this point to buy the book and see what I could learn.

One Amazon order later and the book arrived.

The book is 211 pages long split into 10 chapters. Each chapter is written by either Darren Rowse or Chris Garrett.

The book is about blogging for money. The reader is introduced to the concept of blogging and taken through the necessary steps to set up your blog and the popular blogging platforms with the emphasis being placed on WordPress as the blogging platform of choice.

The chapter on blog income and earning strategies was very useful and provided me with a great insight into what can be done with your (and my) blog. The book then goes into blog networks and blog promotion and marketing.

The main purpose of the book is how to start a blog and monetize it in order to one day become a six figure blogger. I must admit that the blogger lifestyle does appeal to most but in practice the self discipline needed to write is not for everybody.

I wrote a review of a great book called the War of Art, be sure to check this out if you have not already done so. This book covers the demons, or muses that we have to fight against in order to produce creative work. One statement from the War of Art that I love is the following.

The act of writing is not hard, the act of sitting down to write is what causes us the challenge.

The same can be said about blogging. If you can get over the first hurdle of starting a blog, and the second hurdle of passing the six month stage, as I heard over 90% of all blogs stop after six months, then you are in a good position to make the blog pay.

The book is written by two authors and it is clear from the writing style that the book was split into two, with each author writing their own content. The book is complete, and the chapters flow nicely into each other. All the jargon is explained before it is used and all in all I really like this book.

The typography of the book is good and to the usual Wiley standards. This helps in making the book a pleasure to read. I am still amazed when I read books like The Magic of Thinking Big and see how bad the type is. This makes the book much harder to read in my opinion and maybe this is one area where the second generation of eBook readers will really win.

I feel that I could give this book to a novice blogger and they would get great benefit out of it as well as to a more advanced blogger who would be able to skim a lot of it but still pick up some very good advice.

I learned some things from the book and it gave me some great ideas. That makes it worth the price.

As always, would love to hear any comments about this review, or the book.


The Magic of Thinking Big – Book Review

One book that I have read quite recently was The Magic of Thinking Big, by Dr David J. Schwartz.

The book is written by Dr David J. Schwartz who was a professor at Georgia State University before starting a consulting firm that focuses on leadership development.

The front cover of the book drew me in with the blurb of “Set your goals high then exceed them!” Being one for believing in the importance of setting goals I thought the book seemed like a good read and the reviews on Amazon where non too shabby so I decided to invest the time in reading the book.

The book is around 350 pages in length and is split into what I would call mini section chapters. There is no real flow to the book with no clear sections and each section/chapter seems to address a specific issue, for example their are chapters called “How to overcome the fear of other people“, “Think as big as you really are“, and “Get the thinking big view of your job“. The benefit of this type of structure is that you can pick up the book and just read one of the 30 page or so chapters and then put it down. I have also found that I have gone back to a few of the chapters since reading it to re-read and the organisation allows you to do so as a reference manual.

I must admit that I found the book quite old fashioned in its thinking and it seemed to cater more for corporate America, people working for large corporates and happy to do so. Being more of an entrepreneur I found some of the advice against my core values, but we are all different, and I did find the book a positive use of my time. The book does utilise real world examples for every aspect that is covered. This helps the reader relate to the advice given as the author explains situations which he has experienced where somebody has benefited from the advice in the book.

The book is very similar to the famous Think and Grow Rich from Napoleon Hill in the fact that it instills the confidence in the reader that you are what you think, and the mind is the strongest muscle in your body that when trained and utilized correctly can bring with it results.

So, in summary, worth a read but not up their with the best books and I would give it a 3 out of 5.

How to Get Rich – Felix Dennis Book Review

One of the books I read whilst away in Portugal was the How to Get Rich book by Felix Dennis.

I bought this book a few months ago following an Amazon suggestion. The title intrigued me as wealth is something that I am constantly striving for and I read many books on the subject.

I must admit that I had not heard of Felix Dennis before reading the book although I had come across Dennis Publishing. Dennis Publishing has published magazines such as Maxim, Micro Mart, PCW and others including a range of Kung Fu magazines and books on people such as Bruce Lee. Felix has amassed a fortune of over $700,000,000 from his publishing empire and he now spends most of his time writing poetry on the island of Mustique in the Caribbean.

Now, when you look into Felix, the word eccentric comes to mind. He also slightly reminds me of George Best, and the way he led a lot of his life. Felix admits to spending around $100,000,000 on sex, drugs, and rock and roll. He was addicted to cocaine and high class whores for a good part of his life. Luckily, he has put all of this behind him.

The story goes that he wrote this book after reviewing “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, which he thought was utter bunkum and snake oil, just like every other self-help book he had ever wrote. He has an extremely low opinion of the self improvement lot and you can tell that a lot of his comments are directed towards Tony Robbins. So, he set about writing an anti-self-help book, one that told people how hard it was to make it and “bugger the glib insights!”.

The opening chapter proclaims that the book will improve your sex life!. It claims that if you make more money, it acts as an aphrodisiac and people are attracted to this so yes, it will improve your sex life.

The opening chapter really intrigues you to see what else is going to come later on in the book and I will tell you that it is all good.

Comments like “Teamwork is the glue that binds losers together” pretty much sets the scene for this book. It is a hard hitting no-nonsense guide that will scare the living daylights out of the majority of people who succumb and accept a life of wage slavery. However, the more entrepreneurial of us will nod our heads in agreement to many of Felix’s statements.

Now, I totally loved this book and have already read it twice. There are many truths in the book that ring true and the book was ideal reading for the place where I am at in my life right now.

So, if you are unhappy with the drudge of wage slavery and think you fancy taking the risks of going alone, then the book is definitely for you and I urge you to stop what you are doing and buy it right now. If not, it probably equates to a slouch potato reading a commando training manual!

Here are a couple of videos from Felix that I found on YouTube about the book, Check them out.

Felix on How to Get Rich

Reviews of How to Get Rich

The Google Story – Book Review

googlestoryI have owned the Google Story book for over a year now. Recently, I picked it up and started to read it and could not put it down.

Everybody knows Google. I have used Google as my search engine of choice since around 2000 and I had an idea of their history, but not in great detail. The book is not an offical Google endorsed book, but a book written with the help and permission of the Google management team and it is aimed to bring the story of how Google has grown from a University idea into one of the leading companies in the world.

The book is approx 300 pages. With most of it being of interest. Some of it I must admit that I scanned through as it covered aspects not of great interest to me. What I did really like where the first few chapters about how Google started. Google was founded by two friends, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both Ph.D. students at Stanford university. They had an idea to improve the way that search was done on the Internet. They found it strange that it was hard to find official company websites by typing in the name of that company. It appeared that the existing search offerings from companies such as Dogpile and AltaVista returned sites that were related to the official companies.

What I really liked about this book was the attitude of Sergey and Larry in their quest for success. They had such a strong belief in what they were doing and they were committed to the decision that they had made. At the time of Google’s inception, Yahoo were a massive player in the search marketplace. Doors were closed in Brin and Page’s face because the assumed difficulty in taking on such a giant as Yahoo, at their own game. Never once did Sergey or Larry falter. They kept their belief in what they were doing and did not listen to the negative people around them. If they would have done, we probably would not have had the Google that we have today.

It makes me wonder how many other companies with great ideas have been stifled at the growth stage because of lack of funding due to the investors not truly understanding the opportunity. Larry and Sergey raised $25 million without even a solid plan as to how they were going to monetize the search traffic. Maybe the days are gone when you can raise that sort of cash against an idea, and I don’t think those days ever came in the UK where getting money to fund an idea is becoming harder than ever, with investors reticent to offer seed investment to grow these fantastic ideas.

So, good book, motivating, and well done to Sergey and Larry because they deserve the success that they have achieved. It shows that if you have a good ethos and culture, good product, and happy staff, then the profits will eventually come. Well, in the case of Google they certainly did!