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“It was 830. Captain Sobel was about to get a little revenge on Hitler, the US Army was about to get a big payoff from its training and equipment investment, the American people were about to get their reward for having raised such fine young men. The company that Sobel and the Army and the country had brought into being and trained for this moment was going into action” — Stephen E. Ambrose on Easy Company going into combat for the first time.

Leadership Experts vs. Real Leaders

In our book club, we’re reading “Good leaders ask great questions” by John C. Maxwell. Maxwell is a pastor that led churches in Indiana, Ohio, California, and Florida. He describes himself as a leadership expert, speaker, and author. His accolades made me skeptical right away. Anyone who describes themselves as a “leadership expert” instead of a “leader” seems like they may be selling snake oil. His book “Good leaders” offers decent advice on how introspection helps evolve leadership into an act of service rather than a selfish endeavor. However, most of his advice is vague and abstract with no real-world application. Segments like “Specialize until your special” and “Pay attention to what you need to see” add no utility. …


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The short answer is no.

This post is a continuation of our weekly book club meetings discussing Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. Find the first blog post here. Each week we pick three chapters with one attributed to a concept rather than an interview. Our conversation this week involved what Brushcetta appetizers we should order at Postino (answer: all of them) and how we can apply the ToT advice to our own lives.

Fear-setting is Tim’s own concept. Without fear-setting, Tim probably would never have written the Four-Hour Workweek. Tim’s process of fear-setting was created when he grappled with traveling the world despite running a brain supplement nutraceutical company. He felt trapped. He was working fourteen hours a day and his company had no exit strategy. If he traveled the world his company might disintegrate into nothingness. …


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I was skeptical about selecting Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans for the Stratford Men book club. Tim Ferris is always ahead of the curve. He was an early investor in unicorns like Uber and Shopify, coined the term ‘lifestyle design’, is the leader of the questionable “hack” movement, and was one of the pioneers of long-form podcasts.

Tim is best known for his Four-Hour Book Series where he provides tactics to make money, learn anything, and optimize health. About two years ago, I stopped listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast. Once an avid listener of the podcast, I fell out of favor with Tim’s format. He followed a play from his own playbook and growth hacked his way into recycling old books, material, interviews, quotes, and lessons that made the podcast repetitive and trite. …


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Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

“When written in Chinese, the word “crisis” is composed of two characters — one represents danger and one represents opportunity.” — John F. Kennedy

Famous entrepreneurs, politicians, and icons from Condoleezza Rice to Al Gore love to refence the Chinese word for “crisis”. The word is a layup for Western motivational speakers as many people interpret the two Chinese strokes used to spell crisis to signify “danger” and “opportunity” respectively. Despite this translation being misinterpreted, the Western reinterpretation, the term’s “danger-plus-opportunity” meaning, has been used so widely in popular culture that the true etymology has been nearly lost.

The idea is simple. Amid crisis, there’s an abundance of new problems that need to be solved. The bigger the crisis, the more disruption in the systems that built the modern world. In 2008, during the collapse of the US housing market, over leveraged financial institutions such as Lehman Brothers and Bear Sterns that were considered “Too big to fail” did, in fact, fail. This economic meltdown led to the Great Recession, where middle- and low-income families saw their personal wealth disappear. As faith in the financial institutions dropped to all time lows, new companies arose to empower the people who were harmed most. …


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Photo by Road Trip with Raj on Unsplash

We all have that one friend who is impressively articulate. They seem to always say the right thing at the right time, never stumble over words, and have an admirable command of the English language.

It’s only natural to want to sound more eloquent, intelligent, and cultured. Being articulate creates confidence in almost any situation whether a dinner party, a first date, a public speech, or a normal chat with friends. Being a good speaker commands respect and only helps people succeed in all aspects of life. It is no surprise that the most successful are the most articulate.

One of the best ways to become more articulate is by reading books. Reading books arms the speaker with multiple tools to navigate any social setting. …


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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

The sale of a business is obviously a huge, life-changing event for its owners, management, and employees. It can be an intense, high stakes process spanning more than several months.

For many entrepreneurs, selling the business, or the ‘exit strategy’ is the ultimate goal and provides an opportunity to realize a large sum of cash.

Other entrepreneurs who have built a business from scratch may find the sales process emotional and difficult as they sell their passion project.

It is completely normal for a business-owner to feel trepidation when deciding whether or not to sell their business. …


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Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world

Millennials are lazy, entitled, and can’t get out of their parent’s basement.

Millennials are wizards of social media, liberal, and ready to change the world.

Millennials have less money to spend, more student loans, and are frequently becoming stuck in low quality jobs.

Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, are shaping our economy as they reach their prime spending and working years. But how can they shape our economy positively when they are in such a miserable financial state? In order for millennials to improve the world they first need to improve themselves.

The first and perhaps most important step is to set up a Roth IRA. …


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Have you ever turned on CNBC and watched the round table segment where approximately 8 analysts are debating about recent market activity? One of the main purposes of the segments ‘Power Lunch’ and ‘Closing Bell’ is to fill time. With microphones in their ears, the analysts are encouraged to argue opposing perspectives while a support team electronically feeds them the information they need. Similar to most mainstream news channels, CNBC always wants higher ratings and they do this by covering the ‘hottest’ investments and interviewing the smartest investors. All of the yelling and screaming to “buy this!” and “sell that!” is like a smokescreen, distracting viewers from actually learning how to invest. Whether you’re reading the Wall Street Journal, watching CNBC, or browsing the mutual fund database Morningstar, you’re going to be coming across brokers shoving their money-making abilities down your throats. In a digital age of information overload, shiny lights, and dopamine hits, we crave truth, honesty, and intellect. …


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What if you could add 30+ healthy years to your lifespan? Imagine growing older and having the cognition, esthetics, and mobility at 100 years old that you had at 60.

How would that change your life? Your plans? How much impact could you create in the world?

Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize Foundation and Human Longevity Inc., asks these questions believing that we have the technology to provide the answers.

Peter Diamandis is an American entrepreneur, physician, engineer, and author intent on harnessing today’s technology to boost the World into a better, more abundant future. …


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“A perplexed person stands before two street signs confused on which direction to take. One door says HEAVEN. The other says BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN.”

It’s funny because it’s absurd. But like most humor there is a hint of truth that makes the perplexed man standing at crossroads relatable. How could he miss something so obvious? Does he prefer the comfort of inaction over action? Or has he been misled on the best way for him spend his time?

Self-help books are abundant. Entrepreneurs are spending more time getting you to sign up for their email list than actually running a business. Influencers (whatever the hell that means) are spending more time taking pictures of them looking successful than actually making a contribution to society. I can’t scroll through Facebook without seeing an ad for another 20-something my age claiming they’ve found the secret sauce to becoming a millionaire. …

About

Mass of Men

A book club for men who like to read

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