Z’s 2017 Reading Challenge
Goal: 52 books
Actual accomplished: 48 books (four books a month)

We by Rudy Karsan The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster by Darren Hardy Designing Your Life by William Burnett Rework by Jason Fried

Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang Goodbye, Things by Fumio Sasaki Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert business-model-generation

Community by Peter Block 6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt 41mq7ss7lpl-_sy445_ql70_ (Z’s 2017 Fav)

Boundaries by Henry Cloud The Industries of the Future by Alec J. Ross Zero to One by Peter Thiel Originals by Adam M. Grant

Stand Out by Dorie Clark The Power of Broke by Daymond John The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (Z’s 2017 Fav)

The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey    (Z’s 2017 Fav)

The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen Influence by Robert B. Cialdini

Grit by Angela Duckworth Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone  

Mindset by Carol S. Dweck Winning by Jack Welch  The Practicing Mind by Thomas M. Sterner

Z ONE THING Takeaway

I ask myself, for each of the books I read, if there is only ONE THING I learned from it, what would it be? The following are my reason for reading it, THE one thing I learned, and any lasting impact it has one me. (Number inside my parenthesis: my rating of the book out of 5 stars)

March 2017:

  1. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success by Shawn Stevenson (4/5)
    • Why I read it: someone once asked Arnold Schwarzenegger how he managed to do so much all the time (bodybuilding, running real estate business, acting in movies, politics, etc.), he adviced “sleep faster.” I’ve been wondering how to sleep faster, this book answers it – improve your sleep quality.
    • Top takeaway: “Get to bed at the right time. This is key! You can literally get amplified benefits of sleep by sleeping at the right hours. It’s been shown that humans get the most significant hormonal secretions and recovery by sleeping during the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. This is what I call ‘Money Time’.” (Check out a great summary by WeZBest)
    • Impact on me: I now go to bed before 10:30pm 80% of the time.
  2. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (4/5)
    • Why I read it: it is the No. 5 most recommended book by Tai Lopez
    • Top takeaway: “One way for genes to solve the problem of making predictions in rather unpredictable environments is to build in a capacity for learning… Survival machines that can simulate the future are one jump ahead of survival machines who can only learn on the basis of overt trial and error. The trouble with overt trial is that it takes time and energy. The trouble with overt error is that it is often fatal. Simulation is both safer and faster. The evolution of the capacity to simulate seems to have culminated in subjective consciousness.” (Check out a great summary by WeZBest.)
    • Impact on me: constantly think about how I can become a better “survival machine” by becoming a learning machine so I can better “simulate.”
  3. Crush It!: Why Now Is the Time to Cash In on Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk (4/5)
    • Why I read it: the book title
    • Top takeaway: “True success—financial, personal, and professional—lies above all in loving your family, working hard, and living your passion.” (Check out a great summery by PaulMinor)
    • Impact on me: created this website, WeZBest.com in March 2017!
  4. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (5/5)
    • Why I read it: wanted to learn about the story behind Nike, a brand I admired as a kid but never asked parents to buy for me (Nike is expensive in China).
    • Top takeaway: Be fearless and fail fast: “But my hope was that when I failed, if I failed, I’d fail quickly, so I’d have enough time, enough years, to implement all the hard-won lessons. I wasn’t much for setting goals, but this goal kept flashing through my mind every day, until it became my internal chant: Fail fast… Fear of failure I thought, will never be our downfall as a company. Not that any of us thought we wouldn’t fail; in fact we had every expectation that we would. But when we did fail, we had faith we’d do it fast, learn from it, and be better for it.”
    • Impact on me: realizing I’m not failing fast enough at this stage of my life by not taking enough risks.

February 2017

  1. Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (5/5)
    • Why I read it: working in health insurance constantly reminds myself of the bigger picture of my actuarial analysis – people’s health and even life;
    • Top takeaway: the role of medicine is not just ensuring health and survial, but enabling well-being. “And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive. Those reasons matter not just at the end of life, or when debility comes, but all along the way.”
    • Impact: became very aware of the reality of elderly care and end-of-life care in the U.S., have this feeling I could do something about it.
  2. The Little Book on Common Sense Investing by John “Jack” Bogle (5/5)
    • Why I read it: I started a Roth IRA while in college; investing my hard-earned money from my three internships at Cigna, EY, and JP Morgan gave me the strong desire to learn about stock investing. I loved Tony Robbins’s Money, Master the Game and heard about this legendary guy Jack who started Vanguard, the world’s largest mutual fund.
    • Top takeaway: “Hear David Swensen, widely respected chief investment officer of the Yale University Endowment Fund. ‘A minuscule 4 percent of funds produce market-beating after-tax results with a scant 0.6 percent (annual) margin of gain. The 96 percent of funds that fail to meet or beat the Vanguard 500 Index Fund lose by a wealth-destroying margin of 4.8 percent per annum.'”
    • Impact on me: strengthened my faith in indexing and passive investment!
  3. The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith (5/5)
    • “After all, even if politics is nothing more than a game that leaders play, if only we learn the rules, it becomes a game we can win… To improve the world, however, all of us must first suspend faith in conventional wisdom. Let logic and evidence be the guide and our eyes will be opened to the reasons why politics works the way it does. Knowing how and why things are as they are is a first, crucial step toward learning how to make them better.” (Check out a great summary by WeZBest)
  4. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder (5/5)
    • “Since childhood, he had read every biography he could find of people he admired, looking for the lessons he could learn from their lives. He attached himself to everyone who could help him and coattailed anyone he could find who was smart. He ruled out paying attention to almost anything but business—art, literature, science, travel, architecture—so that he could focus on his passion. He defined a circle of competence to avoid making mistakes.” (Check out a great summary by WeZBest)

January 2017:

  1. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone (4/5)
    • “Assume that every project you attempt will take more time, money, energy, effort, and people than you can imagine. Multiply every expectation by 10, and you will probably be safe. And if doesn’t take 10 times more than anticipated, great. It is better to be pleasantly surprised than greatly disappointed.” (Check out a great summary by SmartExperiments)
  2. Managing Oneself by Peter F. Drucker (5/5)
    • “Successful careers are not planned, successful careers are developed when people prepare for opportunities because they know their strengths, method of work and values.” (Check out a great summary by Medium)
  3. Get Smart!: How to Think, Decide, Act, and Get Better Results in Everything You Do by Brian Tracy (4/5)
    • “Resolve today to develop long-time perspective. Become intensely future oriented. Think about the future most of the time. Consider the consequences of your decisions and actions. What is likely to happen? And then what could happen? And then what? Practice self-discipline, self-mastery, and self-control. Be willing to pay the price today in order to enjoy the rewards of a better future tomorrow.” (Check out a great summary by Farnam Street)
  4. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle (5/5)
    • “Struggle is not optional – it’s neurologically required: in order to get your skill circuit to fire optimally, you must by definition fire the circuit sub-optimally; you must make mistakes and pay attention to those mistakes; you must slowly teach your circuit. You must also keep firing that circuit – ie, practicing – in order to keep myelin functioning properly. After all, myelin is living tissue.” (Check out a great summary by WeZBest)