I have this on my refrigerator
Feeling overwhelmed? Chances are that, after looking everywhere else, unclear or cluttered thinking is the root problem.
Have you defined your desired outcome and eliminated the extraneous? Removed all of the busy but non-mission-critical activities that consume attention?
Business books and consultants often skip the fundamental shift we need most often: better mental software. Cut out the bugs and upgrade your machine with these three blueprints, listed in the order I recommend reading them:
Simple & Direct
by Jacques Barzun
It is hard to improve thinking. It is near impossible to remember and review after-the-fact. Practicing writing (thinking frozen in time) is the best way to refine thinking and upgrade your present awareness. Barzun’s stated goal in this book is “to resensitize the mind to words.” His refrain, which applies as much to self-talk as it does to communicating with others, is: do not use a word unless you know both its meaning and its connotations. Great advice and a great book.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
by William K. Zinsser
I have read this book more than a dozen times, more often for thinking than for writing. It is a hysterical read and a great example of what it teaches: how to cut all clutter and keep your communication and thinking crystal clear. If you think you think and write well, read this book at least once. It’s like going from a tricycle to a ten-speed.
The Elements of Style
by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
This is the de facto nuts-and-bolts desk reference for all writers and thinkers alike. There is a refreshing artistry to its bluntness… and brevity. I also love that the New York Times can sum it up and violate its rules at the same time with “Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It’s as timeless as a book can be in our age of volubility.” Volubility? E.B. would have slapped them.
Get the Original 4HWW Manuscript with Extra Content!
This list was in the original manuscript for The 4-Hour Workweek, but it was removed — along with bonus chapters and some awesome case studies — due to space constraints.
Would you like to have 1 of the 8 remaining original manuscripts in the world? This was an early version sent to about 15 people for advanced praise quotes, and even the cover is different.
I will also write a personal note on the manuscript and give you 30 minutes on the phone to discuss or ask anything you want. Since I don’t do private coaching and my usual speaking fee is $15,000-25,000 per hour, this is a rare offer.
If you’re a fan of 4HWW, this is the ultimate collector’s item for an unbeatable cause. Check out the bidding here!
Posted on: August 2, 2007.
Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.
Who was interviewed? Here's a very partial list: tech icons (founders of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Craigslist, Pinterest, Spotify, Salesforce, Dropbox, and more), Jimmy Fallon, Arianna Huffington, Brandon Stanton (Humans of New York), Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Ben Stiller, Maurice Ashley (first African-American Grandmaster of chess), Brené Brown (researcher and bestselling author), Rick Rubin (legendary music producer), Temple Grandin (animal behavior expert and autism activist), Franklin Leonard (The Black List), Dara Torres (12-time Olympic medalist in swimming), David Lynch (director), Kelly Slater (surfing legend), Bozoma Saint John (Beats/Apple/Uber), Lewis Cantley (famed cancer researcher), Maria Sharapova, Chris Anderson (curator of TED), Terry Crews, Greg Norman (golf icon), Vitalik Buterin (creator of Ethereum), and nearly 100 more. Check it all out by clicking here.