I used to LOVE doing the Smart Twenties Book Club back in the day, but I always found it quite challenging to sum up a book. Which is why I eventually stopped. But now that I have a podcast, I thought it would be fun to bring the Smart Twenties Book Club back in a chattier form. So that’s what I’m doing.
This is the first of many bonus episodes that will share the lessons I’ve learned from a book I’ve just finished reading. These episodes will be going out as frequently or as infrequently as I finish books and I won’t be doing book reviews so much as I’ll just be chatting about each book as if we were catching up over a coffee.
TRIBE OF MENTORS BY TIM FERRISS
For the first episode, I’m sharing lessons and takeaways from Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. If you’ve been following me for more than two seconds you already know I looove Tim Ferriss’ work and this book is no exception! In the episode I share my favourite quotes and lessons from the book as well as the highlighting and tabbing system I use to make the most of all of the personal development books I read.
Also, there are A LOT of books that were recommended within Tribe of Mentors and I’m planning to read pretty much all of them, but I thought it might be too boring to read off the list! I’ve included a link to each book below, as well as the description given by the person recommending the book (from Tribe of Mentors), in case you’ve been looking for some new reading material.
I hope you enjoy this episode! You can listen to the episode below or anywhere you listen to podcasts. Or you can click here to download the episode and take it with you.
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The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel, recommended by Terry Crews – “I have read hundreds of personal development books, but this is the one that clearly showed me how to visualise, contemplate and focus on what it was I truly wanted.”
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, recommended by Anna Homes – “My favourite children’s book. I have about ten copies in my apartment that I give out to friends (old and new) with daughters. It’s a beautifully illustrated and written tale of a young girl in coastal Maine who grows up to travel the world and indulge her curiosity about other places and people. In her old age, she returns to Maine to make the world a more beautiful place. There’s no mention of marriage or motherhood in the story; it’s simply a portrait of the life of a woman who finds value and meaning in following her interests and an important lesson for all of us about what women are capable of.”
Total Freedom by Jiddu Krishnamurti, recommended by Naval Ravikant – “A rationalist’s guide to the perils of the human mind. The “spiritual” book that I keep returning to.”
Making Sense of People by Samuel Barondes, recommended by Graham Duncan – “This book has had a big impact on my thinking and I sometimes give a copy to people in the midst of hiring someone or even deciding whether to get engaged.”
Leadership on the Line by Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky, recommended by Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks – “It is the most honest book I have ever read on leadership and you can tell by the book’s subtitle, ‘staying alive through the dangers of leaders’. It’s deeply honest and a book that I give to everyone so they know exactly what they’re letting themselves in for if they choose to be a leader.”
The Beggar King and the Secret of Happiness: A True Story by Joel ben Izzy, recommended by Maria Sharapova – “Some of today’s books come as manuals, step-by-step guides, and although it’s practical, it is not how life always turns out. You might have to take the tenth step before you take the second. I enjoyed this book because it doesn’t give you answers; it makes you wonder what answers you might give yourself.”
Ernest Hemingway on Writing, recommended by Josh Waitzkin – “The most potent little book of wisdom on the creative process that I have run into.”
Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls – I’m intrigued to read this book after loving every word that Bear Grylls wrote in his section of Tribe of Mentors. I’ve got the audiobook ready to go!
The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, recommended by Ashton Kutcher – “If you want to be a hands-on parent and also have some version of a career, this book is gold. I usually send it with another book called The Sleepeasy Solution by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack.” (I don’t have kids yet but highlighted this for the future me).
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, recommended by Ashton Kutcher (and many others) – “The more that I study people and the way systems work, the more I realise that it’s all made up. It’s easy to spout philosophies or quote books or well-known people or doctrines as if they are somehow of more credence than others, but the deeper you dig, the more you realise we are all just standing on piles of collective fiction. This book does a great job of illustrating that point.” I have this one lined up on Audible!
Propaganda by Edward Bernays along with the documentary The Century of the Self, recommended by Jérôme Jarre – “This book opened my eyes to the marketing industry in a time when I was blindly playing my role in it.”
The Power of a Positive No by William Ury, recommended by Muna Abusulayman – “It allowed me to understand the reasons why I was saying yes to things I did not want to do. More important, it gave me the tools for how to say no consistently and without guilt. Other books have allowed me to discover myself, guide myself to changing, but I would not have had the time to do that if I had not said no to time-sucking activities that I was accepting before.”
Passages by Gail Sheehy, recommended by Maurice Ashley – “I read it as an 18-year-old and it opened my eyes to the realisation that I would be a different person at every stage of life, all the way to my old age and eventual death. It led me to realise that I should try to live my life backwards, starting with the wisdom of the elderly and applying it to the energy of the youth. I have not always been able to do it, but it has helped me immensely with keeping perspective on things that matter and things that don’t.”
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins, recommended by Nick Szabo – “It explains more about life (including human behaviour and myself) than anything else I’ve read.”
Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, recommended by Jim Loehr (and many others) – “This is the book I have gifted the most and one that I continue to read and reread myself. His brilliant articulation of the importance and power of purpose in life resonates deeply within me. I continue to be struck by his seemingly boundless capacity to feel deep compassion and love for his fellow concentration camp prisoners as well as the cruel prison guards who enabled the horror, and he was able to experience this even as he inched closer to death himself.”
Since so many people recommended Man’s Search For Meaning, I’ve started reading it and it is profound. The next bonus episode on The Smart Twenties Podcast will likely be on this book – watch this space!
Poor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger, recommended by Drew Houston – “I’ve always admired Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger’s clarity of thought and how they manage to explain complex topics in simple terms.This book is one of my favourite examples. As the CEO of a company, and in life in general, you find yourself making a dizzying variety of decision in areas where you don’t have a lot of expertise and your environment is constantly changing. How do you navigate this? How do you cultivate judgment and wisdom without waiting for a lifetime of experience? This book is a good start. It describes how to make good decisions in any situation with a relatively limited mental toolkit.”
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, recommended by Tim McGraw – “I give this as a gift all the time. It’s a killer book! It’s calming and thought-provoking at the same time. It gives you a perspective on life that you might not have otherwise. Great art makes you reassess. We all should reassess what we think and believe constantly – in politics, in life and in our thinking. Otherwise we get too rigid.”
A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander, recommended by Gretchen Rubin – “I’m not a visual person but this book taught me to see the world around me in an entirely new way. It’s a brilliant way of analysing experience and information. It’s haunting.”
Also from Gretchen Rubin – “I’m a giant raving fan of children’s literature and young-adult literature. I’m in three book groups where we discuss children’s literature (no actual children attend) and I have a room in my apartment where I showcase my collection of beloved books. I made a list of my 81 favourite works of children’s literature – what a joy it was to make that list! If I had to list just three books, I would cheat and list the names of three authors who’ve each written many books that I love: the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis and the His Dark Materials books by Philip Pullman.”
Getting The Love You Want by Harville Hendrix, recommended by Whitney Cummings – “Love the book, hate the title. It’s a very illuminating exploration of how we’re attracted to people who have the negative qualities of our primary caretakers. It was very eye-opening given who I was gravitating to in my work and personal life. It’s helped me to make better relationship and hiring decisions, which ultimately saved me a lot of time and helped me to become way more efficient with my time. It’s been a game changer for my self-awareness and made me a better picker of employees and co-workers.”
Tao Te Ching translated by Stephen Mitchell, recommended by Rick Rubin – “It can be read at different times in your life, and every time it’s revisited, it takes on entirely new meanings. The wisdom in it is timeless: how to be a good leader, a good person, a good parent, a good artist – how to be good at anything. It’s a beautiful read that awakens aspects of the brain in a really nice way.”
Salt, Fat, Heat, Acid: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking by Samin Nosrat, recommended by Ben Silbermann – “I enjoy cooking and this book taught me a lot of the basics of flavour and cooking technique. It helped me feel more confident going off-recipe.”
The Wisdom of the Enneagram by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson, recommended by Kristen Ulmer – “This book offers you a blueprint to your personality. This is important. Let’s say you learn you’re a tiger. You now know not to waste time trying to get rid of your stripes but instead to develop your innate strengths. Or if you’re a lamb, which is no better or worse than a tiger, you’d learn not to waste your life trying to be something that you’re not, and how to instead be the best lamb possible.”
I’ll be starting to make my way through these books and I’d LOVE to hear in the comments below which ones you’re interested in checking out. Let me know!