This Book Helped Me Save 20+ Hours PER WEEK

I took a much-needed week off from writing the newsletter, but I’m back with a TON of great new books to tell you about.

For instance, I just finished my 1,285th and 1,286th books since I started counting back in 2014:

Loved both of them, and I’ll be sure to share my notes when they’re ready!

I also just came out with Episode #3 of The Competitive Advantage Podcast, where I talk about the book, Essentialism, and some tactical business-building stuff I’ve been doing to break through my $5K per month plateau.

Seems like I’ve been at this level of business for too long - time to make big moves and push past that $10K per month mark.

I’ll tell you what really helps though:

Surrounding yourself with a group of other winners who are all headed in the same direction.

But in today’s issue, we’ve got…

🏅 Today’s Sponsor: The Competitive Advantage

🎥 Three Other Smart Creators I’m Learning From

📲 Five Recent Posts From Me

📖 Book Quote of the Day

💵 Inside My Private Business Mastermind

📘 New Book Alert: The Power of a Positive Mindset

📜 Book Notes From the Archives

🧠 Learn This Concept: Product/Market Fit

📚 Book Breakdown: No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs

There’s a lot to get to, but it’s all spaced out in a way that’s not overwhelming, so you can just dip in and out wherever you’d like.

And if you want me to buy you a book of your choice every month, click here.

Now, let’s hit the books!

Today’s edition of The Reading Life is brought to you by The Competitive Advantage, a like-minded community of creators and entrepreneurs deeply committed to extreme personal, professional, and financial growth.

Inside my private coaching community I’ll not only help you to achieve your yearly goals in 6 months or less, I’ll also buy you a book of your choice every single month. Join us here.

📚 There’s a great book called Passion Struck, by John R. Miles, who also happens to have an epic podcast of the same name.

Seriously, how he manages to bring on so many cool guests one after another is a mystery I’ve been trying to reverse engineer myself haha.

Anyway, yeah. The book’s great, the podcast’s wonderful, and you should check out both!

📚 You may be wondering who or what is behind my meteoric rise on LinkedIn from 640 followers all the way to 687(!) in a matter of just a few weeks (okay, fine, I just wanted to use the word “meteoric” haha) - well it’s Lea Turner, who is a PRO at all things LinkedIn and is really helping me be successful there.

I’m obviously joking about “meteoric rise” but I HAVE seen solid growth since following her, and she sets a great example of how LinkedIn SHOULD be done.

I highly recommend following her there, and she’s also got a free LinkedIn cheat sheet you may find valuable as well.

📚 Lastly, I want to point you in the direction of Enrico Incarnati, whose advice has been HUGE in informing my Instagram strategy lately.

His posts are always high-effort/high-value affairs that show why he’s one of the “good guys” of social media with the REAL strategies to help you blow up, drive customers and leads for your business, all without coming to hate social media.

Can’t recommend following him enough, and you can do so right here.

📚 The elite goal-setting strategy NO ONE is talking about.

📚 Monetize your OWN attention, instead of letting faceless companies get rich off of it.

📚 The most cost-effective investment in yourself.

“It’s what you do, not how you feel, that gets things done. We can do our way into feeling the way we need to. It's hard to feel our way into achieving a damn thing."

-It Takes What It Takes, by Trevor Moawad

I’m throwing my FULL support behind this book for a few reasons:

One, I absolutely, totally, fully and completely agree with the premise:

Consciously shifting your habitual thinking in a more positive direction just makes your whole life...better!

There's truly no better way to live than from a positive, optimistic mindset/worldview that looks for the GOOD in people, events, and the world at large.

And two, the author, Jason Wolbers just keeps showing up with CONSISTENTLY positive and supportive video posts on Instagram that I always take a few extra seconds to watch whenever they pop up on my timeline.

The Power of a Positive Mindset is a 90-day plan to help you shift your thinking in a more optimistic direction, and it’s the perfect book for someone who wants a short dose of motivation each morning to start their day off right.

Reading it a few times (or coming back to it during rougher periods) wouldn’t be a bad idea either!

📚 The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino (Complete Notes + Summary)

📚 Peace of Mind, by Seneca (Complete Notes + Summary)

📚 Be Useful, by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Complete Notes + Summary)

📚 How to Get Rich, by Felix Dennis (Complete Notes + Summary)

Product/Market Fit

Failing to achieve product/market fit is one of the MAIN reasons why businesses close their doors forever.

In super simple terms, it just means that you SELL what people are already BUYING, rather than trying to INVENT desire in the marketplace, which is notoriously difficult (impossible) to do.

It’s very hard to make people want to buy something. What you should do instead is RESEARCH, figure out where people are already spending their money, and introduce to market a product that MEETS that pre-existing demand.

Anything less will doom your business to failure.

Brief Summary: In this book, the eccentric entrepreneur Dan S. Kennedy shares the extreme time management strategies he uses personally to run his multimillion-dollar company while successfully safeguarding his schedule and his sanity.

Key Idea #1: Hyper-Consciousness of Time

“There’s a reason why you can’t find a wall clock in a casino to save your life - those folks stealing your money do not want you to be aware of the passing of time.

And that tells you something useful right there: you want to be very aware, all the time, of the passing of time. It is to your advantage to be very conscious of the passage and usage of minutes and hours.”

Key Idea #2: The First Step Toward Managing Your Time

“Just as the person who cannot tell you where his money goes is forever destined to be poor, the person who cannot tell you where his time goes is forever destined to be unproductive - and, often, poor.”

Key Idea #3: It’s Never “Just” Three Minutes

“If I were in my office or accessible by cell phone and took these 27 calls as they occurred, and each lasted an average of only 3 minutes - and lots of luck with that! - I would have let loose of 81 minutes; 1 hour and 21 minutes. But much more importantly, I would be interrupted 27 times.

The three minutes given each call would bear an added cost of ten, to get back in gear after each interruption. This equals SIX HOURS OF LOST TIME if you figure 13 minutes times 27 calls.

Further, some of those calls might actually be important but be handled half-assedly - if scheduled and dealt with as the priority of their assigned minutes instead of an irritating interruption, more might come from them.”

Action Step #1: You Need Two Lists

Dan operates using four separate lists, and, personally I operate using a whole system of lists (some lists containing lists referring to other lists), but you don't need to develop anything nearly so complex, and you certainly don't need to have four or more lists. You do, however, need more than zero.

I would recommend starting with two: a to-do list, and a "stop doing" list, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's a list of time-wasting or energy-draining activities that you pledge to stop doing.

Furthermore, a good practice is prioritizing your to-do list from "most important" to "least important" by marking each item with a letter from "A" to "C." The most important tasks that you need to complete are marked with an "A," the second-most important tasks get marked with a "B," and so on.

Dan Kennedy also uses a schedule (which I just combine with my regular to-do list, but to each their own) and a "to call" list, but those may or may not be relevant to you.

A "projects" list can also be helpful, and I swear by mine. While you can't "do" a project, you can make progress on them each day, and so I have my projects list and I break them down into actionable tasks that then make it onto my to-do list.

Regardless of the particular system you adopt, the more you get on paper the less you have to remember and mentally juggle throughout the day, keeping your mind free to focus on the actual doing.

Action Step #2: Fill Your Environment with Psychological Triggers

You don't have to go to the same extreme lengths as Dan Kennedy does - with the hangman's noose in his line of sight, the dozens of clocks, etc., but it's important to optimize your environment by planting reminders of your priorities in strategic places within it.

I do this myself in several ways, and it works for me, but naturally you'll want to settle on a system that works for you personally. How I do it is with simple, motivational phrases in the Notes app on my phone, written out at the top of my various lists, etc.

I don't have many physical reminders of the passing of time, but having a clock or two facing you isn't the worst idea! The great neurologist Oliver Sacks used to have a big paper sign above his telephone that just said "No!" to remind him not to say yes to commitments that he'd regret later.

Your environment influences you to an incredible degree, and while you may not have complete control over it, you can influence it, and do as much as possible to make sure that your environment is assisting you in moving closer to what you've decided is important.

It's worth it to give this some significant thought, not only about what you might want to add, but also about what you should remove.

Action Step #3: Institute a CLOSED-DOOR Policy

A closed door is a signal sent to the universe that means you mean business.

A key element of effective time management is the minimization of distractions and interruptions, and restricting access to you (and making it known that you're unavailable) will help you say no to what doesn't matter and yes to what does.

Most of everything in life can wait at least an hour, and you don't want to give people the impression that they may be entitled to a piece of your most productive time. A closed door lets you say no to minutia and other people's priorities, and it allows you to say yes to the best uses of your time.

You can signal your new policy with an actual signal, such as a "do not disturb" sign or something else (I'm fond of Dan Kennedy's purple dragon idea, myself) but as long as it gets the message across (to yourself and others), that's the way to go.

And always remember: they can't interrupt you if they can't find you.

Forward this to a friend you think would love these books!

If you were sent this, click here to subscribe.

To read past editions of The Reading Life, click here.

Click here to recommend The Reading Life on Twitter (X).

OK, that’s it for now…

More excellent book recommendations coming your way soon!

And if you’d like me to buy you a new book every month, join us inside The Competitive Advantage and that’s exactly what I’ll do - we’d love to have you!

With that said, I hope you enjoyed this edition of The Reading Life, and enjoy the rest of your week!

Until next time…happy reading!

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

P.S. Whenever you're ready, here are five more ways I can help you:

  1. Work with me personally to take control of your schedule, grow your business, and enhance your learning, performance, and productivity

  2. Become a Premium Member of The Reading Life and enjoy exclusive, early access to new posts and videos, Members-only book summaries, and more

  3. These are 50 of the greatest books I’ve ever read (out of more than 1,250+), along with complete breakdowns of all the key ideas

  4. Get my summaries and book notes from all 1,250+ books

  5. Join The Competitive Advantage, my private community for creators, entrepreneurs, and executives who want to achieve their 5-year goals in 6 months (and sometimes faster)

Join the conversation

or to participate.