Five Books to Feed Your Mind

Read on The Reading | Read Time: ~12 Minutes (Skimmable)

📚 Hey, I’m back with more great books!

This year is turning out to be a wonderful reading year, full of new favorites, and I’ve just finished my 27th book of 2024.

Here’s my full Reading List (in a free, shared Google Doc), and I’ve also updated my Patreon book notes here. 

Just a few “quick hits” before we get into today’s books:

🏆 We’ve already reached 35 members of my brand new private coaching/mastermind community on Skool! 

I’m actually sooo pleased with the quality of the group so far, and how committed everyone is to helping each other succeed.

It’s truly inspiring. Just seeing the friendships form in real time! It’s awesome!

Membership is limited to 50 spots (before the price goes up), so click here if you want to join a like-minded community of creators and entrepreneurs deeply committed to extreme personal, professional, and financial growth.

🎙️ Episode 1 of my new podcast just came out!

The first one is a solo episode where I help you work through perfectionism, save time like an eccentric entrepreneur, and ask high-leverage questions you can use to make dramatic progress in your life and work.

Coming up we’ve got interviews with Eric Jorgenson (CEO of Scribe Media), and Joshua Lisec (ghostwriter to billionaires and superstars).

This week, I’m also recording an episode with Will Ramadan (a world-renowned Vegas DJ who’s toured with The Backstreet Boys, and Ariana Grande, and who has excellent taste in books!)

You can watch the video version on YouTube!

And now, let’s read!

Today We've Got...

  • 📖 The book quote of the week

  • 💲 A perfect book for smart women who want to own their financial future

  • 📜 The latest book breakdown at The Stairway to Wisdom

  • 📚 My top 5 book recommendations this week

  • 🏆 A special gift for reading all the way to the end

Here in this email are summaries of each book, along with a sample of my best notes, and if you want my complete set of notes on these books, you can find them on my  Patreon .

“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.”

-Dan S. Kennedy, No B.S. Time Management for Entrepreneurs

There are opportunities everywhere you look today that simply weren’t available before. For everyone, of course, but especially for women.

But there are also dangers and threats - roadblocks too. One of them is simply financial illiteracy, which doesn’t care how book-smart you are or what your goals are.

Some of the most brilliant people have no financial sense whatsoever, and they could be doing sooo much better if they just had strong, supportive guides to show them the way.

This book is a “financial wake-up call” specifically tailored for women who want to take control of their financial future and become free.

But it’s also delivered with the kind of honesty and humor that will help smart, ambitious, but somewhat lost women everywhere find their way through the financial maze of misinformation, disinformation, and lack of information.

Whether you're single, navigating motherhood, in a relationship, starting over, or anywhere in between (or even a husband or spouse), Money Bitch is your roadmap to security, independence, and peace.

“No matter where I work, the same truth keeps emerging. Neutral thinking is the key to unlocking a set of behaviors that can turn also-rans into champions and champions into legends."

-Trevor Moawad, It Takes What It Takes

What is reality? Reality is that which refuses to go away, even after you stop believing in it. Philip K. Dick was certainly right about that.

At the basic level, It Takes What It Takes is a masterclass in accurately assessing the nature of reality in front of you and building an effective strategy to help you deal with it, no matter what.

No. Matter. What.

The author, the late Trevor Moawad, was a top mental conditioning coach ("the world's best brain trainer") who worked with superstars in the NFL, elite professionals at Harvard Business School, Fortune 500 companies, the military - basically anywhere you see ambitious strivers and world-class competitors pursuing their potential, you would have found Trevor Moawad, helping them manage their negativity and achieve any goal they set for themselves.

His life's work was to motivate the motivated. Not by pumping them up with fake positivity or silly affirmations; not by wishing and hoping for performance improvements, and not by instilling a blind faith in positive thinking.

Instead, he helped these elite individuals return to reality, face the very real obstacles in their path, and come up with a plan for what to do in the very next moment, which is the only time when any of us have any real power.

Importantly, he wouldn't let them get too high or too low. Negative thinking works negatively 100% of the time, naturally, and just because you're thinking negatively doesn't mean you're being realistic.

But positive thinking often has very little to do with reality either, and it's in navigating between those two extremes where we can find that next gear.

Just like in bowling, where beginners often have those bumpers on either side of the lane to prevent the ball from ending up in the gutter, neutral thinking can help you stay centered and stay on the path taking you where you want to go.

Neutral thinking, as Trevor would say, is a high-performance strategy that emphasizes judgment-free thinking, especially in pressure situations. It acknowledges that the past happened. However, the past isn’t predictive. It can influence the present and thus, the future, but it doesn't guarantee it.

Neutral thinkers calmly and coolly assess challenges, take inventory of their unique strengths and abilities, and determine the best path forward, often with incomplete information about the true nature of reality, but never running from it.

The past doesn't determine your future; what you do next determines your future. Neutral thinking is about gaining as much clarity as possible, reclaiming as much control as possible, and then asking, "What would a winner do in this situation?"

There's a lot more to discuss, including the Law of Substitution, and what Trevor calls the "Illusion of Choice," all of which is covered in my full breakdown.

It all adds up to one hell of a winning strategy for life, and while few books are perfect, this one has the power to help you reframe your reality, reject the negativity, and recover the astonishing power of choice you've had all along.

You’ll never be ridiculed by anyone with bigger dreams than you have. They honestly just don’t have the time to spare!

Anyone with a real, deeply-felt vision is in constant motion to achieve it, and Brandon Dawson seems to be one of those rare individuals who both has bigger dreams and wants you to achieve yours as well. 

He’s also done this whole business-building thing before, having sold his last company for $151 million and building his current business to something like a half billion dollar valuation.

I always advise that people learn from someone who has actually done the thing that you want to do, and so if your goal is to grow your business to unimaginable heights, Brandon’s your guy and this is your book. 

Naturally, there are plenty of personal stories in this book, such as early in his career when Brandon was unceremoniously kicked out of the company he started and basically had to start again from nothing. 

So he didn’t just get lucky; he’s repeatedly built great businesses. And strangely enough, this book is much more “actionable business strategy” than mindset, although there’s plenty of that too. 

I took about five pages of notes from this book, but one specific takeaway is the mindset shift away from “having, doing, being,” to “being, doing, having.” It’s not that we get the things that happy people have, then we’re able to do the things that happy people do, before finally being happy ourselves.

It happens in reverse: be a happy person heading in the right direction, which will cause you to do the things happy people do to become successful, which will then lead to having the kinds of things that you would normally associate with happy people.  

Before you can have, you need to do, and before you do, you have to be.

“The fastest way to succeed is to find the closest example of what you want to accomplish and model yourself after the person who achieved it.”


“Know that if you give up, those around you will also give up, and that if you develop true resilience and resourcefulness, those around you will discover the same qualities in themselves.”


“I am a person of faith who believes the world sends you all sorts of messages if you’re paying attention.”


“Be bigger than your belief system. Then you will produce results that will give you a new belief system, which will allow you to grow even more. Living with fear and doubt is like driving with the emergency brake on. Once you release the brakes, the joys of creating are yours for the taking.”

Dan Sullivan is the visionary coach behind the success stories of so many people that you and I have heard of - and thousands of successful entrepreneurs we haven’t. 

The Laws of Lifetime Growth is a short collection of very simple “laws” governing the growth of one’s potential, and it’s somewhat arresting just because of the way he presents them.

There’s probably very little in here that most people wouldn’t have heard before, but I had never heard them framed in this way, and it made me take notice. 

These may be simple guidelines, but one thing I’ve learned is that simple (and hard) is usually the best. Growth and success doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does demand something from you. Life demands that you make an effort.

A relentless execution of fundamentals is going to get you anywhere you want to go in life, and people really only go wrong when they break these “laws” and think they know better!

Stick to the basics: Always strive for more; keep learning and growing; remain teachable; go out of your way to help others. Simple to do, simple not to do, but it’s the roadmap to get wherever you want to go in this life. 

“You will continue to grow as long as you make your future bigger than your past.”


“The desire for growth is nothing less than the love of existence.”


“Always make your learning greater than your experience.”


“Always make your questions bigger than your answers.”

They call him the most connected businessman on the planet, and this book is the distillation of Joe Polish's absolute best advice for creating and sustaining win-win relationships that last a lifetime.

If you've ever played "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon," you could probably play "3 Degrees of Joe Polish," and it can seem as though there's no one in the online entrepreneurship space who hasn't been helped by him in some way and eventually come to call him a friend.

His story is a pattern interrupt that diverges from the expected script. Joe succeeded in business by rejecting self-interest - or at least putting it to the side - so he could ask a very simple, yet very powerful question:

"What's in it for them?"

It's a useful question that changes the conversation and can change your life in the same way that it's changed Joe's life and damn near everyone with whom he's shared it.

Thinking in this way has profoundly changed - and improved - my own life, and I have no problem repeating myself over and over again to spread the message that you can get virtually anything you want in life, just as long as you help enough other people get what they want.

That's the name of the game. That's how you win: by helping others win too.

Joe Polish went from dead-broke carpet cleaner to being dubbed “the most connected person on the planet” for his work with Genius Network, one of the world’s most impactful networking groups for high-achieving entrepreneurs. This didn't happen by accident, and he didn't do it alone.

Think of Joe's book as Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People for the 21st century. While Carnegie's book is still absolutely worth reading, Joe's book represents the future of networking, while at the same time, the underlying themes and success strategies are as old as humanity itself.

“I treat everybody I meet as if I will run into them again. As much as I can, I want to make a lasting impression and whenever possible, leave everything better than before I showed up.

The most positive impacts I’ve made haven’t been overly calculated strategic decisions. They have grown organically out of this simple philosophy.

The bottom line: Spread as much positivity and love as you can wherever you go, not to avoid some imagined future punishment, but because you don’t know the magnitude of the impact that possibility will have on others and the world.

Usually, our humble efforts have an effect reaching farther than we think."


“The first secret to the successes I’ve had in life and business is simple: I invest more time, attention, money, effort, and energy into my relationships than I do anything else, and I do so on the longest timeline possible.”


“The specifics can change, but in virtually any situation, being useful, grateful, and valuable are the three keys to connecting with others – and they never depreciate or go out of style.”


“As much as life is about connecting with others, it is also about disconnecting from what doesn’t serve you.

As you go through this journey, realize that you always have the power to walk away. Also notice when other people are walking away from you, particularly if it’s a repeating pattern.”

This book is one of the follow-ups to Jen Sincero's 5-million-copy bestseller, You Are a Badass, which came out of nowhere to become one of the books I find myself recommending quite often.

Her style is warm and sincere, but there's no doubt that she fought to get to where she is today, and so there's also this hard-edged pragmatism alongside her earnest cheerleading, which lends her extra credibility.

One of the things she does quite well is work from first principles, meaning the most basic, foundational ideas (in this case, in the field of personal development), and then she builds everything on top of that.

Habits are so foundational to self-improvement, and if you're interested in making lasting changes in your life, it makes sense to focus your efforts where they'll have the most leverage, where they'll do the most good.

And when it comes to foundational, healthy habits, we have a thousands-of-years tradition of stressing their importance:

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”


“The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”

-Samuel Johnson

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

-John Dryden

Sure, you can compare different productivity systems and exercise routines and "life hacks," but that's all surface-level stuff compared to your habits and your belief system. That's where Jen Sincero focuses most of her efforts - especially in this book - and that's why the ideas found here are so effective.

She explains the psychology of habit formation, of course, but she also goes into an important discussion about boundaries, raising our level of self-awareness, and paying attention not only to our current habits but also to our unconscious beliefs and fears.

The book is also hilarious, with more than a few laugh out loud moments, even as she's ultra-committed to your eventual success. She's warm and supportive, but also wise and extremely practical.

Whereas James Clear’s phenomenal book, Atomic Habits, is what I would consider to be the definitive book on habits, I feel that it lacks the intimacy and care that’s present in Sincero’s work. That being said, Badass Habits lacks a lot of the best stuff in Clear’s book too.

Reading both – and applying both – will give you the benefits of both. Reading Badass Habits, you really feel that Sincero is on your side and that she has credibility as a fellow traveler on the path, just as James Clear gains credibility by virtue of the science-backed approach of his books.

I recommend reading both books, but anything you'll get out of either one of them is all to be found in the application of their ideas. You have to learn what to do, but then you have to go out and actually do it.

"When it comes to building great habits and ditching lame ones, your commitment to staying focused on who you're becoming regardless of where you are/who you are right now is the mightiest power you've got."


"The first step to making any major change in your life is always awareness.

When it comes to matching your identity to the habits you want to form or free yourself from, you're going to want to start noticing the specifics of how you're behaving right now so you can change anything that's not in alignment with where you're heading."


"In every single moment there is an infinite number of ideas, sights, sounds, smells, opinions, and opportunities swirling around us, and what we choose to focus our attention on, and how we choose to think and speak about it, is based on the reality we're participating in at the moment."


"Contrary to popular belief, habits are more about who you're being than what you're doing."

I like to think of Patrick Bet-David as kind of like an Iranian-American Jordan Peterson.

For one thing, he's one of the most impressive individuals I've ever discovered on social media, and his YouTube channel, Valuetainment, reaches more than 3 million subscribers, so I'm definitely not alone in that opinion.

Bet-David is strong-willed, confident, inspiring, and opinionated, and possesses the hard-earned self-belief of an absolute winner. But what's also impressive is how open he is to having his mind changed.

Doing the Impossible is one of his earliest books, and I think of it like the Tao Te Ching of self-improvement books: a short read that you can finish in an hour, but could think about for the rest of your life.

If you're ready to step up and into who you know you could be, this book is the one you should read next.

You see, too often, we forget how capable we really are. We need to believe in ourselves the same way that Patrick Bet-David believes in us, and arm ourselves with the tools, tactics, and mindset we need in order to extract the absolute most from our virtually limitless potential. That's what Doing the Impossible is about.

Each chapter is broken down into a lesson that offers essential insights into the nature of the "impossible," and our capacity to meet it. Opportunities will come to you every single day that you're alive, and each sentence in this book is designed to help you capture as many of them as possible.

I've also written previously (over and over again) that you don't need to achieve anything massive in order to be a valuable, infinitely worthy human being. You don't need to achieve the impossible, or do anything other than just exist in order to be worthy of unconditional love and unconditional positive regard.


If you do wish to attempt the impossible - if you wish to turn the impossible into the imaginable and then the actual - then this is the book you need by your side.

“A visionary is someone who is not living in the here and now. He or she has already seen at least five moves ahead and is living in that reality.”


“If the impossible throughout history has become the imaginable, and then the actual, why do we think that our dreams are impossible for us to accomplish in our own lives?”


“Remind yourself what life could look like if you achieve what you’ve set out to do.”


“Our lives are really a highlight reel of all of our most moving experiences. That is what we will remember at the end. These are the moments that make us who we are.

So why not have as many of those kinds of experiences as possible? Why not explore the world? Why not experience what it feels like to do the impossible?

The journey of doing the impossible will be at times frustrating and fulfilling, at times exasperating and enjoyable; but it will always be worthwhile.”

Today’s Five Books:

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You made it to the end! Congratulations!

I mean, that was a lot of books!

Now, I mentioned a special gift for reading all the way through to the end, and here it is:

I’ve never done this before, but I’m going to start offering fitness coaching as part of my 1-1 client work and I’m looking for 5 people who want to take the leap and become my first clients.

If you’re looking to make a big, positive change to your health and fitness and start turning heads wherever you go, let’s work together!

If you follow my program and do exactly what I recommend, you’re going to be able to shed pounds at will, get leaner and stronger, and start commanding attention and respect with your newly-built, impressive physique.

I’m still coaching entrepreneurs and creators on how to grow their business and their personal brand (I’m at $5k/month and growing fast), but this is different.

Currently, I charge $400/week to work with business owners, but since I’m new to fitness coaching, I want to offer it to you for $400 a month instead.

So, a 75% discount, valued at $1,200 total.

And as part of it, I’ll also give you free access to The Competitive Advantage community for the entire time we work together and an additional year after that.

Membership in the community is $75, so on top of the $1,200 discount on personal coaching, you’ll get the $75 membership for free too.

So, for example, if we work together for six months, you’d also get 18 total months of membership in the community, valued at $1,350.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, just reply to this email and let me know!

I’ve been able to get incredible results for myself, but this is the first time I’ll officially be helping other people get in shape, thus the massive discount.

And remember, you can also just hit "reply" to this email to ask me a question or offer a book recommendation of your own, regardless of whether you want fitness coaching or not.

I may take a while to respond, but I read every one!

Until next time…happy reading!

All the best,

Matt Karamazov

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