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In today’s episode, I’m sharing my favorite 11 books that I read in 2017. I read more but, these are the books that ended up with tons of dog-eared pages. Melissa also shares a bonus book she wanted me to recommend for the ladies.
Learn a little about each book and why it is recommended. At the end of the episode you will learn a process for getting the most out of these books. Find out how to take notes you can later find easily based on author and topic. This is a great way to make sure you revisit the key points from each book you read.
1. The Advantage –
This book is awesome for organization. If you need to focus on organizational health, this is definitely one of those books for real estate investors that you need to add to your list. Stop struggling with managing everything and focusing on processes but not actually getting anything done. Get organized, get working, build your team, and become the Flip Pilot you know you can be.
2. The Obstacle is The Way –
This is a book that’s based on the ideas of stoicism philosophy. If you’re trying to achieve change in your life, you’re going to face obstacles. When you face them, face them. Embrace the obstacle to be able to overcome it so that you can grow and become a better person.
3. Bigger, Leaner, Stronger –
This book is more for the health and fitness crowd. Why is this on the list of books for real estate investors, you might ask? Strong mental health starts with strong physical health. Now we’re not saying to become a body builder, we’re simply saying that you need to be healthy. What’s the point in growing old as a successful real estate investor if you’ve got poor health? This book is awesome because it breaks everything down into the science of healthy living. Definitely a great read to get you motivated and off the couch!
4. Essentialism –
I’ve already talked about this book in another podcast episode. If you haven’t listened to it, the link will be in the link section of the show notes. This is a must read for real estate investors. The tips in this book will help you eliminate what you don’t need to focus on so that only the essential parts of your business remain.
5. Lifeonaire –
We had a recent podcast episode where Steve Cook came on and talked about his book. Check it out in the link section of the show notes! This book is written as a story, so it’s easier to process all of the lessons from it. I love this book because it helps you understand that the life that you want isn’t always about getting the most money. As far as one of the books for real estate investors, this one is one of my favorites. This is an eye opening message about living the best life right now instead of always focusing on the future.
6. As a Man Thinketh –
This is a super short book (so it’s easy to re-read). This is taken from some Biblical text and really helps you connect with yourself. A quote from the back reads: “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he“. This is a great book for keeping yourself motivated. If you think you’re going to fail, you will. If you think you’re going to succeed, then you will too. This book is all about keeping yourself in a positive train of though to accomplish your goals.
7. Leadership Axioms –
If you’re struggling with leadership strategies then this is the book for you. In fact, Melissa has suggested this one to Danny and it really stuck. Every 3 or so pages of this book have an axiom on them so that you keep yourself going through the books. This is one of the great books for real estate investors because you can go back to it when you have a leadership problem that you need to address. Each axiom will help you accomplish your leadership goals and keep your team moving forward.
8. How to Win Friends and Influence People –
This is a classic. If you’ve heard of it, read it. If you’ve already read it, read it again! This book will help you to build relationships that are perfect for networking your real estate investing business. Definitely a must read.
9. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living –
Often times as real estate investors, we find ourselves worrying a lot. Didn’t you become a real estate investor so that you could have the freedom your old job wasn’t giving you? What good is that freedom if you’re always worrying? Stop that! This is one of the great books for real estate investors because it will help you to take the stress out of your life so you can actually enjoy your financial freedom.
10. Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment –
In the beginning of this book there’s a passage that tells you to focus on practicing for the sake of practicing. That’s such a great lesson for real estate investors to implement in their business, but also in their lives. Everything you do you need to practice at in order to become better. Beyond that, though, you need to practice for the sake of practicing because it will make you appreciate the work that goes into mastering something.
11. Seneca: Letters From a Stoic –
This book is included because a lot of the problems that people face these days are basically the same problems that people were facing hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Things at their core don’t change that much. That’s why Danny has been so in to stoicism, because that philosophy keeps everything in perspective. The letters in this book survived thousands of years that are jam packed with philosophy. It’s an engaging read, which is why it’s one of the books for real estate investors on this list.
(Bonus) 12. You Are a Badass –
Melissa specifically wanted all of the ladies out there to read this book. This is a great book for identifying and eliminating the self sabotaging behavior that a lot of people tend to have these days. If you’re keeping yourself down, definitely check out this book to give yourself a boost. You’re a badass real estate investor. Go be a badass!
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Danny Johnson: Welcome back to Flipping Junkie podcast. Danny Johnson, your host. It’s 2018. Happy New Year. I’ve got some awesome books to share with you that I’ve read over this past year, 2017. I’ve got 11 books, and I’ve got a bonus one from Melissa, my wife that had one that she said that would be a good one to add to the list. I have not read that one, but it’s a great one for the women out there, the lady investors and I’ll share that with you, too. I’ll quickly go through each of these and then share with you a way to get the most out of them.
So, these books range from probably some that you know, but I would venture to guess that most of these that you don’t know about. Now, they’re not all specific to real estate investing; actually, a few of them are. More about self-improvement, and I’ve been real big on self-improvement. And I feel like if you want to achieve success or goals in your life improving yourself is the way to do it. It’s the way to begin. And we should always be trying to improve ourselves. So that’s really the topic in most of these books in different ways. And so let’s just get right into it.
So, the first book that I’ve got—I got a pile of books in my car. I brought them with me. The way I chose them because I read more than this throughout the year but I look for the ones that I dog-eared the heck out of. And I don’t know if you can tell in the video this. If you’re listening on the podcast, the video is posted on YouTube, youtube.com/flippingjunkie, J-U-N-K-I-E.
But the first one here is The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni. Now, this book is awesome for organization. So if you’re building a team, if you’re trying to be a true flip pilot to always have that 30,000-flip view of your business and working on it instead of in it, this book is a must read along with the book called Traction. But this book, The Advantage, is all about organizational health. And it’s really awesome because it talks about building a cohesive leadership team and knowing each other really well and building out like the core values and what the organization should be like itself rather than the focus of the processes and all that kind of stuff. So organizational health. Very good book if you’re building a team. And you should be striving to be a true flip pilot to have that true freedom that we’re all looking for in this business.
The second book—let’s see. I love this book. It’s called The Obstacle Is the Way, and this is by Ryan Holiday. And this is a book that’s based on a lot of the ideas in stoicism philosophy. It’s basically understanding that when you’re trying to achieve change in your life, you have obstacles that God or the world, the universe, or whatever you want to call it presents to you to help you grow and change. And so when we face obstacles in our lives, when we face challenges instead of saying, “Oh, this sucks that this happened to me. Why am I dealing with this problem?” embrace it and understand that. And overcoming that obstacle and overcoming that problem, you’re growing at becoming a better person and the person that you’re wanting to be by overcoming that. So we all want change, but a lot of us don’t want to deal with what it takes to get that change, right? So to have change, you have to have obstacles and challenges and that’s what this book is all about. It’s an awesome read. I love this book. I’ve read it twice already and will probably read it again. So The Obstacle Is the Way is the second book.
Since we’re at the New Year here and a lot of people probably have some New Year’s resolutions to get back into the gym and get in shape which I think you ought tom, if you’re not exercising, gosh, you got to do it. You don’t want to end up old and rich from being a successful real estate investor but have poor health.
My go-to for exercising and working out. And he’s got books for women and men, but it’s Michael Matthews. So Bigger Leaner Stronger. It’s not that big of a book. And he’s an awesome writer in respect to how to understand the science of building the ultimate body. It’s a great book, and it’s built based on science. So he’s got a lot of the data and stuff like that and here for different things. But it’s real straightforward and I turn to it whenever I’m doing different phases of my exercise, if I’m trying to lose weight or gain weight and all that kind of stuff. He’s got good calculation for calories. And the biggest takeaway from a lot of his writing is that everybody is trying all these different diets, and what it really does boil down to is the amount of calories that you’re taking in versus how much you’re spending every day. Just keep it simple. That’s really what it’s all about. So if you can count your calories and even just have an idea of where you’re at on your calories, you’re going to be able to accomplish what you’re trying to accomplish. So Bigger Leaner Stronger, Michael Matthews. Great book.
All right. So what are we on next? We’re on Essentialism. I’ve just talked about this book recently, I think, on the podcast—Greg McKeown. Let me show you the picture in here. So he talks about what’s essential. Really all of us have a lot to do. We’re trying to achieve things. We’ve got a lot of different tasks, a lot of different responsibilities, a lot of different things that we need to do. The problem is that we’re not intentional. And our business word for the year for 2018 is “intentional,” and that’s having a plan and focusing in one direction.
And so in this book, he’s got this diagram and it shows one circle that shows how much energy. So we have all got a certain amount of limited energy. And when we’re trying to do a bunch of different things, that energy is dispersed in all different directions and so the arrows coming off the circle are small. But look at the other side where you’ve got energy and then you’ve got one direction, and that arrow is long.
So it’s just a basic idea of understanding what’s essential, what’s essential to be done and working towards that and focusing energy on that. And doing that requires a plan. So if you’re not working from a written out plan that you thought about and given enough time to think about, you’re probably wasting energy on a lot of stuff that’s not helping you get to where you want to be faster. So that’s the biggest hack in my experience, and something I’m still struggling with and still working on myself. Everybody goes through it, but it’s good to be reminded of. So Essentialism, taking the time to plan and having that plan where you’re working on the things that are going to move the needle the most so you’re not wasting time.
All right. The next one, Lifeonaire. And I just had Steve Cook who was the author of this book along with Shaun McCloskey—I’ve met both of them. Well, Shaun I’ve met in person and Steve I hope to meet in person someday. I’ve learned a lot from him over the years. He’s an investor. Now, he’s spending time teaching people how to be a Lifeonaire.
Now, this is an incredible book because it’s written as a story. And so it’s really easy to read and get to the thought and ideas across that. A lot of times we’re working really hard to achieve a certain level of financial prosperity and everything and trying to get all these different things and toys in life that we don’t need. They don’t really make us happy. And so, it’s more about understanding what we need and that the life that we want can be lived right now. You don’t have to always be living in the future waiting to get that huge success. And so, this is an eye opening book. I highly encourage everybody to read it. If you can go back a couple podcast episodes ago, I think it was episode 97 I had Steve Cook. Check that podcast out, flippingjunkie.com/97. Lifeonaire is the book by Steve Cook.
All right. Let me try to keep these things separated here. So, we’re on As a Man Thinketh. This is one that I’ve read several times because it’s super thin. It’s like a pamphlet almost, but this book is incredible. It’s got super ideas in it. James Allen, As a Man Thinketh. Now, I’ll read the back of it: “Drawn from biblical text which reads, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” James Allen’s work, As a Man Thinketh, has been for over a century of guide and inspiration for those who need direction and to find their path in life. Allen makes the bold yet simple assertion that a man can be successful if he thinks it so and a man will fail if he thinks that, too. This work may be brief, but it’s timeless message of hope and empowerment compels readers to stand up and take responsibility for their own success.” So whether you think you can or think you can’t get right, this book is all about it and it gets into how that kind of works. And it’s just a very inspirational and motivational book. So As a Man Thinketh. Change your thinking. Change your level of success. That’s by James Allen.
Leadership Axioms. Now, this one I really—and I’m going to read this one. One of my goals was to read a leadership book first quarter of this year. I’m going to go back and read this one again. Melissa also recommended one, and I’ll read that. I forgot which one it was at the moment. But the Leadership Axioms. This is by Bill Hybels. This is an incredible book. And it’s real nice to read because basically every page or two pages or three pages is an axiom. So it’s not these long chapters that you’re trying to get through and understand this whole concept. It’s axiom. So it’s a ton of axioms that you can switch to when you need advice on different things on being a leader.
I think a lot of real estate investors don’t think of themselves so much as business owners but they are and they need to understand that they are leaders, especially if you’re trying to be a flip pilot and be a 30,000 flip view of your business working on your business and not just in it. You’ve got to be a leader. You got to work on leadership and management skills, and that’s a big thing that I’ve been working on in the last couple of years. And it’s been making a big difference and continues to. So I highly recommend this book, Leadership Axioms by Bill Hybels.
All right. Let’s go to the next one. How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie. This is a classic. This one you’ve probably heard of. If you haven’t read it, read it. If you’ve already read it, read it again. These are timeless boil down principles that help you in life achieve what you want. So How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s really about dealing with people and being a manager and being just a good person, right? So all the principles are fantastic in this book. I highly recommend you reading it and working on it.
And one of my goals for this year is for every couple of weeks to focus on one of these principles and be aware of how I’m doing with that principle. So every couple of weeks I got a principle that I’m going to focus on, and I’m going to do sort of like the Ben Franklin thing where he was working on character flaws and he would write down whenever he would go against that or do something related to a character flaw so that he would fix that and build a habit around not doing it anymore. And that’s what I’m doing with these.
I went to the Dale Carnegie Training. It was an eight-week training, once a week for eight weeks, three hours in the evening where we put into practice a lot of this. It was an excellent training. If you have the time to do that, I highly recommend it. And in that class, we read again this book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
And also in that class, the other book by Dale Carnegie that I have here is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. This is an incredible book as well because again as we try to induce this change in ourselves and in our situations and all that kind of stuff, we’re going to face obstacles like I just mentioned earlier from The Obstacle Is the Way. And this book helps you work through a lot of those things, work through those challenges that we’re going to face and take a proactive approach to it instead of worrying about what comes up. So, as you get into real estate investing or take your real estate investing further, you have problems come up with closings, appraisals, and all this kind of stuff—rehabbing contractors. And as you build your team and become a higher level investor, then you find you have organizational problems. And so this book teaches you how to stop worrying about that stuff and just fretting over things and figuring out how to get through it. I highly recommend it. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I read that also in that training again, and it was very well worth the read.
All right. So we’re on to Mastery. So this book is Mastery and it’s by George Leonard, author of The Way of Aikido. There’s another book out there I think from Greene, right? It’s a very famous book on mastery. Now, this one is really great. I remember at the beginning—where is it at—he talks about, “How do you best move toward mastery? To put it simply, you practice diligently, but you practice primarily for the sake of the practice itself.” So we’re learning how to do these things and trying to change our lives and we need to be interested in the process of doing that, the process of becoming a better investor, becoming a better father, becoming a better mother, becoming a better friend and all of those kinds of things. And so, better leader.
And I like the next chapter. It goes into, “Meet the Dabbler, the Obsessive, and the Hacker.” Now, what I like about that is this is a very eye opening thing because it talks about the level of people like get into things and how they approach. So let me read really quick. So the first one is the Dabbler. The Dabbler approaches each new sport, career opportunity, or relationship with enormous enthusiasm. He or she loves the rituals involved in getting started: the spiffy equipment, the lingo, the shine of newness. When he makes his first spurt of progress in a new sport, for example, the Dabbler is overjoyed. He demonstrates his form to family, friends, and people he meets on the street. He can’t wait for the next lesson. The falloff from his first peak comes as a shock. The plateau that follows is unacceptable if not incomprehensible. His enthusiasm quickly wanes. He starts missing lessons. His mind fills up with rationalizations.” Does that sound family? I’m sure a lot of us can relate to that. The next one is the Obsessive and the Hacker and all those things.
So, you can kind of find out where your personality fits in that and the book goes on to explain how to surrender and to understand yourself better to better achieve mastery at whatever you’re working on. Great book. Mastery by George Leonard.
Where are we at now? I think I’ve been through everything except for my last book, book #11 and then also Melissa’s bonus book, so two books. This last book from myself that I want to include in the list was Seneca, Letters from a Stoic. So you notice I do follow and like to read about a lot of the stoicism philosophy. And it’s really interesting to see how even though a lot of the stoicism stuff span from before Christ and after Christ, that a lot of the problems that people face these days were problems being faced by people back then. Things don’t change that much really from the perspective of living and improving yourself.
And Seneca, Letters from a Stoic. I love this book and the reason why I do is because these were letters that survive that he had written to Lucilius, I think. I don’t remember exactly what the relationship was. So they’re just letters that he had written with a lot of philosophical information in it, but the translation of this book is incredible because it’s very easy to read. Sometimes you read translations of things from Latin from philosophy, and it’s kind of hard to understand. The translation makes it tricky. They did really well on trying to get the true point across instead of trying to literally translate words.
And so, this book is a better read than most for philosophy. And the book teaches a lot of really great things and talks a lot about what’s important. He was very successful in his time, and it’s interesting his view on success and wisdom. What I got most out of that book was that what’s most important to us is to have a great character because nothing else really matters if you don’t have great character. Read the book though. I’ll save it for that. We’re already running a little bit long here at 17 minutes for this one, but check out the book. Even if you think, “Oh, I don’t want to read some philosophy book. It sounds kind of boring,” check it out. You just might like it. You just might get into it. And if you’re a dabbler, you might get really into it and go on order all these philosophy books and even a toga or something. Anyway, so Seneca, Letters from a Stoic.
And last book. This is the book that Melissa had read that she said, “I want all the ladies out there to know about this book.” It’s called You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I probably should’ve asked her what she liked about it, but she’s talked a lot about this book. It’s a self-help book for people who desperately want to improve their lives but don’t want to get busted doing it. “Identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want. Create a life you totally love and create it now. Make some damn money already, the kind you’ve never made before.” This is a great book. I think she liked just the attitude of the author and how empowering it is. So You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero.
Maybe I’ll do another episode with Melissa, and she can explain what she likes about that book. So check out that book. Who knows? I might even read it. So those are 11 books plus the bonus. You get 12 great books to set you up for this year. If you don’t already have a list of books to be reading, take note of all those. I’ll include them on the show notes page, flippingjunkie.com/99.
Now, let me share with you my process of getting the most out of these books. So maybe this has happened to you. You’ve read a book and you’re like, “Oh, that was awesome.” And you set it aside. And you’re like, “Oh, I got to remember that. I need to make sure I learned those lessons and do things that way.” And a couple of years goes by and you see the book on the shelf. You pick it up and say, “Oh yeah, man. There are so many good things in this book. I should probably re-read it again.” Maybe you re-read it and you think, “Oh, I should’ve followed some of this stuff. I don’t really—like I remember it but I don’t feel like actually using it.” And you start kicking yourself a little bit.
I still do that, but I found a little bit of a better process and this has to do with as I go through these books and I earmark pages that have things that I want to remember, things that I want to incorporate in how do things. And I earmark those pages and I don’t underline or note what the thing is on that page. I just quickly do that and keep reading. So when I’m done with the book, I go back to each of those dog-eared pages and I have to read the whole page to get the context and then find what it was that I thought was really worth remembering. And I will open a new journal entry and I use a digital one. I think it’s called Day One. It’s an app that I have on my iPhone. I can also use it on my Mac. It’s a journaling thing, and I journal almost every morning. It’s a great way to start your morning with clarity and thinking through the bigger picture of your business. So all flip pilots out there, you guys start journaling if you haven’t. It’s very helpful. It didn’t have to be more than five minutes every day, but what I can do in there is create a new journal entry. And I can take the notes from the book, and I can tag that journal entry with book notes and then the author and maybe the topic or subject or something like that. And so later in my journal, I can go back and I can look at all book notes and I can review those.
So on a regular basis, I go back in and read these and get those key ideas to try to remember and have all those there. I don’t have to re-read the book. I can get the key points out of it. It’s a great way to remember that stuff because you can review 10 or 20 books’ worth of stuff there and the time it takes to read a couple chapters again of a book you’ve already read in the past. So it’s a great way to organize that and have them in your journal and then be able to tag them so that you can see the different things and pull them together.
So if I tag one as leadership so the Leadership Axioms book by Bill Hybels and I take the notes in my journal, I can go back and look for leadership tag and read all the notes from books that I read about leadership. So it’s a very powerful way to organize all that kind of stuff. Maybe I’m a little bit too far into this. Get more out of the books that you read. And I hope that you’re reading and taking the opportunity to improve yourself and improve your position in life and all of that good stuff.
So thanks very much for being a part of the podcast. We’re going to be regularly producing the podcast episodes again every week, so stay tuned. Subscribe on iTunes if you haven’t yet. And if you would, leave us a rating or review on iTunes. I truly appreciate that. And the show notes page, flippingjunkie.com/99. Have a great day, great week, and talk to you next time [music].