Reading lots of books in 6 months

6 Improvements from Reading 29 Books in 6 Months

Erik Personal Development and Lifestyle, Thoughts of a Mastermind 13 Comments

Improvements from Reading 29 Books in 6 Months

Sitting in my bedroom on December 30th, 2016, I pondered what goals I should make for 2017 which would help me become the person I want to be in the future. I love reading books, so naturally, a goal to read a bunch of books was be a reasonable thought. I want to push myself to become better and my reading goal will help me do this. If I become better in the early stages of life, this will only help me in the later stages of my life (the power of compounding!).

So far, in the first 6 months of 2017, I’ve finished 29 books. There have been some noticeable improvements in my thoughts and life that I believe I can trace back to my reading. In this post, I want to share with you the 6 improvements I’ve noticed from reading 29 books in 6 months, share with you 7 quotes related to personal development and reading, and tell you about my thoughts for the 2nd half of 2017.

Note: I’ve probably started 10-15 other books and just haven’t finished them… I’m sure you can relate! 🙂

The 6 Improvements I’ve Noticed from Reading 29 Books in 6 Months

There are 6 main improvements I can point to that I’ve noticed from my reading. These improvements range from my thought processes, to my vocabulary, to my social interactions and communication. Below is a list of the 6 developments I’ve experienced:

  • Increased ability to comprehend complex ideas more easily
    • Growing up, comprehension was something I struggled with. On my ACT, I got in the 30s for math and science, but in the low 20s for reading and comprehension.
    • Now, I’m able to pick up on things much easier – be it at work, with friends, or in a book. Your brain is amazing at making connections with things it has learned in the past.
  • Clarity of thought
    • This is similar to the first point. When I lock in, I lock in – I’m able to get into flow state for 30 minutes to an hour each day and get a lot done.
  • Social situations slow down
    • When I’m out at a social event, I can see situations develop as they are happening. When I’m in a meeting at work, I’m more in tune with others emotions and thoughts. I have an increased level of patience, self awareness, and focus.
  • Enhanced ability to share my thoughts clearly
    • This is similar to social situations slowing down. People ask me about my thoughts and I’m not saying, “Umm, uh”, etc. I’m able to tell them what I’m thinking and move on to the next topic or question.
  • Increased perspective on the world and ability to show empathy more easily
    • I’ve tried to include many different genres and topics in my reading to get a diverse menu of books. I’ve read both fiction and non-fiction books, and I’ve included books about business, entrepreneurship, personal finance, self development, story books about life, social situations and emotional intelligence, conversation, and history. Changing things up helps to fend off burning out on one topic.
    • One example of a book that affected my perspective is The Art of AskingThe Art of Asking is about Amanda Palmer, a rockstar who went around the world living on other people’s couches. This is a completely different perspective than I experience in my day to day life. I have a new appreciation for the less fortunate.
  • Improved Vocabulary – both in diversity and depth
    • As mentioned above, growing up, I never had a large vocabulary and it was fine – my personality follows the thought “simple is better”. Now, I find myself having a diverse set of words at my disposal and I’m able to describe certain situations in more detail and color.

2017 has been a fantastic year for me in terms of personal development. I strongly urge you to start reading if you don’t already read. If you do read, what improvements have you noticed?

7 Quotes Helping Me on My Reading Journey

I love quotes. Here are 7 quotes which are helping me on my reading journey to read 75 books in 2017.

“Your level of personal development rarely exceeds your level of personal success, because success is something you attract by the person you become.” – Hal Elrod

“I keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long university education that I never had – every day I’m learning something new. – Richard Branson

“I don’t believe anyone can be “improved” by buying and reading a book. They can only be “improve, if that is the word, by their own actions.” – Felix Dennis

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Issac Newton

“To have more, you simply have to become more. Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better you have to get better!” – Jim Rohn

“Unapplied knowledge is no knowledge at all.” – Stephen R. Covey

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito

The 29 Books I Read in the First 6 Months of 2017

Here are the 29 books I read in the first 6 months of 2017 categorized by month. I’ve provided the high level takeaways and action steps for each of the books I read, as it isn’t enough just to read a book – it’s the actions that we take afterwards that makes it worth while.

The 8 Books I Read in January 2017

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

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Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I need to question the default if I want to think originally. I need to welcome criticism and feedback from peers, managers, and friends to gain a better perspective on the world around me. I should praise someone’s character instead of praising the action as this is more effective in studies.
Money Master the Game

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Money – Master the Game, by Tony Robbins
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: There is more to life than building wealth and making money. Giving your time and money to good causes can be as beneficial to you as making more money. I need to think big if I want to achieve financial freedom. I need to be smart about my investments; low fee funds, diversify, many income streams, etc.
Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari

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Modern Romance, by Aziz Ansari
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: It is best to treat people on dating apps like people and not screen shots. It is important to treat dating apps and introduction services vs. dating apps. Once the date has been set, wait until the date to continue the conversation. It may be best to see one person multiple times than multiple people one time.
Think Like a Freak

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Think Like a Freak, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: Make it okay to say “I don’t know” to things don’t know about; it’s better to follow-up and be correct than to fake it and be wrong. Experiments are the best way to get direct feedback on life. I want to experiment socially with my friends and family to help get an understanding of what makes others tick. This way I can make a bigger impact in their lives.
How to Get Rich, by Felix Dennis

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How to Get Rich, by Felix Dennis
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: The follow-through, the execution, is a thousand times more important than the idea. When I stop listening, I stop learning. If I’m unwilling to fail, I stand little chance of ever getting rich.
Shoe Dog

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Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: To be successful in business, a person has to take risks, be bold, and look to produce value for many people. I want to brainstorm ideas to think of potential products I could create and sell to others to make an impact on their lives.
How to Think about Money

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How to Think about Money, by Jonathan Clements
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I want to continue to leverage my day job paycheck to explore opportunities in real estate. I’m young and have many paychecks coming in the future; banks love younger individuals with solid income. I need to continue to save double digit percentages of my income to ensure I’m on pace to be able to have options financially in the near future.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build The Future

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Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I need to think for myself; I should look to gather information for myself and form an opinion using my own findings. If I want to start a business, I should look to dominate a niche market, versus squeezing a small percentage out of a large market. I should make definite plans for the future. Planning is essential to achieving your success; it keeps you accountable.

 

The 6 Books I Read in February 2017

The Kids Got it Right

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The Kids Got It Right, by Jim Dent
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: Be easy going and accepting of all people, no matter where they come from, what they do, or how they act. I have applied this at basketball on Saturday mornings: the guys I play with are from different cities, counties, backgrounds, and are different ages. By being open and a friend to all, I can create a fun environment.

Buy this Book!

Conversation Casanova, by Dave Perotta
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I’ve changed my mindset to assume everyone likes me. Mindset is extremely important. I now ask myself, “What do I like about this person”, when I’m chatting with someone. I try to lead in my interactions with others (not boss or command, but lead).
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: Humans are vulnerable to their stereotypes and prejudices. We are also capable of making smart, quick decisions with practice, rules, and repetition.
The Millionaire Real Estate Investor

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The Millionaire Real Estate Investor, by Gary Keller
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I’ve started building my network of professionals. After my leaky pipe incident, I connected with a handyman and have his number for the next repair. In addition, I’m looking for opportunities in the market; keeping a pulse on the marketplace allows you to understand the value of the properties in the area. It can also help you determine which properties would be a good deal or not.
The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson

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The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I approach every day as if it matters; I don’t want to waste any more days. I want to be consistent with my work, my investments, my friends, and this blog. No one can go from 0 to 100; it is always possible to go from 0 to 1, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, and finally 99 to 100. Consistency is key!
Stealing the Corner Office by Brendan Reid

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Stealing the Corner Office, by Brendan Reid
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I’m going to connect with my senior managers and learn their priorities. I’m going to continue to help my peers and look to get involved in bigger projects. Lastly, I’m going to keep learning about different topics of business, finance, accounting, and life, to gain a broader perspective on life.

The 5 Books I Read in March 2017

the end of jobs

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The End of Jobs, by Taylor Pearson
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways:
Starting a blog was a fantastic idea. I’m continuing to explore ways to make money outside of my 9 to 5. It is one of the best times in history to start a business and be an entrepreneur. I’m going to focus on growing this blog by providing value, to you (my reader), through content and products.
6 Months to 6 Figures

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6 Months to 6 Figures, by Peter Voogd
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I’m going to continue to shift my circle of influence. If I want to be a millionaire, I need to hang out with millionaires. I’m going to continue to be consistent each and every day on this blog and in my life. Life is made up of small decisions: making the right decisions daily will make you successful.
With Winning in Mind

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With Winning in Mind, by Lanny Bassham
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I’m focusing on positive reinforcement in my life. By focusing and not getting down on myself, I’ve been playing basketball at a higher level. In addition, I have a Directive Affirmation which is a specific goal to make $1,000 in passive income a month by July 1st 2017. I’m focusing on increasing traffic and learning about SEO.
the 5 love languages

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The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: I now know my love language is “acts of service”. When I reflected on my past relationships, I realized my “love tank” was most full when my girlfriend would plan a day for us, cook for me, or help me with chores. I want to be aware of my own language and look to figure out others’ love languages so I can be a better friend.
The Richest Man in Babylon

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The Richest Man in Babylon, by George Clason
Book Review
Action Steps and Takeaways: Personal Finance is about being consistent over time with your savings, expenses, and investments. My savings rate in 2017 is roughly 45%. I’m doing well, but can focus more on protecting my wealth through insurance. (umbrella policy and life insurance)

The 4 Books I Read in April 2017

Thinking Statistically

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Thinking Statistically
Book Review
Takeaways and Action Steps: Whenever working with data and performing statistical analysis, we ought to take care and ensure the assumptions we make are and procedures we employ in line with the goal of the analysis.
Money on demand

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Money on Demand
Book Review
Takeaways and Action Steps: Video and webinar sales pitches convert on average 10% vs. 1% for blogs and traditional pages. Webinars aren’t that difficult to produce and are personal, interactive, and just as informative as an e-book, blog, or e-course. In the coming weeks, I’m going to produce or assist in producing a webinar.
For One More Day

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For One More Day
Book Review
Takeaways and Action Steps: Life is short, don’t waste time on Earth. Work on cultivating the relationships with people who bring me the most joy. Family is #1 – your parents, grandparents, kids, and siblings are some of the only people who will be with you throughout your entire life.
The power of broke

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The Power of Broke
Book Review
Takeaways and Action Steps: Find a way to help others while also helping yourself. Apply the SHARK principles: set a goal, homework (do yours), adore what you do, remember you are a brand, and keep swimming, and you will be on your way to success.
The millionaire fastlane

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The Millionaire Fastlane
Book Review
Takeaways and Action Steps: I want to live like no one else so I can live like no one else. I’m fine waking up at 5 AM to put in work before my day job to grow my side hustles. Apply the the law of effection: to make millions, you must serve millions. Currently, I’m looking into leveraging the internet and building a following through this blog and Quora.
the art of asking

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The Art of Asking
Book Review
Takeaways and Action Steps: Don’t just look at people, see people! Everyone is unique and special – look them in the eye and show them respect. Also, people want to help, we should be open to asking for help!

The 6 Books I Read in May 2017

Skill with People

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Skill with People
Book Review
Takeaways: Focus on talking to people about their favorite subject (themselves), critique people skillfully, and be a leader in my interactions by setting other people’s moods appropriately.
five people meet in heaven

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The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Book Review
Takeaways: Every event and every situation is connected. What happens through your eyes can be completely different than what happens through someone else’s eyes. People have different perspectives, different experiences, and come from different places; it is our duty to realize this to lead our interactions to see the world through other people’s eyes.
Content Inc

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Content Inc.
Book Review
Takeaways: There are 6 steps to building a content based business. Right now, The Mastermind Within needs to keep building its audience through freebies and providing excellent value.
The Everything Store

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The Everything Store
Book Review
Takeaways: Constantly focus to provide value to the customer (you the reader), be frugal and careful with my funds, and work diligently each and every day towards my goals.

0 Books Read in June

I didn’t finish any books in June as I was prioritizing my day job, my side hustles, and balancing this with different social events.

Thoughts for the Second Half of 2017 and Conclusion on Improvements from Reading 29 Books in 6 Months

I’m a little bit behind the pace for completing my goal of reading 75 books in 2017. I’ll need to read 7 books a month to meet the goal, and while this is within reason, it will require strong time management and focus. Each person has only 168 hours during the week – balancing 40-45 hours of work, this blog, friends and family, my personal development, and my side hustles is a tough, but I’m getting the hang of it.

In the second half of 2017, I’m going to continue to introduce a diverse set of books to my reading list. In particular, I want to dive into social psychology and sales, some stories on financial markets, and exploring alternative ways to build wealth. There are three types of books:

  • Theory books
    • Similar to textbooks, theory books are about the details of a certain topic
  • Story books
    • Biographies, autobiographies, fiction stories, or books on stories talking about past events.
  • Idea books
    • General overviews of a broad topic and commentary on various ideas and trends.

By mixing and matching within these three, we can achieve a solid balance.

I think 1 book a week with a book review would be the best balance for me going forward. That being said, I think that can be in 2018 😉 I’ve finished 2 books so far in July and haven’t written up those book reviews. I’m behind the curve, time to start churning out those book reviews!

Readers: how are you doing on your personal development goals for 2017?

Erik

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Comments 13

  1. Wow! So many great books listed. Several I’ve heard of or read, and a ton I haven’t. I’m excited to look into these and read a couple 🙂

    I like that you’re mixing up the types of books. It’s certainly good to have a passion for a specific topic and become an expert, but I appreciate different perspectives and considerations. Reading a variety of books helps with that.

    Thanks for sharing!

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      Hey Amy, thanks for the question – Originals, Shoe Dog, The 5 Love Languages. All are different but had lasting effects on my thought processes. The 5 Love Languages in particular is fantastic as it explains so much about human relationships!

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      Author

      It’s more about an increased focus on my conversations and interactions, which I believe corresponds to being able to focus in on a book. We take in lots of information each day through different stimuli – reading has helped me in seeing the trend vs. the noise.

      The Hal Elrod quote is my favorite 🙂

  2. 29 books read for six months is amazing Erik. I think that sometimes there can be a lot of things happening in our lives and we need to proritize what’s more important. Balance is the key.

    For this rest of 2017, I will try to do more social media marketing to promote my blog. So far, I am seeing some results with my twitter followings and organizing web traffic from Google. Hopefully, I can build more momentum going forward.

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  3. Erik, congratulations! This is truly a great feat! If I only had more time to read myself. Most of my “reading books” is with audio books with my commute — and the fact that being daddy trumps reading for now. Keep it up in the 2nd half of 2017.

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      Thanks for the comment Dave – I count audio books as reading 🙂 I had a 10 hour car trip this past weekend and listened to a book which I will do a book review on shortly 🙂

  4. Thanks for the action steps for each book. That’s a really cool idea for summarizing takeaways. I also like the idea of mixing up different genres or subjects. I found when I was trying to read a lot on one particular issue I would slow down and take longer to get through everything. Mixing it up allows you to stay interested and get through a lot more.

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      Thanks Matt for stopping by – mixing it up with many things in life makes a lot of sense as well! Have some tacos today and maybe a pizza tomorrow 🙂

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