8 Audiobooks I Listened to in 2018 (Part 2)

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Happy Resource Friday!

Recently, I wrote a post titled 8 Audiobooks I Listened to in 2018 (Part 1). This is a continuation of that post with 8 more books I listened to in 2018! It’s very similar to the one I made about the 21 impactful books I read last year. Because of my 45 minute drive to and from work, I have lots of time to learn in the car from audiobooks. I use Libby (which I have reviewed here on the blog), a library app that allows you to borrow audiobooks and ebooks for free.

Here are 8 of the books I listened to last year and the reasons I liked or disliked them.

Click on the title in order to find out more information on each book.

1. Crush it! by Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is an incredibly intelligent marketer and an entertaining author. In his book Crush It!, he talks passionately about the new economy in which we live and how the markets change. It’s chock full of pointers for following your passion by working unbelievably hard and taking advantage of the tools we now have.

One thing I really like about his books is that he fills them with his own experiences selling wine online when no one else was. He speaks from experience and helps the reader (or listener for that matter) avoid the issues he faced.

2. One Nation by Dr. ben Carson

Ben Carson is an incredibly thoughtful individual and it’s made clear through his book One Nation. Carson tackles multiple aspects of American society and how we can all do little things to benefit the nation. Some of the topics include the government, health care, taxes, and the economy,

This was a particularly interesting book to listen to because of Dr. Carson’s presidential run back in 2016. It convinced me that Carson had a thoughtful and knowledgeable plan when he ran for president. From his book, I got to learn a bit more about his proposed strategies at the time.

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3. sprint by jake Knapp

I absolutely love business strategy. Jack Knapp’s book Sprint covers just that. Knapp argues that if companies complete a “sprint” for their new product or service before actually offering it, they’ll find out if the idea is actually viable or not very quickly.

Then time and resources won’t have to be wasted on a project. But the idea may move forward if the sprint reveals ways in which the product or service can be made better.

I got this book recommendation from my pastor who participates in a monthly book club. Right now, I’m using these principles with my sister to test some ideas for a business we want to run.

4. Onward by howard Schultz

I love coffee. I don’t think the caffeine does much for me because I can drink coffee in the evening and it doesn’t affect me. But I still love the coffee. That’s where my interest in this book came from.

Written by the founder of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, Onward is a captivating story about the difficult choices that had to be made to grow the brand, especially through the 2008 recession. I find books like this give me a special affinity to a particular brand because it connects me to their story. This book was no exception.

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5. Killing Kennedy by Bill O’reilly

I picked up this book partly due to my fascination with history and partly because of how much I’ve heard about the Killing ____ series by Bill O’Reilly. Whether you like O’Reilly or not, he’s an excellent historian who has a knack for telling historical narratives with as much accuracy as possible.

Killing Kennedy was a fascinating look at everything that was going on during Kennedy’s presidential term civil rights, the space race, etc. That’s what I like about books like this. It gives reasons for why certain events happened and how they connected to other events. I enjoyed this listen. I’m not a big fan of Kennedy’s character, but there’s no question that he was an incredibly dynamic and well-liked leader at the time.

6. killing Lincoln by Bill O’reilly

As I began this book (and consequently when I listened to many other O’Reilly books), I realized how bad it would look if the NSA was watching me.

“What the heck? Now he’s listening to a bunch of books about historical leaders being assassinated. We better keep a better eye on him.”

Having said that, I wasn’t so much interested in the fact that these leaders were assassinated as I was in the events leading up to these assassinations. What events caused the assassins to break and how do all the pieces fit together? Killing Lincoln certainly did not disappoint as O’Reilly gave much background about the end of the civil war and the effect on the presidency.

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7. The Aviators by Winston Groom

I’m guessing it’s obvious I got into a history funk. This book was highly recommended to me by my cousin. Since I like airplanes, I was easily convinced.

I absolutely LOVED The Aviators. I loved it so much I listened to it twice. Groom covers in great detail the major impact each of three pilots had on aviation — Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, and Charles Lindbergh.

The reason I loved this book so much is because it not only tells a story about each pilot as they flew through the world wars — it helps the reader understand the significance of each contribution and how it affected other industries and events. The Aviators is a MUST read.

8. Side Hustle by Chris Guillebeau

Chris Guillebeau has a podcast called The Side Hustle School where he talks about the side hustles of thousands of people and how these hustles transformed the lives of their owners. I like variety in my work, so I like talking side hustles.

This book is practical if you are working a normal job but want to get into another space — maybe one in which you have a lot more passion. As the subtitle suggests, Guillebeau will help you start up your side hustle and create income in 27 days. I recommend it if you want to spice up life and gather some small business ideas!

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Learn every day

I want you to make an effort to learn every day. It takes work, it really does. Unfortunately for me, I am not able to read the number of physical books this year that I did last year. So audiobooks have become a necessary supplement. Plus, on 1.5x speed, you can blow through books like never before!

Check out Libby today and listen to these books for free!

What is your favorite book you’ve read?

I want to hear from you in the comments below! And if you found any value in this post, give it a like and me a follow!

-Caleb

this free email gives you an entertaining look into what’s happening every day

This is an email that I get every morning that updates me in an entertaining way of the happenings in the world. It’s a long form email but it’s easy to skim and pick up the information you find interesting or relevant. Plus it’s a great way to support the blog and won’t cost you anything!


 

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8 Audiobooks I Listened to in 2018 (Part 1)

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Happy Resource Friday!

Today I thought I would give a short outline of some of the books I listened to in 2018 in a similar post to the one I made about the 21 impactful books I read last year. Because of my 45 minute drive to and from work, I have lots of time to learn in the car from audiobooks. I use Libby (which I have reviewed here on the blog), a library app that allows you to borrow audiobooks and ebooks for free.

Here are 8 of the books I listened to last year and the reasons I liked or disliked them.

Click on the title in order to find out more information on each book.

1. Living Forward by Michael Hyatt

I’ve talked about this book several times. I loved this book because it helped me and Bailey develop life plans that give direction for the future. It takes the reader through a process that helps them write their eulogy (really? yes) and create “Life Accounts” to make priorities.

You can read my full review here!

2. The 4-hour workweek by Tim Ferriss

Ferriss puts a ton of information in his book with some good tips for automation within business, allowing someone to make passive income and work very little. I found that it was interesting because it shows what is possible in today’s age of technology.

This is not one of my favorite books mainly because of how it’s written. Though Ferriss gives a lot of information about how to automate your own business, I just didn’t find the way the content was conveyed particularly engaging.

3. necessary endings by Dr. Henry Cloud

I’ve heard Dr. Henry Cloud talk on many occasions mostly through You Tube videos and podcasts. Cloud is a deep thinker when it comes to human psychology and really puts ideas into simple-to-understand writing.

Necessary Endings covers the ways we can end things in our lives. It focuses on how these endings can help us grow into healthier individuals. Any number of things can require necessary endings — chapters of life, careers, toxic relationships, etc. Cloud does an excellent job of covering these topics in great depth.

4. When by Daniel Pink

Staying in the vein of psychology, I have several books by Daniel Pink, a behavioral psychologist and proficient author. When is a book that tackles the idea that when we do things actually matters. He uses tons of examples to paint a clear picture of how most of us don’t do things at the right times, making our professional and personal lives far less efficient and enjoyable.

Something as simple as the kind of work we do at different times of the day. One example he used was talking about the natural highs and lows of concentration throughout someone’s day. Most people are going to be able to focus on analytical tasks better in the morning, then will have to tackle more menial tasks like email in the slump of the afternoon. I loved this book and I think you will too!

5. Permission to screw up by Kristen Hadeed

Some books are made up of information about how to do something (like the first four books in this blog post). Permission to Screw Up is not one, following more of a narrative through the author’s mistakes of growing a business. Books like this are easy to listen to because it’s made up almost entirely of stories.

Hadeed follows her business from the very beginning to the point she is now, emphasizing her mistakes in leadership, finances, scaling and many other topics. Books about experience, not just theory, are particularly memorable to me and this one was no exception.

6. economics in one lesson by henry hazlitt

I am fascinated by economics. Normally, I check reviews about books before reading or listening to them but I just tried this one for the heck of it. It’s more than 50 years old and it’s about economics so it definitely has a different type of language in it.

Having said that, if you want to learn more about economics and how even a minor change in government or society can affect the economy, read this book! Hazlitt does an excellent job of organizing this book so it makes sense. Thus, it’s an easy one to follow. And it gives some great points on economy that you can use to impress your friends at the next political discussion.

7. Never split the difference by chris voss

This is a mindblowingly simple book to follow and understand which is why I love it so much! We all understand the necessity of good negotiating skills and this book will make you far more confident in your ability to negotiate better pay, a car sale or even just day to day interactions.

Voss’s book is incredibly entertaining because, being an ex-FBI hostage negotiator, he has story after story of their team saving hostage lives, not through force but through psychological intelligence. I loved this book so much that I listened to it twice!

8. crucial conversations by various authors

I read another book by these same authors last year called Influencer and liked it a lot (can you tell I only read books I think I will like a lot? I have a limited amount of time so what can I say..). This book uses many examples to convey simple strategies for hitting the home run when communicating with people during awkward or tough conversations.

It’s a practical book that will give you more confidence about how to not avoid confrontation when confrontation is what will move a relationship forward (or create a necessary ending!).

Learn every day

I want you to make an effort to learn every day. It takes work, it really does. Unfortunately for me, I am not able to read the number of physical books this year that I did last year. So audiobooks have become a necessary supplement. Plus, on 1.5x speed, you can blow through books like never before!

Check out Libby today and listen to these books for free!

What is your favorite book you’ve read?

I want to hear from you in the comments below! And if you found any value in this post, give it a like and me a follow!

-Caleb

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3 Strategies to Solve Paralyzing Decisions

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Decision-making can really keep you up at night. In this post, I want to give you three strategies to solve paralyzing decisions.

My sister, Atalie, recently decided to start working full-time in ministry. There’s a mission organization called International Friendships Incorporated that matches up international students with local families over holidays. They also lead events and Bible studies for students during the school year.

My family has been involved with IFI for several years so they asked Atalie if she would be interested in coming on full-time as a part of their small media team. There was a catch:

She would have to fundraise her entire salary.

Here’s a little tidbit about the Bale family: we are not exactly sales-people. The prospect of convincing enough people that her ministry time was worth their hard-earned money was (and still is) utterly terrifying to Atalie.

She prayed about it, sought out advice, looked at her ministry goals, and made the decision. She just completed training for fundraising strategies last week. This prompted me to think a bit about how we can handle decisions effectively.

How can I solve decisions effectively?

Decision making is so hard! I’m certainly no pro at it. But based on much reading and discussion with others who have much more experience, here are some major strategies to help in the decision-making process.

1. Seek God’s Guidance

If you are a person of faith, this will have much more impact on you. If you are not, I don’t expect that this will make much sense. As a Christian, I believe that God is a divine being that has a plan for my life. I want to follow that plan to the absolute best of my ability. Thus, when making a decision, I want to ensure it’s in line with God’s will.

Henry Blackaby makes some excellent points about decision making in his book Experiencing God. He has four chapters that outline decisions. In them, he describes that God speaks:

  1. Through the Bible
  2. Through prayer
  3. Through circumstances
  4. Through the church

When these four line up, it is clear that this is the direction God is calling you to go.

It is crucial to look at everything through the lens of the Bible. Even though a decision may appear to be clear, it might not be the right one. Blackaby communicates this warning with this:

Christians often talk about “open” and “closed doors,” asking God to close a door if they are not headed in the right way. While it is admirable to seek indications of God’s desires, the danger in this thinking lies in assuming that God’s will is always the path of least resistance (i.e., the open door).

-Henry Blackaby, Experiencing God (p. 113)

2. Seek the input of trusted advisors

The pastor of my church (Pasto D as I call him) has what he calls “A personal board of directors.” Just as a company leader must go to the board of directors to gain their approval of a new plan or large expense, Pasto D does the same. When faced with the decision to move his family from a 45-minute drive to church to a 3-minute commute, Pasto D asked each board member for his or her opinion.

Some members are close friends, some are pastors, one is a physician. They come from different backgrounds and have spoken into Pasto D’s life in some way. They give unique perspectives on how large decisions will affect his and his family’s life.

Now, I’m not saying that you have to develop a personal board of directors. But making a list of people you trust and who have a good reputation will give you some direction when making your next decision. My biggest suggestion (at least to those my age) is to ensure that almost all (if not all) of your advisors are individuals who have a lot more life experience than you. A lot more.

3. Look at your goals and where you want to go in life

Something I’ve recommended in previous posts is developing a life plan based on Michael Hyatt’s book Living Forward.

Hyatt says one of the benefits of creating a life plan and reviewing it regularly is that it will make big decisions easier when comparing to the direction you want to go.

A Life Plan will enable you to filter your opportunities and focus on what matters most. […] Things didn’t change overtight, but I suddently had the clarity—whcih gave me the courage—to manage my opporunities rather than be managed by them. I was finally able to say yes to what truly mattered and no to (almost) everything else.

-Michael Hyatt, Living Forward (p. 49)

Is the decision you’re trying to make taking you in the direction of your long-term goals?

Make a choice and move forward (or stay where you are)

The point is, making decisions is hard but if you don’t let them paralyze you, you will make progress.

One thing I must note as a person of faith is this: Sometimes God’s plan is completely opposite of ours. Look in the Bible for time after time after time where God’s plan didn’t align with their desires—Moses, Elijah, and even Jesus before he was crucified.

Sometimes what want to do is in line with our future plans but not with God’s—and God’s plan should always trump ours.

So easy to say but not easy to live out.

Unfortunately, life is uncertain and decisions still aren’t clear after having made them. Atalie still isn’t sure she’s in the right place. But as the Bible says in Romans,

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

What decision you are trying to make right now?

I want to hear from you in the comments below! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

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This is an email that I get every morning that updates me in an entertaining way of the happenings in the world. It’s a long form email but it’s easy to skim and pick up the information you find interesting or relevant. Plus it’s a great way to support the blog and won’t cost you anything!


The best way to get physical books

If you like to read, I highly recommend Thriftbooks. It’s a great way to get discounted books for a fraction of what you might pay on Amazon. I’ve bought over $150 of books from them in the past two years and have had zero complaints! Plus you can get 15% off your first order!


Perfect graduation gift

I’m really liking my Panda Planner. I’m learning how to use it to make my time more productive. It would make a great gift for a new graduate! Especially those who are heading into college and don’t know how to plan out their time accordingly.

How to be Great By Choice (Jim Collins’ Way)

Jim Collins is one of my all-time favorite authors. He wrote (with the help of a research team) the bestselling books Good to Great, Great by Choice, Built to Last, and How the Mighty Fall. He constructs his books in an easy-to-understand way and makes the topic of business incredibly interesting. For today’s Resource Friday, let’s look at Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos andLuck — Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.

Let’s jump in!

Collins starts by defining the kind of leader that is at the head of the successful companies researched — The 10X Leader.

The 10x leader: core behaviors

  1. Fantastic discipline: 10x leaders have an extreme focus on their goals and the consistent actions necessary to accomplish them.
  2. Empirical creativity: When faced with challenges, 10x leaders react using creative solutions based on observation, not theory.
  3. Productive paranoia: 10x leaders maintain a healthy level of pessimism. They are extremely aware of problems that may arise and how to combat them.

Each of these behaviors is carried into the company cultures of the successful companies researched. Let’s look!

Fantastic Discipline: The 20 Mile March

Collins uses the analogy of a long, seemingly monotonous march of 20 miles to communicate how these successful companies accomplished greatness. 10x companies don’t make rash decisions in order to gain a quick profit.

Through their research, Collins’ team regularly found that the companies being researched had long periods of consistency. They had clear performance goals and accomplished those goals with extreme regularity.

“A 20 Mile March needn’t be financial. You can have a creative march, a learning march, a service-improvement march, or any other type of march, as long as it has the primary characteristics of a good 20 Mile March” – Jim Collins, Great by Choice (p. 65)

Southwest Airlines was one example of this fantastic discipline. They remained profitable for 30 years straight, even through 9/11 and the uncertainty that followed. No other major airline has done this!

Empirical Creativity: Start with Bullets, End with Cannonballs

Collins uses the analogy of shooting bullets to communicate the idea of hitting a target before shooting cannonballs. The bullet is a test; the cannonball is a business venture.

According to Collins, here are characteristics of a bullet in business: Bullets are low cost, low risk, and low distraction. (p. 81)

Low cost: The bullet doesn’t take a lot of capital resources.

Low risk: There aren’t any significant consequences if the bullet doesn’t hit the target.

Low distraction: The bullet doesn’t take too much attention away from the main business needs.

Productive Paranoia: Prepare for the Worst

10x companies prepare for the worst in order to avoid risk. According to Collins, 10x companies keep about 3-10 times the amount of cash on hand as comparable companies.

Collins gives an example of Intel, one of their successful companies researched:

“By the late 1990s, Intel’s cash position had soared to more than $10 billion, reaching 40 percent of annual revenues (whereas AMD’s cash-to-revenue ratio hovered at less than 25 percent).” – Jim Collins, Great by Choice (p. 104)

Great Read for All Business Lovers

I loved this book because it got into the nitty gritty of business. I’m an engineer so I like numbers and quantifiable things. This book isn’t based on theory like a lot of business books. Collins uses research and numbers to back up his claims.

If you love learning about business, I’d highly recommend it!

What’s your favorite business book?

I want to hear from you in the comments down below! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

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Support the blog!

Those who support the blog are my heroes to some extent. My book is one way to support the blog but if that isn’t applicable to you, check out these companies I am affiliated with.

I love reading and I hope you can enjoy the process of learning through books as much as I do. If you want to support the blog, grab your next book from Thriftbooks! This is where I get almost every hard copy book I read (spent over $120 there in the last 1.5 years). You’ll get good deals on your favorite reads as well as free shipping on orders over $10!


Do you like to be organized with a daily planner? Panda Planner is the one that I like to use! And if you use code MOM15 in checkout, you’ll recieve 15% off your first planner!


Graduate Gift: The Book Graduated and Clueless is on Sale!

book for graduates

Around every graduation, I put my book Graduated and Clueless: How to live like an adult when life is confusing on sale on Amazon. Now is the time to get it for the graduates you know!

Right now, the ebook is on sale for $0.99 and the paperback is on sale for $6.99.

This book was a real passion project for me. When I was nearing graduation from college, I had no idea how to handle anything from housing to retirement savings. So I wrote a book outlining my experiences combined with a ton of wisdom from those I know and those whose books I read.

My book contains chapters on housing, job searching, insurance, finances, retirement, time management, dating, marriage and more!

I truly hope that others learn from it and don’t experience the level of cluelessness I did when exiting the college atmosphere.

Support the blog!

Those who support the blog are my heroes to some extent. My book is one way to support the blog but if that isn’t applicable to you, check out these companies I am affiliated with.

I love reading and I hope you can enjoy the process of learning through books as much as I do. If you want to support the blog, grab your next book from Thriftbooks! This is where I get almost every hard copy book I read (spent over $120 there in the last 1.5 years). You’ll get good deals on your favorite reads as well as free shipping on orders over $10!


Do you like to be organized with a daily planner? Panda Planner is the one that I like to use! And if you use code MOM15 in checkout, you’ll recieve 15% off your first planner!


5 Negotiation Strategies from an FBI Negotiator

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Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Happy Resource Friday! Last year, I listened to an interview with a former FBI hostage negotiator. I heard who the interview was with and my attention was immediately piqued. It proved to be one of those holy-crap-I-forgot-I-was-driving types of interviews. I was completely engrossed and got his book.

The book is Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if your life depended on it by Chris Voss (you can get it from Thriftbooks or even listen to it on the app called Libby as I did!).

First, I’m going to say this was an utterly fascinating read! I highly recommend it, not just for the practical advice in the area of negotiation but also for the sheer entertainment of it. Voss’s book is riddled with story after story of saving hostages from fanatic criminals.

Having said that, here are five unbelievably simple and practical negotiation strategies I took from this book. Take them into your next job interview or vehicle purchase!

1. Mirror, mirror, and mirror again

man and woman negotiate a deal
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

This is a technique used by negotiators to get the opponent to keep talking. Negotiators love this because the more their opponent talks, the more information they can glean from their opponent’s circumstances. Basically, it works like this: When your opponent says something, counter by repeating their last few words in the form of a question.

This causes the other individual to unconsciously continue to speak because it feels like there’s more that needs to be said, even when there isn’t. As Voss says on page 47, “Negotiation is not an act of battle; it’s a process of discovery. The goal is to uncover as much information as possible.”

Mirroring is what this stage is about—discovering information in a way that doesn’t feel threatening. It allows you to move forward in the negotiation knowing more about the motivation of the other individual.

Mirroring, then, when practiced consciously, is the art of insinuating similarity. “Trust me,” a mirror signals to another’s unconscious, “You and I—we’re alike.”

Never Split the Difference (p. 36)

2. Use empathy to label emotions

woman talks emotionally to another woman while drinking coffee
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

People want to be understood and when they do, that opens up a certain connection in relationships. Labeling emotions does just that. Voss says this on page 56,

Labels can be phrased as statements or questions. The only difference is whether you end the sentence with a downward or upward inflection. But no matter how they end, labels almost always begin with roughly the same words:

It seems like…

It sounds like…

It looks like…

He continues by telling a story about one of his students who worked as a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts. With one woman, she had a particularly difficult time landing a donation.

Sensing the potential donor’s growing frustration, and wanting to end on a positive note so they might be able to meet again, my student used another label. “It seems that you are really passionate about this gift and want to find the right project reflecting the opportunities and life-changing experiences the Girl Scouts gave you.”

And with that, this “difficult” woman signed a check without even picking a specific project. “You understand me,” she said as she got up to leave. “I trust you’ll find the right project.”

Never Split the Difference (p. 63)

3. Give them the feeling of control

man in control as he negotiates a deal
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

This is done in a couple of very specific ways.

  • Crafting questions so that they answer “No.”

People need to feel in control. When you preserve a person’s autonomy by clearly giving them the permission to say “No” to your ideas, the emotions calm, the effectiveness of the decisions go up, and the other party can really look at your proposal.

Never Split the Difference (p. 78-79)
  • Getting them to say “That’s right.”

Voss encourages his readers, when negotiating, to reiterate what their opponent says out loud. This helps their opponent understand that they are listened to. The goal of this is to get the opponent to say “That’s right.” This saying has similar effects on the brain as saying “No.”

Essentially, it makes the opponent feel that they are in control of the situation. Voss makes note that when someone says “You’re right” instead of “That’s right,” they are far more likely attempting to shut down the conversation quickly. Questions that bring this answer should be avoided at all cost.

4. Let them solve your problems for you

man stressed about a problem he's facing
Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

Voss firmly suggests that calibrated questions will make negotiations for you much easier because they shift your problems onto your opponent to solve themselves.

For example, Voss tells several stories about hostage situations where the hostile demands large sums of money in exchange for the hostage’s life. The author used calibrated questions to place all the work back on the hostile to solve the problem the hostile created. Questions like “How am I supposed to know you haven’t killed her?” or “We don’t have that kind of money. How do you expect me to pay that to you?” Frequently, this caused the hostile to slip up, give information not known before, or as was the case in countless situations, the hostile accepted far less money than they demanded in the first place. All because they didn’t know how to respond.

5. Set an extreme anchor

two people determine a contract to sign
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Set an extreme anchor by going first in a negotiation and making an extreme offer.

This psychologically changes how your opponent will continue in the negotiation. When negotiating the price of a new car, for instance, setting an extreme anchor on the low side will give you the flexibility to work your negotiation to the price for which you are actually shooting. On page 206, Voss suggests starting at 65% of the price you are hoping to achieve. Then, move to 85%, 95% and 100% of the price you would like as the salesman continues to negotiate.

Then, to signify your final offer, make your offer a seemingly weird number.

When calculating the final amount, use precise, nonround numbers like, say, $37,893 rather than $38,000. It gives the number credibility and weight.

Never Split the Difference (p. 206)

The most important thing to remember when negotiating

The part of the book that rings out most clearly in my memory is when the author states that the goal of learning to become a good negotiator is not to be a manipulator.

As Voss puts it, your reputation precedes you.

If someone believes you have manipulated them or they are bitter of a negotiation they made with you, they will never work with you again and they will tell their friends about it. Yes, some of this sounds manipulative, I’ll admit. However, you must remember that the goal is not to manipulate because that is not good practice in areas of business, relationships, etc. Being a jerk won’t get you very far.

Read this book this year!

I highly recommend this book because of how practical the advice is. The stories that the author portrays really helps solidify the strategies he has used to literally save peoples’ lives! The thing is, his stories aren’t just about negotiating for hostages—he has stories that prove his strategies work in business as well. I could barely stop reading it (I call that an excellent book) and have read it twice to help the material soak in more fully. It’s that good!

What have you negotiated for and how did it go?

I want to hear from you in the comments! And as always, if you found value in this post, give it a like and give me a follow!

-Caleb

Thanks to rawpixel.com from Pexels for the main image!

Get Your Free to Focus Book While You Can Still Get Bonuses!

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Hello from Saturday!

I want to share a deal I am taking advantage of while you still can as well. It’s for productivity expert Michael Hyatt’s new book titled Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less. Here’s the deal: If you purchase his book from anywhere that sells it and submit your reciept to his company before the end of today, you will get a ton of bonuses.

For one, you will get the audiobook for Free to Focus if you really aren’t a reader. You’ll also get an ebook copy of another of his more recent books titled Your Best Year Ever. Those alone are worth the price of the book.

Here’s a list of all the bonuses you’ll recieve if you jump on the deal now! (And I should say, I don’t recieve any commission from this at all.)

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That’s a lot of resources to help boost your productivity. 

I like Hyatt’s content quite a bit because it’s practical and beneficial for the every day. In fact, I just wrote yesterday about another one of his books titled Living ForwardHe’s an excellent author with a wealth of information he loves to share. I hope you choose to check out his work!

-Caleb

How to Live Forward Everyday (Book Review)

Image result for living forward

This blog post contains affiliate links.

Happy Resource Friday! I’m excited to share a book with you all that I loved (and happens to be an easy read).

It’s called Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy.

I like Hyatt because of the genuine nature with which he communicates his ideas and experience. I’ve read a couple of his books, but this one is the most exciting because it tackles the future.

I love talking about the future.

The premise of his book Living Forward is that if we don’t make a plan for where we want to go in life, we will drift in whatever direction life takes us. I wrote about this topic in a recent post.

It’s very similar to an analogy I heard on Ken Coleman’s career plan podcast. Most everyone wants to climb the company ladder, however, if you don’t plan properly, you may reach the top of the ladder only to find it’s on the wrong building.

Living forward starts with a “life Plan”

This book is all about developing your “life plan”; a plan that outlines how you want people to remember you, what goals you want to accomplish, and how you want to spend your time and money.

Here are the main points in developing your own life plan because everyone’s is different. None look identical!

1. Write your eulogy (I know, kinda dark)

This is an understandably weird-feeling step in developing a life plan. However, in an attempt to engineer your life backward, you need to know what you want to be said when you’re dead (nice rhyme, huh?).

This means listing out all the people that you care about whether they are God, your spouse, your children, your friends or your colleagues. What do you want each group to remember most about you? Your personality? Your service? Preparing one’s own eulogy is rather sobering, however, it really jumpstarts the thinking in relation to the rest of the life plan.

2. determine your life accounts

This falls into the chapter titled “Determine Your Priorities” and compares each priority to a separate bank account in which you can make deposits and withdraws alike. Hyatt gives a list of 9 basic life accounts to get you started.

  1. Vocational
  2. Marital
  3. Spiritual
  4. Intellectual
  5. Social
  6. Financial
  7. Physical
  8. Parental
  9. Avocational

The biggest thing to remember is that, in Hyatt’s own words, “Your Life Accounts are unique to you.” In the examples Hyatt gives from real people’s life plans, Life Accounts vary drastically from his suggestions to accounts like Creating, Pets, Teaching, and Adventure.

What’s most important to you? No worries, your Life Accounts can change over time!

3. develop an action plan for each account

Thanks to picjumbo.com from Pexels for the photo!

The action plan is where specifics come in. It contains several sections to provide context for your account. Again, these may vary. However, these are the general sections of the action plan.

  1. Purpose Statement
  2. Envisioned Future
  3. Inspiring Quote
  4. Current Reality
  5. Specific Commitments

Your action plan is where the change really starts. It gives you everything you need to begin a new journey. The action plan provides you a reason for that journey (purpose statement). It gives you an idea of what it will be like to succeed (envisioned future). It provides inspiration from others ahead of you (inspiring quote). It helps you understand how far you are away from that goal (current reality). And it gives you a list of actions in order to make the desired change (specific commitments).

keep looking at the life plan after you make it

The important thing is to review the life plan regularly. At least once a year, however, the more often you review it, the more your goals will be at the front of your thinking.

I loved this book. Go figure. If you have read much of my writing, you probably could have guessed it. I recommend this book to anyone who is afraid that where they are going in life isn’t where they actually want to be. Bailey and I are working on finishing up our life plans. Let me tell you, it gave both of us something tangible to talk about relative to the future and it also produced a TON of excitement for our goals.

What is your biggest life goal that you want to accomplish?

I want to hear from you! As always, give this post a like and give me a follow if you found the information in it valuable!

-Caleb

If you want to snag a copy of Living Forward, I recommend getting it from Thriftbooks. I got my copy for $4 and it is still in near-new condition. And if you purchase more than $10 of books, you will score free shipping straight to your house! I LOVE FREE SHIPPING.


No Time to Read? Here’s How to Do it Through Your Ears for Free

I love reading ever since I graduated college. I’m a big advocate for it now as seen by my many blog posts about it (see books I read last year and my way to read my way to leadership).

I firmly believe that if you read, you’re more likely to grow personally and professionally. So far, my issue this year is that I have had a huge project at work. I’ve been putting in overtime and haven’t had much time to read, despite my love for it. That’s why I listen to audio books.

I used to avoid audio books because if I bought them, they were pretty expensive. That is, until a friend of mine told me about Libby.

Libby is an app that will allow you to login using your current library card number, then you can borrow audio books and eBooks for free! Last year alone, I listened to over 20 audio books on my way to and from work. Now that was a great way to take advantage of the opportunity cost of driving that far for work!

Libby’s a great app and I highly recommend it. Overdrive is another app that is very similar. If you want to read and learn but don’t feel like you have the time necessary for it, check out these apps. You’re missing out otherwise!

21 Impactful Books I Read This Year

This morning, I FINISHED the reading goal that I set back in January! This year I read 21 books. Here’s a short clip of my opinion of each one!

One quick thing. I liked almost all of the books I read for various reasons. I try not to pick up a book if I think I’ll hate it. Thus, most of my opinions are positive. Every book was impactful, however, some were certainly more than others.

The Treasure Principle – Randy Alcorn

This was the first book I read of 2018. It really got me into a generosity mindset. It drives home an eternal perspective of material wealth from a Biblical worldview. If you like books that will help you grow in your faith as a Christian, this is an excellent choice. It is the reason Bailey and I increased our giving this year.

Intentional Living – Dr. John Maxwell

I loved this book! Intentional Living works through questions in each chapter designed to prompt action in the personal development arena. I’ve read a couple other books by Maxwell and they always incite a sense of urgency for me. In fact, in one section, he encourages the reader to write the book he or she has always wanted to write. This encouraged me in my own book-writing endeavors and I finished mine in July!

Linchpin – Seth Godin

This book is about becoming indispensable in whatever field you find yourself. The author discusses the benefits of working in an area in which you are deeply passionate. He talks about how each and every person is an artist, not necessarily in what they do but in how they do it. For a more in-depth analysis, read my book review about Linchpin. Godin is a deep thinker and the books I’ve read by him are very conceptual in nature. If you prefer books that tell you exactly what to do (you know, like “15 Ways You Can Make Yourself Indispensable at Work”), you may not like his style of writing.

Capital Gains – Chip Gaines

This book is an entertaining read. I like Chip’s quirky humor because I have a very quirky sense of humor as well! Literally, I’ve been told that I am well prepared for the job of a dad when it comes to jokes. Chip gives an overview of what he’s learned from business to family since he was in college. Kind of a memoir of sorts. Rather heartwarming if you like an emotional read.

Retire Inspired – Chris Hogan

This is an excellent book for anyone who doesn’t understand finances. I know so many people my age who don’t know how to prepare for the future financially. Retire Inspired puts in laymen’s terms the process for reaching financial security and achieving the dreams that you have. It really got me fired up for ensuring Bailey and I are saving enough for the future. As Chris Hogan puts it, “It’s not an age. It’s a financial number.”

The Power of Who – Bob Beaudine

This was one of the top two most mind-blowing books I read this year. The Power of Who is such an unbelievably simple concept. Beaudine talks about the six levels of relationships that everyone has. He says that networking isn’t everything because those who you give your business cards to don’t have enough emotional connection with you to help just because they care. He focuses on Who Friends. These are the people who actually care about you and want to help you in whatever ways they can.

Beaudine encourages the reader to go to his or her circle of Who Friends and ask for help in whatever way. If you’re looking for a specific kind of job, ask your Who Friends and see what comes up. Each of your Who Friends has their own Who Friends which gives you opportunities that you may have never gotten otherwise.

The Gates of Hell – Concordia Publishing House

This book’s subtitle is “Confessing Christ in a Hostile World.” This was a deep read. It compiles writing from various pastors who tackle some challenging topics. Some include the world’s view on sex, the church’s work, and the effectiveness of international mission. This is one of those books that can be difficult to understand if you don’t have a background in theology (which I don’t!), however, I liked it because it gave me a different perspective on how we as Christians are to communicate with those of other worldviews.

Platform – Michael Hyatt

This is an excellent resource guide from Michael Hyatt who has a lot of experience developing a platform online. If you aren’t interested in developing a platform (blog, YouTube channel, reader base, podcast following, etc.) you likely won’t be interested in this book. But if you do, it’s an easy way to get a TON of information about how to get started in blogging or developing a following on Twitter, etc. It has quite a bit of practical advice for building a platform without spending an unbelievable amount of time on it every day.

Talk Like Ted – Carmine Gallo

Personally, I want to work on my presenting and public speaking skills in general, so I picked up this book based on a recommendation from a podcast. Gallo gives an in-depth look at the characteristics of killer speeches given at Ted Talks. He covers nine simple ways of boosting the effectiveness of your next speech based on the highest-rated Ted Talks in history. It is worth the read!

All Marketers Are Storytellers – Seth Godin

Like I mentioned in the snippet about Linchpin, Godin has a very conceptual way of writing. In this book, he gives a lot of good information about how we can improve our effectiveness in our marketing. There isn’t a list of steps though, so if you like lists of how to move forward, you may not like it. But if you are a marketer, you’ll likely glean some valuable insight into how you can set up an effective marketing plan to hit as many eligible customers as possible. Also, you MUST read Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller if you want some mindblowingly simple strategies for improving marketing.

The Pumpkin Plan – Mike Michalowicz

Honestly, I got this book because the Kindle version was on sale and I heard about the author from a podcast I frequent. Plus, it was focused on small business so I gave it a shot. I really like books that put things into practical terms and this one fits that category. In it, Michalowictz talks about his development of the “pumpkin plan” after a conversation with a pumpkin farmer. The plan, in essence, is killing off the small pumpkins in order to invest all energy into the fewer large pumpkins. In business, he says this is “firing” those clients that require a ton of energy to serve and focusing all your energy on your best clients so you can attract more clients who are alike. He gives practical strategies for implementing the “pumpkin plan” in small business. This book comes highly recommended by me for those working on a startup!

The Christian ATHEIST – Craig Groeschel

Groeschel tackles the issue many people find prevalent in their lives — being a Christian Athiest. That is, as the subtitle so clearly states, “Believing in God but living as if He doesn’t exist.” I like Craig Groeschel quite a bit. I think he has thoughtful sermons that are very applicable to modern struggles. Also, he is an entertaining author — more than most. However, I didn’t find that this book helped me grow in my faith much. He makes some good points as he covers topics that many Christians face (forgiveness, doubt, fear). But being a Christian from a very young age, I know a lot of what he said, so I didn’t learn much of anything new. What he does well is reminding Christians how we are to model our lives after that of Christ.

Influencer – Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan, Switzler

This is an excellent book for those who care about influencing others. The authors cover the ways people are influenced and give tons of examples and case studies to back up their claims. I liked the book and would recommend it. The challenging thing is that you and I encounter people every day that respond differently to influence. There is no cookie-cutter solution to the best way you can influence those around you and inspire them to do something specific. However, this books gives an great starting point.

A Winner’s Guide to Negotiating – Molly Fletcher

Molly Fletcher comes from the sports negotiating world and brings with her a lot of experience and advice. I read this after having listened to Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (an ex-FBI hostage negotiator) and was a bit disappointed with the organization of the ideas and recommendations. Never Split the Difference was a book that I would HIGHLY recommend for anyone to read. It gives very specific advice that applies to any situation. Plus, it comes from an ex-FBI hostage negotiator who couldn’t take no for an answer or people would die. I thought Molly Fletcher’s book gave a lot of great advice with stories galore, however, I thought the application was a bit lacking.

Experiencing God – Henry Blackaby

I LOVED this book. I wrote a blog post about it recently in which I highly recommended it as a faith-building resource (after the Bible, of course). Blackaby gets deep into Scripture as he encourages the reader to pursue God more fully. He gives practical methods to seek God’s voice through His Word, through prayer, through circumstances, and through His church. It completely changed my perspective on faith in more ways than one. If you want a deeply challenging book, give this one a read.

Everybody Always – Bob Goff

Bob Goff is someone who I would consider rather eccentric. Eccentric but caring. It comes through his writing which makes this book an entertaining read. In it, he talks about how we as Christians are to love “everybody always” as Christ does. This is another book that is a great reminder of how we can put faith in action, but I didn’t think it was a very deep book. It’s really focused more on action than theology.

The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

I’ve been wanting to use my mornings more effectively. Elrod explains his S.A.V.E.R.S. method of spending time in the morning before his normal activities. This stands for Silence (essentially meditation), Affirmations (positively speaking to oneself), Visualization (mentally preparing oneself for the future), Exercise (getting the blood flowing), Reading (learning) and Scribing (writing and reflecting).

Some of these things seemed a little weird to me while reading them. But using the morning to positively start the day has helped a lot of people improve productivity so Bailey and I made a modification of “The Miracle Morning” for ourselves. For the last five weeks or so, on work days at least, we’ve been getting up early together to get our days kicked off right. This involves working out (or doing something active like pushups), reading the Bible together, praying, and reading a normal book. I’ve found that it has indeed helped improve my perspective and makes me feel somewhat productive before even starting my work.

How the Mighty Fall – Jim Collins

I love business books and Jim Collins as an author. I’ve read Good to Great and Great by Choice, both of which I would recommend to a business enthusiast. This book covers the consistent poor decisions made by great companies that fell into bankruptcy. Collins uses some excellent analogies in his books to paint a picture of the concepts he teaches. He continues the practice in this book which is why his writing never ceases to improve my understanding of good business strategies.

The 12 Week year – Brian Moran

In this book, Moran talks about how to improve productivity during the year by splitting it up into smaller chunks. This is because it produces urgency to get goals done instead of pushing them off till the end of the year. In his case, he recommends a “12 week year.” He also goes through steps to set up the reader’s 12 week year and to make the most of it.

I like the concept. We will see if I use it in the coming year to pursue my goals.

The $100 startup – Chris Guillebaeu

Ok, ok, I haven’t actually finished this book yet. But I have a week left before the start of the year! This is a motivating book for those interested in pursuing other passion-based streams of income. Guillebaue is an experienced side-hustler and gives practical steps for starting a business in this book.

I love it so far!

What’s next?

Wow! That was a long blog post! By writing it, I hope I motivated you (at least a little?) to get into reading more this coming year. The amount of information you can glean from experts is unbelievable and motivating. I can’t wait to hit the next set of books in 2019!

What books do you recommend I read?

I want to hear from you in the comments below!

-Caleb