Book Summaries: 
Popular Books Summarized

The smartest people I know read nonstop, mostly books, from a variety of disciplines. The best books spark new ideas and insights with each reading, so it's better to read a great book twice than a marginal one once. "Some books should be tasted, some devoured," wrote Francis Bacon, "but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly."

When asked about success, Warren Buffett pointed to a stack of books and said, "Read 500 pages like this every day. That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it."

Each of the following books includes a brief summary and the most insightful and thought-provoking ideas and quotes. Cedric Chin offers a good mental model on the three kinds of non-fiction books.

"It will generally be admitted," wrote Charles Helman, "that the true test of all books is the influence they have upon the lives and conduct of their readers." The Asaro tribe of Papua New Guinea believes "Knowledge is only rumor until it lives in the bones."

Contemporary library in Germany

Book Summaries By Title

This is a complete list of my book summaries.

American Mania offers a comprehensive explanation for the addictive mania of consumerism grounded in the biology of the brain’s reward system.

Conscious Breathing incorporates Buddhism, shamanism, and contemporary breathing techniques into a structured framework that can help transform your life.

How to Do the Work is a philosophy of mental, physical, and spiritual health, a manifesto for self-healing and living vibrantly, authentically, and joyfully.

Start With Why is about a naturally occurring pattern, a way of thinking, acting, and communicating that gives some leaders the ability to inspire those around them. Those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit.

Discover how to learn and perform optimally by quieting the mind, letting go of mental self-instructions, and trusting the body's natural intelligence.

Breath takes us on a journey to discover that all cultures, geographies, and religions across time discovered an optimal way to breathe - through the nose.

The Defining Decade helps twentysomethings invest in their lives now rather than suffering underemployment, divorce, and childlessness later.

Building a Second Brain is a methodology for saving ideas and insights so you can consistently share your creative gifts, positively impacting lives.

Waking Up answers questions about religion, spirituality, meditation, and consciousness and shows us how to experience the profoundness of each moment.

Are you still struggling to figure out what is your purpose on this earth? Discover what you were meant to do and how to overcome the Resistance to doing it.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality will give you the knowledge, tools, and practices needed to fully develop yourself spiritually - and emotionally.

Learn how to free yourself of your parents’ emotional immaturity, recover your true self, and create positive, new adult relationships.

The path to personal and professional fulfillment is winding. What separates those who realize fulfillment and those who don’t is emotional agility.

Ego tricks us into using spirituality to build self or ego. Rather than bolstering self, true, joyful liberation comes from the complete surrender of self.

Permission to Feel demonstrates how enjoying life and living fully entails feeling emotions and letting them move through us organically without resistance.

The 5 Love Languages reveals that most couples expect love to last forever. But ongoing love requires communicating in your partner’s primary love language.

Book Summary: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen. Topics: Happiness, health, enlightenment, peace, meditation, truth, divinity, love, and integrity.

Every one of us wishes to be happy and make consistent progress on meaningful projects. How we start our day largely determines how the rest of the day unfolds. The Morning Miracle shows us the simple yet essential personal practices that help us succeed in the areas we value most.

The Four Agreements reveal how our beliefs and behaviors cause unnecessary suffering and rob us of the joy and happiness that is our birthright. Here we’re offered a way of living that’s transformative—harmonious, freeing, and delightful—based on ancient Toltec wisdom.

Essentialism is the systematic discipline of focusing on the things that matter while eliminating everything else. Unlike shallow activities, applying ourselves wholeheartedly to what we value offers lasting satisfaction and fulfillment.

The Alchemist is about the magical journey of following one’s dreams in search of worldly goods only to find the treasure was within us all along.

The Obstacle Is the Way points to how successful people turn obstacles to advantage by managing perceptions and directing actions toward changeable things.

Daring greatly is being vulnerable, living wholeheartedly, and showing up as our authentic selves in the face of uncertainty, doubt, and rejection.

The greatest obstacle to happiness is being lost in thinking and doing and disconnected from Being...

Is counter-dependence wrecking your relationships and keeping you from getting the love you want? Discover what it is and how to develop lasting relationships.

Dare to Lead provides a road map for being brave in your life and your work, having tough conversations, and showing up every day with your whole heart.

The critical takeaway of Just Keep Buying is this: Just keep investing as much as you can in index funds, starting as early as possible, and let the markets and time take care of the rest. This strategy will account for 90% of your investing success while freeing you to spend your time on the things you value.

Factfulness demonstrates that the world is not as bad as it seems, if you look at the facts. A fact-based worldview creates less stress and hopelessness than a dramatic worldview. It also helps us to see what we have to do to keep making the world better.

Mindset is about how our beliefs shape our perceptions and determine our success in life. With a fixed mindset, our potential is limited by the skills we were born with. With a growth mindset, our potential is limited only by our effort.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a fable about a seagull more interested in flight for the joy of flying than chasing food from a fishing boat. After getting cast out of the flock for not being “normal,” he befriends two gulls who come to take him home. He discovers that freedom is being who he already is.

The Checklist Manifesto shows us that checklists can save lives, and shows us the correct way of implementing them.

Many products don’t work well due to faulty design, not operator error. Poor design usually results from not understanding how people interact with products. Good designers understand the interplay between technology and psychology, or human-centered design (HCD).

Happiness rates have been steadily declining since the 1970’s. People are focused on external conditions that are subject to change. Growing internally brings lasting happiness, and serving others creates meaning.

To form meaningful connections with ourselves and others, first, we need to learn the language of emotion and human connection. Learning a nuanced vocabulary around labeling our emotions can be transformative. Usually, we look outside ourselves for solid ground, but emotions are internal and are always available to anchor us wherever we are.

The Compound Effect says that small, daily actions multiplied over time create tremendous results and radical change. Instead of sprinting and failing, take the long view, be the tortoise and do the mundane, unsexy things over and over until you’ve built the life you want. But first, you need to take 100 percent responsibility for your life because only you can save yourself.

The 10X Rule says 1) set goals that are 10X greater than what you think you can achieve and 2) take 10X more actions than you think are necessary to achieve your dreams.

At any point, a leader is either above the line or below the line. If you are above it, you are leading consciously, and if you are below it, you are not.

This is a book summary of Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant. Read this summary to discover key ideas and lessons from the book.

Success in finance is mostly a result of low spending, high savings, time and compounding. But if you get wiped out financially, you will not be able to take advantage of time and compounding. Investing in stocks is very difficult, therefore most people would benefit from investing in low-cost index funds.

The E Myth Revisited summary. Small business success requires three things: a) work on your business, not in your business b) your business is your product c) your product is your systems

"You couldn’t start with a better book than Cialdini’s 'Influence,'" says Charlie Munger. If you like Malcolm Gladwell's books, you'll love this.

This is an important book and confirms much of the ancient wisdom teachings, including the possibility of change, practice, interconnectedness, and freedom.

A normal person can pick stock just as well, if not better, that the average Wall Street expert.

This book speaks to the possibility of accessing the Jungian archetypes - king, warrior, magician, lover - and manifesting the mature masculine within every man.

Everything you've ever wanted to know about management, investment, finance and accounting from one of the world’s smartest businessmen and investors.

Everything you thought you knew about women is wrong. If you want to understand and transform your relationship to women, read these notes.

As seen on the Apple TV show Ted Lasso. Absolutely brilliant, one of my favorite books. It's dense with Jungian wisdom like Black Forest chocolate cake.

Brilliant and comprehensive guide to the ins and outs of advertising (and business) from one of the most well-known and respected admen.

A masterful inquiry into consciousness. Learn how meditation works and how to move skillfully through the ten stages—from monkey mind to unified mind.

Learn—in three simple steps—how to get the best out of people by appealing to their basic need for goal-setting, feedback, and respect. Based on fundamental human psychology, you will learn why they work and how to apply them to your life.

Explores the differences between introversion and extroversion and the cultural mandate of the Extrovert Ideal while encouraging introverts to embrace their true nature, unique strengths, and value to self and society. 

If you want a healthy, mature relationship, read this book. You will learn the cause of your conflict and how to nurture a secure bond for a lifetime of love. Dr. John Gottman calls Sue Johnson "the best couple therapist in the world."

Brilliant yet practical investment advice from legendary money manager Peter Lynch. Follow-up to One Up On Wall Street, it's as funny as it is perceptive.

Brilliant and timeless Buddhist insights on the nature of the human mind from one of the most widely regarded Zen teachers.

Fantastic inquiry into our desire for status, what it means for our lives and ideas for breaking free. Insightful, articulate and mischievously funny.

Learn how to practice mindfulness in all aspects of work - email, meetings, creativity, etc. A solid resource for understanding and applying mindfulness.

Wall Street classic still read widely for its timeless wisdom on the perils and promises of stock speculation. Recommend the book but not speculating.

The book that forever changed marketing. Positioning is outside-in marketing targeting the deep inner workings of the prospect's mind.

Money is a powerful force in our lives. This book will transform you relationship to money and life. Deep insights from western and Buddhist psychology.

One of the most important books ever written. Fundamentally it is about getting our needs met. More profoundly, it is a way of connecting from the heart.

Insider's guide to “Being Amazonian" from Jeff Bezos's inner circle. The 14 leadership principles are fully illustrated with in-the-room examples.

One of the best books on personal growth. Stephen Covey shares his entire life's wisdom, and mastering these skills could take a lifetime.

Modern grammar reference manual. Copy editor Benjamin Dreyer enlivens the subject of grammar with wit and sarcasm. An eye-opening and humbling read.

A parable illustrating how we resist change and, rather than taking action, unnecessarily complicate our lives with emotions and excessive thinking.

Informative, and at times, hilarious. Stephen King's frank style belies his deep intellect and philosophical insights on the craft of fiction writing.

One of the most respected books on writing. Timeless insights on the mechanics of nonfiction writing - business, travel, interviewing, etc.

Single best book on the Nice Guy Syndrome. Includes forty-six exercises to help Nice Guys break free. Highly recommend for any recovering Nice Guy.

First book I'd recommend for anyone interested in personal or spiritual growth. Complex topics explained in clear, plain English.

One of the best books on marketing. A must-read (and own for reference) for marketers, entrepreneurs, photographers, musicians and bloggers alike.