The Little Book of Talent by Daniel Coyle, Book Notes

I recently read this book and here are the notes I took from it. The main message is: Talent great but success comes never without hard work and hours and hours of practice. There is no easy route to mastery.

When you steal, focus on specifics, not general impressions. Capture concrete facts: the angle of a golfer’s left elbow at the top of the backswing

 

When “stealing” from somebody else:
• What, exactly, are the critical moves here? • How do they perform those moves differently than I do?

Have a daily performance journal

BEFORE YOU START, FIGURE OUT IF IT’S A HARD SKILL OR A SOFT SKILL

HARD, HIGH-PRECISION SKILLS are actions that are performed as correctly and consistently as possible, every time
(Math, CoD, Driving)

SOFT, HIGH-FLEXIBILITY SKILLS , on the other hand, are those that have many paths to a good result, not just one.
(Sales, Mma)

Soft skills are about the three Rs: Reading, Recognizing, and Reacting.

Is a teacher or coach usually involved in the early stages? If the answer is yes, then it’s likely a hard skill.

When you learn hard skills, be precise and measured. Go slowly.

soft skills are built by playing and exploring inside challenging, ever-changing environments. Aggressive, curious, and experimental, always seeking new ways to challenge yourself.

Prioritize the hard skills because in the long run they’re more important to your talent.

 

Find the Sweet Spot, Then Reach practice is to reach. This means to stretch yourself slightly beyond your current ability, ability, spending time in the zone of difficulty called the sweet spot

Comfort Zone Sensations: Ease, effortlessness. You’re working, but not reaching or struggling. Percentage of Successful Attempts: 80 percent and above.

Sweet Spot] Sensations: Frustration, difficulty, alertness to errors. You’re fully engaged in an intense struggle—as if you’re stretching with all your might for a nearly unreachable goal, brushing it with your fingertips, then reaching again. Percentage of Successful Attempts: 50–80 percent. THIS IS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE

Survival Zone] Sensations: Confusion, desperation. You’re overmatched: scrambling, thrashing, and guessing. You guess right sometimes, but it’s mostly luck. Percentage of Successful Attempts: Below 50 percent.

Albert Einstein said, “One must develop an instinct for what one can just barely achieve through one’s greatest efforts.”

Instead of counting minutes or hours, count reaches and reps.

To begin chunking,
first engrave the blueprint of the skill on your mind (see Tip #2 ). Then ask yourself: 1) What is the smallest single element of this skill that I can master? 2) What other chunks link to that chunk?

EACH DAY, TRY TO BUILD ONE PERFECT CHUNK

CHOOSE FIVE MINUTES A DAY OVER AN HOUR A WEEK of intense Deep Work

0.25 seconds after a mistake is made, in which people do one of two things—they look hard at the mistake or they ignore it.

Develop the habit of attending to your errors right away.

SLOW IT DOWN Super-slow practice works like a magnifying glass: It lets us sense our errors more clearly, and thus fix them.

CLOSE YOUR EYES why practicing to intensivy your focus

Napping is good for the learning brain, because it helps strengthen the connections formed during practice and prepare the brain for the next session,

Learning is reaching . Passively reading a book—a relatively effortless process, letting the words wash over you like a warm bath—doesn’t put you in the sweet spot.

… closing the book and writing a summary forces you to figure out the key points (one set of reaches), process and organize those ideas so they make sense (more reaches), and write them on the page (still more reaches, along with repetition).
The equation is always the same: More reaching equals more learning.

But when it comes to learning, the science is clear: Exhaustion is the enemy.

Embrace Repetition, and Keep Big Goals Secret

FOR EVERY HOUR OF COMPETITION, SPEND FIVE HOURS PRACTICING

 

You can Buy this book here.

The Charisma Myth, Book Notes

People are not simply born charismatic, we can learin it.

Charisma Demystified
Don’t have to be naturally outgoing, you don’t have to be physically attractive, and you won’t have to change your personality
Lower the intonation of your voice at the end of your sentences. Reduce how quickly and how often you nod. Pause for two full seconds before you speak.
The Charismatic Behaviors: Presence, Power, and Warmth
  • Powerful means being perceived as able to affect the world.
  • Warmth, simply put, is goodwill.
  • Presence means being fully there.
 Overcoming the Obstacles
Step One: Destigmatize Discomfort simply by understanding that it’s normal, common, and nothing to be anxious about or ashamed of
Step Two: Neutralize Negativity realize that your thoughts aren’t necessarily accurate at all. Mind’s view of reality can be, and often is, completely distorted.
Assign a label to your negative experience
Step Three: Rewrite Reality. What if this unfortunate, unpleasant experience is absolutely perfect just as it is
In what way can this turn out to be absolutely perfect for me?
Zoom out your focus to see yourself as one little person sitting in a room with certain chemicals flooding his system.
Delving into discomfort
Delve into those very sensations of discomfort
full attention to the very sensations you’d instinctively want to push away.
To be charismatic, you must first learn to overcome the primary obstacle to charisma: internal discomfort.
Creating Charismatic Mental States
You can increase both warmth and confidence by practicing gratitude, goodwill, and compassion for others as well as for yourself.
Different Charisma Styles
 
Focus Charisma: Presence and Confidence
Good listening skills are nonnegotiable, as is a certain degree of patience
Visionary Charisma: Belief and Confidence knowing how to craft a bold vision and knowing how to deliver the message charismatically
keys to communicating your visionary charisma is getting yourself into a state of complete conviction, shedding any doubt.
Kindness Charisma: Warmth and Confidence gratitude, goodwill, compassion, and self-compassion avoid any body language of tension, criticism, or coldness
Authority Charisma: Status and Confidence most powerful evaluate someone’s authority charisma through four indicators: body language, appearance, title, and the reactions of others.
Clothing is one of our first and strongest clues
project power by displaying signs of status and confidenc
body language and appearance
take up space” with your posture, reduce nonverbal reassurances (such as excessive nodding), and avoid fidgeting.
fidgeting. You may need to speak less, to speak more slowly, to know how and when to pause your sentences, or how to modulate your intonation.
Stretch out of your comfort zone in low-stakes situations.
Speaking—and Listening—with Charisma
pause before they answer.
  • They finish their sentence
  • Your face absorbs Your face reacts
  • Then, and only then, you answer
Things people look for in a conversation:
Entertainment: Make your e-mail or meeting enjoyable.
Information: Give interesting or informative content that they can use.
Good feelings: Find ways to make them feel important or good about themselves.

To become a professional in anything?

Ericsson is the person behind the 10.000 hour rule, therefore the leading expert on the topic of practice and how to become the best of the best.
The first thing to realize is that just doing something again and again does not make you world-class. There need to be a system behind it.
Here are the point you have to incorporate into your practice of whatever you want to master, called Deliberate Practice:
  1. You need someone who already mastered what you want to master, you will need some guidance along the path.
  2. You need to leave your comfort zone !!
  3. When in practice do it with full focus, focus on performing those actions right.
  4. Find something or someone who motivates you deeply
  5. Find a way to get immediate feedback (as good as possible) so you can see what works and what not.

 

You can apply this approach to any skill the only thing I find is that you can’t always have a personal guide, but books, seminars, online programs etc. can do the job too.

 Note: The 10.000 Hour rule which states that is takes 10.000 hours of deliberate practice to become world-class is no fixed number but depending on the skill.

Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

Ed is one of the founders of Pixar (Steve Jobs was also one of them) in his book Creativity Inc. he share his secrets to creativity.
 
 
Fearless Innovation:
  • Get Out There – Don’t innovate in a safe bubble, live and breathe the context where your innovation will play out
  • Harness Collective Brainpower – Bring in outsiders to critique your idea throughout the development process.
  • Fail early, fail fast, fail fearlessly – Run experiments with low cost, low risk prototypes to get a feeling.
  • Honesty is King, encourage open feedback, keep your Ego in check.
  • Autocracy, listen to others but keep the creative control over the project.
  • Dont wait for things to be perfect they will never be, at some point you need to just put it out there.
  • Rules, procedures and processes can be comforting but that can also kill innovation. Be fearless about doing things differently.
  • Be Opportunistic – Don’t fear randomness, embrace it – realise that successful innovation owes a lot to random opportunity and random events

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Book Notes

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

A surprisingly fantastic read, that had some great point. Scott Adams Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert, one of the most popular cartoons out there. So here are some great life lessons from a cartoonist.

The Six Filters for Truth:
Personal experience (Human perceptions are iffy.)
Experience of people you know (Even more unreliable.)
Experts (They work for money, not truth.)
Scientific studies (Correlation is not causation.)
Common sense (A good way to be mistaken with complete confidence.)
Pattern recognition (Patterns, coincidence, and personal bias look alike.)
In our messy, flawed lives, the nearest we can get to truth is consistency. Consistency is the bedrock of the scientific method.
When seeking truth, your best bet is to look for confirmation on at least two of the dimensions I listed.
Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.
Failure is where success likes to hide in plain sight. Everything you want out of life is in that huge, bubbling vat of failure. The trick is to get the good stuff out.
So sometimes passion is simply a by-product of knowing you will be good at something your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job
 
Systems vs Goals
Let’s agree that goals are a reach-it-and-be-done situation, whereas a system is something you do on a regular basis with a reasonable expectation that doing so will get you to a better place in your life. Systems have no deadlines, and on any given day you probably can’t tell if they’re moving you in the right direction. My proposition is that if you study people who succeed, you will see that most of them follow systems, not goals.
In the exercise realm, running a marathon in under four hours is a goal, but exercising daily is a system. In business, making a million dollars is a goal, but being a serial entrepreneur is a system.
Warren Buffett’s system for investing involves buying undervalued companies and holding them forever, or at least until something major changes.
One of my systems involves continually looking for patterns in life.
“If you want success, figure out the price, then pay it.”
Manage your Energy not Time
Maximizing my personal energy means eating right, exercising, avoiding unnecessary stress, getting enough sleep, and all of the obvious steps. But it also means having something in my life that makes me excited to wake up.
My proposition is that organizing your life to optimize your personal energy will add up to something incredible that is more good than bad.
Simplification frees up energy, making everything else you do just a little bit easier
Exercise, food, and sleep should be your first buttons to push if you’re trying to elevate your attitude and raise your energy
increasing your ratio of happy thoughts to disturbing thoughts
working on projects that have a real chance of changing the world, helping humanity, and/or making a billion dollars.
“Success at anything has a spillover effect on other things”
The Success Formula: Every Skill You Acquire Doubles Your Odds of Success merely good —not extraordinary—at more than one skill.
It helps to see the world as math and not magic, success is a numbers game the more trys the more chances for success.
  • Skills worth learning:
  • Public speaking
  • Psychology
  • Business writing
  • Accounting Design (the basics)
  • Conversation
  • Overcoming shyness
  • Second language
  • Golf (one of the best ways to network with powerful people “The thing that golf does well is that it allows males, especially, to bond.”)
  • Proper grammar
  • Persuasion
  • Technology (hobby level)
  • Proper voice technique
What are common traits in successful people?
  • Lack of fear of embarrassment
  • Education (the right kind)
  • Exercise
People who enjoy humor are simply more attractive than people who don’t.
Affirmations: 
 
Affirmations are simply the practice of repeating to yourself what you want to achieve while imagining the outcome you want.
You can write it, speak it, or just think it in sentence form. The typical form of an affirmation would be “I, Scott Adams, will become an astronaut.” The details of affirmations probably don’t matter much because the process is about improving your focus, not summoning magic.
Luck
The biggest component of luck is timing.
But I did make it easier for luck to find me, and I was thoroughly prepared when it did
Luck won’t give you a strategy or a system—you have to do that part yourself.
I find it helpful to see the world as a slot machine that doesn’t ask you to put money in. All it asks is your time, focus, and energy to pull the handle over and over.
If your gut feeling (intuition) disagrees with the experts, take that seriously. You might be experiencing some pattern recognition that you can’t yet verbalize.
Happiness:
The only reasonable goal in life is maximizing your total lifetime experience of something called happiness.
I’ve transformed work into pleasure simply by having control over when I do it.
Happiness has more to do with where you’re heading than where you are
When you choose a career, consider whether it will lead to a lifetime of ever-improved performance, a plateau, or a steady decline in your skills.
Never waste a brain cell in the morning trying to figure out what to do, always have the day planed out in advance. Have Routines that you follow.
Recapping the happiness formula: Eat right. Exercise. Get enough sleep. Imagine an incredible future (even if you don’t believe it). Work toward a flexible schedule. Do things you can steadily improve at. Help others (if you’ve already helped yourself). Reduce daily decisions to routine.
Focus on your diet first and get that right so you have enough energy to want to exercise. Exercise will further improve your energy, and that in turn will make you more productive, more creative, more positive, more socially desirable, and more able to handle life’s little bumps. Once you optimize your personal energy, all you need for success is luck.
You can’t directly control luck, but you can move from strategies with bad odds to strategies with good odds. For example, learning multiple skills makes your odds of success dramatically higher than learning one skill. If you learn to control your ego, you can pick strategies that scare off the people who fear embarrassment, thus allowing you to compete against a smaller field. And if you stay in the game long enough, luck has a better chance of finding you. Avoid career traps such as pursuing jobs that require you to sell your limited supply of time while preparing you for nothing better.
Happiness tends to happen naturally whenever you have good health, resources, and a flexible schedule. Get your health right first, acquire resources and new skills through hard work, and look for an opportunity that gives you a flexible schedule someday.
Develop a habit of simplifying. Learn how to make small talk with strangers, and learn how to avoid being an asshole
If you control the inputs, you can determine the outcomes, give or take some luck.
Look for patterns in every part of life, from diet to exercise to any component of success. Try to find scientific backing for your observed patterns, and use yourself as a laboratory to see if the patterns hold for you.
Most important, understand that goals are for losers and systems are for winners. People who seem to have good luck are often the people who have a system that allows luck to find them.
And always remember that failure is your friend. It is the raw material of success. Invite it in. Learn from it. And don’t let it leave until you pick its pocket. That’s a system.

Lessons of History by Will Durant, Book Notes

Will Durant is probably the best historian I ever read and Lessons of History is one of his masterpieces, here are some of the notes.

If you want unity among people/nations one of the best ways is by having a common enemy. You can see this in companies as well as on an international level.

When looking at history, 99% of all ideas are inferior to the ideas that they seek to replace. This is why new ideas should go through the fire of objection, by testing them in real world and being open for the results.

In general we are judged by our ability to produce whatever that might be. 

We always find ways to be miserably it does not matter how much good things are around us.

The Lessons of Biology:
  • Life is competition, we love to compete with each other this also is something our nature is responsible for.
  • Life is selection, “only the strongest survive” is not phrase made up by people but by nature itself.
  • Breeding is the primary goal nature has for us. This is why most things we want are somehow related to finding a mate.
Dealing with Challenges

What are the most important traits when dealing with challenges;

  • Initiative to change things for the better
  • Creativity in meeting these challenges
  • Clarity of mind, seeing things as they are
  • Energy  to do the things necessary
  • The ability to adapt to the new situation this challenge might bring about.
Quotes:

“Mans sins might be a relict of his rise rather than the stigma of his fall”

“There is no Humorist like History”

“Man who can manage man, manage the man who can manage only things, and the man who can manage money manages all”

“Money is the last thing a wise man will hoard”

“Life has no inherent claim to eternity, whether its individuals or states … a mature mind will not take offense in the coming of death”

 

 

Books I recommend by Will Durant:

The Lessons of History

The Story of Philosophy

Heroes of History

Make it Stick by Peter Brown

Here are the general Notes to the book Make it Stick by Peter Brown, and here are the Principles to learn anything

Learning is deeper and more durable when it’s effortful. Learning that’s easy is like writing in sand, here today and gone tomorrow. We are poor judges of when we are learning well and when we’re not.

If you’re just engaging in mechanical repetition, it’s true, you quickly hit the limit of what you can keep in mind. However, if you practice elaboration, there’s no known limit to how much you can learn. Elaboration is the process of giving new material meaning by expressing it in your own words and connecting it with what you already know. The more you can explain about the way your new learning relates to your prior knowledge, the stronger your grasp of the new learning will be, and the more connections you create that will help you remember it later.

People who learn to extract the key ideas from new material and organize them into a mental model and connect that model to prior knowledge show an advantage in learning complex mastery. A mental model is a mental representation of some external reality.

Fallacies:

  • If they can make learning easier and faster, the learning will be better. Much research turns this belief on its head: when learning is harder, it’s stronger and lasts longer!
  • What is learned through repetition only lasts shortly.
  • Rereading has three strikes against it. It is time consuming. It doesn’t result in durable memory. And it often involves a kind of unwitting self-deception, as growing familiarity with the text comes to feel like mastery of the content. Rising familiarity with a text and fluency in reading it can create an illusion of mastery.

Learning is stronger when it matters, when the abstract is made concrete and personal! Apply what you read about to your life.

Mastery requires both the possession of ready knowledge and the conceptual understanding of how to use it.

One of the most striking research findings is the power of active retrieval—testing—to strengthen memory, and that the more effortful the retrieval, the stronger the benefit. Think quiz versus rereading. The act of retrieving learning from memory has two profound benefits. One, it tells you what you know and don’t know, and therefore where to focus further  improve the areas where you’re weak. Two, recalling what you have learned causes your brain to reconsolidate the memory, which strengthens its connections to what you already know and makes it easier for you to recall in the future. In effect, retrieval—testing—interrupts forgetting.

 Chapter Summaries:
  1. Chapter: Effortful learning changes the brain, building new connections and capability. This single fact—that our intellectual abilities are not fixed from birth but are, to a considerable degree, ours to shape—is a resounding answer to the nagging voice that too often asks us “Why bother?” We make the effort because the effort itself extends the boundaries of our abilities.
  2. Chapter: Sometimes the most powerful feedback for calibrating your sense of what you do and don’t know are the mistakes you make in the field, assuming you survive them and are receptive to the lesson.
  3. Chapter: Structure is all around us and available to us through the poet’s medium of metaphor. A tree, with its roots, trunk, and branches. A river. A village, encompassing streets and blocks, houses and stores and offices. The structure of the village explains how these elements are interconnected so that the village has a life and a significance that would not exist if these elements were scattered randomly across an empty landscape. By abstracting the underlying rules and piecing them into a structure, you go for more than knowledge. You go for knowhow. And that kind of mastery will put you ahead.
  4. Chapter: Learning is at least a three-step process:
    1. initial encoding of information is held in short-term working memory before being consolidated into a cohesive representation of knowledge in long-term memory.
    2. Consolidation reorganizes and stabilizes memory traces, gives them meaning, and makes connections to past experiences and to other knowledge already stored in long-term memory.
    3. Retrieval updates learning and enables you to apply it when you need it. Retrieval practice that’s easy does little to strengthen learning; the more difficult the practice, the greater the benefit.
    4. Learning always builds on a store of prior knowledge. We interpret and remember events by building connections to what we already know. Long-term memory capacity is virtually limitless: the more you know, the more possible connections you have for adding new knowledge.
    5. Trying to come up with an answer rather than having it presented to you, or trying to solve a problem before being shown the solution, leads to better learning and longer retention of the correct answer or solution, even when your attempted response is wrong, so long as corrective feedback is provided.
  5. Chapter: interweaving two or more subjects during practice also provides a form of spacing. interweaving can also help you develop your ability to discriminate later between different kinds of problems and select the right tool from your growing toolkit of solutions. In interweaving, you don’t move from a complete practice set of one topic to go to another. You switch before each practice is complete.

The Most Effective Ways to Study !

I recently read the book Make it Stick by Peter C. Brown  which is about strategies that actually work for learning, these are  applicable not only for students but for everybody that want’s to learn anything new. These are for the most part direct quotes from the book!

Strategies:

1.Practice Retrieving New Learning from Memory:
“Retrieval practice” means self-quizzing. Retrieving knowledge and skill from memory should become your primary study strategy in place of rereading. How to use retrieval practice as a study strategy: When you read a text or study lecture notes, pause periodically to ask yourself questions like these, without looking in the text: What are the key ideas? What terms or ideas are new to me? How would I define them? How do the ideas relate to what I already know?

Generating questions for yourself and writing down the answers is also a good way to study. Set aside a little time every week throughout the semester to quiz yourself on the material in a course, both the current week’s work and material covered in prior weeks. When you quiz yourself, check your answers to make sure that your judgments of what you know and don’t know are accurate. Use quizzing to identify areas of weak mastery, and focus your studying to make them strong.

The harder it is for you to recall new learning from memory, the greater the benefit of doing so. But what you don’t sense when you’re struggling to retrieve new learning is the fact that every time you work hard to recall a memory, you actually strengthen it.

2.Space Out Your Retrieval Practice
Spaced practice means studying information more than once but leaving considerable time between practice sessions. How to use spaced practice as a study strategy: Establish a schedule of self-quizzing that allows time to elapse between study sessions. How much time? It depends on the material. If you are learning a set of names and faces, you will need to review them within a few minutes of your first encounter, because these associations are forgotten quickly. New material in a text may need to be revisited within a day.

3.Interleave the Study of Different Problem Types
What does this mean? If you’re trying to learn mathematical formulas, study more than one type at a time, so that you are alternating between different problems that call for different solutions.

Mix in the practice of other subjects, other skills, constantly challenging your ability to recognize the problem type and select the right solution.

4.ELABORATION

Elaboration is the process of finding additional layers of meaning in new material. For instance: Examples include relating the material to what you already know, explaining it to somebody else in your own words, or explaining how it relates to your life outside of class. A powerful form of elaboration is to discover a metaphor or visual image for the new material. For example, to better grasp the principles of angular momentum in physics, visualize how a figure skater’s rotation speeds up as her arms are drawn into her body.

5.GENERATION
Generation is an attempt to answer a question or solve a problem before being shown the answer or the solution. For instance: On a small level, the act of filling in a missing word in a text (that is, generating the word yourself rather than having it supplied by the writer) results in better learning and memory of the text than simply reading a complete text.

Many people perceive their learning is most effective when it is experiential—that is, learning by doing rather than by reading a text or hearing a lecture.

6. REFLECTION
is a combination of retrieval practice and elaboration that adds layers to learning and strengthens skills. What is it? Reflection is the act of taking a few minutes to review what has been learned in a recent class or experience and asking yourself questions. What went well? What could have gone better? What other knowledge or experiences does it remind you of?

7. CALIBRATION
is the act of aligning your judgments of what you know and don’t know with objective feedback so as to avoid being carried off by the illusions.

Calibration is simply the act of using an objective instrument to clear away illusions and adjust your judgment to better reflect reality. The aim is to be sure that your sense of what you know and can do is accurate.

 

I highly recommend reading this book if you are serious about learning something new from books specifically. You can buy it here.

Mindset by Carol Dweck

Notes from the book Mindset by Carol Deck

The main idea is that there are two Mindsets in which all of as think about our abilities:
Fixed Mindset:
“A fixed mindset comes from the belief that your qualities are carved in stone – who you are is who you are, period. Characteristics such as intelligence, personality, and creativity are fixed traits, rather than something that can be developed.”
Having a fixed mindset creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over – criticism is seen as an attack on your character, and to be avoided. Having a growth mindset encourages learning and effort. lurking behind that self-esteem of the fixed mindset is a simple question: If you’re somebody when you’re successful, what are you when you’re unsuccessful?
People with that mindset choose a career and stick with it for the rest of their life. Or why  we start something and stop after the first setback, instead of embracing the process. Instead of seeing that life is as constant learning process they see it as fixed forever.
Also the school system in the western world is build on that mindset, thinking that grades determine our success for the rest of our life. Thinking that you can teach everyone the same way and accept an even playing field, instead of considering that people learn in different ways and in different speeds. 
“Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life believing that its stupid” -Einstein
Growth Mindset:
“A growth mindset comes from the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort. Yes, people differ greatly – in aptitude, talents, interests, or temperaments – but everyone can change and grow through application and experience.
Your mindset likely varies from area to area. Your views may be different for artistic talent, intelligence, personality, or creativity.”
People with that mindset see live as a never ending road to mastery that we will never really reach and are fine with that. They have a student mindset. They know that they will get better and things that is why they constantly try new things and aren’t afraid to fail since failure is another opportunity to grow and learn. 
Conclusion:

People rise to the top because they keep working on themselves and don’t believe that their abilities are carved in stone – we can improve we see it over and over again.We will experience more failures that way because you are constantly trying and learning new things but failure in  necessary to succeed.

To change a mindset that was there for our whole life is very difficult. We have to see the evidence around for us to change that, look at successful people at the top of your field. Were they always world-class at what are doing today? Did the teachers see them as geniuses when they were young? For the most part their abilities improved over time. Yes we have certain limit at how good we be at doing certain things but it’s almost never as low as we think and by trying to improve something at least we will become as good as we possibly be.

The biggest problem is that the system strongly believe in the Fixed Mindset, it gets imprinted into our head at a really young age, we think that our ability to be good at math is fixed. If we suck we will suck forever. This thinking makes growing impossible, there is no reason to read a book about math since we wont get any better anyway.

Buy the book?

Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday

Here are my extensive notes on the book Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday which I can highly recommend to any entrepreneur. These notes are for the most part directly taken from the book.
What is Growth Marketing?

It is a illusion that we need a huge budget to market effectivly.

Growth Hacking is a Mindset!

“A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, trackable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like “branding” and “mind share,” growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth—and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are the inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take a start-up from nothing to something.”

What growth hackers do is focus on the “who” and “where” (Customers) more scientifically, in a more measurable way. Whereas marketing was once brand based, with growth hacking it becomes metric and ROI driven. Growth hackers trace their roots back to programmers—and that’s how they see themselves. They are data scientists meets design fiends meets marketers.

The new marketing mind-set begins not a few weeks before launch but, in fact, during the development and design phase.

Step 1: It Begins with the Product Market Fit

Product Market Fit (PMF). That is, the product and its customers are in perfect sync with each other. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup , explains that the best way to get to Product Market Fit is by starting with a “minimum viable product” and improving it based on feedback—as opposed to what most of us do, which is to try to launch with what we think is our final product.

Socratic method: We must simply and repeatedly question every assumption. Who is this product for? Why would they use it? Why do I use it?

Example: Authors
Writing about in the book on their blog and when they speak in front of groups. They ask readers what they’d like to see in the book. They judge topic ideas by how many comments a given post generates, by how many Facebook “shares” an article gets. They put potential title and cover ideas up online to test and receive feedback. They look to see what hot topics other influential bloggers are riding and find ways of addressing them in their book.

Step 2: Finding Your Growth Hack

How to pull Customers;
“We’re trying to hit a few hundred or a thousand key people—not millions. That’s a relief, right? Better still, it actually works. In other words, launching does not need to be an enormous campaign we’re expected (too often) to produce out of thin air so much as an initial boost or a shot in the arm. Not a blowout grand opening, but a strategic opening or a stunt that catches the attention of our core audience.”

Not All People—the Right People
Growth hackers resist this temptation (or, more appropriately, this delusion). They opt, deliberately, to attract only the early adopters who make or break new tech services and seek to do it as cheaply as possible. Ignoring the urge to appeal to the mass market, at least to start with.

Methods:

  1. You can reach out to the sites you know your potential customers read with a pitch e-mail: “This is who we are, this is what we’re doing, and this is why you should write about us.
  2. You can upload a post to Hacker News, Quora, or Reddit yourself.
  3. You can start writing blog posts about popular topics that get traffic and indirectly pimp your product.
  4. You can use the Kickstarter platform for exposure and bribe your first users with cool prizes (and get some online chatter at the same time).
  5. You can use a service like Help a Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com) to find reporters who are looking for people to include in stories they are already writing about your space.
  6. You can literally find your potential customers one by one and invite them to your service for free or with some special incentive (that’s how small we’re talking).
Strategies;
  1. You can create the aura of exclusivity with an invite-only feature (as Mailbox did).
  2. You can create hundreds of fake profiles to make your service look more popular and active than it actually is—nothing draws a crowd like a crowd (as Reddit did in its early days).
  3. You can target a single service or platform and cater to it exclusively—essentially piggybacking off or even stealing someone else’s growth (as PayPal did with eBay).
  4. You can host cool events and drive your first users through the system manually (as Myspace, Yelp, and Udemy all did).
  5. You can bring on influential advisers and investors for their valuable audience and fame rather than their money (as About.me and Trippy did—a move that many startups have emulated).
  6. You can try to name a Planned Parenthood clinic after your client or pay D-list celebrities to say offensive things about themselves to promote your book.
“Instead, we are intensely focused on driving an initial set of new user sign-ups and customers, right now. It doesn’t matter how many people know about you or how they find out about you. It matters how many sign up. If handing out flyers on the street corner accomplishes that, then consider it growth hacking.”

The most insidious part of the traditional marketing model is that “big blowout launch” mythology and “build it and they will come” assumption that too many people associate with the web. Both are too simple and rarely effective.

STEP 3: Turn 1 into 2 and 2 into 4—Going Viral

Vitality needs to be build into the product.

Vitality at its core is asking someone spend their social capital recommending or linking or posting about you for free. The best way to get people to do this enormous favor for you? Make it seem like it isn’t a favor. Make it the kind of thing that is worth spreading and, of course, conducive to spreading.
If you want to go viral, it must be baked into your product. There must be a reason to share it and the means to do so.

Build in Vitality Examples:
Dropbox, for instance, offered its customers a 150 megabyte storage bonus if they linked their Dropbox account to their Facebook or Twitter account. Think of Hotmail, whose early attempts at growth hacking we looked at earlier. It turned every e-mail its users sent into a pitch to new customers. Think of Apple and BlackBerry, which turned their devices into advertising engines by adding “Sent from my iPhone” or “Sent from my BlackBerry” to every message sent.

STEP 4 Close the Loop: Retention and Optimization

Forget the conventional wisdom that says if a company lacks growth, it should invest more in sales and marketing. Instead, it should invest in refining and improving the service itself until users are so happy that they can’t stop using the service (and their friends come along with them).

Getting the most out of the leads we were already generation. Follow Up.

Growth hacking is about maximizing ROI—about expending our energies and efforts where they will be most effective. Well, the facts are in. You’re better off rolling out new features that get more out of your customer base, that turn potential users into active users, than going out and pounding the pavement for more potentials. You’re better off teaching your customers how to use your product—spending time, as services like Facebook and Amazon do, to get users to supply more personal information and make them more engaged—than chasing some new person who doesn’t really care.

“One Bird in the Hand is worth more then two in the bush”

The Future of Marketing;
Tactics that no one would have previously described as “marketing” turned out to be the marketing steroids behind their business growth.

Putting it into practice; Four Hour Body:
We had to be creative. We had to be analytical. We had to think outside the box. We had to use our relatively limited resources extremely carefully.
Data-driven approach, however, meant we actually looked at what worked and what didn’t.