2020: My year in Novels

Have you noticed the Tai Lopez video on YouTube? You know the one:”Here is my Lamborghini, and here are my bookshelves. And the books are more precious than the Lambo!”

I am not a big Tai Lopez fan — and I do not have a Lambo — but it is shocking to me how precious books can be. There are books that have stood the test of time –“How to Win Friends and Influence People,” the Bible, and much more — and a never-ending flow of new titles. You may get a book for under $20, read it in a couple of hours, and get the equivalent of thousands of dollars worth of consulting.

In actuality, I have a couple buddies that charge big dollars for consulting. They also publish their”secret sauce” in a publication. When potential customers come calling, my friends give them the book at no cost and say something like,”You may read the book and do it yourself, or I will implement it for you.”

Being economical and stubborn. I usually purchase the book rather than the consulting!

2020 was a large reading year for me. I’ve wanted to read more for the past couple of years. A friend challenged me to begin logging my studying on Goodreads, the societal website. I also joined a reading challenge on Goodreads.

My goal was to read 18 books in 2020. I ended up reading 21. A couple of books I had wanted to read for several years. Others were new to me. A surprising number were transformational.

Here are a couple of my favorites, with highlights of what I heard.


In January 2020, I read “The Way of the Superior Man,” by David Deida. I read a few books in 2020 on manhood and what it means to be a guy. This one was the best. It pairs nicely with”The means of Guys ” by Jack Donovan, which I read a couple of years back. My main takeaways from both novels:

  • I’m in charge of my life, and calculating the direction of my loved ones.
  • I have to be decisive in all things.
  • I have to go to the pain,”Unadorned suffering is the bedmate of manly growth.” Only by becoming intimate with my pain will I grow.
  • If I lose my advantage, austerity and challenge are resources to help bring it back.

“The Way of the Superior Man” has a bad reputation in some circles. The name is misleading. The book is about the way to be a superior man, not that men are superior to women. There’s a lot of discussion of masculine and feminine energy, which males and females have both.

It’s not a business book. It’s a book that helps me to be a better person, making me a better leader and CEO and, importantly, a better husband and dad!


Late in 2020, I read”Direction and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box” by The Arbinger Institute, a consulting and training firm. The book is remarkable. I wish I read it 10 years back. It’s a simple, novel-like read. Once I finished it, I purchased five extra copies and distributed them to my group.

I feel silly explaining my most important takeaways from books. They sound obvious. But here they are for “Leadership and Self-Deception”:

  • See people as people, not as objects, tools, or impediments to your targets.
  • Do not betray yourself.

To see people as people, you must be”out of the box,” to use the publication’s phrase. It means that people have ideas, feelings, desires, and motives. As a CEO — and perhaps a jerk! — sometimes I haven’t tried to understand why people won’t just do exactly what I tell them. The book helped me realize that there’s a reason. Typically, people want to do a fantastic job. But again, they have ideas about a job. The better I can understand and empathize with them, the more I will help them be productive and do good for themselves and the increased team.

On the situation of not devoting yourself, the book states that if you consider doing something, do it. This is largely applied to little things. The example in the book is of a man who hears his baby cry at night. The guy pretends to sleep, so his wife gets up to comfort the kid instead of him.

It has changed how I deal with several things, big and little. By way of instance, I pick up more trash I see randomly on the floor than I did earlier. Usually when I see crap, I consider picking this up. Previously, I’d often think,”That is not my garbage and not my job.” Now, I usually pick up the garbage. It is not my job, but it’s helpful to the world. It makes me feels better about myself. I am not betraying what I should do.

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