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Nathan Tanner
March 2017


"To remember what you read, don't reread or highlight it. Summarize it and share it with others."
-Adam Grant

When I started this monthly email a year ago, I didn't know whether there'd be an audience. But even if no one subscribed, I knew I'd find value from summarizing and sharing key lessons from the books I read. I've learned a lot over the last year. I hope you've learned a thing or two as well.    


Books
The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone
Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. The Upstarts tells the fascinating story of these two great companies that have disrupted entire industries.  

But rewind to their early days. Both ideas were considered pretty marginal at first. Uber founders were told that their market was too small. I mean, how many people can afford using a black car service? And the idea for Airbnb was considered ludicrous. What type of person would allow perfect strangers to stay in their home? But the conviction and relentlessness of their CEOs have helped both companies overcome insurmountable odds and silence doubters.

The same goes with a successful career. You've likely considered a career move your parents or friends have considered crazy or risky. I recently listened to a podcast where Chase Jarvis, the man behind Creative Live, said that we live in a day where the safe thing is actually risky. Sometimes it's the "safe" career moves that can give us a false sense of security, whereas the "risky" option, though uncertain in the near term, can prove to be much more sustainable in the end. And if others think you're a little crazy, remember it's your life to live, not theirs.  

 

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss
Over the last few years, Tim Ferriss has interviewed over 200 people on his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. His goal in each episode is to analyze these world-class performers to extract the tactics and tools each of us can use to improve ourselves and our success quotient.

Ferriss’ latest, Tools of Titans, summarizes the key lessons from each of those interviews. The chapters are concise and each one focuses on the morning routines, exercise habits, favorite books, time-management tricks, and other insights from the podcast guests. My favorite titans profiled were Seth Godin, Peter Thiel, and Scott Adams. (You can also check out their interviews on Tim's podcast.) Regardless of your pursuit, you'll find great insights here. 

Last year a blogger tore apart one of my articles, calling me a "Tim Ferriss disciple with a LinkedIn account". I know it wasn't meant as a compliment, but I'll take it as such.

 

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
Economic theory suggests that humans make decisions in a rational way. In Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely argues that, well, we're not so rational. His book is full of studies and experiments that drive this point home. I'll share two lessons that stood out. 

1) We always seek to draw comparisons, even though seemingly irrelevant factors influence our decisions.
Say you are trying to decide on a vacation between two choices: a Paris trip with free breakfast and a Rome trip with free breakfast. It turns out that if you simply add a third option, Paris without a free breakfast, you're far more likely to choose the first option (Paris with a free breakfast) even though the 2nd option (Rome with a free breakfast) is equally attractive. Hmm... 

2) Anchoring has a major long-term effect on our willingness to pay.
An experiment was conducted where students were asked to write down the last two digits of their Social Security Number (SSN) and consider whether or not they would pay that amount in dollars for certain items. Then they bid on those items. For every product, those with a 80-99 SSN were willing to pay more than those with a 00-19 SSN...by nearly 3 times!

What's my overall takeaway? While we think we're rational in how we plan our career or select a job, there's likely factors we're not aware of, or possibly ignoring, that influence our behavior. We may not be as rational as we'd like to think. 


Around the Web
If You Want to Be Happy at Work, Have a Life Outside of It
Satisfaction at work is influenced by factors such as benefits, pay, relationships, and commute length. But having a life outside of work is critical.



How to Learn New Things as an Adult
Here's the article Adam Grant was referencing in the above quote.      


My Work
5 Questions That'll Help You Pinpoint Why You're Unhappy at Work
#3 will shock you! (Clickbait anyone?) My latest article on The Muse.

To celebrate one year of this newsletter, I'm giving away three signed copies of my book, Not Your Parents' Workplace. To be considered, hit reply and share the best book you've read recently.  

Thanks for reading! My goal is to write and share great career-related content. If you've read anything worth sharing, please let me know. And do let me know if there's anything I can do to help you.   

Nathan
Order my book | Read my blog


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