10 Favorite books of all time, and one thing I learned from each

Eli francis 100644

I have a checklist of things I try to do every day. One of the tasks on that list is to make a list of 10 things. James Altucher convinced me of the value and Claudia Azula Altucher’s book, Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century, gave me a framework.

Today’s prompt was to write down my favorite books of all time, and one thing I learned from each:

I would love to see your list.

Photo by Eli Francis

“Those whose past is legible will be exhorted to repeat it.”

/via Molly Sauter
/via Warren Ellis

Thomas Knoll, circa 1987?

I am that type of person who spends as much time adding things I already did to my calendar, as things I plan on doing.

And I am that type of person who spends more time jotting down tasks I just completed, than tasks I plan todo.

So what is the difference between the type of people who allow the past to create ruts in their future, and they type of people who grow and adapt based on a better understanding of their past?

Introversion vs Extroversion in Online Community Building

Photo by David Spinks

Responding to a straight forward poll in CMX Hub, a facebook group organized by David Spinks of CMX, which asks, “Are you more introverted or extroverted?”

The poll is still in progress but there has constantly been 2x more primary introverts than extroverts responding. Which got me thinking:

Honestly makes sense to me for this audience. I don’t think introversion is a requirement for online community building, but there are quite a few characteristics that maybe make it something people gravitate toward.

blanket IMHO:

1. Great online community cultivation requires a lot of heads down alone time in the computer. An introvert doesn’t feel the need to always get away from the computer and into big group meetings and a ton of high energy face to face meetings. So an introvert is more likely to head this way than towards, say, sales.

2. Rather than charging in and taking over a situation, an introvert is more likely to want to hear out (read) what people are saying, and spend more time (than an extrovert) processing that information and thinking about it, before injecting our own take.

3. An introvert is fed by more behind-the-scenes type work… massaging along the health of the community, than trying to push it the direction we want from the front of the crowd.

4. hmmm, more, but I’d have to think longer 😉

bonus: it would be really interesting to me to see a break down of the *type* of communities that primary introverts vs primary extroverts are working on.

bonus bonus: it would be really interesting to me to see a break down of the *type* of role that primary introverts vs primary extroverts hold w/in their company

Why isn’t Netflix scooping up all the truly great video store employees?

Dennis spent 25 years of his life becoming a knowledgable expert in everything movies. Streaming has a curation problem. Seems like a no-brainer to scoop these people up.

In the last days of the store, daily life at the store got pretty intense. Longtime customers were bereft. We tried to comfort them, explaining how our owner had ensured that our whole collection would soon be available at the public library — for free, even! It didn’t help much. Almost to a one, they had the same reply: “But you won’t be there to help us.”

/via Dennis Perkins on Vox.com

Put it on the calendar 

“The human species will have to populate a new planet within 100 years if it is to survive,” famed physicist Stephen Hawking, PhD says in “Expedition New Earth”

Reagardless which alternate facts you prefer to believe… setting up a plan B sounds like a good idea. I’d prefer that we figure out ways to take care of the planet we have, and follow through with those solutions. But, if I wanted to bet on the next big thing, it would be: any technology or program designed to help the human species populate a second or third new planet.

What would you bet on? 

Resilience as Strength

My boy is almost two. He runs toward the stairs on the deck. I can’t tell if he is going to slow down. I run to catch him. He stops at the top step and looks over the cliff of 3 steps to the ground.

He has his own table and chair set. A little wooden table and chairs that look all adult, but tiny. And if you turn your back to him for 7 seconds, he’s standing on a chair reaching for, well, anything. 

I can’t stop him from ever falling down. He will get bumps and bruises. And if I somehow managed to never let him fall, well, then he’d be all kinds of messed up for other reasons. 

No kid is gonna watch “13 Reasons Why” and be surprised, this is the life they live.

It’s only the rest of us, with school deep in the rearview mirror who will be shocked, that it’s still the same, growing up is so difficult, you don’t fit in, you don’t know who to turn to, you think about ending it…

/via the LefsetzLetter

Some of the strongest things are strong because they are resilient, not because they are immovable. Like buildings designed to flex and wiggle in an earthquake.

We’re about to start watching “13 Reasons Why”. And I don’t think it is going to be easy. We have personally lost people we love to suicide. It is in our lives and in our work. 

I don’t know how I will ever be able to let my kid walk into a highschool. But rather than being broken by the fear, I hope I can give him the gift of resilliance.

The buddy, system

Off to a good start in this arbitrary milestone in your life: 2017

You’ve got your system in place and it is working for you.

You already know you are not going to do everything perfectly. That is ok. This system is designed for not-perfection. It is, however, designed for climbing back on where you fell off. It will take care of you as long as you take care of it. We can actually go through some tough times together and be stronger because of it.

The point is to keep the system by your side.

It is a buddy system. In the vein of all the great buddy movie stories.

That which doesn’t kill you…

I had to stand and pace, even though my headphones had me tethered to my laptop.

For some reason, I can’t seem to have a decent conversation with an entrepreneur while sitting down. Fortunately, I get to chat with quite a few entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to investing in a decent pair of wireless headphones.


Today, I was having a discovery call with an entrepreneur, tethered and pacing. And he asked a horribly wonderfully horrible perfect question, “What do you think about my idea?”

Obviously, I had to tell the truth:

“I really couldn’t care less about your idea. I just care whether you are going to put in the reps. And get up the next day, and put in the reps. And when someone tells you your idea is stupid, you get up and put in the reps. And when the market shifts, you adjust and put in the reps. And when you have an amazingly successful week, you still get up the next day and put in the reps… Oh, and by the way, I happen to love the space you’re working in, so please don’t quit your idea.”

Later in the afternoon, during my 1:1 with the CEO at Revelry, we were talking about goals for 2017. He was telling me about how he is defining a new set of habits above and beyond just listing off some big targets down the road. Which sent me searching for a James Clear article about Warren Buffet’s “2 List” strategy.

Buried at the bottom was this gem I think I missed before:


“The most dangerous distractions are the ones you love, but that don’t love you back.”

/via James Clear


It is easy to “hustle” or “grind.”

It is much more difficult to put in the reps on the very specific things you need to strengthen.

It is easy to make a list of goals.

It is much more difficult to build new habits.

For myself, and for our clients, I always want to push us harder and harder to focus on doing the right things for the right reasons. And to build habits around the activities that will help our businesses grow.