August 2017 Reads: Contagious, Outliers & More!

reads Sep 02, 2017

It's September already! When I started this journey, I thought it would feel overwhelmed at some point. I thought that maybe I would be sick of books since I had set such a high expectations for myself. You would THINK that I have been reading ferociously, not sleeping, and dosing off at work... But that's not the case. As of today, I have gone through a total of 57 books (and have blogged about every single one). A whopping 46 of these have come in the form of Audiobook and 11 of them have come in the form of text.

The truth of the matter is that I picked Audiobooks over sports talk radio and listening to the latest country hits... And these are simply the results of listening in my car. I recommend signing up for an Audible subscription to get you jumpstarted on your learning journey, if you sign up below your first two audiobooks are free.

The 11 books that I also read in text are simply what I have actually done in my spare time. If you thought long and hard about this... You could probably manage to do the same. Be encouraged and never stop learning. As you will see below, August was filled with two themes... Malcolm Gladwell (which I am classifying as theme #1) and Branding. I read three of each theme last month, and was pleasantly surprised by each one. Here they are.  

"Fascinate" by Sally Hogshead

I tried something new with this book, pricey but effective. I purchased this book on both audiobook and ebook, which was why I say pricey. Effective, because I listened in my car during my commute to work, and then upon arriving I was able to review and highlight the text and parts that it stood out. I'm glad I bought the E-Book, because this book is really a "model" of how to build a brand. It covers so many aspects of branding, and gives a system so that you can formulate your brand and messaging impactful to your customers. Via audiobook, Sally was fun to listen to. I felt like I wasn't listening to an audiobook, but that I was at a fun workshop. On one end, I'm glad I was able to feel the authors personality and emotions through the audiobook, but on the other end, I'm glad I had the E-Book to refer back to all of the brand models that she created.

Rating: I give this book 4.5 stars for actionable content with brand models that are sure to take your brand to the next level. The only reason I don't rate it 5 stars is because "Building A Story Brand" by Donald Miller still takes the cake on branding. Pre-Order it here. Buy on Amazon!  

"Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell

Last month, I re-read "The Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell. As you will see on the next few books, I'm on an Gladwell streak! The other day, I was trying to rank my favorite Malcolm Gladwell books in order, but that was a tough task. They are all so good.

Outliers is a story of success. It dives deep into the lives of many successful people who have had success in all different areas of life. From College students, to hockey players, to billionaires, to musicians and more, Outliers talks about the rare opportunities that present themselves to people who find themselves in a lucky opportunity to thrive.

The truth is, some people definitely have an easier road than others. Some people have everything go right in their life. If you have read the story of Bill Gates, it's obvious that he had a very distinct opportunity that didn't exist for anyone else in the world. This opportunity was directly related to his future success.

This is not to say that you have to be lucky to have success. What it is saying, is that some people may be blessed with opportunity, but that shouldn't deter you from overcoming all odds. There are plenty of people who have either worked through hardships, or found their own outliers and opportunities where none seemed to exist.

Rating: I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for its deep, thought provoking information and data that are discussed in correlation with real people. Buy on Amazon!  


"David and Goliath" by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath was truly intriguing. Most people see David and Goliath as an underdog story. About overcoming all odds and achieving massive success. David, being the small-framed shepherd having no match for Goliath, the 10 foot tall Philistine with armor and a massive sword. But was David really an underdog?

The beginning of this book argues that sometimes the underdog isn't what they seem. David is not just a small-framed shepherd. He is a shepherd that is trained to protect his sheep from all dangers, protecting them from wild animals and beasts who prey on them. A shepherd spends all day in the fields, tending to the sheep, but also practicing his slingshot for when his sheep are threatened by a moving target. Being a shepherd is not just about the sheep, its about being a marksmen with your slingshot. Day in and day out training your aim and precision to crush the skull on any animal that threatens the heard.

Was it any surprise that David landed that stone between Goliath's eyes? "Don't bring a sword to a gun fight" is a popular saying, which incapsulates exactly what may have happened here. David was well equipped with stone bullets and set on a target that was not moving nearly as fast as the beasts of the field.

A clumsy, 10 foot tall Goliath may have appeared unbeatable, but that is only what it looks like on the surface. Who was the real underdog? This book will give you many thought provoking examples of how to battle giants that you may face. It will equip you with knowledge for you to be able to find your advantage and exploit your enemy.

Rating: I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, also for thought-provoking content and examples for overcoming the odds. Buy it on Amazon!  


"Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell

Snap judgements are a hurried or impetuous decision or finding. If you are a pro golfer, you can instantly tell a beginner golf swing from a pro golf swing. If you are an oil painting artist, you can instantly see which technique the artist used and what their process was. If you are financial advisor, one glance at a portfolio can give you an idea of the risk tolerance and preferences of your client.

Blink is an incredible book on the power of thinking, without thinking. The truth is, many of us are experts in a certain thing. Some of us are so good at what we do, that we make snap judgements and decisions based on little data or research. We seem to just know sometimes.

Have you ever taken a multiple choice test and because you knew the content so well, you knew the answer in your mind before you even read the options? It's kind of like that, but with new information. Perhaps you are being tested in the form of an audition to play the flute in front of a few judges. These judges often make a snap decision based off of their experience. Often the first few notes may have led to a decision.

Getting better at snap judgements (especially related to your career) can be extremely handy, but also extremely dangerous if done incorrectly. This book helps show and tell the difference of when to use them and when not to.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars for the brilliant examples and thought provoking material (as is in all of Malcolm Gladwell books). Buy it on Amazon!  


"Contagious" by Jonah Berger

This book was good. I needed Jonah Berger a long time ago when I thought I would be a viral sensation on YouTube (just kidding). His book Contagious helps readers understand why things catch on, what goes on in people's minds, and what causes them to share messages with others. What elements make up a successful marketing campaign? Why do some campaigns success, and others flop? After studying viral effects of many campaigns over a number of years, Jonah Berger outlines the elements that are involved in each.

Some campaigns and messages that catch on have unique characteristics, while some of them don't. Sometimes you can somewhat control the viral nature of a message and sometimes you can't. Knowing the elements of what you can control is super important.

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars because of it's great insight into the mind of the reader, and how these insight can directly impact almost anyones business. Buy it on Amazon!    


"Made to Stick" by Chip and Dan Heath

As I was reading Contagious by Jonah Berger, he referenced this book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. So, because I was enjoying Contagious so much, I decided that Jonah's recommendation was a good one.

Well, I still don't know exactly where I stand on his recommendation. Part of me liked the book, but part of me didn't. Maybe it was because the narrator of the audiobook was a huge bore. Maybe it was because it had a few things that were repeated in Contagious.

Or maybe it was because it wasn't as good as Contagious and my expectations were too high already. Whatever the case may be, it was good. Worth the listen while you are in your car, but not worth the time of reading this on your own. Maybe I should have spread out these two books and should have not listened to them back to back? Who knows. Do what you wish!

Rating: I rate this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars (I will revisit this later). Buy it on Amazon!  


I hope that my journey gives you some insight into the way I believe self-development really happens, through self-investment. I have bought 46 new audiobooks this year, with the average audiobook at about $15 per, I have definitely spent over $700 in self-investment. That's a very small fee to pay in relationship to what you will gain.

Personally, I like to purchase my books through iTunes and keep them on my digital bookshelf, but if you can't afford that, don't let it stop you. Try an Audible subscription to get your self-education started through audiobooks! Your first two audiobooks are free! See the link below:


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