May 2017 Reads: Mindset, StoryBranding, and More!

reads Jun 01, 2017

I used to hate reading books. I once told a friend of mine that I didn't read because it was too time consuming and that books only served as an alternative to a sleeping pill. My friend suggested audiobooks, and I told him that audiobooks were too monotone, that I couldn't focus for too long, and that if I listened while I drive I might doze off and wreck my car. You can either make progress or make excuses. Back then, I chose the latter.

That's until I came to terms with the man I was versus the man that I wanted to be. The pace that I was moving was too slow and it was no surprise that my slow progress had a lot to do with my self-development habits. Everything changed when I decided to change my mindset. Rather than just reading or listening to books, I decided to start writing about them. This proved to be a much better learning experience for me because I was now internalizing the information and translating them into my own thoughts and words. If you have read my monthly book reviews for the past 5 months then you know that I am much ahead of my goal of 52 books this year. The funny thing is that I read 5 books in May and I considered it a slow month... Totally different from before!

I hope this inspires you to step up your self-development and reminds you that the best investment that you can make is in yourself.

Here are my reads for May 2017.  

"Organize Tomorrow, Today" by Jason Selk

So this book inspired me to make a slight shift in the way I do things. My morning routine used to consist of writing my tasks and goals for that day (which is a good habit to develop) so that I can get the most out of my time at work. I usually would take 5-10 minutes out of every day writing these things down, and then checking them off as I go throughout the day.

This book inspired me to plan at least one day ahead. Let me preface my point by saying that what I was doing before is a good habit, but I now believe that planning the day before is a GREAT habit. When I planned the day of, I found that things were slightly more rushed and that I would rely solely on my spontaneous thoughts and ideas. When I planned the day before, I felt that I had much of my subconscious mind already predicting and solving problems for the next days goals and tasks. I felt that when I awoke the next morning I would have already solved the problems I had set out to solve that day and internalized ideas with extra lead time to have clear and concise thoughts. It seems like a small shift, but it truly has proved to be a gigantic one.

Here's a quick example: I write content in the form of blogs and also mastermind programs. Rather than waking up and thinking to myself, "Hmmm, what should I write about today?" I would have already come up with the topic and theme the day before. In turn, it would allow we a full day to think ahead on my topic, subconsciously and consciously writing my content in my head before it was ever actually written. By the time it came to write, I was able to knock it out in half the time. I have taken this same concept and have planned ahead for other things I do as well. This has proved to be a huge productivity boost.

Rating: I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars, definitely worth the read... Especially if you need some organization and productivity help!

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook   |   Amazon: Book )  


"The Psychology of Selling" by Brian Tracy

When I listen to Brian Tracy I feel like I'm listening to intelligence. Something about the way he talks makes me listen very intently, as if everything he says is pure gold. I listened to this audiobook and took a good amount of notes and takeaways for selling. As many of you know, I am in the sales and marketing world, so I try to stay at the top of my game when it comes to self-educating myself in these areas.

This book had much to do with how to communicate and interact with potential customers. There is a good amount of information about solving the customers internal problems and learning how to sell on the external features of a product. There are different tips and techniques that are used across a wide variety of sales jobs. Luckily, I don't have to hard-sell a client in my job role, but if I ever did, I want to be at the top of my game.

When I talk about hard-selling, it's not about taking advantage of customers to get them to buy. It's more about being clever and persistent, meeting the customers needs and learning how to rebuttal their concerns. It's about bridging the gap between what they are looking for and what you are selling. The best of the best salesman first establish trust with their customers and then are able to better understand their needs before a sale is ever made.

If you are considering a sales career, this is a good book to read as well as "Sell or Be Sold" by Grant Cardone. A word of caution, never consider a sales career for a company or product you don't believe in. You must truly believe in the product and truly believe that you are giving value to your customers, otherwise you'll probably end up as a sleazy salesperson... and nobody likes that guy.

Rating: I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook   |   Amazon: Book )  


"Mindset" by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

There's a special connection that exists between success and mindset. In her book, Carol Dweck concisely points out the differences between the closed mindset and growth mindset, and how they are directly attributed to your overall success. In going through this book, I realized that there are so many people who unfortunately put a cap on their potential because of limiting beliefs. Those who may not have had the best education or the best grades in school might think that they are only worth so much. They may settle for things in life that are less that what they deserve or can achieve.

The growth mindset is one that exists in most successful people. It is a mindset that allows people to put one foot in front of the other every single day, knowing without a doubt that they will one day make it to their destination. It's an extremely focused, extremely positive, and extremely persistent mindset that can get anyone to where they want to be. There is no cap on potential, no glass ceiling and no limits to what one can achieve.

The opposite (the closed mindset) can be detrimental to one's success. This book is extremely motivating for me to keep the right frame of mind.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars because of it's deep insights and information.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook   |   Amazon: Book )  


"Simplify" by Bill Hybels

After I read the first few chapters of this book, I send a text message to my dad asking if he had read it. My father is a pastor in San Antonio, Texas and is a fan of Bill Hybels work. Bill is also a pastor of Willow Creek Church in Chicago and the President of the Global Leadership Summit, a conference that is simulcast all around the globe. It never fails, I get a text message from my dad asking me to join him for this big event every year, and for that I am extremely grateful because of how much I have learned.

Back to the book! This was a great read for those of us who feel exhausted, overwhelmed, or over scheduled, and have a deep need to simplify your life. Simplified living requires more than just cleaning out your closets or reorganizing your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul. By eradicating the stuff that leaves your spirit drained, you can stop doing what doesn’t matterā€•and start doing what does.

I found this book to be very insightful for many reasons, including the fact that this book deals a lot with my faith. I loved how Bill combines leadership, productivity and faith together into a message that many can identify with.

He is also a great storyteller who gives many real examples (which I always take notice of in books). Communicating your points with story is very important to me, and something that I am trying to learn. Bill does this great!

Rating: I rate this book a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook   |   Amazon: Book )  


"StoryBranding" by Jim Signorelli

In the midst of listening to Bill Hybels book "Simplify", I was also reading "StoryBranding" in text (although not simultaneously, lol). This led me to really pay attention to how other authors use story to speak to internal issues.

StoryBranding focuses on how to tell a brands story to reach the internal issues of the customer. Don't get this confused with storytelling, because storytelling has to do with how well you can tell a story. StoryBranding has to do with how to communicate your values to the customer through your brand. It taught me how to pay close attention to how customers internalize brand messages, and how they truly connect at a deeper level with a brand.

Many brands focus on external issues based off of things like lower cost, product features, and benefits. But to create a powerful brand with a loyal following, you must communicate your values to the internal measure of the customer. What does your brand represent? What value or good are you providing your customer? How does your brand communicate what it believes in?

This is a thought provoking book that has forced me to see the differences in brand messages.

Rating: I rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars for actionable content for all business, marketing and entrepreneurial-minded people.

( iTunes: E-Book, Audiobook   |   Amazon: Book )    


In a recent post "Life Hack: The 90 Minutes Difference That Can Make All The Difference", I outlined exactly what you can accomplish if you take on my strategy.

"If I only include weekdays, I spend approximately 23,400 minutes in my car per year. That’s a lot of learning time, in fact, that’s almost as much as you would spend in two semesters worth of college. With this amount of time, I should complete 78 Audiobooks this year. … And so can you! IN YOUR CAR!!! It’s crazy to think that the average American reads one book per year."



Over the course of this year, I will be publishing updates on my reading. Keep up to date by following us on social media and subscribing to our email newsletter.


  Oh, and by the way...

Here's a sneak peak at my June 2017 list:

  • Whale Hunting by Tom Searcy and Barbara W. Smith 
  • Growth Hacker Marketing by Ryan Holiday
  • Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris
  • Fearless by Max Lucado
  • 25 Ways to Win With People by John Maxwell



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