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I genuinely had to triple-check this book was not fiction. What an absolutely unbelievably inspirational guy Alex is. And he definitely made up for the sleepless nights I spent thinking of how to change my life by reposting me on Instagram (!!!!!!). Also, never writing 'Thanks in advance' on emails again. I used to do that 95% of the time.

Actionable takeaways:

  • Just reach out to people - use Tim Ferriss' template, don't be selfish with their time and make their response as easy as possible (therefore as likely as possible)

  • The best way to get someone to respond is to offer them some value/benefit to responding (

  • Bullshit no's should not get in your way - you should rather approach things with serendipity in mind; you never know when someone might just be looking for something you would like to offer - so keep at it

  • Success is not about obsessing over a bull's eye, it's about putting as many balls in the air as possible and seeing which one hits

  • You should depend on your ability to learn things, and not your current knowledge and skills: so appy for things you are underqualified for, bluff your way (where you cannot cause actual harm from incompetence) because you will eventually learn, rather than always playing it safe, trust yourself

  • Don't use your phone in a meeting, it's rude

  • Don't gawk at celebrities, you'll be treated as a fan, you want to be treated as a peer

  • Successful people don't build credibility out of thin air, they do so by associating themselves with well-known organisations and publications

  • Use these two mantras: one, if you don't ask you don't get; two, most things don't work out

  • The best negotiating tactic is to build a trusting relationship

  • A tipping point only appears in hindsight, so keep going forwards

  • Always remain a student, an intern - it keeps your ego in check and your skillset growing

  • Bite off more than you can chew, you can figure out how to chew later

  • You shouldn't complain about your childhood traumas, get the help you need, get over them, and rid yourself of their impact best you can

  • You should lead an exponential life and skip steps (see below)

On Writing Emails:

Dear So-and-So.

I know you're really busy and that you get a lot of emails, so this will only take sixty seconds to read. [Here is where you say who you are: add one or two lines that establish your credibility.] [Here is where you ask your very specific question.] I totally understand if you're too busy to respond, but even a one or two-line reply would really make my day.

All the best,


I'd like to discuss a relationship of some type that could take this-and-this form. Would you be willing to discuss it? I think a phone call might be faster, but if you prefer, I could throw a couple of questions your way via email.' “And never write lines like, 'This is perfect for you,' or 'You'll love this because I know this-and-this about you.' Don't use superlative or exaggerated words because”—he let out an almost mocking laugh —“they don't know you and they'll assume, quite fairly, it's hard for you to determine if something's perfect for them.“I'd also not end with something like, “Thanks in advance! It's annoying and entitled. Do the opposite and say, “I know you're super busy, so if you can't respond, I totally understand.' “And certainly, watch your frequency of emailing. Don't email a lot.

On Smart Persistence:

You may have a desire, a wish, a dream—but it’s got to be more than that—you’ve got to want it to the point that it hurts. Most people never reach that point. They never tap into what I call the Hidden Reservoir, your hidden reserve of strength. We all have it. When they say a mother lifted up a car off a trapped child, that’s that power.”

After Clinton's staff said no, this friend purchased the domain, wrote the former president a letter offering the domain as a gift, and Clinton's office arranged for a time for them to meet.

Dude, that's the story of my life. They're called bullshit no's. I get them a thousand times a week. You just have to build a pipeline so when you get a bullshit no from one person, there's still thirty others to work on.“You want to know why a pipeline works?” Elliott went on. “A year and a half ago, when you first cold-emailed me asking for advice, you didn't know that a month earlier I'd made it my New Year's resolution to find someone to mentor.”I was stunned.“Crazy, right? There's no way you could've known that. My point is that I'm sure I wasn't the first person you emailed for advice. You asked dozens of people, and because of an external factor you couldn't have predicted, one of those things worked. You have no way of knowing what's going on in the lives of the people in your pipeline. You can't anticipate their mood or how generous they're feeling. All you can do is control your effort."

You need to understand that business is not target practice. It's not about obsessing over a bull's-eye. It's about putting as many balls in the air as possible and seeing which one hits.

After Buffett finished undergrad at University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he was working as a stockbroker, which essentially means he was a stock salesman. Though nearly every time Buffett tried to get a meeting with a businessperson in Omaha, he was turned down. No one wanted to meet with a young guy with no credibility, trying to sell them stocks. So Buffett changed his approach-he began calling up businesspeople and made them feel he could save them money on their taxes. All of a sudden the businesspeople said, “Come on in!” And just like that, Buffett booked his meetings.“This is the thing,” I told Corwin. “Although people won't meet with you for the reason you want, that doesn't mean they won't meet at all. Just find another angle. Figure out what they need and use that as your way in."

I read when you were hired as the associate editor of the Arab Observer," I said, “you bluffed your way into the job by inflating your skills and prior experience and, when you were hired, you had to really learn how to swim. What was that like?”“It was hard,” Angelou said, “but I knew I could do it. That's what you have to do. You have to know that you have certain natural skills, and that you can learn others, so you can try some things. You can try for better jobs. You can try for a higher position. And if you seem assured, somehow your assurance makes those around you feel assured. 'Oh, here she comes, she knows what she's doing! Well, the thing is that you're going to the library late at night and cramming and planning while everybody does their thing.“I don't think we are born with the art,” she added. “You know, if you have a certain eye you can see depth and precision and colour and all of that; if you have a certain ear, you can hear certain notes and harmonies; but almost everything is learned. So if you have a normal brain, and maybe a little abnormal, you can learn things. Trust yourself.”

Life Advice

Rule number one: Never use your phone in a meeting. I don't care if you're just taking notes. Using your phone makes you look like a chump. Always carry a pen in your pocket. The more digital the world gets, the more impressive it is to use a pen. And anyway, if you're in a meeting, it's just rude to be on your phone. Rule number two: Act like you belong. Walk into a room like you've been there before. Don't gawk over celebrities. Be cool. Be calm. And never, ever ask someone for a picture. If you want to be treated like a peer, you need to act like one. Fans ask for pictures. Peers shake hands.

Speaking of pictures, rule number three: Mystery makes history. When you're doing cool shit, don't post pictures of it on Facebook. No one actually changing the world posts everything they do online. Keep people guessing what you're up to. Plus, the people you're going to impress by posting things online aren't the people you should care about impressing.

Now, rule number four, he said, slowly stressing each word, this rule is the most important. If you break it-he moved his hand across his neck in a slicing motion-you're done. If you break my trust, you're finished. Never, ever go back on your word. If I tell you something in confidence, you need to be a vault. What goes in does not come out. This goes for your relationships with everyone from this day forward. If you act like a vault, people will treat you like a vault. It will take years to build your reputation, but seconds to lose it.

In other words, Ferriss didn't build credibility out of thin air, but borrowed it by associating himself with well-known organisations and publications.

"On the first sheet of paper,” Dan said, “write a list of twenty-five things you want to accomplish in the next twelve months.”I wrote things related to my family, health, working with Elliott, working on the mission, places I wanted to travel, and books I wanted to read.“If you could only do five of those things in the next three months,”Dan said, “which would you choose?”I circled them. Dan told me to copy those five things onto the second sheet of paper, and then cross them off the first.“You now have two lists,” he said. “On top of the list of five, write:‘The Priority List.’ ”I scribbled it across.“All right,” he said. “Now over the list of twenty, write: ‘The Avoidance List.’ ”“Huh?”“That’s Mr. Buffett’s secret,” Dan said. “The key to accomplishing your top five priorities is to avoid the other twenty.”

Ego isn't particularly healthy," Tony continued, “but what's worse is having it and lying to yourself that you don't. Before you start thinking about marketing tactics, become self-aware of what's motivating you below the surface. Don't judge the motivations as 'good' or 'bad. Just ask yourself why you're doing what you're doing. Choosing the right tactics becomes easy once you know your end goal. ”Tony explained that just because there was some vanity in wanting to write a bestseller, it didn't diminish his other motivations of wanting to inspire young entrepreneurs or teaching people how to create a strong company culture. Those desires coexisted full-time on Microsoft. And when momentum for the company didn't fully pick up, Gates went back to college. Again, no one talks about that. It wasn't until the following year that Gates took another semester off, and then another, as Microsoft grew. Maybe the hardest part about taking a risk isn't whether to take it, it's when to take it. It's never clear how much momentum is enough to justify leaving school. It's never clear when it's the right time to quit your job. Big decisions are rarely clear when you're making them they're only clear looking back. The best you can do is take one careful step at a time.

I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.

“I don't understand why people give speeches with slides. When you speak with slides, you become a caption. Never be a caption.”

I live my life by two mantras. One: if you don't ask, you don't get. And two: most things don't work out.

"Genius,” he said, “is the opposite of expectation."

The best negotiating tactic is to build a genuine, trusting relationship. If you're an unknown entrepreneur and the person you're dealing with isn't invested in you, why would he or she even do business with you? But on the other hand, if the person is your mentor or friend, you might not even need to negotiate. It was the last thing I expected to hear from the business world's chess grandmaster. I thought he'd share battle-tested secrets, but instead he was telling me to befriend my opponent so I wouldn't have to battle.

"You idiot. You asked that stupid question when we first met and I told you there is no tipping point. It's all just little steps."I fell silent. He had said that.“A tipping point only appears in hindsight,” Elliott added. “You don't feel it when you're in the trenches. Being an entrepreneur is about pushing, not tipping.”

But over the past few years, I’ve realized there is always, always…the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen—there’s always a way.

And that’s when I reailsed Pitbull’s key to continued success: it’s about always staying an intern. It’s about humbling yourself enough to learn, even when you’re atthe top of your game. It’s about knowing that the moment you get comfortable being an executive is the moment you begin to fail. It’s about realising that, if you want to continue being Mufasa, at the same time you have to keep being Simba.

Many celebrities create businesses that are a reflection of their lives on the mountaintop. They create fragrances or clothing lines, but Alba created a business that's a reflection of her lowest point. She tapped into her humanity. She created something that resonates with all people. That was her key to ascending her second mountaintop: to first go back down to her deepest valley.“Facing death,” Alba said, “makes you sensitive to how delicate life is. Everything is so”-she snapped her fingers – “in a moment. It forces you to think about all of your decisions in a different way. What really matters? What are you spending your life doing? What are you going to do when you stare your biggest fear in the eyes?”

'If architecture is frozen music, then music must be liquid architecture.' All great art is emotional architecture.'

Bite off more than you can chew. You can figure out how to chew later.

"When Spielberg came to my studio, he said he directs the same way I conduct. He creates a strong structure, and on top of that, he improvises. You have to give people room to put their personalities on it."

"Young people are always chasing. It's because they think they're in control of everything. They have to learn to be connected to the universe. Just let it happen to you."

“There's a statute of limitations that's expired on all childhood traumas. Fix your shit and get on with your life."

Elliott had once heard that if you present three pricing options and make the first option too expensive and the third unappealing, people often choose the middle one. So he made a gold, silver, and bronze package, with silver being ten ads for $6,000.

You see, most people live a linear life,” he continued. “They go to college, get an internship, graduate, land a job, get a promotion, save up for a vacation each year, work toward their next promotion, and they just do that their whole lives. Their lives move step by step, slowly and predictably.“But successful people don’t buy into that model. They opt into an exponential life. Rather than going step by step, they skip steps. People say that you first need to ‘pay your dues’ and get years of experience before you can go out on your own and get what you truly want. Society feeds us this lie that you need to do x, y, and z before you can achieve your dream. It’s bullshit. The only person whose permission you need to live an exponential life is your own.“Sometimes an exponential life lands in your lap, like with a child prodigy. But most of the time, for people like you and me, we have to seize it for ourselves. If you actually want to make a difference in the world, if you want to live a life of inspiration, adventure, and wild success—you need to grab on to that exponential life—and hold on to it with all you’ve got.”

On Strength and Overcoming Difficulties

(On finding strength) When someone is young and just starting out on their journey, and she or he needs help finding that rainbow, in mustering the courage to keep going, what advice do you have?”“I look back,” Angelou said, her voice soothing and wise. “I like to look back at people in my family, or people I've known, or people I've simply read about. I might look back at a fictional character, someone in A Tale of Two Cities. I might look at a poet long dead. There may be a politician, could have been an athlete. I look around and realise that those were human beings, maybe they were African, maybe they were French, maybe they were Chinese, maybe they were Jewish or Muslim

(On finding strength to overcome your difficulties from those who came before you) "I look at them and think, “I'm a human being. She was a human being. She overcame all of these things. And she's still working at it. Amazing.' "Take as much as you can from those who went before you," she added. “Those are the rainbows in your clouds. Whether they knew your name, or would never see your face, whatever they've done, it's been for you."I asked what someone should do when they're searching for rainbows, but all they see are clouds.“What I know,” she said, “is that: it's going to be better. If it's bad, it might get worse, but I know that it's going to be better. And you have to know that. There's a country song out now, which I wish I'd written, that says, “Every storm runs out of rain.' I'd make a sign of that if I were you. Put that on your writing pad. No matter how dull and seemingly unpromising life is right now, it's going to change. It's going to be better. But you have to keep working.”Angelou once wrote, “Nothing so frightens me as writing, but nothing so satisfies me.”

On Interviewing:

Elliott started it casually, making jokes and asking his guest how her morning was going. Then almost unnoticeably, he shifted the full force of his focus on her: What was she passionate about? What was

she working on? When she was polite and asked Elliott about himself, he laughed and said, “Oh, I'm not that interesting,” and posed another question. For essentially the entire interaction, Elliott barely spoke

about himself. But first, I needed to figure out exactly which agents to approach. One author told me how. He said to buy twenty books similar to the one I wanted to write, study the acknowledgments, and make notes of whom the authors thanked as their agents.

Sometimes when people are starting out and feel they don't know how to interview, they look to the people they admire-maybe it's Barbara Walters or Oprah or myself—and they see how we interview and they try to copy that. That's the biggest mistake you can make. You're focused on what we're doing, not why we're doing it. ”He explained that Barbara Walters asks thoughtful questions that are strategically placed, Oprah uses loads of enthusiasm and emotion, and he asks the simple questions that everyone wants to ask.“When young interviewers try to copy our styles, they're not thinking about why we have these styles. The reason why is because these are the styles that make us the most comfortable in our seats. And when we are the most comfortable in our seats, our guests are the most comfortable in their seats-and that's what makes for the best interviews."The secret is: there is no secret,” Larry added. “There's no trick to being yourself.



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