Summary & Study Guide

10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management – Summary

10 Natural Laws of Time and Life Management Study Guide

Book Summary

Truth be told I have not finished this book yet. Why? Was it that dull? Quite the contrary…

The book is so good that I need to take my time and consume it. I really need to wrestle with some of the concepts and figure out what makes me tick.

In fact, I plan on taking a vacation for a couple days to go over one question in the book. That question:

What are your governing values?

Your governing values are the foundation of your personal fulfillment. Governing values range from faith to family to health to finances and everything in between. There’s a story of an executive who, a couple years before his son tragically passed away, wrote down his governing values and shifted his focus toward his family. What amazed me is that he had no regrets about his relationship with his son. There was zero, I mean zero mention of “I wish I would have…” in the man’s story. His governing values enabled him to have a deep, rich, fulfilled relationship with his son.

That is what I want out of life. That is what I want for all of you – to have zero regrets. I highly recommend you pick up this book. Spend time with it. Wrestle with it. Re-read it.

Key Questions

Inner peace is having serenity, balance, and harmony in our lives through the appropriate control of events.

The ways you wasted time today are much the same as the ways you wasted time last week and last month. And unless you identify the principal culprits and create a plan for eliminating them, you will continue wasting time in the same pattern every day for the rest of your life.

Is what I’m doing today really what matters to me in my life?

How did the book help you? What did you think? Comment below or use the hashtag #NewVistaBookClub

Small Giants – Summary & Study Guide

October Book Club Study Guide

Book Summary

I’ve never read a book quite like Small Giants. Most books, like John Maxwell books, are written with the chapters using the following format:

  1. Principal
  2. Anecdote
  3. Three keys to the principal
  4. Quote from famous person
  5. Summary of Principal

Small Giants takes a completely different format. It’s 100% story. All anecdotes and case studies in an engaging narrative format. That said, it’s difficult to extract clear principles from each chapter when you don’t have a framework for which each chapter is written.

If you’re the type of person who finds inspiration from pioneers and other successful entrepreneurs, and you can curl up next to a fire and read nonfiction, then this book is definitely for you.

Key Thoughts

Each leader of the companies in this book was hyper-aware of what kind of company they wanted to create and why they were creating it. When growth comes, the temptation is to focus on sustaining and feeding this growth.

True winners stop for a moment to evaluate what growth will do to the company and its values. The companies that burnt out or went bankrupt got so distracted by growth and success that it leads to being stretched too thin or compromising core values.

Find your true North and do not deviate from it. Invest in people and legacy and building a quality product, and pursue greatness instead of bigness.

The key takeaway for me out of this book was the fact that business should be fun. If it becomes overly stressful, stop and evaluate when it stopped being a joy. Life is far too short to be overworked and hate what you do. Build a company you love, build up others, and give more than you get. That is why we started this in the first place.

Chapter Principals (Cheat Sheet)

As I mentioned, you really have to read the chapter in order to find the principal. The brain is better at taking a principal and breaking it down instead of trying to figure it out themselves.

Below is a metaphorical “puzzle box” to reference while you’re piecing together the puzzle of each chapter:

  1. Free to Choose. You are in control of how big or small or fast or slow your company grows. Getting big is not the goal necessarily. Building a company you are proud of is. If you want to have freedom and choice, you have to fight for it. You can say “no” in order to keep your options open and choose how far and how fast to grow.
  2. Who’s in Charge Here? You’re not a victim to failure or success. You are in charge. In this chapter, you’ll see business owners confronted with decisions to grow, get bigger, go go go. You’ll see their soul searching they did to find what was most important.
  3. The Mona Lisa Principle. The Mona Lisa would not be as famous if it wasn’t in the Louvre, France, if it wasn’t lit and guarded the way it was. Location means a lot. This chapter focuses on social good and how you can invest and grow your community and empower your people to follow suit. You’ll also see practical ways you can do so.
  4. Ties That Bind. “Enlightened hospitality” is a key concept in this chapter. It’s the emotional skill involving the ability to make customers feel that you’re on their side. The 5 values of hospitality are, in order of importance: caring for each other (team); caring for guests (customers); caring for the community; caring for suppliers; and caring for investors and profitability.
  5. A Culture of Intimacy. Create a culture where people feel like an owner and are treated like one. This is where companys core values are woven into the fabric of each employee and stakeholder. Mission statements flow out of this higher purpose, higher purpose does not flow out of mission statements. There are great stories of how a company can do more than provide financially for people, but really become anchors in people’s lives. This is really where legacy comes into play.
  6. Galt’s Gulch. Building off the last chapter, you’ll see leaders and founders figure out how to shape the world inside their company’s walls, and how that can go on to affect how that company shapes or reorders the world at large in some way. Think micro impacting the macro.
  7. How Small Giants Fail. Pretty straightforward here, but there are a lot of great financial tips and ways to consider profitability and growth. The three key components in here is how to focus on steady margins; healthy balance sheets; and having a sound business model.
  8. Pass It On. The most important thing in this life arguably is legacy. How does one build legacy and share what you have with others. Think of your 40 year goals and work backward from there
  9. The Art of Business. There’s no right or wrong way to do business. Focus on your strengths and be true to yourself. Hire for your weaknesses. Most importantly, enjoy the heck out of what you do.


The Effective Executive – Summary & Study Guide

Study Guide - Featured Image Copy

Book Summary

Good mentors and coaches ask excellent questions. The best mentors and coaches in my life spend 80% of our meetings asking and prodding and questioning and peering. They get into my mess and my life and ask me the questions I should be asking myself. Good questions are mirrors to help you see your true self. The remaining 20% of the meeting is actually coaching and teaching.

Good questions are mirrors to help you see your true self.

The best part of this book are those questions hidden in long paragraphs that make you stop and think. In this book, Peter Drucker becomes what all good mentors strive to be – a master questioner. This book, and the questions therein, have the potential to reveal exactly how effective you really are as a worker or leader.

Like most personal development books, there are many anecdotes and stories to supplement his points. Those are hit-or-miss as far as how helpful they are. Ultimately, if you pay attention to anything that ends in a question mark, you’ll be all the better.

Below are some of the key questions and quotes I pulled from the book. Please take the time to go through these and evaluate your own effectiveness.

Key Questions

The main thesis of the book revolves around: “What needs to be done?” Note that the question is not “What do I want to do?”

Is this decision the right thing for the enterprise? Failure to ask this question virtually guarantees the wrong decision.

If you have anyone working under your supervision, these next series of questions are gold! It invites buy-in, gives a voice to the timid, and brings enthusiasm to the people.

  • What should we at the head of this organization know about your work?
  • What do you want to tell me regarding this organization?
  • Where do you see opportunities that we do not exploit?
  • Where do you see dangers to which we are still blind?
  • All together, what do you want to know from me about this organization?

On Time…

  1. Try to identify and eliminate things that need not be done at all, the things that are purely waste of time without any results whatever. One must ask of all activities on your time-log: “What would happen if this were not done at all?” If the answer is, “Nothing would happen,” then stop doing it.

I have yet to see an executive, regardless of rank or station, who could not consign something like a quarter (25%) of the demands of his or her time to the trash without anybody’s noticing their disappearance.

  1.   Which of the activities on my time log could be done by somebody else just as well, if not better?
  2.   What do I do what wastes others time without contributing to their effectiveness?

On Contribution…

What can I contribute that will significantly affect the performance and results of the institution I serve?

What can I and no one else do which, if done really well, could make a real difference to this company?

Ask your colleagues, “What contribution from me do you require to make your contribution to the organization? When do you need this, how do you need it, and in what form?”

“What are the contributions for which this organization and I, your superior, should hold you accountable? What should we expect of you? What is the best utilization of your knowledge and your ability?”

On Strength…

Staff to exploit strengths, not avoid weaknesses. Never ask, “How does he get along with me?” The question should be, “What does he contribute?” Not “what can a man not do?” but rather, “What can he do uncommonly well?”

Rules for staffing:

  1. Be on guard against “impossible” jobs–those that look logical on paper but perhaps has defeated two or three men in succession.
  2. Make each job demanding and big. It should have a challenge to bring out whatever strength a  man may have. Jobs also change, so the “perfect fit” soon becomes the misfit.
  3. You must start with what a man can do rather than what a job requires. Arrive at an appraisal of a man before you decide whether he is the right person to fill a bigger position.
    • What has he or she done well?
    • What, therefore, is he likely to be able to do well?
    • What does he have to learn or acquire to be able to get the full benefit from his strength?
    • If I had a son or daughter, would I be willing to have him or her work under this person? Why?
  4. To get strength, know you must put up with weaknesses.

On Decision Making…

  1. Is this a generic situation or an exception? Is this something that underlies a great many occurrences? Or is this occurrence a unique event that needs to be dealt with as such? (Generics always has to be answered through a rule, a principle.)
  2. Specifically what must the decision accomplish? What are the objectives the decision has to reach? What are the minimum goals it has to attain? What are the conditions it has to satisfy?
  3. What is right, rather than what is acceptable (let alone who is right)? Someone has to compromise, but without answering #2 you’ll make the wrong compromise.
  4. Convert the decisions into actions. Who has to know of this decision? What action has to be taken? Who is to take it? What does the action have to be so that the people who have to do it and can do it?
  5. Feedback has to be built into the decision to provide continuous testing, against actual events, the expectations that underlie the decision.

Key Quotes…

If one cannot increase the supply of a resource (e.g. time), one must increase its yield. And effectiveness is the one tool to make the resources of ability and knowledge yield more and better results.

The man who focuses on efforts and who stresses his downward authority is a subordinate no matter how exalted his title and rank. But the man who focuses on contribution and who takes responsibility for results, no matter how junior, is in the most literal sense of the phrase, “top management.” He holds himself accountable for the performance of the whole.

An organization which just perpetuates today’s level of vision, excellence, and accomplishment has lost the capacity to adapt. It will not be capable of survival in a changed tomorrow. See Blockbuster, Toys R Us, etc.

To tolerate – indeed to encourage – diversity, differences in temperament and personality, relationships must be task-focused rather than personality-focused. The question should be “What is right?” not “Who is right?”

People who get nothing done often work a great deal harder.

How did the book help you? What did you think? Comment below or use the hashtag #NewVistaBookClub