Book Summaries, Notes, and Lessons

On this page, you can find book summaries, notes, and main takeaways from books I’ve read, categorized by topic.

I include short snippets and ratings to give you an idea of what you might find interesting. To navigate to a specific book summary, click on any linked title.

The notes and summaries are meant to be concise, discussing high-level concepts and lessons. The goal is not to recreate the whole book, but rather the main takeaways and applications.

10/10
By Peter Thiel
The must-read book before starting a real company and startup entrepreneurs everywhere. An inside look at Peter Thiel's philosophy and business strategy. How companies can engineer radical changes to create and grow remarkable businesses that shape a better world. Worth reading and re-reading.
10/10
By Tim Ferriss
The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss is the ultimate blueprint on lifestyle design. Follow a simple step-by-step process to reinvent yourself, work better, create a business, and live a luxury lifestyle that favors time and mobility.
10/10
By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
ReWork gives insight on how to improve your business, relationships, productivity, and work environment. Quick and easy to read with lots of actionable ideas, all-around a fantastic book on business and entrepreneurship. The perfect playbook for making it on your own.
10/10
By Andrew Grove
High Output Management by Andrew Grove is the definitive book on management and leadership. Drawing lessons from his career and experience as Intel's CEO, Grove teaches how to manage teams, structure organizations, supervise, recruit, and much more. Filled with practical examples, it's a handbook for the modern business-life. Every business student should read it.
10/10
By James Clear
Atomic Habits by James Clear is the definitive guide on habit change. Learn how to create good habits and break bad ones with a simple step-by-step framework based on the best techniques from behavioral science. Highly practical, a must-read if you’re looking to upgrade your behavior and make the best version of yourself.
10/10
By Stephen Covey
A principle-centered, character-based, “inside-out” approach to personal and interpersonal effectiveness. The ultimate book on personal development, I re-read it from time to time.
10/10
By Michael E. Gerber
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber is a must-read by every business owner. Gerber explains why most small businesses fail and what can be done about it. To succeed, small business owners need to see their businesses as reproducible units. In other words, the key is to create the right balance between their managerial, entrepreneurial, and technical personalities. An excellent book, highly recommended.
10/10
By Peter Drucker
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker is the ultimate book on how to be effective. It rests on two premises: the executive’s job is to be effective, and effectiveness can be learned through 5 habits. A must-read book to learn how to work on the right things as well as working right.
10/10
By Caroline Webb
In How to Have a Good Day, Caroline Webb takes her extensive experience as a management consultant and economist to illuminate insights from psychology and behavioral economics on the nature of our decision-making. She reveals that we can fine-tune our perceptions and decisions to optimize our happiness in everything that we do. A riveting and well-researched book with many practical tips on how to improve our well-being.
9/10
By Dan Ariely
Explores the hidden forces that shape our decisions. Ariely proves that humans are not only irrational but predictably irrational. In other words: our irrationality happens again and again. A great book to improve your decision making so you can change the way you live for the better.
9/10
By George S. Clason
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason is an all-time classic on how to get rich. Clason offers wealth tips from Babylon, the richest and most prosperous city of ancient times. It turns out that creating wealth today is no different from how the people of Babylonia did it and the book offers excellent relatable lessons. Everyone should read this book.
9/10
By Cal Newport
Deep Work is a guide on how to develop the superpower of deep focus on cognitively-demanding tasks in a distracted world. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. It covers many examples from real-world experiences and actionable items make implementing these ideas quite straightforward.
9/10
By Dale Carnegie
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a self-help classic that reads as a life manual. The core idea is that you can change other people’s behavior simply by changing your own. It teaches you the principles to better understand people, become a more likable person, improve relationships, win others over, and influence behavior through leadership.
9/10
By Chip & Dan Heath
A book that seeks to demystify change. To make effective changes, you have to appeal to both sides of your brain: the elephant and the rider. To make change easier, you need to direct the rider, motivate the elephant, and shape the path. A great psychology book with actionable insights based on scientific facts. Highly recommended.
9/10
By M. J. DeMarco
The Millionaire Fastlane by M. J. Demarco is a book that will teach you how to build insane wealth. Demarco shares the secret to becoming a millionaire at any age. And it is not the kind of advice you receive from financial gurus, parents, or friends. Becoming a Fastlane millionaire has its own recipe: grow a money tree, reclaim your time, and exploit the law of effection. An excellent book on how to create insane wealth and live a great life.
9/10
By David Allen
Getting Things Done by David Allen provides an organization system for your working and personal life. Some of it is outdated by now but has lots of great proven principles on productivity throughout the book.
9/10
By Eliyahu Goldratt
The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt will fundamentally change the way you think about business and operations. A great book to learn how to properly analyze and optimize systems.
9/10
By Viktor Frankl
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells his story of surviving a concentration camp and how this experience led to his theory on the importance of meaning in one’s life (Logotherapy). You can find meaning in work (by doing something significant), in love (by caring for another person), and in courage during difficult times. A fascinating read.
9/10
By Robert Pozen
Extreme Productivity is an outstanding book on making the most of what little time you have. Do you want to be extremely productive at everything you do? It will teach you how. In the book, Pozen shares tips and tricks on doubling your productivity. Whether it is reading, writing, office work, or traveling, there is something for you.
9/10
By Mark Manson
Models by Mark Manson is the best book I’ve read about finding a romantic-sexual partner. You learn the behaviors that will form that emotional foundation needed to improve your odds as a man dating women, improve your dating skills, and attract the perfect partner.
9/10
By Ben Horowitz
In The Hard Things About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz shares his experience in managing startups and companies through both good and hard times. The book contains tips on how to manage employees, build relationships, and how to work as an effective CEO. A great read with many valuable lessons.
9/10
By Jim Collins
Built to Last is a must-read if you are an active or aspiring CEO, manager, or entrepreneur seeking to build a profitable organization that will stand the test of time. Many companies begin on a high note but quickly fizzle out along the way. Authors Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras will show you how to be the company that remains a force to reckon with in your industry and a beacon of light in your community for many years to come.
9/10
By Neil Postman
In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Postman shows how the most popular media of a time in history shapes the discourse of the world. Written in 1985, it focuses on how television has negatively affected the level of public communication in contemporary America but it's even more relevant today in the internet era.
9/10
By Chris Voss
In Never Split the Difference, Chris Voss—a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI—shares powerful negotiation techniques. They say that the quality of your life depends on your negotiation skills. The skills that you get from reading this book can change your life forever. The best book I've read about negotiation.
9/10
By William Zinsser
On Writing Well by William Zinsser is the best book for learning how to improve your writing. The advice is both concise and practical. A must-read for anyone that writes regularly and wants to upgrade their writing skill.
8/10
By Cal Newport
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport is a book that will teach you how to reclaim your time from addictive digital technologies. Tech products are built to be addictive and this can be detrimental to your mental health and general well-being. To live a more fulfilling life, you need to take back the control you have lost. Newport will show you how.
8/10
By Marie Kondo
The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up is much more than a book about cleaning, simplifying, and organizing your belongings. It’s also about being intentional with what you choose to own and how that impacts your way of living, thinking, and perspective on life. It’s quite short, I read it in a couple of hours in one go.
8/10
By Brian Tracy
Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy is one of the best books on productivity and overcoming procrastination. Full of actionable tips, it covers the twenty-one most powerful principles on personal effectiveness. These methods, techniques, and strategies are practical, proven, and fast-acting. You can apply many of these ideas to your personal life as well.
8/10
By Daniel Gilbert
A book on how to find happiness. Daniel Gilbert argues that rather than helping us, our imagination and experiences stand in the way of our attempts at a happy life. The suggestion? We should be more willing to believe in the experiences of others because they are mirrors of our own. A great book on the secret to happiness. I found the message to be simple and wise, but the journey to be unnecessarily long.
8/10
By Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi takes on the problem of how to live a happier life. A meaningful life is one where the person spends his time in a state of optimal experience called Flow. To live a great life, all your goals must be unified in a way that produces the maximum amount of flow. A hard read but one that will challenge your beliefs on happiness.
8/10
By Michael Pollan
In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan Pollan explores the rise of the ideology of nutritionism and its relationship to the Western Diet. He then proposes the short answer to what humans should eat to be maximally healthy: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
8/10
By Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habits by Charles Duhigg is a book that explores the nature of habits. Topics covered include the origins of habits, why some habits stick and others don't. The habits of organizations, consumers, and society. Duhigg also offers a framework for changing habits at all of these levels. A must-read book on the power of habits and their enormous influence on our lives.
8/10
By Scott Adams
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is a narration of the life of Scott Adams, the cartoonist behind the wildly successful Dilbert comic. In the book, Adams shares his recipe for success and shows that even if the odds are stacked against you as they were for him, success is still attainable. An interesting and well-written book on the incredible life journey of one of the world’s most famous cartoonists.
8/10
By Tim Ferriss
The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss is a comprehensive guide on how to live a no holds barred life. It has advice on the right nutrition for fat reduction, how to exercise, perfect morning routines, how to make love, heal faster from injuries, and much more. A very illuminating book.
8/10
By Neil Strauss
Great story and addictive to read. The Game by Neil Strauss is a step-by-step guide to picking up women told in story form. The biggest aha moment for me was that pickup is actually about men, not women. You’ll learn a lot about seduction but its value lies more in the mindset.
8/10
By Ryan Holiday
The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday offers great lessons on how to overcome challenges in every aspect of your life. Ryan, in the tradition of other stoics before him, argues that rather than being stumbling blocks, obstacles are opportunities. They ask you to persevere, to think creatively, persist, and even change your perspectives. A great motivational book for anyone looking to do great things in life. I highly recommend it.
8/10
By Josh Kaufman
The Personal MBA will help you master the art of business. Josh Kaufman compiles business knowledge that is seemingly difficult to understand or only available if you’re a student in business school and simplifies it for you.
8/10
By Rolf Potts
A good primer on long-term travel. Contains actionable advice on all stages of a trip: before leaving, on the road, adjusting to long-term travel, and returning home. A must-read book if you want to take time off from your normal life to travel the world on your own terms.
8/10
By Mark Manson
Everything is Fucked by Mark Manson is a book about hope and how we shouldn't be too dependent on it. Rather, we should create a world in which hope is not a means to an end but an end in itself. Hope should stem from appreciating our own insignificance in the grand scale of things however uncomfortable the truth is. We should accept things as they are and develop virtues based on Kant’s formula for humanity. An excellent book on hope and the crisis of being.
8/10
By Stephen King
On Writing by Stephen King is a great book about the art of writing and the tools of a writer. Less practical than On Writing Well, but packed with great stories. If you’re serious about writing, you should definitely read both.
8/10
By Darren Hardy
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is a book on the immense power of the compound effect. The central message is that small changes applied consistently lead to massive results in time. The compound effect works both ways, it can also lead to ruin if the habits are bad. Darren chooses to focus on how you can use the compound effect to your advantage. A must-read book for anyone struggling to make necessary changes in their life.
8/10
By Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky is a framework designed to help you create more time in your day for the things you care about. It consists of 4 steps, repeated every day: Highlight, Laser, Energize, and Reflect. The book also includes 87 different tactics to custom tailor the framework for you.
8/10
By David Schwartz
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz is a book on self-belief and confidence. It will teach you how to think and act positively towards self, others, and the conduct of your business. A good book with many life-changing lessons on the power of self-belief.
8/10
By Scott H. Young
Ultralearning by Scott H. Young is a book that will teach you one of the most valuable skills of the 21st century - learning fast. Scott details the experiences of people who have applied the skill of ultralearning and in the process shares valuable lessons that we can all apply in our own learning pursuits. A great book with many valuable lessons.
8/10
By Richard Feynman
While this reads as an insightful autobiography of the late physicist Richard P. Feynman, you'll also learn how to think and the scientific process to help you reason better. You'll end up learning about physics, philosophy, psychology, history and so much more. Easy to read, lots of wisdom, and fun!
7/10
By Simon Sinek
Start With Why by Simon Sinek is a book that explores why some organizations and individuals are able to inspire while others simply can't. Inspirational leaders start with WHY. They create their reasons and beliefs first before figuring out the WHAT and the HOW. An excellent book on why some businesses and individuals outperform others. I found it a bit repetitive.
7/10
By Leo Babauta
The Power of Less by Leo Babauta is a book that will teach you how to live a minimalist life. By setting limits for yourself, you will be able to achieve more and live a happier and more fulfilled life. Babauta shares practical tips on how to do just that. An excellent book on how to invest your time and energy in the things that matter.
7/10
By Brian Moran
The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran is a book that will radically change the way you plan for your life and work. Dish the 12 month year and instead focus on the 12 Week Year. Why? Because you can get more done in 12 weeks than in 12 months with the right mindset, goals, and strategy. The 12 Week Year has worked its magic for companies, scores of people, and it can improve your life too. A great book on boosting your performance over the short-term.
7/10
By Malcolm Gladwell
A book that explores the hidden forces behind successful people. Gladwell shows that as much as talent and hard work are responsible for many of the success stories that we see and hear, there is much more to success than meets the eye. A bit repetitive so you can skim some parts but overall great lessons.
7/10
By Malcolm Gladwell
Our brain is like a computer that processes all the knowledge instantly to give the first impression. “Thin-slicing” allows us to make decisions quickly that can as good as those made cautiously and deliberately. This technique can be learned through practice and controlled to the point when you know you can trust your instincts or not.
7/10
By Nir Eyal
Hooked by Nir Eyal is a book that explains how tech companies get people to use their products repeatedly. User habits are explained by the Hook Model which consists of four looping cycles: trigger, action, variable reward, and investment. An excellent book that explains user behavior towards technological products and services.
7/10
By Hal Elrod
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is a 6-step morning routine using what are called Life S.A.V.E.R.S.: silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and scribing. A good book to pick up if you’re looking to upgrade your mornings.
7/10
By Chris Bailey
In The Productivity Project, Chris Bailey covers the best productivity tactics to get things done. Over the course of a year, Chris tested lots of tactics and condensed the list to the top 25. These will help you better manage your time, attention, and energy.
7/10
By Grant Cardone
The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone is a book on success. It argues that to be successful, you must be willing to work 10 times harder (10X) than everyone else. Cardone says that you should approach success as a duty, obligation, and responsibility. To be successful is the ethical thing to do. The 10X Rule is an excellent book that champions commitment as a way of achieving extraordinary results.
7/10
By Jonah Berger
Contagious by Jonah Berger is a book that explains why things catch on. It answers the question of why some products, services, commercials, and ideas go viral. Some of the reasons explored include word of mouth, practical value, and the power of stories. A good book with lots of practical examples and explanations of viral phenomena.
7/10
By Michael Hyatt
Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt is a great system to help you focus on working on the right things. First, you’ll stop and define what productivity means to you by formulating, evaluating, and reformulating. Then, you’ll cut the nonessentials by eliminating, automating, and delegating. Finally, you’ll act on by consolidating, designating, and activating.
6/10
By Atul Gawande
The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande is a book that champions the use of checklists as a tool for improved performance. Gawanda takes the reader through a journey that details how checklists work, the role they play, and why they are needed in surgical rooms, cockpits, construction sites, and even in company boardrooms.  A well-written text on the power of checklists.
6/10
By Steven Schuster
The Art of Thinking In Systems by Steven Schuster is a book that introduces a new way of thinking called "system thinking". Systems are physical and abstract things that react in relation to one another. With system thinking, you can analyze things around you with the sole purpose of improving yourself. The negative point is that it falls short of diving deeper into the topic of system thinking.
6/10
By Mark Manson
Sometimes life just really sucks and we cannot run away from it. We need to learn how to let go in order to enjoy life more. The key to living a good life is not giving a fuck about more things but rather focus only on the things that align with your personal values. A no-bullshit approach to living a life that might not always be happy, but meaningful and centered only around what’s important to you.
6/10
By Malcom Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell characterizes his book as the biography of an idea. The idea of how things spread. He says that the key is to think of bestsellers, fashion trends, and other viral sensations as epidemics as they all share a basic underlying pattern. Great ideas although the book is repetitive.
6/10
By Greg Mckeown
Essentialism shows a new way of thinking about productivity and life. It's a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.
6/10
By Taylor Pearson
The End of Jobs by Taylor Pearson argues that the leverage points in creating wealth have changed because of globalization. Because this tendency is accelerating, it offers a massive advantage to entrepreneurs. We’re experiencing a shift in our economy, and jobs are being replaced by software. When the time comes, you want to be the one with the software, not the one with the job.
6/10
By Ryan Holiday
In Ego is the Enemy, Ryan Holiday argues that often our problems are caused not by external factors but from our own ego. The book is divided into 3 parts: aspire, success, and failure. A good book on stoicism but lacks practical ways to fight the ego.
5/10
By Tynan
Superhuman by Habit by Tynan is a guide on how to upgrade your life, one tiny habit at a time. The last part covers the most common habits and offers practical advice. Good read but lacks a clear structure to make it actionable. Read Atomic Habits instead.
5/10
By Chris Bailey
Hyperfocus by Chris Bailey explores how to train your brain’s two most productive modes: the focused mode (Hyperfocus) and the creative mode (Scatterfocus). The first is needed to be highly productive while the latter is best for connecting ideas and solving problems. Some good parts, but overall a confusing read with nothing new. Read Deep Work by Cal Newport instead.

5-Bullet Monday

New Ideas on Productivity, Every Monday

5-Bullet Monday

New Ideas on Productivity, Every Monday