Saturday, December 25, 2010

Mojo...

The book of the week was Mojo by Marshall Goldsmith. I liked this book. It's a textbook self-help genre, and I think it definitely has the potential to do that with anyone. Goldsmith writes about how to get your Mojo going. There are several ways to test what gets your Mojo pumping, but there is one over-arching idea throughout the book and that is Acceptance and Forgiveness.

There are several areas in your life that you need to use these ideas to become successful. It makes you successful because it enables you to focus on winning instead of the uncontrollable. Focusing on the uncontrollable is a cornerstone for most people's lives. It could be past, a life decision that your would have liked to have done different, or a colleague of whom you're jealous.In all of these areas it is important to accept the situation and then forgive the situation. It's completely out of your control. The past is the past and someone else's favor is none of your business. If you spend half the time you would normally spend on focusing on the uncontrollable, doing something of merit in an effort to change your future, you will astound yourself! Accept the uncontrollable situations and forgive yourself or others for the outcome, and move on.

Short post on account of Christmas! Hope all of you had a Merry one... and I will see you back here next week to celebrate the New Year. I liked this book and it is really neat. I think Goldsmith is a good writer and I look forward to reading more of his work. As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tribes...


The book of the week was Tribes by Seth Godin. There are quite a few little tidbits that give me that "Oh yeah! That's true!" kind of thought process. Right toward the end of the book Godin writes this: "Leaders have nothing in common. They don't share a gender or income level or geography. There's no gene, no schooling, no parentage, no profession. In other words, leaders aren't born. I'm sure of it." It's very smart... obvious, yet thought provoking. To be a leader is to make a choice. Sure, it may be easier for some to make that choice, but anyone can make it.

The book is about leadership. The idea is that a tribe is a strong organization with a strong fan base of members and strong leadership. I like the idea of a tribe. An organization that is so strong that it's members will fight for it's survival and put every ounce of effort in to maintaining continual success. Tribes don't grow on trees. They are developed by strong leaders. The leader doesn't need to have authority in the organization it is trying to transform into a tribe. A leader just needs raw passion and hunger for their desired outcome- The Tribe.

Two things I want to talk about from this book... Fear and Entertainment. Interesting couple of words. But they both deal with leadership as Godin writes about in this book.

Fear is a huge deterrent for individuals to step into leadership roles. That is the choice I was talking about earlier. It really comes down to choosing to step away from the status quo and into something new and better. It's easy to stick to the status quo, but the status quo is boring and not effective. People fear criticism more that anything else when stepping into a leadership role. "What will people say?" "What if people don't like my decisions?" "Will people follow me?".... The answer to all of the above- "It doesn't matter." These questions should not be a determining factor is stepping over the fear-line. This is easily the most difficult part of being a leader, but it should never deter you from continuing your path to make a better organization. The bigger and better changes you make, the more people will judge and criticize your actions. But no one has ever achieved greatness in the area of leadership by sticking to the status quo.

The next concept I want to talk about is Entertainment. This is an idea that is missed by a lot of leaders. They don't have the attention of their audience. If you can't make people interested in listening, then you have the cards stacked against you. The best way to illustrate this is with a teacher in a lecture hall. A teacher has a great venue for leadership. A lot of teachers are arguably some of the best leaders in the world. However, when you have a teacher in front of a bunch of students and the students are bored out of their minds, they aren't retaining the information and thus, they are not being led effectively. The same idea applies to organizations, if you are trying to lead the people of your organization to be more successful, but you can't capture the troops attention. You are fighting a losing battle. You have to bring charisma to the table. Get excited, fake it if you aren't. It's not easy to always be energetic, but it's the best way to get people's attention.  So do whatever you have to do to make sure you aren't being boring.... coffee, tea, red bull... Whatever it takes! Once you have their attention, you just need to stick to your plan and choose everyday to continue to be a leader.

I think this was a fun little book. And it's been a few weeks since I had read a leadership book. And this one was really good to get me thinking about my own leadership techniques. As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Power of Passive Investing...


The book of the week was The Power of Passive Investing by Richard Ferri.

I am going to make this quick because I am stuck in a blizzard in the middle of no where in Minnesota. So... The book was very good. It is everything you ever need to know about passive investing ie. using index funds or ETFs. It is very academic, so it gets a little dry in parts of the book, but all the information is still very interesting.

If you have interests in the details of why passive investing is so much more effective than active investment funds then this book will tell you everything you need to know and more. The history of passive investing is pretty neat too. As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Automatic Millionaire...


The book of the week was The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach. I was still pumped about the book I read of his a couple weeks ago. This book was just as good or better than the other two I read. However, I am not going to discuss specifics about this book because the other two books I have read by Bach basically cover all the relevant information I would want to relay to you all. What I would like to talk about instead is investment mediums...

This book had me thinking quite a bit about this concept I read all the time by conservative personal finance writers. The concept I am talking about is investing 10% of your gross income for the long-term and then in 30 years you'll be able to retire will a ton of money. I have even used examples of this showing that if you invested X amount of money you'll end up being a multi-millionaire in 30 years. Perhaps, I wasn't thinking completely clear when I talked about all the great results. The reason Bach had me thinking about this is because he kept talking about the average salary being a little less than $50,000 right now. Well 30 years ago, the average salary was $14,000. Now, your gross pay at $14,000 makes $816.00 a month, and your 10% investment would be $81.00 a month. If you invested $116.00 a month for 30 years at a return of 12% APY you would accumulate $320,000 which is hardly enough to retire on in 2010. Let's say for fun you made twice the average pay in 1980 and brought in $30,000. That would be ton of money in 1980 standards. If you invested 10% of your gross monthly income for 30 years you would accumulate just over $700,000. Nice chunk of change, but hardly enough to last through 15 years or more of retirement by 2010 standards.

Right now, having about $5 Million for retirement sounds awesome. But half a million also sounded good in 1980... I feel it is nearly a certainty that you must use other vehicles of investing if you want to cross that threshold between being who you are now and being wealthy. Grinding will not do it. So, where do we go to invest in addition to our 10% or possibly in place of it? Well I think the best option is to start using OPM. That means Other People's Money. The easy was to use OPM is with real estate. If you put in $20,000 as a down payment and land yourself a $200k property and then that property increases in value (while simultaneously producing cashflow) to $220k over the course of 2 years (not all that uncommon) you would realize a 50% return on your money but the property is growing at 5%. That sounds pretty awesome. Other ways to get access to OPM is to either start a business (pretty risky), or buy an existing business (sometimes time intensive and requires more work than real estate).

Okay... stepping of my soap box. The fact is that you need to do more with your money then just invest in your average stocks and bonds if you want to accumulate any kind of real wealth. Bach is a great writer and I love his books and his attention to real estate as a vehicle for wealth building. As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.