Book Summaries


In It Takes What It Takes: How to Think Neutrally and Gain Control of Your Life, mental conditioning coach to elite performers Trevor Moawad lays out lessons he’s derived from his greatest career successes as well as personal setbacks, the game-changing wisdom he’s earned as the go-to whisperer for elite performers on fields of play and among men and women headed to the battlefield.

The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.

In The Denial of Death, American cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker argues that most human action is taken to ignore or avoid the inevitability of death. The 1974 Pulitzer Prize-winning book builds on the works of Otto Rank, Søren Kierkegaard, Sigmund Freud, and Norman O. Brown. It discusses the psychological and philosophical implications of how people and cultures have reacted to the concept of death.

In Change Your World: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make a Difference, bestselling authors John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins provide a framework to get started being the change you want to see – in your community and beyond.

People Change When They Hurt Enough That They Have To, People Change When They See Enough That They Are Inspired To, People Change When They Learn Enough That They Want To,  People Change When They Receive Enough That They Are Able To.

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him, as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It’s a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age,

In The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential, New York Times bestselling author John C. Maxwell shares fifteen principles for maximizing personal growth.

The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth are:

  1. The Law of Intentionality: Growth Doesn’t Just Happen
  2. The Law of Awareness: You Must Know Yourself to Grow Yourself
  3. The Law of the Mirror: You Must See Value in Yourself to Add Value to Yourself
  4. The Law of Reflection: Learning to Pause Allows Growth to Catch Up with You
  5. The Law of Consistency: Motivation Gets You Going—Discipline Keeps You Growing
  6. The Law of Environment: Growth Thrives in Conducive Surroundings
  7. The Law of Design: To Maximize Growth, Develop Strategies
  8. The Law of Pain: Good Management of Bad Experiences Leads to Great Growth
  9. The Law of the Ladder: Character Growth Determines the Height of Your Personal Growth
  10. The Law of the Rubber Band: Growth Stops When You Lose the Tension Between Where You Are and Where You Could Be
  11. The Law of Trade-Offs: You Have to Give Up to Grow Up
  12. The Law of Curiosity: Growth Is Stimulated by Asking Why?
  13. The Law of Modeling: It’s Hard to Improve When You Have No One but Yourself to Follow
  14. The Law of Expansion: Growth Always Increases Your Capacity
  15. The Law of Contribution: Growing Yourself Enables You to Grow Others

The Measure of a Man: A Spiritual Autobiography is a book of reflection by Bahamian-American actor Sidney Pottier wherein he reflects on lessons learned during his seventy-plus years of sojourn in life. Sidney described what he absorbed through his early experiences, lessons learned from his parents and adventures. Sidney Pottier was the first black actor and the first Bahamian to win the Academy Award for Best Actor.

In Ask Your Developer: How to Harness the Power of Software Developers and Win in the 21st Century, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson shares strategies and tips for unleashing the full potential of software developers in any organization. Jeff Lawson founded Twilio in 2008 with the belief that empowering developers was key to unlocking innovation within nearly every kind of business.

Ask Your Developer is a framework for business leaders, product managers, technical leaders, software developers, and executives to achieve their common goal—building great digital products and experiences.

Twilio provides programmable communication tools for making and receiving phone calls, sending and receiving text messages, and performing other communication functions using its web service APIs.

In Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys, the founder of Trader Joe, Joe Coulombe, shares the founding story of building the grocery store chain, lessons learned in the process and insights for navigating the entrepreneurial journey. He started the company in 1958, and as of 2020, the company generated revenue of US$16.5 billion and employed 50,000+ people.

As a partner of Rexall, Joe had started Pronto in 1958 as a copy of 7-Eleven, because there were no 7-Elevens in California.

Trader Joe’s was conceived from those two demographic news stories. What I saw here was a small but growing demographic opportunity in people who were well-educated. 7-Eleven, and the whole convenience store genre, served the most basic needs of the most mindless demographics with cigarettes, Coca-Cola, milk, Budweiser, candy, bread, eggs. Dimly, I saw an opportunity to differentiate ourselves radically from mainstream retailing to mainstream people.

In Art of Attack: Attacker Mindset for Security Professionals, physical pentester and social engineer Maxie Reynolds describes the mental model of a typical hacker. Reynold argues that to successfully fend off attacks and stay ahead of them is to be able to think like those who would seek to attack us.

War is 90 percent information.—Napoleon Bonaparte

The attacker mindset (AMs) is a set of cognitive skills applied to four laws:

In Am I Being Too Subtle?: Straight Talk From a Business Rebel, American Billionaire, and Real Estate Entrepreneur Sam Zell shares his story of how a restless, curious boy who grew up in Chicago made it to the Forbes 400. He describes the risks that paid off and those that didn’t and what he learned in the process. Sam is best known for building several commercial real estate companies with investments also in other industries such as energy, manufacturing, retail, travel, logistics, and health care.

Sam is the son of Jewish immigrants who fled Poland to escape the Holocaust and come to the United States. A former lawyer, he is the founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments, a private investment firm, founded in 1968.  According to Forbes, Sam has an estimated net worth of USD $5.2 billion as of March 2023.

In The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, American Journalist Nicholas Carr argues that instead of enhancing our intelligence, the internet is degrading it. The book is an expansion of his 2008 essay in The Atlantic – Is Google Making Us Stupid? What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains! Carr notes that the internet is affecting our ability to concentrate and contemplate. The Web and the internet affect our cognition and ability to do Deep Work.

Everyone’s health generally declines with time, and sooner or later we all die, so the question we all must answer is how to make the most of our finite time on earth.

In Die With Zero: Getting All You Can from Your Money and Your Life, American hedge fund manager and author Bill Perkins presents a practical guide on how to get the most out of your money—and out of your life. 

Die With Zero Book Premise

You should be focusing on maximizing your life enjoyment rather than on maximizing your wealth. Those are two very different goals. Money is just a means to an end: Having money helps you to achieve the more important goal of enjoying your life. But trying to maximize money actually gets in the way of achieving the more important goal.

In Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters, leadership author John C. Maxwell describes the process of living an international life. Maxwell notes, “When you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit to what you can do. You can transform yourself, your family, your community, and your nation. When enough people do that, they can change the world. When you intentionally use your everyday life to bring about positive change in the lives of others, you begin to live a life that matters.”