The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg

The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg is a book that examines what makes millionaires, well rich people vs. the rest of us… you know poor and unsuccessful people.

All I can say about the book is I thought it was an amazing book that changed my life.  I actually read it twice.  Not for the reason you might imagine though.  See the picture below.

the education of millionairesWhat's that?  It's a jury summon!.  Argh, jury duty well I guess it's a civil duty. 🙂

I read the majority of The Education of Millionaires when I had to do jury duty.  When you are serving your time in jury duty it's always a good idea to bring a book.  The day I went to jury duty I decided to take Michael Ellsberg's book from a pile of books which are in the “I'd like to read it but when will I have time?” category.  Well, you'll have a lot of waiting around time in jury duty so it wasn't a problem.

So I reread, well skimmed, the book again just to see if it was as good as I original thought in a non jury duty state of mind.  Was it?  Not really.

While I enjoyed The Education of Millionaires Ellsberg has a tendency to ramble on in parts of the book.  Sometimes you say, “Ok, yeah I get it.  Can you talk about something else?”  This is probably due to the fact Ellsberg is used to write articles instead of books.  He mentioned he used to do a lot of writing for SEO (search engine optimization) for people in Australia which I can certainly understand.  Google doesn't actually appreciate a good writing, just a lot of text.  Hence why this is review is longer than it probably needs to be. 🙂

Publishers usually require that books be a minimum number of pages on a shelf so that they don't disappear among other books in the bookstore as well.  Yes, I believe some of these are still around.

Also what annoyed me while rereading the book is when Ellsberg drops lines like this;

“We Americans are obsessed with success, and we readily snap up books promising insight into the lives of successful people and how to emulate them.”

Ok well… no shit you did title your book “The Education of Millionaires” so who do you think is going to read this book?  He also makes recommendations in the book about the importance of learning marketing and specifically direct response marking.   This basically means email marketing and ironically when I was on Ellberg's email list he did little of it.  I'm pretty sure he doesn't do much list segmentation.

In The Education of Millionaires Ellsberg also makes some recommendations. I took him up on one of them and read Spin Selling by Neil Rackham which he claims is an incredible sales book. I read Spin Selling and honestly it is a really poorly written book by a scientist/researcher that should not be writing, period.   For the several chapters Spin Selling is mindless drivel and word diarrhea.  I'm surprised a publisher even released this garbage onto bookshelves since it is so poorly written.  I guess McGraw-Hill forgot to have editorial oversight on this book and must have not even hired editor.  The way I see it is Neil Rackham needs Ellsberg's advice on writing, Ellsberg does not need to take Rackham's advice on selling.  Luckily I didn't spend any money on the copy of Spin Selling I have but if I did I would have been pissed, like when I dropped money on Breakthrough Blogging.

Neil Rackham needed to write a book because there is no f$%&@ way this guy ever got any science grants approved.  A scientist with shit writing doesn't get funded.  A scientist with good sales skills can get a book deal though.

The Education of Millionaires is much more amazing when you read it during jury duty.  Reading any book during jury duty makes me believe that you could read anything and think it is incredible.  I could have read a Spot books or Where is Waldo and said to myself, “This book has changed my life.”

Ellsberg does have good messages and points out that most people are not successful because of where they want to school.  They took risk and action and used what talent they had to make something of themselves.  He gives many examples, perhaps a few too many, of unusual paths to financial and business success.

What I like about Ellsberg's writing is that is is simple and straightforward.  You have the feeling that you he is your friend and he is having a casual conversation with you.  His copy-writing skill show through in the book.

The Education of Millionaires – Key Takeaways

  •  Learn Marketing, it is very important.
  • Email Marketing is good to use.
  • Rich people don't think like poor people.
  • Learn dancing, then teach it where beautiful “loose” women congregate.
  • You can read a lot during jury duty.
  • Any book read during jury duty you will think is incredible (even if it is not).

Considering that Michael Ellsberg talked with a lot of millionaires, and probably still has access to them, I think a more interesting project would have been to record audio interviews.  He then could post them on his website as a weekly podcast.  Since everybody loves  hearing successful people talk and he seems to like doing interviews and meeting people.

Would I read Michael Ellsberg's next book?  Yeah, if I was stuck in jury duty. 🙂

Book Review: Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen

likeable social media

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen is a book that I didn't expect to find myself reading recently.  I found Likeable Social Media at my local library when I was browsing through the aisles.  Why would a 20-something be at a library though?  I mean libraries have books with this thing called paper (no, not e-books).  Well, it is a bit of a story.

The internet at my house was out since a BG&E (Baltimore Gas and Electric) crew drilled through a phone and internet line on our street.  Apparently this caused a few blocks around my house to not have internet access for about 2 weeks.  However, we were not affected by the prolonged outage.  (Sorry to any of my neighbors reading!)  Verizon had to come switch out about 1,200 feet of lines under our street though.  Therefore was a -2 day period were they had to cut the internet at our house.  What is a person going to do when they don't have internet? Go to the library to use the Wi-Fi.

So, that is how I ended up at the library.  While there using the Wi-Fi I figured I would at least browse through the aisles and to discover this old thing called a book.  That is when I noticed “Likeable Social Media”  I took it off the bookshelf to examine it and saw the author's name “Dave Kerpen? Never heard of that guy!”  One quote and name on the back bookjacket did catch my eye though “Scott Monty” who manages Ford's social media channels.  I started thumbing through the book and thought it was at least worth a checkout.  Hey, it's the library.

Having talked and interacted with ‘social media gurus' before my hopes were not high.  I have found they offer a lot of empty promises and BS advice.  Usually it turns out they know as much about social media as I do.  Would Dave Kerpen be one of these people?

The answer is No,  Likeable Social Media turned out to have some useful nuggets of information which I think should help me in the future.

For instance, Kerpen mentions nanotargeting, which is targeting a single person or very small group of people.  He demonstrates this ability sending his wife, Carrie, personalized Facebook ads.   I had heard about people running Facebook ads to target very specific groups but not 1 individual person.

Other parts of the book mention good ways to communicate and engage with Facebook audiences.  Each chapter has Action Items to encourage you to act on what you have just read.

Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen is worth a read for someone struggling with wrapping their head around social media, but the big questions… will it help you gain followers?  Probably not!

While the book provides useful advice I people just trying to build audiences will not find Likeable Social Media has quite as much information to suite them.  The book is mainly written for small-medium sized business owners that have little knowledge or familiarity with social media.  Most of the Action Items are really for businesses.  The Appendix is primer on how to use social networks, which is fine for someone who doesn't know but I don't think that it the majority of people that follow Kerpen.

I am still struggling with gaining followers for my Singing Dogs implementing Kerpen's methods.  Checkout the Singing Dog Facebook page and @DogsSing Twitter feed.

I will say I got more value out of the book than reading a blog about social media.  Most of these sites tend to regurgitate the same information which is not helpful.  (This includes Kerpen's own social media blog.)

However, 60-70% of the book was repeated fluff and ideas as well.  The ghostwriter probably needed to meet a certain word minimum so the book wouldn't be too thin on a bookshelf.  The next book could be just a short e-book around 40-50 pages in my opinion.

There was this passage in the book which I found interesting;

Soon after we started our company back in 2007, we wanted to write a blog to share expertise and our product point of view and to create and share valuable content about social media and online marketing. Much to the dismay of our small staff, I insisted that the blog was titled “Buzz Markeitng Daily.”  People argued internally, “If you write ‘daily in the the title of the blog, you're suggesting we'll have new content daily. What if we can't keep up?”

We're not a newspaper, we're a marketing firm,” one person argued. Three years later, the title has changed to “Likeable Content Daily,” but we've been able to keep to the promise of a new article each weekday.  More important, the blog has become one of the thousand most widely read and shared blogs on social media marketing in the world and is consistent source of new business prospects.

Later in the book he argues that some companies probably don't even need a website with Facebook.  Mmm… well I don't really agree with that and I guess Kerpen, well the ghostwriter, fails to realize that blog is a website.  Why would claim someone doesn't need a website when you generate your own content daily and have a popular blog?  Maybe the editor was sleeping or did Kerpen just not read what the ghostwrite wrote?  I imagine the Likeable Content Daily blog brings in more clients via SEO (search engine optimization) than it does via it's social media following.

Another argument he makes is that a “Like” is more powerful than a “Link.”  While I think there is validity to that statement he fails to mention that a Facebook Like actually gives you a Link.  Everytime someone “Likes” a page a link is created on a personal Facebook page showing all the pages that person likes.  Believe me the “Link” is still important.

To be honest I got more from a Yoel Cohen video course I bought off the Warrior Forum.  I used the techniques from the video course and implemented them immediately for my new auto site, CarNewsCafe.  (Yoel even gave me a 1-hour coaching session too.)  We now have 144 followers on the CarNewsCafe Facebook page and have only been up for less than 2 months.  Checkout the screenshot;

facebook analyticsI hope we could get a lot more followers… so if you love cars please join the CarNewsCafe community! 🙂

At least Kerpen admits in his book, “I wish I could tell you that after you read this book you'll have all of the tools to instantly turn on the social media revenue engine and watch the money pour in. I can't, of course.”  This might not be what I or other wants to hear but that statement is true, which I respect.

At least I learned a few things from reading Likeable Social Media.  What are they?

  • I still need to find someone to give me legit social media advice.
  • Don't trust social media gurus!
  • I don't like Facebook and probably never will.
  • The library is pretty cool place.

Did you read Likeable Social Media by Dave Kerpen?  If you did leave your thoughts below, whether they are good or bad.  I'd love to hear other's opinions on this social media book.

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

Note: I have included affiliate links in this review.  Nobody can buy or alter my opinion on this blog as this is an honest and fair review.  

The Power of Habit Review

the power of habit

Charles Duhigg's “The Power of Habit” is a fascinating book about the sometimes interesting, strange, and damaging habits of people. Have you ever wondered why Celine Dion is so popular and you hear her song everywhere? (Even though you probably hate her!) What makes Alcoholics Anonymous such a successful program for millions of people with drinking problems? How Target is such a profitable company? Why Michael Phelps wins so much? Why Rick Warren's church is so big? Why is Febreeze popular? Why people love Starbucks and what justifies them charging so much for coffee?

All these questions and more are explained by Duhigg, a reporter for the New York Times, in ‘The Power of Habit.'

Essentially habits can be explained by daily cues, routines, and rewards we may or may not know exist. Habits help companies like Target determine what women shoppers are pregnant. Songs get popular because people like hearing familiar songs (habits) sandwiched between songs they already know. Habits give Paul O'Neil the power to turn Alcoa around and make the Tampa Bay Bucanners go from a terrible football team to being Super Bowl contenders.

In one chapter of the book Charles Duhigg explains how Starbucks can turn mediocre employees into integral parts of the coffee company by applying habits and the LATTE method: Listen to the customer, Acknowledge their complaint, Take Action by Solving the problem, Explain why the problem occurred. Starbucks uses so that employees have a clear habit when dealing with unhappy customers.

Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, has specific sets of habit he does before a race. He eats the same meal, does the exact same swim warm-up, and listens to music the same way. This helps Michael Phelps have what is known as ‘small wins' throughout his day to make it seem like he has already won. Bob Bowman, his coach, instilled these habits so that he would be able to win consistently.

Febreeze, the air freshener that can get smells out of anything, was supposed to a big hit for Proctor & Gamble. However, when it initially launched Febreeze was a marketing flop. The marketers and researchers assumed that the fact that it got the smell out of anything would sell Febreeze, but they were wrong. They realized they needed to create Febreeze into a habit for people to use by encouraging them to use after they were finished cleaning and not before.

Another interesting part of the book was about Keystone Habits. These Keystone Habits can make all the difference in companies and this was demonstrated in the chapter about Paul O'Neil and Alcoa. O'Neil didn't worry about the bottomline but changing the companies focus on safety. When O'Neil created a better and safer working environment, employees trusted him, word traveled faster up the chain of command, and the company become more profitable due to better efficiency and less material loss.

One part of the book I found a bit scary but fascinating was how a Target researcher was able to figure out when women customers are pregnant based on shopping habits and patterns of what they are buying. Target tracks customers with a seemingly with accuracy and precision that edge on the side of Big Brother using emails, browser cookies, coupons, store cards, and more. Target utilizes all this information to automatically send pregnant customers specific coupons for baby products they know a pregnant women would be interested in buying.

Since I don't have kids I wasn't aware that the babies are a very profitable industry for a companies like Target. (On average people spend $6,000+ on baby gear and products.) The thinking for companies like Target is you can get parents shopping at Target for a baby or babies, they will certainly be buying other products there, creating profitable shopping habits.

The book offers even more examples, stories, and insights. After reading ‘The Power of Habit' you come away with a more keen sense of your daily habits and routines.

One question people wonder while reading ‘The Power of Habit' is, “How can I change my bad habits?” Not surprisingly at the end of the book Charles Duhigg uses his own example of eating a cookie everyday around the same time. He identified the routine, experimented with rewards, isolated the cue, and had a plan to stop his cooking eating. This made him (and it seems his wife) happy since he was able to change this habit by simply replacing it with what he knew the reward he needed was, which was interacting and talking with fellow reporters and journalists.

“Replacing bad habits with good habits is the only way to make a change. What drives people is a cue, routine, and emotional reward that one receives from a specific habit.” says Duhigg in The Power of Habit.

While the end of ‘The Power of Habit' does give clues on what you can to change bad habits, don't expect to find any ways to truly turn your life around if you searching for self-help or are experiencing serious problems (drinking, gambling, etc.) that are having a negative affect on your life.

Duhigg weaves a book that will leave you thinking long after you put it down. Many parts of the book are quite entertaining. However, some parts of ‘The Power of Habit' didn't need to be in there. For instance he included a portion of the book about Rosa Park, while interesting, I didn't think added much value to the book. Also Alcoa and Starbucks are not just successful from habits but a company culture.

While the ‘The Power of Habit‘ had it's shortcomings it is definitely worth a read for those interested in learning more about what makes people do certain things, habits.

Visit Charles Duhigg's website to learn more about him and The Power of Habit.

Like this review? Think someone might find it insightful? Please share it if that it the case and leave a comment below if you read the book.  I love hearing other people's opinions about books.