Monthly Book Review — April 2020

Each month I share the books I’ve read, what I thought of them, and favorite excerpts.

I got back on track with my reading in April. Here are the books I read, and some thought about each.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

This book was jam-packed with practical advice on building and breaking habits.

The book starts with the wrenching story about an injury the author received during a baseball game in high school. This incident started a chain reaction of events that caused him to learn about habits.

The author then moves on to explore four laws of creating a good habit:

  • Make it obvious.
  • Make it attractive.
  • Make it easy.
  • Make it satisfying.

He also lists the four laws for breaking a bad habit (these are the inverse of the laws that create a good habit):

  • Make it invisible.
  • Make it unattractive.
  • Make it difficult.
  • Make it unsatisfying.

There are a lot of examples throughout the book of how famous people have applied these laws in their lives that gives extra weight to what James is writing, and it helps to make his points more relatable.

Some excerpts from the book that hit home with me were:

  • With the same habits, you’ll end up with the same results. But with better habits, anything is possible.
  • …if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty- seven times better.
  • You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.
  • Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
  • Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.
  • Becoming the best version of yourself requires you to continuously edit your beliefs, and to upgrade and expand your identity.

I could list many more highlights, but I don’t want to give everything away. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to work on improving their habits and their life.

The Money Tree: A Story About Finding the Fortune in Your Own Backyard by Chris Guillebeau

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was that even though this is a non-fiction book, the author wrote it in story form. Right from the beginning, I was invested in the story and wondered how things would turn out for Jake, the main character. Putting this in story form increases the believability of the content and makes it feel more relatable.

Many of the concepts in the book are ideas that match up with how I think it is best to start a new business. Bootstrapping and only getting as big as you need to get instead of going after investment capital, being indebted to those who invest in your company, and growing fast just for the sake of growing.

Some of the excerpts I highlighted in the book include:

  • …learn how to make money while also helping people in a meaningful way.
  • Focus on the ultimate promise [you want to make with your offer]
  • A good offer is always designed to appeal to its ideal customer.
  • The hardest part is starting.

The main mantra in the book is:

You can do more than you think!

So, if you want to read an interesting story and also learn about how you can make money or start a business, The Money Tree is a solid choice.

How to Build Your Online Teaching Business by Vladimir Raykov

This book was short and to the point and had some great information about creating online courses. Unlike many other non-fiction books, this book did not spend a lot of time talking about what you shouldn’t do. The author got right to the point about what you should do as a new online course creator.

Some nuggets of advice from the book include:

  • Start with a simple course, with only a presentation, no physical demonstrations.
  • Your first course should be a one-hour course.
  • Pick a particular niche (market) for your course.
  • Remember that you are teaching help someone with a problem they have.
  • Be sure to express the benefit of your course in your course’s description.

This book is a helpful resource for anyone considering creating their first course.


That’s it for this month. Tune in next month to discover more books.

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