Folks, This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin

The Big Idea: Today’s level of overconsumption and resource-depletion is unsustainable.
Ch. 1: Children, Chores, Humility, and Health
  • Historically, children had chores and responsibilities that taught them how to be an adult.
  • Our children were homeschooled, never had television, and were encouraged to pursue entrepreneurial adventures.
  • I don’t believe in allowances.
  • 50 years ago, 50% of produce grown in America came from backyard gardens.  Gardening teaches children about responsibility and nature.
  • According to the hygiene hypothesis, sheltering children from dirt and minor pathogens leads to allergies, asthma, and a weaker immune systems.
Ch. 2: A Cat Is a Cow Is a Chicken Is My Aunt
  • Traditional agricultures has always used grazing animals to replenish the soil.
  • The circle of life demands that something must die for something to live.
  • Animal activists will learn more working on a functioning organic farm with animals than sitting in air-conditioned home, reading articles on the internet.
  • Chickens and pigs are great for turning scraps into fertilizer.
  • Nobody in the world goes hungry because of lack of food production.  What kills people is food distribution problems.
  • Heifer International is getting it right, by starting with livestock.
  • Not all plants are good.  Many grains, grown industrially, devastate our topsoil.
  • If people knew more about where food came from, we would all be better off.
  • Can you name four vegetables that grow underground?  Above ground? Legumes?
  • Spend some serious time on a farm.
  • Start a backyard vegetable garden.
  • Eat more grass-fed beef and less chicken and less pork.
  • Raise small livestock (rabbits, chickens).
  • Take your kids hunting.

Ch. 3: Hog Killin’s and Laying in the Larder

  • The average town only has three days’ supply of food.
  • The first supermarket in America appeared in the 1940’s.
  • Nobody goes hungry because of lack of food.  They go hungry due to a lack of distribution.
  • Having all food available all year is not natural.
  • Lack of food security, caused by our current system makes us vulnerable.
  • Buy more food from local farmers.
  • Learn how to preserve food.
  • Buy a big freezer and store more food.
  • Start a 19th-century hobby.
  • Grow some food on your property.

Ch. 4: Wrappings, Trappings, and Foil

  • Book: Four Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
  • Learn how to preserve your own food.
  • Learn how to extend your gardening season with cool-season crops like brassicas, carrots, beets, and greens.
  • Take your own containers to the farmer’s market and grocery store.
  • Reduce or eliminate buying processed foods.  They are responsible for all the wasteful packaging.
  • Get a ton of stackable, reusable containers.
  • Get a good thermos.

Ch. 5: Lawn Farms and Kitchen Chickens

  • Long distance distribution now defines the modern food system.
  • Half of all food fit for human consumption never gets eaten.  Much is lost to long-distance transportation.
  • Lots of farmland is going underused because farmers are getting older and the children are not farmers.
  • You can’t preserve farmland without preserving farmers.
  • Urban farm example: raised beds, chicken yard, worm farm.
  • Will Allen, Growing Power in Milwaukee: fish, hoophouses, warm farm.
  • Small Plot Intensive Farming (SPIN): half-acre, vertical stacking, polyculture.
  • Combining plants and animals gets the best of both worlds.
  • America has 35mm acres of lawns and 36mm acres of land for recreational horses.  And much more for golf courses.
  • Cheap energy masks the true cost of our food system.
  • We’ve traded our backyard gardens and neighborhood farms for Chinese imports and mega-crops filled with diseases.
  • Plant edible landscape.
  • Use marginal land.
  • Eat locally.
  • Raise backyard chickens.

Ch. 6: Dino-the-Dinosaur-Shaped Nuggets Don’t Grow on Chickens

  • People today have forgotten how to cut up a whole chicken.
  • Get a slow cooker.
  • Today’s kitchen is nothing more than an unpackaging center for packaged food.
  • Learn how to cook a complete meal from scratch.
  • Process something simple for yourself, like applesauce.
  • Everyone pitches in with cleaning up after dinner.

Ch. 7: We Only Serve White Meat Here

  • A quarter of all food is now eaten in automobiles.
  • Eat more home cooked meals and save more leftovers.
  • Eat more soups.  They are easy to prepare/store and way better than fast food.

Ch. 8: Disodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetate-Yum!

  • Quit buying processed food with ingredients you can’t pronounce.  It’s terrible for your gut biome.
  • Buy organic and local from farmer’s markets.

Ch. 9: No Compost, No Digestion

  • Food that doesn’t decompose isn’t normal.
  • Get chickens to turn kitchen scraps into fertilizer.
  • Get earthworms to turn kitchen scraps into earthworm castings for your garden.
  • Buy only perishable food.
  • The only stable foods at ambient temperature are normally nuts and dehydrated foods.

**Ch. 10 The Poop, the Whole Poop, and Nothing but the Poop

  • On some farms, half the workload can be shoveling manure.
  • Cities in the early 1900’s would suffocate in horse manure.
  • Soil fertility is linked to manure.
  • Cheap energy led to chemical fertilization.
  • Soil is fundamentally a living organism.
  • Book: The Complete Book of Composting by Rodale
  • Composting + intensive pasture management with herbivores and electric fencing = productive soil.
  • We should not be feeding herbivores grain.  It’s not their natural diet.

Ch. 11: Park, Plant, and Power

  • We are too dependent on cheap oil, even as we are reaching or have reached peak oil.
  • Before petroleum people acquired their own energy.
  • Before petroleum, people didn’t commute.  They lived where they worked.
  • Without petroleum, the suburbs will have to become more self-sufficient or else collapse from lack of food.
  • Green trend: living where you work
  • Green trend: passive solar gains at home
  • Green trend: edible landscaping
  • Green trend: backyard chickens and rabbits
  • Green trend: biodiesel

Ch. 12: Roofless Underground Dream Houses

  • Earth-sheltered home are naturally cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
  • A methane digester can take care of human waste.
  • A solar water heater would run showers and hot water faucets.
  • A clothesline would replace a dryer.
  • Gray water would irrigate vegetables and fruits.
  • Rain water would collect in the cistern.
  • A small woodstove would supplement passive solar gain.
  • A solar array or windmill would supply energy.
  • Earth berming would keep the house cool in the summer.
  • Tiny houses are replacing McMansions.
  • Buy tiny homes that are built with local materials.
  • Book: Fire in America: A Cultural History of Wildland and Rural Fire.
  • Book: The Moving Feast
  • Hogs in forests help to stimulate growth.

Ch. 13: Grasping for Water

  • Water is the most essential and overlooked resource.
  • Less than 22 inches of annual rainfall is brittle (vs. temperate.)
  • Permaculturists are deep ecologists who understand the need to collect, preserve, and use water efficiently.
  • The key concept is to slow down and hold onto rainwater on your land.
  • Use water barrels.
  • Use greywater instead of clean water for toilets and landscaping.
  • Consider alternative toilets like composting toilets or moldering toilets.
  • Dig more ponds.

Ch. 14: Mob Stocking Herbivorous Solar Conversion Lignified Carbon Sequestration Fertilization

  • Traditional farms used to be very diversified, with varieties of plants and animals working together. Modern farms specialize in one crop or animal.
  • Perennials and herbivores build soil naturally.
  • Perennials are great for building soil because they put all their energy into accumulating root reserves. They sequester lots of CO2.
  • Herbivores forage on these grasslands and close the loop.
  • Too much grain production leads to deserts.
  • Herbivores + grazing management + grasslands + compost can build great soil on eroded bare rock.
  • Traditionally, herbivores (cows, sheep, goats) were a stable and omnivores (chickens, pigs) were a luxury. Grains were expensive.
  • Cheap oil reversed this. Omnivores > Herbivores.
  • Grassland is as efficient as trees at sequestering carbon.
  • Grass + herbivores is nature’s miracle cycle.
  • Eat more grass-fed beef, less chicken, less pork, less soy.

Ch. 15: Let’s Make a Despicable Farm

  • Today’s animal farms are kept alive only by cheap oil, animal pharma, and money.

Ch. 16: Scientific Mythology: Centaurs and Mermaids Now in Supermarkets

  • Buy organic, local, unprocessed, non-genetically modified food.

Ch. 17: You Get What You Pay For

  • Farmers are often synonymous with peasants.
  • To save our environment, farming needs to attract more of our best and brightest people. Even at the very small-scale with backyard vegetable gardens and chicken coops.
  • Buy less, but higher quality food and be willing to pay more if needed.

Ch. 18: Get Your Grubby Hands

  • When you tax inheritance, you destroy farms.
  • Prosecute anyone who pollutes, especially industrial agriculture.
  • Reign back eminent domain.

Ch. 19: Sterile Poop and Other Unsavory Cultural Objectives

  • Our legal system is set up to support industrial, mono-species farms, not small, diversified family farms.

Ch. 20: I Hereby Release You from Being Responsible for Me

  • Frivolous lawsuits cost millions of dollars.
  • Due to the risk of litigation, people confuse safe with sterile.
  • Our legal system needs reform.

Ch. 21: I’m from the Government, and I’m Here to Help You — Right

  • The two enemies of the people are criminals and government. –Thomas Jefferson
  • If we want to raise responsible children, we cannot protect them from every risk.
  • Quit buying from industrial food systems.
  • The answer is not regulations that limit competition but favor industrial agriculture.

Ch. 22: The Church of Industrial Food’s Unholy Food Inquisition

  • The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is the small farmer’s version of the NRA, built to protect small farmers and food rights.

Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

The Big Idea: to win in business, learn how to recruit A players.

Chapter 1: Your #1 Problem

  • Stop using voodoo hiring methods: gut instinct, lots of interviews, brainteasers, personality questions, small-talk questions, pop psychology tests, IQ tests, hypothetical cases
  • An A Player candidate: has a 90%+ chance of achieving a set of outcomes that only the top 10% of possible candidates could achieve.
  • A Player Method based on research studies and interviews.
  • Four steps to the A Player Method 
    • 1) Scorecard: outcomes, competencies
    • 2) Sourcing
    • 3) Select: series of structured interviews
    • 4) Sell
  • The fastest way to improve a company’s performance is to improve the talent.

Chapter 2: Scorecard

  1. Mission: executive summary of the job’s purpose
  2. Outcome: 3-4 specific outcomes to achieve
  3. Competencies: behavioral and cultural fit

Chapter 3: Source

  • Best: referrals from your personal and professional network
  • Encourage your team to be 24/7 talent scouts.

Chapter 4: Select

  1. Screening interview: short, phone-based, eliminate B and C players (see book for script)
  2. Who interview: 2-3 hours, chronological walk-through of a person’s career, divided into chapters (see book for script)
  3. Focused interview: focus on the scorecard, not the candidate, evaluate behavioral/cultural fit (see book for script)
  4. Reference interview: call all references, 3 bosses, 2 peers/customers, 2 subordinates, a lukewarm endorsement is a clear no (see book for more tips)

Chapter 5: Sell (5 F’s)

  1. Fit: culture, vision, goals
  2. Family: mostly related to relocation
  3. Freedom: autonomy
  4. Fortune: financial stability/upside
  5. Fun: work environment and team

Chapter 6: Your Greatest Opportunity

  • What contributed most to business success?
    • Management talent 52%
    • Execution 20%
    • Strategy 17%
  • Make people a top priority.
  • Follow the A Player Method.
  • Cast a clear vision for the company.
  • Recognize and reward people for following the A Player Method.
  • The scoreboard for a CEO depends on the situation and the stage of the company.
  • Using scorecards to evaluate your existing team for promotions, raises, and bonuses.

With Winning in Mind by Lanny Basham

The Big Idea: winning consistently requires the mental programming of a champion.
Principles of Mental Management
  • Your mind can only concentrate on one thing at a time.  If you are picturing something positive in your mind, it is impossible, at the same time, to picture something negative.  Choose to think about what you want to create in life.
  • What you say is not important.  What you cause yourself or others to picture is crucial.  Give yourself commands in a positive manner.
  • The Subconscious Mind is the source of all mental power.  You perform best when you allow your all-trained Subconscious to do the work.
  • The Subconscious moves you to do whatever the Conscious Mind is picturing.  Positive pictures demand positive results from the Subconscious.  If we think negatively, we have to expect negative results.
  • To change your performance, you must first change your Self-Image.  Some people hope they can win.  Some people expect to win.  Winning Olympians control their Self-Image.
  • You can replace the Self-Image you have with the Self-Image you want, thereby permanently changing performance.
  • When the Conscious, Subconscious, and Self-Image are all balanced and working together, good performance is easy.
  • The more we think about, talk about, and write about something happening, the more we improve the probability of that thing happening.  Do not spend time thinking about failures.  Think only about your successes.
  • The Self-Image cannot tell the difference between what actually happens and what is vividly imagined.  Mentally rehearse and replay good performances.  Rehearsal can help reduce fear by giving you many positive mental experiences before the actual performance. Rehearsal can help restore relaxation.
The Balance of Power
  • When beginning any new activity, we have to use the Conscious Mind since we have not yet developed Subconscious skill.  Also our Self-Image tells us we are beginners.
  • If we practice properly and are encouraged, our Subconscious and Self-Image circles will grow to match the Conscious circle and we will be in balance.
  • Learn how to make your circles (Conscious, Subconscious, Self-Image) larger, while keeping them in balance.
The Mental Management Goal-Setting System
Only the super successful ever bother to set personal goals and plan their work.
  1. Decide exactly what you want.
  2. Decide when you want it.
  3. List the pay-value.
  4. Create a plan.
  5. Start.
  6. Never quit.
Improve Concentration by Running a Mental Program
Winning requires you to develop a consistent mental picture.  A mental program is a series of thoughts that when pictured, will trigger the Subconscious to perform the appropriate action.  A mental program controls the thought process occupying the Conscious Mind.
  • Initiate: just be consistent
  • Attitude: picture the feeling of success
  • Direction: rehearse success
  • Control: center concentration on the most critical part of the action
  • Focus: the last thing you picture
How to Develop Skills
  • Catch yourself doing something right.  Study only your successes, not your failures.
  • Train 4-5 days a week.  2-3 is not enough.
  • Wherever you are, be all there.
  • Rehearse the match day within the training session. Treat every training day as if it had the same importance as the most crucial competition day.
  • When you are shooting well, shoot a lot.  If you are having a bad day, stop training.  Do not practice losing.
  • We raise or lower ourselves to the standard we are around.  Train with people who are better than you and you will get better.
  • Make a bet with yourself, when you win it, pay off.
Performance Analysis
  • Keep a performance journal or diary.  In it, record your schedule, diary, solution ideas, successes, and goals.
  • Use your journal to document and track your training program.
Building a Powerful Self-Image
  • Remember to run a mental program and record successes in your journal.
  • The Directive Affirmation is the most powerful tool for changing your Self-Image.  The Directive Affirmation is a paragraph written in the first person present tense that describes a goal, a plan, and habits and attitudes required to achieve the goal.  Write it down on index cards, placed in prominent places around your home and work.  Rehearse it every time for 21 days and rest for 9 days.
  • Constantly promote and praise others, your coaches, teammates, and colleagues.
Seven Strategies of the Mentally Tough
  1. The Principle of Transportation: transport the habits and attitudes you need to perform at the higher level and adopt them today.
  2. Your Past Is Not a Prison: do not think about the past, focus on the future
  3. Imitate the Champions: find out what the best people in your space are doing and copy what they are doing.  Go to the places where these people train to learn from them.
  4. Train Hard, Compete Easy: outwork the competition in training, but not in competition.
  5. Visualize Before Game Day: mentally rehearse the competition before the competition.
  6. Take All Problems As Positive: problems identify areas we need to work on.
  7. Have Big Dreams: don’t settle for mediocrity, dream big, achieve big

The Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin

The Big Idea: focus on fundamental principles and foundational movements until they are unconscious.

  • Tao Te Ching is a life changer.
  • I’ve been keeping journals of my chess study since I was twelve.
  • Eventually, the foundation is so deeply internalized that it’s no longer conscious.
  • The boating life has also been a wonderful training ground for performance psychology.
  • Carol Dweck says that winners have a growth mindset, vs a fixed mindset.
  • The risk of a process-first mentality is no importance placed on the outcome at all.
  • A man wants to walk across the land, but the earth is covered with thorns.  He has two options – one is to pave his road, to tame all of nature into compliance. The other is to make sandals.
  • Become at peace with noise and distraction.
  • Beginners who memorize moves lose their composure under adversity.
  • Leave numbers to numbers. Learn the fundamentals and then strive to make them unconscious.
  • Learn to meditate.  Study Qigong.
  • Have a beginner’s mind and be willing to invest in loss.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
  • Learn the micro to understand the macro.
  • Common beginner mistake: taking on too much at once.
  • It can take months or years to perfect the right straight punch.
  • Depth beats breadth.
  • Embrace adversity (injury, loss) as an opportunity for improvement.
  • The Grandmaster looks at less, not more. He is aware of more, but focused on less.
  • With training and experience, you will learn to anticipate your opponent’s moves.
  • Interval training (sprint + recovery) is a critical building block to peak performance.
  • Create a trigger that will put you in a state of high performance.  (Music, food, warmups)
  • Instead of trying to block out emotions in the heat of battle, just be comfortable with them.
  • Record and watch yourself on video.

Step 23: Landing Your Plane On The Great Wall

The Big Idea: Problems are going to confront you.  Be prepared by expecting them, putting them into perspective, developing the fortitude to overcome, and learning how to innovate past them.

  • To succeed, you must learn how to bypass the obstacles of life.
  • Life will deal tremendous blows to you.  This is the reality.
  • Statistically, something bad will happen to you and you will have to overcome it.
  • Psychologically, things are not nearly as traumatic if you expect them.
  • You must develop the force of will (backbone) to overcome major obstacles.
  • How do you learn to put problems into perspective?
  • Travel around the world to understand first-world vs third-world problems.
  • Read more history (Will Durant) and focus less on the last 24 hours.
  • Reading more history puts your life in perspective.
  • Read about Louis Zamperini (movie Unbroken).
  • Jeff Bezos: you must innovate your way out of problems.
  • Einstein: insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
  • There are always many ways around problems, so keep on innovating until you overcome.
  • Another core strategy is to break down big problems into smaller problems.
  • Lastly, learn to start loving the wall, because there will always be another wall.

Tai Lopez is an entrepreneur, investor, and blogger who runs an awesome online book club. 67 Steps is a lecture series teaching how to be successful in health, wealth, love, and happiness.  

SAS Survival Handbook by John Wiseman

The Big Idea: if you head out to the wilderness, tell someone exactly where you are going. Take a wilderness survival course to learn how to survive for a few days until you are found.

  • The average person requires 0.5 liters of water a day.
  • Three fires are an internationally recognized distress signal.  SOS is also widely recognized.
  • Carry matches and learn how to build a fire.
  • Learn how to forage for edible plants and mushrooms and how to avoid poisonous ones.
  • Learn how to identify and use a few key medicinal plants.
  • Take a wilderness survival class and a wilderness first aid class.

Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg

The Big Idea: Productivity can be learned.

Chapter 1: Motivation

  • To feel motivated, people must feel like they are in control.
  • Leadership is learned.
  • Don’t praise people for intelligence; praise them for effort.
  • A bias towards action keeps people motivated.
  • Start with why; why are you doing what you’re doing?
  • Examples: Marine boot camp, renegade nursing home patients.

Chapter 2: Teams

  • Group norms (culture) matter more than anything.
  • People need to feel safe to make and report mistakes, to experiment.
  • Friends working together works because they feel safe.
  • Teams need to believe their work is important.
  • Teams need to believe their work is personally meaningful.
  • Teams need clear goals and defined roles.
  • Team members need to know they can depend on one another.
  • Teams need psychological safety.
  • Examples: Google People Analytics, hospitals, Saturday Night Live.

Chapter 3: Focus

  • Cognitive tunneling is when brains are forced to transition abruptly from relaxed automation to panicked attention.
  • People who remain calm and show good judgment in stressful situations tend to create mental models and engage in constant forecasting.  They visualize scenarios.
  • Productive people engage in fewer projects, challenge themselves constantly, and love to forecast future scenarios.
  • Try to anticipate what’s next through scenario planning (Southwest Airlines book).
  • Examples: Air France flight 447

Chapter 4: Goal Setting

  • Having SMART goals will help you to continuously improve.
  • However, only having audacious, inspirational stretch goals will lead to the big leaps forward. Stretch goals force you to challenge assumptions and try completely new approaches.
  • Examples: Yom Kippur War, Toyota high-speed rail.

Chapter 5: Managing Others

  • It’s the culture that makes Toyota successful.
  • “Star-based” startups had the most home runs but also the most failures.  “Culture-based” startups had the highest probability of survival and success.
  • Lean management requires handing decision-making control to the front line worker. This requires a culture of trust.
  • Example: Frank Janssen kidnapping, Toyota Production System.

Chapter 6: Decision Making

  • Learn to be comfortable with uncertainty.
  • Study statistics for better decision-making.
  • Examples: poker professional Annie Duke.

Chapter 7: Innovation

  • Most innovation is a new application of an old idea.
  • “Creativity is just connecting things.” — Steve Jobs
  • Mild disturbances to a team or situation can yield innovation.
  • Sometimes, stress and pressure can yield innovation.
  • Examples: Disney’s Frozen, Westside Story.

Chapter 8: Absorbing Data

  • Too much data results in information blindness and the inability to make good decisions.
  • Data is vital, but people must also be trained in the ability to use the data.
  • Being forced to do think critically about the data (take careful notes, teach it to someone, apply it) is much more important than having access to the data.
  • Examples: Data in Cincinnati public schools, typed notes vs hand-written notes.

Aquaponic Gardening by Sylvia Bernstein

The Big Idea: Aquaponic gardening is a symbiotic, permaculture-friendly version of gardening in which fish supply nutrients to plants, which then remove all fish waste from the water.

  • Aquaculture dates back to 5th century B.C. China
  • Benefits of aquaponics: completely organic, cheaper than hydroponics, minimal maintenance, minimal fertilizer, lots of vegetable production, fewer diseases, no weeding, no watering, growing fish is a bonus
  • In warm weather states, you can have an aquaponics system outdoors year-round.  Just watch out for insects.
  • The “basic flood and drain” setup is good for beginners. In this system, gravity carries water from the grow bed to the fish tank and a pump carries it back.
  • Use a 1:1 grow bed volume to fish tank volume for the basic flood and drain setup.
  • More advanced setups: CHOP, CHOP2, Barrel-ponics
  • Stock your tank with 0.1-0.2 lb of fish per gallon of tank water.
  • Place your fish tank in the shade if you put it outdoors.  Also partially cover it to help prevent debris and algae growth.
  • IBC totes are ideal for aquaponics systems. You can also use a bathtub for a vintage look.
  • For your grow media, use gravel or expanded clay (Hydroton). Grow media is the replacement for soil, and houses beneficial worms and bacteria.
  • Use only dechlorinated water.  Protect your water from changes in temperature, pH, oxygen levels.
  • Fish that work well: tilapia, goldfish, catfish, koi, shrimp.
  • Choose a fish depending on your needs and climate.
  • Supplement commercial fish feed with duckweed, worms, black soldier fly larvae.
  • All plants (except those requiring acidic or basic soil) grow well in aquaponics systems.
  • Nitrosomonas and Nitrospria bacteria convert fish waste into nitrites and nitrates, which are less harmfell to fish and nourish the plants.
  • Worms digest solid waste and dead root matter into valuable vermicompost tea for the plants.
  • Cycle the system with half of your fish to get your system started.
  • Check system levels of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates regularly.
  • Check pH. temperature, and check for insects regularly.

Step 22: The Seven-Fold Path To The Obvious Signs

The Big Idea: Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.

  • Set the right goals and cut out anything that is not moving you towards your goals.
  • Don’t delude yourself.  Embrace the truth when you’re asking yourself if you’re moving towards your goals.
  • Jeff Bezos is one of the best in the world at seeking and embracing the truth, especially through experimentation.
  • The seven steps towards moving towards your goals
    • 1. Ask question. (set a goal)
    • 2. Research answer. (find some approaches)
    • 3. Make a hypothesis. (try one approach)
    • 4. Test it.
    • 5. Observe.
    • 6. Evaluate observation.
    • 7. Ask smart people to review your progress. (don’t quit; just try a different approach)
  • People are more likely to be consistent than to experiment to find the best approach.
  • Don’t be stuck by the need to be consistent with your first approach.  Consistency and commitment are very common cognitive biases.
  • Experiment. Experiment. Experiment.

Tai Lopez is an entrepreneur, investor, and blogger who runs an awesome online book club. 67 Steps is a lecture series teaching how to be successful in health, wealth, love, and happiness.  I’m a big fan.

The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox

The Big Idea: identify the bottleneck.  Relieve the bottleneck.  Repeat.

  • The Goal is one of Jeff Bezos’ three required books for his senior team. (Also, Effective Executive and Innovator’s Dilemma)
  • Cost accounting conventions lead businesses to focus on the wrong things.
  • The goal of a business is to make money. Therefore, every operational metric should link back to profit.
  • There are only three operational metrics that matter: 1) throughput, 2) inventory, 3) operational expense.
  • Throughput is money generated when products go out the door.
  • Inventory is money locked up in work in process until products go out the door.
  • Operational expense is money required to generate throughput.
  • Of these, throughput is by far the most important.
  • The most important objective is to increase throughput.
  • How do you increase throughput?  Identify the bottleneck (ignore everything else), relieve the bottleneck, repeat.