To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

The Big Idea: Even if you’re not a “salesman”, you probably have to sell or persuade people all the time. Therefore, learn how to sell.

  • Everyone sells.
  • Physicians sell patients on treatments. Lawyers sell juries on verdicts. Teachers sell students on coursework. Entrepreneurs sell investors on visions. Writers sell producers on scripts. Coaches sell players on plays.
  • Before the internet, sellers had all the information on their product so they were able to deceive and manipulate.
  • Today, buyers have more information and leverage, so the balance has shifted.
  • Instead of Always Be Closing, the new ABC is Attunement, Buoyancy, and Clarity.
  • Attunement
    • Show empathy
    • Be humble
    • Mimic strategically
    • Put yourself in their shoes
    • Be ambivert not extrovert
    • Ask others “where are you from?”
  • Buoyancy
    • Instead of stating “I will ___,” ask yourself “how will I ___?”
    • 3:1 ratio of positive to negative emotions is better than infinite positivity.
    • Develop an optimistic explanatory style to deal with rejection: rejections are temporary not permanent, specific not universal, external not personal.
  • Clarity
    • The ability to move people hinges less on problem-solving than on problem-finding.
    • Problem finders tend to be more successful than problem solvers.
    • Problem finding is about asking the right questions and being good at curating information.
    • One of the most essential questions is “compared to what?” Frame your offerings in ways that contrast its alternatives and clarify its virtues.
    • 5 Frames: less frame (paradox of choice), experience frame (experience vs physical), label frame (names matter), blemished frame (include a negative), potential frame (potential is more powerful than actual)
    • “On a scale from 1 to 10…” “How can we move that up?”
    • Books: Influence, Made to Stick, Switch, Mindless Eating, Nudge
    • Ask 5 Whys
  • How to Pitch
    • Don’t present a pitch end-to-end. Start your pitch and invite the others to create it with you.
    • 1. The One Word Pitch. Simplify everything to one word.
    • 2. The Question Pitch. “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?”
    • 3. The Rhyming Pitch. “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”
    • 4. The Subject Line Pitch. Utility first. Curiosity second.
    • 5. The Twitter Pitch.
    • 6. The Pixar Pitch. “Once upon a time…Every day…One day…Because of that…Until finally.”
  • Learn from improvisational theater. Listen closely. Make the other people look good.
  • Service is at the core of sales.
  • To serve, make it personal and make it purposeful. Eg. Radiologist viewing photos, hospital hand-washing to protect others, fundraisers reading stories about alumni who received scholarships.
  • Be grateful. Always act like the other guy is doing you the favor. No matter what.
  • Look at all your signs and ask if they are emotionally intelligent and well-designed.
  • Treat everyone well.

The Resilient Farm and Homestead

The Big Idea: An efficient, eco-friendly homestead takes good planning and years of work to become stable and self-sufficient.

  • Modern, industrial agriculture is incompatible with a rapidly growing population and resource depletion.
  • Well-designed permaculture systems promote biodiversity and restore land back to health.
  • Nut trees are the core of good permaculture.
  • A nut tree is simply more effective and efficient at converting sunlight and rain into value, over the long-term. A nut tree orchard is also a pasture, a game reserve, a shelter for understory berries, and a site for medicinal plants.
  • (See chapter 2 for seventy two permaculture design principles.)
  • Before you begin, do a deep site analysis, observing water, sun, temperature, soil, topography.
  • The purpose of a plan is to avoid huge mistakes so you can know where to experiment.
  • Understanding and shaping water flow and storage is fundamental to your farm.
  • Understand keylines, swales, and ponds.
  • Overgrazing in the 19th and 20th century has destroyed most of America’s rich topsoil.
  • Strategies to rebuild your land’s topsoil:
    • Compost, urine, humanure.
    • Biochar.
    • Fungi.
    • Remineralization.
    • Cover cropping.
    • Tall grass grazing.
    • Subsoil plowing.
    • Keyline agriculture.
    • Deep root perennials.
  • Strategies for growing food:
    • Plant permaculture guilds.
    • Start a forest garden.
    • Emphasize perennial plants.
    • Know which foods should be staples (rice, meat, eggs, fruit, nuts).
    • Until your systems can produce staple foods, vegetable gardening will comprise the bulk of your yield and your work.
    • Among your annual vegetables, emphasize reliability and calorie foods such as potato, winter squash, cabbage, garlic, and carrots.
    • Learn to preserve food via kimchi and sauerkraut.
    • Emphasize crops that also provide medicine or rebuild the soil.
    • Fungi are very underrated.
  • Fuel and shelter advice:
    • Learn how to use wood as your main fuel and heat source.
    • Biochar has been used for thousands of years to amend soil.
    • Passive solar home design uses large, south-facing windows to trap the sunlight and warm the home.
    • Good home design considers sun, water, wind, surrounding landscape, elevation, views, noise, and road access.
    • Solar south is not always the optimal solar orientation. On a west-facing slope, a home has a late solar day.
    • Foundation advice: extend the foundation wall higher, go deeper for frost stability.
    • Roofs should be steel or slate.
    • Normally, go with a cheaper and faster stud wall frame home. A timber frame is prettier, though. You can do a hybrid if you like.
    • Never use spray foam insulation. Use cellulose for ease of use, low toxicity, sustainability, resistance to mice, and reusability.
    • In terms of insulation, a few large windows > lots of small windows.
    • Use daylight or LED for lighting.
    • Consider getting a landline for phone service.
    • A wood stove can serve many functions: space heater, water heater, stove, and oven.
    • Good home design can reduce the need for heating, A/C, and fans.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Summit Interview

The Big Idea: Be resourceful, think long-term, and have a sense of adventure.

  • I learned self-reliance and resourcefulness on my grandfather’s Texas ranch.
  • Building Amazon is a constant flow of problems solved by self-reliance and resourcefulness.
  • About letting his kids use power tools, “I’d much rather have a kid with nine fingers than a kid who lacks resourcefulness.”
  • About his choice of wife, “I wanted a woman who could get me out of third-world prison if necessary.”
  • About abandoning a good life to start Amazon, “When I’m 80 years old, I want to minimize the number of regrets I have.”
  • My space exploration company Blue Origins requires long-term thinking.
  • Big problems can be solved if you think long-term.
  • While our competitors have a 2-3 year time horizon, Amazon has a 10+ year time horizon. That is a tremendous competitive advantage.
  • I don’t like to multi-task. I am focused on whatever the task I’m on. If I’m reading email, I’m reading email. If I’m relaxing, I’m relaxing.
  • A sense of adventure is one of my core values. Choose a life of adventure and you’ll be more proud of this when you’re 80.
  • Exposing yourself to new things and creating is all about having a sense of adventure.
  • To me, fellowship means traveling down the road together. It encompasses more than friendship.
  • On work-life balance, “If I’m energized at work, I’m a better husband-friend-father. And vice-versa.” Is your work energizing or draining? Both sides of my life give me energy, so it’s never been a problem.


How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons

The Big Idea: Grow Biointensive (a variant of organic farming) produces more food per square foot while also building soil, using less water, using less fertilizer, and requiring less fossil fuel.

  • Industrial agriculture depletes 6 pounds of soil for every 1 pound of food produced.
  • Organic agriculture also depletes soil as it produces food.
  • Grow Biointensive and permaculture builds soils as it produces food.
  • Grow Biointensive farming builds soil, uses less water, uses less fertilizer, requires less energy, and increases food production per square foot.
  • Grow Biointensive relies on human labor instead of external inputs.
  • Similar to Grow Biointensive: agroforestry, no-till Fukuoka farming, Asian blue-green algal wet rice farming, natural rainfall arid farming, and indigenous farming.
  • Build compost (using earthworm) for soil fertility.
  • Deep soil preparation (double digging) sets a foundation for building good soil.
  • Companion planting enhances growth and plant health.
  • Carbon-efficient crops produces carbon for compost.
  • Calorie-efficient crops produces lots of calories.
  • Open-pollinated seeds preserves genetic diversity.
  • A holistic farming system minimizes waste and required inputs.
  • Start small and build from there.

How I Built This: Patagonia

The Big Idea: We’re here for the long-term. That means we need to treat everyone well and make quality, long-lasting clothing.

  • I started Patagonia to make better quality climbing gear for myself. Our profit margins were about 1%
  • Patagonia branched out into clothing when I wore some local clothing and people started asking me where I got them. It was much more profitable.
  • I make product decisions based on intuition, not data.
  • “If you wait for the customer to tell you what to do, you’re too late.”
  • We had to slow down growth because we wanted to grow only out of retained profits.
  • I hated laying people off during one of our early recessions.
  • Our earliest mistake was growing too fast.
  • We fixed things by slowing things down and putting ourselves on a growth plan that aimed to make sure we were in business 100 years from now.
  • Our advertising budget is tiny. Because we are private, we can grow as much or as little as we think is right.
  • “There are two kinds of growth. One is where you grow stronger. The other is where you grow fatter.”
  • We have the largest garment repair facility in North America. We’ll repair any Patagonia clothing forever. So that incentivizes us to make clothing that lasts (or can be easily repaired.)
  • I studied Japanese and Scandinavian business and management models in search of a better way of doing business.
  • Ant colonies don’t have bosses. Every ant knows what to do. We hire motivated, young, independent people and leave them alone.
  • “Let my people go surfing.” I don’t care when you work as long as the job is done.
  • Our employees are so independent they are almost unemployable anywhere else.
  • We started a childcare and learning center at the company for employees. Why not?
  • We’re not going to sell the company. We’re not going public.
  • We’re here for the long-term. That means we need to treat everyone well and make quality, long-lasting clothing.
  • You’re not going to beat Coca-Cola at their own game.
  • But if you play a different game, you can win. Pick a game where there is little competition. Be creative. Break the rules.
  • I never took a penny of investment. I still own 100% of the company.
  • Patagonia reportedly did $750mm in sales last year.

The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama

The Big Idea: You have everything you need to achieve happiness. Happiness is achieved through mental practice.

  • Service to others is the best way to live.
  • If you can’t live your life in service to others, at least refrain from doing harm to others.
  • Happiness is not a luxury but the purpose of our existence.
  • Eliminate habits that lead to suffering.
  • Cultivate habits that lead to happiness.
  • In Buddhism, there are four factors to happiness: wealth, worldly satisfaction, spirituality, and enlightenment.
  • The real secret to happiness is a disciplined mind.
  • A calm mind, or one that is engaged in meaningful work, equates to happiness.
  • A basic way to happiness is to cultivate affection and connection with other human beings.
  • Always look for what you have in common with others and you will never be lonely.
  • All emotions, negative and positive, grow in size if practiced regularly.
  • Don’t confuse happiness with pleasure. Pleasure lacks meaning. Happiness depends on meaning and is often felt despite negative external conditions.
  • Become a student of happiness and practice how to improve happiness.
  • Replace anger and hatred with tolerance and patience.
  • Compassion means seeking to truly understand others. Compassion is the key to communicating and bonding with others.
  • The cure for loneliness is to recognize the need to open your eyes to all the people who surround you and to connect with them.
  • Instead of loving someone so that they love you back, seek to love them by increasing their happiness.
  • Without attempting to feel another’s pain, we set ourselves up for isolation.


Extraordinary Experiences by Denise Lee Yeon

The Big Idea: creating extraordinary customer experiences is an essential part of building a great brand.


  • Brands matter more than ever.
  • The internet has increased transparency, so now brands need to be more authentic than ever.
  • Image manipulation through marketing muscle is not enough.
  • Great restaurant and retail brands rely heavily on great customer experiences and are worth studying.
  • Benefits of a strong brand: higher profit margins, customer loyalty, lower overhead costs, greater market valuations, and good will for when things go wrong.

1. Great Brands Start Inside: Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen

  • Prioritizing the needs of franchise owners (not shareholders, customers, or employees) resulted in a dramatic turnaround for Popeye’s.
  • The change in priority led to more training, better communication, improved culture, motivated front-line employees, and improved customer experience.
  • A strong company culture is a competitive advantage.

2. Great Brands Avoid Selling Products: H-E-B

  • Selling food can be a commodity business, but HEB has managed to differentiate itself from Walmart and others by designing a stellar customer experience that is about more than commodity groceries.
  • Examples: longer sampling hours, a greater variety of wines, attractive displays, demonstration kitchens, in-store restaurants, take-out bbq.
  • HEB also makes Texas part of its identity. People tend to do business with people like them.
  • HEB knows their customers better because they are local.
  • HEB’s charitable giving “Helping Here” also supports the local branding and commitment to the community to be more than a place to buy groceries.

3. Great Brands Ignore Trends: Buffalo Wild Wings

  • While other casual restaurants lowered prices during the Great Recession, Buffalo Wild Wings reinforced its positioning as the ultimate sports bar by increasing service, improving the experience, and highlighting its unique personality.
  • The result was a better customer experience, more customer loyalty, lower employee turnover, stronger differentiation, and increased market share.
  • Most companies don’t pioneer, they follow the leader. They will always be behind.

4. Great Brands Don’t Chase Customers: Costco

  • Costco succeeded by stating, “this is who we are, these are the customers we care about” and then doing everything they can to meet those customers’ needs.
  • Costco’s $55 membership fee weeds out low-income customers and selects for higher-income customers who want higher-quality goods but still want a bargain.
  • In return for lower prices on higher-quality goods, customers make a commitment to shop there regularly by paying a membership fee.
  • Costco is able to earn customer loyalty with better customer service enabled by paying employees well.
  • It’s okay to alienate some customers to serve other customers better. You can’t be everything to everybody.
  • A mass, undifferentiated marketing strategy might produce big gains in the short-term but won’t differentiate the brand or attract/retain customers in the long-term.

5. Great Brands Sweat the Small Stuff: PIRCH

  • PIRCH is a luxury appliance retailer with eight showrooms.
  • PIRCH differentiates itself by playing attention to every detail.
  • Examples: a barista greets you at the front door then asks you if you would like a tour or prefer to wander, free samples of food as you shop, cooking demonstrations, working showers, thoughful design of the company headquarters.
  • “Retail is detail.”
  • Note: company may or may not be profitable yet.

6. Great Brands Commit and Stay Committed: Jason’s Deli

  • Privately held company with more than 240 locations. Based in Beaumont, TX for over 40 years (I see a pattern).
  • Prices were always low, but portions are always generous and food quality is high.
  • They decided against breakfast even though it would increase sales short-term because it would affect lunch and catering long-term.
  • Basecamp mandates a 4-hour workweek in the summer because balance is part of its culture.
  • In-N-Out pays front-line employees generously because they understand that they drive the customer experience and drive the business.
  • Jason’s Deli prefers to stay private because their culture would not be a good fit with Wall Street
  • They discovered their own values. They didn’t hire a company to decide them.
  • Instead of chasing growth, they grow when feel they are ready to grow.

7. Great Brands Never Have to ‘Give Back’: sweetleaf

  • sweetleaf is a restaurant chain focused on local food and environmental friendliness.
  • By being authentic to its values, sweetleaf attracts customers who share those values.
  • Great brands who choose to pursue social impact – do it as a core element, not as a bolt-on program for good publicity.


  • Be different and memorable.
  • Branding is not taglines, promotions, logos, or advertising.
  • Branding is expression of the company’s values, mission, and personality.
  • Short-term success may come at the expense of long-term success.
  • Brand-building can’t be delegated to the marketing department or an advertising agency. It starts from leadership and company culture.

Kellogg on Branding by Kellogg School of Management

The Big Idea: a strong brand is one of the most important economic moats a company can build. Building a brand is not easy but, if done well, can pay dividends for many years.


  • A brand is much like a reputation.
  • A strong brand will reshape perception.
  • Cash: Executives are pressured to focus on short-term financial results, however, brand building is a long-term project.
  • Consistency: Brands are built at every touchpoint with the customer.
  • Clutter: A strong brand needs to be focused and unique to stand out from the clutter.

1. Brand Positioning

  • Develop a formal brand positioning statement to guide internal marketing managers.
  • Once a brand is well-established, it is difficult to change.
  • Who is this brand for?
  • What does it help the customer accomplish?
  • How is it different from the alternatives?

2. Designing Brands

  • Begin with a strong brand concept.
  • Incorporate specific cues into the design.
  • The best technique for evaluation of brand design is to expose the design briefly and then ask consumers what they remember.

3. Brand Meaning

  • A strong brand is differentiated from the competition in a meaningful way. Consumers are willing to pay a premium and to repeat purchases over time.
  • Effective brand management involves the discovery, creation, and constant revision of stories.
  • Brands can promote and proclaim brand affiliation (Harley Davidson, Apple.)
  • Conduct a brand meaning audit to track and guide brand management efforts.
  • Brand stewards must become astute meaning managers.

4. Competitive Brand Strategies

  • The pioneer who creates, then dominates, a category enjoys a significant advantage for years and, sometimes, decades.
  • Late entrants have three broad competitive strategies: fast-follower, differentiation, and innovation.

5. Brand Extensions

  • A familiar brand name signals trust which can persuade consumers to try a new product launched with the brand name.
  • The brand extension must make sense.
  • Too many brand extensions can confuse consumers.
  • Sub-brands are sometimes a better choice. Eg., Sony Walkman, where Sony is the parent brand and Walkman is the sub-brand.

6. Brand Portfolio Strategy

  • Brands are a long-term asset.
  • A company with many brands has two broad strategies: house of brands or branded house.
  • House of brands: Proctor and Gamble, the brands are kept distinct and little effort is made to market the parent company to the consumer.
  • Branded house: Apple, the parent company has a strong brand and the sub-brands are natural extensions of the parent brand.

7. Building Brands Through Effective Advertising

  • Advertising should reflect the consumer’s aspirations.
  • Advertising should resonate with prior beliefs, not try to change them.
  • Advertising should resonate with existing goals.
  • Some advertising strategies: hard sell (Visa and “we’re everywhere you want to be”), big idea (Delta stands for convenience because of X, Y, Z), story grammar (follow a character from problem to solution.)
  • Keys: selecting the right media and the right timing.

8. Relationship Branding and CRM

  • CRM can be used to build a personal connection with the brand.
  • First, subsegment the market.
  • Second, personalize the touch points to improve the customer experience.
  • Segmentation methods: monetary value, sociodemographics, purchase behaviors.
  • Cluster analysis is a statistical method used to find natural groups.
  • Well-defined rewards (loyalty club benefits) generally work better than discretionary rewards (complimentary upgrades).

9. Brand Strategy for Business Markets

  • Managing business brands presents unique challenges.
  • The foundation of branding is positioning.
  • A positioning statement declares who that target customer is, what you offer, and why it’s customers should prefer your offering.
  • Brand equity is determined by the associations that are established in the customer’s mind with your brand.
  • The brand associations can be functional (easy to use, high quality, affordable) or they can emotional (exciting, fun, trustworthy, exclusive.)

10. Services Branding

  • A brand name is a promise made to the customer.
  • Customers are either delighted, satisfied, or disgruntled.
  • In contrast to goods, services are generally more intangible, complex, variable in their delivery, process-dependent.
  • For services, the front-line employee (the primary touch point) is the brand.
  • Since the front-line employee is the brand, marketing the brand internally is critical.
  • Front-line employees must view their role as partners. Treat employees like part of the brand.
  • Using self-service technology can reduce variation in customer experience. Service machines make remaining human employees even more valuable.
  • Since the company is the brand, be careful to control communications of the company identity (from sponsored events to ethics to social media.)
  • To manage and improve the customer experience, map all the touch points.
  • Service blueprinting is a mapping of all the touch points with the customer.
  • The blueprint will help identify bottlenecks, ensure consistency, and reveal opportunities to distinguish the brand from competitors.
  • Ex. Mayo Clinic “patientfirst”.
  • Be careful when selecting partners because they become an extension of the brand, for better or worse.

11. Branding in Technology Markets

  • There has been a cultural bias in technology towards engineering and features and against branding.
  • Technology firms need to learn from the CPG firms.

12. Building a Brand-Driven Organization

  • The strongest, most resilient brands have a strong internal company culture that upholds the brand promises.
  • A strong brand leads to customer loyalty, which leads to lower marketing costs, more repeat purchases, and a higher customer lifetime value.
  • A strong brand leads to a higher willingness to pay, which leads to more revenue per customer, and a higher customer lifetime value.
  • A strong company culture motivates employees, reduces employee turnover, and lower operating costs.
  • A strong company culture motivates employees, which improves touch points with the customer, which leads to a strong brand.
  • The touch point wheel consists of interactions during pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase.
  • At companies with a strong brand, CEO is the lead brand builder. But all leaders must build the brand in their departments or business units.
  • Form an executive brand council (EBC).
  • To communicate the brand to the employees, segment them like you would segment customers. Then customize the message and the delivery for each employee segment.
  • 1. Make the Brand Relevant to Employees. (What does this mean for me?)
  • 2. Make the Brand Accessible to Employees. (What is our brand, more specifically?)
  • 3. Reinforce the Brand Continuously to Employee. (What is our brand, again?)
  • 4. Make Brand Education Part of New Employee Training
  • 5. Reward On-Brand Behaviors (What’s in it for me?)
  • 6. Hire Based on Brand Fit
  • What gets measured gets managed. Set up employee-focused brand metrics. Surveys, suggestion boxes, focus groups.
  • Common pitfalls: relying on broadcast instead of conversation, not allocating sufficient resources, being seduced by sexy but shallow tactics, and relying too much on technology.

13. Measuring Brand Value

  • What gets measured gets managed.
  • Book: Managing Brand Equity (1991) by David Aaker
  • 1. Customer-centric metrics: qualitative and quantitative measurements of consumer awareness/attitudes, eg. BrandDynamics model
  • 2. Sales-centric metrics: marketing mix modeling (measure ROI via statistical analysis), predictive modeling (customer most likely to respond, Customer Brand Value)
  • 3. Company-valuation-centric metrics: specialists determind brand valuation using accounting and finance principles, for M&A or brand management via scorecards

14. Using Positioning to Build a Mega-brand

  • 1999, NetZero invested remaining capital to position itself against AOL and MSN as “Defenders of the Free World.”
  • The campaign was a big success, NetZero launched premium extensions, and NetZero eventually became United Online.
  • 1. Start with a tangible point of difference that resonates with consumers.
  • 2. Create the impression that you’re bigger than you are.
  • 3. Be nimble in responding to changes in the marketplace, but be true to your brand.

15. Marketing Leverage in the Frame of Reference

  • Do not underestimate the impact of the right frame of reference.
  • 1. Broaden the frame of reference: BMW is not a sports car, it’s the ultimate driving machine; DeBeers is not in the diamond business, it’s in the gift business
  • 2. Compare your offering to the gold standard even if it’s not your primary competitor: it’s not delivery, it’s Digiorno; Visa positioned itself as better than Amex even though its primary competitor was Mastercard
  • 3. I am what I’m not: it’s not TV, it’s HBO

16. Finding the Right Brand Name

  • If your brand name is distinctive and memorable, it can make the difference in winning.
  • Your name must be memorable and ownable.
  • Be careful of descriptive names, fad-ish names, or names that define a product or benefit too narrowly.
  • The brand and its name should convey a personality.
  • Eg. Mrs. Dash

17. Building Global Brands

  • The ideal strategy is to complement global standardization with local customization.
  • Consumers have high expectations of global brands, so it’s best to focus on superior benefits.
  • The brand essence should stay consistent globally, with a little bit of flex for local tastes.
  • Local changes include: sizing, pricing, distribution.
  • Eg. Philadelphia Cream Cheese

18. Branding and Organizational Culture

  • Strong brands in healthcare begin with a strong internal culture.
  • Begin with a clear mission and value statement.
  • If your brand is tied to your employees, they must buy into the mission and purpose of your organization.
  • Eg. Northwest Memorial Healthcare.

19. Branding and the Organization

  • 1. Match the brand to the internal culture and reality.
  • 2. Involve senior management in the branding process.
  • 3. Manage the brand actively with marketing professionals.
  • There is an advantage to scale in building a brand, but there is also an advantage to small size in maintaining a strong company culture and strong core values.

20. Internal Branding

  • Don’t forget your employees when communicating the brand.
  • Employees can be powerful brand ambassadors.
  • Good internal branding can motivate employees to provide exceptional service.

Trust Me, I’m Lying by Ryan Holiday

The Big Idea: you can’t trust the media.

  • Clicks equal revenue. Therefore, online news sites care more about clicks than truth.
  • Since all news is online now, established media has to compete for clicks with millions of blogs, twitter accounts, and satirical news sites.
  • The result of this competition is that the media we consume is flooded with sensational headlines, click-bait, rumors, and unsupported fake news.
  • Most blogs serve no real purpose in our lives than to distract.
  • Read books instead of following blogs.
  • Subscription-based news sites are more trustworthy than free sites because they are not solely dependent on clicks and ad revenue.
  • If you must get coverage for your company or organization, the basic formula is simple: manufacture an effective story, submit it to a small news site, *quickly* trade it up the chain to a larger news site, and repeat until you are mentioned in The New York Times.
  • Afterwards, you can forever say “as seen in The New York Times.”
  • Other tactics: press releases, Wikipedia, leaked stories, HARO, effective headlines.
  • Ryan Holiday knows this topic first-hand because he was one of the pioneers of media manipulation.

Permaculture for the Rest of Us by Jenni Blackmore

The Big Idea: With creativity and persistence, you can live well on a small homestead, even if the climate is difficult and the soil is subpar.

  • Every homestead will be unique. Contours, zones and sectors should be mapped out on paper before getting started.
  • Zones are concentric circles around your home. Zone 0 is your home. Zone 1 is next out and will contain herbs, etc. Zone 5 is further away and will contain less visited trees and bushes.
  • Sectors are like slices of a pie-chart  that clearly define sunniest spots, wind tunnels, water courses, etc.
  • Develop the land slowly so that you have time to experiment, adjust, and enjoy.
  • Develop intimate knowledge of every corner of your land.
  • Encourage what wants to stay and let the rest go away. This will lighten your work immensely.
  • Soil is made of sand, silt, and clay. There is an ideal ratio of all three for plants.
  • Important layers are: topsoil (2-8″), subsoil (12-30″), and bedrock.
  • Only a few plants (comfrey, dandelions, daikon radish) have roots long enough to penetrate subsoil and bring nutrients up.
  • Amend soil by adding good organic material like compost, humus, and worms.
  • A well-designed compost bin can speedy up decomposition and keep things clean.
  • Red Wrigglers are the best compost worm.
  • Chickens can be a great help turning compost.
  • Chicken manure must be aged one year before using on plants.
  • Comfrey fixes nitrogen, attracts bees, can reach down into the subsoil, and can be used to supplement compost piles or as green mulch. Just be careful to plant comfrey in an unused area of land.
  • Digging and tilling disrupts the organisms living in good soil. Try the no-till method instead.
  • Instead of digging vegetable garden beds, use raised bed gardens.
  • Try hugelkultur raised bed gardens.
  • Try keyhole raised bed gardens.
  • Try lasagna raised bed gardens.
  • Copper mesh along the top sides of raised bed walls keeps slugs away.
  • An herb spiral is a classic permaculture design.
  • Every vegetable has its own growing preference. Proper timing and environment is essential to learn.
  • Easy starter crops: garlic, chard, potatoes, squash.
  • Crop rotation is essential to healthy gardens.
  • Get at least on really comprehensive gardening guide to explain each plant’s preferences.
  • Legumes are great for the soil.
  • Greenhouses are not a luxury. They are integral to a successful homestead.
  • You can find lots of inexpensive DIY designs online.
  • Traditionally, greenhouses are placed with maximum southern exposure but this is not a hard rule.
  • Three purposes of a greenhouse: starting seeds, growing plants that prefer warmth, prolonging seasonal growth.
  • Brussel sprouts are underrated vegetables and should be started inside.
  • Ladybugs are fantastic for dealing with an aphid problem.
  • Even the smallest homestead should have a wild Zone 5. (Zone 4 is a food forest. Zones 2 and 3 are gardens, compost, and animals.
  • Hugulkulture is ideal in colder climates because it creates a warmer environment for growing.
  • Natural or manmade microclimates help protect plants from wind and cold.
  • While not required, good livestock design makes permaculture easier.
  • Chickens are great for eggs, manure, composting scraps.
  • Chicken manure always needs to be aged before using.
  • Chickens need to be well-protected from predators
  • Ducks are great for eggs and slug control.
  • Ducks are harder to keep because of their water requirements. Minimum 4 inches of water to dunk their heads.
  • Rabbits are great for meat production.
  • Rabbit manure can be used immediately in gardens.
  • Turkeys are good for meat and eggs and very easy to care for.
  • Build a chicken tractor and a henposter if you raise chickens.
  • Principle 1: Feedback loops: accepting and responding to change.
  • Principle 2: Integrated symbiotic support between all systems: every system must support other systems and in turn be supported by other systems.
  • Principle 3: Cultivate local species: avoid introducing invasive species.
  • Principle 4: Ensure the fair distribution of yield and empower others to become self-sustaining.
  • Principle 5: Continuous and mindful observation.
  • Principle 6: Intelligent design and the observation of naturally occurring patterns.
  • Principle 7: Capturing and storing energy and the efficient use of resources.
  • Principle 8: Ensure a yield.
  • Principle 9: Start small and move slowly.
  • Principle 10: Introduce renewable, biological resources only.
  • Principle 11: Celebrate and value diversity.
  • Principle 12: See creative solutions not problems.
  • Save any valuable seeds in labeled pill bottles or envelopes.
  • Learn to preserve harvest with canning, drying, root cellars, cold rooms, freezing.
  • Cold frames and greenhouses help to prolong the growing season.
  • Read Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets.