Book report

Reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking” Changed My Life

What if I could give you six simple tips on building self-confidence and influencing people which will virtually double your audiences, leave them watning more, and practically handing you everything they have just to get you to speak to them again… you’d be interested, right? Well let’s dive into today’s book report and Dale Carnegie’s message found in How to Develop Self-confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking.

If you have never read his work before, you will really like reading Dale Carnegie. He has a very palatable style, for the most part, and an ingenuity towards his prose which often is felt more when shared than when read. For example, have you ever found it strange that other’s will ignore feedback and or advice when you give it, but when the recipient learns that you learned this stuff from such-n-such book/author, it seems to bare more weight for the both of you? That’s how reading Dale Carnegie feels, weighter when shared.

Now, how I came by this book was when I found a yard sale going on during the COVID-19 Quarantine. The old guy running it didn’t seem to care about social distance or face masks, as I could smell his teeth practically rotting in his mouth. If I hadn’t known he lived in the shabby, rundown, overgrown house, I’d assumed him some homeless man camping out on an abandoned property fencing what ever garbage he pulled out of others’ trashcans just to make a couple bucks.

So you can imagine my suprise when I found this aged book lying in all the junk he had heaped in piles and old milk crates. What was more shocking to me was he sold the book for less than the cover price of thirty-five cents! A whopping Quarter! What a deal, right? Come to think of it, he probably should have kept the book and learned a thing or two from it… he seemed to need the advice it contains more than I do. But then again, I was influenced by this book.

How to Develop Self-Confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking

Dale CArnegies’ experience as a life coach (before there were even such things as life coaches), and as a public speaking coach made him an absolute power-house to teach readers about what makes for confident public speaking. He touts thousands of hours helping others understand othe basics, the fundamentals, of presenting your message to others. I can only imagine the poor lads and ladies who often had sought him out for his specialized help. They probably paid a small fortune to have his personalized help, but I was able to get his insights for only a Quarter. What’s more is that I get to keep his work for as long as I live, may what I learn be of use to you.

So what did I learn that was so valuable, that’s probably what you are asking right now. Quite a bit actually. Each morning, after doing my early exercises and meditation, I would take up this book digest bite-sized chucks until I had entirely understood his text. Then I would take those insights with me as I went about my day. You must understand that I pondering, reflecting, and reinforcing his ideas have changed my life and I know that they will change yours.

Six Tips to Develop Self-Confidence

How you look matters more than you think…

What I learned, first and foremost, is that humans are immensly visual creatures. A large portion of our brain is dedicated to making judgements about what we see around us. And when you put yourself infront of others’ eyes, you open your self to the judgement making machine that is the human brain. So: Dress well! Maybe not in a tux or wedding gown, unless it is the occasion, but dressing shabby will lower your opinion of your self and how your audience sees you too.

…how you look determines what others think.

…dressing shabby will lower your opinion of your self…

Alixander Court

If it isn’t your motto…

Now, as people, who are very visual and judgmental, people are experts at smelling BS. Your audience will smell it the moment it comes up, and you are going to feel the heat when you try to pass that off on your listeners. The only way you can bypass your audience’s sense for BS is to do what the bull-shitters don’t: Prepare you message in advance! When you take the time to prepare your message for others, they will sense the care you have put into your message.

…it should be.

when you have taken care of your message, your audience will feel like you have taken care of them. So how much time do you need to prepare, is probably what you are asking. A week, a month, a year, what ever it takes for you to practice your message until you will instinctively feel confident when it comes time to deliver your message. And trust me, your audience will feel confidence in you too.

To know thy self is good…

But how do you prepare for delivering your message? Don’t you fret, I will help you with that too. Repeat after me: Know what you are going to say before you say it! This is of course easier said than done, obviously, but when you memorize the facts, learn to paraphrase what you’ve learned, craft analogies and stories to make sense of your expertise… isn’t this what people do who know what they are talking about? The answer is yes, that is what people who know what they are talking about do.

…to know thy message is better…

If I haven’t made it clear to you yet on how you can build self-confidence and influence people, let’s get down to the most essential tip you have to remember: Speak simply, but not like an idiot! No one wants to listen to a bumbling idiot -that’s part of why we avoid our bosses so much… Okay, I’m joking. But at the same time, we hate when our bosses talk down to us and treat us like we are idiots. How much better it is when we speak simply with our friends. This is what your audience wants for you. And who influences us more than our friends?

…and to speak simply is best…

Stay with me now. I know there is a ton to think about when it comes to building self-confidence and influencing people. If you will stay with me, you will learn the most interesting thing I read in the whole book. If you want to radically influence people, listen to what Mr. E.F. Benson has to say about how your audience sees you before you ever get up to deliver your message. He says that the audience must, “…rely on the speaker to supply the enthusiasm and interest.” It is your job to stay interested in your message from the start, middle, and end. When you will stay interested in your message, your audience will be interested too!

…but to be interesting is king!

“Remember that.”

Dale Carnegie

So now that you know the beginning, the middle, how do you end your message? I’ve got you covered there too. If you cannot call people to action, which is what influencing people means, leave them entertained! The most powerful way that you can leave people entertained is by leaving them with an important quote from someone important/memorable/celebrated, or a poem. For example, and you probably know this one by heart:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by.

Robert Frost

Answer the Call!

I am certain that some of these simple tips will, if followed, have a profound impact on the way you deliver your next message. And becuase you have showed up here, looking for a way to quickly build up your self-confidence, you will surely make the changes that people need you to make in order to influence them.

All it takes, in the end, is curating your image, crafting your message, and consequently practicing the craft right up until the time to deliver your message to your audience. The choice, of course, is yours: master your message, or don’t. So choose! Go down the road more traveled and totally blow it, or when you see those two roads diverge, take the one less traveled by!

Book report

What Matters is that you Measure What Matters

Such a cool book. After having gettting myself stoked for Learning About Ultralearning, got lazer focused learning from John Doerr, one of Google’s first investors.

Now this book is pretty interesting, all things considered. It explains a more effective way to make goals. More importantly, goals that scale with your business. But I am already getting ahead of myself.

John Doerr uses a number of different case studies to demonstrate the effectiveness of using a system for establishing goals that are incredibly responsive to the changing needs of any business (or lifestyle). Having first learned the importance of goal setting from the behemoth INTEL, it was discovered that goals can be incredibly effective. The operative word here is “can”.

You see, goals have this impeccable way of aligning and stretching organizations and people. But at the same time, that can mean that people of the organzaiton are being stretched to whatever direction they are being aligned. And that can mean “whoever yells the loudest.”

What Doerr proposes, as he has probably thousands of times, is that what people need to do is define simply what objective they would like to accomplish and then define what the key results will be for accomplishing the objective. Hence, “Objective Key Results” or OKRs.

So let me explain with the use of a story. You see, I am in the middle of a project right now, an ultra learning project, that is fairly well defined. And as I go along, the scope of the project has the propensity to grow. And the goal for the project seems to be increasingly more difficult to manage. Why? Because the goal (read 100 books) is as simple as that. Now, I have been making blog posts, and I have been making videos, and I have even been letting people know on social media what it is that I am working on. But that’s really only the start, I am also telling others about the project, I am shopping for other books, I am asking for recommendations… essentially, I am investing a tremendous amount of time around projects that have nothing to do with the central goal (read 100 books).

So let’s make an OKR

Objective: Read 100 Books

The important thing here is that we need to be able to obviously be able to “prove” that this was done. Otherwise, I could say that it was done, say that I read 100 books, and voila I made my goal. 🙂 See, that’s a terrible way to make progress: lie, lie, lie.

So what do we do about it? Well, I fell like asking the classic “who, what, where, when, why, which, and how” questions can really establish the Key Results portion of the OKR.

Key Results:

What will be observably true once I have read 100 books? Well… nothing explicitly except maybe the passage of time. But one of the key features of OKRs is that time is not necessarily a factor if you don’t need/want it to be.

Where will it be observably true that I have read 100 book? What about a dedicated page on my website that shows all the different books I have read? That sounds like our first Key Result.

Key Result #1: Make 1 page on where you can find the list of 100 books I have read.

Okay, so let’s say that we can just make a list on my website and call it good… then we are back at square one with lie to get results. Let’s try this again.

How will it be observably true that I have read 100 books? What about I make a book review of every book that I have read on Perfect!

Key Result #2: Create 100 YouTube videos for every book that I have read where I review the key concepts from each book.

That’s great now lets dig in just a little bit more. Lets say that I simply read through the wikipedia pages and watch youtube videos to understand the basic concepts…. again, not necessarily at square one but we aren’t as close as we need to be. So let’s try this one more time.

What will be observably true that I have read 100 books? What about I make a blog post that goes in deeper into what I have read and thereby showcasing my grasp of the knowledge I have grappled with? That’s exactly the right answer.

Key Result #3: Create 100 Blog Posts for each of the 100 Videos with a minimum of 1000 words

Now that is what I call key results!

That’s what I call OKRs!

Now, OKRs don’t necessarily make it easier to get your goals completed. What OKRs do is they enable you to Measure What Matters, and what matters?

Say it with me now, “RESULTS MATTER!”


And when you confidently know what results you are striving for you can ask the all important questions: How did we do? Did we accomplish our objective? What do our results look like?

But how you answer those questions you see is the most un-intuitive thing about OKRs that I found. You see, when we are working towards goals, we can offer only two answers to the goal: did we or did we not achieve the goal. What’s particularly interesting about OKRs is that you can make use of a grading system, or a metric for our accomplishments.

Essentially it works like this, according to Google: on a scale of 0.0 to 1.0, how well did you achieve the objective?

Let’s say you review the objective once all of the key results are in. And lets say that you look at key result number one and you can clearly see that it is completed. So go ahead and give your self like 0.2 towards the objective completion grade. That wasn’t like crazy difficult for a key result, but you did make strides towards completion. If we did nothing else towards this object but made that page 0.2 would be a red. We don’t say failure in the corporate world apparently, but you get a red on your objective completion.

But then let’s say we take a look and in fact you have 100 videos made on youtube. So let’s give your self 0.3. because that was actually pretty hard to do. Now that brings you total of completion measurement to 0.5. And according to the grading system, that would put at a yellow. I guess we can’t say, nice try kid either.

And then we look at the blog posts. Yes, there is 100 blog posts. Yes, they are amazing works of art. But the only thing that you struggled in was the word count. Instead of having 100,000 words, there is 80,000 altogether. Close enough. So we give you a 0.4 because that was crazy difficult and you essentially wrote a novel. Good for you! That brings your total completion grade to a 0.9, and according to the Google grading system you are in the green. And we all know how much we love green.

Sum Up

So there you have it, I have completed this blog post and I have definitely showcased one more piece of how I am working to accomplish my objective of reading 100 books.

When you are interested in learning more about the project, or have any suggestions for me, please let me know!


Learning About Learning in Ultralearning


Pretty exciting to follow Scott Young on his cool book Ultralearning.

Seriously, made me reconsider how I approach all projects that I do. Including the one I’m currently on, which I would affectionately call my 100 book challenge.


Well there’s a lot of things about this book that I don’t necessarily agree with, I think that the practical nature the practice , of this book  any reader regardless of skill level in any project that they find themselves in.

Where I do find that Scott young falls short is in his understanding of learning, from a psychological basis. In psychology learning is a really difficult thing to measure. So learning has kind of been defined to a change of behavior. Psychologists and scientists can determine whether learning has occurred if behavior has changed. This point is entirely missed by Scott Young, and I think not using a psychological definition of learning underminds a lot of the work that he’s doing in this book.

So ultimately, Scott Young’s book is describing how to learn, or change your behavior, at a very aggressive rate. Other than that, there’s nothing else that I would add or detract from the book. It was a great read through, lots of fun examples and exercises, and useful to anyone who takes self-education seriously.

You can find my bullet notes below:

Alixander’s Bullet Journal Notes

These are my bullet journal notes from Ultralearning, by Scott Young

There are three kinds of learning: low-intensity habits, formal learning, and ultra learning

  • There seems to be a subset of learners who take on the task of learning at a super accelerated rate.
  • Barring genius, these learners rigorously test their limits by making learning an active process.
  • There is a valid need to adopt ultra learning:
    • Specialization can easily be disrupted in the market space
      • Solution: learn new stuff fast
  • Answer these questions when starting out:
    • Why am I learning X
      • Is this subject instrumental value (ie increases my marketability to employers)
      • Is it intrinsic (ie make me happy to do it or brings me value knowing I can)
    • What am I going to learn about X
      • What concepts am I going to learn, or have learned
      • What facts am I going to learn, or have learned
      • What procedures am I going to learn, or have learned
    • How am I going to learn about X
      • Seek scaffolds, like online syllabuses
      • Seek mentors who have done it before, or something like what you are trying to accomplish
  • Focus: initiate, maintain, and optimize
  • Direct or “hands on learning” is best
  • Drills are what make the fundamentals stick
  • Retrieval Testing is how you solidify knowledge
    • SRS (spaced repetition software)
    • Concept Mapping
    • Retrieval quizzing
  • Feedback can lead to a greater level of learning
    • Self-assessment feedback is how did I do
    • Corrective feedback is choose the right answer from many
    • Information feedback is fill in the blank
    • Object feedback is pass/fail
  • Remembering
    • SRS
    • Proceduralization
    • Over-learning
    • Mnemonics
  • Intuition
    • Come up with examples
    • Start from the beginning like you don’t know
    • Try to make it concrete by making real the concept
      • The Feynman Technique
  • Experiment
    • Meta-learning
    • Aggressive experimentation
      • learn from diverse realms
      • Drill down to learn more
      • Try different styles
    • Adopt a growth mindset
      • Copy (ie recreate another artist)
      • Compare (ie compare your work to theirs)
      • Constraint (ie try it again with your other hand)
      • Consistency (ie do it again and again and again)
  • How to do an ultralearning project
    • Do research
      • Topic & Scope
      • Primary Sources
      • Benchmarking
      • Direct Practice
    • Schedule Time
      • How much time
      • When (consistency)
      • Length of time
      • Pilot week (trial run)
    • Execute
      • Metalearning
      • Focus
      • Directness
      • Drill
      • Retrieval
      • Feedback
      • Retention
      • Intuition
      • Experimentation
    • Review results in the end
    • Maintain or master