Don’t Bother Reading Linchpin

I made it through 108 pages of this worthless, psychobabble garbage before giving up and returning the book to the library. Let me save you the time and summarize the book for you: “Working hard isn’t enough, create emotional relationships, the world has changed, linchpins are what’s needed, your lizard brain will tell you otherwise, rinse, repeat”.  After reading this, I now wonder how Seth Godin is held in such high esteem. The entire book could (should) have been a Gen-Y centric blog post but instead it is drawn out over a few hundred pages of bullshit rhetoric. Here’s my advice: don’t read the book, do more than what is asked of you at work, be personable, be important but not indispensable. Counter to what Mr. Godin says, linchpins don’t get promoted because they are too important where they are at and no boss wants to lose that.

Tim Ferro

Review of Starbucked by Taylor Clark

“A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture” just about sums up this book. Starbucked is a short read that is pretty entertaining if you like coffee or business or culture and just want the 30,000 foot view with some interesting and entertaining stories. The history and astounding growth of Starbucks is quite interesting, as are the stories about the history of coffee and the culture surrounding all of them. I recommend this as a quick read but not as highly as some of the previous books I have just reviewed.

Tim Ferro

Skinny Bastard, the Bro Version of Skinny Bitch

After reading, and reviewing, Skinny Bitch, I decided to read the “Bro Version” called Skinny Bastard. I liked this book better because it was tailored to males which was more pertinent to me, but also because it was longer and contained more information. If you have read either of these books, there is no real need to read the other, but if you haven’t, pick up the gender appropriate one and read away! Check out my review of Skinny Bitch for more information about both books!

Tim Ferro

God Hates Us All

Relax people, this is about the book featured on my favorite show: Californication. I would describe it as similar to Catcher in the Rye but over a longer period of time. If you are a fan of the show, it will help explain season 1 where this book is turned into a movie and Hank hates it. Though it was contrived completely as a tie-in to the show, it is a decent and short read. As fiction goes, it’s right up my alley as I also like The Cosmic Burrito and want to read Chronic City. This is a bit of a scatter brained review but I liked the book and would recommend it if you liked any of the other 3 books I have referenced or if you watch the show. If you don’t, start watching and read the book!

Tim Ferro

My Unexpected Review of Skinny Bitch

So I was out of town with only a couple of books and I ended up reading a ton and finished them rather quick, so I picked up the nearest book that looked interesting. My sister had read the book previously and I read an excerpt while visiting her, so I thought ‘what the heck’, and began reading.

It’s not long and though it’s heavy on the Veganism, it’s still an entertaining and interesting read. I could not believe all of the things it reported about the meat, dairy, and sugar substitute industries. It was eye opening. No, I am not turning into a Vegan but I am glad I know all the information. Even if you don’t change a thing, it’s still good to know all the facts. This was interesting enough that I am reading the book for males called Skinny Bastard.

Tim Ferro

Jim Cramer’s Getting Back to Even is a Must Read!

As a prerequisite to reading this book, first read Jim Cramer’s Stay Mad for Life. Once you have gotten a solid hold on your finances and retirement, then you are ready for this book.

Yes the market tanked. Yes we got screwed by others’ mistakes. Yes the market is less reliable than it ever has been. No, you should not take your money elsewhere. Now is the time to be in the market, and this is the book that will tell and show you how. Jim Cramer’s Getting Back to Even is the must read financial book of 2010 for every investor.

Jim lays out his financial advice in easy to follow steps and tells the real deal about the market. I have incorporated his advice into my own portfolio and have already seen gains. My advice is to read the whole book and latch on to certain investing strategies that can help short and long term. For the advanced investor, the chapter on options is a MUST READ. Once explained, it is both simple and genius. Long term, Jim’s advice on high dividend stocks and China are crucial to your strategy.

This book will help you make more money than any other book you read this year so move it to the top of your reading list!

Tim Ferro

Gen Y-ify Your Company: Work Areas

Most companies don’t realize that the 25 square feet of office space that you occupy daily is extremely important. You spend 1/3rd of your weekdays in this space yet most companies don’t even give simple consideration to how employees feel about it. Though open cube farms are probably the most egregious use of space, there are numerous other issues that should be evaluated AND re-evaluated.

First and foremost is privacy. I have seen places where a cube farm would be a step up. Imagine a long table with multiple computers and monitors all in a row. That’s ridiculous! There is less than zero privacy in a place like that. Offices that have five desks that should only have two is another wonderful example. These are clearly extreme examples of having no privacy but they actually exist as well as many many lesser ones.

Following on with privacy would be peoples’ personal habits. Please be aware of how your personal habits affect others in the work place. Talking loudly or often in some areas, all kinds of body issues, any smells or old food items, etc. are just some of the personal habits that can be super annoying to others.

There was a time when “ergonomics” was a big issue in the IT world. It seems to have gone to the back burner, just like Six Sigma. However, ergonomics should be a main focus when setting up office spaces because it can prevent a number of long term work injuries such as carpal tunnel and back pain. Along with that, acquiring new technology such as an ergonomic keyboard and mouse and adjustable office chairs shouldn’t be an issue, yet those are rarely purchased without justification.

These are just the tip of the iceberg for Work Area issues. Please comment more and I will update!

Tim Ferro

SUCCESS

Success Introducing the SUCCESS Ebook. 30 Bloggers Around The Globe Focused On SUCCESS.

This is a very interesting and inspiring eBook. Check it out!

My favorite quote from the book is this one:
“success is creating a lifestyle that allows you to surf on a tuesday and save the world on a friday” – Greg Rollett

The Price of Owning Stocks

I spent an hour or so Sunday night reading three very important documents instead of watching part of the Pro-Bowl. Don’t get me wrong, I love football, but my financial future is more important, and so is yours. The three documents were: Verizon’s 8-K filing, Verizon’s press release about the 8-K filing, and the transcript of Verizon’s earnings conference call. These three documents tell me everything I need to know about Verizon’s future to make an informed decision about owning their stock.

When you own stock in a company, you should be doing your due diligence as an investor to keep up with SEC filings, conference call transcripts, and general information from the internet. Jim Cramer recommends “an hour a week” per stock and I completely agree. It is much more labor intensive to own stocks than it is to own mutual or index funds, but the rewards are far greater. If you had invested in an S&P 500 index fund 10 years ago, you would have lost 19.92% of your money. Owning stocks and doing the necessary research will put you in the financial driver’s seat.

If you are not committed to checking your stocks every day for prices and news, then don’t buy them. If you are not willing to read every 8-K, 10-K, and 10-Q, then don’t buy them. If you are willing to do that work as well as read some financial books and sometimes watch Mad Money, then you are ready to start investing in your future.

Disclosure: Long Verizon (VZ)

Tim Ferro

Gen Y, What’s Your 2010 Reading List?

With the release of Seth Godin’s new book Linchpin, I have now finalized my 2010 reading list! I have not been great at keeping up with reading but my new year’s resolution is to read one book per month all year. I have had the beginning of my list done for a bit but I have been looking for some books to round out my list. I am now done and I present this list for your consideration and as a way to keep myself on task. I will blog about each book after I finish it. Admittedly I am already behind on my first month but I am stepping up my effort to get back to even soon. So without further ado, here is my reading list:

George SorosJanuary

“In the midst of the most serious financial upheaval since the Great Depression, legendary financier George Soros explores the origins of the crisis and its implications for the future. Soros, whose breadth of experience in financial markets is unrivaled, places the current crisis in the context of decades of study of how individuals and institutions handle the boom and bust cycles that now dominate global economic activity. “This is the worst financial crisis since the 1930s,” writes Soros in characterizing the scale of financial distress spreading across Wall Street and other financial centers around the world. In a concise essay that combines practical insight with philosophical depth, Soros makes an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the great credit crisis and its implications for our nation and the world.” – Amazon.com

Jim Cramer February

“In his new book, Cramer offers the most detailed guidance he has ever given on how to invest in a changed market. Savvy investors will not just survive; they will thrive. Cramer begins with six rules for protecting the money you have and making sure that you have the money you need. (Rule Number 3: Skip the first four stages of portfolio grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression.) Your portfolio won’t fix itself; you have to do that. It’s easy to close your eyes and pretend that it all never happened, but you’ll never get back to even that way, much less profit from the opportunities that this new market offers to investors who know where to put their money. One key to making investment decisions is to watch what the mutual-fund managers are doing and — better yet — to anticipate their moves. Cramer tells you how to do this. Their decisions will move markets, and you want to profit from these moves.” – Amazon.com

Joseph HellerMarch

“Just like the original Catch-22, this sequel opens with Yossarian in a hospital bed, flirting with the nurses. Now in his seventies, Yossarian is depressed by his perfect health: things can only get worse. He lives alone in a Manhattan apartment not far from most of his old war buddies, including Milo Minderbinder, a defense contractor straight out of Dr. Strangelove. Yossarian and company mourn the decline of New York City and American culture in general and look back longingly to the golden age of prewar Coney Island. The symbolic center of the book is a surreal wedding extravaganza held at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and hosted by Minderbinder, who recruits highly paid actors to portray derelicts and prostitutes. This work attempts the same sort of giddy black humor that made its predecessor a classic, but the underlying mood is somber, almost elegiac. A profoundly disturbing novel, if not quite up to the standard of Catch-22; recommended for all fiction collections.” – Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles

Taylor ClarkApril

“Part Fast Food Nation, part Bobos in Paradise, STARBUCKED combines investigative heft with witty cultural observation in telling the story of how the coffeehouse movement changed our everyday lives, from our evolving neighborhoods and workplaces to the ways we shop, socialize, and self-medicate.

In STARBUCKED, Taylor Clark provides an objective, meticulously reported look at the volatile issues like gentrification and fair trade that distress activists and coffee zealots alike. Through a cast of characters that includes coffee-wild hippies, business sharks, slackers, Hollywood trendsetters and more, STARBUCKED explores how America transformed into a nation of coffee gourmets in only a few years, how Starbucks manipulates psyches and social habits to snare loyal customers, and why many of the things we think we know about the coffee commodity chain are false.” – Amazon.com

Hank MoodyMay

“A wry literary masterpiece, God Hates Us All is a coming-of-age tale for the apathetic generation. Hank Moody’s self-loathing yet darkly likeable narrator is a college drop-out-turned-accidental-drug-dealer enveloped in a world of contradictions. His boss — a bong-hitting, dreadlocked Pontiff figure — runs a remarkably organized and ingenious illegal trade patronized by, among others, a sweater-set-wearing Upper East Sider, a Wall Street hotshot, and a wannabe rock star with a hard-to-resist model girlfriend. The lonely narrator yearns for more than the tenuous but intimate thread he shares with his clients. To escape his mother’s desperate expectations, his father’s endless disappointments, and his certifiably insane ex-girlfriend, he moves to the city’s mecca of ambitious slackers — the Chelsea Hotel — where the pursuit of lust (and the rock star’s girlfriend) sends him on a series of well-intentioned misadventures that lead him right back where he started. Told in a unique and subtle voice, God Hates Us All is ironic, optimistic, and unforgettable.” – Amazon.com

Joseph Heller

June

“With his first book, the seminal anti-war novel Catch-22, Joseph Heller became one of American literature’s most important 20th-century writers. The posthumous collection, Catch As Catch Can: The Collected Stories and Other Writings, shows Heller’s early development as a writer, but in essence provides the “outtakes,” “B-sides,” and sketches related to Catch-22, and several nonfiction pieces regarding it, mixed with juvenilia. A more appropriate title might have been The Making of Catch-22.” – Amazon.com

Dambisa Moyo

July

“In this important analysis of the past fifty years of international (largely American) aid to Africa, economist and former World Bank consultant Moyo, a native of Zambia, prescribes a tough dose of medicine: stopping the tide of money that, however well-intentioned, only promotes corruption in government and dependence in citizens. With a global perspective and on-the-ground details, Moyo reveals that aid is often diverted to the coffers of cruel despotisms, and occasionally conflicts outright with the interests of citizens-free mosquito nets, for instance, killing the market for the native who sells them. In its place, Moyo advocates a smarter, though admittedly more difficult, policy of investment that has already worked to grow the economies of poor countries like Argentina and Brazil. Moyo writes with a general audience in mind, and doesn’t hesitate to slow down and explain the intricacies of, say, the bond market. This is a brief, accessible look at the goals and reasons behind anti-aid advocates, with a hopeful outlook and a respectful attitude for the well-being and good faith of all involved. ” – Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Sam Davidson, Stephen Moseley

August

“New Day Revolution shows you how small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. Next time you throw out the juice carton, take five seconds to compact it and save space in the landfill, or grab an extra box of crayons for your local school when you buy a box for your child. For people who feel they have little time, this first book from the duo that launched CoolPeopleCare.org gives helpful hints, practical tips, and step by step instructions on how to make a big difference in the local community and the world at-large with whatever time you have. We can’t all be Jack Bauer, running down bad guys and defusing bombs – but we can all make an impact where we are with what we’ve got.” – Amazon.com

Seth GodinSeptember

“In bestsellers such as Purple Cow and Tribes, Seth Godin taught readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas. But this book is different. It’s about you – your choices, your future, and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.

There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people invent, lead (regardless of title), connect others, make things happen, and create order out of chaos. They figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.

Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. Like the small piece of hardware that keeps a wheel from falling off its axle, they may not be famous but they’re indispensable. And in today’s world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.” – Amazon.com

Louis LowensteinOctober

“Based on cutting-edge research by leading corporate critic Louis Lowenstein, The Investor’s Dilemma: How Mutual Funds Are Betraying Your Trust and What to Do About It reveals how highly overpaid fund sponsors really operate and walks you through the conflicts of interest found throughout the industry. Page by page, you’ll discover the real problems within the world of mutual funds and learn how to overcome them through a value-oriented approach to this market.” – Amazon.com

“A valuable text for passive investors.”–Barron’s

Jonathan Lethem

November

Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: Jonathan Lethem, the home-grown frontrunner of a generation of Brooklyn writers, crosses the bridge to Manhattan in Chronic City, a smart, unsettling, and meticulously hilarious novel of friendship and real estate among the rich and the rent-controlled. Lethem’s story centers around two unlikely friends, Chase Insteadman, a genial nonentity who was once a child sitcom star and now is best known as the loyal fiancé of a space-stranded astronaut, and Perkus Tooth, a skinny, moody, underemployed cultural critic. Chase and Perkus are free-floating, dope-dependent bohemians in a borough built on ambition, living on its margins but with surprising access to its centers of power, even to the city’s billionaire mayor. Paranoiac Perkus sees urgent plots everywhere–in the font of The New Yorker, in an old VHS copy of Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid–but Chronic City, despite the presence of death, politics, and a mysterious, marauding tiger, is itself light on plot. Eschewing dramatic staples like romance and artistic creation for the more meandering passions of friendship and observation, Chronic City thrives instead on the brilliance of Lethem’s ear and eye. Every page is a pleasure of pitch-perfect banter and spot-on cultural satire, cut sharply with the melancholic sense that being able to explain your city doesn’t make you any more capable of living in it.” -Tom Nissley

jack Kerouac

December

The legendary 1951 scroll draft of On the Road, published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it

Though Jack Kerouac began thinking about the novel that was to become On the Road as early as 1947, it was not until three weeks in April 1951, in an apartment on West Twentieth Street in Manhattan, that he wrote the first full draft that was satisfactory to him. Typed out as one long, single-spaced paragraph on eight long sheets of tracing paper that he later taped together to form a 120-foot scroll, this document is among the most significant, celebrated, and provocative artifacts in contemporary American literary history. It represents the first full expression of Kerouac’s revolutionary aesthetic, the identifiable point at which his thematic vision and narrative voice came together in a sustained burst of creative energy. It was also part of a wider vital experimentation in the American literary, musical, and visual arts in the post-World War II period.

It was not until more than six years later, and several new drafts, that Viking published, in 1957, the novel known to us today. On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of On the Road, Viking will publish the 1951 scroll in a standard book format. The differences between the two versions are principally ones of significant detail and altered emphasis. The scroll is slightly longer and has a heightened linguistic virtuosity and a more sexually frenetic tone. It also uses the real names of Kerouac’s friends instead of the fictional names he later invented for them. The transcription of the scroll was done by Howard Cunnell who, along with Joshua Kupetz, George Mouratidis, and Penny Vlagopoulos, provides a critical introduction that explains the fascinating compositional and publication history of On the Road and anchors the text in its historical, political, and social context.” – Amazon.com

So that’s my list. I am excited to read them all. Clearly I have a bias toward financial books but other than that, it’s a mix of classic and new. Gen Y, what’s your 2010 reading list?

Tim Ferro