Book notes: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren


The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren

Synopsis: Translated into over 50 languages, The Purpose Driven Life is far more than just a book; it is a guide to a spiritual journey that has transformed millions of lives. Once you take this journey, you’ll never be the same again.

On your journey you’ll find the answers to 3 of life’s most important questions: The Question of Existence: Why am I alive? The Question of Significance: Does my life matter? The Question of Purpose: What on earth am I here for?

Initial thoughts:

Pastor Rick is actually my pastor! I go to Saddleback Irvine South, which is one of his church’s several campuses in Southern California (though there are some outside the country).

I’ve heard him and other pastors mention this book on different occasions. My roommate even told me that my pastor (before I knew) was a well-known pastor and has one of the biggest congregations in the country! I had no idea that my pastor was such an influential and successful person.

He’s also claimed to have read tens of thousands of books over the course of his life, which is apparent as he comes across as a very learned and intellectual, as well as compassionate, person. Needless to say, I’ve felt compelled to read his book for a while now.

A couple weeks ago, pastor Rick actually told an anecdote about how this book helped Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps get out of depression and get out of retirement and back to training for the most recent Olympics.

Although I am a Christian and I imagine I will get a ton of value for myself (mentally, emotionally, and spiritually) out of this read, I’m also determined to draw some of the key nuggets that can add value to anyone else no matter what their beliefs are.

Key ideas:

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Interview with an 11-year old

Interview with my little brother, Jacob 😁

I’ve wanted to do this since he was 8, but finally got around to doing it this past weekend.

Here we cover a range of topics, just messing around mostly, asking the hard questions to get the insight of a wise and brilliant man of his age:

  • What would you do if you won a million dollars?
  • If you could choose a superpower?
  • Meditation
  • Fitness
  • His interesting morning routine
  • Nutrition
  • Soul Cycling
  • School: valuable or scam?
  • Tips to succeed in elementary school
  • Girls, beauty, and his type
  • Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton?
  • Walls, Mexicans, and email
  • Too much video games good or bad
  • Renewable energy and the environment
  • Favorite books, and video games
  • Race and ethnicity
  • The purpose of life, living, and being American
  • Role reversal: what I would do with $1 million
  • 2 of the hardest riddles I’ve ever heard

We had so much fun with this, as you could probably tell 😂

Book notes: The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow


The Automatic Customer: Creating a Subscription Business in Any Industry by John Warrillow

Synopsis (via Amazon): The lifeblood of your business is repeat customers. But customers can be fickle, markets shift, and competitors are ruthless. So how do you ensure a steady flow of repeat business? The secret—no matter what industry you’re in—is finding and keeping automatic customers.

According to John Warrillow, this emerging subscription economy offers huge opportunities to companies that know how to turn customers into subscribers. Automatic customers are the key to increasing cash flow, igniting growth, and boosting the value of your company.

Initial thoughts:

A couple weeks ago, Aduible was having a BOGO sale so I thought I would take advantage of it with my credits. I picked up this book (along with Alibaba’s World) mainly because it looked like the most interesting and relevant business book 😋

Regardless, the book had good reviews and it seemed like I would get some value out of it. As a budding entrepreneur, I feel like I need to absorb as much as I can so I can utilize effective principles in my own businesses.

Key ideas:

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Book notes: Born Standing Up by Steve Martin


Born Standing Up by Steve Martin

Synopsis: This book is the autobiographical account of Steve Martin’s career as a stand up comedian, how he got into it, and why he quit. He recounts the years he spent honing his craft and performing thousands of times before eventually hitting stardom. His story is a peeks into the world of a live performer and celebrity.

Initial thoughts:

My thoughts going in were that I’d probably get some good insight into how an artist like a stand up comedian hones his craft and achieves celebrity through show business. I put the book on my audible wish list because of a recommendation I heard on one of Tim Ferriss’s podcast episodes, and saw that there were thousands of positive reviews.

My experiences with biographies of successful people have been good up until this point so I thought it couldn’t hurt. I typically read about business titans, so a biography of an artist seemed like a good change of pace.

Key ideas:

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Movie review: Eddie the Eagle

[warning: spoilers]

So I watched this movie last night. I wanted to watch it in theaters mostly because Hugh Jackman was in it, but didn’t get around to it before it left theaters.

In a nutshell, it’s a great movie. Based on a true story, I thought it was nothing short of inspiring.

The movie is about a boy who has the dream of becoming an Olympian. Despite, his disadvantage of having no natural talent for athletics, he persists to train hard to achieve his goal. Eventually he learns to ski, but moves to long jump after not being allowed on the British Olympic male ski squad.

Along the way, he faces ton of challenges. Everyone discourages him (including his father), he’s thwarted by the British Olympic committee from joining the team, and he doesn’t even know how to long jump.

He manages to link up with Hugh Jackman’s character, who was a prodigy long jumper back in his day, and together they manage to help Eddie qualify for the Olympics and achieve the impossible.

There are a few things I absolutely love about this story:

  1. Despite many challenges, he persists and doesn’t give up. He went on pure faith in his vision.
  2. He has this amazing optimism that kept him going. Where most people would have been focused on failure or paralyzed by fear, he just did it anyway. The act of DOING instead of just thinking always inspires me.
  3. He was set on proving people wrong. Don’t we all love the story of the underdog? Nobody believed in him since the beginning, but he never waivered and managed to become an Olympian.
  4. He had the unconditional love and support of his mother. Themes about family alway get me. It reminds me about how Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) attributes a large part of his success to his parents always encouraging him. It reminds me of the type of parent I aspire to be one day.

While I don’t think this movie is going to win any awards, it’s definitely an inspiring telling of a story with a solid execution. Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for one of those heartwarming movies about determination and human spirit.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Day Twenty: Wrap It Up

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unrelated: me being weird as usual 😋

As we wind down the course, let’s wrap things up and look forward. Some final prompts to choose from:

  • Publish a course wrap-up: What did you enjoy or dislike?
  • Describe an assignment or writing session in which you experienced an “aha!” moment.
  • As I continue blogging, I plan to …
  • 5, 10, 20 years from now …

I absolutely loved this writing course. Because of the variety in assignments, it really pushed me out of the box and showed me new ways to approach a post.

I felt the different structures were valuable because I was able to learn the concepts by putting it into practice. Because it was sort of like a challenge, it pushed me to not skip a day and go through it as a sequence.

I thought the homework assignments were great ideas, but I wasn’t able to accomplish them (like the collaborative guest post) because I mostly set aside a 5-10 minute window per day to work on these. 

When I give myself topics to write on, I definitely will give myself more time and plan out my writing process accordingly.

I think overall, my biggest takeaways were:

  1.  Engaging readers with stories from my daily life, helping me develop a storytelling voice
  2. Using my other social media to enhance the posts
  3. Using images and graphics like my personal photos off my phone to help tell the story visually
  4. Playing with short and long posts, as well as lists

As I continue blogging, I plan to use what I’ve learned about style, formatting, and approach to tackle some of the topics I’ve been wanting to write about like how to develop habits, book reviews, hot-button topics, and general recaps of interesting parts of my day/life.

5-10 years from now, I hope my blog will develop into an all-inclusive look into my life that will add massive value to my readers. I hope to develop my personal brand that allows me to reach the maximum amount of people so that I can make enough of an impact.

I also hope to develop my brand as a platform to help me achieve some of my other goals and network with other like minded people. Perhaps I’ll even be able to find some amazing mentors along the way 🙂

Day Nineteen: Feature a Guest

For those who didn’t reach out to someone, publish a roundup of great reads: blog posts you’ve enjoyed this week and want to share with your followers. Don’t worry about word count or the number of items to include — just focus on sharing posts you’ve read and loved.

My 3 reads for August 📚

I didn’t collab for a post, due to time constraints and just overall procrastination, tbh. I will, however, give a roundup of books I want to read in the future.

Luckily, my Audible wish-list is pretty inclusive of the books I have my eyes on.

Let me know if you have any other recommendations for my to-read list! 🙂

Day Eighteen: Compose a Series of Anecdotes

Today, tell a story through a series of anecdotes (also called vignettes): short, episodic scenes or moments that together read as variations on the same theme. They can each be as short or long as you see fit — they don’t have to be the same length — but they need a common feature to tie them together, whether it’s a repeated phrase, a similar setting, a literary device, or the appearance of the same person.

Unrelated: the Coldplay concert we went to this weekend ✨

I remember the first time I used the phrase, I was teaching some friends how to do a backflip. It was back in high school around 2007. I had learned how to land one after three months of training, once a week for 2-3 hours per session. Now, a handful of my friends were asking me to help train them.

“I can’t do it, it’s just so difficult,” my friend said.

“Not with THAT attitude… 😏” I retorted.
In college, I was trying to convince my close dancer friend to audition for a competitive collegiate dance team with me. The audition process, we heard, was extremely difficult. 

Better dancers than us didn’t make it past the audition process. Not only that, we were competing against more experienced and talented dancers for a handful of coveted spots. It took her a full week of convincing and spamming across several mediums (text, Facebook, and a few others).

She kept giving me the same excuse, “I don’t think I’m good enough!”

“Not with THAT attitude! 😏” I said mockingly.

Interestingly enough, that was our team name for the audition, and we both made the team!😁
Whenever someone tells me they can’t do something, my automatic response is to give them the catchphrase I’m wildly known for:

“Not with THAT attitude!”