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Growth Hacker Marketing: How To Build Something People Want In 2017

968 days ago the first post on this blog went live. When I started almost three years ago, the plan was clear:

  1. Read all about marketing.
  2. Growth hack the shit out of writing.
  3. Make millions of dollars.

How do you think that worked out? Well, you’re right. If you want to start something online too, today’s book review and summary will save you a lot of time. A LOT.

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7 Fiction Books That Will Light You On Fire

Here’s why we read:

What we call following our gut is really us being subconsciously guided by every piece of information we’ve ever consumed, shaping our instincts and ideas and forming us. —Jon Westenberg


Besides reading to feel, most of us read to learn. We want to know what we need to know when we need it, and so we keep pushing the number of books. Higher. One more. Just one more.

We read books recommended by billionaires, books validated by bestseller status and books our idols tell us to read.

I didn’t read 365 books last year. But I learned from 365 different ones. After around 250, one thing became very clear:

“I don’t need more information. I need to do more stuff.”

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How To Start A Passion Project One Day At A Time

When people sign up for my newsletter, they instantly receive an automated email that asks them: “What’s one thing you struggle with?” Some consider this a marketing trick, but for me, it’s a once in a lifetime chance to talk to readers, say hi and try to help them however I can.

Nevertheless, it does have a research benefit to it: I see which problems keep coming up and what bothers my audience the most. I’ve written so much by now, that most of the time, I can recommend a particular resource for any given issue.

No time to read? Take my free course. Issues with productivity? Gotcha. Can’t google stuff? Wrote a book for you.

Recently, one question kept coming up, which I found myself unable to send people a resource for. It’s a question about projects. A question about starting. Here are three reader responses, all from this week, aimed at it:

“I want to start a business, but hardly have the money or the idea for it!” –Vishal

“I started learning magic tricks long ago, but I never take the time to share my tricks online. There are a few on youtube and I really wanted to share more.” –Flavien

Being disorganized and lacking focus. I’m a certified NLP trainer and looking to start my own business as a Learning Coach for children. Yet I spend my days on chores, cooking and computer based admin stuff.” –Megan

Can you spot the question? Here’s the one I see: “How do I start a passion project?

Today, I’ll do my best to answer it. But first…why is it that question?

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Dear Millennials — A Letter To The Lost Generation

“You are all a ‘génération perdue!’,” the garage owner shouted at the young mechanic, who couldn’t fix Gertrude Stein’s car fast enough.

Dear Millennials Car

“That is what you are. That’s what you all are … all of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation.”

Stein later told the story to her dear friend, Ernest Hemingway, who’s largely responsible when historians today refer to those born between 1883 an 1900 by said name.

What Hemingway alluded to in The Sun Also Rises isn’t lost in the sense of gone, missing or forsaken, but disoriented, wandering, directionless — a recognition that there was great confusion and aimlessness among the war’s survivors in the early post-war years,” as Samuel Hynes points out in A War Imagined.

When I look at my generation of fellow millennials, I can’t help but feel as if history is about to repeat itself.

Hence, this open letter.

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14 Warnings From Trust Me, I’m Lying

I’m a writer. As such, I’ve always written to the best of my ability and with the purest of intentions. You might think that’s the most natural thing in the world, but just recently I learned that many writers don’t consider these two items – which are really just the right thing to do – part of their job description.

As part of my quest to learn more about writers, who inspire me, I decided this year I would get all books from one author I like, read them in chronological order, and look at how they and their style have evolved. I started with Ryan Holiday.

Trust Me, I'm Lying Summary Books by Ryan Holiday

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I Wrote 500,000 Words In 2016, But No Book. Here’s Why.

500,000. That’s how many words I wrote in 2016. 1,370 per day. 450,000 of those went into summaries and content on Four Minute Books.

Add to that 12,000 words on this blog, another 15,000 words for Time 2 Read, Medium articles, a few long guest posts, work for clients, copy for landing pages, etc. and the half a million mark falls faster than you can say writer’s block.

Up to a million books are published each year in the US alone, half or more self-published by independent authors. When I first saw how much I’d written last year, I wanted to punch myself.

“Why didn’t you write a book, you idiot? Or 2? Or 5?”

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