Quotes: Self-Reliance (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The following are some powerful quotes from the essay Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

This masterful essay, from one of America’s greatest philosophers, covers a variety of important themes. On the positive side, Emerson writes eloquently on originality, motives, self-trust, living true to oneself, integrity, authenticity, courage, duty, and of course, self-reliance. He also shines a light on negative subjects like envy, ignorance, the fallacy of travel, conformity, being misunderstood, and group think.

When you boil it down, Emerson is trying to make a case for individual heroism. He believes great people have a duty to stand out from the conformist sheep herd and earn their value through action or good deeds. This is no doubt good advice, but it also requires a great deal of courage. He also believes that this process is worth the social cost of misunderstanding and alienation from family. In his view, no other human, be it family or lover, is a substitute for the sublime transcendence of self-actualization.
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Summary: The Go-Giver (Bob Burg & John David Mann)

The following is a summary of the book The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann.

The book tells a parable of a man named Joe who, struggling to make his quarterly sales target, meets a mentor named Pindar to help him. Pindar then teaches Joe the “Five Laws of Stratospheric Success” by having Joe meet various people who have already mastered the five laws.

The book is a short read, but it contains a powerful message. One that aligns with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Law of Compensation: you will always be compensated for your contributions, one way or another. Therefore, it’s better to focus on giving more if you wish to receive more. That’s the secret of the book in a nutshell.
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Quotes: Bhagavad Gita (Stephen Mitchell)

The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Hindu spiritual text. It was supposedly one of the books that Henry David Thoreau took with him on his retreat to Walden Pond. It’s a beautiful book, with a sublime message comparable to the Tao Te Ching.

I very much enjoyed Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Tao Te Ching, so it felt only natural to seek out his translation of the Gita. Given the similar subject matter and the same translator, it’s not surprising that reading the Bhagavad Gita gave me a similar feeling to reading the Tao Te Ching. They are both spiritual texts that contain universal truths about how to live wisely.

Written as an allegorical story, it tells the tale of the warrior Arjuna, about to enter the field of battle. But before it begins, he sees a vision of Lord Krishna, who proceeds to drop wisdom on Arjuna through the book.
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Quotes: Choose Yourself (James Altucher)

James Altucher is best known for his radically honest and vulnerable writing. In his book, Choose Yourself, which seems like a compilation of essays from his blog, he communicates the following fundamental premise: waiting for others to “choose” you, whether it be employers, publishers, or any other so-called gatekeeper, is a recipe for failure — especially in our hyperconnected world.

Therefore, the wise individual must choose themselves and plot out their own course, make their own luck, and take matters into their own hands if they wish to thrive in this new world.

In other words, playing by the old rules of going to school for credentials, using those credentials to get a job for life, and hoping to inch yourself up the corporate ladder, are relics of a bygone era. In this book, Altucher gives some good advice and offers inspiration to individuals who want to exercise more sovereignty in their own lives and increase their optionality.

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Quotes: As A Man Thinketh (James Allen)

As A Man Thinketh is a a book about managing your own psychology. As an entrepreneur, and even as a human being in general, controlling what you choose to focus on is of the utmost importance. That’s why it is one of my personal favorites. It’s also one of the books that Tony Robbins gifts the most.

I’ve read it several times throughout my life. Each time it affirms what I’ve always known, from experience, to be true: that you are what you think about. That thoughts are things. That to improve our lives, we must first improve our thinking. In essence, we become what we think about, so we must control our mind and our thoughts.

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Quotes: The Art of War (Sun Tzu)

The Art of War is a classic book about military strategy. While the content may seem, at first glance, to be about traditional warfare, the concepts and principles found within the book can be applied to everything from business and relationships, to sports and other competitive endeavours. It’s also quite a short book, but dense with wisdom. In many ways similar to other East Asian philosophy books like the Tao Te Ching.

As an entrepreneur, it is valuable because you can re-read it during different circumstances in your life, and apply it to your current situation. In that sense, the principles in the book are extremely flexible. But, to get the most value, I recommend interpreting the book metaphorically, as opposed to taking it literally. It will be far more useful to you.

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Summary: Leadership 101 (John C. Maxwell)

Leadership is one of those topics that makes me uneasy, only because it seems to attract charlatans, especially within the corporate world. That’s why the word has some negative connotations to it, at least in my mind. But there is nothing mysterious or negative about true leadership.

Author John C. Maxwell proves this with his refreshing book, Leadership 101. While the title of the book does sound basic and unoriginal, the content of the book is surprisingly strong. It covers the topic of leadership — within the context of an organization — in a very clear and concise manner.
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Quotes: Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell)

I first learned of the Tao Te Ching in 2010 after a strong recommendation from long-time friend. In fact, he gave me a copy of it as a gift (the Stephen Mitchell translation, to be exact). I read the book during a time in my life when the content resonated very deeply with me.

It’s a short volume, but dense with wisdom and universal truths. I’ve heard people say that the book is very much like a Rorschach test, in the sense that it reflects the reader, and his or her own state of mind, more than anything else.

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Quotes: Anything You Want (Derek Sivers)

A couple of years ago, Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby, wrote a short book called Anything You Want. I’ve always been impressed by his blog posts and interviews. He is an enlightened character and his communication style is remarkably clear and honest. His book is no different.

This book can be read in 1 or 2 hours. It’s very short, but it’s full of high-quality and hard-won advice from experience.

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Quotes: The 50th Law (Robert Greene)

The following is a collection of my favorite quotes from Robert Greene’s “The 50th Law“.

The book draws a number of entrepreneurship lessons from Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson’s history of dealing drugs in his local community. Everything from the discussion of mastery, to exploiting opportunities in your environment and ultimately a call to self-actualization.

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