3 Favorite Books of 2018

In 2018, I listened to multiple audiobooks, however there were 3 books that I found to be the most valuable. They are: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depends On It by Chris Voss, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. In this blog post, I will talk about each of these books and what I learned from them.

The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg

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This was an amazing book with lots of great real life examples – ranging from how the CEO of Alcoa transformed the company culture from being profit driven to safety driven, how marketers for Febreze and Pepsodine used patterns/habits to their advantage, how habits can be used to quit any additions such as gambling or alcoholism, to how strong/weak ties started the civil rights movement, how Rhode Island Hospital (one of the worst in the nations) changed its culture by implementing keystone habits, and many more examples like these. This is what I learned from the book:

  • Habits happen in a 3 step process: Cue, Routine, and Reward. In order to change a bad habit, you need to replace the “bad” routine with a “good” routine. You need to figure out the cue (signal) that is making you perform that “bad” routine. Let me give you an example: Assume that you are feeling lonely (cue), so you decide to meet up with your drinking buddy and drink (routine), and viola – you feeling good now (reward). This routine of yours might take you down the wrong path towards alcoholism. Now you get to experiment, change your routine to something more healthy. Try calling a friend, whom you haven’t talked with in a while, and see if that cue has been fulfilled with a reward (happiness). If not, then try going to the gym and working out with a friend, and see if that cue has been satisfied with a reward of feeling good. You keep trying different routines until the “bad” routine has been replaced with a “good” routine.
  • In order to start (or end) a habit, you need to develop a craving.  The craving can a craving for healthy food to a craving to be in good shape. Once you have a craving, you can start a “good” routine, and get rewarded.

This 11 hour audiobook gives you an idea of how much habits influence our lives. The Power of Habit was one of my first audiobooks, so I found it to be a bit long. However, the various examples discussed in this book kept me glued to this book. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to change any habits or just wants to know how habits work.

Never Split the Difference : Negotiating As If Your Life Depends On It – Chris Voss

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This was one of my favorite books since it was very actionable. Chris Voss, a former international hostage negotiator for the FBI, takes you through the techniques he used when negotiating with criminals. These techniques can be can be easily used in your everyday life while interacting with other individuals. Here is what I learned from this book:

  • No deal is better than bad deal.
  • Mirroring does wonders.
  • Anchor with a low/high offer – it helps during negotiation since it brings the other party to a reasonable price right away.
  • Give an exact number to the decimal point, even if it’s made up number – it goes to show the other party that you have done your calculations. Use this when negotiating rent, salary, etc.
  • Don’t budge – Use Ackerman’s Rule.
  • Know the other person’s weakness, look for black swans, and use deadlines to your advantage.
  • “Have you given up on this project?” is the best follow up email.
  • Push your problem on the other person by asking “How am I supposed to do that?”
  • Silence is Key.
  • Do your research.
  • Attach labels i.e. say that it seems that you are feeling…blah…, you look upset, etc.
  • Ask them to talk about why they are upset or disturbed about an offer. Show them why your offer is superior.
  • “That’s right” is what you want to hear (not “You’re right”).
  • “No” questions are better since it allows the other person to let his/her guard down. So, next time you want to talk with your boss, rather than asking him/her if he/she has a minute? Ask, “Is now a bad time”. You want to ask questions that result in a “no”.

I learned a lot from this 8 hour audiobook. The examples discussed in this book keep you on your toes. If you want to learn about negotiation, this book has some great techniques that you can use right away. Also, if anyone has never listened to an audiobook before, this is a great first listen.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

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This book makes you realize what leadership is truly about – extreme ownership. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat, since the real life situations described in this book are intense. Here is what I learned from this book:

  • Take ownership of any shortcomings – own the problem. Let go of those who won’t take ownership of mistakes.
  • Convey the why and the goal/mission properly to your team. Once your team understands the big picture and is on board, it’ll be easier to achieve the goal.
  • Keep it simple – don’t make goals complicated.
  • Prioritize and execute – lay out the highest priority for the team, develop and determine the solution, ask for input from key leaders and team, direct all resources to execute the task on hand, move onto next priority after accomplishing the task. If priority changes, communicate with team and people up and down the chain.
  • Always see other problems developing i.e. don’t develop target fixation.
  • Decentralized command – chain of command is important, 4-6 people is what a typical leader can lead, pass guidance down.
  • Understand the mission – make it explicitly clear about the overall and deeper purpose.
  • Delegate as much as possible – let the person downstream give you information about the details; it gives them sense of ownership.
  • Leaders should ask questions to make sure people understand the plan.
  • Lead up the chain of command – examine what you can do to deliver critical information up the chain in order to get approval; push situational awareness up the chain – must use influence, experience, knowledge, communication, and maintain professionalism.
  • Leaders must be decisive during times of uncertainty. Leaders must be comfortable under pressure and act with logic (not emotions).
  • Leaders must be close to subordinates, but not too close that team forgets who is in charge. Don’t wither from the mission and overall goal.
  • Discipline is the pathway to freedom.

This 9.5 hour audiobook is perfect is you want to listen to some intense stories, and learn about leadership lessons at the same time. I personally thought that this book would be more applicable for individuals who are a little higher up the chain, but you still learn a lot about ownership – a skill you can apply anywhere.

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Hope you learned a little and found this blog post helpful. We talked about The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depends On It by Chris Voss, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. As always, you can sign up for our mailing list here.  Like us on our Facebook page here. Thank you and Happy New Year!


Email us at: superiornorthllc@gmail.com

Superior North LLC’s content is for educational purposes only. The calculators, videos, recommendations, and general investment ideas are not to be actioned with real money. Contact a professional and certified financial advisor before making any financial decisions.


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