Book Summaries

book summaries

Welcome to my book summaries page, brave adventurer.

Here you will find my notes, musings and reviews on the books I’ve read and listened to.

My motivation for creating a summary for each book is so I can revisit the main takeaways when my brain fails and I forget my learnings.

But hopefully, you too can uncover some useful information to apply to your existence in this weird little place we call reality.

Happy mind-expanding.

Book Summaries

way of the peaceful warrior summaryWay of the Peaceful Warrior (Dan Millman)

Probably one of the most impactful books I’ve read. If you want some mindfulness-based goodness combined with a compelling story, this book’s got you covered. A must-read.

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zen in the art of writing summaryZen in the Art of Writing (Ray Bradbury)

Incredible book on writing by the master himself. Bradbury’s childlike curiosity really shines through and this book is a healthy reminder to silence the inner critic and merely take joy in the art of creation.

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can't-hurt-me-by-david-goggins-book-summaryCan’t Hurt Me (David Goggins)

Wow – Goggins is a beast of a man, who has overcome some serious hurdles in life to become the fierce warrior he is today. This book will make you want to go forth and take some souls.

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The One Thing Summary (Gary Keller & Jay Papasan)The One Thing Summary (Gary Keller & Jay Papasan)

This book contains profound lessons that really resonate with how I try to live life. You can’t do it all, so simplify your life. Get disciplined, eliminate the extraneous and focus on your one thing if you truly wish to succeed.

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the-happiness-advantageThe Happiness Advantage (Shawn Achor)

As the title suggests, this book allows us to get a handle on our happiness through the science of positive psychology. I really enjoyed this book and the research presented.

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the inner game of tennis timothy gallweyThe Inner Game of Tennis (Timothy Gallwey)

If you want to improve your tennis or simply seek zen-like wisdom to apply to other areas of life, The Inner Game of Tennis has you covered. Gets a little repetitive at times, but I love the core message and it has given me some great results.

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think and grow rich summary napoleon hillThink and Grow Rich (Napoleon Hill)

Want to be more successful? This classic self-help book was based on interviews with the most famous men of the 20th Century, with its wisdom distilled into a mindset that’s just as applicable today.

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atomic habits summaryAtomic Habits (James Clear)

After many years of relying solely on will and inspiration to get things done, I’m now a bit of a habit fanatic. The power of compound interest can be truly immense when applied to our vision and goals. Progress is made, not through seismic shifts, but rather consistent daily actions.

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the slight edge summaryThe Slight Edge (Jeff Olson)

This was the first book that really opened my mind to the financial concept of compound interest as it applies to habits and success. Simple idea but big implications when applied correctly.

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the daily stoic summary ryan holiday stephen hanselmanThe Daily Stoic (Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman)

I’ll be honest – I’m a bit of a sucker for anything Stoicism related and use many of the teachings as guiding principles in my life. So, if you want more wisdom, perseverance and skill in the art of living, this book is a good place to start.

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The Miracle Morning Summary (Hal Elrod)The Miracle Morning (Hal Elrod)

Want to improve your life? Try waking up early and following a ritual. After all, how we start our day affects the course of our life. I’m a firm believer in the principles of the book and follow a pretty religious morning routine myself. Even though the message is simple, it’s an important one, from which we could all benefit.

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anything you want summary derek siversAnything You Want (Derek Sivers)

Derek is a much-needed voice for simple living and focusing on the essentials of a good existence: getting curious, taking action and having fun. This book is a distillation of life and entrepreneurial advice.

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tiny habits summary bj foggTiny Habits (BJ Fogg)

Another habit book to add to the list. Always good to read reminders to encourage positive behaviour change. If you want to realise ambitions and aspirations, start small and utilise prompts within your current daily routine.

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blink summaryBlink (Malcolm Gladwell)

This is an interesting introduction to intuition and the hidden power we can draw upon to evaluate our environment and make decisions. If you feel like you have extra-sensitive spidey-sense, this might be a good read.

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the power of your subconscious mind summaryThe Power of Your Subconscious Mind (Joseph Murphy)

Are you a Negative Norman, frequently pre-occupied with disempowering thoughts and feelings? Well, this book might provide the perspective shift you need. It’s a bit of a self-help classic covering how to re-program your subconscious mind to bring about real changes in your external reality. In fact, many modern personal development books and psychological studies still cover the same ground. The core message is slightly repetitive throughout the book, and some of the language could be off-putting if you’re non-religious, but it’s definitely worth a read.

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turn the ship around summary l. david marquetTurn the Ship Around (L. David Marquet)

If you’re looking for battle-tested leadership lessons, check out this book by the ex-captain of a US nuclear submarine. The insights are applicable to any domain and involve empowering those around you to take more responsibility through a leader-leader approach.

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the tipping point malcolm gladwellThe Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)

This Tipping point summary examines why some ideas, products and trends go viral, just like epidemics. Great big-picture book providing food for thought if you’re launching you’re own community, company or cause. As always, great storytelling utilised by Gladwell to illustrate his points.

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the road less travelled m. scott peckThe Road Less Travelled (M. Scott Peck)

The Road Less Travelled summary provides a psychiatrist’s unique take on the human condition and what it takes to live a happy, successful life. I liked the first half of the book, but the second half? Not so much.

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The Organized Mind Summary (Daniel J. Levitin)The Organized Mind (Daniel J. Levitin)

Want to conquer your goals? Information processing efficiency is key. In the deluge of data we encounter daily, we need suitable organisation methods to operate effectively and focus on the priorities underpinning our success.

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High Performance Habits Summary Brendon Burchard

High Performance Habits (Brendon Burchard)

If we want to get better at life, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel when we can simply apply certain heuristics gleaned from the world’s top performers. In this book, Burchard outlines six core principles we can use today to excel in any area. A nice refresher of the fundamentals.

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best self summary mike bayerBest Self (Mike Bayer)

Living your ideal life? If you’re tired of your current reality, you can start with this summary, based on the book by life coach, Mike Bayer. You might have heard much of the advice before if you’re a connoisseur of the self-development genre, but it’s all sound stuff and can hopefully provide a healthy reminder.

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the art of choosing summary sheena iyengarThe Art of Choosing (Sheena Iyengar)

Unable to make decisions? Overwhelmed by choice? If you turn into a dithering mess in the cereal aisle or can’t pick which pants to wear in the morning, you may need some help. This book is a good start, shedding some light on the decision-making process.

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The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up Summary (Marie Kondo)

The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo)

Want a good spiritual cleanse? It might be as simple as decluttering. If your possessions aren’t bringing you joy, try instigating a purge. I think we all know that outward order leads to inner calm, but if you want to procrastinate on the tidying bit, then try this book.

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The Four Agreements Summary (Don Miguel Ruiz)The Four Agreements (Don Miguel Ruiz)

Want a good dose of Toltec wisdom? Ruiz, a neurosurgeon turned Shamanic healer provides a code of conduct for anyone needing a change in their life, emphasising happiness, love, freedom and truth. Might be a bit spiritual and new-agey for some, but the principles are time-tested.

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the energy bus summary jon gordonThe Energy Bus (Jon Gordon)

Want to fuel your life, work and team with positive energy? The Energy Bus summary, based on a book by Jon Gordon, is touted to help you do just that. Pretty oversimplified and although based on fundamental truths, not really recommended if you’re after deeper, substantive insights.

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the challenger sale summary matthew dixon and brent adamsonThe Challenger Sale (Matthew Dixon & Brent Adamson)

We’re all sick of smarmy salespeople in their snazzy suits and shiny shoes. Don’t be that guy or gal. Instead, actually research your prospects and try to help them address their genuine problems through teaching, before positioning your product as a viable solution.

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The Speed of Trust Summary (Stephen M.R. Covey)The Speed of Trust (Stephen M.R. Covey)

Got trust issues? Developing this trait can improve both our personal and professional lives, improving communication and efficiency, while lowering costs. If you want to enhance your interaction with others, you must become the type of person people want to interact with.

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Digital Minimalism Summary (Cal Newport)Digital Minimalism (Cal Newport)

Can’t stop watching YouTube cat videos? Fascinated by watching people unbox their new Amazon purchases? You might need a digital detox, or declutter, as Cal Newport would say. If you want to reclaim your attention, improving your health, productivity and wellbeing in the process, check out this book.

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the miracle of mindfulness summary Thich Nhat Hanh

The Miracle of Mindfulness (Thich Nhat Hanh)

If you constantly find your mind dragged into a distant past or imagining an illusory future, you may well feel overwhelmed by stress and anxiety. This is where mindfulness and living in the present can help. The Miracle of Mindfulness is a classic book on the topic a solid introductory read.

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zen mind beginner's mind summary shunryu suzuki

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Shunryu Suzuki)

Want some profound and yet counterintuitively simple wisdom to live a better life? There’s no better place to start than Zen Buddhism, a philosophy which allows us master our minds, while appreciating the daily practices we so often take for granted.

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vagabonding summary rolf pottsVagabonding (Rolf Potts)

Dream of ditching your dreary commute and leaving your cubicle behind? Long term travel may be just the ticket, as you hit the road in search of adventurous abandon. Get inspired with the Vagabonding summary, based on a book by Rolf Potts.

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remote summary jason fried david heinemeier hanssonRemote (Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson)

Want to improve employee productivity or work on the beach in your speedos? Many companies are understandably hesitant before making the switch to distributed work. However, The Remote summary allows both employers and staff to understand the many benefits of the arrangement, including practical tips for its implementation.

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the power of positive thinking summary norman vincent pealeThe Power of Positive Thinking (Norman Vincent Peale)

Want to improve your life? Start by diving into The Power of Positive Thinking summary and improving your mind. Despite controversy around some of the author’s assertions, he makes many seemingly useful points. If you’re someone who’s worry-prone, exaggerating potential negative outcomes, you might find this book helpful.

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the art of seduction robert greeneThe Art of Seduction (Robert Greene)

Want to learn how to be a smooth operator? If you want to flex your romantic muscles, The Art of Seduction summary, based on a book by Robert Greene, may help level up your skills. By building anticipation, mystery and charm, you may just be able to woo the object of your affection.

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drive summary daniel pinkDrive (Daniel Pink)

Motivating ourselves and others can be tough. According to Daniel Pink, we often don’t do ourselves any favours by focusing on extrinsic rewards rather than internal impetus. This book provides a nice introduction to the topic and if you’re looking to improve your work situation, it would make a nice gift for your boss 🙂

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make your bed summary william h. mcraven

Make Your Bed (William H. McRaven)

This book is based on a 2014 commencement speech, outlining 10 timeless life principles that have allowed McRaven to succeed in his career as a US Navy Special Forces Admiral. So if you’re a leader looking to inspire or want to turn your own life around, the Make Your Bed summary is required reading.

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Who Moved My Cheese Summary (Dr. Spencer Johnson)

Who Moved My Cheese (Dr. Spencer Johnson)

If you’re struggling to make progress towards your goals, you’re not alone. Anything new is inevitably uncomfortable, giving rise to fear and resistance. But change is also an unavoidable part of life. The Who Moved My Cheese summary, based on a book by Dr. Spencer Johnson, might help.

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Ikigai Summary (Héctor García and Francesc Miralles)

Ikigai (Héctor García and Francesc Miralles)

Want a long and happy life? The Ikigai summary, based on a book by Héctor García & Francesc Miralles, teaches the secrets of Japan’s centenarians. Learn how finding your life meaning, at the intersection of your passions, skills, ability to make a living and what the world needs, is key.

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The Mindful Day Summary (Laurie J. Cameron)

The Mindful Day (Laurie J. Cameron)

Are you anxious, living in the future and dwelling on the past? Our senses are often so assaulted by distractions that we barely have time to recognise the joy inherent in the present moment. If that sounds like you, The Mindful Day summary, based on a book by Laurie J. Cameron, is a great read.

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conscious summary annaka harris

Conscious (Annaka Harris)

As an avid fan of Sam Harris and disciple of his meditation app, ‘Waking Up’, I was interested to learn that his wife, Annaka Harris, is also a deep thinker on the topic of consciousness. Want to know how your freaky little mind works? Click here to explore the mystery of experience.

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do the work summary steven pressfield

Do the Work (Steven Pressfield)

This is a wonderful follow up to one of my favourite books, ‘The War of Art’. Want to do work that truly matters? You must overcome fear, doubt and that ultimate dream-killer, resistance. Learn more in ‘Do the Work’.

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Housekeeping

In main, these summaries are intended as a way for me to assimilate the lessons contained in each book and apply them to my life (as a result, YMMV).

Although I hope they encapsulate the main themes, the entries above are partly written in my own words and may include some quotes, depending on the book.

However, they should not be considered a complete substitute for the pleasure that can be derived from reading the text in its entirety.

Therefore, if the summary resonates with you, I’d encourage you to go forth and buy the book.

Want to see what’s on my reading list, along with other book recommendations? Check them out here.