Archive for January, 2010

Book Review Tuesday: 100 Ways to Create Wealth

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Steve Chandler and Sam Beckford put together a collection of 100 essays (most are two to four pages each) for becoming a more complete person in 100 Ways to Create Wealth. The small sections provide food for thought.  Treat it as a quick mental stimulant for the day…many of the topics are cliched and unoriginal, but still very valuable to contemplate.  Chandler and Beckford want you to spend time thinking of ways to add value to your world and truly create wealth as opposed to waiting and hoping something good will come to you.

I wrote about Chandler and Beckford’s fiction book here.  If you like Chandler and Beckford at all, be sure to read 9 Lies That are Holding Your Business Back. I’ll write about 9 Lies soon.

Book Review Tuesday: Scott McKain’s Collapse Of Distinction

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Collapse Of Distinction: Stand out and move up while your competition fails by Scott McKain has been on my nightstand since April.  I received this as a part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review program.  I like the topic and was excited about reading the book.  I kept having trouble “getting into” Collapse though.  Ultimately, my take is that the book is just OK.  The author  seems–at least from the bio– like someone I would really enjoy speaking with.  He is a successful businessman and speaker.  Unfortunately, the book didn’t hold my attention the way I imagine McKain’s speaking would.  The core of the book was solid, if uninspiring:

1.  Clarity

2.  Creativity

3.  Communication

4.  Customer-Experience Focus

More interesting was Thomas Nelson’s try at something different with the sales of this book.  When buying the hardcover, you are given access to the ebook version and/or the audiobook to read or listen as well.  The idea was unique.  I didn’t love it in practice though.  The audiobook required too many different downloads…too much like work=)

The bottom line for me… Collapse Of Distinction contains solid content.  There are valuable insights especially if you haven’t studied differentiation and distinction before.  If you are interested in this topic at all,  make sure you read the 30 year old classic, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. Al Ries and Jack Trout are marketing legends and give plenty of real life examples to get your mind turning to come up with your own distinctions.

Stock Market Investing: Buying Call Options

Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This week I made my second stock option purchase within a month.  I subscribed to Motley Fool’s Option newsletter and followed Jeff Fischer’s advice, buying call options on Johnson & Johnson and Intel.  The risk is somewhat lessened by the fact that these are both solid companies.  Also, the calls don’t expire till 2012…plenty of time for the underlying stock prices to go up even if the market decides to dip a few times in the next year or so.  The way call options work is that I am buying the right to purchase a stock at certain price(strike price) on a certain date.  If the stock is trading below that price on the expiration date, I will not exercise the right to buy the stock and the option will expire worthless.  In that case, I lose the amount of money that I paid for the option.  If the stock is trading above the strike price on the expiration date, I can exercise my right to purchase the stock at the strike price.  What will most likely happen though is that sometime in the next two years I will choose to sell my options to someone else, hopefully at a hefty profit.  Options can be traded through your brokerage account much like stocks.  When the underlying stock goes up, the option typically goes up as well depending on the length of time remaining on the option as well as the proximity of the stock price to the strike price.

So that’s my latest stock market adventure.  More to come…

Book Review Tuesday: Brian Tracy’s Flight Plan

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Flight PlanI recently finished Brian Tracy’s book, Flight Plan: The Real Secret of Success.  It wasn’t my favorite Tracy book, but I definitely found it useful as it is loaded with some of Brian’s simple truths.  The basic premise is that you can chart a course to a goal then follow the “flight plan” to said goal.  Probably any analogy breaks down if you carry it too far.  The weakness I saw in this book was that keeping the flight plan analogy the whole way through the book felt forced at times.  That said, the content is solid.  And timely since I read it at year end when, like many others, I was taking stock of my own plans and progress.

Here are a handful of Tracyisms from the book:

  • “For you to change your outer world, you must change your inner world.”
  • “You have more talent than you could use in a hundred lifetimes.”
  • “The most valuable asset you have in achieving your goals and reaching your destination in life is your mind.”
  • “Fear is , and always has been, the greatest enemy of mankind.”

At the beginning, Tracy guides the reader through choosing a destination and formulating a plan.  Expecting turbulence and making continual course corrections were two parts of the airplane analogy that were especially insightful.

Overall, Flight Plan is well worth the fifteen bucks.  In fact, I believe there is a paperback available now.