3 Books That Influenced Me While I Wrote My Second Book
As a writer, I look to a bevy of different influences for knowledge, style, and because I love to read. The magical powers of reading widely come into play when you find yourself remembering quotes, anecdotes, and pieces of ideas you can use to bolster your own writing. They are stored in your mind while you read, forgotten for a while, then seem to find their way to you when you need them most.
In my new book, You 2.0, I drew from a variety of different sources and authors to aid the formation of my own ideas and for inspiration in my writing career. Today I want to share a few of those books and the lessons learned from them.
Whether you like him or not, Nassim Taleb is one of the fascinating people you’ll ever come across. In fact, he does so many different things and has so many different interests he’s almost impossible, to sum up.
In the book antifragile, Taleb discusses how you can benefit from uncertain situations. A glass cup, for example, doesn’t like volatility — fragile. A piece of steel is indifferent to it — robust. Something antifragile actually likes volatility.
A way to become antifragile is to create scenarios where the potential loss is small and the potential upside is enormous. He did this in his career by slowly bleeding money through buying options and capitalizing on them when rare periods of volatility bankrupted the fragile.
I try to practice antifragility in my career. With writing and publishing a book I have very little downside. At worst, I lose out on the investment it took to create the book — I can’t sell negative books. With the right swing of volatility in my favor — media exposure, the right person seeing the book at the right time, or something random I can’t control — sales can explode.
Also, Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness showed me that success can be attributed to pure luck. I hope to put in enough continued work to get very very lucky, but knowing many factors are out of my hands gives me peace of mind. I intend to follow the best process possible so that I can look back at my work fondly regardless of the results.
The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Greene taught me a few lessons through his work that helped me both in writing my book and the attitude I have towards my career in general.
Lesson number one is to always move in silence and work diligently instead of trying to signal how great or important you are. Oftentimes when you enter a new path in life — becoming a writer, starting a business, “changing the world” – it’s easy to puff up your chest and tell everyone what you’re going to do, even though you haven’t done anything yet. He also taught me that unconventional ideas are better left for books or mediums other than day to day conversations because people don’t like hearing them. They don’t like hearing them because they don’t want your newfound enlightenment to act as a mirror that reveals their inferiority or inaction.
Shut up. Get to work. Accomplish first, run your mouth later.
On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
Seneca is a stoic philosopher. From him, I learned to be more frugal with my time. His teachings also wove themselves into the sentiment of my book.
My book is about reinventing yourself. An important component in doing that is realizing how fleeting time is.
For one, it helps reduce some neuroticism to know much of what you worry about is meaningless on a large scale because you’ll be six feet deep sooner than later. The same understanding of time keeps me motivated. I’m going to write my ass off as much as possible because I might die tomorrow. Through my work, I’m going to encourage readers to do as much as possible in their lives because they might die tomorrow.
You might die tomorrow.
You can read the strategies in my book, implement them, and live a brand new life before it’s too late.