favorite best books

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In this session, we’re talking about some of the most impactful books we’ve ever read.

These are the books that have helps us see the world in a new light and opened our eyes to new ways of thinking. These books have legitimately altered the course of our lives by helping us to think better, discern better, and make more well-informed decisions.

Some of these are time-tested classics and some of them will probably be new to you. In either case, we hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

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Episode 75 Transcription

Seth: Hey there and welcome to the REtipster podcast. This is a show that teaches self-motivated people, how to make great money from real estate while minimizing risk and creating more time for the things that matter. I’m Seth Williams and I’m here with my co-host Jaren Barnes. We are talking about some of the most impactful books we have ever read. Books that have helped us to see the world in a new light, opened our eyes to new ways of thinking. Books that have legitimately altered the course of our lives by helping us to think of better, discern better and make more well-informed decisions. Some of these are going to be time-tested classics that you’ve probably heard of, and some will be probably new to you.

But before we dive into that, you may or may not know, but in case you don’t know REtipster has a public forum now. It’s just free for everybody. Come hang out, ask questions, offer feedback, post reviews. You name it. And everything at the forum is for other than spamming. That’s what this forum is for.

We wanted to highlight one of the recent conversations going on in the forum. Some of them that I personally thought it was kind of fun. And by the way, we’re also going to link to this in the show notes for this episode, which is REtipster.com/75 because this is episode 75. A question I posted is “What is the craziest house or building for that matter that you’ve ever seen?” There are lots of really weird buildings out there. The way I kicked it off was, I posted a picture of the Biltmore Estate, which is actually the biggest house in the U.S. as far as I know. Do you know of any weird, crazy houses, Jaren? Anything that comes to mind?

Jaren: What comes to mind for me is in my small town, in Northwest Indiana, there’s some really amazing architecture. It looks like some of these houses are straight up out of a fairytale. You have a lot of brick, but then they mix it with like this certain type of stone. Like it’s either a sand color stone or like a gray stone. The stuff just comes out incredible. It looks straight up like a fairytale, but I guess I can talk about mission trips and seeing people live in shocks and stuff. Those are really interesting.

Seth: Yeah. Jessey from REI conversion, he actually posted a picture in there. I think this is from Vancouver. It’s the Snow White house. So, I don’t know if this is like the house that the actual Snow White movie modeled Snow White’s house after or something, but it kind of looks like it. And he said that apparently this thing sold a few years ago for $2.5 million. And it’s like a pretty tiny shack. I don’t know. Somebody must just really like the movie Snow White to pay that kind of money for that.

And Vancouver has another house. It’s literally called the Vancouver house that it’s got some crazy architecture. This thing looks like… You know, how like the base of a building is usually the widest part and then it gets narrower as it goes to the top? This is the opposite where the base of it is super narrow and it gets wider as it gets taller. It looks like it should just tip over. I almost have an anxiety attack, just looking at the picture. Check that out too.

Again, you can find that at retipster.com/75. We’re going to include a link to this thread in the forum where you can take a look at some of these bizarre houses. And by the way, if you know of any crazy ones, whether you live by them, or you can find a good picture, go ahead and post it, keep adding to the fund. We can see how many crazy houses we can come up with. By the way, if you haven’t registered for the forum, go check it out at retipster.com/forum. There’s really no reason not to. But as we jump into today’s podcast topic about best books, Jaren do you want to kick it off? If you would only pick one best book ever, what would that be for you?

Jaren: Man, that’s tough. I think I’m only supposed to be bringing like five to the table and I have six on my list. So, it was a real struggle for me to narrow it down with these six. I feel like probably I have to go with “Thou Shall Prosper” by Rabbi Daniel Lapin because I think that book had the most impact on my personal worldview on how I view money. There’s a compound effect or what have you because I kind of grew up thinking that money was somehow inherently evil. Like it was a source of the major problems in the world, but that book flipped that whole limiting belief on its head and made a really strong case to say like, money is a good thing. Money is a very powerful life-giving thing when used appropriately. It’s actually a tool. It’s inherently just material. But money handed into the hands of somebody who is good, it can be extremely powerful.

And likewise, if somebody who’s bad has money, it’s an amplifier. It can do a lot of damage. But I think that people used to growing up, I used to like shame the rich and I used to shame people who liked to make money and made decisions about increasing profits and stuff like that was somehow unjust. And this thing really flipped it on its head that he actually makes a case in the book that Bill Gates has done more good for the world than Mother Teresa. Because when you factor in how many jobs and how many families are provided for, and how many people have personal growth. And even the services of having computers widespread is such a huge value that it’s very justifiable, that he’s one of the richest mans and not the richest man on the planet.

When you bring that kind of value to the table, you should be compensated for it. And then he makes a case too that money is spiritual in nature. And that really gave me a lot of contexts to understand how I approach business. And it’s just really good. So that’s probably had the biggest impact in my life. So, if I were to say, what’s my top, that would be probably the one for me.

Seth: That is a great book. I read it for the first time just a few months back after Jaren mentioned it to me like a thousand times. And it was pretty good. I do think it’s written from a very obvious right conservative worldview, which I don’t think is like wrong or bad or anything. But if you are a left thinking person, I don’t know, I’d actually be curious to hear what you think about it. If you disagree with anything he says or not, because it makes a pretty compelling case for most of the stuff in there. So definitely a good one to check out. And like you said, Jaren, how do you pick the number one best song ever written? It’s like an impossible task. I’ve actually written a couple of blog posts about this. One of them is basically “The 10 Best Audio Books I’ve Ever Heard” and “The 20 Best Books I’ve Ever Read” and some of them overlap.

But one that I actually just read pretty recently that I was pretty impressed with is called “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. At the time of this recording, anyway, it’s a relatively newer book. I think it’s the first actual book by James Clear. He is a pretty well-known blogger over at jamesclear.com. But he just does a masterful job of breaking down what it takes to build or create a new habit and what it takes to stop a bad habit. I don’t know, it’s just amazing insight.

It’s sort of along the same vein of the “Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. He sorts of picks up where that book left off. It is part of the human experience, both good and bad habits. And it’s a requirement to get anywhere with worth going is having some good habits and good discipline. And it’s not something you can ignore. If you’re smart, you’ll figure this out. Or at least that’s the other thing. It’s like it’s one thing to know how to do it. But then actually implementing is a whole another story.

But one of the things that he pointed out that I thought was pretty profound, very simple, but profound is basically four things you have to do to either make a good habit or to break a bad habit. And to make a good habit, you have to do one or more of these four things. You have to make it obvious, make it attractive, make it easy, or make it satisfying. Obviously, if you can do more than one thing, it’s only going to help. And if you want to break a bad habit, you basically do the opposite. You make that thing invisible, or you make an unattractive or you make it difficult or you make it unsatisfying.

It’s almost kind of like, “Well, duh?” when I hear that, but I think kind of what it gets at is if there’s anything you want to start or stop, it’s about sort of being the architect of your environment and making it so that the good thing is easy to do or the bad thing is hard to do. And it’s really as simple as that. When you kind of realize it’s that simple, you can sort of reverse engineer the situation so that these things just become a lot more achievable. That’s like a very, very small tidbit from the overall book. So, I would definitely put that on my recommended books list.

Jaren: I think the next one for me, I’m going to throw out a real estate book. Now I don’t think that this is in sequential order of the most impactful books of my entire life, but I wanted to include it in the list because this was the best real estate book that I’ve read to date. And I’ve read quite a few of them, but maybe because I kind of grew up in real estate. At least as an adult, I’ve pretty much been in the real estate space since I was 20-21 years old. I’ve read a lot of other real estate books that people recommend, and they’ve just never really been that helpful. Maybe because again, I already was exposed to a lot of the material just by working in the industry.

But because I’ve been pursuing apartment syndications and trying to figure out that whole world, Joe Fairless’s “Best Ever Apartment Syndication Book”. I felt the best way to sum up how I feel about this book is I feel like if Seth Williams were to ever write a book, it would be just like Joe wrote this book. Like it’s so systematic. And the language is so simple. Most people really try to overcomplicate, over sophisticate their language so that they come across as like they’re knowledgeable or like they’re cool or something. I don’t know exactly why people do that, but they muddy up the waters with a lot of fancy terminology just for ego, I think, or something. I don’t know exactly why people do it.

But the language was very straightforward, very simple. And he took a really complicated subject and really broke down step by step, exactly what you need to do, how you need to do it, all the way down to like, “Hey, go to this website and use this report in order to get this information”. It’s almost like a course in an entire book. So, I’m a really big fan. That was one of the best real estate books I’ve ever read.

Seth: I’ve not read that one, but I have read another one years earlier called “The ABCs of Real Estate Investing” by Ken McElroy, which from what I’ve seen of both, and again, I haven’t read Joe’s book yet, but it seems like his might be more in depth than Ken’s. But I thought Ken’s was also written very much with just super simple language to that. Like a fifth grader could understand it. Some people hate that kind of writing. They feel like it’s like too rudimentary or something, but I love it. When it’s that clear cut and I don’t have to think too hard to understand what this person is trying to tell me. It just makes sense. I think that’s actually really impactful, especially when the thing is sort of complicated in its nature. And when you have the skill to make it seem simple or maybe make it seem as simple as it ought to be, that’s a big deal.

Jaren: Yeah. Not to toot my own horn, but I feel like one of the pieces of writing that I’m most proud of is the “Internal Rate of Return” article that we did for the term directory. It was edited and stuff after the fact that made it even better. But I think with my submission to that getting kind of 80% of the way there, I was really proud of being able to break down that complicated of a subject in a way that I think is really easy to understand.

Seth: Yeah. I agree. It came out really well. It’s one of those really weird things that like people either misunderstand it or they just don’t understand it at all so they never use it. But once you do understand it with no misunderstanding, you understand why it’s applicable. It’s pretty cool. I definitely suggest checking that out for the people who haven’t yet. I will link to it in the show notes as well. Or you can just go to retipster.com, go to the search bar and type in “IRR” and you’ll find it in the search results there too.

So yeah, for me, and I’ve talked about this one, a number of times in the past, but “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I first read it when I was in college, I think. At that point in my life, it was like the best thing I ever could have read. Because I wasn’t like a social butterfly growing up. I don’t know something about that book and the place I was at in life it really helped me understand the importance of just social interaction and carrying yourself the right way, saying the right things, helping people feel important and special and save face, showing appreciation, using people’s first names when you talk to them. Like lots of stuff, that to somebody like Jaren is like the most elementary thing ever. Because he’s just good at it. Like, that’s just how he was born. But for people like me, I wasn’t born that way. I was born as kind of a social outcast sort of sell.

And again, that book has also written in a very, very simple language and it was just super easy for me to grasp and absorb it and get it. In my mind, that’s required reading for anybody. Some people will probably find it super obvious, but for people like me, I needed somebody to tell me that. And that’s what that book did.

Jaren: I got a lot out of that book too. It’s not the most impactful book of my life, but it’s definitely. I think even if somebody has more natural charisma, they still can benefit a lot from it because it really helps in conflict to be honest. Even as when you have the dynamics of a relationship or if you’re married, figuring out how to communicate in a way that a little bit of sugar has some medicine go down, you know what I mean? I can be like, “You’re fat and ugly and you need to go work out” or I can be like, “Hey, I’m concerned about your weight”. You can say the same thing, but with the words that you used, the delivery can come across a lot easier and more palatable.

Seth: Or actually, I think the way from what I recall, how he lays it out in the book is like, if you’re looking to deepen or improve your relationships with somebody, you will not get there by criticizing them. That’s just now not how it happens. And granted like there are a time and a place where criticism is just necessary. You can’t ignore it, but I think it’s maybe understanding, “What am I trying to do with this person? Am I trying to make a friend or deepen a relationship with them? Because if so, I probably shouldn’t just start pointing out all their flaws.”

And even when it is time to point out problems, that actually leads me to another book on my list. I guess I’ll just mention it right now, “Crucial Conversations”, which is like a masterpiece at explaining how you can do that. How you can tell a person to their face that there’s a problem, or you don’t like something about them, but do it in a way that it makes both you and them better off as a result.

Every party walks away from the situation improved as a result of having this difficult conversation. Similarly, in that book, a lot of the advice when you hear it, it’s like kind of obvious, but still as humans, we don’t do that by default. We get into this fight mode almost when we start talking about difficult things, we almost get angry or something, or we say things that don’t actually align with where we want the conversation to go. They don’t improve things. If anything, they just hurt relations. But that’s like one of those books that I could probably read through three times and still walk away with new insights or just good, helpful reminders. It’s the kind of stuff that I think is worth meditating on if you want to be a skilled communicator or leader.

Jaren: I have to say, man, I know you say it’s not your natural predisposition, I guess, for lack of a better term, but you are really good at communicating. I think out of a lot of people that I have had interactions with and worked with, you’re one of the best communicators I know.

Seth: You know what though, man? Honestly, if that’s true, and thank you by the way. If that’s true, I seriously think these books played a big hand in that. That along with observing other leaders in my life who was really good at it. I just remember walking away from certain tense conversations, feeling better. And I just remember thinking like, “Why do I feel better right now? What just happened there? What did they say that improve this?” A lot of it comes down to helping a person save face. Like if they’ve done something legitimately stupid, but you don’t tell them that, you almost like, let them feel good about it. Or it’s tough because it doesn’t mean you totally ignore it or overlook it or dismiss it like it’s nothing, but there are ways you can communicate these things that are helpful and healing rather than destructive and divisive. Yeah. So, but thanks. I appreciate the compliment.

Jaren: For sure. For me, I think the next one I’m going to mention is “80/20 Sales and Marketing” by Perry Marshall. I was familiar with the 80/20 principle before reading this book, and it was kind of a nicety. It was like, “Oh, that’s interesting. That’s cool”. But it didn’t sit with me as it does now after reading this book. The 80/20 principle is like a core value of mine. I actually was telling a friend earlier this week that if I ever were to get another tattoo, I would probably get like the 80/20 somehow. Like if there was a symbol, I would get that tattooed on my body. It means so much to me.

Seth: But would you get Perry Marshall’s face next to the 80/20 logo from his book?

Jaren: I don’t even know if there’s like an official 80/20 logo, but I definitely would not get Perry’s face tattooed on my body. But I really love the 80/20 principle because again, it’s not just the principal at face value. It’s the implications of it. It gave me an understanding that okay, inherently the way the world works, it’s never fair. It’s always lopsided. There’s somebody who has favor in the dynamics of everything in life. It’s always 80/20, it’s never 50/50. And because of that understanding I finally get justice, I understand so many things, there have been so many ripple effects of my worldview and how I approach life because of really having the 80/20 principle click in my heart and in my brain.

And looking for efficiencies and constantly being on the lookout and living the life where you always are coming back to the drawing board. Is there a way I can do this where I put less effort and get more results? And always being on the hunt for that, it’s just making me a better producer at REtipster. It’s making me just an overall better human being.

And it was Perry Marshall’s book where it really clicked. The 80/20 Principle Book series. There’s a number of them by Richard Koch. They’re good to know, they’re great primers, but I feel like the first book you should read on the 80/20 principle is Perry’s book on it. Because I don’t know if it’s somehow, at least for me, the analogies that he gave and maybe because he relates it more to the business world and marketing and things that I understand, it just clicked.

And that it made me even with prior conversations that we had, where I used to be a real 10X guy, like “Just push through and increase your effort and go, go, go”. It completely changed all that. And made me realize, “Hey, the 10X rule is massively inefficient because you’re just shotgun blasting”. And if you can be a sniper and you use one bullet instead of like 500 or like a machine gun, it’s way better to have your resources for one bullet, one shot that matters. And then you get the results that you want. I can’t rave more about that book. That book was one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Seth: Right. No, that makes sense. That’s a huge thing to grasp and understand and figure out how to apply in life. I think of how much just time and effort you can save from working smarter. That’s a huge deal.

Jaren: A hundred percent.

Seth: Yeah. So, for me, another book on my list, and this is another one I read in college. This was actually like a book I had to buy for a class. And usually, I don’t expect anything good from those books. Like they’re almost designed to be incredibly boring, but this one it blew my mind. It was fun to read and I pulled so much value out of it. it’s called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini. And I actually wrote a blog post. It wasn’t like directly about the book, but it was like covering a lot of the concepts in the book and applying it specifically to real estate investing. I’ll link to that in the show notes. Again, retipster.com/75.

But basically, he talks about six primary methods of influence. A lot of this is the stuff that you probably have seen yourself in commercials or even property listings or just anything out there that’s trying to sell you on anything. When it’s successful, it’s because they followed one or more of these things. And the things that cover are reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and consensus.

He goes over a number of different examples of those things in the book, just to really flesh out and explain what he means by that and how it’s applicable. Like, for example, the reciprocity thing. If I give you something of value, even if it’s like a bottle of water, a gift card or something that is actually going to help you, it doesn’t guarantee I can sell you on anything, not by any means, but it’s sort of ups the ante a little bit. You almost sort of feel like maybe you owe me something back.

Because I know this has happened to me a lot when I encounter a really good salesperson, who’s just like a very likable person. Like I really like them. They are kind of a person I would choose to hang out with. They make good conversation. It’s clearly not just about selling me on stuff. They really care about me and ask questions, that kind of thing. Just the fact that I like them ups the chances that I may eventually buy something from them.

There are even people that I didn’t even need what they were selling, but I was looking for a way to buy from them just because I like them so much. That’s another just example of influence. Like how can you be an influential person, even outside of the context of salesmanship, how can you basically get what you want out of life by giving people what they want? So, anyway, in a lot of ways, I thought that was a very impactful book and it’s actually a really well-known book. A lot of people rave about it. So, “Influenced” by Robert Cialdini.

Jaren: Yeah. That’s been on my list for a number of years. I really want to read that book. It’s interesting that you mentioned what you did about the salesperson stuff. Because originally when I first started learning how to sell and engage with people on the phone and potential clients and stuff, I thought that I had to almost like manipulate them into my bidding. And I think that there’s a lot of sales training out there that really at the end of the day are just hardcore manipulation tactics. But what I find to be the best route, at least for my personality and my core values and all of that is just taking the approach of being an advisor to your prospects.

So, when I’m working with a motivated seller lead, it’s helpful when you have blind offers because they actually set the context of the conversation and make it really simple. But if let’s say it wasn’t a blind offer, they didn’t know how much I wanted. I want to walk them through getting to know me personally. I want to know them. I ask questions, “Hey, why are you selling? Oh, really? You’re going to go travel in your RV. Oh, that’s awesome. You don’t want this land anymore?” Or whatever it is. I just look for ways to build rapport and trust with them.

And then let them know, “Hey, out the gate, I’m a real estate investor. So that means I’m not going to be able to pay top dollar for your property. I wish I could, but just practically I have to buy at a certain price to make my numbers work as an investment. So, I’m going to be all cash. I’m going to move quickly, but I’m definitely not going to be the same kind of money that you’re going to be if you went through a realtor. But the flip side is that I’m a lot faster. So, there are pros and cons to working with me. I’m not the right fit for everybody, but for the right situation, that could be like a godsend. So, I’m going to run my numbers and get back to you, etc. etc.”

And when you frame it that way, they understand, “Hey, you’re not here just to rip them off. You’re here to actually help them and provide a service”. And if it works for them, great, if it doesn’t, then I’ll just move on to the next person.

And I would rather, instead of trying to like maximize my conversion rate from a lead by lead basis, I’d rather just have more leads and convert the right leads, where it actually is a true win-win. So, I think that’s really good.

Seth: I prefer to get the wrong leads and then force them into something more. Manipulate and twist the information. That’s the best policy.

Jaren: Exactly. Definitely not. So, the next one for me is going to be “The Millionaire Fastlane”. This one is quasi similar to real estate. It mentions real estate for sure, but it’s kind of in the same vein as “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. But I like “The Millionaire Fastlane” better than “Rich Dad Poor Dad”. It really fleshes out a framework that gives you language on how to explain an employee mindset versus a poverty mindset versus a rich mindset. And I just really like the book. I think I listened to it on audible twice. If you want a really good primer like a way to approach money and a way to approach life that is powerful and that is forward-thinking and more quote-unquote thinking like “Rich Dad” versus “Poor Dad”, I think that’s a fantastic primer that everybody should read.

For those who might not know the concept or the analogy in the book, he says that there are three lanes to wealth. There’s the sidewalk, which is where poor people are. There’s the slow lane, which is the middle class. And then there’s the fast lane, which is where the rich people are. And he talks about each path there’s a different mindset and different ideology that keeps people bound.

Seth: I’ve heard you talk about that one handful of times. That’s kind of cool though. I didn’t realize it was sort of like a different twist on the “Rich Dad Poor Dad” framework. Yeah, that sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll have to put that one on my list.

Jaren: He kind of comes across pretty brash in the beginning. I think he’s trying to like be edgy or something because he’s trying to appeal to a certain audience. I recommended this book to a friend of mine and then he said, “Man, I’m so thankful that I read through like the first three chapters. Because in the beginning I thought he was a jerk and I wanted to like to stop listening to him”. So, there’s some, I don’t know, ego or “Oh, I’m amazing” that you kind of has to like brush by. But once he gets into the meat of the book, it’s a really good book.

Seth: Another one for me, actually, I first read this back in like 2011, I think it was. And I’m just now re-reading it, but it’s called “Necessary Endings” by Dr. Henry Cloud. And I think is another one of those books that it may not be like amazing for everybody, but it was amazing for me because I’m somebody who I sort of struggle with knowing when to pull the plug or how to have a hard conversation when you’re in the difficult thing that’s not good.

And I think sort of the context of the book, it’s not completely about this, but a lot of it is sort of aimed at people who maybe they have some kind of a professional relationship with somebody that’s not going well, whether it’s an employee or a contractor or another business, or maybe something about their business approach or strategy is broken and they’re having a hard time seeing that in changing it and stopping it. Everybody has this stuff. There’s no question about it. There are always things that need to be ended. I think part of why I have a hard time with it is not only because of like, I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want to do damage to anybody, whether it’s myself or somebody else. But also, it’s just uncomfortable. Sometimes it’s hard to like stop something, even when you suspect that it’s not going well. Even if you know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that’s not going well.

And I don’t know, just the way that he explains things in this book, it’s very almost therapeutic and helping a person identify those things and figure it out how to stop them. And he uses these analogies and these are some almost direct quotes from the book, but he says that “Getting the next level always means leaving something behind. In order to do something new, something old has to end. And some things die and some things need to be killed. And it’s important to normalize the idea of things ending so you can expect it and act upon it rather than resisting it”.

He sorts of explained it with this analogy of how a gardener prunes branches that fall into three categories. If you think about the rose bush, for example. Some rose bushes are beautiful and some of them are just kind of like just sort of it looks like a wild bush. Like there’s nothing special to it. And the reason certain rose bushes look amazing is that they’ve been pruned. And the gardener has to either prune healthy branches, that aren’t the best ones. So, they don’t suck up energy from the rest of the rose or sick branches that aren’t going to get better or dead branches that are taking up space in a space needed for the healthy ones to thrive.

And literally any type of growing plant, whether it’s a rose or a bush or something else, it produces more buds than the plant can sustain. Like that’s just how it works. And in order for it to thrive, certain ones have to go. Pruning is a must. It’s not an option if you want that rose to thrive and do well. And if you don’t do that than average or worse is the best you’re ever going to achieve.

So anyway, that’s just a little preview of the book. I’ve been taking notes, like writing down things that stick out to me is like, “Man, that’s profound”. Whether you’re in the midst of things that you know need to end, or even if you don’t think you are. I think it’s a really helpful book at helping you see that stuff and figuring out how to deal with it.

Jaren: I love it. I’m going to add that one to my list. So, the next one for me is “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz. That book is a recent book that I just finished and it has radically changed my life. I feel like in life, there are certain things that you just need to have a framework to operate in successfully. If there’s all this noise around certain topics, like there’s noise around diet, there’s noise around money. There’s noise around a number of different really crucial aspects of life. Spirituality is another one. You kind of have to figure out what your framework is in all of those buckets of life because inherently you need a compass. I feel like as a human being, at least this is me, this is how my brain works. I need to know what do I feel about debt? What is my universal answer to debt? What is my universal approach? What is my guide between with food? Like what do I do with this? What do I do with that? How do I approach to exercise? Like, am I supposed to be an ultra-marathon runner and I’m going to go run hours a day, or am I going to be a cross fitter? What are these frameworks?

There are pros and cons and lots of opinions within each framework. But when you submit yourself to a framework, it really frees you up because it frees up a lot of mental space because you don’t have to think or question any of your assumptions. You just have a really good foundation of assumptions that you can run off of. And there’s pros and cons to that because obviously every framework is going to have something that’s not the most efficient or the right answer. But ultimately, I feel like, for me, it’s much easier to operate with a framework as my basis. And then if there are a few things that I need to tweak or adjust, I can accordingly.

“Profit First” was a huge answer to a needed framework with my approach to money and how I manage my money and my business and how I manage my money in my personal life. There’s a lot of similarities between Dave Ramsey, I think in the Profit First World, but there are some subtle differences. I think Mike Michalowicz’s approach to debt is that use it with severe caution and make sure that if you’re going to employ debt, that there’s a 150000% for sure ROI on it. Otherwise, if you’re going to take risks, use cash. But I found it to be one of the best frameworks of personal finance and business finance that I’ve ever had. It was really timely when it came into my life with all this Covid-19 stuff. And I plan on using Profit First in land business and my personal life for the next long while. And I’m a real big fan. So, I encourage you guys to check it out.

Seth: Yeah man, it’s a great book. I agree.

Jaren: The last one on my list is “Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. And for those of you guys who have been following along our journey, you know I’ve mentioned David Goggins quite a bit. His message is just, I think there’s danger and just like submitting a hundred percent to his life philosophy because I don’t think it’s balanced. I think it’s a pretty strong extreme of always going hard, always pushing yourself, but there’s a lot there that I think a lot of people can benefit from. He causes up like a sailor. So, if that’s going to offend you, definitely don’t go down the Goggins rabbit trail. But if you guys can stomach it, what he’s overcome in his life and his story is just a parable of what’s possible when somebody has the audacity to at all costs go after their best. And he’s pushed the bounds of human limitation and continues to do so. And I mean, I’m forever grateful for the impact that he’s had on my life and my family’s life. So, “Can’t Hurt Me” is his whole life story. I’ve listened to that book probably five times.

Seth: And the audiobook is pretty profound. I think if you had to choose between one of the other, the audiobook it’s almost like double the length because there’s like interviews after every chapter. You get a lot more insight into what was going on.

Jaren: It’s really good.

Seth: Yeah. Yeah. And the last ones for me, sort of, they’re technically two separate books, but “The Book of Proverbs” and “The Book of Ecclesiastes” is both written by the same person, King Solomon, who is the King of Israel somewhere around 900 BCE. So, King Solomon, for those who don’t know, arguably one of the richest and wisest people who ever lived. I don’t know if they’ve ever like converted his wealth into current U.S. currency, but some people estimate that he may have been the world’s only trillionaire ever. So, I don’t know. Maybe he was and wasn’t. But anyway, obviously if somebody who makes it that far and has the wisdom that he did ought to be paid attention to, and really both in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, there are books that I can read over and over and over again. And I always get something new out of it.

And he just has these little things he says that are pretty simple, but they’re so profound, they’re just undeniably true. And you sort of can see life in a different context and see things for what they are. And it is sort of like any book that was written before the modern printing press. And I think Perry Marshall actually said this. He was talking about Seneca. But any author who wrote stuff in the BC times, or even like a thousand years ago and if that stuff is still easily accessible today, it must’ve been pretty good. If it survived millennia and people still keep printing it and publishing it and reading it today. So, both of those books I think are totally worth checking out.

And I actually think for those who are not regular Bible readers, the Bible has many, many, many different translations. Because it was originally written in Greek and Hebrew and it’s been translated a bunch of different times. And it’s all saying the same thing, but the words chosen are sort of different. The King James version is like super, almost like old English. Like people don’t talk like that today. But the one that I’m liking a lot is the new living translation has very conversational, like the way we’re talking right now. Like that’s how it’s written. So anyway, I’ll link to both of those. They’re both free by the way on the internet. So, I’ll link to them in the show notes if you guys want to check them out.

Jaren: Those are awesome.

Seth: So, I think that’s a pretty good list we came up with, right?

Jaren: There’s one more that is like an honorable mention. I should have made my list, but I just didn’t have time. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. Definitely got to be up there. Because that one gave me, again, I’m going to use the word framework on happiness. That book by itself completely changed the game on pursuing happiness for me. Because I think I said in a previous episode that, I think when you interviewed me, happiness is not really what we want. We think we want happiness, but what we want is a mission and that all came from that book.

Seth: Oh, cool. I’ll have to put that one on my list too. Cool. Well, I think that’s a lot of material. I’m sure there’s something out there that you guys haven’t read that we’ve mentioned. I know we’ve mentioned some of those a lot in the past, so they’re probably no surprise to you. But again, I’m going to link to all those things in the show notes. Most of them are available on audiobook as well. If you’re somebody like me who hates sitting down and just reading. But again, retipster.com/75 and you can check those out. And hopefully, you’ll get something new out of those. Okay. So, with that, let’s hit a little wrap up question like we usually do Jaren.

Jaren: Yeah, let’s do it.

Seth: So, the question for today is this. If you could uninvent any past invention, which one would it be? And also consider all the ramifications of eliminating this invention?

Jaren: Are we talking like anything that has ever been invented including like thoughts or are we talking like strictly gadgets and material inventions?

Seth: I guess when I heard the question or when I first read that question, I was thinking like, almost like modern conveniences or equipment or gadgets or like tangible things, things that like are not naturally occurring. In nature, you’re not going to find this. It’s something that was manmade. So, I guess to answer your question, I think thoughts would not be on the table.

Jaren: Man, it’s tough for me. Because I mean there are drawbacks to everything, right? There are pros and cons to new technology. But I feel like the pros far outweigh the cons for pretty much everything.

Seth: Yeah. It’s like, it wouldn’t exist if it was mostly bad. It’s like, why would it even be there? Kind of thing.

Jaren: I will let you answer it first. And then I’ll think of my answer.

Seth: That second part of the question of considering the ramifications of this. Because like there are consequences. If it’s one thing that immediately comes to mind is the smartphone. It’s obviously a massive world-changing convenience. So many things became possible when the iPhone and Android became a thing. But I kind of hate it too. Like it’s just always there. It’s easier to get distracted. It’s easier to get like just not live life the way that it ought to be lived I feel like. You just miss things. So, I actually thought about going back to a flip phone or somehow getting rid of my iPhone. But as soon as I seriously consider that, it’s like, “Oh, my word, so many things I couldn’t do”. Like just texting would be impossible. It’d be so hard. I feel like the phone is like sort of up there, but I don’t know if that’s the thing that I would pick.

Jaren: If you will give that kind of example, I’ll say television. Because that’s what my mind gravitated to. But again, it’s a mixed bag because if you remove television, there’s so much good that has come from modern television. I feel like with the internet, it’s slowly dying out, but are getting replaced with online video and so on and so forth. But that was a way for people to connect the world.

Seth: When you say that, I assume you’re also lumping in like YouTube, like Netflix, like any kind of video medium.

Jaren: I’m not actually. So, I’m saying specifically the television itself. Because I feel like with YouTube and with watching videos online, I don’t know, for me personally, it’s much more limited than when I used to watch TV. When I used to have a TV in the house, even if it was just connected to Netflix, we would watch a couple of hours of TV every night. I might watch maybe an hour of videos a day, like maybe on a really like lazy day. Normally, it’s maybe one or two videos that are 10 minutes long. So, I feel like just by the nature of the medium of watching videos online, even if I watch like a Joe Rogan podcast or something, that’s three hours long, I watch it in like 5-10 minutes increments.

Seth: I mean, not to be a jerk but I feel like that’s kind of a cheat or a cop-out. Because if TV didn’t exist, the video wouldn’t exist or YouTube or Netflix wouldn’t really be what they are if television hadn’t preceded it.

Jaren: I agree with you. I’m telling you like that’s why you needed one to have the other.

Seth: So, you think YouTube, basically any form of online video, you’d be okay with that not existing?

Jaren: No. I’m telling you it’s not a perfect answer to the question. But your answer wasn’t perfect either.

Seth: Yeah, that’s true. Well, I mean, first of all, I don’t know if that was really my answer, but also I was acknowledging that I don’t know if that’s actually what I would do because you’re kind of cutting a corner if you say no TV, but Netflix and YouTube and all that stuff are okay.

Jaren: I misunderstood. I thought you were saying that was your answer. Like where you were kind of saying, “Hey, it’s up there, but I don’t know if I could remove cell phones or smartphones because of XYZ”. Similarly, I was saying the same thing where I don’t think I can say television because of all of the things that have come from television and the benefits that have come out of it. But it’s up there for me because I feel like having a television in the house or removing the television from my house it was one of the most productive decisions I’ve ever made. And I connect better with my family and we have more stuff that we do as a way to connect because we don’t have a television to sit down to and watch every night. But we watch a lot of stuff online.

Seth: And that’s the thing, man. Because I can’t tell you how many people have talked to including myself, I have said these same words, almost like in a prideful way. Like, “Oh, yeah. We don’t have cable TV at our house anymore. TV isn’t the center of our lives”. And yet I binge watch like eight straight hours of Netflix at the same time. So, it’s like, does it matter what medium it’s coming through if you’re still watching something?

Seth: I do. Because again, I don’t really watch Netflix that much. And again, I’m not saying this in a derogatory fashion at all, but I’m just saying for me watching one or two YouTube videos a day or three videos a day or whatever has me watching a lot less TV than I used to watch when I had a TV that was connected to Netflix. So, I didn’t have cable TV, but I used to binge-watch Netflix like crazy. And I still occasionally. I think somebody in the family has a Netflix subscription and occasionally we’ll watch a movie together on our computers and stuff. But because it’s not a TV and it’s not as big and not as nice, I have a laptop that we’re watching it from. It’s a lot less than it was otherwise.

And again, there are people that make a case that TV is the way that they relax and that they super enjoy it. And you can make a case that if you’re going to have a negative habit or negative hobby, that’s one of the least destructive. If you compare it to like binge drinking or other things, it’s not necessarily bad. I’m not trying to make a judgment call at all. I’m just saying that under the same vein as if you were to say kind of sort of smartphone, I will say kind of sort of TV.

Seth: Yeah. I think what it boils down to is if you pick something that’s like a huge, widely used thing, you’re also going to throw away a lot of good in the process. It’s inescapable. But if you do want to pick something that you’re a hundred percent fine, if it never existed, like there’s no real cadet, it’s going to be something pretty stupid and arbitrary.

Jaren: Oh, I got one.

Seth: What’s that?

Jaren: This is good. I can say it’s not gadgety, but it’s definitely an invention. And it’s technology. Modern agriculture processing for meat. I would like to see that completely removed. Because I’m not anti any meat, I used to be vegan for like a year and a half-full disclaimer, but I eat meat now on the occasion. But when you look at the way meat is producing, like where my wife’s from in Kazakhstan, they have shepherds and they have people that they oversee animals and the animals have really good lives and they’re free-range and they’re healthy and happy and whole. I think that’s the way meat should be produced instead of modern-day concentration camps for pigs and chickens and cows.

Because if you peel back the layer and you actually look into that stuff, anybody that has any sense of morality will look at and be like, “Yeah, that’s not right”. And it’s not a vegan anti-meat-eating thing. It’s just like humane. If you’re going to eat meat, give them a good life. So, I would totally remove the modern, even though it’s much more efficient and costs, I would rather spend more money on meat and make sure I’m eating really high-quality meat and meat that lived a good life and that was happy compared to the crazy stuff that we’re eating. They’re mass-producing right now. Boom got one.

Seth: Yeah, man. That’s not bad. I didn’t even really know that was a thing. I think it was the movie “Food, Inc.” And then also what was the other one? “Forks Over Knives”. Both of those, kind of like opened my eyes a little bit to that’s kind of messed up how meat is made. I mean, it didn’t make me stop eating meat, but still, it’s just awareness that I didn’t really have before. So yeah, for me, I think spam. Just email spam in general.

Jaren: Yes, perfect answer.

Seth: It’s pretty, pretty terrible. And it’s a hard line to draw because spam has different definitions of that. It could be just like a bunch of gobbledygook, like a pointless incoherent email you get, or it could be something that you kind of interested in or you were five years ago, but not anymore. Or could just be somebody who’s sending you something and you didn’t ask for it, which by the way, for some reason I feel like it’s somebody’s job out there to just take my email address and submit it to a bunch of dumb things. Because I get tons of emails that I definitely didn’t sign up for.

Jaren: People are now emailing you through my email. So, I get so many emails like, “Hi Seth. Hi Seth. Hi Seth”.

Seth: What?

Jaren: Yeah. And then there is just a bunch of spam stuff.

Seth: I love it when I get the emails of like, “I love what you’ve been doing on your website” and it says REtipster, but the REtipster is in a completely different font. So, you can tell if somebody just drops the word in there. And this is the same email they’re sending thousands of other people. It sounds pretty annoying.

Jaren: I was going to say I got one yesterday that was really funny because it sent to me at jaren@retipster.com and said, “Hi, Seth, I got your contact details from a mutual friend” and then continue to… I was like, yeah, you definitely did not.

Seth: I mean the crazy thing about that is like, I literally have a virtual assistant who her main job is just sifting through my email inbox. I have to pay a person just to identify, “Yep, this is a legitimate email. Nope, this one is not”. And like as a result, inevitably, there are emails I’m going to miss that are important. When it gets to a certain level, it’s just like, it’s kind of sad. It’s like obscene in a way. Like why do people do this? Do they really think I’m going to buy something from an email that is this dumb? But I don’t know. I guess email is so easy and it’s basically free and it doesn’t cost anybody anything. It’s like, I get why it’s a thing, but it’s just kind of a shame that it has to go there.

Cool. Well, that was a fun little, a conversation on that. So again, if you guys want to check out any of the books we talked about in today’s episode, feel free to go to retipster.com/75.

If you listen to this on your phone right now, do me a favor. Take it out, send a text with the word “FREE”. F-R-E-E to the number 33777 so you can get spammed. I mean, notified of all the best stuff we have coming out and you can get access to our library of guides, free investing calculators, learn about opportunities to engage with us and maybe even get featured on the podcast.

We’re also having a ton of great conversations in the forum at retipster.com/forum. And you can get access to all that stuff either by going right to the forum or texting the word FREE to the number 33777.

So, thanks again for joining us. We appreciate everybody out there who’s fallen along with REtipster and we’ll talk to you again in the next episode.

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About the author

Seth Williams is a land investor with hundreds of closed transactions and nearly a decade of experience in the commercial real estate banking industry. He is also the Founder of REtipster.com - a real estate investing blog that offers real-world guidance for part-time real estate investors.

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