Actionable Book Summary: “What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” by Shad Helmstetter

“Your success or failure in anything, large or small, will depend on your programming – what you accept from others, and what you say when you talk to yourself.”

– What to Say When You Talk to Your Self (page 25)

If there are so many “keys” to success being offered by self-help books, motivational speakers, and YouTube videos, why do many of them fail to deliver the results? And for the many great ideas that have worked for people, why does the impact only last for a few days or weeks? Shad Helmstetter, in his 1982 classic What to Say When You Talk to Your Self, believes that the missing ingredient in successful change lies within yourself.

There are many fantastic self-help strategies and tactics that can make a meaningful impact on your life. But if the programming within ourselves is not programmed correctly, our well thought-out and well intentioned actions can be derailed. Helmstetter believes that our programming can be corrected by something called “Self-Talk” – literally, what you tell yourself when you talk to yourself. With improved Self-Talk, you can learn to adjust your programming and be able to rely on yourself to optimize your outlook and build true, inner-confidence.Continue reading the summary here.

This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 800 book summaries – available for free – visit

Weekly Learnings Roundup (May 8, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

This week, my favourite article was one on Medium by Rufus Griscom, Unsolicited Advice for My Three Sons, In No Particular Order. It’s filled with great advice for all of us on how to live life more fully and effectively. Have a great week everyone!

Favourite links from the week:

Unsolicited Advice for My Three Sons, In No Particular Order (Medium)

It Takes Effort to be Selfish (Scientific American)

How Neuroscientists Explain the Mind-Clearing Magic of Running (New York Magazine)

Read This Story Without Distraction (Can You?) (The New York Times)

The Downward & Upward Spiral of Health & Productivity (zen habits)

Product or service I’m loving:

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag

If you’re in the market for a new everyday bag, you won’t go wrong with this one. I’ve owned this messenger bag from Timbuk2 for 2 years now and it still looks as good as new. The compartments are super organized and everything about it is easy to use. It’s also able to stand upright on its own (if you have some stuff in it) which makes it really easy to search for things inside it. It’s a bit pricier than your run of the mill messenger bags at ~$110 USD but well worth it since your bag is something you’ll be carrying almost everyday.

A web show I’m enjoying:

The Tim Ferriss Experiment

As you may know, I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss. I think his podcast is one of the best podcasts available out there. I particularly like Ferriss’s ability to break down a seemingly complex activity into manageable pieces. That’s what The Tim Ferriss Experiment is all about. In this 13 episode program, he breaks down the art and science of a variety of activities including open-water swimming, poker, golf, rapid language learning, etc. It’s an incredible look at how someone can go from no to little knowledge of the activity and become fairly adept at it by three days. It’s not only entertaining but provides some great lessons in how to learn better. Check out any of the episodes (about $3 per) that tickle your fancy.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.” – Bruce Lee

As always, thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on my Tweets. See you on next week’s round up!

Thoughts from Collision Conference 2016

Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling down to New Orleans, Louisiana for a start-up conference called Collision. It’s one of the premier conferences in North America for startups looking to receive funding, media coverage, mentorship, etc. etc. I was down at the conference as part of the startup I work for – – and had a chance to take in the sites and sounds of the 10,000+ person conference.

Our booth at Collision.

The conference had a pretty solid speaker line-up as well and I had a chance to sit in on a few of them. Below are a mish-mash of observations and thoughts from the conference. Enjoy!


  • Marketing can no longer afford to be siloed from other aspects of the business. Marketing, customer care, and branding all live under the same umbrella and they need to be working together to deliver a great customer experience.
  • New age Chief Marketing Officers need to go beyond taking responsibility for marketing activities and into e-commerce, customer service, research, etc. They need to become customer champions.
  • There is a gap between brand promise and customer experience. How do we fill that gap?
  • Marketing will evolve into the caretaker of the customer experience.
  • The Onion and Upworthy have pivoted towards making more proprietary videos for their content. They believe it’s the most engaging type of content to share with their followers (even if it takes longer to produce).

Customer Experience

  • Customers and prospective customers can find us through a variety of doors. In the past we may have had a couple of doors (e.g. literally the front door of the shop and a website) but now thanks to social media they have tens of doors through which they can come in through.
  • We need to keep a close eye on which doors we currently have open and which ones we have locked to make sure we’re not leaving customers stranded.
  • The customer experience language: Indifferent-Impressed-Gratitude-Love. Courtesy of Ragy from Sprinklr.


  • Only 5 years ago analytics was too expensive for most companies out there but now with services like Amazon Web Services analytics tools are cheaper (and will likely continue to become cheaper).
  • How do you effectively use data? Make sure you’ve thought through three key components: Infrastracture – Staffing – Culture. Analytics won’t thrive unless you’ve got those key components nailed.
  • The analytics sessions at Collision were sparesely attended comparative to other sessions. Likely an indicator that most startups are just trying to get their business of the ground – analytics just isn’t a priority for them (perhaps to their detriment).
  • Marketing analytics – views and impressions for online ad campaigns are not good stats to look at. It’s way too easy to count an “impression” and is a deceptive number. Conversions and clicks are what you should be focused on if you’re running any kind of pay-per-click campaign online.


  • Gusto (a payroll and benefits platform) is a pretty cool company. I thought their CEO & Co-founder, Joshua Reeves, was a pretty awesome guy with a lot of business “soul” to him.
  • Interesting to hear the Co-Founder of Infusionsoft, Scott Martineau, mention that their tool is specifically for small businesses under 50 people. Actionable will quickly get to the point of hitting 50 people so it’ll be interesting to see how the system will adapt to a larger team and more complexity.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) is here and it looks like it’ll stay. A few startups and vendors were pitching their various VR products and services. I tried a VR unit myself and was transported to a Armin van Buuren rave/concert. Not my scene but pretty cool. What was interesting was how I explained the VR experience as “I was at a concert” rather than “I saw a concert”. Pretty powerful stuff.
About to jump into an Armin van Buuren concert courtesy of a VR unit.
  • Keep thinking about ways that you can explain your startup in an interesting way. In a PR-related session, one panelist bluntly stated “most startups are not very interesting.” So if you’re running a startup, think about angles that would pique journalists’ interest into what you’re doing. PR (especially free PR) can be quite powerful if you have the right story to tell.


  • The key to having a successful conference as an attendee is to be fully engaged with the evening events. Lots of great opportunities to network with influencers and investors. If you’re going to be an attendee at Collision, don’t just rely on the conference floor or pitch competitions for connections but also the informal networking opportunities.
  • The way people talked about Facebook at Collision was kind of like the way people talked about Microsoft back in the early 2000s. Lots of awe and respect but also a begrudging acceptance to have to rely on their platform to reach their customers. Some folks were even pretty vocal about finding an alternative to Facebook.
  • New Orleans is a beautiful city. If you’re staying downtown, everything is within a 10-15 minute walk and Ubers are plentiful. Lots of fun bars and places to hit up to keep you busy for weeks! Oh, and don’t forget to indulge in their seafood when you’re down there.
  • The French Quarter is like a more cultured version of the Las Vegas strip. It’s cool – worth checking out – but probably not somewhere I’d spend most of my time when I go back to New Orleans.

To learn more about Collision, you can visit their website here. If your startup is growing and you’re looking for funding to take it to the next level, this is a great conference to be exposed to people who are highly connected in the startup world.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (May 1, 2016)

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

This week, I want to highlight the importance of reading. If you’re looking to become successful or become a more well-rounded human being, reading and accumulating knowledge is an essential part of that journey. In the Quartz article below, most successful people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are reading at least a book or two a month. As Buffet says, reading and accumulating knowledge is like compound interest, the more that you accumulate the faster it compounds. It makes sense. If you have more tried and tested ideas from books in your mind stimulating creativity and clarity, the more successful you’ll be at connecting the dots in your own life.

I especially like reading books because I find the standard of writing to be higher than blog posts or articles. You’ll also find yourself being immersed into that book for the duration of the reading experience that you’ll start thinking about the ideas even when you’re not reading the book. In the links below, I have a quick recommendation below for a resource called Goodreads on how you can keep track of all the books you want to read and even set a goal for your reading habit.

Enjoy this week’s roundup!

Favourite links from the week:

If you want to be like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, adopt their voracious reading habits (Quartz)

America’s obsession with adult coloring is a cry for help (Quartz)

A new study suggests mindfulness isn’t quite as miraculous as we’ve been led to believe (Quartz)

People Won’t Grow If You Think They Can’t Change (Harvard Business Review)

My 10 Favorite Purchases in 10 Months (Tim Ferriss)

Productivity tip of the week:

Keeping a meditation journal

If you spend some time meditating, I recommend keeping a meditation journal. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a long-form journal but just an opportunity to jot down on a few notes on how your meditation went. I like to put down a score between 1 to 10 to give myself a sense of how my meditation session went. Eventually, I begin to identify commonalities between good meditation sessions (e.g. better focus on breathing) and be honest with myself on whether I’m putting in my best effort during my meditation. I like using Moleskin notebooks – particularly the small pocket size version – for this practice.

Free service I’m loving:


This is probably the best website I’ve found when it comes to organizing your to-read list, keeping track of books you’ve read, and discover books you want to read next. Goodreads is basically a community of book lovers that rate, comment, and organize books of all varieties. They have a pretty decent user interface to keep track of books that you want to read and even allows you to set a “Reading Challenge” for the year. I highly recommend checking it out (it’s free) and look up a few books you’d like to read next!

A podcast that I’m enjoying:


Personally, I think the team at Radiolab make some of the most entertaining and educating audio episodes available on the web. The stories are all so unique and well researched and the hosts, Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, make the topics accessible with their low-key, friendly banter. I’ve learned a lot about the world from goats in the Galapagos to a genome editing technology called CRISPR to the world of K-POP. There is no topic these guys won’t approach with curiosity. It’s a really good podcast to listen to as you’re winding your day down.

A quote that I’m pondering:

“Don’t let a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life.” —Unknown

As always, thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on my Tweets. See you on next week’s round up!

Three Principles for Developing Resilient Habits

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit.” – Aristotle

Ever heard of the phrase “it takes 21 days to build a habit”?  The saying comes from the observations of Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s, who noticed that his patients took about 21 days to get used to seeing their new faces. This was observed even among amputees who felt like they still had a phantom limb until about 21 days.

In this great blog post by James Clear, he explains how we missed a key point in Dr. Maltz’s observations. When Maltz wrote about his experiences, he explained that, “These, and many other commonly observed phenomena tend to show that it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”

Note the minimum of about 21 days. According to further research cited in Clear’s article, the true number of days it takes to establish a habit is between 18 days to 254 days. A much wider range than the 21 days. Depending on the complexity of the new habit and how adept we are at incorporating it into our lives, it could be as short as 3 weeks or up to almost 9 months to establish a new habit.

In order to build habits that hold up even during the busiest times of our lives, the implementation of the habit development must be given proper thought and attention. Here are three principles I have around building resilient habits based on some of the successful habit development that I’ve achieved.

1. Expend minimal energy

The key to making habits stick is to make it as easy as possible to start. If the initial hurdle to start the habit is too high, you’ll be stopped in your tracks before you can even begin. So how do you go about making it easier to start? Here are a few examples from my life.

Every morning I do a 7-Minute workout. The workout is usually a high-intensity workout composed of a variety of 30-second exercises. In my bedroom, I have a yoga mat setup and ready to go. In order to expend minimal energy to get started, I don’t put the mat and towel away after the workout. I just keep it there. So when it’s time every morning for me to workout, I don’t need to pull out the yoga mat and drape a towel over it. It’s there and I can get started. No excuses or added energy to pull out the mat and towel.

Yoga mat setup and ready to go.

Here’s another example. I’ve recently started to add a dash of pink Himalayan salt into a glass of water to support my adrenals in the morning. Instead of having to remember that I need to do this everyday, I just put out the salt and a glass out on the stove top the night before so I see it first thing in the morning. No need to use my memory or my willpower. It’s there and ready to go. Lowering the bar again for better adoption.

A glass and pink Himalyan salt setup as I walk into the kitchen.

There are many ways that you can lower the bar for your specific habit. If you’re planning on going to the gym every morning, put your workout clothes out on your dresser the night before. If you want to stop drinking sugary drinks, throw out any that you might have in your fridge and replace them with sparkling water. Make it as easy as possible for you to start your habit. More than likely, once you start the first step of the habit, you’ll will yourself to continue the momentum.

Once the habit is ingrained in your routine you don’t necessarily have to keep the bar lowered. At some point you want the habit to be automatic – which is the whole point with habits! But exercise caution with eliminating the cues too early – it’s too easy for the brain to go back to the laziest route if the habit isn’t ingrained yet.

2. Visualize your daily progress

One of the most important ways to keep yourself motivated to develop your habit is to visualize your progress. Visualizing your progress provides motivation everyday to complete the habit and build momentum. Visualization can be done by printing out a blank calendar of the month and putting an “X” on every day you complete the habit. My favourite tool to visualize my progress is the Hustle Calendar which makes it easy to see the entire year with one look.

The Hustle Calendar helps me keep track of my daily goal to blog for 15-minutes.

Everyday that I complete my daily habit I get the pleasure of marking a big red “X” on the day. The calendar helps keep me motivated to keep the streak alive and build upon my successful habit. It also draws out some trends I see with my habit. For example, I tend to notice my success rate takes a dip when I’m on the road. This helps me strategize on how I can incorporate my habit even on the road. The more data that you collect on your behaviour, the better you’ll be able to take action to improve upon it.

3. Opt for baby steps

This might be the simplest yet most important advice I have around developing a habit. We often get excited about starting a habit – going to the gym three times a week or meditating for 20 minutes everyday – that we forget to remember it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

The typical scenario is that we show great consistency over the course of the first few weeks of the new habit and then life happens. Something happens at work or family that throws you off your new rhythm. By the time you go back to the habit, it feels a lot harder to get back the momentum and eventually you get down on yourself for not being able to stick to it. It’s something I’ve had to deal with many times and it’s highly discouraging.

Developing good habits isn’t easy and being patient with the process and gentle with yourself is extremely important. Imagine planting a seed. You don’t want to overwhelm the seed initially with too much water. You want to let it grow at its own pace. You also can’t see the progress until the plant has emerged from the soil. Habit development is the same way. Be gentle to start, set a lower bar, make it easier for you to continue to build the habit. The reward will be a more well-established habit that is more resilient when “life happens”.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

According to Charles Duhigg and his book, The Power of Habit, about 40-45% of our daily decisions aren’t actually decisions they’re habits. Fourty to fourty-five percent! If we don’t take control of our daily habits, we’re essentially letting half of our day run in autopilot rather than consciously doing what’s most beneficial to us. So if you’re working on incorporating a new habit into your life (and ideally just try to work on one at a time) make sure you’re reviewing the three tips:

  1. Expend minimal energy
  2. Visualize your daily progress
  3. Opt for baby steps

There are a ton more things that I would add to building better, more resilient habits but I’ll stop here for now. If you have any other suggestions or ideas to build habits, please post them below. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are and experiences have been.

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Apr 24, 2016)

Hey there!

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. This week, I want to highlight Harvard Business Review’s piece on A Step-by-Step Guide to Structuring Better Meetings. Many of us have experienced poorly planned and executed meetings; all it takes is a little bit of forethought and planning to make a meeting much more effective for everyone involved. A couple of ideas that I’ll be using moving forward is address the urgent issues right from the begining of the meeting and scheduling “overflow” time in case there is additional discussion time required – only with team members who it concerns. Check it out – you may find some useful tips in the article along with all the others listed below.

Have a great week!

Favourite links from the week:


A Step-by-Step Guide to Structuring Better Meetings (Harvard Business Review)

A Mini-Guide to Not Being Frustrated All the Time (zen habits)

How Working in Teams Builds Employee Engagement (Business 2 Community)

Brain Science

10 Common Brain Health and Brain Training Myths, Debunked (Huffington Post)

Creativity Is Much More Than 10,000 Hours of Deliberate Practice (Scientific American)

How to Parent Like a Master Strategist [Q&A] (Scientific American)

Brain Training – Can We Really Enhance Our Cognitive Skills? (Brain Blogger)

New Evidence Points to Personal Brain Signatures (Scientific American)


Make decisions with millennials in mind, researcher urges Toronto (CBC News)

Justin Trudeau’s Canada is the best hope for the global economy (Quartz)

A 15-ton computer aims to provide clean water, electricity, and the internet to thousands of Africans (Quartz)

Productivity tip of the week:

Creating a packing list template on Evernote

This week, I’m off to New Orleans for the Collision conference. As part of my prep process, I need to make sure I’m packed and ready to go. So I’m using a packing list template I made in Evernote to help me keep track of all the items I need to pack. I specifically like Evernote as the home of my packing list template because you can create a check-box which makes it easy to confirm whether you’ve packed the specific item yet. It’s also quite easy to duplicate the template note and make it specific for the destination.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 4.06.48 PM
My New Orleans packing checklist

Yes, not brain science I’m doing here but creating checklists for activities you know you’ll be repeating (e.g. traveling) is well worth the time. Hope this helps!

Product or service I’m loving:

Day One Journal

I recently began incorporating a reflection period every morning as part of my morning ritual. I give myself two options to reflect: leave a message with my therapist via TalkSpace or write for 5-10 minutes in my Day One Journal. Giving myself the option to speak or write out my thoughts makes it a lot easier for me to get started with my reflection. Often times I find myself resistant to digging into my feelings but having the option lowers the starting hurdle just enough for me to get started.

Either way, the preferred tool I use for writing down my thoughts is the Day One Journal. I know some people like to write in a physical journal but I prefer typing. I’m a much faster typer than a writer and I feel like I can get more of my thoughts out by typing them out. After all, to me, seeing the thoughts and feelings somewhere outside of my head is the biggest benefit.

Day One Journal has a simple, beautiful interface. It has the ability to password protect your journal. It can also allow you to add photos to your posts if you want to add any additional context. I particularly like how it tags your location with the post to see where you were when you wrote a particular entry.

Reflection is a key component of becoming a better version of yourself so carve out the time to make this happen. It’ll give you a better understanding who you really are and allow you to look at the successes and challenges you face in a more objective way.

Books, documentaries, or podcast episodes I’m enjoying:


A beautiful look at the history of food in our civilization. Michael Pollen, who wrote the book The Ominvore’s Dilemma, navigates the viewers through four themes: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth. If you’re interested at all in food preparation or the history of food, this is a visually stimulating and informative documentary. Available on Netflix.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“Your world is a living expression of how you are using—and have used—your mind.” —Earl Nightingale

As always, thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on my Tweets. See you on next week’s round up!

Actionable Book Summary: “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!” by Richard P. Feynman

“Here I stand, atoms with consciousness, matter with curiosity. A universe of atoms, an atom in the universe.”

– Richard Feynman

If Richard Feynman was one of your family members, he would definitely be the crazy, fun, and beloved uncle. His fascinating personality, curiosity for the world, and love for physics pour through the pages of his autobiography.Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! turns the image of a typical scientist upside down with Feynman’s off-the-cuff observations and a sense of wonder for the world that would make even a five year old boy jealous. His stories about learning how to become a safecracker or landing a gig on a Brazilian samba band shows us how life is full of possibilities and to live it with curiosity, energy, and persistence every single day.Feynman received the Nobel Prize in physics in 1965. He died in 1988 at age 69 and is one of the most prominent physicists of our time.

Continue reading the summary here.

This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 800 book summaries – available for free – visit

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Apr 17, 2016)

Hey there!

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings and articles I came across this week.

This week I’m including more content from Tim Ferriss’s blog. Specifically it’s worth checking out the“Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me). I love his 8-step morning ritual. In particular, we should all be asking ourselves these two questions as we look at our daily to-do list:

“If this were the only thing I accomplished today, would I be satisfied with my day?”

“Will moving this forward make all the other to-do’s unimportant or easier to knock off later?”

I find the first question extremely powerful. In fact, I use a tool called Momentum to set my ONE goal for the day. When I reflect on my day, being able to cross that goal out makes it feel like a successful day for me. You can see more on how I use Momentum as I’ve blogged about it in the past.

Enjoy this week’s tips and links! Drop me a note at the end if there was anything that stuck out for you. Have a great week.

Favourite links from the week:

“Productivity” Tricks for the Neurotic, Manic-Depressive, and Crazy (Like Me) (Tim Ferriss)

Why Millennials Would Take a $7,600 Pay Cut For a New Job (Fortune)

How I Built a #1-Ranked Podcast With 60M+ Downloads (Tim Ferriss)

Productivity tip of the week:


It’s been almost a year since I read the book Less Doing More Living by Ari Meisel. Last May, I also had the pleasure of attending his conference in New York City and learned a lot about the keys to personal and professional productivity. One of the key ideas behind Ari’s methodology is to optimize, automate, and outsource what you’re doing. What this essentially means is that for any routine or task you repeatedly need to complete you start by trying to optimize how efficiently you try to get it done, automate it if you have the necessary tools, and outsource it if you just need someone else to take care of it.

Let’s take running errands for household goods for it. Optimizing it might mean creating a standard shopping list you review at the end of every month – toilet paper, paper towels, sponges, baby wipes, etc. Automating it might mean that you set a reminder in a tool like Evernote to have the note pop up automatically at the end of the month or using IFTTT to send you an email with the list. Finally, outsourcing might mean using a service like Amazon Subscribe and Save to have Amazon do it all for you.

The key here is that you develop a process for the task. That’s why starting with optimize is so important. By figuring out ways to optimize the task first, you develop a better understanding of what the process looks like. From there, you can decide whether to automate it or outsource it – depending on what the task looks like. Note that you don’t need to automate or outsource every single task. Maybe optimizing the task is way more than enough. Stick to this process and you’ll find yourself doing less and living more.


Books, documentaries, or podcasts I’m enjoying:

The Wealthy Barber Returns by Dave Chilton

For those in Canada, it’s tax season and a good time to reflect on your personal finance strategy. I feel like I have a good handle of my personal finances but it’s always good to get further perspective by reading a book. I’d heard a lot about The Wealthy Barber so I picked up the sequel to the book. (I must admit that I haven’t read the original The Wealthy Barber.)

I love personal finance books in general and this one was great. Yes, it advocates better savings habits; yes, it advocates the “pay-yourself-first methodology”; yes, it advocates a low-cost diversified portfolio. In essence nothing I haven’t heard before. But just reading the book reminded me of the importance of leveraging time (i.e. compounding) as my biggest asset. It’s a fun, fast read that has pushed me to double the amount I’m saving. If you live in Canada, this is a great pickup since the content is highly focused on the savings and investment vehicle available here. You’d probably want to start with some base understanding of personal finance first though. For that, I recommend the book Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” —Fred Rogers

As always, thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on my Tweets. See you on next week’s round up!

Actionable Book Summary: “What Millennials Want From Work” by Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson

“Our research revealed that, fundamentally, Millennials want what older generations have always wanted: an interesting job that pays well, where they work with people they like and trust, have access to development and the opportunity to advance, are shown appreciation on a regular basis, and don’t have to leave.”

– What Millennials Want From Work (page 9)

What Millennials Want from Work is a well-researched, data-driven look at Millennials in the workforce. The authors, Jennifer Deal and Alec Levenson, compiled and analyzed just under 25,000 surveys from Millennial-aged respondents across 22 countries. The respondents came from 300 organizations ranging from medium to large businesses. It may be the best researched book on Millennials that I’ve come across.

Millennials are often portrayed in the media as self (or selfie) obsessed slackers with a serious entitlement problem, but the research shows that they’re surprisingly similar to other generations. Here are a few interesting findings from the book’s research:

“More than three-quarters of Millennials believe that hierarchies are useful.”

“When the conversation is about something Millennials believe is important to them (their performance, their career, or their compensation), they really want the conversation to happen face-to-face.”

“…about half say they would be happy to spend the rest of their careers with their current organizations.”

Millennials may be the most tech savvy generation we’ve ever had but the findings above suggest that they’re more traditional than we expected. They believe in hierarchies, they want to have in-person conversations for things that are important to them, and many of them want to stay at their current organizations for a long time.

On the flip side, Millennials are also building upon the progress made by Baby Boomers and Gen Xers in the workplace. They are engaging in conversations to push the boundaries in workplace flexibility, pay equality, and transparency from their organizations. Millennials, like the generations before them, are continuing the generational tradition of pushing organizations to change.

If you lead Millennials in your organization, you need to pick up this book to better understand the generation that is soon to take over the workplace. In the sections below, I’ll share more of the research from the book and how to better engage this generation.

Continue reading the summary here.

This summary was written for the Actionable Book Club – a book club where members read a business/leadership/self-help book every month and summarize their biggest takeaways. If you’re interested in learning more about the Actionable Book Club check us out here. To see the full collection of over 800 book summaries – available for free – visit

Weekly Learnings Roundup (Apr 10, 2016)

Hey there!

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Learning Roundup. These bite-sized, weekly posts are designed to give you a quick hit of interesting learnings I had over the previous week.

This week I really want you to check out Tim Ferriss’s post on his morning journal. I’ve always found spending 5-10 minutes writing in my journal in the morning a cathartic experience. As Ferriss explains, it’s a way to “cage our monkey mind on paper” so we can get on with our day. I often have a lot of conflicted emotions with challenges and issues I face in my life but seeing them on paper makes them less daunting. Try it out for a week and see how it goes for you.

Enjoy this week’s roundup!

Favourite links from the week:

What My Morning Journal Looks Like (Tim Ferriss)

What’s Next in Computing? (Medium)

Working more than 50 hours makes you less productive (CNBC)

Millennials may not all die poor and alone after all (Quartz)

Brain hacking emerges as latest trend in wearable tech, but is it ready for prime time? (SharpBrains)

Productivity tip of the week:

Keep an eye on your work hours

The CNBC article above provides some great insight into the work week. According to research from John Pencavel from Stanford University, employee output falls sharply a 50-hour work week and off a cliff after 55 hours. For many of us it might seem like the more hours we spend at work means the more we get done but the benefits of spending overtime hours may not be worth the costs.

I admit, I’m guilty of spending more time with work than I should, but I can feel my willpower and energy go down as I dig deeper into a project. I love my job but I can also feel the same love get drained from myself during those long weeks. So perhaps the key to keeping work fresh and exciting lies in balancing the hours that we work. If we can focus less on the hours worked and more on the focus and productiveness we put in during the workday, we may be doing ourselves a world of good.

Product/service I’m loving:


I know I’ve mentioned IFTTT (standing for “If This Then That”) in the past but this is seriously a useful tool if you’re looking to automate aspects of your life. I use IFTTT to text me reminders to log my weight every Sunday, update me on the weather every morning, message me on daily habits I want to incorporate into my life, and so much more. It’s basically Swiss Army knife for automation and reminders.

For example, I just recently setup a text message reminder at 5:00 a.m. to put a dash of salt in my morning water (it’s a great way to re-charge your thyroids after a night’s sleep). I know it sounds a little lame but having the right reminder at the right time can really help you with habit development. Big changes are made by small actions and IFTTT helps me take action on the small changes I want to make.

If learning more about IFTTT is something you’d be interested in, let me know in the comments below. I’d be happy to create a tutorial video on how I use IFTTT to manage my reminders.

Documentaries/books I’m enjoying:


Toxic mold thrives in approximately one out of three households in the US. It’s serious and insidious issue that affects 57 million Americans. Dave Asprey and the Bulletproof team produced this in-depth documentary into toxic mold that might explain why you feel brain fog, sluggishness, and even outright sickness. They’ve got a 10-day free screening going on for the film that I recommend checking out. They’ll ask you for your email address and name but it’ll be worth the free access.

A quote that’s inspiring me:

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality.” —Earl Nightingale

As always, thank you to those that liked, re-tweeted, or commented on my Tweets. See you on next week’s round up!