March reading notes

Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy

Ogilvy’s advertising classic is full of practical advice for anyone looking into a career in advertising. Arguably a little dated now the rise of the internet has transformed advertising but nevertheless a great read.

The four hour work week by Tim Ferris

Life changing. Completely transforms the way I look at business and life in general. It’s can be summed up as the pareto principle applied to the digital economy. Essential reading for indepentenly minded people wanting to leave conventional living behind. Slightly eccentric for some, Tim Ferris has a great podcast that is worth checking out if you liked the book

The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett

Solid introduction to neuroscience and suprisingly funny. I definitely would have got more out of Neuroscience for dummies if I had of read this first.

Rich dad poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Best book I’ve read. I prefer this to Four Hour Work Week only because I think its more widely applicable. Essentially, this book critcises the working and middle classes for buying liabilities and luxuaries rather than assets. Rich people buy assets that provide them with passive income.

Scientific advertising by Claude Hopkins

Prefer this to Ogilvy’s because it has a slightly more systematic approach to advertising, which anyone could probably guess from the title: scientiffic advertising. I’d recomend this as an introduction into advertising because of this. Good book, I’ll be keeping it for reference. (I sell most books on Amazon once I’ve read them)

Big data: a very short introduction by Dawn E Holmes

Insightful book to anyone who is unfamiliar with big data its implications. Something I will defintely be reading more into.

The Definitive Book of Body Language by Alan & Barbara Pease

The thing that stood out to me most in this book is how many of our actions can be boiled down to confidence, power and attraction. Solid book to understand human nature and a good introduction into body language. I say introduction because it largely ignores microexpresssions.

Start with why by Simon Sinek

The only book this month I feel a little bit disapointed with. I feel like Simon could have written an article that sums it up much shorter, although that would obviously be less profitable. Repetitive but it does provide many examples which is useful to me as a business student. For others though, Sinek argues that comapanies need to show customers why they do things and not just what they do. A comapny’s why needs to be shown to consumers by what they provide and how they provide it.

Signals: how everyday signals can help us navigate the world’s turbulent economy by Pippa Malmgren

Taking on intellectual giants like Pikkety and Taleb, Dr Malmgren’s incredibly convincing and original book, Signals provides a good introduction into economics. Focusing on signs available for all to see rather than piles of mathmatical data, Malmgrem has a very accessible approach although it is definitely not free from bias.

February Reading Notes

Here’s a brief comment on the books I’ve read this February. I’ve never read 9 books in a month before and it was interesting how I many more connections between different books I made. I think reading this much in general has amazing effects of focus, mood and analytical reasoning in general.

Paradox of choice by Barry Schwartz

Starting off by detailing how consumer choice has actually left us psychologically worse off, Schwartz’s Paradox of choice does seem quite negative. But by being aware of how consumers, and people in general, make decisions you can definitely improve how you make decisions.

Key findings explored in the book include how more options aren’t always better because it makes it harder to decide, and to decide well. Even if you do decide well there is no protecting you from regret. Schwartz recommends that people limit their options in order to counter the excessive consumption and realise that the human mind is uniquely unfit to know what will make it happy. As soon as you know and understand how consumerism affects your brain you will be better able to mitigate its negative psychological effects.

Power of habit by Charles Duhigg

Cited by many business leaders and entrepreneurs as a must read I had to give it a go. The first part book talks of how we develop and break habits as individuals, the second part; as organisations and the third part as societies. So if you’re interested in psychology, organisational culture or sociology this books a brilliant read.

My main takeaways from this book are the importance of keystone habits and easy habit breaking. Keystone habits are habits that grow into other areas. A great example of this is journaling. Journaling for me has been particularly instrumental in maintaining my high levels of productivity. The way I like to put it is: if you know you’re going to have to write it down in black and white there’s no way you’re going to avoid doing your assignment in favour of a 4 hour Netflix binge.

Extreme ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Extreme ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin takes lessons from the battle field and applies them to business but largely in ways you wouldnn’t think. Jocko and Leif refer to clear communication, a lack of ego and a high degree of collectivism is essential for a teams performance. The underlying ethos of the book is that leaders should not blame their teams failure on anyone but themselves, they must take “extreme ownership”, the highest possible level of responsibility.

I did like this book and I can think of a lot of people with weak and failure attitudes could do this reading this book. It’s highly practical but if you don’t really care for long drawn out anecdotes then you might not enjoy it. It’s not that I don’t value practical experience and lessons it’s that I prefer advice to be based on data and studies. It’s definitely a “self help” book which is perhaps why I didn’t prefer it as much as the other books I read this month. If like me you prefer psychology, economics, sociology or philosophy books for yourself improvement I’d give this a miss. I’d recommend reading a summary.

Inside Organisations by Charles Handy

Handy’s Inside Organisations is a great book for a basic insight into organisational culture. Goes through different organisational cultures, psychological contracts and is very insightful throughout.

Post Truth: the new war on truth and how to fight back by Mathew D’Ancona

D’anacona’s Post Truth is a short book, covering the rise of and implications of the declining importance of truth. Citing elements of postmodern philosophy as being a driving force behind the new era of pos truth, D’Anacona draws parallels between Trump and Brexit to highlight the new reality: we are living in a post truth society.

Drive by Daniel H Pink

Drive by Daniel H Pink is a must read business book. Exposing the gap between what science knows and what business does in relation to motivation, Pink explains psychology and business theories in simple terms, making the book a great read for students.

Although the book is primarily concerned with the underappreciated contribution of Social Determination Theory, it also explores classic business theories like Theory X and Y and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. In general my main take away from this book is that intrinsic motivation is essential to success in many areas of life.

Propaganda by Edward Bernays

Despite being obvious, at least to marketers now, Propaganda was revolutionary for its time. Written by Edward Bernays, the most important man you’ve never heard of, Propaganda discusses how triggering emotion and impulse can vastly increase sales.

Somewhat controversial, its not difficult to see why. The tone of the book is incredibly elitist and Machiavellian throughout. Thought provoking but its delivery seems needlessly sinister. To be fait to Bernays he does make a constant effort to justify use of propaganda and goes into the importance of ethical use of it.  He argues propaganda is used by all institutions and educators, politicians, businessmen, parents; learners are all affected by and can use propaganda

Influence by Robert Cialdini

Influence is a sales and marketing bible to say the least. Cialdini explores 7 key principles of persuasion and delves into how and why they work. Although written by Cialdini to warn consumers of “compliance practitioners” it’s considered essential reading for anyone in business. Best book I’ve read this month and that’s saying something because I’ve read 9. I won’t spoil it for you because this genuinely is a life changing book that a review or summary cannot do any degree of justice.

Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Homes by Maria Konnikova

Drawing on findings from the most recent and respected psychologists, Mastermind exposes the brains heuristics and cogitative biases that often let us down. There’s a lot of psychological effects to remember so if you’ve not read this sort of thing before I’d take notes, you won’t regret it.

To put it best this book is a more practical guide of the classic Thinking Fast and Slow with a lot of references to Sherlock Holmes. It’s definitely improved the way I think and make decisions.

To summarise…

I feel like I’ve learned more this month than I’ve learned in most academic years. My key takeaways overall is that I should think slow to think better and the benefits of taking action, building habits and getting stuff done.

7 habits of highly effective sleepers

A few weeks ago I was suffering from MOTN (Middle-of-the-night insomnia). Over the course of a month I had awoken around 3 in the morning every night and was almost always unable to go to sleep again for 2-3 hours. Over the years I had adopted a series of awful sleeping habits and I realised I had to make serious changes, after all people who sleep well are more focused, less neurotic and most importantly less tired! I knew, like anything in life, I had to learn the rules of the game before I could win. I browsed article after article and study after study and boiled down all the information I had gathered into 7 habits key habits. I hope you find this information as useful as I did.

  1. They exercise. Exercise helps sleep because it reduces stress and tires you out. Exercising daily creates a positive self sustaining cycle: You’re tired when you go to sleep so you get to sleep straight away which means you get good quality sleep and wake up refreshed in the morning. Because you woke up in the morning you’ll be tired if you stay up to late.
  • They limit naps: Long daytime naps can interfere with sleep later on at night, which is more important. If you choose to nap, limit yourself to up to 30 minutes and avoid doing so late in the day. If you can’t nap less than 30 minutes, then don’t. Sleep discipline is important.
  • They know caffeine is only a short term solution: Caffeine can help wake you up and even improve cogitative abilities but these cognitive benefits are short term. The stimulating effects of caffeine take hours to wear off and can damage on sleep quality. In fact studies show sleep quality can be disrupted by caffeine consumption up to 6 hour before sleep. That means if you want to be in bed at 11 don’t have any caffeine after 5.
  • Avoid alcohol: Like Caffeine, alcohol is a short term solution. Although alcohol might make you feel sleepy, it reduces quality of REM sleep, which is sleep’s most critical stage and thought to be restorative. Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness and poor concentration throughout.
  • They have sleep friendly rooms: They don’t make it hard for themselves. Their rooms are designed to be perfect for sleeping. A cool, dark and quiet room is best. Exposure to light will make it much more challenging to fall asleep. Consider using a fan if your room is too hot and humid. Get good curtains that properly block out light. If you’ve got a noisy neighbour like I have, get earplugs.
  • They limit screen time before bed. Effective sleepers avoid the use of any light-emitting screens, a few hours before sleeping, as they disrupt you brain’s natural circadian rhythms to make you think it’s earlier than it is. Effective sleepers put their phone away out of reach from their bed. Having your phone out of reach is incredibly effective at improving sleep for two reasons; it means you won’t use light-emitting screens close to bedtime. It helps you switch off and relax. Finally and in my opinion most importantly, it means when you get up for your alarm you have to get out of bed to turn it off. I like to have a glass of water ready for me to drink every morning, a habit I will explain in a later post.
  • They understand the importance of consistency. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try to limit the difference in your sleep schedule on weeknights and weekends to no more than one hour, if this is undoable for you due to work commitments aim to limit the difference as much as you can. Consistency reinforces your body’s circadian rhythms cycle.

I hope this advice helps you as much as it helped me. Since adopting these habits I have dramatically mitigated the symptoms of MOTN insomnia. If you enjoyed this blog and would ike more life improving cotent then subscribe.

Bernays, Babies and Brexit: an introduction into social engineering

Edward Bernays The most important man you’ve never heard of

The founding father of Public Relations Edward Bernays was the first but definitely not the last to use symbolism and indirect methods of selling that appeal to subconscious desires and emotions. He was also one of the first people to use figures of authority to sell products, essentially getting a well-respected person to be associated with your product, will make your product more desirable. This is still widely used today and known as “Influencer Marketing”. Bernays most notable campaign is unsurprisingly a morally dubious one. Bernays was employed by the American Tobacco Company to remove the stigma of women smoking. He identified that slim figures were becoming more fashionable in women so he marketed cigarettes as a way to lose weight. Preying on potential insecurities, Bernays came up with the slogan “Reach for a lucky instead of a sweet” to help popularise the notion that cigarettes were a healthier alternative and a means to lose weight. Unfortunately, it did not stop there, Bernays reached out to photographers, newspapers, and magazines to encourage the idea that being thin was the new fashion. He was willing to offer medical experts enormous sums of money to advocate cigarettes as a health product. The campaign was successful but there was still a stigma around women smoking outdoors. Bernays paid leading suffragettes to smoke cigarettes during the Easter Sunday Parade in New York under the guise that female smoking was a cultural challenge against the conservative patriarchy. Photographers were hired by Bernays to make sure that there were high-quality photos for the newspapers. Once pictures were in the papers the “Torches of Freedom” Campaign sparked a cultural debate that spread across America. The women’s walk was seen as a protest for equality and sparked discussion throughout the nation. Feminist Ruth Hale, advocated for women to smoke as a means of emancipating themselves from cultural chains. “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!” she said. In 1923 women only purchased 5% of cigarettes sold. In 1929 that percentage was 12%, in 1935; 18.1%, peaking in 1965 at 33.3%, and remaining at this level until 1977.

In the 1920s The United Fruit Company had huge holdings of land and railroads across Central America, which it used export bananas from Central America to the United States. By 1930 it was the largest landowner and employer in Guatemala for several years. The company virtually owned Puerto Barrios, Guatemala’s only port with access to the Atlantic. By 1950 the company’s annual profits stood at 65 million dollars, twice the revenue of the Guatemalan government.  22 years on from the “Torches of freedom campaign”, the democratically elected President Jacobo Árbenz Guzman promised social reform that included the redistribution of unused agrarian land to the poor, a policy that made United Fruit feel threatened. Furthermore, Árbenz supported a strike of UFC workers in 1951, which eventually forced the company to rehire a number of laid-off workers. Between 1952 and 1954, Guatemala confiscated 1.5 million acres and redistributed it one hundred thousand poor families, including – in March 1953, 210,000 acres belonging to United Fruit. The company was offered compensation at the rate of 2.99 US dollars to the acre, twice what it had paid when buying the property.

Despite this reasonable offer United Fruit responded with an intensive lobbying campaign against Árbenz in the United States and it was Bernays who was going to be the mastermind behind it. Bernays orchestrated a campaign whereby universities, lawyers, the media and the US government would all condemn Arbenz redistribution as not just immoral but illegal. Within weeks The New York Times and other leading newspapers had all published articles describing the threat of Communism in Guatemala.

The Guatemalan government responded by saying that the company was the main obstacle to progress in the country. American historians Schlesinger and Kinzer, wrote in 1999 “to the Guatemalans it appeared that their country was being mercilessly exploited by foreign interests which took huge profits without making any contributions to the nation’s welfare.”But in the context of the Cold War anything resembling the policies of the USSR was regarded as an immediate threat to, not just America, but to freedom itself.

In 1953 200,000 acres of uncultivated company land was expropriated under Árbenz’s agrarian reform law, a move that resulted in even more lobbying in Washington, particularly by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who the company had close ties with. Bernays had begun a public relations campaign to discredit the Guatemalan government; spending over a half a million dollars to convince both lawmakers and members of the public in the US that Árbenz needed to be overthrown.

United Fruit distributed an anonymous Report on Guatemala to every member of Congress and they published a Guatemala Newsletter and sent it to 250 journalists every week, some of whom used it as a source for their reporting. Bernays formed close relationships with many journalists such as The NewYork Times reporters Will Lissner and Walter Winchell. Eventually like Bernays planned, the communism fearing President Eisenhower gave the CIA the green light to act. The CIA initiated Operation PBSUCCESS where they backed military force as well as a psychological warfare campaign to portray military defeat as a foregone conclusion. During the coup itself, Bernays was the primary supplier of information for the international newswires; United Press International, the International News Service and Associated Press. Following the coup, Bernays promoted the image of Guatemala’s new US installed dictator Carlos Castillo Armas. In effect what happened in 1954 is America toppled a democratically elected government to protect the financial interests of the United Fruit Company and installed a dictator. Under the guise of defending democracy, the US ended one in the name of corporate interests.

Babies: a retailer’s paradise

In the modern day marketing techniques are much more advanced and invasive. In the early 2000s, Andrew Pole, a mathematical genius was working as a statistician for Target, an American retailer. He was asked by the marketing department “If we wanted to figure out if a customer is pregnant, even if she didn’t want us to know, can you do that?”Expecting and new parents are a retailer’s paradise. Most shoppers won’t buy everything they need at one store. Instead, they buy food at the supermarket and toys at the toy store and so on. The problem was shoppers only visit Target when they need specific items they associate with Target, such as cleaning supplies or new socks. But Target sells everything from food to furniture, so one of the company’s main goals is convincing customers that the only store they need is Target. But it’s an incredibly difficult message to get across because once consumers’ shopping habits are ingrained; it’s incredibly difficult to change them.

There are, however, some pivotal movements in a person’s life when old routines fall apart and buying habits are suddenly much likelier to change. One of those moments is around the birth of a child. Parents are overrun and exhausted. It is in those moments when spending habits and brand loyalties are up for grabs. Because birth records are usually public, retailers were bombarding new parents with discounts and offers. Target needed to reach them earlier before any other retailers even know a baby is on the way. Specifically, Target wanted to send specially designed ads to expecting mums specifically in their second trimester, which is when mothers tend to start making baby-related purchases.

Pole used statistical analysis to identify 25 products that when purchased together indicate that a woman is very likely to be pregnant. Target used this information to send relevant discounts to expecting mothers so they would start shopping at target for all of their baby-related purcahses. Pole’s formula was combined with Target’s customer tracking technology with frightening effectiveness but it is one story that has made this campaign notorious.

The year is 2001 a father has walked into a Target just outside Minneapolis, holding coupons sent to his daughter, and he’s angry, and demands to see the manager. “My daughter got this in the mail!” he says enraged. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?” Needless to say, the manager apologises on behalf of Target for the coupons. And a few days later the manager rang the father to apologise again. But this time the father’s belligerent tone had vanished. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.”

Now if this level of technological intrusion does not bother you think about what else this could be used for. I have recently cut out processed meat and alcohol from my diet. A few weeks into quitting processed meat I received discounts on sausages at the self-service. A few weeks later, vouchers for beer and cider. And which evil global corporation is trying to keep me hooked on these well-known carcinogens? The Cooperative of all places, so much for an ethical brand. If the cooperative’s algorithms can identify which spending habits I’m changing, and attempt to disrupt this change, when this technology is in its infancy, what does the future hold? If general artificial intelligence surpasses the brightest of human minds like some experts state it will then these algorithms could become a much bigger issue than we could ever possibly conceive.

Big Data: the new means of control

Whilst previous methods of social engineering have been undoubtedly effective, we are now in the midst of profound change and whilst it is obvious that change is happening, its implications and direction is not nearly enough discussed. Target’s use of data and algorithms is effective and to be honest, creepy. But that data that Target used only consisted of basic demographic information like gender and location and spending habits from one shop. With the advent of the internet data can be collected from a wide range of sources to build a more detailed picture. Data on your personal habits, core beliefs and potential psychological weaknesses such as addiction or insecurity are being harvested with every click, like and share. This data is being used to form an emotional grappling hook to control the way you think about products, people and even politics. Simply agreeing to accept “cookies” when you log onto a website gives the website your data, including your internet history. Liking a post on FaceBook signals to advertisers you are more susceptible to buying one of their products, and so you will be targeted with adverts of that product. If you log onto someone’s FaceBook or YouTube account who has interests different from your own you will find the adverts also differ dramatically.

In 2015, Facebook announced that a mysterious company called Global Science Research harvested data through a Facebook app called thisisyourdigitallife. GSR offered users a small cash incentive to complete a survey on the condition they consented to share their personal details through Facebook. 270,000 people downloaded the app and inadvertently handed over information on its users, which included data on their likes and location to another mysterious company called Cambridge Analytica  This data enabled researchers to build detailed psychological profiles on millions of users. Cambridge Analytica uses this data to tailor political adverts to incredibly small groups of people, already knowing they would be responsive. If you thought Bernays and Target could be persuasive imagine if they could have personalised adverts using information from your detailed psychological dossier. Whistleblower Chris Wylie, a former employee at Cambridge Analytica, explained how the scheme worked:

 “Imagine I go and ask you: I say, ‘Hey, if I give you a dollar, two dollars, could you fill up this survey for me, just do it on this app’, and you say, ‘Fine’.”

“I don’t just capture what your responses are, I capture all of the information about you from Facebook, but also this app then crawls through your social network and captures all that data also. By you filling out my survey, I capture 300 records on average. And so that means that, all of a sudden, I only need to engage 50,000, 70,000, 100,000 people to get a really big data set really quickly, and it’s scaled really quickly. We were able to get upwards of 50 million-plus Facebook records in the span of a couple of months.”

He added that “almost none” of the individuals knew about how their data was used.

It is only recently with the exposure of the Cambridge Analytica’s role in the Brexit Referendum and Trump’s election, that this use of big data and invasions of privacy are being covered by the mainstream media. Data has become a currency, traded between faceless corporations to be used against you. Data harvesting technologies have become the contemporary source of power and the data can be used, when interpreted and marketing correctly, as a means of control to alter how we consume but also, more worryingly, how we vote. The implications of this are frightening; in the digital age, it is they who control data who have economic and political power. I will leave you with this alarming quote from master manipulator, Edward Bernays, in his Magnum Opus Propaganda.

 “There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.”

Surprising life changing benefits of a daily walk

We all know walking good for us; it’s as natural as breathing. Despite this not many of us these days can say we get the suggested 10,000 steps in every day.

But the question is: why is walking good for us? After all if we don’t know why we should walk every day then why should we walk every day?

Walking improves your mood

Walking is great for your mental health, and I mean great. Dr. Jampolis says “Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,”. Walking outside when its sunny is great for getting your daily recommended amount of Vitamin D, known sometimes as the sunshine vitamin as it’s produced in your skin as a natural response to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased depression and anxiety; this can be particularly bad in the winter.

Walking boosts Creativity

According to a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can get your creative juices flowing. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Dr. Jampolis. I personally go on a walk for 15 minutes in between writing and reading to give myself time to mentally recharge, so I’m at peak performance for longer.

Walking DRAMATICALLY slashes your risk of chronic diseases

Chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, strokes, asthma and cancer are the biggest killers in developed countries, but thankfully there are things you can do to dramatically decrease the risk such as not drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes eating too much red meat and WALKING!

That’s right! Just by walking a little bit every day in between working and odd jobs can save your life!

The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado

The University of Tennessee found that walking regularly lowered blood pressure and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%.

One of the most cited studies on walking, published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that those who walked 30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly.

Walking improves your digestive system

According to Tara Alaichamy, DPT, a physical therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,”

Any exercise improves blood flow throughout the body, which includes your digestive system. Walk daily and you won’t have a sluggish digestive system can also help you avoid constipation, or any gas, bloating and cramps.

Walking reduces stress

By going for a walk in between working, you give yourself a break from the constant buzzing of the phone and the glaring of the screen. Taking time to unplug from technology and bug workloads is important for keeping stress levels low and your cognitive abilities like focus and clarity of mind

Managing stress, in today’s fast-paced world, is so important. Stress can lead to self-destructive behaviour like over or under eating and becoming socially withdrawn. It can also lead to feelings of Anxiety, depression and a lack of focus and motivation. By walking only 10 minutes a day outside you can reduce stress and improve the quality of your life. If you’re still not convinced stress causes heart attacks, it accelerates the ageing process and reduces your life expectancy.


A review of Tadpole Training’s Basic Sales Skills course

First of all I’d like to say to ANYONE. Whether you’re an employer, employee or just interested in ways to make your life EASIER, this course is an absolute gold mine of practical and relevant information. Even if I wasn’t aspiring towards a successful career in a marketing/ sales role this course would still have left me curious, mind blown and wanting more!

The course starts by debunking misconceptions and lazy stereotypes that many people will have about salesmen and women. Whilst many in sales behave unethically to chase short term profits this course offers a way to make your sales win-win solutions and profits sustainable and high.

The course’s advice can be applied to many areas of life and draws on common sense advice that is easy to overlook. For example the course explains that even though dealing with high sales targets can be daunting it’s less intimating to break it down into chunks. As an old saying goes “How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time” The course also explains how seemingly counterintuitive approaches can have huge success. An example of this would be that sales success is actually not about telling but listening so you can gather information on your client’s needs so you can provide them with services better suited to those needs.

Other things covered, extremely well I might add, include cold calling, conversion rates, and closing techniques (A subject I will be writing a more extensive post on when I have time) I can’t cover everyting on the course as I feel I can’t do it justice because Janet is an incrdibly taleneted communicator. Overall I was extremely satisfied with the course and will be attending the next one if I get the chance.

Principles of sales I learnt on YouTube

“The more you Learn, The more you earn”

Frank A. Clark

Knowing the market

Learn the problems and pains of your customers, provide solution

  • Ask how you can provide value, don’t just tell them how you can provide value
  • Sell to who’s buying. Find out who’s buying rather than who’s not buying, and why who’s buying is buying
  • All stakeholder have valuable information, not just senior management who are often disconnected
  • Try to sell to people like you to avoid market research, what do you want. What makes you insecure? What are your pains?

Knowing how to sell


  • Be authentic and honest. It will lead to sales directly because it will make customers trust you and it will lead to sales indirectly through referrals. This is the basis of salesmanship because people buy from people
  • If your character has been compromised by violating the principles of sales then have a manager or 3rd party call/tag to save and reinforce deals.
  • Never be rude to a customer even if you know you won’t close a sale there and then. If you cannot close the deal see if you can gather information or if you could get a referral
  • Project authority by demonstrating confidence in your own knowledge but especially your coworkers.
  • Never argue with a customer. Always agree and acknowledge communication. Don’t just agree but show the customer you understand. No one buys from someone who won’t listen or that has been rude to them

Lessons from psychology

  • Trigger insecurities about reputation, looks, missing out etc (Market research is HUGELY important in this. Know your customers)
  • Use people’s sentiment against them. Whether its nostalgia, love an optimistic future these things all make consumers vulnerable to emotional manipulation.
  • Make the product or service seem exclusive by using personal language such as “I’ll make this offer for YOU” Deliver price in a quiet voice to trick the brain into taking it as a secret.
  • Keep them engaged by changing the pitch, speed, and volume of your speech
  • Use pauses before delivering key information such as prices, especially if you’re framing it as a personal discount available go them only.
  • Create the illusion of scarcity and urgency. The most common example of this is when products are advertised as only available now. “Here today, gone tomorrow”  This is vital in the close
  • Ask if they want this product or that product not if they want any products. It gives them the illusion of choice.

Straight line theory

  • The essence of straight line theory is that is essential to go off topic because it allows you to gather information about the customer so you can sell it to the more personally
  • Focus on building rapport and trust initially. If a customer trusts you it means you have to convince less and face fewer objections in the close
  • Joking and light-hearted banter is fine, but make sure you keep it appropriate and inoffensive

Videos that this advice came from

Top 10 SALES Techniques for Entrepreneurs

7 Psychological Sales Triggers

The BEST Tips for Professional Sales People – Grant Cardone


If you want to convince people, be nice as it makes people feel bad about rejecting you

Be calm and show you have understood their point of view

Make them understand your point of view calmly and clearly

A timeline of life lessons from Univeristy

Semester 1

Week 2

No ovens and hobs are bad

Not having an oven limits you incredibly but you won’t die from eating shit, in fact, your diet won’t be that worse than the average student. This is because even students with ovens seem to incapable of using them regularly enough for it to have enough a big enough impact.

Geordies hate being called Scottish and Mancs hate being called southern. Northerners go on about their routes much more than the southerners.

Week 4

Alcohol is the single biggest obstacle in my life to academic success.

Week 6

Not going to lectures and seminars can leave you in a different world of lost

Week 7

Depression at university is almost a norm because many students do not develop themselves outside the typical student spheres. Working, studying, buying and iPhone usage is the staple for students. They fail to pursue interests outside the narrow paradigm of what is expected of them.

Week 10

Social anxiety can be massively reduced if you’re ok not taking yourself seriously. Facing your fears lifts you out of ruts. I’m happy again now and everything getting better because I’m motivated again.

Week 11

Optimistically waiting for bad things to end is a bad way of dealing with adversity. Mental breakdowns can be surprisingly short term if you embrace harsh realities, crush your fears and grow as a person.

Everyone’s been through shit. Support people in ways which suit them, you might learn something and you’ll definitely get on better with them from looking at it from their situation.

Also if you naturally wake up early, get up. It’s a blessing, not a curse. Going to bed will mean you’ll wake up late and have missed most of the day.

Week 12

It’s the end of the first semester. I’ve learned to be more organised but there is still a long way to go. My writing style needs to be much more structured and explicit and I need to engage with the question and journal articles rather than go off on a rant because I think I’m smart. I’ve learned that when I need to be I can be assertive and effective in getting shit done especially in relation to managing people. I’m happier as a person and have accepted that I don’t have to have it all together now or anytime.

In general the university environment, unlike high school, encourages kindness rather than savageness. Because of this, I’ve met some of the kindest and most humble people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I love York.

Week 16

Coming back has been a bit harder than before although I haven’t noticed as much because I’ve been productive. I miss my mates more now I’m in an environment where I expect them to be close.

Week 18

Some people are incapable of dealing with shit not because they haven’t been through shit but they haven’t really grown. They won’t try new things, they won’t make needed changes and they’ll ultimately never self actualise because of this. Although its sad, I should realise I can’t help everyone.

Time in isolation is only shit if its unproductive. Going on social media and lying in bed all day may seem nice but it won’t make you happy.

Week 19

After intentionally subjecting myself to a level of isolation I had previously forgotten existed, I feel happier in my own company and have learned not to constantly crave other people to be around.

Cold showers are surprisingly easier in a nicer shower. Good habits often seem to be conducive with good environments. If you wanna change your life, change your habits if you wanna change your environment (town, social circle, work etc)

Week 20

My poor diet, consisting of fried processed red meat and strong larger, could potentially be having adverse effects on my health

My plans to set up an online business this year have been postponed on the basis I do not believe I possess the habits to be a truly successful entrepreneur. Aside from that, I’ve not been happy recently and it’s not just the recent series of turbulent events it’s my poor habits as well. Although I’ve always said “eat well, sleep well, excercise”. I’ve decided to take an indefinite break from alcohol and use the extra finances to eat good food.

Week 21

Quitting alcohol has drastically improved mental health, motivation and my attitude to life in general. Quitting social media has made me so much more productive. I don’t feel an urge to return to social media at all and I don’t feel very enthusiastic about drinking like I used to, although I’m skeptical about the possibility I’ll remain teetotal.

I’ve learned the importance of persistence, building core habits and eliminating distractions. At the moment I’m looking into a variety of careers in management, marketing, and social research.

Week 23

This as been one of the most important weeks of my life. I’ve learnt so much after deciding to quit alcohol and now social media.

Discipline is freedom. A lack of self control leaves you slave to your short term impulses.

Having less, giving more and being busy with things you care about is a very basic but succesful strategy for a happy life.

Keystone habits like getting up relatively early, cooking wholesome food, exercising and reading are so so so important. I cannot stress this enough. Replacing alcohol with wholesome nutritious food and replacing social media with reading, in particular, have been essential for my recent productivity and happiness spike. I feel myself developing a much more organised, thoughtful and calm personality in all areas of my life.

Week 24

If you love the work you do you’ll love the result. Focusing on short term conditional rewards works short term but there is no replacement for developing a better mindset, better habits and a passion for what you do.

Your time is the most valuable asset you have, it’s constantly declining. Jim Rohn states “you are the average of the five people you spend most time with”. If you don’t admire those people, you should choose your circle wisely.

Week 26

I’m obsessive. With a lot. I need to focus on balance of work and relaxation because a week working 12 hours a day is great for productivity short term but ultimately unsustainable, stressful and it impairs attention to details and lateral thinking.

Week 27

Overall I have made a level of progress that’s left everyone pretty shocked. Since replacing social media with reading and writing I feel so much more focused, creative and overall just more mentally quicker. I’ve recently gotten into podcasts..

Not drinking isn’t really an issue for me at all. I’m going to allow myself a pre-planned cheat day as I’ve read it actually strengthens willpower and makes it more longlasting.

Week 28

I’ve been listening to more lectures on philosophy and biology rather than psychology. I’ve read into ALOT of psychology recently, everything from practical persuasion techniques to the neuroscience behind our cognitive biases and heuristics.

Week 29

Strong friendship isn’t about not arguing, it about how easy you overcome arguments. People with few friends often have a “burn bridges” attitude to what should be minor disagreements.

You never know who’s there for you until you hit rock bottom.

Attitudes and habits are the bedrock of resilience and success.

Week 31

Innovation comes from the struggle to achieve. If everything was easy, we wouldn’t innovate or grow.

The most successful people have had the most failures. Failure is not a setback it’s just one failure closer to success

Your life is what you focus on, that is our decision and no one else’s. If you want to see the negatives in everything, you’ll see eveything as negative. The more you practice seeing adversity as a challenge, the brighter life will be.

Week 34

There’s a very good medium between constant self criticism/ self improvment and being content . Obsession and being extremely dedicated has it’s advantges but there’s a way to do it without driving yourself insane.

After reading, 33 books around self improvement and business, I have learnt one imporant thing. Attitudes and habits are everything. There’s no replacing that. I’m proud this year that I’m healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been and I’ve learnt and grown so much since university. I plan to to learn things more course relevent and start learning more practical skills such as woodworking.

Week 36

The amount of personal growth I’ve done this year is insane. I feel for the first time in my life I can achieve even things I’m not naturally good at like DIY and emotional intelligence. More than anything I’ve learnt the importance of being rational in a way that deals effectively with te irratonalities of people especially myself.

Embracing hard and meaninful work is the good life. Living frugally and delibrately with less distractions and more challenges is something I doubt I will ever get tired of advocating. Modern culture is toxic in my honest opinion but living life instead of a life through screens has made me almost impossibly happy.

Week 38

Uni’s ended. If I learnt one thing it’s your life is the product of your combined decisons.

Reading list

This list contains all the books I have read in full (from November 2018) and am going to read. Most of the books have a link to a video summary of the book or a lecture from the author. The books I have read are ranked out of 10 based on how informative, insightful and entertaining I felt they were. Enjoy 🙂

  1. Outliers: the story of success by Malcolm Gladwell 8.5/10
  2. The Tipping point: how tipping things can make a big difference by Malcolm Gladwell 8/10
  3. The Social Animal: a story of how success happens by David Brooks 9/10
  4. Principles: Life and work by Ray Dalio 9.5/10
  5. Thinking fast and slow by Daniel Kahneman 8/10
  6. How to get a grip by Mathew Kimberly 3/10
  7. The Miracle Morning: The 6 habits that will transform your life before 8am by Hal Elrod 7/10
  8. Misbehaving: the making of behavioural economics by Richard H Thaler 7.5/10
  9. Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg 9/10
  10. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Lief Babin 7/10
  11. Paradox of choice: why more is less by Barry Schwartz 8/10
  12. Inside organisations by Charles Handy 8.5/10
  13. Post-Truth: the new war on truth and how to fight back by Mathew D Anacona 7.5/10
  14. Propaganda by Edward Bernays 8/10
  15. Drive: the surprising truth about what really motivates us by Daniel H. Pink 9/10
  16. Influence: the power of persuasion by Robert B Cialdini 9/10
  17. Mastermind: How to think like Sherlock Holmes 8.5/10
  18. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy 8.5/10
  19. The four hour work week by Tim Ferris 9.5/10
  20. The Idiot Brain by Dean Burnett 8/10
  21. Rich dad poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki 9.5/10
  22. Scientiffic advertising by Claude Hopkins 7/10
  23. Big data: a very short introduction by Dawn E Holmes 7/10
  24. The Definitive Book of Body Language by Alan & Barbara Pease 8/10
  25. Start with why by Simon Sinek 6.5/10
  26. Signals: how everyday signals can help us navigate the world’s turbulent economy by Pippa Malmgren 8.5/10
  27. The Prince by Niccolo Machiavellian 6/10
  28. The Art of war by Sun Tzu 8/10
  29. How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie 9/10
  30. History of economics 7/10
  31. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius 9/10
  32. Ethics: a very short introduction by Simon Blackburn 7/10
  33. Globalisation: a very short introduction 6/10
  34. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  35. 7 Habits of highly effective people by Stephen Covey
  36. Business adventures by John Brooke