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Just as life challenges us with limited time, resources, and information, excellence demands a strategy beyond innate talent and colossal effort. 

That’s where Ron Friedman’s Decoding Greatness comes into play, offering a new approach: deciphering greatness through reverse engineering the triumphs of others. 

This book isn’t just a collection of thought-provoking ideas; it’s a practical toolbox filled with applicable tactics for your life’s journey. 

In this podcast, I’m sharing my top 10 insights from the book. 

“Can you recommend a book for…?”

“What are you reading right now?”

“What are your favorite books?”

I get asked those types of questions a lot and, as an avid reader and all-around bibliophile, I’m always happy to oblige.

I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest. The more you learn, the more you know; the more you know, the more you can do; the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed.

On the flip side, I also believe there’s little hope for people who aren’t perpetual learners. Life is overwhelmingly complex and chaotic, and it slowly suffocates and devours the lazy and ignorant.

So, if you’re a bookworm on the lookout for good reads, or if you’d like to get into the habit of reading, this book club for you.

The idea here is simple: Every month, I’ll share a book that I’ve particularly liked, why I liked it, and several of my key takeaways from it.

I’ll also keep things short and sweet so you can quickly decide whether the book is likely to be up your alley or not.

Alright, let’s get to the takeaways.


0:00 – Please leave a review of the show wherever you listen to podcasts and make sure to subscribe and leave a comment!

4:21 – The 10 best parts of Decoding Greatness

8:25 – My award-winning fitness books for men and women:

Mentioned on the Show:

My award-winning fitness books for men and women:

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!


Hello. Hello, I’m Mike Matthews and this is Muscle for Life. Thank you for joining me today for another episode, which is a book club episode, which is an episode where I share a book that I liked and I explain why I liked it. And I share 10 of my favorite takeaways from the book. And if you like, at least a few of those, Takeaways, you probably will like the book.

And why do I do these episodes? Well, I like to read books. I’m always reading the next book or two or three, and I like to go back through books and pull out my highlights and my notes and digest them and sort them, prioritize them and people often. Ask me for book recommendations. So I figured if we turned those three things into a Venn diagram, making podcast episodes about books that I like and recommend, and sharing key takeaways that I’m already extracting from the books is right there in the middle of the diagram.

And so in today’s episode, I am going to be talking about decoding greatness by Ron Friedman. And if you liked Mastery by Green or Outliers by Gladwell, or grit by Duckworth, I think you are also going to like decoding greatness because in it Friedman argues that while inborn talent and monumental effort can produce excellence, there is another way to reach.

That brass ring that’s far more reliable, efficient, and effective, and also far more accessible to most people who don’t have vast reserves of talent or perseverance to tap into. And so specifically the premise of decoding greatness is that we can learn a lot about how to achieve greatness by reverse engineering the great accomplishments of others to discover the key mindsets, strategies, and tactics that they used to achieve such feats and.

While many self-development books make similar promises, so much so that I almost skipped decoding greatness, and I don’t read much self-development anymore because so many of the books feel so derivative. So many of them are just repeating the same ideas again and again and again that you can read in books stretching back decades now, in the case of decoding greatness, I particularly enjoyed Friedman’s formulation for a few reasons.

The first reason is it’s fresh. Now many books in the genre discuss how mindset and talent and perseverance and grit and practice and so forth generally relate to success. And then these books usually just encourage us to figure out how to apply them to our chosen endeavors. But that’s often difficult to do.

It’s often difficult just to first figure out how to do it, let alone actually. Do it now, Friedman believes on the other hand that a more effective way to augment our abilities is to systematically analyze examples of the type of success we want to achieve and then develop highly tailored growth strategies based on our findings.

Another reason I liked decoding greatness is I thought it was compelling. Friedman supports his claims and he supports his arguments with a well-rounded and engaging collection of instructional anecdotes, insightful analysis, and scientific research. I also liked that decoding greatness is practical. So instead of giving us some success principles and then just leading us to figure out how to apply them to our circumstances and goals, Friedman filled the book with.

Exercises for incorporating his teachings into our plans, strategies and tactics, and that means that after reading the book, you don’t have to spend that much time thinking about how you are going to use what you’ve just learned. Instead, Friedman has already done a lot of that thinking for you, and you can just get into action right away and see how it goes.

Lastly, I appreciated that decoding greatness is easy. To read Friedman first and foremost, just wanted to make sure that he was communicating clearly and in a conversational style that makes the material easily accessible, and I think he did a really good job of that. So in summary, if you are looking for an evidence-based self-development book with a novel and immediately useful path to more success in any task or any undertaking.

I think you’re gonna like decoding greatness. And so now let’s get to 10 of my favorite takeaways from this book. The first one quote. In other words, if outright mimicry leads us nowhere, an absolute novelty is met With scorn, the solution is to steer clear of both extremes. What gets noticed is the generally familiar with a minor variation.

Number two quote. What distinguishes I think great writers from people who are not great writers or are not writers at all, is taste, not taste in the sense of knowing what is good in an objective way, because there’s nothing objective to point you. There’s nothing to refer to out in the world, but knowing what it is that you, yourself respond to, and then making the leap of faith that if you respond strongly to something, there will be people in the world who also respond strongly.

Three. In 2014, researchers at the University of Wisconsin examined the success rates of entrepreneurs comparing those who quit their job to run a new business against those who played it safe and kept their day job while quietly developing their business on the side. Surprisingly, full-time commitment to a business venture did not turn out to be the winning strategy.

Cautious employees were significantly more likely to succeed. Why? Because they possessed the financial stability to reach more patient strategic decisions, a luxury not available to those whose livelihood was constantly on the line. Number four, observation alone is not enough for education. Dewey believed.

Knowledge only comes about when we reflect on our experiences, revise our beliefs and test our assumptions. Five. A crucial mistake to avoid anytime you’re working to develop a skill is to follow the same practice regimen for more than a few days. Predictability fosters boredom, and boredom is the enemy of focus, memory, and learning novelty, on the other hand, is an attention magnet.

Our brains are naturally drawn to new features in our surroundings. Six. When talking to experts, three categories of questions are worth considering journey questions, process questions and discovery questions. Journey questions are designed to achieve two objectives, unearth the experts roadmap for success, and remind them of their experience as a novice.

Process questions get at the nitty gritty of execution. They’re designed to illuminate the expert’s approach by drilling down on the specific steps they apply to bring their work to life. Finally, discovery questions, focus experts on their initial expectations and invite them to compare those naive beliefs with what they know today.

By directing expert’s attention to unexpected revelations, you get them thinking about useful insights they didn’t possess at the very beginning, back when they were in your shoes. Seven when it comes to learning studies show that starting with examples as opposed to abstract theoretical lessons leads to faster comprehension and fewer errors.

It’s because examples are concrete, which makes them easier to comprehend and prompts listeners to generate their own explanations, contributing to a deeper level of understanding. Eight. Another approach to generating higher quality feedback involves posing questions that target your weaknesses head on.

Comedian and playwright Mike Burbiglia has colleagues review his script and then asks, when were you bored? Nine. In 2015, researchers at the University of Southern California made a fascinating discovery. Not all mistakes activate the painful anterior insala. Sometimes they activate the pleasurable ventral striatum.

What determines which area lights up. It turns out that when mistakes are combined with new learning, we experience them as rewarding. The wisdom we gain allows us to see new opportunities for avoiding mistakes and succeeding in the future. And finally, takeaway number 10, quote, having great taste and a clear vision are strong indicators of potential.

Often simply recognizing that something is not yet great and having the drive and tenacity to revise for as long as it takes is the difference between an amateur and a professional. If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, then you will probably like my award-winning fitness books for men and women of all ages and abilities, which have sold over 2 million copies, have received over 15,004 and five star reviews on Amazon.

And which have helped tens of thousands of people build their best body ever. Now a caveat, my books and programs cannot give you a lean and toned Hollywood body in 30 days, and they are not full of dubious diet and exercise hacks and shortcuts for gaining lean muscle and melting belly fat. Faster than a sneeze in a cyclone, but they will show you exactly how to eat and exercise to lose up to 35 pounds of fat or more if you need to lose more or want to lose more and gain eye-catching amounts of muscle definition and strength.

And even better, you will learn how to do those things without having to live in the gym. Give up all of the. Foods or drinks that you love or do long grueling workouts that you hate. And with my books and programs, you will do that. You will transform your physique faster than you probably think is possible, or I will give you your money back.

If you are unsatisfied with any of my books or programs, the results, anything for whatever reason, just let me know and you will get a full refund on the spot. Now I do have several books and programs including Bigger, leaner, stronger, thinner, leaner, stronger, and Muscle for Life. And to help you understand which one is right for you, it’s pretty simple.

If you are a guy aged 18 to let’s say 40 to 45, Bigger, leaner, stronger is the book and program for you. If you are a gal, same age range, thinner, leaner, stronger is going to be for you. And if you are a guy or gal, 40 to maybe 45 plus muscle for life is for you. Well, I hope you liked this episode. I hope you found it helpful, and if you did subscribe to the show because it makes sure that you don’t miss new episodes.

And it also helps me because it increases the rankings of the show a little bit, which of course then makes it a little bit more easily found by other people who may like it just as much as you. And if you didn’t like something about this episode or about the show in general, or if you have. Ideas or suggestions or just feedback to share.

Shoot me an email, mike muscle for, muscle f o r and let me know what I could do better or just, uh, what your thoughts are about maybe what you’d like to see me do in the future. I read everything myself. I’m always looking for new ideas and constructive feedback. So thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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