“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.
Mentioned on The Show:
What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
Hey, it’s another episode of Muscle For Life. Welcome, welcome. I am your host, Mike Matthews, and thank you for joining me today to learn about a book that I liked. Now, why am I doing an episode about books that I like? Well, I often get. Asked for book recommendation. Many people want to know what my favorite books are on various topics.
They want to know what books I am reading right now, or what books I’ve read recently and which ones I’ve liked, as well as my all-time favorite books. Again, on various topics or in various genres, and as an avid. And all around bi file. I am always happy to oblige. I also like to encourage people to read as much as possible because knowledge benefits you much like compound interest because the more you learn, the more you know.
The more you know, the more you can do, and the more you can do, the more opportunities you have to succeed. On the flip side, I really do believe that there is little hope for people who are not 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 new good stuff to read, or if you would just like to get into the habit of reading, then this episode is for you and this series of episodes is for you. I post one every four to six weeks or. And the idea behind the series is very simple. I share books that I have particularly liked.
I explain why I liked them, and I share several of my key S from the books. Usually it’s five, sometimes it’s three, as well as some of my own thoughts on those key takeaways. Also, if you like what I am doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition. Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the world, and we’re on top because every ingredient and dose in every product is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research.
Every formulation is 100% transparent. There are no proprietary blends, for example, and everything is naturally sweetened and flavored, so that means no artificial sweeteners, no artificial food dyes, which may not be as dangerous as some people would have you believe. But there is good evidence to suggest that having many servings of artificial sweeteners, in particular every day for long periods of time may not be the best for your.
So while you don’t need pills, powders, and potions to get into great shape, and frankly, most of them are virtually useless, there are natural ingredients that can help you lose fat, build muscle, and get healthy faster. And you will find the best of them in legions products to check out everything we have to offer, including protein powders and bars, pre-workout and post-workout supplements, fat burners, multivitamins, joint support, and more head.
To buy legion.com/mike, that’s b u y L E G I O n.com/mike. And just to show you how much I appreciate my podcast peeps, use the coupon code M F L checkout and you will save 20% on your entire first order. Okay, so let’s get to the featured book of this episode, which is Ready Fire Aimed by Michael Masterson.
And this is one of the better business books I’ve ever read, actually, and one that I regularly recommend when people ask me for my top three or my top five business books that have helped me the most as an entrepreneur. And I’ve read many, I’ve read many books on business marketing. Leadership and this one Ready Fighter aim really stood out because of how much incisive and actionable advice it has for small businesses of all sizes, ranging from day one to a hundred plus million in annual revenue.
Also, I, uh, appreciated that this book is written by someone who has not only succeeded in business, but who has done it multiple times. And that’s important because anybody can get lucky once. But repeated successes is a tribute to skill. Somebody who has done something repeatedly well, who has succeeded multiple times is much more credible than somebody who has succeeded only once.
I also enjoyed how this book is organized. Instead of speaking broadly about important and effective business practices, Masterson begins by sharing the blueprint to your first million dollars in sales, uh, stage one, as he calls. Then he moves on to going from 1 million in sales to 10 million in sales, annual sales, and that he calls stage two followed by 10 to 50 million stage three, and finally 50 to a hundred million and beyond stage four.
And that approach to teaching entrepreneurship makes a lot of sense to me because the problems, challenges, and opportunities. Change markedly as a business grows. What gets you from zero to 1 million in revenue is probably not going to get you to 10 million in revenue, and what gets you to 10 million probably won’t get you to 50 million and so on.
For instance, in stage one, zero to 1 million in revenue, your primary focus should be sales. You as the business owner, should spend probably at least 80% of your. Selling, figuring out how to sell your product or service well enough to reach a critical mass of customers that you can then continue to sell to.
And if you can’t do that, if you can’t figure out who is your ideal customer and how do you sell them effectively, not necessarily. Profitably because it is almost impossible to profitably acquire customers at scale. You can shoot for break, even though that’s a good goal, where the cost to acquire a customer is equal to the profits and how you then, Be profitable if you are not making or losing money on your customer acquisition.
Well, that’s where your other products and services, your backend offers come into play. That’s where your profits are. Again, though, you can’t get to profitability if you can’t figure out how to acquire customers at scale and at the right price. If you can’t do that, your business will even. Fail. And accordingly, the first section of Ready, fire, aim, dedicates nearly 70 pages to effective selling, which I really appreciated.
That gets my imprimatur and it’s good selling advice too. It is the fundamentals, but of course, like with dieting, like with lifting. When it comes to selling, when it comes to marketing, when it comes to advertising, the fundamentals, the 20% deliver the 80%. If you can just execute well on the basic, you can do well, and that’s what Masterson goes over.
If you follow his advice and you do a decent job of executing, you will make sales guaranteed. The only question will be how many? I also appreciated how little. This book contains too many non-fiction books are really just long-winded articles. You know, a few big ideas padded with pages and pages of sometimes interesting, but otherwise meaningless anecdotes and asides, but not this one, not ready, fire, aim.
It’s the polar opposite actually, because much of the 356 pages of content is stake. Sizzle. A lot of the material will also be useful to people who don’t own businesses, but who drive growth in other people’s businesses. So if, for example, your job is to help acquire customers, maybe you’re not in charge of customer acquisition, but you work on some aspect of customer acquisition, or maybe you are involved with creating new products and services to sell to existing customers, you’re gonna get a lot of value from this.
Okay, let’s get to my top five takeaways. Number one quote, if you are opening a restaurant, you have to get the product right from the start. So two, if you are manufacturing cars. But for most entrepreneurial businesses, it is enough to have the product and customer service just okay at the outset.
Perfecting them can be done a little later after you’ve gotten feedback from your customers. And my note here is when you are looking to start a business or launch a new product or service, your. Goal should be to validate whether you can actually deliver something that people will buy, like, and recommend to others.
Only after you have established that, can you start to think about growing the demand for that product or service through marketing and advertising and the like. What’s more, you want to validate the value of your creation as quickly and cheaply as possible so you can scrap it and try something else if it doesn’t pan out.
Now, unfortunately, many entrepreneurs and product managers don’t think like this. Instead, they focus purely on what they would like or what they just want to create, and then they invest way too much time, money, and energy into creating a perfect p. Only to discover that in the end, very few people actually want it or like it.
And this mistake alone explains why so many businesses fail. And by avoiding that mistake, you can greatly increase your chances of success. So the lesson here is getting your product or service just right. Is important, but not in the beginning, except in the rare cases where it actually is. Usually the best opening move is getting a good enough version of the thing to the market as quickly as you can, and then starting to sell it to the early adopter types who most feel the need for it, and who are more forgiving of mistakes and willing to share feedback than the average consumer.
Okay, here is the second takeaway quote. What you are looking for is an idea that will really excite you. An idea that feels like it might capture the market and create a tipping point buying frenzy. If it feels that way, your success is not guaranteed, but your chances are much better than they would be if you weren’t excited.
Now, my note here is, This mindset has served me well in the realms of product creation and marketing. Consistently. My most successful work, my most successful books, supplements, marketing initiatives, even articles and podcasts came from ideas that got me excited because I saw their potential. They really clicked for me.
I saw that they. Executable and they had a high probability of success based on whatever information I was operating with or based on my past experiences, or sometimes just based on my intuition. Now, I don’t make major commitments based on intuition, but I have. Come to respect my intuition, and if my intuition says that something could be really good, then I am very inclined to look into it.
I’m not necessarily just gonna go with that, but that is a very good sign because while that feeling has led me astray, it has been more useful than problematic. It has been more accurate than inaccurate. Again, the things that I’ve done that. Succeeded the most. Got me excited. They flipped that switch.
Another way of looking at this is if something feels like it could be a breakthrough, it has that potential. It may not be, but it may be. However, if something feels boring, if the idea just feels very humdrum, it is almost guaranteed to under. When implemented, it is almost guaranteed to underperform. It is almost guaranteed to not surprise you with great success.
And so when I’m considering the next book to write, or the next product to create or marketing project to invest time and money into, I brainstorm until I have at least. Several exciting options, not just one. I don’t go just the first. I come up with several, at least three, if not five or more, and then I put them aside for at least a few days and I take my temperature again.
I look at them again. I think about them again. I feel them again, and I remove any that I’m no longer excited about and that happens often. I will get an idea and it’ll really make sense to. And I’ll put it aside and I’ll come back to it a week later and wonder what I was thinking and see major problems with it and throw it away.
And that’s fine. That’s just part of the process of ideation. So then what I do is I take whatever’s left and I discuss those ideas with a few savvy business people to get their thoughts. And then finally, I decide. Which ones to proceed with and in which order, and which ones should be tabled or just scrapped altogether.
Now, it’s worth noting that the viability of this strategy pivots on the quality of your creative marketing and business instincts, which in turn are informed by your knowledge and your experience, and you can hone your intuitions through experience alone. But that is a long, arduous and often. Painful slog that many people can’t stay with.
And therefore, I recommend a much more efficient and pleasant way of sharpening your judgment. And that’s learning. Reading books like Ready, fire, aim, and many others, listening to podcasts, listening to talks and lectures, and so on and so forth. And I know I’ve said this many times, but I’m gonna say it again.
If anyone tells me that they really want to accomplish a goal, one of my first questions. How many books have they read on that subject? How many podcasts have they listened to? How committed are they to learning about that? And if the answer is none or very few, then I immediately know they are not that serious about it, and unfortunately, their chances of success are quite low.
Okay, next takeaway number three, quote. One, ask yourself how much it will cost to make the idea come to life. Take that number and double it. Two, figure out how many units it will sell, or how much extra cash it will bring in. And cut that number in half. If the net result of doubling your anticipated costs and having your expected returns still looks like you’ve got a profitable venture, go ahead with it.
If it looks marginal or negative, drop it and move on to the next idea. And my note here is no matter. Thorough. You try to be accurately estimating the time and money required to complete tasks or projects of substantial complexity. Is a bear, a big black bear? There is an adage known as Hoff Stater’s law that states it always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hoff Stater’s law.
And if you just accept that as. And if you act accordingly, you can save yourself a lot of time, a lot of money, and you can save yourself probably a lot of your hairline as well. And this bit of advice from Masterson that I shared in the takeaway helps whenever you are assessing the viability of a product or a service, even if it’s your first.
So maybe this is at the beginning of the process of starting a business work to establish reasonable estimates. Empirical data-based estimates, not feelings based in actual numbers, actual facts of how much time and money it’ll take to bring whatever you want to do to the market, and then double those estimates and then create a conservative forecast of sales again based on good empirical data, and then have that and only proceed with the project or the business, right, or the product or service if the numbers are good, under those assumptions.
This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way Several times in building my businesses. Early on, I committed to at least a handful of abortive and expensive product development and marketing initiatives that would not have passed that test. Now, fortunately, I came across this idea some time ago and changed how I went.
Allocating resources, and now some of my biggest wins have come from things that were still very promising when viewed through Jade tinted glasses.
If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my sports nutrition company Legion, which thanks to the support of many people like you, is the leading brand of all natural sports supplements in the. Okay. Next, takeaway number four, quote. My argument in a single sentence is this, getting things going quickly is more important than planning them perfectly.
Now, my note here is in many athletic activities, the single physical factor that will most influence your ability to perform, to do well isn’t strength. That’s not how strong you are, but how much. You can generate how quickly you can produce forceful movements of your body, how quickly you can express your strength or demonstrate your strength or tap into your strength.
Now, business is very similar. Faster is almost always better. Yes, you need to be able to think strategically and you have to be able to develop clear, practical, and feasible plans that span the course of months and even years. You also need to be able to shift into high gear and execute your plans swiftly before their windows of opportunity close due to shifts in circumstances, competition or otherwise.
As Napoleon said, you must be slow in deliberation and swift in execution. What’s more boldness and speed have psychological and spiritual benefits as well. They encourage, they exhilarate, they empower, they build morale, create a sense of vitality in a group. They attract attention and admiration, which makes it easier to not just sell things, but also recruit more good people for the group.
Boldness and speed are also effective tools to use against opponents, competitors. Put them on their heels, force them to act reactively and preventing them from putting that time and money into acting proactively, figuring out ways to get ahead. Okay. The fifth and final takeaway quote, if you want to develop a business that keeps growing, don’t spend all your time trying to reduce your product costs.
Spend a good deal of time asking how can we make this better? And my note here is, one of the best ways to make a successful business more successful is a program of incremental improvements to its products and services, even when there’s no evidence that customers are. That’s a key point. Now, how often should you be looking to improve your products and services?
Well, Masterson says that you should improve your stuff as often as you can, and I think that’s good advice. For example, this is why Legion’s Scientific Advisory Board is. Always engaged in upgrading our existing products. In addition to making new products, including perennial bestsellers that receive rave reviews like Pulse or pre-workout in Phoenix, or Fat Burner and Triumph or multivitamin, it would be easy.
To argue that those products are not worth improving because customers love them. Why bother? But I disagree. The ongoing upgrades to those products and others accomplishes several things. It gives me something new. To announce to everyone, and people love new, one of the best words in marketing new. It also makes customers even happier and even more impressed with the quality of the products, and that of course stimulates more word of mouth, and it also makes people feel closer to the business.
It helps establish a deeper relationship and makes the business more of a brand in their mind rather than a c. All that is also why I have released multiple editions of several of my fitness books over the years, and I’ve spent quite a bit of time on each really trying to make each new iteration substantially better than the last.
I didn’t just get a new forward and maybe throw some new stuff in the back of the book and change a couple intros to a couple of chapters and call it a day. No, not even close. Each successive edition was basically a complete rewrite. Now the fundamental. Haven’t changed that much since the first editions, but certain aspects have, and then a lot of the additional information to make the programs as easy to understand and follow and get results with as possible.
A lot of that has changed because I’ve been able to interact with thousands and. Thousands, if not tens of thousands at this point of readers over the years. So the first edition to the second edition, major changes, second edition to the third edition, major changes. And now I’m working on a new round of updates to bigger, leaner, stronger and thinner.
Leaner, stronger based on all the work that I. Did on the book for the 40 plus crowd that I’m doing with Simon and Schuster, and that will be out next year, probably Q1 next year, and it is called Muscle for Life Again, 40 plus men and women. Really happy with how it came together and as I worked through that book and worked with my editors over at Simon and Schuster, I got a lot of good ideas about how I can make my existing.
Books even better and even more compatible with Muscle for Life when it comes out. Because what I really want people to be able to do is read Muscle for Life, do the programs in that book, and then if they want to take their fitness to the next level, go off to either bigger, lean or stronger or thinner, lean or stronger.
And so I have embarked on yet another round. Fairly extensive changes to big, leaner, stronger and thin. Leaner stronger. Now, in this case, the bottom line practical recommendations are not gonna be changing much at all. But I am reorganizing the books to make them even more reader friendly, and I am addressing a number of suggestions and criticisms that I have gotten over the last year or so since I released the third edition.
So this is a good opportu. To fix some deficiencies that readers have brought up that I agree with, and to pull out some material that probably doesn’t need to be in the book and replace it with stuff that is going to be more useful for people who are going to be following the programs. Now, as you can imagine, that is going to take a fair amount of time.
For example, I work on it five to seven days a week for one to three hours a day, and I think it’ll take me probably until the summer to be done with both bigger and stronger and thinly stronger. And that includes the audio books, which also take a bit of time. And I think it’s worth it though, which is why I’m doing it because I sold probably between 130 and 150,000.
BLS and T LSS combined last year, and that’s a lot of people. And the better impression I can make on those people going forward the more that is going to help Legion and help everything else that I’m doing. So anyway, I hope that gives you a little bit of insight into my philosophy of product.
Management, always be working on improving your things and especially the things that acquire you the most customers, your tipping point products. And yes, it is a lot of work and no, it is not very fun. Usually writing the next version of bigger, leaner, stronger and thinly or stronger is not fun at all if I’m being honest.
But if you are willing to do that work, you can gain a huge competitive advantage in the market because many of your competitors, most of. Probably are not willing to do it. Okay, super. Friends, that’s it for this episode. I hope you liked it. Thanks again for joining me and next week, what is on the docket?
Well, I have a monologue coming on Monday called Don’t Let Success Hold You Back. A little motivation piece, and then I have. Another installment of Best of Muscle for Life coming on Wednesday or Thursday, followed by the Friday q and a where I’m gonna be talking about ExOne fasting and muscle loss, and the lessons to teach my children.
All right. Well, that’s it for this episode. I hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and helpful. And if you did, and you don’t mind doing me a favor, please do leave a quick review on iTunes or. Wherever you’re listening to me from in whichever app you’re listening to me in, because that not only convinces people that they should check out the show, it also increases search visibility and thus it helps more people find their way to me and learn how to get.
Fitter, leaner, stronger, healthier, and happier as well. And of course, if you want to be notified when the next episode goes live, then simply subscribe to the podcast and you won’t miss out on any new stuff. And if you didn’t like something about the show, please do shoot me an email at mike muscle for life.com.
Just muscle f o r life.com and share your thoughts on how I can do this. I read everything myself and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open to it. And of course you can email me if you have positive feedback as well, or if you have questions really relating to anything that you think I could help you with, definitely send me an email.
That is the best way to get ahold of me, mike muscle life.com. And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you.