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“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:

Books by Mike Matthews

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 takeaways 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’m doing here on the podcast and else. Definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world.

Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the Shredded Chef. Now, these books have sold well over 1 million copies and have helped thousands of people build their best body ever, and you can find them on all major online retailers like Audible, Amazon, iTunes, Cobo, and Google Play as well.

In Select Barnes and Noble stores. And I should also mention that you can get any of the audiobooks 100% free when you sign up for an Audible account. And this is a great way to make those pockets of downtime, like commuting, meal prepping, and cleaning more interesting, entertaining, and productive. And so if you want to take Audible up on this offer, and if you want to get one of my audiobooks for free, just go to Legion.

That’s b u y And sign up for your account. So again, if you appreciate my work and if you wanna see more of it, and if you wanna learn time proven and evidence-based strategies for losing fat, building muscle and getting healthy, and strategies that work for anyone and everyone, regardless of age or circumstances, please do consider picking up one of my best selling books, bigger, leaner, stronger.

Thinner, leaner, stronger for women, and the shredded chef for my favorite fitness friendly recipe. Okay, let’s get to the featured book, which is Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann. Now, I’ve mentioned on previous podcasts at least once, that I choose books to read using a simple system that rotates through several genres like marketing and persuasion.

Business slash work slash leader. Health and fitness and others, and Super Thinking was the latest book that I read for my Be Smarter slash Better Genre. And I really liked it because it contains a thorough, but also accessible inventory of many powerful mental models that can help us think and act more effectively in many different ways.

Now, by mental model, I mean. Think things work in a particular domain in a particular area, and as the quality of our reasoning and our decisions depends hugely on the accuracy of our mental models, on how closely these mental models reflect reality and how reality works. Expanding and honing our collection of valuable mental models is a very high.

Activity that can pay dividends in really every area of our life. For example, mental models discussed in this book include availability bias, fundamental attribution error, and optimistic probability bias and understanding and using those models can help us avoid common thinking errors that warp our feelings and warp our intuitions.

Good hearts law is another model discussed in the book that can help us create better incentive. Our children and our employees, if we’re talking about work or our direct reports and short-termism technical debt in path dependence are models that can help us avoid decisions and behaviors that we will later regret.

You see, there’s a reason why people like Jeff Bezos, Charlie Munger and Alan Musk have spoken about the importance of understanding and. Mental models. Fundamentally successful thinking and planning involves predicting likely outcomes based on known and hypothetical data and scenarios and time. Proven mental models enhance our ability to predict and plan by allowing us to spot otherwise invisible patterns and dynamics that hold true and behave consistently across a variety of situ.

Okay, let’s get to the takeaways. The first takeaway is this quote, as Charlie Munger says, I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know. The other side’s argument better than they do, and my note here is . This is one of the easiest ways. To stump even an educated and intelligent person who has strong opinions, and particularly on controversial things like climate change, gun violence, systemic racism, you name it.

Simply ask them to explain the three most common counter-arguments to their positions and why those counter-arguments are unconvincing. And if they want bonus points, pick the strongest counter arguments, ask them to steelman the other side and then explain to you. They don’t believe it. I mean, seriously, try that sometime and watch how quickly the person changes the subject because they’ve never sought out counterpoints and they likely never will.

Instead, these people have succumbeded to three thorny human tendencies that are discussed in this book. One is the tendency to gather and interpret information that confirms our pre. Beliefs. This is a phenomenon known as confirmation bias. Two, the tendency to impose a higher burden of proof on ideas that we don’t like or don’t want to believe, which is known as dis confirmation bias.

And three, the tendency to harden our opinions when faced with facts and evidence that suggest otherwise. And that’s something scientists refer to as the backfire effect now. All been guilty of these faulty behaviors, and if we want to be as rational and thoughtful as possible, we really have to consciously, it takes work.

I mean, I know we have to consciously resist the allure of these habits. We have to actively seek out and consider opposing viewpoints. We have to maintain equal standards of proof. We have to resist. Refuge of a bunker mentality, or if we are not willing to do those things, we at least have to acknowledge that we are more interested in just indulging our feelings than actually discovering the truth.

We are more interested in feeling right. Than being right. A good example of this is all of the allegations regarding cheating in this presidential election. I was at a little block party last night and talking with a neighbor of mine, and a neighbor of mine told me that he didn’t think there was any systemic cheating.

There wasn’t enough cheating to really make a difference. He said that he thought that, sure, there are bad actors. I’m sure there are people who threw away ballots or. Filled out blank ballots and sure did things that were illegal, but not on a scale large enough to make a difference in the election. And what was interesting is when I asked him how he had come to that conclusion, he hadn’t reviewed really any of the evidence of.

Cheating on a scale large enough to make a difference in the election, and I am not even going to comment on that because that’s not the point of why I’m bringing this up. I just thought it was interesting that he had already decided that no meaningful cheating had occurred without even looking first.

But to his credit, he acknowledged that when I pointed out he acknowledge. All he had really done is look at a couple of mainstream media sources, listen to a couple of talking heads, and he liked what they were saying, the story of no cheating. And this was just an honest election. And this was a repudiation of Trump.

And this was really just Trump’s fault because you know, he’s not a very good politician. And this election really was just a shining. Of democracy. My buddy liked all that. It made him feel good. He’s a business owner, he’s a successful guy. He wants to keep growing his business and he knows that governmental gridlock is generally good for markets and okay for the economy.

That’s why, for example, my friend liked that the g o P retained control of the Senate because not that much can change. Not that much can be done unless you control Congress, uh, the Senate. And the presidency, and that is totally understandable. It’s just human right. But to my friend’s credit, he acknowledged that he saw that he hadn’t really looked into both sides of the argument.

He wanted to believe one side, and he found just enough evidence to confirm that and moved on. And you know, he may be listening. Actually, if you are listening, cleal, I hope you feel I represented our conversation fairly and accurately. And of course, don’t take this as a personal attack at all. I just thought the exchange was interesting and I’ve had similar exchanges with several other friends of mine who have been quick to decry.

Any claims of foul play as just g o p conspiracy theory without even looking into it. I have no problem with the claim that there was no meaningful cheating, but it is silly to take that position and then not be able to back it up with really anything in the way of details and logical argument. To not be able to go beyond the tweet or maybe Reddit comment level of thinking or discussion.

Anyway, let’s move on to the next takeaway, and that is Nobel Prizewinning physicist Max Plank, explained it like this in his scientific autobiography and other papers. A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up.

That is familiar. Or more succinctly, science progresses one funeral at a time. And my note here is many people do not realize how messy scientific progress really is. Many people imagine that these scientific community or communities are these monolithic battalions of. Unbiased and upright men and women who are just selflessly and harmoniously searching for new and better ways to understand and exploit reality for the betterment of all of humankind if only scientific theories usually evolve like this.

Problems with existing paradigms and contradictory evidence are ignored or rationalized away until eventually the defects become so numerous and so obvious that the discipline itself is thrown into a crisis, and then new explanations are adopted as the accepted norms. For instance, in 1912, a man named Alfred Vegner proposed the now accepted theory of continental drift in which the continents s wander across the oceans.

Initially, however, his idea was roundly rejected by experts on the grounds that he was a meteorologist. He wasn’t a geologist, and he couldn’t explain how such a drift occurred. He only was saying that it appeared to be the case, and so Alfred’s hypothesis languished for nearly 40. Years until a new scientific discipline, paleo magnetism started to produce data in support of it, and eventually the experts had to admit that he was right all along.

Another example of this phenomenon is the work of Igna Semmelweiss, who was a 19th century Hungarian doctor, who after much careful observation was convinced that if doctors who were handling cadavers washed their hands, Before delivering babies, fewer mothers would die after giving birth. Now, his theory was completely rejected by the medical community at large for several reasons, including the offensive implication, the doctors were inadvertently killing their patients as well as the academic deficiencies in semmelweis’s explanations for why hand washing seemed to.

Mortality. And sadly, Semmelweiss went crazy trying to prove his beliefs, and he was admitted to a mental institution against his will, and he was beaten straight, jacketed and abused. And he died two weeks later at the age of 47 from a gangrenous wound on his right hand, and it then took 20 years. For Medicos to realize they were wrong and he was right.

Antiseptics did work, and they should be washing their hands in between digging through dead bodies and delivering babies. My point with all this is beware the growing cults of scientism and credentialism. , which by the way are not synonyms for science and credentials. Scientism is defined as excessive belief in the power of scientific knowledge and techniques.

And credentialism is belief in or reliance on academic or other formal qualifications as the best measure of a person’s intelligence or ability to do a particular job. So in other words, what I’m talking about here, Swallowing anything purporting to be scientific or from the mouth of quote unquote experts in this brave new clown world that we live in.

The proclamation that cutting off your head is unhealthy, is quickly met by a chorus of skeptical mid whits who demand peer reviewed studies as proof. These are not. People. These are people who can’t think for themselves and who desperately rely on authorities to tell them what to believe. Well, to paraphrase Carl Sagan, you have every right to mistrust arguments from authority and to demand that experts prove their contentions like everybody else, because too many of the arguments of such people have.

Too agonizingly wrong. Additionally, if you have retained your senses, you also have the power to come to many sound conclusions Through your faculties of observation and reasoning alone, you don’t have to instinctively reject your senses and deductions and even your intuitions until they are blessed by a high priest of officialdom.

If you like what I’m doing here on the podcast and elsewhere, definitely check out my health and fitness books, including the number one best selling weightlifting books for men and women in the world. Bigger, leaner, stronger, and thinner. Leaner, stronger, as well as the leading flexible dieting cookbook, the shredded.

Okay. Moving on to the third takeaway from the book. Practically, whenever you’re presented with a decision with two options, try to think of more. And my note here is, this is a simple but very powerful piece of advice that can immediately improve your decision making in any area of your life. Because when you’re faced with a problem or an opportunity, there are almost always more paths to victory than we initially perceive.

And we can almost always, and I would even go as far as saying always, Period. We can always do better than whatever First comes to mind, and this is why Hemingway said first drafts are shit and why Spielberg said that. All good ideas start out as bad ideas. You see, the thing is ideation is difficult. It is, and that’s probably why so many people avoid it.

It is just much easier. To take whatever’s presented to us or whatever is top of mind. And what most people don’t realize though, is brainstorming is really just like anything else. It’s just a skill you can learn. And at first it’s something that most of us are not very good at. And I would include myself in that.

Camp. I never considered myself a very creative person, for example, but after having the discipline to just do a lot of creative work in my writing and also in my business, particularly in the realm of marketing, I think I’ve gotten pretty good at coming up with ideas. I’ve also gotten good at sorting the good ideas from the bad ideas because a lot of the ideas I come up with, especially the ones that come first when I start to reflect on a problem or an opportunity, are not very good.

Even the ones that have. Appeal to me initially. I mean, that has happened to me so many times in my marketing in particular, where I will start brainstorming ideas to grow my businesses, how to sell more books, how to sell more supplements, how to get more people reading my articles, more people listening to my podcast and so forth.

And I’ll come up with some ideas. And a couple of the first, let’s say 10 ideas, immediate. Seem worthwhile. They immediately seem like they could have some legs and that they could be worth pursuing. I have developed the discipline to not just jump into action based on my first impression. What I do now is I write my ideas down, I pull the ones that are clearly bad, and then I set the list of potential candidates aside for several days, maybe even a week, and then come back to it.

And every time I will find. That I liked or even really liked at first glance, that now are clear losers to me and not just based on my feelings. Not like, oh, I was liking it at first and I couldn’t really tell you why, and now I’m not liking it, and I couldn’t really tell you why. No, that now are ideas I can quickly dismiss with logic or facts with things that I just missed the first time around.

And so my point is, you can become an idea person. by just regularly acting like one by practicing, by coming up with ideas, putting them aside, revisiting them. And you can also do lateral thinking exercises. You can find many of these things online. They are great practice at just ideating. You can find great creative prompts and tools in the book Thinker toys as well.

If any of this is interesting to you and you want to incorporate some ideation into. Regimen your mental fitness regimen. Definitely check out thinker toys. And lastly, if you really wanna get good at coming up with good ideas, you need to be always improving your conception of what good is. Always improving your ability to spot good.

And I believe that is one of the primary common denominators among people who are just good at coming up with good. You see, if you can’t survey a domain, if you can’t look out across a lot of information, a lot of ideas, and start sorting the good from the bad, then you’re not gonna be able to do that with your own ideas either.

Because remember, no matter how good we are at coming up with ideas, most of them are not gonna be very good, and that’s totally fine. That’s totally normal. That’s how it works. The key is just being able to come up with a lot of ideas. It is the quantitative win. That’s what we’re going for first. Then we can take the quantitative hat off and put the qualitative hat on and start hunting for the winners and speaking personally.

The process usually goes like this. I come up with a lot of ideas. I then go through the second round with those ideas, and I get rid of most of them. And the ones that remain are not perfect. There aren’t any ideas in there that I feel like I can run with exactly as formulated. And so then a process of refining those ideas begin.

And that then results in the elimination of some, or even many of the remaining ideas because they just turn out to be dead ends. They just don’t really get me excited. They don’t seem to have that spark. However, as I work through this process, I am almost always left with at least a handful of ideas that shine a handful of ideas.

That I really like, that I really think can work that I get excited about. And I have gone through that process enough and I have implemented enough ideas successfully and unsuccessfully to have confidence in the process and in my ability to execute it and my ability. To listen to my sensibilities to keep going until I hit on something that really resonates with me.

And so another tip I wanna share with you that has really helped me get there is to study whichever area you are ideating in. Obsessively. Read a lot about it. Collect a lot of technical information, expose yourself to many different ideas and learn about the results of those ideas. Learn about what other people have done with those ideas and how those endeavors have panned out.

What has worked and what has not worked, and then think about all of this stuff. A lot revolve it around in your mind when you were in the shower and. On the toilet. And when you are taking your dog for a walk, think about the questions you still have, the things you still don’t know about and what the answers might be.

Come up with different scenarios, and if you do all of those things, what you’ll find is your judgment. Gets better and better. You’ll become more aware of subtleties. You will get better at assigning importances to different facets of things and realizing which things matter a lot more than others. And you’ll start spotting things and making connections that other people miss.

And in time you’ll develop an instinct for discerning good from bad. That seems almost mystical to some people. Okay, let’s move on to the fourth takeaway, which is, if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late. Now, this is a concept that I share with many people who ask me for business advice.

Uh, in startup land, there is this idea called the minimum Viable product, or m v mvp, and it’s a product with just enough features to be product. Tested, and this, I believe is almost always the best way to start a business. You get something to market as quickly as you can because your first plan is probably wrong, and you really want real world feedback from customers and users to help you steer the product or service in the right direction to help you steer it.

Right, and more specifically, what you are really going for with the feedback that you get and the revisions that you make based on the feedback. And then of course you get more feedback and then you amend your product or service further. What you’re going for is something called product market fit, and that is the primary driver of long-term business.

Success. That is what you most want to achieve when you are starting a new business, and it’s defined as being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market, and that is very unlikely to occur in your first foray into a market. It is too hard to get all the little things right. That you need to really resonate with a market to really strike a chord with consumers and convince them in large numbers to go with you instead.

It almost always requires quite a bit of iteration, and initially your goal really should be to do as little work as you can to start that process because that’s when the real work begins. Okay, the fifth and final takeaway is the most important questions of life are. For the most part, really only problems of probability.

And my note here is the law of large numbers is a theorem that states that the average of a large number of trials should be close to the expected value. For example, if a casino loses money on a single spin of a roulette wheel, they can rest. Easy knowing that the law of large numbers guarantees them a profit over time.

That is over the course of hundreds of thousands of spins. The lopsided nature of the game, which has a substantial house advantage built into it. Mathematically, they know that will manifest. They know that a profit will be realized. So long as they can bankroll enough spins. If they allow someone to bet too much per spin, they may be bankrupted because in the short term, you are going to have variance around that expected value around that mean.

But over time, over the course of enough spins that underlying. Pattern will prevail. And in this way, a casino, mathematically speaking makes money every single time the roulette wheel is spun regardless of the actual outcome of the spin. And this, of course, is why casinos do just about anything they can to keep you there, to keep you in the pits.

Hooting and hollering. Now, this mathematical maxim isn’t just for casinos and insurance companies. I think it has a profound relevance to every aspect of our life because I think that one of the big secrets to success in so many arenas isn’t luck or ingenuity or nepotism, but simply persistence, simply the will to keep the.

Spinning because so long as you are informed and smart enough to come with ideas that are just good enough to work, and I believe that all of us are capable of this, every time you spin the wheel, you profit. So for example, if you wanna make a bunch of sales, then you just need to engage a lot of prospects.

You want to build the killer app or just create a lot of versions. Do you wanna write that book that’s been sitting inside you? Scribble words, one after another every day. And while botched presentations and horrendous bugs and awful pros may not seem like progress, remember those spins count. They’re part of the process that over time produces desirable results.

Don’t count your lucky stars or act surprise when this happens because it has nothing. Fate. It has nothing to do with any other unknowns or uncontrollables. It’s just the natural course of things. So here’s a lesson I’ve learned well in my life. In business travels don’t put much stock in the immediate success or failure.

Of each individual bet you make each individual decision or action you make. Instead, focus on consistently making as many winning bets as you can, and thanks to the law of large numbers, your gains will consistently exceed your losses. All right, muscle for lifers. That’s it for this episode. I hope you found it.

And if you are still listening, you’re probably gonna like the book. So I’d recommend you pick it up and give it a read. And definitely keep an eye on the podcast feed as well, because I have an episode coming on Grabham, something that many people have been asking me about over the last, uh, year or so. I have an interview I did with the veteran fitness author Lou Schuler.

I have another installment of Best of Muscle for Life coming as well as another q and. 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, 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

Just muscle f o r and share your thoughts on how I can do this better. I read everything myself, and I’m always looking for constructive feedback. Even if it is criticism, I’m open. 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, at muscle And that’s it. Thanks again for listening to this episode, and I hope to hear from you soon.

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