Education, the Umbrella Academy, and Wealth Creation

„Artur, your opinions always seem a bit extreme” – my friend, when we were discussing the public education last week. Education is one of my hot topics, and you can expect a related essay from me soon.

I enjoy people having strong opinions, people experimenting with their way of thinking, and trying out something new. That appreciation of experimentation extends to culture. I consider all four Avengers movies to be quite average, but Thor Ragnarok (trailer) is one of the best ones out there. Rise of Skywalker is disappointing, but The Mandalorian is excellent.
Popular franchises suffer from the curse of their own popularity. They have to appeal to everyone and thus cater to the lowest common denominator.

Less-popular offshoots, like Mandalorian, Guardians of the Galaxy, or The Umbrella Academy, are not scrutinized as strongly by studio executives. Not every plotline has to be sanitized, and not every single thing has to be optimized to death.

That leaves room for creativity, exploration, and pure fun. Education could be the same way if we stopped trying to extract production value out of the kids.

3 Interesting effects of the Internet

Ramit Sethi – is this guy legit? I took his courses and found these 5 principles.

Everything was going fine in my life, and I was miserable.

Five years ago, I had a ‘fine’ job, but I craved a challenge – something I could be proud of. Slacking off at the office, I was browsing Hacker News (a technology-oriented version of Reddit), marveling at the fantastic things everybody ELSE was doing. I could see my future as a cog in the corporate machine, and it was not inspiring.

Ramit’s advice helped me truly level up. During one of those Hacker-News-Fueled ‘breaks’, I stumbled upon this financial blogger with marketing, business, and job-search advice. Despite the scammy-sounding title of his blog – “I will teach you to be Rich”, I found it very helpful and ended up taking the “Dream Job” course.

Fast forward five years, I work remotely for the best company I could ever dream of, making past me very proud. I travel the world with my wife, who also works remotely – thanks to Ramit’s advice. Our company even flew us to India to present at a conference. We never dreamt of going to India, let alone on the company’s dime. We went to a city known for one of the most luxurious hotels in India – in fact, Ramit went there on his honeymoon!

After taking Dream Job, I have attended Success Triggers, Delegate&Done, Mental Mastery and How to talk to anybody. I recommend each one of these courses. They deliver consistent, exceptional quality and are great lenses to organize your existing knowledge.

To answer the title question: Yes, he is legit. Any course you will choose will be the best one in the category.

“Ramit Sethi is very, very legit”

Tim Ferriss

The biggest value I get from these curriculums is what not to focus on at this moment. Ramit claims that he and the team spend the majority of the time on nailing the lesson plan and it really shows. In the world where information is abundant, this curation is the ultimate value.

Ramit is about the “Rich Life”

Yes, he is in the personal finance sphere. But instead of focusing on curbing spending, budgeting, power of compounding in investments – and all the other components of successful financial future, he focuses of the end goal – the Rich Life, whatever that means for you:

  • Getting rid of credit card debt ( in the “I will teach you to be rich” book )
  • Getting a better job ( in Dreamjob )
  • Starting a business (in Earn1K and Zero to launch Courses)
  • Negotiating a raise (in Dreamjob )
  • Reclaiming your time (in “Delegate & Done” course about virtual assistants)

5 principles of Ramit

After reading Ramit’s content for years, I have teased out these underlying messages in all of his teachings:

Disproportionate results

By investing 10% more than others into preparation, research and figuring out the strategy, you can get 10x – 100x better results. This approach is applicable in job search (make connections first), building a business (nail down your target niche first), fitness, dating and other areas of Rich Life.

Strategies, not tactics

The Internet loves gimmicks and listicles like “10 apps to polish your resume, 20 online marketplaces for creators.”. But these are tactics. The important things to internalize are the strategies that help us understand “game being played around us”. Not frantic tactics that will be useless after a year.

Focus on the big wins

You can focus on saving a few hundred bucks a year by cutting back on lattes, or you can get a 30 000 dollar raise. Nuff said. Click here if you want to read one of Ramit’s classic rants on ‘cut back on lattes’.

Psychology is key

The best advice is the one you take and follow-through. Ramit understands that and optimizes his courses, emails, and tips to make help you follow-through. They are not stuffed with every conceivable piece of information on the topic, but meticulously designed to make you succeed. That being said, his courses include “Vaults” that have 10x the amount of tips and tactics as the main material. But as I mentioned, the tactics are never the focus.

Test relentlessly

Do stuff that works. Take a hard look at what doesn’t. Don’t try to make yourself feel better by confusing the two.

Get his advice for free

Ramit frequently claims that 95% of his advice is free. I don’t think this is accurate. I found that he shared 305% of his advice for free. But you still should take his courses, because they put everything in place.

I would recommend the following path to take advantage of this plethora of resources:

Step 1:Check his Instagram.

It’s hilarious. It’s also a good test if Ramit ‘resonates’ with you.

Step 2: Tim Ferriss interview.

Tim is a world-class interviewer and they are friends.

Step 3: Briefcase technique

The technique illustrates all the principles I laid out above and helped me get my job.

Bonus round: Ultimate guides

Following that, I recommend his free “ultimate guides”:

“How much should a man spend on an engagement ring?” is a fascinating example of Ramit diving into an area populated with generic advice and actually providing an exceptional answer. This is my gold standard on what a blog post should look like.

A note about joining Ramit courses.

The only way to join Ramit Courses is to sign up for his email list. There is a public page with all the products he sells, but they are only “open” one at a time.

Sign up to his email list. You don’t have to pay him a dime, but you will get tremendous value out of the emails. They are packed with knowledge.

And I do recommend the courses.

Ramit’s vision of Rich Life has rubbed on me a little bit. Even though he does not sell anything in the space, he convinced me to get a personal trainer, cleaning help for our apartment and I even have a personal VA.

Past me would marvel at a life I built.

And if you want to hear in detail what I learned, and how I adapted Ramit’s advice to suit the Remote work environment – sign up for MY email list. ?

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For the love of Kindle – the ultimate nomad library

When I pictured my dream house, it always had a lot of books. Maybe even a dedicated „library” room, with walls invisible under shelves of volumes, all neatly stacked.

Of course, one of the bookstands would hide a secret passageway. There has to be a secret passageway in a dream house, duh!

Now I do have a house and I am sorry to report that there is no library room and its fine. I did not give up on my childhood dream nor gave up reading. In fact, I do read significantly more.

But I did quit physical books.

There are no bookshelves, stacks of first editions nor walls covered by volumes.

Almost all my reading happens on a Kindle, precisely because it does not have to happen in a library. And replacing the whole room for this device has several benefits.

⚖ Weight

I bought my first Kindle when I started traveling a lot. The books I read tend to be on the thick side, and they were taking too much damn space inside the carry-on. Kindle Paperwhite weighs 205 grams. Hardcover version of „Song of Ice and Fire” volume 1 is 970. That means that the first part weights as much as five kindle readers.

? You don’t have to decide

Or take books „Just in case.” What if you finish that first part? Seven volumes of George R.R. Martin’s finest work weigh as much as 14 kindles.

? Any book in the world at your fingertips

Let’s imagine you are traveling through Africa and you just heard about a fantastic book that would complement your understanding of the culture. Chances, that you can stumble upon that title in a country that uses a different language are very slim.

But Kindle can instantly turn into ( almost ) any book in Amazon’s offering. You can buy a book on a whim and start reading it 2. MINUTES. LATER.

In fact, in our house books are the biggest „impulse spend.” We had to delete a Credit Card from the Amazon account since we used to buy any book recommended to us.

Some of the books on my reading list I have not bought yet

Books are not like cars (in many aspects). It mostly does not matter what you drive. It will still get you there. On the other hand, the difference between the best book on the topic and the 5th best is sometimes immense.

The friction of paper books means that sometimes you read what is available – and not what is the best reading choice.

Of course, chance encounters of hidden literary gems that serendipity put in our laps should be cherished. But being stuck with a terrible book and the responsibility of finishing it is a waste of time life What you read matters. Much more than How Much.

Amazon has the best selection and arguably the best electronic reading device. That is why I don’t bother with any other brands. They may be technically better or cheaper, but removing the hassle from procuring a book works out to my advantage.

The highlights, OH MY GOD – the highlights

I believe that concrete takeaways are more important than reading more books. Recollection or even reflection upon the concepts, thoughts or mental models can further my understanding of the world. My reading list contains a lot of non-fiction, sometimes called „self – help.” This is a dubious term because they usually are about the workings of the world. Topics like psychology, randomness, organizational design, business or innovation are sometimes dense, but biographies or history books are an excellent example of non-fiction that can teach you a lot about reality.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

This is a topic for a whole another blog post, but in essence – taking lessons from books is the single most valuable activity I can imagine.

Inspired by the amazing Derek Sivers, I started a practice of summarising every book that I read. While I’m reading, I do highlight a lot, sometimes even make notes on the kindle touch keyboard (clumsy but doable). After finishing the book, I will fashion some posts about the book.

Having it in public forces me to be more verbose and explicit in my notes. All the posts are written only for the audience of 1 – future me. The external accountability motivates me to put a little more effort into my writing. And future me is grateful for that.

Before Kindle, I was very reluctant to highlight stuff in the book itself. I grew up in a family that was not rich by any means and we cherished books. Highlighting anything feels to me like destroying something valuable. Even if I hesitate only a bit before marking a passage – that has an impact on the lessons I can remember.

But on the Kindle, I can highlight very generously. What’s more, I can also find these highlights with minimal effort. These two aspects of Kindle highlights fundamentally changed how I read.

Here is what I do after finishing a non-fiction book:

  1. Copy my-clippings.txt file from my Kindle to my laptop
  2. Run a simple script to generate bullet points with highlights from a particular book
  3. Use that as a stub to write a book summary post
  4. Publish that, enjoy a wild success on the Internets, be famous, profit from my fame, start attracting the wrong crowd and have paparazzi publish my shameful deeds.
  5. In the meantime, review my posts periodically to refresh the takeaways.

Currently, I am experimenting with Twitter threads (like 1, 2, 3 ) WHILE I am reading a book. Join me!

My fiancee uses the service called Readwise that will send her emails with the highlights.

While automation is particularly appealing to me, I like the responsibility of having to summarise the takeaways myself. It makes me more focused during the reading.

Kindle Paperwhite backlight.

The paperwhite model features an ambient backlight. There are diodes on the sides that make the entire screen reflect a bit of light. It works differently from your smartphone – the light is reflected and does not interfere with your sleep.

But it means that you don’t need a reading light, which is a GAMECHANGER.

It opens an entire world of bedroom entertainment with your partner.

Particularly a sleeping partner you don’t want to wake up.

But the…

Photo by ?? Janko Ferlič – @specialdaddy on Unsplash

Yes, smell, feel… All that is nice. It’s nice to have something to put on your shelf as well. I know. The passageway…

In the world that turns everything into digital ephemera, having a hard copy of a book is lovely, grounding and tactile.

But in the end, it’s about reading. And if I did not have my Kindle, I would do significantly less of that.

And I will never give up on that secret passageway. Just watch me.