What Loren's Reading...

  • To Be Victorious in Life (How-to-Live Series, 1)
    by Paramahansa Yogananda

    This book is a deep, yet practical guide to self-mastery from a great master in his own words. It's always humored me that many success writers have only one real success; selling success literature -- to you! Yoganada lived for all, yet perfected and lived an ideal balance of work and play. 

    Yogananda states plainly, "Many Individuals think great things but do not act on them. However, it is activity that creates greatness. Unless you actually accomplish, you are not successful." In another passage he states, "The words, "I can, I must, and I will"-- that is the way to change yourself and achieve absolute victory."

    This is a "must read" for anyone serious about creating a legacy, from a man who created one of the most amazing legacies in his life and beyond.


  • Outliers: The Story of Success [AUDIOBOOK] [UNABRIDGED]
    by Gladwell Malcolm

    Gladwell brings to light the advantages of birth date to success in hockey, baseball and acedemics. Given that each endeavor has an age "cut-off," the oldest  kids within each group seem to wind up more often in professional sports than the youngest; this is a remarkable predictor, one that kids would seem to outgrow. Yet they don't; the affects are cumulative!

    Parents take heed. The great quote from the book is, "School works.... we just don't get enough of it." Gladwell explains how long summer vacations are an outgrowth of a naive belief in the 1800's that too much education causes insanity.

    In addition to robust summer educational pursuits -- our kids will be grandparents before the schools ever reverse this nonsense -- parents need to intervene in the march of education to ensure their kids are worked hard, kept with strong peers, and held to high expectations. Teachers have 20-30 kids to deal with, and we can expect them to do little beyond what's convenient, so it is left to parents to raise the bar.

    Gladwell shows that time and again, success is simply the result of an opportunity to work hard. Yet, like Bon Jovi once said, "Luck ain't even lucky, gotta make your own breaks." Kids will perform when that have to. Our job as parents is to make sure they earn those opportunities.


  • Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce Story on Reincarnation (Signet)
    by Gina Cerminara

    If you've even wondered about karma and reincarnation, this book is a great place to begin. What I gleamed from this book is two of the great guiding principals in life; (1) God allows no struggle beyond our abilities and (2) everything is just as it should be.

    For those who don't know of Edger Cayce, he was a seer who could go into a trance state and diagnose illnesses, often with astonishing accuracy. For decades, his readings were recorded and they are now held in Virginia Beach at the Association of Research and Enlightenment.

    As to karmic debts, much like a loan taken out from a bank the borrower is in, "no position to repay the debt the following day, week, month or probably not the following year." Time is required to gather sufficient resources. With Karma, it may take several lifetimes to evolve sufficiently to face the music of our past.

    Like a loving father, lessons are presented to his children only when they are prepared to learn from them. This observation led to the realization that every challenges in this lifetime is matched by the inner strength to get through them. In summary: 

    Everything is just as it should be; and

    God allows no struggle beyond our abilities.

    -- Big Dreams.Com

  • Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
    by Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen

    I would have named this book "Great by Design." Think about it. Given a “choice,” who wouldn't choose greatness? 

    Collins and Hansen uncover the three surprisingly conservative principles that “10x” companies  -- those that outperform others by a factor of 10 -- hold over others:


    • Fanatical discipline
    • Empirical creativity
    • Productive paranoia


    In there own words, “Fanatic discipline keeps you on track; empirical creativity keeps you vibrant; and productive paranoia keeps you alive.”

    They hold that fanatical discipline is marching on, making daily progress, in good times and bad -- all within a proven track of success. Ironically, it is the decision to grow conservatively-- to slow and pace their growth-- that proves to be a competitive advantage.

    Then, the idea of empirical creativity is that great companies seldom take big risks on new, unproven ideas. Rather, they seek ideas that are first proven by empirical evidence to work before they place their bets. 

    All while acting with extreme caution, almost to the point of paranoia, when it comes to cash on hand and preparation for inevitable set backs. Great companies are well prepared, knowing that the “only mistakes you can learn from are those you survive.”

    All that's needed here is some better language. My working translation is:

    • Do what works.

    • Relentlessly act.

    • Prepare to fail.

    It’s a myth that great companies happen simply because they find themselves in the right place at the right time. It’s relentless effort, smart targeting, and cautious growth that separates those who prevail from those who falter with essentially the same, golden opportunities.  

  • Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
    by Simon Sinek

    The more carefully I listen to this collection of inspiration, the more I appeciate its subtleties.

    For instance, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sinek assets, "Didn't give the I have a plan speech, he gave the I have a Dream speech." Yet, it takes both dreamers and doers. He observes that King had his Abernathy, Gates has his Allan, Walt has his Roy, and Jobs had his Woz. "It is this partnership -- of the vision of the future and the talent to get it done -- that makes an organization great."

    The vision is future. The mission is how to get it done.

  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    by Eric Ries

    Think Big, Act Small!

    That's a great line, but The Lean Start-up is actually focused on implementation, not vision. The Build-Measure-Learn cycle addresses "how" products are best implemented, not when or why.

    The danger, in my view, is that some innovators may come away from this book thinking that their vision need not have any sort of viability, or that a minimum viable vision is sufficient. It’s a small tweak, but this movement lends itself to premature experimentation or, worse yet, irreversible commitment of time, energy, and resources to ill-fated start-ups.

    The better way is to prefect the vision, not the product.

    This is not to say that the vision is unassailable, but unless you're doing basic research into unknown science you should 1) know where you're going and 2) believe that the journey is of significance -- even if it fails.  Think through "Big," judge worthly, then "Act Small."

    Only then should you commit resources to an MVP and seriously engage actual customers. The promise of the MVP build-measure-learn loop is to get the vehicle right, not discover the destination!