The Power in one hour-2; This one is too good to miss.

This morning I started my morning off like I do most mornings.  I got my workout in and completed.  Then I set aside an hour for reading a few chapters from a book.

This is my second entry of an ongoing series of writings on the power contained in one hour. One hour is not a lot of time in your day, but if you can harness the power in one hour and put all of your efforts and focus into an hour, you can accomplish some amazing things.

In my first entry, you can read it here.  I talked about how many calories I burn, and you could burn as well, if you ran or walked for at least an hour a day.

Today, I want to talk about the power of setting aside one hour of reading time a day, or at least several times a week, and how much this one hour invested in reading could benefit you.

Over the last seven years I have invested one hour a reading time, on most days, to a book on a particular topic that I have an interest in.  The books I have usually read are business books, self-improvement books, motivational books, biographies, etc.  During that time, I have read about 384 books.  On average that is about 54 books a year.

Most books that I read are roughly around 200 pages.  If you read 30 to 40 pages a day you can finish a book in a week or so, just like I have averaged the last seven years.  Do I read everyday?  No.  But I read most days. And if I am really into the book, I may read a whole book in one sitting if time permits. But I think you see the point here.

In one hour, you can usually read about two chapters, at least for most books, unless you get into a novel or something.  The fonts are usually much smaller on those kinds of books, which make the chapters longer and harder to read for me at least. I think you get the point here.

How has it benefited me to set aside one hour on most days to read a book.  Before I started this habit of reading.  My income a year was around $53,000 dollars.  My best year of my career was in 2016.  Where my total income was $175,000 dollars. You can do the math yourself, but that is an increase of $122,000 dollars or a 230% increase in my income.

Sure, I would have had some raises along the way and after several years in a career, you should be making more money.  But I would not have had the significant increase in my income if I hadn’t become a reader.  If I hadn’t invested that one hour a day into my personal development during that time.

Let me tell you what is behind the numbers that you don’t see.  By reading the fifty something books a year:

  • My confidence increased.  Because I was smarter.
  • My thinking ability was expanded.
  • The fear of certain unknowns were dissipated.
  • I learned how to work with people more effectively.
  • I sought out new opportunities.
  • I expanded my knowledge into more areas.
  • I had additional skills.
  • I appreciated people more.
  • I was more interesting because people knew I was well read.
  • I shared certain nuggets of wisdom with others.

I could go on and on about all of the benefits I have received or earned because of reading, but I will stop here.  I think you get the point.  All of this is possible because of one hour a day, or most days.  See you don’t even have to do it everyday.  If you do it every other day, you will still get substantial benefits from it.

I had a mentor tell me one time that one hour a day, devoted to a certain topic or skill, will make you an expert in that field or topic within five years.  I agree, it will make you an expert, but it wont take that long.

Let me ask you?  How much reading do you think you can do in an hour?  I would be curious to learn.

If you fond some value in the post, please share it with others. I am just like you, I am trying to figure it all out.

To your success and your future.

Can you see it?

Seeing What Others Don’t; THE REMARKABLE WAYS WE GAIN INSIGHTS; author Gary Klein. Click here for a link to the book.

I recently finished this book. In my a typical quasi-book summary, I will include the overall outline and them of the book as well as my notes that I took from the book. The author sought out to answer a few questions.

  • What sparks an insight?
  • What prevents us from grasping an insight? Even when it sits dangling in front of our eyes, ripe for the plucking?
  • Third question: Are there any practical ways to increase the flow of insights?

The author studied 120 cases and classified the studies into five different strategies for gaining insights:

  • Connections:  The strategy offers a clear image of insights as connecting the dots. And it suggests that we can increase insights by exposing ourselves to lots of different ideas that might help us form new connections.
  • Coincidences:  Spotting some events that seem related to each other even though they don’t seem to have any obvious causal link. People who can pick up on trends, spot patterns, wonder about irregularities, and notice coincidences are an important resource. They may often be wrong, so we shouldn’t automatically believe them even if they feel very confident. Nevertheless, they should be listened to, rather than ridiculed, because they just might be on to something.
  • Curiosities:  Curiosities provoke people to investigate further, just as coincidences do. Curiosities differ from coincidences in one way: They are sparked by a single event or observation rather than by the repetition of a pattern.
  • Contradictions: Contradictions are different from curiosity insights. Curiosities make us wonder what’s going on, whereas contradictions make us doubt—“That can’t be right.” 45 out of 120 of the cases involved contradictions insight. 
  • Creative desperation: Creative desperation requires finding a way out of a trap that seems inescapable.  Backed into a wall, insights happen, because you are forced to have one. 

All the 120 cases fit one of these strategies. Most relied on more than one of the five strategies. 

  • Connection insights accounted for 82% of the cases; 98 out of the 120 cases.
  • Contradictions accounted for 38%
  • Coincidences played a role in 10%
  • Curiosities contributed to 71⁄2 %
  • Impasses and creative desperation were found in 25%.

As you can see, the total for all five adds up to more than 100 percent because some of the cases coded for more than one of the themes. They weren’t mutually exclusive.

To improve performance, we need to do two things.

  1. Reduce errors
  2. Increase insights.

Performance improvement depends on doing both of these things.  It is a balance.  Several cases in the book were highlighted on how if a company tries to be too perfect, solely focused on reducing errors, it can stifle insights.  Part of insight is connecting the failures.

Insights transform us in several ways. They change how we understand, act, see, feel, and desire. They change how we understand. They transform our thinking. They change how we act. In some cases insights transform our abilities as well as our understanding.

The habits of mind that lead to insights, our tendency to spot connections and coincidences, curiosities, and inconsistencies are what move us forward.

So what do we do now that we know how to have insights?

We must first eliminate these things:

  • Flawed beliefs; we eliminate this by not fixating on them.
  • Lack of experience; we eliminate this by gaining more experiences.
  • Passive stance; eliminate this by being more active.
  • Concrete reasoning; create more playful reasoning.

By doing the above we create a more advantageous environment to have insights.

Organizations stifle insights because of forces locked deep inside their DNA: they value predictability, they recoil from surprises, and they crave perfection, the absence of errors. Surprises and errors can play havoc with plans and with smooth operations. In their zeal to reduce uncertainty and minimize errors, organizations fall into the predictability trap and the perfection trap.

To increase insights we must allow more mistakes.  In an effort to reduce errors we don’t allow ourselves the necessary failures or errors that will lead us to insights that will move us towards a better answer.

This book illustrates the 120 cases that the author researched.  Each of the cases support and paint the picture of the five strategies highlighted above. I encourage everyone to read this book, it will challenge your current thinking and get you outside the box of your current thinking and it may provide you with an insight on something that could transcend your career or your business.

To your success and your future.

140 characters or less book summaries

My last 5 reads summarized in 140 characters or less.

1.  Trump 101 “The Way to Success” author: Donald Trump

  • To be successful you must think big, work hard, eliminate problems, find quick solutions, get outside your comfort zone, and pursue excellence

2.  Heavy Hitter Selling (How successful salespeople use language and intuition to sell more) author: Steve Martin

  • What you say and how you say it to your prospect is the most important element to the success of your sales career. Practice language.

3.  The Two Second Advantage (How we succeed by anticipating the future—Just Enough) author(s):Vivek Ranadive and Kevin Maney

  • The most accomplished people in our society have shown the ability to think forward into the future to predict what may happen. #vision

4.  Drucker and Me (What a Texas Entrepreneur Learned from the Father of Modern Management) author: Bob Buford

  • Find a mentor that can help you see the entire field in which you play in. Allow them to coach you and take their advice. #mentorship

5.  LinchPin (Are you Indispensable?) author: Seth Godin

  • I can’t summarize this book in 140 characters. READ THIS BOOK, if you want to do big things. #beremarkable and do #worthwhile work

Pretty short and sweet.  As you can tell I took the easy way out on LInchPin.  The reason I did this was because this book is awesome.  Read all of the books, but if you don’t, at least read LinchPin.

Brian Willett

6 Awesome Book’s you have to read

My last 6 reads were awesome!  I have read a lot of great books, but these were all amazing.  What I have discovered through this journey is the more I read the better resource I become, and I can be a better friend, employee, leader, colleague, mentor, etc.

More than Enough; author Dave Ramsey

If you don’t know who Dave Ramsey is, then you must live under a rock or don’t listen to the radio very much.  Dave Ramsey is the financial guy.  Over 25 years ago Dave went broke twice and after that he decided to create a system that helped him get out of debt and on the path to wealth.  This book doesn’t go through all of the steps he teaches in his programs, but it does give a lot of content on how to live a life of contentment.  That is the key to financial success.  How can you be content today with what you have, while you work towards having more.  And then obviously, he says never, never borrow money.

Crush It (Why now is the time to cash in on your passion); author Gary Vaynerchuk

This book was written in 2006 and some of the information was a little dated.  However, Gary is now the expert in the speaking and author world on anything related to social media.  His style is very unique in that he tells it how it is and he will actually use cuss words in his speaking engagements.  Not to say that it is right, but it shows how passionate he really is.  Currently, he has amassed a sizable fortune, but it all started with him being passionate about being passionate about something.  That is the gist of this book.  What are you passionate about, and how can you start to monetize it. Period.

START (Punch fear in the face, escape average, do work that matters); author Jon Acuff

Actually this book was really along the same lines as the above book by Gary Vaynerchuk. Except, Jon Acuff has a very unique and witty writing style that keeps you interested.  He found his passion and monetized it, just like Gary recommends.  Jon was founded by and developed by Dave Ramsey.  So Jon’s style is very similar to Dave’s in that he talks about walking away from whatever one else is doing, because most people are average and you don’t want to be average “do you”.

Never Go Back (10 Things You’ll never do again); author Dr. Henry Cloud

I recently posted a blog on this book.  I found it so inspiring that I had to write about it.  Check out my blog post titled the same as the book.  But just like the title illustrates, we have all learned lessons in our life, and many of these lessons revolved around the 10 things Dr. Cloud talks about.  This book will now be the book I recommend to people who ask me for advice on relationships.  This book is very relational, but so is life.

48 Days to the work you love; author Dan Miller

I went into this book thinking that it would be a road map to figuring out your passion.  Instead it was really a play book on how to find a job/career that you want to really be in.  The author does a great job at providing resources and really a “how to”, to finding a new job, if that is what you are looking for.  It will now be a book I recommend to any one looking to find a new job, his playbook is well done.

The Laws of Lifetime Growth (Always make your future bigger than your past); author Dan Sullivan 

Dr. John C. Maxwell, one of my favorite authors and speakers wrote a book last year titled the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  This was a great read and provided a lot of great tools on how to be intentional about growth and development.  The book by Dan Sullivan, has a little bit different tenor and style to it.  It was more about the mindset and attitude you should have with your growth, your growth is all about your attitude.

Brian Willett

11 Personal/Self-Development Tools that can make you money

There are many tools that could be used on a daily basis that can assist you in your personal and self-development.  Below is a list of the ones that I have found to be the most useful for me.  I have found that investing time and energy in each of the areas below have made me more money and the people I associate with can provide you with the same testimonial.

Live Training:  Being a trainer and having the fortunate opportunity to get exposed to a lot of training during my life, I think it is still one of the best personal and self-development tools that any of us can invest in.  Some people want it for free (and there is a lot out there for free) but usually (not always) you get what you paid for.  My best personal and self-development (growth) has come from LIVE on the SPOT coaching from a coach on a particular subject.  It’s not how much something costs, it is what am I getting.  I have seen live coaching and training turn into millions of dollars for people.  YES, millions! Do a study and see.  When a person develops a skill and talent at a high level due to some coaching they received, it impacts their income for years and that can be millions of dollars.

Audio/Video seminars:   Many times people attend a seminar and they get highly motivated and that high they have while there is gone in a matter of a week few weeks or days.  So what you include in your audio/video library can greatly affect your life.  Also, many times you can just a purchase a seminar that you couldn’t afford to attend live or just couldn’t find the time to attend live.  I also, like to purchase these seminars through some of the personal development resources that sell them. YouTube actually has these on there as well.

Books:  Books are probably by far the most inexpensive and most impactful tool for development that I have found.  Books on any subject and any category can be found on Amazon or through the public domain.  Many audio books can even be listened to on YouTube and you don’t even have to purchase them.

Blogs:  There are a lot of blogs out there on a variety of subjects. What I have found for me, is that I could literally have thousands automatically sent to me everyday if I wanted to.  However, I don’t need that much information.  So I strategically sign up for about five or so and get those for a period of time and then unsubscribe from them and find others.  This allows me to keep the message fresh.  Find a few blogs that you like. Also, as I state below, twitter is one of my favorite mediums and I follow many people on there that blog and just read it on there when I have time, versus having it sent to my email.

Email subscriptions:  There are a few books that I have read that the authors or publishers include a weekly or monthly email on trends on the particular topic or subject that they are known for and you read a book on.  Again, these are infrequent but very valuable in my opinion.

Twitter:  I am one of the biggest fans of twitter.  I do tweet information out a lot, I think I have tweeted over 2000 times since opening my twitter account.  But I use twitter for my own personal development because there is so much great content on twitter.  Every author, organization, magazine, trade publication, government organization, etc. has a twitter account and they put out lots of great content.  If you don’t tweet that is fine, but open an account for your own personal and self-development so you can get lots of great content.

LinkedIn Groups:  This is one that is very valuable that I don’t use enough.  There are millions of groups on LinkedIn I am sure.  For just about any sector of work from realtors, sales people, followers of certain authors, companies, you name it, there is a LinkedIn group associated with it.  By joining these groups you can learn what others are doing in your sector and in your business.  It is really a great resource.  You can get the updates sent directly to your email, or you can make it a point to log in everyday and see what is going on in the group discussions.

YouTube/YouTube channel subscriptions:  There is so much information on YouTube it is ridiculous.  You can listen to audio books, listen to speeches given in a lecture at Harvard, to listening to a specific person in your industry give a presentation to a company.  There is just so much information and you should include it in your personal development arsenal.

Magazines and Trade Publications:  I have a subscription to SUCCESS Magazine and I also get a copy of the local Business newsletter here in Louisville. Most of the information in these publications are actually sent out via a twitter feed before the magazine or journal hits the stands, however, getting the hard copy of both is valuable as well.

Action:  After getting a lot of the great information you seek and learn, putting it into action is the most important element.  Many people attend a seminar or training and put the manual on the shelf and never look at it again.  I used to read the books and assumed I had all of the information in my head, I now write about a page or more (depending on how good the book was) in my journal.  This allows me to solidify the message and takeaways in my head.  Action is the most critical of all personal and self-development.

The people you spend your time with:  Lastly, but probably one of the most important is who you spend your time with also adds to your personal and self-development.  This particular category can make or break you.  So choose wisely, who you spend your time with has the most influence over your success or failure.

These are just a few that I use pretty frequently in my own personal and self-development. Many of the above categories send notifications or updates via email.  I have all emails around my personal and self-development sent to a specific email account that is used for this purpose only.  This is my way of keeping it all organized.  If you have too many emails coming in it can be overwhelming, and I have found that sending everything to one account allows me to keep it all together.

Please share your personal and self-development tools that I may have missed. Andrew Carnegie stated that “A mans great asset is their desire to learn.”


Brian Willett



My last 5 book summaries twitter style

Title: The Wisdom of Andrew Carnegie as told to Napoleon Hill; author Napoleon Hill

  • Having a definite purpose in life and pursuing that purpose with self-discipline and hardwork.  The best BOOK for Success I have ever read

Title: Early Rising; author Benjamin Franklin

  • Early to bed, early to rise, will make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. The habit of getting up early leads to more habits for success.

Title: Emotional Intelligence for Sales Success (Connect with customers to get results); author Colleen Stanley

  • Sale organizations should define who their customers are and only pursue those customers with the approach to serve first and sale second

Title: The Victorious Attitude; author Orison Swett Marden

  • You are what you think about, you think you can’t win, you won’t win. You think you can accomplish anything you will accomplish a lot.

Title: The Sales Advantage (How to Get it, Keep It, and sell more than ever); authors J Oliver Crom and Michael Crom (DC Associates)

  • Rapport, Interest, Solution, Motive, Commitment is the 5 step sales process for Sales Success. Processed selling is for sales professionals

These are all great reads and I have many notes, but the summaries are the gist of what I got from the books.

Brian Willett

Reading the books of dead people

An author and well know personality in the world of Sales Training and Personal Development (Jeffrey Gitomer) suggested that his followers read more books from authors who are dead.   So this year, I have done just that.  What Jeffrey Gitomer is suggesting is there is a lot of great information, thoughts, processes, and suggestions in older books that still apply today.  Being a Dale Carnegie Trainer, I have been exposed to the thinking of Mr. Dale Carnegie that dates back over 100 years ago, and I would suggest that his 30 Human Relations principles that he wrote about in his classic book “How to win Friends and Influence People” apply more today than they did when he wrote the book.

One essay/book that I have come across here recently is from no other than Benjamin Franklin.  His quote “Early to bed, and Early To rise, makes a man Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise” is one of my favorite quotes that I try to live by every day.  After looking this quote up I learned that he wrote an essay named “Early Rising” around this quote.  The essay outlines the benefits of getting your day started early.  I start many of my days at 4:00 am and in the essay he suggests that as well, I am glad to know I am not too crazy and in good company.

What I like about reading the older books:

  • The history lessons that you get.
  • You see how different customs and norms of society were (even in America) and it gives you an appreciation of what we have today, or encourages you to act in a way like people used to act.
  • People are people and the same challenges that existed a hundred years ago, still exist today with regards to people.
  • Life appears to have been simpler and it is interesting to get caught up in what it would have been like.
  •  Learning how things were done then and how I can apply it today in business and in life.

Here are some of the authors that I am currently reading or have read this year:

  • Napoleon Hill
  • Andrew Carnegie
  • Percy Whiting
  • Dale Carnegie
  • Jim Rohn (he hasn’t been dead too long)
  • Orison Swett Marden
  • Benjamin Franklin

Whether you read books written by dead people or people who are alive, if you are reading you are learning and that is the goal.

Brian Willett


I failed miserably, but I will keep pursuing the goal

8 years ago, I received a promotion as a Sales Manager.  At that time, I was really growing and learning a lot.  I was also still under thirty.  So in my brilliance and sophistication I started keeping a journal (that’s what I would call it today) but then it was a WORD document.  All it really was at that time was phrases regarding leadership that I liked, or things that I learned by making mistakes, or things I didn’t want to forget, etc.  It could have been the way I handled a situation that worked out well or it could be a process that I learned that I wanted to document.  It became about a 10 page document comprised of bullet points. 

I started telling myself that I would turn those bullet points into a book titled “The Top 30 Things I learned as a Sales Manager before 30.” It would be targeted for a young sales manager.  Well, that never happened.  However around 30 years old, I did make some more progress.  I created another word document that took the information from the 10 page document paired down to 30 bullet points that was more title format of those things that I learned and liked.  I didn’t get the book done by 30 either.  So then I started thinking I would change the book title to 35 things. I had to do something, I was getting older and I liked the title so much. (LOL)  I thought at that time, that is way too many chapters and I didn’t know if I could write that much (I was defeated before I started in a sense). Oh by the way, I attempted to do that book of 35, but I could only come up with 31 as the list below shows.  But I started writing some chapters about 4 years ago and stopped, and then I started again about 2 years ago and stopped. Now I am 35, and the book still isn’t finished, but it is on the goal list for 2014. 

So over the next few months I will be posting some of the chapters that I have written and will be trying to write more chapters.  I am desirous of being a top trainer, speaker, and executive.  I know I will never get there, but I will pursue those goals daily.  By writing, I become better at all three of those things.  Along the way I would appreciate any feedback or additional insights you may have.

I am sure some of these chapters sound familiar and have been written about before, but this book will be my story and my examples and they are unique.  It is really cool as I read each chapter title below and reflect on my reasons for having that title.  They truly are just examples of lessons that I had to learn on my own and learn from. As I look at them again, I see a lot of duplication as well. Oh well, its my list. 

  1. Cant, wont, don’t know how
  2. Not everyone is motivated the same way
  3. You have been put there for a reason
  4. Confidence is king
  5. Leading people that have more experience than you
  6. Set the pace (Run faster than everyone else)
  7. Personal and Professional growth is key
  8. Don’t forget to have a little tact
  9. Keep a finger on the pulse of your industry
  10. You will inherit people.  Find out who is bought in and cut the rest
  11. Charisma is good but competence is better
  12. Hire Slowly and Fire quickly
  13. Hire people who are smarter than you
  14. Remember Management and Leadership is not a popularity contest
  15. Inspect what you expect
  16. Don’t Manage people, lead people, manage a process
  17. Seek to understand before trying to be understood
  18. Create an accountability system to manage results
  19. Results only work environment
  20. Provide Training
  21. Over-Communicate
  22. Celebrate often
  23. Motivation is short lived, inspiring people is long-term
  24. Coach up or coach out
  25. Spend time with people
  26. Be yourself
  27. Praise in public, and criticize in private
  28. Lead up
  29. Set High Expectations
  30. Don’t forget where you came from. 
  31. Take the Temperature