What You'll Learn In Today's Episode:

  • What a PDB is and how to implement this into your life.
  • The importance of time blocking.
  • How to improve the value you are providing to your clients.
  • The benefit of writing notes as you are consuming information.
  • What Matthew and Micah suggest that you don’t read.
  • Book suggestions from the guys.

When growing a practice, it is essential that you are consuming new information and staying on top of improved technologies or implementations as they become available. However, this does not mean simply watching the news as it relates to your industry. This means consuming books, media, or other information that is going to help you deliver massive value to your clients. So, in this episode, Matthew and Micah will be discussing the importance of a Personal Development Budget and how to incorporate more impactful information consumption into your workweek.

Listen in as they share how to retain more information as you are consuming it, as well as the benefit of using time blocking to ensure you have the time available to read or listen to new information. You will learn how to be intentional with your time, where to get recommendations, and suggestions for books that you should absolutely have on your list.

Podcast Article:

How to Read More Books While Building a Successful Business

Financial advisors are busy people—but if you’re not making time to read more books, you’re missing out on key strategies and insights that can help you grow your business

New habits can be hard to adopt—but if Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski of The Perfect RIA podcast can fit regular reading into their lives, you can too. In this article, you’ll learn Matthew and Micah’s top tips for how to read more books and incorporate those new ideas into your business practice.

Action Items in This Article

  • Double your consumption. Whatever number of books you’re reading a year now, set a goal to read twice as many next year. With careful application, your income will follow.
  • Take a speed-reading class. There’s a lot of information out there, and learning how to process it efficiently will help you make the most of your reading time.
  • Schedule time for personal development every week. It’s like any long-term goal: If you don’t make a plan for it, it will never happen.

How to Read More Books

Thought leaders from Steve Jobs to Warren Buffet have made a habit of habitual reading, and for good reason: by staying abreast of their industries and synthesizing thoughts and ideas from other leaders, they’re able to see how to best navigate their businesses in an unpredictable future. As a leader, you simply can’t afford to ignore the wisdom and experience of others in your industry.

Here are Matthew and Micah’s five top tips for using the best knowledge and resources available to you to grow your business.

Schedule Regular Reading Time

In his classic book, Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life: How to Unlock Your Full Potential, Brian Tracy emphasized the importance of building regular reading time into your schedule. He recommends devoting at least one hour a day to reading in your industry: “Anything less … will put you in danger of being passed by your competitors.”

You might find that reading during your in-office time gives you the best focus. Maybe reading when you first wake up in the morning is the best time for you. Whatever works best for you, commit to regular personal development time in the same way you’d commit to a client meeting.

And it’s not enough to just read. You need to actively participate in the information, taking careful notes and reflecting on how you might implement that wisdom to improve your own practice. Take it from Brian Tracy: “At the very least, you will need a bigger house just to hold your books, and you will probably be able to afford it as well.”

Use Community Forcing Mechanisms

It can be hard to be your own boss: No one’s looking over your shoulder and making you schedule time for training and growth. That’s why any solo financial advisor struggling with keeping their personal commitments can benefit from enlisting their community for support. Sharing your intended reading list with your partner, your team members, or a mastermind group is a great way to use social pressure to keep yourself on top of your responsibilities.

When Micah shares his reading list with his network, the forcing mechanism works because he respects their opinions. It’s easy for him to feel accountable because he doesn’t want to let them down. As he puts it, “If I tell you I’m going to do something, then by heavens, this is an integrity thing. I’d better get this crap done.”

Reach for Quality and Quantity

Grow your reading list, grow your business—but not all books are created equal. The quality of the output will match the quality of the input. So what do you reach for when your booklist has run dry?

Poll your network. Look for top new releases in your field. Subscribe to professional organizations that offer curated reading lists. Read reviews, both good and bad. And continue to seek quality, recommended sources with actionable insight and advice that you can apply to your own business. As Matthew Jarvis notes, “If you’re consuming content and you can’t figure out how to apply it, you’re probably consuming the wrong content.”

Keep a Personal Development Account

Especially for advisors early in their careers, it can be difficult to find the out-of-budget cash to fund a steady stream of books, events, and other personal development. But what if you budgeted for them to begin with?

Micah Shilanski remembers how earmarking a percentage of his income ahead of time for books and other PD helped him remove any obstacles that would lead him to say no or delay following through on his commitments to himself.

“Earlier in my career, this was a big issue,” he confirms. “It was okay, great, money did matter. How was I going to pay the bills?” To counter the blow to his budget, Micah created separate funds, so he always knew he had advance permission to use money from that special account for these different events and keep pushing that needle.

Today, Micah recommends dedicating between 5 and 7.5 percent of your gross toward professional development, which easily includes books along with higher-ticket industry events. And he still plays the mental trick of earmarking a portion of his income. “Every time I’m paid, money goes into a PD account,” Micah explains. “It’s a totally separate bank account that I use just for personal development.”

Return to Old Favorites

You don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel to stay informed. Despite new technology and modernized marketing tactics, the basic strategy behind growing a successful business has remained the same over time. This means that most great business books are “evergreen reads” you can return to again and again for guidance and inspiration.

This is a shortlist of books Matthew and Micah consider annual must-reads:

Eventually, you’ll build your own must-read list you can return to again and again. By reading more books on a regular basis and continuing to incorporate learning into your life, you can leverage the wisdom, strategy, and insight of past and present leaders in your field to grow your business to new heights.

Resources In Today's Episode:

Read the Transcript Below:

This is The Perfect RIA, in case you didn’t know. Bringing you all the strategies to help your business grow. Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Are you hanging on the edge of your seat? Sit back and listen in while you feel the beat. Another myth bites the dust…

Micah Shilanski:  Welcome back to The Perfect RIA podcast. I’m your co-host, Micah Shilanski, and with me, as usual, the legendary Matthew Jarvis. What’s going on, Jarvis?

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, I would prefer if you introduced me as author extraordinaire, because I feel of all the titles I’ve earned, father, husband, financial planner, co-host. I’m going to go with author now, of if we could just—

Micah Shilanski:  Clearly, if we had to list all of your titles, how on earth would we get to any content?

Matthew Jarvis:   I know. We would never know.

Micah Shilanski:  There we go. Speaking of things to go through. Again, talking to a lot of advisors over this last few weeks and going through things, and one of the things that really comes up, especially as we’re building our own practice. Being very intentional in our own independent practice is working with the other advisors in our practice. One thing that you had brought up in going through is great. What content do you review? What information do you digest and do you absorb? This is something that you and I talk about, but I’ll admit, I had not talked about this greater with my team and so had really gone out and said great, what information, and I’m reading on a weekly or on a monthly basis to really absorb, to really sharpen the edge? This isn’t so much about bragging as to say, from what I do, but of saying, look, if you want to compete at a very high level, you have got to be on top of information. By information, we do not mean news. We mean information that’s going to help you deliver massive value to your clients.

Matthew Jarvis:   That’s a critical distinction. The time that you spend scrolling LinkedIn, scrolling Google news feeds, whatever news you’re scrolling, that’s of a new value. How much time are you spending really diving in? Micah, this came up in my office the same as yours as I’m working with Alex who joined our team last year. I was starting to say, “Hey, I want you to study all these things”, and he was pushing back a little bit saying, “Boy, that really seems like a lot to study. Can I ask what you’re studying?” I’m going to project here. He might have been thinking, Jarvis is asking me to do things he’s not doing”, so I start listing off. “I don’t know. Let me make a list”. I start rattling off all of these things, and I said, “By the way, that’s just what comes to mind right now”.

I dedicate a lot of time and Micah, I read a quote once. I’m going to have to go back and get an attribution for it. There was this quote that said that there is a direct correlation between the number of books you read and your success and there’s an inverse correlation between the size of your television and your success.

Micah Shilanski:  Absolutely. There’s also been all these studies that have been done about kids that are successful and one of the common denominators with kids that are successful are books in the house. I think that’s a single variable analysis study. I’m sure there’s more that goes on with that, but it’s probably that aspect of saying reading is important. We know this, but we get busy and we make excuses like we do with everything else in our life, so what we wanted to talk about today is the importance of a PD – personal development budget. I’m going to say a budget in two ways, Jarvis, and feel free to always to push back on this.

In my mind, I’m going to budget this thing out, too. Number one, the easy budget is financial, super easy metric that we can put up there. The time budget also has to be there. We have to manage this in a time capacity. Again, beautiful thing about surge meetings, beautiful thing about time-blocking, we can create these opportunities on our calendar to make sure we’re reading these things. Like most things, my reading consumption on books and other things will drop during surge because that’s not what I’m being intentional about. I’m being intentional about client meetings. I’m reading other things, but not those things. They want to get out of surge meetings and then my focus can come back on books.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love that. I’m trying to think for a time budget. I typically like to budget – I was looking back. I typically like to budget about four hours a week for content consumption. Before we started doing the perfect RA, a lot of that for me was Mondays. I would spend the first half of Mondays was my content consumption time at the office. I enjoy reading in the morning before the kids get up and I enjoy reading in the evening. I will confess it’s a running joke in our family that as soon as I pick up a book and sit down on the couch, I’ll be asleep, holding the book on the couch. Evenings are not always the best time, but four hours. I guess that’s roughly 10 percent of my work week at a minimum I spend consuming content.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. I think that’s phenomenal. We mix it in a little bit. I do a little bit in the morning reads. Again in the mornings, if I have stuff to do, I get a little fussy with it, if I have to work out. If I have work to do, it’s real hard for me to get it done in the morning. I’ll do a little bit of reading then. We do reading time at night with the kids and we’ll do family reading where we’re reading together and then we’ll do independent reading and that can be a great time to put in there. Again, we’re incorporating the family into this.

Matthew Jarvis:   I like that. As we mentioned earlier, it’s really critical what information you’re consuming. In fact, Michael, you and I talked about it and we’ll have to do this at some point a list of what are the 20 books that you have to read. Almost the classics like Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek…

Micah Shilanski:  Sure.

Matthew Jarvis:   …and Nick Murray’s Behavioral Investment Counseling, if you can find the book. Some of those, Mike, why don’t you give us a highlight of just some of the things you’ve read just recently, like this month. Not necessarily to brag about how much content you’ve consumed, but just kind of give people an idea. We’re not just talking about, “Hey, I’m going to sit, I’m going to casually read a novel and hope that I enjoy that”. We’re talking about consuming a lot of dense material.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. At first, and I want to pull up my Kindle to make sure I really give you a good list. I’ve got this new book and it was pretty good when I went through it. I don’t know if you’ve read it or not, but it’s called Delivering Massive Value. Phenomenal title name, by the way. It was written by this guy by the name of Jarvis. Of course that is Matthew Jarvis’s book. I did read that and all plugs intended here because it is a great book. There are some phenomenal scripts in there. The scripts in there are just gold as you go through. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading that. Read speechless. RTS newsletter, Separating the Cream from the Coffee, the RTS Retirement Tax Services webinar was ongoing through there. Also a lot on the PYFR retirement side.

Medicare advantage outside of FEHB, the Federal Employee Health Benefits, social security and COLAS, TSPs and COLAS, American family Plan Review that’s potential tax increases that we’re going to have. Going through that. Article and Risk Tolerance and Retirees. Kids, this is weekend readings. How are we going to adjust those things? An S-corp issue came up with a client so I ended up immersing myself a little bit more in S-corp tax laws, solo 401k planning with two independent businesses that are married. How can we have one key plan for two businesses just so we can save on some admin costs, so a little bit of that. JP Morgan Guide to the Market and of course, the RA from scratch, which was written by my dad, Floyd Shilanski. It’s recently published.

Matthew Jarvis:   I didn’t put that on my list. I did read that one as well. You might be listening and thinking, that’s actually a dense list. I didn’t hear Twilight on there. I didn’t hear the Harry Potter trilogy or however many books is in that. This is dense reading and you might think, all right, Micah, how do you possibly find time? I know how you find time. It’s because you only spend six months in the office. You must spend the other six months lying on a beach reading these books. These are actually books that you’ve read largely during your office time. Time where you’ve been at the office.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. One of the things that I decided, and actually I put it on the action items, which is super important. I suffer, if you’ve seen any of my writing, I do have dyslexia and it is still present in my life and that’s just something that I continually work with. Reading was a big thing for me to overcome Jarvis. Finally, once I overcame the mental side of that, reading would take a very long time for me to go through. I said, “You know what? I’m tired of this taking forever. I’m going to start taking speed reading classes”. I’ve got say, that was a huge game changer for me of learning how to read faster, but still have comprehension. Again, should have learned this as a youth. I didn’t. I took responsibility as an adult. Went and did this, and that’s been a very big part of being able to read and digest this information quickly.

Matthew Jarvis:   What format are you getting the majority of this content? How do you divide the content if you would, anecdotally. Audio books versus on your Kindle, on a computer screen, on a physical paper book. Have you found a pattern there for you personally?

Micah Shilanski:  Sure. These particular lists that I sent over, this is no audio books. None of these were audio books. These were all written books. I love having a paper book in my hand. A hard bound, hardcover book in my hand and reading it. The reality of that, being where I want it to be when I want to read, is not there. So Kindles there, I own a lot of books twice as well and so mainly it’s a Kindle or electronic format that I’m doing 80 to 90 percent of my reading. When I start doing a commute, we’re building a house a little bit out of town, I imagine audible is going to be even a larger portion of it, or if I’m doing a lot of traveling, audibles a huge portion of it.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. I just want to highlight them. I think the platform doesn’t really matter that you’re consuming information on as long as you’re retaining it and as long as I think you have a way to extract notes. When I’m reading a paperback, I will keep a pen nearby or a highlighter and I’ll highlight lines and I’ll dog ear the paper, the corner of that page. When I get to the end of the book, I’ll go back through and look at any pages that I dog-eared and then grade it. What action do I need to take on that? Derek Sivers, his website is great. Derek Sivers. He has a one page outline he does on every book that he reads. I’m not really that interested in spending that much time on it.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   You’ve got to make sure that you’re not just turning pages, just glazing. You need to figure out how you’re going to implement them.

Micah Shilanski:  Jarvis, what I like to do with it, because I love that thought and I love that you’re disciplined enough to finish the book and then go back and look at the dog-eared. I am not. I might put a book down for a while and come back and do it so mine has to be in that moment, which is good and bad. My phone is always with me generally and so I’ll take a screenshot, I’ll do a video clip, et cetera, and I’ll just send it to Victoria, my assistant and say, “Great, I want to do this. Put this on the calendar”, which is great because in my mind I’ve checked it off. It also means I can forget about it, by the way, because now I’ve checked it off. Victoria has it, she puts it on the calendar, she puts it for us to review and she has a little snippet of whatever I’m reading so it is the context for that.

Matthew Jarvis:   I want to pivot slightly Micah, if we can. We just talked about how critical it is to consume all this information. That you and I are consuming dozens of books and websites and we’re watching Michael Kitsis. Of course, obviously we’re doing everything for TPR and we’re watching everything from retirement tech service, but studying can be an incredible avoidance behavior. A lot of times I’ll talk to advisors who have vast quantities of knowledge, far superior to mine, but they suffer from two problems. One is they have no idea how to implement it. You can read a great book on social security. How do you implement that with a client? Taxes are especially that way. You can read the whole tax code and have no idea how to implement it. Item number two, is they have no clients to work with because instead of also time-blocking for prospecting and the difficult things, they’re just studying all the time.

Micah Shilanski:  This is like the professional designation people. By the way, I used to be in this campus saying when I get my CFP, when I get my RFC, when I get my F, when I get my XYZ designation, finally all these clients will come flocking in, but I clearly can’t advise them on a 401k plan unless I go get this special designation. You could easily hide behind that and those designations really do not help in those matters. Not speaking poorly of those designations, but again, to your point, that’s an avoidance behavior. If you can’t get in front of a client and articulate this information, your knowledge is worthless.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Micah, I think this goes back to, and I know we beat this drum all the time, that surge meetings transform everything in an advisor’s practice. I think there’s just nothing more than surge meetings that transform and part of surge meetings is time blocking the rest of your calendar. Having time where you say each week outside of search, here’s when I’m doing my prospecting, here’s when I’m doing my studying and those two will not cross over, especially that prospecting block. I can’t tell you every time I get to a prospecting block, magically a hundred other things come up that really need my attention right there. I’ve really got to read this Kitsis this article, I’ve really got to research on what the proposed tax law will be and then suddenly all my prospecting time is magically gone.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah. That avoidance behaviors so easy. How do you put extreme accountability around it? You know, how do you put a tighter deadlines on it? How do you put a forcing mechanism around it? These are really, really important things. One of the things that works out really well for me is when I start sharing my reading list, what I’m going to read, I’m held accountable very easily by other people’s opinions of me that I respect. Jarvis, if I tell you I’m going to do something, then by heavens, this is an integrity thing. I better get this crap done. Sharing this list with a mastermind, sharing it with your team members is another great way of staying on top of this.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, let’s highlight a couple of things that we are not studying or sources of information we are not using. We’re going to stay out of the absurd and have not reading the tabloids or the news, the grocery checkout stand, but a couple of examples come to mind. For example, I am not reading anything that gets emailed to me. One, I have an aversion to email, but there are no email newsletters coming to me from whatever companies that I’m ever reading. I’m never reading market commentary that comes out because there’s just nothing practical I can take from that. Now, I do love to look at the JP Morgan Guide to the Market because it provides great visual illustrations.

Micah Shilanski:  I love that.

Matthew Jarvis:   I have a guilty pleasure of looking at first trusts, Ryan Westberry stuff because…

Micah Shilanski:  That’s good.

Matthew Jarvis:   …I love the angle that it takes…

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   …but I’m never, and I’m always shocked when I see advisors are like, “Oh, I just got an email from XYZ company. I want to read what their economists say”. I don’t give two hoots where their economists say, because they’re not meeting with clients and they have no idea what the future is going to bring.

Micah Shilanski:  I’m going to put a caveat on that or I’m going to push back on that one if I can.

Matthew Jarvis:   Please.

Micah Shilanski:  With the exception of those that I have a subscription for. If I’m getting some free commentary crap or something like that, absolutely. When I’m getting the RTS stuff, no, I’m absolutely going in and looking at that retirement tax services. Ed Slot, still a member of his program when their stuff comes out. Twice a year, I go and read all of their books and content and manuals that come out. Again, this is the intentional aspect of it. I’m looking at it from, “Great. What’s the lens that I need to take this information from and then apply this information either directly to a client or put that in my quiver of arrows that I can now use in the future when working with clients”?

Matthew Jarvis:   The other filter we want to apply as much as possible. This isn’t always possible. If you look back through this list that Micah and I just rattled off that we’re looking at, really hardly any of it meets this criteria I’m about to give, but as much as possible, you want to learn from people who are doing what it is you want to do, or they have what it is you want to have. I wrote about this in chapter one of my book, Know Whom to Trust. The trick is there’s not a lot of financial advisors that have written good books about how to be financial advisors. The further away you get from the person who’s actually implementing it, the harder it is to make that application. Micah, you and I have been implementing for a lot of years, we can get several degrees removed. We can read Cal Newport’s book on deep work and think, all right, here’s how this applies, but for a lot of advisors, that’s a struggle. If you’re consuming content and you can’t figure out how to apply it, you’re probably consuming the wrong content.

Micah Shilanski:  Sure or you’re not around the right group of people because you haven’t trained your mind. Plug for mastermind. Go create your own mastermind and get in front of these. Again, that aspect, how do you deliver that information to a client? It needs to be not some esoteric, theoretical conversation that you really can’t solve like we had last night. It was just kind of a fun beer conversation, but there’s a place for those, absolutely. They can be mentally stimulating, however that doesn’t help you move the needle with client so you have to separate those things out. And that’s what a great mastermind is going to do.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, speaking of masterminds, how do you and I kind of the questions, I guess I’m leading this. How do you decide which books to read next? You’ve consumed a lot of books over your 20 year career. You have a vast library. How do you find the next book to read?

Micah Shilanski:  One of the things that I appreciate is, both my father and you are very avid readers, generally reading more than me. Number one, I ping you guys and when I’m running short on books, I reach out to my network, which you guys are the top two so it’s great. What are you reading right now? What am I missing? I’ll reach out to my mastermind group and say, “Great, what other great books are out there”? I’ll just start reaching out until I’m there. Suggested the topics of course come up from time to time. I’ll get a book from there, but mainly it’s the masterminds or conferences that I want to go to that I’ll hear about books.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. I was going to suggest along that line. If you’re running short on things to read – by the way, I always like to keep… I’m curious, Micah. I always like to keep up five or six books ahead sitting at my house…

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   …because if I run out of books, I’ll hit a wall. I always have five or six books ahead, sitting at the house so when I finished one or two, I can go to the next one. Micah, I do the same thing as you. I ask people I respect, and this is a great conversation starter at conferences. Instead of saying, “Hey, where are you from and how’s your sports team?” to him. “Hey, what were the three books that had the biggest impact on your career? What book did you read this year that really you were able to implement”? I would watch Nick Murray’s reading recommendations, very diligently. I watch Derek Sivers reading recommendations diligently. I wish Kitsis would do more reading recommendations. I’ve asked him that several times.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   Michael, if you’re listening to this episode, love to have more reading recommendations on your podcast.

Micah Shilanski:  Clearly he’s not producing enough content, by the way. No, phenomenal stuff. The other thing that I would throw out there, when you’re looking at the reading content and things to do is then, great. What budget do you need to put around this and what delivery system is really best for you? We talked about the meeting and the format so if you’re not that big of a reader, great, then it’s the audible books or is it the conferences or is it these other things? We talked about the time budget, but I want to jump back up to that financial budget just a little bit. In your PD budget, which reading is it now. Really, we’re talking about $14, $15, $20 books. Really that’s not a deal breaker in any of us, but maybe it’s conferences, but you need to have a spending budget.

My recommendation is at least five percent of your gross. I do seven point five percent of my gross, by the way. That is my PD budget. Every time I’m paid, money goes into a PD account. It’s a totally separate bank account that I use just for personal development and books would easily come out of there. Jarvis, what I’m doing here, is I’m playing a little head game with myself, removing any obstacle from saying no or delaying it. Earlier in my career, this was a big issue. It was okay, great money did matter. How was I going to pay the bills? How were things going off? I had to create separate funds that says, no, no, no, this is the special pot that I can pay for these different events and to really push that needle.

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, you’ve got to remove that barrier. It’s interesting. When we talked to advisors who are considering backstage pass and Invictus, and they’re saying, well, I don’t know if I can afford it or not. Well, great. It’s really a matter of how fast you want to grow your practice. How much you’re going to invest in yourself and in your practice. Both Micah, to your point, are time and money. I think it depends on where you are in your career, as far as what types of conferences you’re going to pursue. If you’re early in your career, it’s more of a content consumption. I need to go where I can learn what it is I need to do. When you’re more mature in your practice, Micah, you and I are looking a lot for where can I get around people that are playing at my level and ideally the next several levels above mine?

That’s a criteria I’m always looking for when I’m looking at conferences. What can I learn? This might sound egotistical, but that list is getting shorter and shorter. I really have to dig deeper and deeper to find another nuance inside of our industry, but then who can I be around? Who can I be around that can give me exposure to things that I haven’t thought of?

Micah Shilanski:  Sometimes when you go to conferences, you learn the things or attend events. You learn things you weren’t intentional about. We went to one conference and it just wasn’t a good fit for the two of us, so we ended up bowing out, but we learned some amazing technology stuff that they were delivering. It wasn’t a technology conference at all. It was a business conference, however, the technology platform they were using was amazing. It really gave us some great ideas for this next level. You can always pick out different things and that onus is a hundred percent on you. You have to go there. You have to get that information. Jarvis, are there any annual re-reads that you have?

Matthew Jarvis:   Annual re-reads. I read Nick Murray’s books every year and I don’t have them sitting around. They’re hard to find, by the way. I’m convinced that Nick actually has a stash of books and he sells them used on Amazon for a hundred bucks a piece instead of just ordering more. That’s my conspiracy theory. Tim Ferriss’, 4-Hour Work Week, probably…

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, that’s mine.

Matthew Jarvis:   …every third or fourth year. The war of art by Steven Pressfield. In fact, I just listened to that again on audio book. That is a must read. It’s a short read. That’s an annual re-read. Here I’m going to start going down the list. Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink. That’s an annual read for me as is the Academy of Leadership and the Leadership Field Manual. Boy, that’s a lot of annual reads.

Micah Shilanski:  It is but these are core foundation things. Again, one of the things that I like about the re-reads is even though I know 90 percent of the content, I’ll go back and say, “No, here’s this one thing that I need to implement. Here’s this one other thing”. Think about how many books. Out of all the books that you read, what is the thing that you really implement inside of there? Maybe one thing. Implement. Not thinking about implementing, but you actually implement maybe one thing. Sometimes it’s good picking up those books again and just giving them a re-read, looking through them again. It’s a great, “What did I dogear? What notes did I have? What things do I need to go and take and take action on”?

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, I’m curious. Any books you’d add to that list that come to mind? I don’t know if I left any books.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah, exactly. Four-Hour Work Week was a huge one for me. Big Brian Tracy fan. Some of Brian Tracy’s books, especially his Success Mastery Academy. I’ll go back and, it’s a little dated information, but it’s still solid communications training, hands down. Great stuff in there. We’re having the kids go through it, so that’s a lot of fun. That’s the only other one I’d add to it.

Matthew Jarvis:   Micah, something stands out to me as we’re talking about this consumption, and one of the things this does. As you’re consuming all this content, the content itself has value. The things you can extract and implement, that all has value. I think a bigger issue, Micah, and please push back on this. It trains your brain to always be in a state of learning. There’s a lot of brain science behind that. Micah, I think whenever you and I go somewhere and I see this with your kids, I see it with my kids. They’re constantly quizzical about everything. We walk into a Starbucks. Why do you think Starbucks got rid of all the sizes off their menu? I wonder why that is? Somebody did a lot of analysis there. Now everywhere we go, personally and as a family, we’re questioning everything. Interesting. I wonder why this ended up this way? Then we can debate the pros and cons because our brains are trained now to look for information to learn.

Micah Shilanski:  One of the things we’ve done with the kids, and this is a little bit of a tangent off the finances stuff, so hopefully our listeners will bear with us. Big fan of Jordan B Peterson. Just his content information that he puts out and his ability to critically think about things. Put his opinion aside, but his ability to critically think about things and we’ve taken several of those examples and done them with the kids and I’ve gone back and said, “Great, I need to apply this better”. It’s not just about reading this. It’s how are we critically thinking about this? Is the foundation of the argument sound? Why is this a good thing? How are we implementing this? Show me the examples of this actually working. Again, going back to the first chapter of your book, learn from those that have done things. even if you’re learning from anyone, that that question should still be there. You know, are you critically thinking about everything that you’re reading and then applying that in?

Matthew Jarvis:   We really get on a tangent because even people that I might almost vehemently disagree with their policies, whatever those are. In any area, whether it’s in our side of our industry or politics or religion or whatever else, I’m still always fascinated to learn. All right, how are you communicating that? How are you able to stay calm in this heated situation? How are you articulating your points in a way that lots of people are persuaded to follow you? That’s all things that I’m curious about. I think reading is a big driver of that. Again, I just don’t see a downside here. As long as it’s not being used as an avoidance behavior, as long as you’re not reading in lieu of prospecting, reading in lieu of surge meetings, reading in lieu of being with your family. Don’t use it as an avoidance behavior, but short of that, I just can’t see a downside here.

Micah Shilanski:  As long as you’re properly time-blocking, it’s amazing. Is that a better way to say it?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah. Different way to say it. I love it.

Micah Shilanski:  This podcast is all about action items, so we want to make sure that we’re giving our listeners things to do. We already talked about a bunch of books to go back and listen to. Jarvis and I have talked about creating a book list. Maybe we will go ahead and do that. Jarvis, what would you say is the number one action items our listeners can take and implement this week?

Matthew Jarvis:   The first one I’d say on our list and I think this goes back to credit to Brian Tracy, which by the way, Brian Tracy stuff is pure gold. I’ve read it and I’ve re-read it. Bob Dunwoody. These old sales guys.

Micah Shilanski:  Chad Holmes.

Matthew Jarvis:   They had it figured out. In fact, Seth Godin, and I mentioned this on my kids podcast. Seth Godin said, “Hey, there hasn’t been anything new in sales and marketing since Jay Abraham pulled pots and pans out of his bag to sell door to door”. Everything’s been iterations on that. The old stuff might be dated, but it’s really good. Anyway, Brian Tracy once said, “Hey, double your consumption and you’ll essentially double your income”, and that’s universally true. Didn’t he say, Micah, the worst case is you’ll need a bigger house to hold all your books.

Micah Shilanski:  That’s his joke.

Matthew Jarvis:   Something like that, yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  What’s the downside here. Exactly.

Matthew Jarvis:   Double your consumption, I guess would be number one.

Micah Shilanski:  I love it. Double your consumption. I think that’s great. Then also think about it too. You get to a certain point in career where you have momentum that’s carrying you forward. Where in your career are you? Jarvis and I are continually reading in order to increase where we’re at, but we’re not in the beginning stages of our career and I would say, when I was at the beginning stages of my career, my reading was dramatically more than this because I had to build up momentum. Where are you being intentional about doubling your consumption? Number two, set PD time each week. That’s the most important thing. When are you going to go over it? Again, not avoidance behavior, but how are you going to do this personal development time?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah and then I would say number three is, take a speed reading class. Whether it’s an in-person class or just watch some YouTube videos on speed reading and really practice that. You can train yourself to consume data much faster. You don’t need to get to world record status on speed reading, but to be able to consume data and to learn how to skim data. I’m able to skim enormous amounts of data to find what I need. It’s a skill like anything else. It’s something that can be practiced and learned.

Micah Shilanski:  Yeah and just like anything else, if you move that needle 20 percent, if you could only read 20 percent faster. No you didn’t double. No, you didn’t triple. Okay, great. What if you had 20 percent more prospects? That’s the same thing we’re talking about. Only at 20 percent growth in your practice. These are all great things. Same thing with speed reading. Everything counts and the quicker you can digest that information, even with a 10, 15, 20 percent increase and in a speed reading class, you’re really going to be closer to double. Even with a 20 percent increase, that’s a huge increase in the volume of information you’re going to be able to digest.

Matthew Jarvis:   I would say action item number four, Micah, for anybody who is, we’ll call it skeptical. Who is saying, “I don’t really know that this is going to bring me a lot of value”. I would find anyone that you respect, that have a level of success that you hope to achieve, you respect and ask them how much they’re consuming. I’m always pleasantly surprised – this could be just confirmation bias. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I see people that I respect their success, the amount of data they consume is mind boggling. We can look at famous figures. Warren Buffett subscribes to six newspapers that he reads every day. Bill Gates talks about how he reads 30 or 40 books a summer. These people at the top of their game, who are very busy by the way. It’s not as though those two guys are just sitting around. They’re very busy and yet they still consume enormous amounts of data.

Micah Shilanski:  One of the things that I remember getting an interview from one of the guys. Totally. Who is the guy that owns the sports team that is on Shark Tank?

Matthew Jarvis:   Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Micah Shilanski:  What was his name? Mark? He was doing an interview and he just thoroughly loves to read. He says, “That is why I fly privately”, and the person interviewing him is like, “Why do you like to fly privately”? “There’s no cell phones. There’s no internet and there are no interruptions. I just get on my plane and I read that entire time and I have no interruptions until I land. Because as soon as I land, I have a million other things that are going on, but this is the reason I fly privately”. It was just blowing the interviewer’s mind. how intentional he is about his time and that’s the time that he’s going to dedicate to making sure he’s reading. Again, at the top level, they’re doing these exact same things.

Matthew Jarvis:   I love it. I love it. Micah, that gives people a lot to digest. We didn’t even talk about podcasts. We didn’t talk about other platforms of learning videos and so forth. The key of course is personal development and then the key from that is to take action. We went through action items here. This podcast is about taking action. Continue to grow both in reviews and just downloads. I think we’re at something like over 20,000 downloads a month. Perfect orientation is really storming the industry. It’s fun, Micah, to look around and see all the terms that we, you and I sort of whispered about in hallways. Surge meetings…

Micah Shilanski:  Right.

Matthew Jarvis:   …and delivering massive value…

Micah Shilanski: DMV, yeah.

Matthew Jarvis:   …and head trash and all these things that we were learning about. By the way, kudos to coach Joe Lucas on head trash, who taught us about that. This is now becoming widespread across the industry and Micah, until next time, happy planning.

Micah Shilanski:  Happy planning.

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