Bold by Peter Diamandis Book Review & Big Takeaways

Bold

This morning’s book was “Bold” by Peter Diamandis.

Definitely a must read and here are some of my takeaways…

Peter and his Co-Author Steven Kotler start the book by saying…

“This is the first time in history that you have access to everything you need to take on any challenge.

As long as you are passionate and committed, you have access to the technology, minds, and capital to literally change the world.”

While that’s a very BOLD statement (no pun intended) and I totally agree, they then go on to say, “Resources, passion, and commitment isn’t enough. You need the right mindset.”

Actually, they say you need 8 of them, which is the foundation of the book.

The 8 mindsets from than from 4 of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time – Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Larry Page and Jeff Bezos (all self-made billionaires).

Here’s some of the mindsets and takeaways:

#1. To become a billionaire, focus on helping a billion people.

This one comes from Peter himself, and he tells us that if we are going to make our own dent in the universe, that we need to think about creating a business that will impact the lives of a billion people.

#2. Understanding the balance of risk taking and risk mitigation

Richard Branson has a reputation for being a business renegade. From the outside it would seem to most people that he takes on a ton of risk.

But what most people don’t understand about him is that one of the phrases he keeps near and dear to his heart is “protect the downside.”

When starting his airline, Branson bought one plane and then negotiated the right to give the plane back in twelve months if things weren’t working out like he wanted them to.

#3. Rapid iteration and ceaseless experimentation

This was a biggie for me because I’m an advocate for taking action fast, testing to see what works and making the appropriate “tweaks” or iterations.

One famous experiment that ended in success for Amazon was A/B testing their website experience, allowing users to check-out as guests instead of creating an account.

This one experiment alone generated an extra $300 million per year in revenue for the company.

#4. You need to have passion and purpose

Larry Page, the co-founder of Google says:

“I have a very simple metric I use: Are you working on something that can change the world? Yes or no? The answer for 99.99999 percent of people is no. I think we need to be training people on how to change the world.”

Mj (my 5 year old), walked in on this part and said, “Anybody can change the world, right?”

I replied: “YEP!”

If you are working on something that you believe has the power to change the world, you can’t help have the passion and purpose you need in order to get it done.

The question is… Are you working on something that can change the world?

#5. You need to think for the long-term

Jeff Bezos did an interview session at an annual conference, where he outlined his contrarian thinking about the long-term.

“What’s going to change in the next ten years?” And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question:

“What’s not going to change in the next ten years?” And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two—because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”

This is a great insight because it allows you to build a business that serves the needs of the marketplace today, while still allowing you the time and ability to innovate over time.

For instance, Bezos says that he knows that his customers want low prices and that this is going to be true 10 years from now.

And that they are going to want their packages delivered faster. So, Amazon focusses all of their innovation capacity on delivering on those things.

A great example is Amazon’s work on developing delivery drones that can get your order to you in less than 30 minutes.

#6. Always be thinking about the customer.

Like Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson is also passionate about creating an incredible experience for his customers.

As they point out in the book, if Branson thinks that a particular service might benefit his customers, he tries it.

To Branson, creating a customer-centric experience is about getting every little detail right.

When you do this, he explains, customers will go out of their way to stay loyal to your brand. This is one of – if not the only – reason that Branson has been able to launch and invest in over 500 businesses that leverage the Virgin brand.

This is one of the principles of my personal company is:

“Client Obsession” and our #1 metric is Client Success Stories.

#7. Using probabilistic thinking

Elon Musk has created 4 different companies with valuations north of $1 billion – Paypal, SpaceX, Tesla and Solar City (they modeled the Superhero Iron Man after Elon).

Usually, when entrepreneurs are weighing a decision, they think about their likelihood of success, and if they are good entrepreneurs, they will try and protect the downside.

Elon thinks a little different about this. He says:

“Even if the probability for success is fairly low, if the objective is really important, it’s still worth doing. Conversely, if the objective is less important, then the probability needs to be much greater. How I decide which projects to take on depends on probability multiplied by the importance of the objective.”

SpaceX and Tesla is living proof of this thinking. When he started them, he thought they both had less than 50% chance in succeeding (in fact, they were both very close to bankruptcy at the same time), he felt that they were businesses that needed to be created.

So he went ahead and built them, in spite of the risk.

#8. Being rationally optimistic

Larry Page wants more people to think about changing the world, but he also practices something the authors call “rational optimism.”

It means that you need to take a sober view of the facts, while still retaining your optimism about doing the impossible.

Page gives the example of when they set out to do simultaneous translation between languages and to do it better than human translators could.

The machine-learning experts they asked for advice on it laughed at them and said it was impossible.

But they forged on anyways, understanding that the technology we have available to us today was at a point where it would be possible – incredibly hard, but possible – to get it done.

Today, Google now translates between 64 different languages, and in some cases do a better job than the average human translator. And they provide that service, 100% free to the world.

#9. Rely on first principles

I’m still wrapping my head around the concept of “First Principles,” but…

Essentially in the book it says whatever problem you are working on, question all of the assumptions built into it, and work the solution all the way through from beginning to end.

You’ll find insights there that almost everybody else would miss – but probably not Elon Musk, Larry Page, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson or other billionaires.

Which of these are your favorite? Have you read this book? Which are you going to implement? Do you like me sharing my takeaways from these books I’m reading?

Let me know in the comments below.

What is your #1 goal right now?

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