The biggest mistake you might make: assign power, influence, authority to someone with a title

Engineer 1 visits the headquarter office and meets a VP at the elevator. The engineer doesn’t know that this is a VP.

Engineer in a very peaceful and pleasant voice: “Hi, how are you? My name is X. I am visiting from another office. This is my first time here. You must be very lucky to work in this nice office.”

VP: “Thank you. Yes, it’s a nice office. What team are you in?”

Engineer: “I am on team Y.”

VP: “It is a great team. You guys are working on some cool project.”

The elevator comes to a stop and they wish each other well.

Later on, when the engineer find out that he talked to a VP, he hopes that he didn’t say anything stupid.

At the end of the day, the engineer takes the elevator to go home and meets the VP again.

Knowing that he’s in the same elevator with a VP, the engineer becomes very uncomfortable. The VP is friendly like he was in the morning and is glad to see his new friend again. Fear grows inside the engineer. He’s intimidated. He just says “Hi” and couldn’t open his mouth anymore.

It’s the same person this engineer meets in two different circumstances. The engineer lets the title and formal position intimidate him. He’s no longer free like he was in the morning.

This is a common mistake people in workplace make. They assign power and authority to someone’s title. They let titles control how they talk to someone.

A title doesn’t make someone a leader. A position doesn’t make someone a leader. What make someone a leader is influence. Influence is earned. Don’t assign power, influence, authority to someone with a title. More importantly, treat everyone you meet like a human being.

Leaders are readers


When Warren Buffett was once asked about the key to success, he pointed to a stack of nearby books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

Buffett devotes 80% of his day to read between 600 and 1000 pages per day.

Bill Gates reads about one book a week, which is about 50 books per year.

Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours per day.

Elon Musk, when asked how he built rockets, said that he reads books. Musk read 2 books a day, 10 hours a day, and had a book in his hand all the time when he was just a young boy. He buried himself into all the bookstore and library wherever he went.

Mark Zuckerburg read a book every two weeks in 2015.

Warren Bennis, a pioneer of leadership studies, said that one of the marvelous things about life is that any gaps in your education can be filled, whatever your age or situation, by reading, and thinking about what you read.

Books to read if you want to get rich in 2018 (source: CNBC):

  1. Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill
  2. Business Adventure by John Brooks
  3. Your money or your life by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez, and Monique Tilford
  4. Unshakable by Tony Robbins
  5. The little book of common sense investing by John C. Bogle

Here are some of the books billionaires read:

  1. “Business Adventures” by John Brooks
  2. “String Theory” by David Foster Wallace
  3. “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight
  4. “The Myth of the Strong Leader” by Archie Brown
  5. “The Grid” by Gretchen Bakke
  6. “A Full Life” by Jimmy Carter
  7. “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah
  8. “Portfolios of the Poor” by Daryl Collins
  9. “Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
  10. “The Idea Factory” by Jon Gertner
  11. “Dealing with China” by Henry M. Paulson
  12. “The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro
  13. “Built to Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
  14. “Creation” by Steve Grand
  15. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins
  16. “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen
  17. “Sam Walton: Made in America” by Sam Walton
  18. “Lean Thinking” by James Womanck and Daniel Jones
  19. “Memos from the Chairman” by Alan Greenberg
  20. “The Mythical Man-Month” by Frederick P. Brooks Jr.
  21. “The Goal” by Eliyahu Goldratt, Jeff Cox and David Whitford
  22. “Data-Driven Marketing” by Mark Jeffery
  23. “Structures” by J.E. Gordon
  24. “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life” by Walter Isaacson
  25. “Einstein: His Life and Universe” by Walter Isaacson
  26. “Superintelligence” by Nick Bostrom
  27. “Merchants of Doubt” by Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes
  28. “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding
  29. “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters
  30. The “Foundation” trilogy by Isaac Asimov
  31. “Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
  32. “The Rational Optimist” by Matt Ridley
  33. “Now, Discover Your Strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton
  34. “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway
  35. “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman
  36. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  37. “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz
  38. “The Checklist Manifesto” by Atul Gawande
  39. “The Score Takes Care of Itself” by Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh
  40. “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell
  41. “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk
  42. “Peak” by Chip Conley
  43. “The $100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau
  44. “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane
  45. “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman
  46. “The American Challenge” by Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber
  47. “The Great Illusion” by Norman Angell
  48. “The Right Stuff” by Tom Wolfe
  49. “Things Hidden Since the Foundation of the World” by Rene Girard, Stephen Bann and Michael Metteer

Books that teach you how to be rich:

  1. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
  2. “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Graham
  3. “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez, and Monique Tilford
  4. “How Rich People Think” by Steve Siebold
  5. “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason
  6. “The Automatic Millionaire” by David Bach
  7. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
  8. “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing” by John C. Bogle
  9. “Rich Habits” by Thomas Corley
  10. “Born Rich” by Bob Proctor

And my favorite list, which Warren Buffett recommended in his annual letters:

  1. The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham
  2. Security Analysis, by Benjamin Graham and David L. Dodd
  3. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, by Philip Fisher
  4. Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises, by Tim Geithner
  5. The Essays of Warren Buffett, by Warren Buffett
  6. Jack: Straight from the Gut, by Jack Welch
  7. The Outsiders, by William Thorndike Jr.
  8. The Clash of the Cultures, by John Bogle
  9. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street, by John Brooks
  10. Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? by Fred Schwed
  11. Essays in Persuasion, by John Maynard Keynes
  12. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, by Jack Bogle
  13. Poor Charlie’s Almanack, edited by Peter Kaufman
  14. The Most Important Thing Illuminated, by Howard Marks
  15. Dream Big, by Cristiane Correa
  16. First a Dream, by Jim Clayton and Bill Retherford
  17. Take on the Street, by Arthur Levitt

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