Day One Reads – Things No One Else Can Teach Us

One of my key daily leadership questions is tied to the value of “growth”: “What have I done today to make it more likely someone will learn something?” A few weeks ago I was reminded I was missing out on one of the key ways of answering that question.

Just before the holidays I watched my friend Neil Pasricha speak in support of his new book: You Are Awesome: How to Navigate Change, Wrestle with Failure, and Live an Intentional Life. During the Q&A, Neil mentioned something that absolutely stunned me: he had read over 100 books in 2019. To my horror I realized my number was about four.

Four. In a year.

This is from someone who, as a kid, read the first 40 books of the Babysitter’s Club series because the local library limited you to ten books at a time, and after ripping through them, I’d have no choice but to read what my sister had checked out (Stacey was my favourite in case you’re wondering).

I can’t believe I let that happen. And look, I can’t claim that I’ve been “too busy” to do it. Not when I’ve watched dozens of movies on cross-country flights, managed to binge-watch the entirety of Veep and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not for the first time), and led my NBA2K20 franchise to six championships over the past year.

It’s not that I haven’t been able to prioritize reading. It’s that I chose not to prioritize reading.

As we head into 2020, I’m introducing a new (hopefully) weekly feature: Day One Reads. I’m not going to call it a “review” because I’m sure I’ll read some books I’m not crazy about, and knowing the impact it has on me when I read someone hating on my book I’m uncomfortable doing the same to anything into which I know someone poured their heart and soul. Instead, I’ll try to offer some more objective information on which you can base your judgement on whether to pick it up or not. I will tweak these categories as I go I’m sure, and please let me know if there’s anything else I can share to help you with your decisions moving forward.

With that, here’s the first edition of Day One Reads!

Humble the Poet:Things No One Else Can Teach Us

Category*: Reflective

Author: Humble the Poet

About the author: Humble The Poet (Kanwer Mahl), is a Canadian-born rapper, spoken-word artist, poet, internationally bestselling author, and former elementary school teacher with a wildly popular blog with over 100,000 monthly readers. He has more than 930,000 social-media followers, and his first edition of Unlearn is a Globe and Mail bestseller. He has performed at concerts and festivals including Lollapalooza and has been featured in major media including BuzzFeed and Huffington Post.

Website: HumbleThePoet.com

How I found it: Browsing in a bookstore for Christmas gifts.

Book Jacket description: The rapper, spoken word artist, poet, blogger, social media influencer, and international bestselling author of Unlearn delivers unorthodox lessons for shifting our perceptions and learning to create silver linings from our most difficult moments.

Every one of us endures setbacks, disappointments, and failures that can incapacitate us. But we don’t have to let them. Instead, we can use these events as opportunities for growth. In Things No One Else Can Teach Us, Humble the Poet flips the conventional script for happiness and success, showing us how our most painful experiences can be our greatest teachers.

Humble shares raw, honest stories from his own life—from his rocky start becoming a rapper to nearly going broke to being the victim of racial prejudice—to demonstrate how a change in mindset can radically alter our outlook. This shift in perspective—one that stops seeing the negative and starts seeing the lesson or positive spin—is what no one else can teach us. We must figure things out on our own, often through difficult and heartbreaking experiences.

Humble inspires us to create these silver linings ourselves, preparing us to better handle any challenges that may arise. From a breakup to going broke to losing a loved one, our hardest moments can help us flourish, but only if we recognize and seize the opportunity. By doing so, we will become more self-aware, grateful, and empowered.

Simple yet profound, Humble’s message is clear: While we can’t control the vagaries of life, we have the power to control how we react to them. Things No One Else Can Teach Us reminds us all that we have the power within us to transform the way we respond to everyday challenges and ultimately be our best selves.

While we can’t control the vagaries of life, we have the power to control how we react to them.

How well I feel it delivered on what the jacket promised (scale out of 10 with 10 being completely delivered): 8

Amazon Rating: 4.5 (6 ratings – Canada)/4.5 (35 ratings – US)

Goodreads Rating: 4.12 (64 ratings)

Who I think should pick it up: A must-read for creatives and entrepreneurs (working in the creative space or otherwise). If you’re going through a difficult time it might provide a welcome perspective shift, but the audience to whom I truly feel it will be helpful is anyone who is battling to come back after a difficult time are struggling with the idea that they’ve “changed”…and perhaps not for the better.

Who might want to leave it on the shelf:Those who aren’t crazy about books that represent one individual’s perspective on looking at the world and prefer more broadly research-based materials, or who don’t like books that focus on “what” needs to change more than the “how”.

“Velcro quotes” (ideas that are going to stick with me moving forward):

  • “‘What can you do for me?’ always leads to isolation. And that isolation can’t be helped with a juicy bank account. If anything, success will only amplify the loneliness. We all want connection, and we think being desirable will finally scratch that itch, so we chase things like success and accolades to make ourselves more desirable to others. The problem with that is, if we don’t improve how we feel about ourselves, it won’t matter how many others desire us. We’ll start thinking less of them for wanting to be around someone like us.”
  • “The Five S’s we have to worry about are salt, sugar, sitting, social media, and self-pity. All are highly addictive, and all will take a heavy toll on us if we consume them over a long period of time.”
  • “Being rich and successful is the unrealistic body type for all guys to measure up to: it’s our bikini body.”
  • “Self-pity is a tricky thing—an addiction like any other, often birthed from our need to connect and bond with something or somebody. When we feel sorry for ourselves, we decide that no one understands us, and that lets us create a temporary connection to…drumroll…ourselves. It’s one of the most convenient ways to feel a connection—by finding a reason to feel sorry for ourselves.”

How likely I think I am to make a positive reference to this book in the next 30 days: 100%. I actually sent a copy as a gift to a good friend.

How likely I’ll put something I learned in this book to use in the next 30 days: 100%

Total Pages: 306

Total “pulled passages”: 56

Page to Pulled Passage Ratio**: 5.5:1

P2P Ranking for 2020: #1 of 1.

*I break books into one of three categories in order to better compare apples-to-apples.

  • Reflective: Relies on first-person stories or insights
  • Biographical: Tells the story of an individual or organization from a third-person perspective
  • Research-based: The author(s) collect third-party research to support their discussion of a particular topic.

**As I read, I highlight certain passages/insights that really connect with me. Things that make me think “buying this book was worth it for ideas/information like that.” At the end of the book, I go back and “pull” them from the book and copy them all into a single document. P2P Ratio indicates how many pages on average tend to go by between these particularly powerful insights. This book’s 5.5:1 ratio means I felt there was a passage worth pulling out and writing down every 5.5 pages.