“View from the Top” Book Review

View From the Top by Aaron WalkerI loved this book, and I wolfed it within a few hours.
By the way, one of the things I found very refreshing was that Aaron Walker didn’t beat the word count as most traditionally published authors do. They do that because their publishers demand that. They have to somehow justify their inflated prices, and they do that by publishing thick volumes. Most of the time, it bites them right back in the butt, because readers are bored by long-windedness.

Well, it’s not the case with View from the Top by Aaron Walker. The author didn’t put a single unnecessary story into it. He said what he had to say without elaborate word figures and beating a dead horse.

I loved the book mostly because it was raw and authentic. No beating around the bush. No veiled hints about this or that. When Aaron decided to reveal something about himself or his story, he did it to the fullest. By no means is he an author who can paint the picture with a painstakingly collected set of beautiful words, but his stories were captivating nonetheless. When he told about the accident on a highway or described how he was tempted to shoot the man down, I was right there with him and could feel his emotions.

I found only a couple of minor problems with the book, and both of them were just a matter of my perspective.

I read View from the Top on Kindle, and it wasn’t properly formatted to fit that format. I got an impression that the publisher tried to convey the feeling of the print layout, and it wasn’t a very successful attempt. The image quotes that I’m sure look great on printed pages were disturbing my reading experience.
I held one or three minor doctrinal differences with Aaron Walker, and some things simply didn’t ring right in my ears.

Religious Background

Aaron Walker is a man of faith, and it shines through the pages of View from the Top.” Readers who are Christians will get the most out of this book.
It doesn’t mean that people of other religions will not benefit from reading it. This book is one man’s life story and life lessons, not a sermon. Yes, you will find the word “Christ” many times, but it’s just who Aaron Walker is. You don’t also expect to read the autobiography of Dalai Lama that avoids the subject of Buddhism altogether, do you?

View from the Top is not a good fit for one “religious category” of people – for fighting atheists. They would be offended by the obvious deep faith of the author, or they would be too busy proving in their minds what an idiot Aaron is to believe in fairytales to actually ponder his message and apply it in their lives.

The Message(s)

And that would be a real shame, because View from the Top contains so many nuggets of wisdom hard-won by the author in decades of business and marriage.

How pervasive honesty and integrity are to success. How masterminds can help you not only in your business, but in your life. How most people succumb to an instant gratification mindset, and how powerful delayed gratification is. Why you should pay more attention to your relationships than to your job or business.

Another reflection here: research done by some university concluded that the only reliable predictor of one’s happiness is one’s relationships. They tried to correlate many different factors with happiness, especially the ones we feel in our guts are connoted to happiness – material status, respect in the society, health, etc. They found only a feeble correlation between any of them and happiness. But in 90% of cases when you have deep nurturing relationships, you are also happy.

Aaron Walker came to the same conclusions through his life experiences, not by conducting research. I appreciate his common sense and wisdom that is grounded in practice, not theory.

A Few Words about the Author

As I began the review, the book is raw and authentic. It is so because its author is raw and authentic as well.
I’ve been following him for some time and heard his interviews on numerous podcasts, but I still discovered pieces of his story I hadn’t known previously.

Aaron has had a rich life, and he generously shares his experience with readers. I think the most valuable lessons are the ones he learned not in some dramatic circumstances, but the ones he gained by living and growing for many years.

Keep communication lines open in your marriage.
Integrity and honesty are crucial to long-term success.
Nobody likes a cocky fellow.

Those are the lessons he discovered, and he lives in accordance with them, which makes him a very impressive man.

Faith

As I said, View from the Top will be the most useful for Christians. Aaron’s faith is like a fabric that keeps together all other lessons of his book. When you put God in first place in your life, everything else will fall into their right places.

It’s hard to open up to a bunch of strangers in the mastermind when you have no faith. It’s hard – without faith – to be 100% integral when you see others using smoke and mirrors and getting by.

It’s hard to find any meaning and significance in your life if you don’t believe in the all-loving God who planned the good life of service for you.

It’s close to impossible to not be self-centered without faith.

And most importantly, with no faith the unexpected turns of life will squeeze you, chew you over, and leave you beaten.

You cannot predict how your life will unfold. But if you trust God, you can steadily move forward, even if you have just enough light to see only a few steps ahead. It’s a much better way of living your life than standing in place and being paralyzed because of the darkness that looms those few steps ahead.
Having God on your side you can live Aaron’s motto:

Fear missing opportunities more than you fear failure.

Great Book

I’m a reader. I read thousands of books including at least 100 that are life stories told from the first perspective.
I had a weird method of separating good books from great ones: if the book moves me to tears, it’s a great one. View from the Top is a great book.

At one point I had to put it down and hold my tears. I’ve stood on a train platform waiting for a train from work to home. It took me a couple minutes to put myself together.

If you let this book’s message pierce your heart, it may change you and change your life. If you are a man, you can do that with the help of Aaron. He shares his contact information at the end, and he is really approachable. I tested that personally.
If you are a woman, you will know where to send your man 😉

Significance

The big takeaway from Aaron Walker’s life and his book is that significance does not come from success. You may be successful and miserable. You may have a lot of money or awards, but your health or your family may be in shambles exactly because you pursued money or awards.

But if you are significant, success will follow.

It’s in line with my own limited experience. When I decided to be an author and coach, I was focused on significance. I wanted to help my readers and clients. While I was focused on serving others, success followed. Whenever I wandered around chasing money or some ego metrics, my results dwindled.

For the last six months, I took a step back from my business and focused on my family. And you know what? My business exploded.

Read View from the Top and learn how to become not only successful, but significant as well.

Text Me! Book Review

I enjoyed “Text Me!” very much. I’m in a good position to judge the content, because Kevin Kruse is doing the exact thing I’m doing. Only he is doing it much better.
I’m a practitioner of what is taught in “Text Me!,” but I still managed to find numerous value bombs inside.

It is a very rare case when I simply cannot criticize a single thing about the book. Everything is perfect.
The book is short, but it does it good. Kevin didn’t have to fill paper with string of words because his publisher wanted a thick book. He said what he had to say in a concise format, but he covered the topic fully and in some depth.

First, the author preach the value of personal attention, Intimate Attention–as he called it–in a modern world of shallow or fake connections. For me, he preached to the converted, but if you really think that more followers and bigger email list are better (than a small and engaged list), you NEED to read this book.

I liked how Kevin mentioned many times the best practices of people we consider ‘too big to bother’ with personal connections with their followers. Multimillionaires, billionaires, rock stars, and other high profile folks are crushing it, one person at a time and story after story from the rich arsenal of stories confirmed that.

I found very useful the part about how big is each social media and for which particular demographics they work best. Kevin also very aptly described the current trends (“most Tweets [my own included] are automated click bait”).

Intimate Attention

I loved the glimpses into Kevin’s personal way of dealing with the Intimate Attention system in his own business. This is what I love the most about independent authors—they share their experience, not write textbooks. This is so important. A coaching platform with millions users mined their data and found that people who “have been there and done that” have FOUR times better chances to teach you a new skill, habit, or knowledge than ‘certified’ or ‘qualified’ coaches.

Kevin Kruse walks his talk and he is only a few steps ahead of me—an ideal role model.
And his lessons on how he deals with trolls, beggars, or complainers were enlightening.

The Value of Consistency

The real key isn’t volume, but rather consistency.

Kevin is absolutely right. I do in my business exactly the way he does. I reply to each email and message on social media.

But by no means, do I do it in the systematic way he does. I have no fixed schedule nor appropriate processes. And it shows.

I have 350 followers on Medium, 1900 on Quora, 650 on Twitter, and my email list consists of 1,300 names. His numbers are about 10 times better, because his consistency is 10 times better.

Pointing the Finger

I absolutely loved the honest way Kevin pointed out businesses and individuals who don’t walk their talk. Kevin paid thousands of dollars for product and services, but it meant close to nothing to providers. When he asked for contribution to his book, he got canned refusals.

I remember writing an article for Firepole Marketing in the same spirit three years ago. I pointed out businesses that assured on their websites that they reply to all messages and inquires. Some of them replied only to those that involved money. In most cases, their declarations were empty and I heard nothing back.

Firepole Marketing rejected my article, because “it reads too much like a rant—particularly in the mention of other bloggers and what they do.”

Well—unlike Firepole Marketing—Kevin wasn’t afraid to call the king naked.

Right Role Models

I also loved the part of the book with highly successful people’s mini-interviews. It provided more insight and perspectives about how Intimate Attention can be cultivated on different platforms.

I also noticed that every single one of those successful people said it was good for their business. Your Intimate Attention translates into money.

The Style

I’m a reader. I have read thousands of books in my life including about 1,000 non-fiction books. And I can tell you—Kevin Kruse is a great author. He knows how to write good books.

The content is actually useful and functional. Kevin illustrated practically every point in “Text Me!” with a story and this is the most effective method to leave a mark in readers’ memory.

When he jokes, he is really witty. I laughed out loud when he explained why giving his book the title “Intimate Attention” wasn’t the best idea.

When he demonstrated vulnerability sharing one of the stories of interaction with his reader, I cried with him.

Conclusion

After reading “Text Me!,” I’m seriously considering to dedicate an hour a day to connect with my audience.

True—I’m not in Kevin’s position yet; I don’t work full time in my own business. But if I truly want to grow it beyond the point where it will become my main source of income, I’d better pay more attention to the way I give my attention to my readers and clients.
There is verily no other way than connecting—one person at a time.

From Welfare to Bestseller Book Review

From Welfare to BestsellerThis is a beautiful story. It is of a family that has transformed from “working poor” through tragedy and poverty to success, with resourcefulness and entrepreneurship.

The main character is the author herself, but her husband is always in the background. They made this transformation as a family unit and that’s only one of the wonderful traits of this book, and of their story.

No Excuses
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Book Review: You Are a Writer

You Are a Writer review
I don’t have the words to properly describe awesomeness of this book. I don’t read much about writing. As a proper published author I think I’m perfect and nobody will tell me how should I write. Or do my business. It’s not their business to poke their noses into my business.

I’m so glad I decided to read You Are a Writer I was drawn straight into it from the Why Listen To Me? section at the beginning of the book. Once Jeff stopped covering theoretic pitiful creatures (wannabe writers) and started talking about himself, the book suddenly become deadly serious and deep.

Writers don’t write for the money.

I’m past my own struggles with my writer’s identity. I have nine books published and six more in various stages of completion. I’ve been writing every day since 23rd of September 2013. I think I’ll pass the 1 million words mark this year. But when Jeff took me to the beginnings of his career it was so raw and real I felt it in my bones. I thought: “Wow, I was in the same spot.” I was back in my own skin at the end of 2012 when I put my words ‘out there’ for the first time. I was back there when my short story was criticized on the big Science Fiction forum; I was once again rejected by a huge site in the last possible moment, literally a few days before publishing the article I had worked on for months.

I put the time in and showed up—and I saw results.

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Book Review: How to Work a Room

How to Work A Room reviewThis is a great textbook on working a room. On this particular subject it may be even THE ultimate textbook. Susan RoAne covered everything from exhibits via high school reunions to funeral services. Wow, what a tremendous experience! Susan was on schedule for more meetings than I changed diapers (and changed a lot of them).

But this is not some boring textbook which can substitute for a soothing lullaby. Not at all. This book is packed with both fun and interesting stories. Most of them came directly from Susan’s rich array of experiences. That makes the book far from the dreadful image of a textbook.

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61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books

61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle BooksTo me, this book is worth a thousand times more than its price

It’s not some figurative price. For every dollar I spent on “61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books,” I earned at least $1,000 back.

I bought this book on the 4th of May 2013. On 4th, I had been polishing the final version and had wondered how the heck I should proceed from that point on. 22 more days passed before I published my first book on Kindle.

This purchase was the best thing that happened to me in 2013.

A few details about me, so you get the full picture:

  1. English is not my first language.
  2. I had no prior experience in writing and publishing (other than my masters thesis).
  3. I had no online presence and following whatsoever.
  4. I had no authority at all.

Then I got my hands on “61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books” and the universe became crazy.

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Book Review: Exercise Every Day

The Essence of Common Sense

Exercise Every Day

This book is so down to earth, that you can smell the mud.

In a couple of places, it was its weakness. You shouldn’t use common sense against lazy bums who “are not motivated” or against “mental” cases (Mental Stumbling Blocks). Whoever expected a pep talk at these moments would have been disappointed. Scott’s answer is almost the same every time:

“Get real and grow up! Nobody will do the job for you. It’s your body and your exercises. On the ground and gimm’e 50!”

Well, maybe not exactly these words, but I’m apt at reading between the lines 😉
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Book review: Will the Real You Please Stand Up?

Will the Real You Please Stand Up?
Wow, this book spoke to me on so many levels that I could have written it myself. But who am I kidding? I don’t have such extensive experience and knowledge like Kim possesses.
The message of “Will The Real You Please Stand Up?” was definitely something close to my heart. I feel that authenticity means everything in the online world.
You could have dismissed her message saying that it’s naive, utopian, and that the guys with big bucks always win in the end.
However, I can’t say this. I started my first-ever online business in May 2013. I had zero knowledge, zero authority, zero skills, and no connections. But I was authentic. And I still am. My business continues to grows. I earned about $4.5k in 2014. Until the 28th of April 2015, I earned $5.9k. It works.
If a guy who hadn’t seen a webinar till November 2012 could do that, anybody can. It’s just enough to be yourself.
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