Book Review: How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough | Stephen Diagram

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough

  1. How to Fail (and How Not to)
  2. How to Build Character
  3. How to Think
  4. How to Succeed
  5. A Better Path

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How Children Succeed – Paul Tough – Animated Book Review


How to Fail

Part of the brain most affected by early stress is the prefrontal cortex, which is critical in self-regulatory activities; both emotional and cognitive

Children affected by early stress and trauma

  1. more difficult to concentrate
  2. more difficult to sit still
  3. more difficult to rebound from disappointment
  4. more difficult to follow directions

Poverty itself doesn’t compromise the abilities of poor children; the stress caused by poverty does. The solution is high quality parenting


How to Build Character

The two most important executive functions

  • Cognitive Flexibility: the ability to see alternative solutions, think outside the box and negotiate unfamiliar situations
  • Cognitive Self-Control: the ability to ignore habitual / instinctual response. Use a more effect method than what you would instinctual do.

How to Think

In science, you can’t ever truly verify your results to be perfectly correct; you must seek to prove yourself wrong through a process called Falsification.

Confirmation Bias occurs when we try to prove ourselves right


How to Succeed

The United States doesn’t have a problem with access to college; they have a problem with students completing college. Non-cognitive skills like resilience, resourcefulness, and grit are used to predict college success.


A Better Path

To produce brave, curious, kind and prudent adults, we must protect children from severe childhood stress and trauma. Secure and nurture your children. Manage their failure. Let kids know its fine to fail, let them fail, and teach them to overcome it.


In Review

Help kids develop persistence, self-control, curiosity, conscientiousness, grit and self-control.

Non-cognitive skills = personality traits = character

BUY How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character

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Book Review: Riveted – The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe by Jim Davies | Stephen Diagram

The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe by Jim Davies

The 6 Rules To Making Your Ideas Go Viral: The Science of Compelling Ideas

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The Six Foundations of Being Compelling and Riveting

  1. Our interest in people
  2. Hope gives us pleasure. Fear Demands Attention
  3. Love for patterns. Regularities help us understand the world
  4. Incongruity – finding nuances and slight variations in the world
  5. The nature of our bodies – pushing the limits – sports and competitions
  6. Various psychological tendencies and biases

Sports are Riveting Because We are Drawn to Competition

  • Tribal Combat
  • Athletic Performance displays human strength
  • Revealing the character of a team and it’s people
  • Finding out where others stand and who they group with
  • Beauty in the ideal form
  • Olympics show the Hunter / Gatherer skills in exhibition

Why Humans Love Gossip

  • Humans lived in small groups / clans / tribes
  • Gossip helps us learn about each other’s morals, strengths and weaknesses
  • We use gossip to keep people in line
  • Monitor changes in social status
  • 80% of conversations are about social topics

BUY Riveted – The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe by Jim Davies  Riveted: The Science of Why Jokes Make Us Laugh, Movies Make Us Cry, and Religion Makes Us Feel One with the Universe

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Book Review: Civilization and It’s Discontents by Sigmund Freud | Stephen Diagram

Civilization and It’s Discontents by Sigmund Freud

The 3 Sources of Unhappiness in Your Life

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Society / Civilization restricts our natural impulses and inclinations; making us unhappy and frustrated.

Freud argues that people’s perceived purpose in life is to

  1. Maximize Happiness and Pleasure
  2. Minimize Pain and Discomfort

Our Main sources of unhappiness is our social relations with others

  • We are unhappy because of society and our civilization
  • Society restrings our natural desires and inclinations

Most people are aggressive by nature; we had to look for food every day, hunting animals and killing them to satisfy our needs.

Most people desire sexual satisfaction; there weren’t any sexual restrictions in primitive times.

  • Current society / civilization restricts free / open sexual desire
  • Causing discomfort, unhappiness and frustration

Sigmund Freud argues that Religion is an Illusion

Religion exists to alleviate the harshness of life. There are 3 ways to escape this pitfall

  1. Science “Powerful Deflections”
  2. Art “Substitutive Satisfactions”
  3. Alcohol and Drugs “Intoxicating substances”

Three Main Sources of Suffering and Pain

  1. Our own bodies – doomed to decay
  2. The external world – Natural Sources and Disasters
  3. Our relationship with people – the most painful

Strategies for finding Happiness and Pleasure

  1. Voluntary Isolation “Happiness of Quietness”
  2. Participating in the community / engaging social relationships
  3. Influencing our body and mind through drugs, intoxication OR through meditation
  4. Physical and Intellectual Work – Creating Art or solving Scientific problems

Civilization has not made Man-Kind Happier

  • Primitive men and women had fewer wants and needs
  • Technology and science has failed to make us happier
  • Restricting our freedom of the individual and his satisfaction of powerful instincts

Families Were Based on 2 Things

  1. Compulsion to work together to deal with the external world
  2. The Power of Love – Genital and Universal aim-inhibited Love ( Close Friendships )

Restricting Our Primal Aggressive Urges is Against Our Nature

  • Creating unhappiness in the individual
  • Inducing a sense of Guilt

Current Society / Civilization Makes Us Feel Guilty for Being Aggressive

  • Guilty if we are violent
  • Guilty if we have freedom of sex
  • Causing us to internalize our frustrations

BUY Civilization and It’s Discontents by Sigmund Freud Civilization and Its Discontents

Book Review: Create or Hate – Successful People Make Things by Dan Norris | Stephen Diagram

“There are people who make things happens, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened.” – Jim Lowell

“Everything around you was created by people who were no smarter than you.” – Steve Jobs

BUY Create or Hate – Successful People Make Things by Dan Norris Create Or Hate: Successful People Make Things


Create or Hate – Successful People Make Things by Dan Norris is split up into 5 sections.

  1. Successful People Make Things
  2. Meet Hate
  3. Fight Hate
  4. How to be Creative
  5. Today’s Task: Make Something

Success is random and unpredictable

  1. You can’t understand others if you don’t make an attempt to understand them
  2. Don’t rush to judge others
  3. Judge less, understand better
  4. Notice Empathy. Notice curious people. Notice people who don’t talk about themselves.
  5. Spend more time with others in person.
  6. Talk less, listen more
  7. Create more things. You’ll be less quick to judge others and more appreciative of their creations
  8. Realize empathy and sympathy are very different
  9. Optimism can hurt empathy
  10. The more you talk, the less you listen
  11. Learn to become a better listener and communicator
  12. Try to empathize with the difficult to understand
  13. Practice reading emotions and body language

Timing is a huge factor that is rarely acknowledged. It can be the different between complete failure and monumental success. What a person starts with, who their friends are, and what they have access to are all factors that determine success.

“The only thing I do know about successful people is that they create things.”

“To find a few ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t.”

“It’s easy to attack and destroy an act of creation. It’s a lot more difficult to perform one.” – Chuck Palahniuk

“It’s better to create something that others criticize than to create nothing & criticize others.” – Ricky Gervais

Anytime you engage in negativity, you feed hate and starve create.

“If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” – Elon Musk

If you can fail quickly and without worry, you can correct course quicker, improve quicker, learn more, and achieve more.

“Hate will have you see a 97% chance of failure as a reason not to try. Creators will use it as a motivator to start now and get to work.”

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said, but since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”


  1. Understand you have two choices: to create or consume.
  2. Create so much they can’t ignore you
  3. A change of scenery and a relaxed mind can help increase creativity

BUY Create or Hate – Successful People Make Things by Dan Norris Create Or Hate: Successful People Make Things

 

Book Review: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie | Stephen Diagram

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people
  2. Smile
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
  6. Make the other person feel important; and do it sincerely

Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re Wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
  4. Begin in a friendly way
  5. Get the other person saying “yes,yes” immediately
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas an desires
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives
  11. Dramatize your ideas
  12. Throw down a challenge

Give me six hours to chop a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the ax. – Abraham Lincoln

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
  5. Let the other person save face
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
  8. Use Encouragement; Make the fault seem easy to correct
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest

Dale Carnegie on Criticism

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance and arouses resentment. Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain; and most fools do, but it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Thomas Carlyle said, “A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men.”

Dale Carnegie on Dealing with People

When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion; creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.

Dale Carnegie on Influence

The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.

Dale Carnegie on the Secret of Success

“Success lies in the ability to see their point of view and their angle, as well as making them see yours.

BUY How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends & Influence People

Book Review: When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead – Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub | Stephen Diagram

When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead by Jerry Weintraub

  • Actor
  • Producer (The Karate Kid and the Ocean’s Eleven Trilogy)
  • Promoter (Took Elvis Presley on tour) (Responsible for Frank Sinatra’s Comeback)
  • Agent
  • Friends with Presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter

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At 12 years old, Jerry Weintraub was delivering Dry Cleaning for tips. He soon discovered another additional laundry business to deliver for. He asked if he could delivery for that place too. He then discovered 4 very important lessons.

  1. People will pay you to make their lives easier
  2. Always take the time to make the pitch
  3. Personal Service is the name of the game
  4. Never get paid for doing the same thing twice

After a dream of taking Elvis Presley on tour, he decided to find the manager of Elvis and asked if he could take Presley on tour. The manager said no. Jerry Weintraub called back almost every day for a year; receiving the same denial. After a year, the manager ended up calling Weintraub back and asked if he wanted to take Elvis on tour. Jerry accepted the offer, but was then presented with a giant hurdle to overcome. Presley’s manager asked for one million dollars by tomorrow morning, and Jerry was able to find it, but here’s what he learned.

  1. Persistence is key
  2. Be dogged and determined
  3. Keep knocking on the door until you break it down
  4. The breakthrough usually comes late.

Jerry figured a few things out.

Know thyself and thy enemy; you will never have to be afraid.

You have to touch people an average of 12 times before they become a buyer. Jerry is an example of this. He talked to Elvis Presley’s manager everyday for year before finally convincing the manager to bite the bait.

Weintraub ended up making 10 million dollars from his 1 million dollar investment; which was actually a loan from a big time Elvis fan. The one million dollar deal was signed with a handshake. He could have become completely scammed.

After the Elvis deal, Weintraub was presented with the offer to take Frank Sinatra on tour for a comeback revival. This made Weintraub well-known in Hollywood and beyond.


The Temptation to Give Up is Greatest right before you are about to Succeed.

Leaders find a way to win. Sometimes you have to be persistent about the path to your destination. Sometimes you have to be persistent about the destination and not so much about the path. Smart leaders, smart mentors and smart coaches may advise you take a new path to your destination. You must be able to take their suggestion and refuse your own stubbornness. Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.

BUY When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead – Useful Stories from a Persuasive Maby Jerry Weintraub When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man

Book Review: The Code of the Extraordinary Mind – 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms Hardcover by Vishen Lakhiani | Stephen Diagram

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind – 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms Hardcover by Vishen Lakhian

  1. Step out of the Culturescape
  2. Toss away the Brules (Bullshit Rules)
  3. Grab your toolkit for consciousness engineering
  4. Pick up your empowering models of reality
  5. Don’t forget to pack your system for living
  6. Keep your mind firmly on Bending Reality
  7. Walk With Blissipline (Discipline for Blissful Living)
  8. Hold your end goals firmly in your head
  9. Be Unfuckwithable
  10. Open that door, and march firmly toward your quest

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Level 1: Living in the Culturescape

  • Life Happens TO you

Level 2: The Awaking

  • Life Happens as you CHOOSE

Level 3: Recoding Yourself

  • Life Happens FROM you

Level 4: Becoming Extraordinary

  • Life Happens THROUGH you

The most extraordinary people in the world do not have careers. What they have is a calling.


  1. A JOB is a way to pay the bills. It’s a means to an end. You have little attachment to it.
  2. A CAREER is a path toward growth and achievement. Careers have clear ladders for upward mobility.
  3. A CALLING is an important part of life and provides meaning. People with callings feel satisfied.

Sometimes you have to destroy a part of your life to let the next big thing enter.


  1. Kensho is growth from pain.
  2. Satori is growth from awakening.

Six-Phase Mental Hack to Becoming Extraordinary

– Happiness in the Now –

  1. Compassion – Be kind toward yourself and others; a powerful self-love tool.
  2. Gratitude – Appreciate what we’ve accomplished; well-being & happiness.
  3. Forgiveness – Be at peace. Maintain Blissipline. Be Unfuckwithable

– A Vision for the Future –

  1. Future Dreams – Have a vision pulling you forward
  2. The Perfect Day – Sense of control. Attainable goals with baby steps
  3. The Blessing – Feel safe ans supported in our quest

BUY The Code of the Extraordinary Mind The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms

Book Review: Silent Sales Machine 10.0 by Jim Cockrum | Stephen Diagram

Silent Sales Machine 10.0 by Jim Cockrum teaches and inspires beginners to start a business based on a three step process: Consult, Sell, Expand.

First you sell, then you collect emails. Gain a following, build a community, and sell your expertise.

  1. Serve and Create Value
  2. Grow an Audience
  3. Guard Your Reputation
  4. Only Do What Only You Can Do
  5. Avoid Online Entrepreneur Pitfalls

BUY Silent Sales Machine 10.0 by Jim Cockrum Silent Sales Machine 10.0


Serve and Create Value

You must put the customer first. You must give them something that they want. Be honest, be generous, be conscientious. People can see right through shady business practice. Create and offer them something that they need, and something that they will use.

Grow an Audience

People like to feel like they are part of a thriving community. You need to spearhead a movement. Get people thinking, moving and interacting with each other. Pose questions, create a place for them. The environment needs to be welcoming and productive. The email lists you put together should help educate your fans and friends about upcoming offers, both exclusive to them and not. You need to serve them, nurture them and give them value.

Guard your Reputation

You must never slack. Be able to adapt in an evolving market place. Don’t spam your readers or persuade them into biting a bait that isn’t worth their time. People leave reviews and people talk. On open forums, they will both defend and attack your name. Be prepared for some negativity. Not every fish is going to bite.

Only Do What Only You Can Do

You’re specialized in a niche. You know the in’s and out’s of your area. Do what you’re successful do. Continue to specialize and master your skills. You are valuable if only you can do what only you can do. Provide value that only you can bring to the table. Warren Buffet doesn’t invest in anything he doesn’t fully understand. It’s okay to take small risk here and there, but try to focus on the areas that bring you the most success and milk it for all its worth.

Avoid Online Entrepreneur Pitfalls

Beginners should avoid Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC), affiliate marketing and common traffic driving gimmicks. The most offensive and difficult to detect scams are the ones that make you feel good. Avoid people with the guru charisma, or at least take it with a grain of salt. These people tell great stories, but telling great stories doesn’t necessarily make them a great leader or teacher. Be careful when dealing with people who boast about their success and the success of a handful of their students. They are the exception; know your odds of success.


Short Review of Silent Sales Machine 10.0 by Jim Cockrum

Sell, Expand, Consult. One stream at a time. Don’t go multiple directions at the same time. Dominate a specialized niche; what do customers want but can’t get online? Don’t let business own you, hire help with your earnings and profits; automate portions of your business. Work smarter, not harder.

People with skills work for people with great ideas.

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Book Review: The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins | Stephen Diagram

The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins is a story about selflessness and altruism; it is a story about death and survival. Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” tells a dog-eat-dog tale about the survival of the fittest — natural selection. The Selfish Gene both compliments and combats the work of Darwin.

“The death of a single sterile worker bee is no home serious to its genes than is the shedding of a leaf in autumn to the genes of a trees.”

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We are vehicles for our genes to survive into the future; they have no problem disposing of us. What does this mean? Suppose there is a choice. A mom can choose to offer herself as tribute in order to save the lives of her two sons. Will she selfishly save herself or let her offspring live? The mother may be hold or past her prime period for reproduction. For her genes to live a longer life, it is clear that her two sons have a better potential to create more kids than her.

Suppose you and a friend have the same amount of food. It’s enough for tonight, but if you don’t find food for tomorrow then you will starve. You stumble across an unlocked house with an opportunity to raid it for food. Your friend being the nice guy that he is, decides to be honest, and genuine; he refuses to steal the food. You, knowing that you may die tomorrow, take the risk, acquire the food and fill your belly tomorrow. Your friend, though a nice guy, starves to death. The selfish gene is the ability to do what it takes survive.

Suppose you and a friend each have a wife. Both of you have two kids. You’re presented with an opportunity to cheat, and sleep with another woman. You impregnate her and she gives birth. Now you have a third son while your friend only has two. A lion comes to two kids from each family, yours and your friends. He is left without any kids, and no ability to pass on his genes. You have one son left because you cheated on your wife, and helped the human population progress.

Now imagine a worker bee, or an enlisted soldier. If a foreign force attacks the hive or, in our case, our nation; the bee and the soldier will fight to the death to defend their kin. It’s the same instinct we have to fight for our family when they are being threatened. The genes are selfish, but we are altruistic. We are selfless. We perform acts of kindness in hopes that others will return the favor.

Be conscientious. Everyone is equipped with the same instinctual means for survival.

BUY the Selfish Gene – Limited Edition 40th Anniversary Edition The Selfish Gene: 40th Anniversary edition (Oxford Landmark Science)

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