Books to Help You Cultivate Positive Thinking

By Anna Charles

Positive thinking is one of the most beneficial habits a person can adopt.

The Mayo Clinic explains that it is an effective form of stress management and can improve general health. It can also increase lifespan, lessen depression and stress, and help build better resistance against diseases.

In trying times, you should try to see things in an optimistic manner. Positive thinking isn’t about disregarding struggles; it’s about trying to look at a situation with a less abrasive perspective. This will help you live a happier and more fulfilling life. If you want to learn how to think more positively, there are many resources, like books, which can help you. Here are a few that will surely guide you to see things with a better mindset:

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

First on this list is a book by Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is all about learning to accept the circumstances you encounter and taking things in stride. Problems are inevitable but instead of feeling negatively towards them, learn to let go and not take them too seriously.

Iconic singer Freddie Mercury has said “I’ve lived a full life and if I’m dead tomorrow, I don’t give a damn,” which is the mindset Manson wanted to impart in his book. Knowing yourself, your strengths and your weaknesses can help you understand which challenges you can overcome and how. This will help you find constant and genuine happiness. It will also aid you in how to think more positively and productively.

Don’t Overthink It

Thinking and reflecting aren’t necessarily bad things, but when you tend to overdo it, it can lead to more stress and anxiety.

Don’t Overthink It by Anne Bogel aims to teach readers to stop overthinking on a daily basis. Overthinking can oftentimes feel like a pattern that is difficult to break and one that we have no control over.

But Bogel explains that negative thoughts can be changed to positive ones, even when you’re overthinking, using the many actionable strategies she lists in her book. Included inside is a framework that readers can use in discerning both small and big decisions. Simply following it can bring more peace, joy, and love into your life. This will not only guide you to breaking the habit of negative thinking but it will also help you find energy for things that really matter to you.

Happiness Becomes You

Tina Turner is a legendary name in the music industry. In her book Happiness Becomes You, she lays down the knowledge she has amassed throughout her life and career that helped her think positively. She tackles the many hardships she has encountered in hopes of giving people motivation to keep going.

Turner also taps into her Buddhist faith as it has kept her grounded for decades. She talks about how she turned her dreams into a reality and how to make the impossible happen. It details the many adversities that the singer was able to overcome before she found the success she has today. This book radiates nothing but positivity, and those who read it will learn a thing or two about how a good mentality can be a great help to achieving their goals.

Deep Kindness

One of the major aspects of positive thinking is learning to be less harsh on yourself and others.

Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft highlights the many ways readers can practice imparting goodwill. The book also explains how these principles can help you get ahead in life.

Kraft gives many exercises and prompts to help readers develop their sense of kindness and why it is important in today’s world. Not only will it help create a positive environment, but it will also help build a positive mentality by helping readers live a better and more fulfilling life. Through constant practice, you will find yourself acting more kindly towards yourself and those around you, making your mindset more optimistic overall.

Learning how to lessen negative thoughts can be difficult, but positive thinking is something many people need. Through learning to accept life’s challenges, spending more time on things you love, and being kinder to yourself, positive thinking can become second nature.

Guest Post written by Anna Charles for


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Superhuman by Habit, Book Summary–JackNotes

JackNotes summarizes books, classes, speeches & knowledge.

Notes from Superhuman by Habit, Tynan

Health Habits

Eating Healthy Food

  • Replace bad food – refined sugars and grain – with new foods
  • Eat more foods that you like, even if they’re not the healthiest. Replacing French fries with plain kale will be tough, but replacing them with baked sweet potatoes is pretty easy
  • When you enter the maintenance phase, allow yourself to eat unhealthy food under certain circumstances. For example: “100% healthy eating while at home, eat whatever is convenient while traveling.”
  • Plan every one of your meals in advance. Have a default meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for which you always have ingredients on hand

Good Sleep

  • Buy a sleep mask and earplugs
  • Rather than regulate your wake up time, regulate your bedtime
  • Go to sleep nine hours before your alarm time. If you find that you are consistently sleeping until the alarm goes off, move your bedtime back even further
  • Set a strict screens-off time one or two hours prior to your bedtime
  • Record how much sleep you get every day


  • Just sit for five minutes in a quiet space, close your eyes, and focus on your breath
  • When you notice that your mind starts thinking about something else, refocus on your breath
  • The loading period for meditating is approximately two months

Working Out

  • Work out three days a week, doing three exercises each day
  • Don’t jump from plan to plan, without giving any one the time it needs to get results

JackNotes: Atomic Habits

Self improvement and how-to motivation by James Clear.

Executive Summary

The holy grail of habit change is not a single 1% improvement, but a thousand of them. It’s a bunch of atomic habits stacking up, each one a fundamental unit of the overall system.

Awareness comes before desire.

A craving is created when you assign meaning to a cue. It can only occur after you have noticed an opportunity.

It is the idea of pleasure that we chase. Desire is pursued. Pleasure ensues from action.

With a big enough why you can overcome any how. If your motivation and desire are great enough, you’ll take action even when it is quite difficult. Great craving can power great action – even when friction is high.

Being motivated and curious counts for more than being smart because it leads to action. To do anything, you must first cultivate a desire for it.

Appealing to emotion is typically more powerful than appealing to reason. Our thoughts and actions are rooted in what we find attractive and not necessarily in what is logical.

Suffering drives progress. The source of all suffering is the desire for a change in state. This is also the source of all progress. The desire to change your state is what powers you to take action.

Your actions reveal your true motivations.

Our expectations determine our satisfaction. If the gap between expectations and outcomes is positive (surprise and delight), then we are more likely to repeat a behavior in the future. If the mismatch is negative (disappointment and frustration), then we are less likely to do so.

Feelings come both before and after the behavior. The craving (a feeling) motivates you to act. The reward teaches you to repeat the action in the future:

Cue > Craving (Feeling) > Response > Reward (Feeling)

How we feel influences how we act, and how we act influences how we feel. Desire initiates. Pleasure sustains. Wanting and liking are the two drivers of behavior. If it’s not desirable, you have no reason to do it. Desire and craving are what initiate a behavior. But if it’s not enjoyable, you have no reason to repeat it.

Pleasure and satisfaction are what sustain a behavior. Feeling motivated gets you to act. Feeling successful gets you to repeat.

How to Create a Good Habit

The 1st Law: Make It Obvious

  • Fill out the Habits Scorecard. Write down your current habits to become aware of them
  • Use implementation intentions: “I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]”
  • Use habit stacking: “After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT]”
  • Design your environment. Make the cues of good habits obvious and visible.

The 2nd Law: Make It Attractive

  • Use temptation bundling. Pair an action you want to do with an action you need to do
  • Join a culture where your desired behavior is normal
  • Create a motivation ritual. Do something you enjoy immediately before a difficult habit

The 3rd Law: Make It Easy

  • Reduce friction. Decrease the number of steps between you and your good habits
  • Prime the environment. Prepare your environment to make future actions easier
  • Master the decisive moment. Optimize the small choices that deliver outsized impact
  • Use the Two-Minute Rule. Downscale your habits until they can be done in two minutes or less
  • Automate your habits. Invest in technology and one-time purchases that lock in future behavior

The 4th Law: Make It Satisfying

  • Use reinforcement. Give yourself an immediate reward when you complete your habit
  • Make “doing nothing” enjoyable. When avoiding a bad habit, design a way to see the benefits
  • Use a habit tracker. Keep track of your habit streak and “don’t break the chain”
  • Never miss twice. When you forget to do a habit, make sure you get back on track immediately

How to Break a Bad Habit

Inversion of the 1st Law: Make It Invisible

  • Reduce exposure. Remove the cues of your bad habits from your environment

Inversion of the 2nd Law: Make It Unattractive

  • Reframe your mindset. Highlight the benefits of avoiding your bad habits

Inversion of the 3rd Law: Make It Difficult

  • Increase friction. Increase the number of steps between you and your bad habits
  • Use a commitment device. Restrict your future choices to the ones that benefit you

Inversion of the 4th Law: Make It Unsatisfying

  • Get an accountability partner. Ask someone to watch your behavior.
  • Create a habit contract. Make the costs of your bad habits public and painful

The Three Layers of Behavior Change:

  1. Outcomes: changing your results, e.g. losing weight. Most of the goals you set are at this level
  2. Process: changing your habits and systems, e.g. developing a meditation practice. Most of the habits you build live at this level
  3. Identity: changing your beliefs, e.g. your worldview or self-image. Most of the beliefs, assumptions, and biases you hold are associated with this level

The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.

Any habit can be broken down into a feedback loop of four steps:

  1. Cue: what triggers your brain to initiate a behavior. The bit of information that predicts a reward
  2. Craving: the motivational force behind every habit. You don’t crave the habit itself, but the change in state it delivers (e.g. you do not crave smoking a cigarette, you crave the feeling of relief it provides)
  3. Response: the actual habit you perform, as a thought or action. Whether a response occurs depends on how motivated you are and the amount of friction associated with the behavior
  4. Reward: the end goal of every habit. We chase rewards because they satisfy our cravings and teach us which actions are worth remembering in the future

If a behavior is insufficient in any of the four stages, it will not become a habit. Without the first three steps, a behavior will not occur. Without all four, a behavior will not be repeated.

The Four Laws of Behavior Change are a simple set of rules we can use to build better habits:

  1. Cue: make it obvious
  2. Craving: make it attractive
  3. Response: make it easy
  4. Reward: make it satisfying

We can invert these laws to learn how to break a bad habit:

  1. Cue: make it invisible
  2. Craving: make it unattractive
  3. Response: make it difficult
  4. Reward: make it unsatisfying
  • Practice guitar more frequently? Place it in the middle of the living room
  • Drink more water? Fill up a few water bottles each morning and place them around the house
  • “If I see stairs, I will take them instead of the elevator.”
  • “When I serve myself, I will always put veggies on my plate first.”
  • Can’t get any work done? Leave your phone in another room for a few hours
  • Watch too much television? Move the TV out of the bedroom
  • Only listen to podcasts you love while exercising
  • Only watch your favorite show while ironing 
  • Exercise. Exercise can be associated with a challenging task that drains energy and wears you down. You can view it as a way to develop skills and strength. Instead of “I need to go run in the morning,” say “It’s time to build endurance and get fast”
  • Finance. Saving money is often associated with sacrifice. You can associate it with freedom as living below your current means increases your future means
  • Motion: outlining twenty ideas for articles. Action: sitting down and writing an article
  • Motion: search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic. Action: eat a healthy meal
  • Want to exercise? Set out your workout clothes, shoes, gym bag, and water bottle ahead of time
  • Want to improve your diet? Chop up a ton of fruits and vegetables and pack them in containers so you have easy access to healthy snacks

Find gateway habits that lead to your desired outcome by mapping your goals on a scale from “very easy” to “very hard.”

For example:

  • Running a marathon – very hard
  • Running a 5K – hard
  • Walking ten thousand steps – moderately difficult
  • Walking ten minutes – easy
  • Putting on your running shoes – very easy

Your goal might be to run a marathon, but your gateway habit is to put on your running shoes. 

The point is to master the habit of showing up. You can’t improve a habit that doesn’t exist. Make it easy to start and the rest will follow.

The Cardinal Rule of Behavior Change: “What is immediately rewarded is repeated. What is immediately punished is avoided.”

The Goldilocks Rule: “Humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.”

JackNotes: 4 Hour Workweek

JackNotes of the 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris

The New Rich (NR) are those who abandon the deferred-life plan and create luxury lifestyles using time and mobility.

People don’t want to be millionaires—they want to experience what they believe only millions can buy. The fantasy is the lifestyle of complete freedom it allows.

So the question becomes: “How can one achieve the millionaire lifestyle of complete freedom without first having $1,000,000?”

The step-by-step process you’ll use to reinvent yourself:

D is for Definition. Introductions to the rules and objectives of the new game. This section explains the lifestyle design recipeand fundamentals.

E is for Elimination. Kills the obsolete notion of time management once and for all. How to increase your per-hour results ten times or more by cultivating selective ignorance, developing a low-information diet, and ignoring the unimportant. This section provides the first of the three luxury lifestyle design ingredients: time.

A is for Automation. Puts cash flow on autopilot using geographic arbitrage, outsourcing, and rules of nondecision. Provides the second ingredient of luxury lifestyle design: income.

L is for Liberation. The mobile manifesto for the globally inclined. Covers how to break the bonds that confine you to a single location. This section delivers the third and final ingredient for luxury lifestyle design: mobility.

Step I: D is for Definition

Chapter 1 – Cautions and Comparisons: How to Burn $1,000,000 a Night

The New Rich (NR) can be separated from the crowd based on their goals, which reflect very distinct priorities and life philosophies.

If you can free your time and location, your money is automatically worth 3–10 times as much.

Money is multiplied in practical value depending on the number of W’s you control in your life:

What you do

When you do it

Where you do it

With whom you do it

To become a NR, you start by replacing assumptions.

Chapter 2 – Rules That Change the Rules: Everything Popular is Wrong

Retirement Is Worst-Case-Scenario Insurance. Retirement planning is like life insurance. Your retirement is not the goal.

Interest and Energy Are Cyclical. Work only when you are most effective and life is both more productive and enjoyable.

Less Is Not Laziness. Despite working fewer hours, the NR produce more meaningful results than other people. Focus on being productive instead of busy.

The Timing Is Never Right.Someday” is a disease that takes your dreams to the grave with you. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.

Ask for Forgiveness, Not Permission. Try it and then justify it. Get good at being a troublemaker and saying sorry when you screw up.

Emphasize Strengths, Don’t Fix Weaknesses. Focus on better use of your best weapons instead of constant repair.

Things in Excess Become Their Opposite. Do what you want as opposed to what you feel obligated to do.

Money Alone Is Not the Solution. The routine of the money wheel is a constant distraction that prevents you from seeing how pointless it is. The problem is more than money.

Relative Income Is More Important Than Absolute Income.Relative income is the real measurement of wealth for the New Rich.

Distress Is Bad, Eustress Is Good. Eustress is the stimulus for growth. Be equally aggressive in removing distress and finding eustress.

Chapter 3 – Dodging Bullets: Fear-Setting and Escaping Paralysis

Most intelligent people in the world dress up fear as optimistic denial

Define your fears by writing down your answer to each step:

Define Your Fear. What’s the worst that could happen? What would be the permanent impact on a scale of 1–10? How likely do you think it is that they would actually happen?

Damage Control. What steps could you take to repair the damage? How could you get things back under control?

Consider the Upside. What are the outcomes or benefits, both temporary and permanent, of more probable scenarios?

Repair the Missteps. If you were fired today, what would you do to get things under financial control? If you quit your job to test other options, how could you later get back on the same career track?

Define Action. What are you putting off out of fear? What we most fear doing is what we most need to do. Define the worst case, accept it, and do it. Resolve to do one thing every day that you fear.

Know the Costs. What is it costing you—financially, emotionally, and physically—to postpone action?Don’t only evaluate the potential downside of action. It is equally important to measure the cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue what excites you, where will you be in one year, five years, and ten years?

Understand Your Fear. What are you waiting for?If you can only answer “timing” then you’re afraid, just like the rest of the world. Measure the cost of inaction and realize the unlikelihood and repairability of most missteps. Finally, develop the most important habit of those who excel and enjoy doing so: action.

Chapter 4 – System Reset: Being Unreasonable and Unambiguous

99% of the people in the world are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things so they aim for the mediocre. So competition is fiercest for “realistic” goals.

Doing big things begins with asking for them properly.

Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase.

The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?”

Boredom is the enemy, not failure.

Apply timelines to dreams by dreamlining (advanced goal-setting):

What would you do if there were no way you could fail? Create two timelines—6 months and 12 months—and list up to five things you dream of having, being, and doing, in that order.

What does “being” entail doing? Convert each “being” into a “doing” to make it actionable. For example: Great cook = make Christmas dinner without help.

What are the four dreams that would change it all? Highlight the four most exciting and/or important dreams.

Determine the cost of these dreams and calculate your Target Monthly Income (TMI) for both timelines. Think of income and expense as a monthly cash flow instead of grand totals. Calculate your Target Monthly Income for your dreamlines.

Determine three steps for each of the four dreams in just the 6-month timeline and take the first step now. Set simple well-defined actions for now, tomorrow, and the day after. Once you have three steps for each of the four goals, complete the three actions in the “now” column. Each should be simple enough to do in five minutes or less. The best first step is finding someone who’s done it and asking for advice on how to do the same.

Step II: E is for Elimination

Chapter 5 – The End of Time Management: Illusions and Italians

Don’t try to do more each day. Being busy is used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions. 

Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.

Two truisms to keep in mind:

Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.

Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.

Pareto’s Law

What you do is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things.

Pareto’s Law (80-20): 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs

Parkinson’s Law: tasks will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion

To be productive:

Identify the few critical tasks that contribute most to income (80/20)

Shorten Work Time to limit tasks to the important (Parkinson’s Law)

3 times per day, at scheduled times, ask yourself:

Am I being productive or just active?

Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?

How to have more time and do less:

Define a to-do list.

Define a not-to-do list

How to 80/20 your work:

If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day, what would you do? 

If you had a second heart attack and had to work two hours per week, what would you do?

If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing 4/5 of different time-consuming activities,whatwould you remove?

What are the top 3 activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I’ve been productive?

Who are the people who produce the most of your enjoyment and propel you forward, and which cause most of your depression, anger, and second-guessing? 

If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?

There should never be more than two mission-critical items to complete each day. Do them separately from start to finish without distraction.

Chapter 6 – The Low-Information Diet: Cultivating Selective Ignorance

Problems solve themselves or disappear if you remove yourself as an information bottleneck and empower others.

To be selectively ignorant, learn to ignore or redirect all information and interruptions that are irrelevant, unimportant, or unactionable.

Lifestyle design is based on massive action—output. Increased output necessitates decreased input.

Most information is time-consuming, negative, irrelevant to your goals, and outside of your influence.

The Low-Information Diet: 

Go on an immediate one-week media fast. No newspapers, magazines, and audiobooks. Music is permitted at all times. No news websites whatsoever No television at all, except for one hour of pleasure viewing each evening. No web surfing at the desk unless it is necessary to complete a work task for that day.

Only consume information for something immediate and important. Information is useless if it is not applied to something important or if you will forget it before you have a chance to apply it. Focus on “just in time” information instead of “just-in-case” information.

Practice the art of nonfinishing. Develop the habit of nonfinishing that which is boring or unproductive if a boss isn’t demanding it.

Chapter 7 – Interrupting Interruption and the Art of Refusal

Learn to be difficult when it counts. In school as in life, having a reputation for being assertive will help you receive preferential treatment without having to beg or fight for it every time.

An interruption is anything that prevents the start-to-finish completion of a critical task.

The 3 principal offenders:

Time Wasters. Things that can be ignored with little or no consequence

Time Consumers. Repetitive tasks or requests that need to be completed but often interrupt high-level work

Empowerment Failures. When someone needs approval to make something small happen

How to Fix Interruptions

Limit email consumption and production

Never check email first thing in the morning

Check email twice per day. Create an email autoresponse so people respect your new rule

Screen incoming and limit outgoing phone calls

Use two numbers: one office line (non-urgent) and one cellular (urgent). Answer the cell and let the office go to voicemail

Don’t let people chitchat. Get them to the point immediately

Avoid all meetings that do not have clear objectives

If someone proposes a meeting, request an email instead and then use the phone as your fallback offer

Respond to voicemail via email whenever possible. This trains people to be concise

Meetings should only be held to make decisions about a predefined situation, not to define the problem. Ask people to send you an email with an agenda to define the purpose

Have an end time for your meeting (aim for 30 minutes)

Don’t permit casual visitors. Use headphones, even if you aren’t listening to anything 

Empower others to act without interrupting you

Force people to define their requests before spending time with them

Use Evernote to capture information and make it findable

Step III: A is for Automation

Chapter 8 – Outsourcing Life: Offloading the Rest and a Taste of Geoarbitrage

Get a remote personal assistant to learn how to give orders. It is small-scale training wheels for the most critical of NR skills: remote management and communication.

Eliminate before you delegate.

Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that can be automated or streamlined. 

Refine rules and processes before adding people. Using people to leverage a refined process multiplies production; using people as a solution to a poor process multiplies problems.

Only delegate timeconsuming and well-defined tasks

To find the right assistant, you need to test with a trial. To improve your odds, hire a Virtual Assistant (VA)  firm instead of a solo operator.

How to minimize damage and allow for fast repair:

Never use debit cards for online transactions or with remote assistants

If your VA will be accessing websites on your behalf, create a new unique login and password to be used on those sites

How to delegate:

Request someone who has “excellent” English and indicate that phone calls will be required (even if not). Be fast to request a replacement if there are repeated communication issues

Give precise directions. Ask VAs to rephrase tasks to confirm understanding before getting started

Request a status update after a few hours of work on a task to ensure that the task is both understood and achievable. Some tasks are, after initial attempts, impossible

Assign tasks that are to be completed within 24-72 hours. Break larger tasks into smaller milestones that can be completed in shorter time frames

Send one task at a time whenever possible (and no more than two)

Chapter 9 – Income Autopilot I: Finding the Muse

The goal is to create an automated vehicle for generating cash without consuming time.

It’s easier to fill demand than to create it. Find a market—define your customers—then find or develop a product for them.

How to find profitable niches:

Which social, industry, and professional groups do you belong to, have you belonged to, or do you understand? Compile a list of all the groups, past and present, that you can associate yourself with.

Which of the groups you identified have their own magazines? Narrow the groups from question 1 above to those that are reachable through one or two small magazines.

How to brainstorm products:

The main benefit of your product should be explainable in one sentence or phrase

It should cost $50–200 since that price range provides the most profit for the least customer service hassle. Price high and then justify

It should take less than 4 weeks to manufacture

It should be fully explainable in a good online FAQ

The 3 recommended options:

Resell. The easiest route but also the least profitable. It is the fastest to set up but the fastest to die off due to price competition with other resellers

License. Two options: invent and let someone else do the rest or manufacture and sell someone else’s idea

Create. Information products are low-cost, fast to manufacture, and time-consuming for competitors to duplicate

3 options to create information products:

Create the content yourself, often via paraphrasing and combining points from several books on a topic

Repurpose content that is in the public domain and not subject to copyright protection

License content or compensate an expert to help create content

Chapter 10 – Income Autopilot II: Testing the Muse

To get an accurate indicator of commercial viability, don’t ask people if they would buy—ask them to buy.

Micro-testing involves using inexpensive advertisements to test consumer response to a product prior to manufacturing.

Test your product ideas using PPC in five days for $500 or less.

The 3 parts of the basic test process:

Best. Look at the competition and create a more-compelling offer on a basic 1-3 page website

Test. Test your offer using PPC advertising campaigns

Divest or Invest. Cut losses with losers and manufacture the winner(s) for sales rollout

Chapter 11 – Income Autopilot III: MBA-Management By Absence

Once you have a product that sells, it’s time to design a self-correcting business architecture that runs itself.

How to build a scalable business:

Phase I: 0–50 Total Units of Product Shipped. Do it all yourself. Take customer calls to determine common questions that you will answer later in an online FAQ

Phase II: >10 Units Shipped Per Week. Find local fulfillment companies

Phase III: >20 Units Shipped Per Week. Find end-to-end fulfillment houses that handle it all—from order status to returns and refunds

The Art of Undecision: Fewer Options = More Revenue

How to reduce service overhead by 20–80%:

Offer one or two purchase options

Offer only one fast shipping method and charge a premium

Do not offer overnight or expedited shipping

Eliminate phone orders and direct prospects to online ordering

Do not offer international shipments

The biggest time-saver of all is customer filtering.

Instead of dealing with problem customers, prevent them from ordering in the first place.

How to attract high-profit and low-maintenance customers:

Do not accept payment via Western Union, checks, or money order

Raise wholesale minimums to 12–100 units and require a tax ID number to qualify resellers

Refer all potential resellers to an online order form that must be printed, filled out, and faxed in

Offer low-priced products instead of free products to capture contact information for follow-up sales

Offer a lose-win guarantee instead of free trials

Do not accept orders from common mail fraud countries

How to look Fortune 500 in 45 minutes:

Don’t be the CEO. Give yourself a mid-level title, such as VP or Director of Sales

Put multiple emails and phone contacts on the website

Set up an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) remote receptionist

Go forth and project professionalism with a well-designed image. Perceived size does matter.

Step IV: L is for Liberation

Chapter 12 – Disappearing Act: How to Escape the Office

To escape the office:

Increase Investment. Convince your company to invest in training so that the loss is greater if you quit.

Prove Increased Output Offsite. Call in sick for two days mid-week and double your work output on those days.

Prepare the Quantifiable Business Benefit. Create a bullet-point list of how much more you achieved outside the office with explanations.

Propose a Revocable Trial Period. Propose a one-day-per-week remote trial period for two weeks.

Expand Remote Time. Make your remote working days the most productive to date. Up the ante to four days per week remote for a two-week trial

The hourglass approach:

Use a pre-planned project or emergency and take two weeks out of the office

Propose how you can work remotely

Make those two weeks the most productive at work

Show your boss the quantifiable results upon returning. Suggest two or three days at home per week as a trial for two weeks. Make them ultra-productive

Suggest only one day in the office per week. Make those days the least productive of the week

Suggest complete mobility

How to replace presence-based work with performance-based freedom:

Practice environment-free productivity. Attempt to work for two hours in a café prior to proposing a remote trial.

Quantify current productivity.Document your work efforts.

Demonstrate remote work productivity. Rack up some proof that you can kick ass without constant supervision.

Practice the art of getting past “no”. “What would I need to do to [desired outcome]?”

Put your employer on remote training wheels. Propose Monday or Friday at home.

Ask for more. Extend each successful trial period until you reach full-time or your desired level of mobility.

Chapter 13 – Beyond Repair: Killing Your Job

Being able to quit things that don’t work is integral to being a winner.

Rebuttals for the most common phobias of quitting:

Quitting is permanent. Use fear-setting to examine how you could pick up your chosen career track or start another company at a later point.

I won’t be able to pay the bills.It isn’t hard to eliminate most expenses temporarily and live on savings for a brief period.

Health insurance and retirement accounts will disappear.You can have identical medical coverage for a few hundred dollars per month. It’s easy to transfer your 401(k).

It will ruin my resume. Do something interesting and make them jealous

Answer to why you took a break or left your previous job: “I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to do [exotic and envy-producing experience] and couldn’t turn it down. I figured that, with [20–40] years of work to go, what’s the rush?”

Exercises to help you realize just how natural job changes are and how simple the transition can be:

Are you more likely to find what you want in your current job or somewhere else?

If you were fired from your job today, what would you do to get things under financial control?

Take a sick day and post your resume on the major job sites. The person who has more options has more power. Don’t wait until you need options to search for them. Take a sneak peek at the future now and it will make both action and being assertive easier.

If you run or own a company, imagine that you have just been sued and must declare bankruptcy. How would you survive?

Chapter 14 – Mini-Retirements: Embracing the Mobile Lifestyle

The alternative to binge travel—the mini-retirement—entails relocating to one place for one to six months before going home or moving to another locale.

How to save money when traveling:

Use credit cards with reward points for large muse-related advertising and manufacturing expenses

Purchase tickets far in advance (three months or more) or last minute, and aim for both departure and return between Tuesday and Thursday

Consider buying one ticket to an international hub and then an ongoing ticket with a cheap local airline

How to pack:

One week of clothing appropriate to the season, including one semi formal shirt and pair of pants or skirt for customs. Think T-shirts, one pair of shorts, and a multipurpose pair of jeans.

Backup photocopies or scanned copies of all important documents: health insurance, passport/visa, credit cards, debit cards, etc.

Debit cards, credit cards, and $200 worth of small bills in local currency

Small cable bike lock for securing luggage while in transit or in hostels; a small padlock for lockers if needed

Chapter 15 – Filling the Void: Adding Life After Subtracting Work

Subtracting the bad does not create the good. It leaves a vacuum. Decreasing income-driven work isn’t the end goal. Living more—and becoming more—is.

 Common doubts and self-flagellation of the NR:

Am I really doing this to be more free and lead a better life, or am I just lazy?

Did I quit the rat race because it’s bad, or just because I couldn’t hack it?

Is this as good as it gets?

Am I really successful or just kidding myself?

Have I lowered my standards to make myself a winner? Are my friends, who are now making twice as much as three years ago, really on the right track?

Why am I not happy? I can do anything and I’m still not happy. Do I even deserve it?

These are outdated comparisons using the more-is-better and money-as-success mind-sets that got us into trouble to begin with.

Before spending time on a stress-inducing question, big or otherwise, ensure that the answer is “yes” to the following two questions:

Have I decided on a single meaning for each term in this question?

Can an answer to this question be acted upon to improve things?

If you can’t define it or act upon it, forget it.

The two fundamental components to enjoy life:

Continual Learning. Transport skills that you practice domestically to other countries, like sports. Instant social life and camaraderie. Or pick skills that you can practice there, like learning a language

Service. Doing something that improves life besides your own.

Chapter 16 – The Top 13 New Rich Mistakes

Losing sight of dreams and falling into work for work’s sake

Micromanaging and emailing to fill time

Handling problems your outsourcers or co-workers can handle

Helping outsourcers or co-workers with the same problem more than once, or with noncrisis problems

Chasing customers, particularly unqualified or international prospects, when you have sufficient cash flow to finance your nonfinancial pursuits

Answering email that will not result in a sale or that can be answered by a FAQ or auto-responder

Working where you live, sleep, or should relax

Striving for endless perfection rather than great or simply good enough, whether in your personal or professional life

Blowing minutiae and small problems out of proportion as an excuse to work

Making non-time-sensitive issues urgent in order to justify work

Viewing one product, job, or project as the end-all and be-all of your existence

Ignoring the social rewards of life

The Best of the 4 Hour Work Week Blog

Questions to Put Things in Perspective

What is the one goal, if completed, that could change everything?

What is the most urgent thing right now that you feel you “must” or “should” do?

Can you let the urgent “fail”—even for a day—to get to the next milestone for your potential life-changing tasks?

What’s been on your to-do list the longest?

The choice-minimal lifestyle becomes an attractive tool when we consider two truths. Considering options costs attention that then can’t be spent on action or present-state awareness. Attention is necessary for not only productivity but appreciation. Therefore: Too many choices = less or no productivity Too many choices = less or no appreciation Too many choices = sense of overwhelm What to do?

The 6 Basic Rules of the Choice-Minimal Lifestyle

Set rules for yourself so you can automate as much decision making as possible

Don’t provoke deliberation before you can take action

Don’t postpone decisions just to avoid uncomfortable conversations

Learn to make nonfatal or reversible decisions as quickly as possible

Don’t strive for variation—and thus increase option consideration—when it’s not needed

Regret is past-tense decision making. Eliminate complaining to minimize regret

The Not-To-Do List: 9 Habits to Stop Now

Do not answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers

Do not email first thing in the morning or last thing at night

Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time

Do not let people ramble

Do not check email constantly—“batch” and check at set times only

Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers

Do not work more to fix overwhelmingness—prioritize

Do not carry a cell phone 24/7

Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should

How to Win Friends and Influence People–Part 1 JackNotes No.3

JackNotes are summaries of wisdom.
Executive Summary of the Dale Carnegie classic

Fundamental 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

How to 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 and desires
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives
  11. Dramatize your ideas
  12. Throw down a challenge

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offence 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. Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise’
  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

Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

Most people don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be.

Criticism is futile and dangerous. It puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. And it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.

People learn faster and retain knowledge more effectively when rewarded for good behavior than punished for bad behavior. By criticizing, we do not make lasting changes and often incur resentment.

Anyone can criticize, condemn and complain. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

The only way to get a person to do anything is by giving them what they want.What do most people want?

Health, food, sleep, money, sex. Almost all these wants are usually gratified – all except one: the desire to be important.

How do you make people feel important? By appreciation and encouragement.

This desire is what makes you want to wear the latest styles, drive the latest cars, and talk about your brilliant children. If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. That determines your character.

Know the difference between appreciation and flattery. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.

Flattery is selfish and insincere. It’s cheap praise. You tell the other person precisely what he thinks about himself. In the long run, flattery will do you more harm than good

Appreciation is unselfish and sincere. It happens when we stop thinking about ourselves and begin to think of the other person’s good points.

Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise,’ and people will cherish your words and treasure them and repeat them over a lifetime – repeat them years after you have forgotten them.

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Of course, you are interested in what you want. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.

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

This does not mean manipulating someone so that he will do something that is only for your benefit and his detriment. Each party should gain from the negotiation.


Part 2: How To Win Friends and Influence People–Click here!

Part 3: How To Win Friends and Influence People–Click here!

‘Win Friends-Influence People’ JackNotes No.1

Directing the Facilities Management Department at H-E-B Food/Drugs, the best and biggest retailer in Texas, for 23 years was an honor.

Anyone who works there knows H-E-B is a learning, giving, and extremely productive organization.

Employees are called “Partners,” the perfect Texas term, because we worked together, crossing boundaries and departments to do whatever it takes to perform our jobs. The ultimate goal was to focus on our communities, customers and each other.

Learning and improving was constant. I studied (through schools, seminars, training sessions, conferences, brainstorming workshops, and books) continuously.

At some point in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the project superintendents for H-E-B Construction were required to read assigned books by a newly hired supervisor who wasn’t quite familiar with the hard and demanding work of building stores, retail centers, manufacturing facilities, giant warehouses and other real estate properties.

I was one of those superintendents in the early 1980s and was very familiar with the time constraints, pressures and deadlines.

Most of these superintendents weren’t book readers. They grew up learning how to read blueprints, going through formal and informal apprenticeships, and with tough on the job experiences.

One day a favorite construction supervisor, Garlan Tschirhart, came over next door to our offices. He looked concerned and explained his plight.

“Jack, you know I’m not a bookreader,” he said. “Never have been and we don’t have the time. I try when I’m out traveling and visiting job sites all over the state, but after a 12 hour day, once I get to the hotel at night, I fall asleep after one or two pages.”

I laughed, understanding.

“Man, Garland, do I have a deal for you,” I walked over to a cabinet and pulled out a large file labeled JackNotes.

“What book do you have to read?”

“Well, it’s about leadership, it’s called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,‘” Garland scratched his head. “Hell, I don’t need anymore friends–I have too many as it is–and the only people I need to influence is the job superintendents and they’re all pretty good guys or else they wouldn’t be here.”

I laughed again as I looked through my files.

“Yes, that book is by Dale Carnegie and it’s a classic,” I said. “It’s so good even my teenage children have read it. I was 25 when I was introduced to it and it was very helpful.”

I found the file, entitled “JackNotes: Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends…”

“What’s Jack Notes?”

“It’s my version of condensed notes from books I’ve read, seminars and classes I’ve taken,” I explained. “It makes it easier for future reference. It’s summaries of the key points.”

Garland made a copy and was able to turn in his required book report to his new supervisor (Note: I can’t remember his name anymore. He was only there a short time and moved on to less challenging opportunities).

It wasn’t long until some of the other superintendents were coming over to see if I had JackNotes for books they were assigned. In most cases I did (and will be sharing many of them here on, so ‘Follow’ me below for more).

Hugh Huckabee, James Mensch, Tommy Groesbeck, Max Martin, Don Hatfield and other Construction Department Partners were some who would come over for copies. I’d occasionally share them in our Facilities Alliance leadership meetings with vice presidents and directors like Ralph Mehringer, Rob Easley, Bill Reynolds, Jim Barrows, Bob Manning, Dave Sanchez, Greg Bowman, and Bill Triplett.

Here’s an example (Part 1) of Dale Carnegie’s classic:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Don’t criticize, condemn or complain

Give honest and sincere appreciation

Arouse in the other person an eager want

Six Ways to Make People Like You

Become genuinely interested in other people


Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves

Talk in terms of the other person’s interests

Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it

Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, ‘You’re wrong’

If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically

Begin in a friendly way

Get the other person saying ‘yes, yes’ immediately

Let the other person do a great deal of the talking

Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers

Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view

Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires

Appeal to the nobler motives

Dramatize your ideas

Throw down a challenge

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

Begin with praise and honest appreciation

Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly

Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person

Ask questions instead of giving direct orders

Let the other person save face

Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise’

Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct

Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest


Please click follow options below for more JackNotes summaries.

The Buzzard Lesson: Words May Lie, Bodies Don’t

“Finding her body was easy. The buzzards signaled the way. Finding the killer was the hard part.”

So said my dad at the kitchen table at our home on Ansley Boulevard in south San Antonio.

Having a homicide detective for a father made for conversations I was aware my classmates didn’t experience.

Normal talk at dinner time in the Dennis family often centered on Dad’s latest crime cases. He’d skirt around the particulars while we ate, but later he’d give me more detail. Usually there were intriguing nuggets
of wisdom peppered in.

Detective investigation was a fantastic topic for a curious 10-year-old kid. In retrospect, I realize Dad allowed me to follow along in such a way that I could begin to solve a crime or unravel a mystery.

Going into teenage years,  it became obvious he would purposefully include clues and red herrings for my mind to tackle.

He paid attention, even if people didn’t think he was. I noticed around some individuals, he’d actually play dumb–even ignorant, when I knew he was keenly aware and knowledgeable.

His sense of observation and ability to get information from others was amazing. Brilliant.

“Remember that body language is always truthful and what people say isn’t necessarily true,” he coached. “They are especially easy to read when they’re hungry or thirsty–especially for coffee.”

He drilled me to rely on all the senses to observe my surroundings. It evolved and as I grew closer to adulthood, he would step up the challenges and test me.

One Saturday, in the summer, we stopped off to eat lunch at Bud Jones Meal-a-Minute Restaurant, a Southside institution on Commercial Avenue and S.W. Military Drive.

“When we go in there, we’re going to sit down with some men I’ve known for a long time,” he said as he turned off the ignition. “When we’re done,  I want you to tell me about them based on what you observed.”

What an unexpected challenge, but I was ready. “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head” was playing on Bud’s jukebox. I heard two ladies talking about “Marcus Welby, M.D” as we approached a man waiting at a table for four. Dad sat across from him and I went to the chair between them on the man’s right.

About the time we shook hands and my father introduced me, the second man joined us.

It was just as much fun observing them, taking mental notes, as it was enjoying the All You Can Eat Fish plate in front of me.

“Tell me about the first man,” Dad asked as we drove off. “What did you notice?”

“He’s outside a lot and works or lives south of here, maybe in Pleasanton or somewhere around there. He probably smokes and drinks a lot too.”

Dad was listening carefully, and as he backed his pickup out of the parking space, he glanced straight at me for more than a second.

“What else?”

“When he shook your hand he seemed nervous, but he slipped something to you in the handshake. Then he was like instantly relieved.”

Dad grinned.

“He, maybe is like, either accident prone, very careful or used to spilling things.”

“Ha. How did you get that idea?” Dad laughed.

“Every time he took a sip of coffee, he didn’t just drink it like you two did,” I continued. “He leaned over to the cup and held it with both hands. He didn’t bring the cup to his lips with one hand. His lips went to the cup.”

“He works in Jourdanton, tending cows, goats and chickens,” Dad responded. “That’s close to Pleasanton. How did you know that? We didn’t even talk about that.  That’s pretty good.”

“His fingers and boots,” I proudly answered, somewhat relieved I was getting the hang of this. “Hands are tough and calloused. When Grandpa Dennis took me to Dilley to get watermelons (I had a produce stand) one morning, we came back through Pleasanton so he could show me their hanging tree where he saw a man hang from there once.”

“He showed it to you?”

“Yes, he said people came from all around to see it,” I answered. “I think he was a cattle rustler or stole some cows or horses He even showed me where he was standing when he saw it. Anyway, there’s red dirt–almost like sand in Pleasanton–on his boots and the knees of his khaki pants. He also doesn’t have a ring on his finger but no tan where it used to be. His teeth are yellow like some smokers I’ve seen. His lips are chapped. “

My father was pleased and emphasized how good my clue gathering was. It turned out my Dad had loaned him some money. The man was a friend from their school days at Harlandale High. He recently went through a divorce and had a Driving While Intoxicated arrest. Dad had loaned him some money to bail him out. That’s what he passed to my father’s hand.

I surmised the other man may have been in the milItary or was a veteran because of his crew cut, polished shoes and regimented demeanor.

“When he walked up to the table, he stood like he was in attention with his hands behind his back,” was one of the things I recall telling Dad. “It was like when you put your hand forward to shake, it was his ‘at ease.'”

“You’ve been paying attention,” Dad acknowledged. “What else?

“They knew each other but hadn’t seen each other in a long time. (The second man) looked stern at first but when he told (the first man) to order what he wanted because he was paying, the intial tension at the table went away. But I’m not sure what that was all about. Maybe I was just noticing too much and making a bigger deal out of it than it was.”

“No Son, you’re right,” he explained. “It was a big deal. Doing something good can make you feel better about something bad that’s happened. Or it can make you feel less guilty about doing something bad later.”

As a 14-year old, I needed elaboration. Whew, did I get it!

Look for the signals.

Man #1 was divorced because his wife left him. He never really knew why.

Man #2 was the reason.

After the divorce, the ex-wife left Man #2 for another man (let’s call him Man #3). #2 was both angry and hurt, but most of all felt great guilt for what he did to Man #1.

I never knew if #1 found out about #2, but I do know this:

1. A few weeks later I was a laborer replacing roofs on houses working with #1 and #2. We all worked hard together from dawn to dusk, except for lunch and naps under nearby shade trees.

2. The ex-wife/ex-girlfriend and Man #3 were later arrested and charged with writing hot checks and other thefts. #3 was on probation and was sent back to the penitentiary. The rumor was she moved to Alabama where she belonged.

3. The hard work, valuable lessons and acknowledgement received from my Dad were rewarding.

4. In a homicide investigation, the spouse is always the first suspect. And buzzards signal the way.

This is an excerpt from my next book in progress, tentatively entitled Whataburger With Ralph. See Lesson 1 here.

Whataburger With Ralph

Lesson One: The Invisible People

The man who reminded me of a cross between Walter Brennan and Popeye, in the blue colored plaid shirt, was a world class gravy sopper. It was the second thing I noticed about him, but I was paying attention this time.

WWII Navy Veteran Ralph Watkins at age 94.

Eleven minutes before, it was only eleven steps to the front door from where he parked. From the safety of my panoramic vantage point inside, I wondered if the unpretentious figure would wait it out a bit in his black truck. But the Ford Ranger door swung opened. He didn’t run into Whataburger. Instead, he held on to the brim of his cap and peered into the back bed.

“What’s he doing?,” I thought. “Just get in here. You’re getting soaked.”

His right leg raised up as he fumbled to reach over the sidewall.

I wasn’t sure what was so important that needed to be retrieved during this pouring storm, but I could at least go meet him with the door open.

When I reached the entrance he was still leaned over the side trying to fetch somethin, apparently out of his reach.

“Just leave it there,” I whispered. “It’s too late. Whatever it is, it’s already soaked.”

The determined man pulled on a tube and his walker lifted out.

Whirling wind, hard rain, and lightening clashes in dark clouds fought as he assembled it open along every humble first step of the way.

He paused in front of me just outside to shake the wet off his black cap.

“Thank you,” he caught his breath, proudly put his cap back on, smiled, and winked. “Thank you kindly.”

I went back to the security of my table, second from the door, with the window view of the furious downpour.

“Welcome to Whataburger, Ralph,” the girl behind the counter greeted.

Funny, but I was a regular most mornings and hadn’t notice him before. He’s obviously here enough for the friendly young lady behind the counter to know his name.

My father, Walter “Corky” Dennis, was an officer and later a detective in the  San Antonio Police Department from the late 1950s to the late 1970s. Afterwards He was a U.S. Marshal. He taught my sister Bobbi, and me to continuously be aware of our surroundings.

My father, Detective Walter A. Dennis giving criminal profiling (long before it was called ‘profiling’) presentation at San Antonio Police Department, 1969.

My regular table at Whataburger #1101 in Leon Springs, Texas, or any restaurant anywhere, was selected so I could see the entrance, view outside and be aware of conditions around me.

Dad drilled us to notice the “invisible people”– mail carriers, janitors, the cable guy, cooks in the kitchen and FedEx or UPS deliverers—those some consider accessories in life.

“These are real people, with real lives,  emotions and feelings,” Dad would say. “Appreciate and thank them. But most of all notice them.”

“But also pay attention to others,” he would preach. “Discreet people who don’t belong, like those walking along and peering through car windows in parking lots. Someone, anyone, who walks up to you in or out of a grocery store. A vagrant.”

How was it I had never noticed this man named Ralph?

There were 46 unoccupied seats. He mosied over to the one closest to the counter, directly in front of me.

The rain had prompted me to stop in on my way to work for a quick bite. I changed my order from just a chorizo taquito to add a Breakfast on a Bun with sausage after a call from Phil Wiese at Fair Oaks Ranch Country Club said the golf courses would be closed.

“Don’t bother coming in,” Phil announced. “We’re being pelted and you’d probably need a boat instead of your cart to marshal the courses if anyone dared to show up.”

I laughed and thanked him with relief, “not really wanting to be outside in this weather anyway.”

Shift Manager Eli Reyna brought Ralph his orange tray of biscuits and the two exchanged quick pleasantries.

I’d finished the Sausage BOB and was buttering the inside of my taquito as Ralph earnestly took his first biscuit swipe at the white gravy.

This man was pleased. The grin on his face and twinkle in his eyes said it all.

“You’re looking at one satisfied customer,” he smiled up at me. “Yes Sir-ee, I’m definitely one happy man!”

My reaction?  I buttered my taquito with greater enthusiasm.

Note: This is an excerpt from a work in progress, a book about lessons in life from people who lived it! See Lesson 4 excerpt here.