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The Lucifer Principle

The Lucifer Principle

The Lucifer Principle is one of the most important and powerful books on world history, war, human nature, and progress. In it, author Howard Bloom details how nature creates complex lifeforms from the competition between less complex ones. To Mother Nature, it’s a numbers game. Each gene, each replicator, is expendable. If a gene must die to serve the purposes of creating a more complex lifeform, so be it. It’s That Bloody Bitch’s way. Like genes, humans want to reproduce. To gain reproduction rights, typically men have had to fight each other for them. Out of fights come winners and losers, creating a hierarchy. Hierarchies exist not only between small groups of individuals, but between nations. Why? Because memes–ideas–bind very large and often diverse groups of people together into superorganisms. Those superorganisms also fit into a hierarchy. Memes appear to have a will of their own. They, like genes, want to spread. They do so through the often brutal competition between nations. To justify our brutality, our memes tell us that what we’re doing is just, that we’re fighting the bad guys. The horrible reality is that battles are not fight between good and evil, but between good and good, two sides that believe that they are honestly the good guys. And tragically, it appears that the often detestable, bloody battles for dominance in hierarchies between superorganisms, bound together and egged on by our memes, seems to actually create good results for those that are alive to see them. Blood and acts of evil are the price of progress. That is the Lucifer Principle.

The Lucifer Principle and Sapiens

The Lucifer Principle, like Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens, is a history book with an agenda. Bloom believes that humanity is progressing. As proof, he says that there are far more humans living peacefully now than they could have ever lived under less complex societies, such as African tribes. Simple societies are brutal, savage, and small. We are much better off in our complex modern societies. Our comfort, however, came at the cost of someone else’s life and comfort. Harari, like Bloom, believes that humanity appears better off due to empire building. After all, citizens within large empires are free to travel and participate in larger societies (although those societies often put restrictions on the level of participation). Empires appear to unify diverse groups of people much larger than simple societies can. Harari believes, however, that people aren’t actually happier thanks to our supposed progress. We simply have a lot more dissatisfied and unhappy people. Bloom says no. We, the ones united behind the meme of pluristic Democracy, have something good, but we are in danger of losing it. Throughout history, empires have fallen because they underestimated the power and ambition of barbarians. Who are the barbarians preparing to knock us from the top of the international hierarchy? Bloom says it is the superorganisms that are united behind two memes: Communism and Islam. (Bloom published this book in 1995!)


While The Lucifer Principle is largely a book about superorganisms and memes, Bloom also has some things to say about individual behavior. He talks about how control over our circumstances, or even just the appearance of control, can improve our mental and physical well-being. He gives the example of two laboratory rats. Both are in cages with electrified floors. One rat has a switch to turn it off (in both cages), the other rat doesn’t. The rat with the switch stays mentally well, because it has the ability to turn off the electricity. On the other hand, the rat without the switch ends up shriveling up in the corner of his cage, accepting that he has not control over his life of torture. Even when the cage is opened, the rat doesn’t try to flee. It is numb to the pain, but also numb to the opportunity of escape. For humans, it’s important to have control, too. Spirituality is often a means to feeling like we have control over invisible forces. Ancient tribes would sacrifice humans to quiet the wrath of the gods. Catholics paid money to the Church to have their sins wiped clean. Often the gatekeepers between us and higher powers are the most well paid and respected groups in our societies because they give us a feeling of control. The illusion of control that they give is part of the reason why doctors have such high status. A lack of control can also contribute to feelings of frustration, which turn to anger and violence. That’s why it’s important that everyone feel like they have some non-violent control over their future.

The secret to eliminating stress? Ambition.

Unfortunately, the sources of “stress” have been misunderstood and taught in our schools. To avoid giving children stressful environments, schools don’t ask students to be ambitious. In fact, ambition is taught to be the source of stress. Overworked students, they say, are stressed out. In fact, the source of stress is not overwork, but lack of ambition and striving for excellence. Humans that aren’t useful to the superorganism of society, like all cells within a larger lifeform, will shrivel up and die if they don’t serve the superorganism. “Excessive relaxation”, writes Bloom, “is a slow form of suicide.” Furthermore, our perceived position in the hierarchy contributes to stress. Bloom writes:
Position in the pecking order makes an additional contribution to many of the symptoms we blame on stress. With our dream of eliminating competition, we try to wish the pecking order away. But the fact is that we will continue to live in pecking order structures whether we like it or not.   Bloom, Howard. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (p.311). Grove Atlantic. Kindle.
Perhaps you think you can avoid the rat race by simply opting out. Bloom says, however, that the brutal truth is that our position in the hierarchy of the superorganism will only weaken if we opt out. If we want to rid ourselves of stress, the answer isn’t to opt out, he says, but to be ambitious, take control of our lives, and strive to be useful to the superorganism.

War and Evil

Yet, isn’t ambition also a source of war? Ambitious people striving to be useful to the superorganism seek to conquer their superorganism’s competitors and move them up the hierarchy.
We have found no method for shaking the consequences of our biological curse, our animal brain’s addiction to violence. We cannot free ourselves from our nature as cells in a superorganismic beast constantly driven to pecking order tournaments with its neighbors. We have found no technique for evading the fact that those competitions are all too often deadly.   Bloom, Howard. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (p.318). Grove Atlantic. Kindle.
In other words, what we call “evil” appears to be a part of our biology. How do we avoid war while also, as individuals and parts of a superorganism, strive to rise in the hierarchy and be useful to each other? Is peace achievable or a pipe dream? It is possible, Bloom says, but in order to do that, we need to aspire to something big. He writes,
We need a new horizon, a new sense of purpose, a new set of goals, a new frontier to move once again with might and majesty, with a sense of zest that makes life worth living, through the world in which we live.   Bloom, Howard. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (p.320). Grove Atlantic. Kindle.
We need to find a way to cooperate and compete in non-violent ways. The scientific process is a political one, but is non-violent. The geopolitical equivalent of science is pluristic democracy. That’s why it’s worth protecting from the barbarians until we can figure out how to eliminate war. Bloom says that we have one great task ahead of us:
We’ve found ways to halt illnesses, we’ve invented means to leapfrog continents in hours, and someday we will find a way to stop war—but only if we survive long enough. Until then our task is to outlast our own impulses. Our task is to outwit the Lucifer Principle.   Bloom, Howard. The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (p.320). Grove Atlantic. Kindle.

More from Howard Bloom


Master Your Mind 脳をマスターする

Master Your Mind 脳をマスターする

You start at zero. That’s okay, we all begin there. At zero, you are barely capable of taking care of yourself, let alone of building an empire.

At this stage of your development, nobody sees you. Nobody wants you. Nobody but a privileged few see your hidden potential. You don’t even know your own potential.

Right now, only one thing matters: Get your mind in the right place.

You have been taught by many people. You absorbed the bad lessons that they showed you and have long forgotten the good lessons they told you. Our visual sense overpowers our other senses, and we feel emotions about things before we form thoughts about them. As a result, you, like all of us, learned to feel certain feelings based mostly on the things that you saw. You are likely a slave to those emotions.

You may think that your feelings are based on logic or facts. That’s how many people feel. Like many people, you are probably wrong.

It was difficult for me to accept the truth, too. Emotions come before facts or logical thinking. You are emotional. How do I know? Because every healthy, functioning human being has emotions. When we are passionate about something, we often express those emotions. That’s part of the human experience.

Here is the scary thought: feeling emotions is the primary human experience. People mostly act based on their emotions. Those emotions are programmed into us by our DNA and environment. The majority of people don’t do the hard, painful work of understanding and controlling their emotions. As a result, they experience a lot of pain. They often spread that pain to the people around them.

The beginning of life success and happiness is to fix your mindset. It is absolutely essential. Your mindset is the foundation for your future happiness and success. Skipping mindset training is not an option.

There are a lot of books that will help you fix your mindset. Here is a small list of books available in English and Japanese.

  • The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • Influence, Robert Cialdini

There are more books. My two favorites are Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich and How to Win Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams. Launch is another important book about online marketing, but you can learn many mindset principles from it. Sapiens is an important history book that has a powerful message about mindset.

I’ll help you get started on your mindset training with some powerful thoughts to begin your reprogramming.

  1. You were born with infinite potential. You are still filled with infinite potential. You are infinite.
  2. Your current and future friends and family need you to be happy, successful, and healthy.
  3. The stories you tell about your past, present, and future are more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
  4. Tell yourself the most powerful, inspiring stories that you can imagine.
  5. Whatever story you tell yourself, it will not be ambitious enough. It will only be the first chapter in your story.

You have lots of reading and thinking to do. However, you won’t be able to perfectly finish your mindset work reading books. You need to start doing something.









  • 積極的考え方の力
  • 人を動かす、デール・カーネギー
  • 影響力の武器、ろばると・ちゃるでぃにー



  1. 君は無限のポテンシャルで生まれた。まだ無限のポテンシャルでいっぱい。君は無限だ。
  2. 現在と将来の友達と家族は幸せと成功した、健康的な君が必要なんだ。
  3. 君が話す過去、現在と将来の物語は、想像できる以上に強力だ。
  4. できるだけ協力でインスパイアしてくれる物語を自分に言う。
  5. どんな物語を自分に言っても、十分野心的ではない。その物語は第一章に過ぎない。


The Art of the Deal

The Art of the Deal

Anybody learning about success wants to hear stories about the successful. We talk to successful friends and family and study their behavior, looking for their secrets. However, for those with high ambitions, friends and family often don’t model the level of success we are looking for. They may be successful in many ways, but not in the precise way that scratches our itch.

Billionaire President Donald J. Trump provides an undeniable example of life success in his book, The Art of the Deal. While Trump is a unique character with an exceptionally high tolerance for pressure—making his level of success difficult to replicate—his story has some lessons for those of us aspiring to do great things. Here are some lessons I learned from The Art of the Deal.

  1. It’s important to talk to lots of different people and get their opinions.
  2. To take on vicious people, you need to be vicious yourself.
  3. Attention is everything.
  4. Feelings don’t care about your facts.
  5. Play the games people want to play.
  6. Relationships don’t need to be deep to be meaningful.

It’s important to talk to lots of different people

One of the most important things that Trump does is talk to lots of people. He says that asking everyone for an opinion is a natural reflex for him. Learning the feeling of the public at large is an important part of his success. He once owned an apartment complex. After buying and renovating it, it became very successful.

One day, Trump was walking around the place and asked one of the areas residents how he was. The man whispered to Trump that he should sell the apartment. When Trump asked why, the man said that the neighborhood was declining. Lots of bad folks were hanging around. After looking around town and talking to more people, Trump sold to a sloppy company that didn’t do the same. The apartment began to lose residents shortly after the sale.

Trump has filled this book with the many accounts of his relationships with other people. Sometimes, he says things like, “nearly everyone I talked to opposed the deal” or “everyone I talked to agreed”. Trump talks to anybody and everybody. If you want to achieve higher levels of success, you have to talk to more people.


To take on vicious people, you need to be vicious yourself.

In business, Trump says that he tends not to trust people. That’s probably because people in business can be vicious. When it came to building in New York city, Trump says it took total focus, a kind of neurosis, to be successful. But, Trump says, he loved to go against them and beat them.

Trump often had to deal with businessmen and politicians that would lie or undermine him. He had several fights with the mayor of New York city, Ed Koch. Trump won every fight and loved it. He once had a falling out with Barron Hilton, who sold Trump a Hilton hotel which Trump called the Trump Castle. Trump wanted to resolve their problems over lunch in NYC. Barron said he would be delighted to have lunch the next Monday. Monday morning, Trump received a letter informing him that he was being sued by Barron. Trump filed a counter-claim exceeding Barron’s claim.

One time, Trump hired an apartment manager named Irving. Trump describes Irving as follows:

Irving was sixty-five years old and a real character. He was one of the greatest bullshit artists I’ve ever met, but in addition to being a very sharp talker and a very slick salesman, he was also an amazing manager. Irving was the kind of guy who worked perhaps an hour a day and accomplished more in that hour than most managers did in twelve hours.

Irving was the most capable person for the job, but there was one problem: upon investigation, they found out Irving had a long history of theft. How did Trump feel about that? He decided to take a risk.

With Irving I had a dilemma: he was far and away more capable than any honest manager I had found, and so long as he was in charge, no one under him would dare steal. That meant I only had to keep my eye on him. I used to kid Irving. I’d say, “We pay you $50,000 and all you can steal.” And he would act all upset. If I’d caught him in the act, I would have fired Irving on the spot, but I never did. Still, I figure he managed to steal at least another $50,000 a year. Even so, I was probably getting a bargain.

If you’re not vicious, it’s difficult to imagine making that kind of judgment call.


Attention is everything.

In a section called Get the Word Out, Trump says that it’s important to draw attention to whatever wonderful product you have. He prefers to do things that are a little controversial to gain the attention of the media. The media, by nature, wants something sensational. He writes that “people may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do.” In interviews, if he is asked to defend himself, he instead reframes the issue in a positive way, effectively turning free, negative press into positive press for him.

Previously, I’ve learned about the importance of attention from Mike Cernovich, Scott Adams, and Robert Cialdini’s work. Trump’s story provides ample evidence to support them.

More and more, I’ve come to realize that attention is the currency on which all human relationships are transacted. Attention is something that Trump has in unusually large quantities. His store of attention is so vast that it allows him to juggle complex business deals and personal media defense while maintaining his close relationships and managing his empire, all without going crazy or dropping dead in exhaustion. His success, I believe, is not only a function of his tolerance for conflict, but also of his store of attention he can give others, as well as his own voracious appetite for attention. He is an attention generating machine.

Attention looks like it will be the main topic of Cernovich’s next book, Audacious. I anticipate that Trump’s vast stores of attention, which he regularly empties and refills, may make a cameo appearance in Audacious.


Feelings don’t care about your facts.

There are many stories in Art of the Deal in which Trump talks about belief.

When the board of Holiday Inns was considering whether to enter into a partnership with me in Atlantic City, they were attracted to my site because they believed my construction was farther along than that of any other potential partner. In reality, I wasn’t that far along, but I did everything I could, short of going to work at the site myself, to assure them that my casino was practically finished. My leverage came from confirming an impression they were already predisposed to believe.

In other words, the facts didn’t matter. In fact, we almost take for granted that getting people to believe false things is both the norm in business dealings, and that it’s unethical. That may not be an entirely unfounded stereotype. After all, as I wrote before, Trump himself tends to distrust business people.

However, what is or is not a false thing is often not clear. Take the example above. After negotiating a contract with Holiday Inn’s, they scheduled a Board of Directors meeting at the build site for the casino Trump was going to build. Trump writes:

Rose [CEO of Holiday Inns] scheduled his annual board of directors meeting in Atlantic City so that the board would have an opportunity to see the proposed site and also to assess our progress in construction. It was the latter that worried me, since we had yet to do much work on the site. One week before the board meeting, I got an idea.


I called in my construction supervisor and told him that I wanted him to round up every bulldozer and dump truck he could possibly find, and put them to work on my site immediately. Over the next week, I said, I wanted him to transform my two acres of nearly vacant property into the most active construction site in the history of the world. What the bulldozers and dump trucks did wasn’t important, I said, so long as they did a lot of it. If they got some actual work accomplished, all the better, but if necessary, he should have the bulldozers dig up dirt from one side of the site and dump it on the other. They should keep doing that, I said, until I gave him other instructions. The supervisor looked a little bewildered. “Mr. Trump,” he said, “I have to tell you that I’ve been in business for a lot of years and this is the strangest request I’ve ever gotten. But I’ll do my best.”


One week later, I accompanied top Holiday Inns executives and the entire board of directors out to the Boardwalk. It looked as if we were in the midst of building the Grand Coulee Dam. There were so many pieces of machinery on this site that they could barely maneuver around each other. These distinguished corporate leaders looked on, some of them visibly awed. I’ll never forget one of them turning to me, shaking his head, and saying, “You know, it’s great when you’re a private guy, and you can just pull out all the stops.”


A few minutes later, another board member walked over to me. His question was very simple. “How come,” he said, “that guy over there is filling up that hole, which he just dug?” This was difficult for me to answer, but fortunately, this board member was more curious than he was skeptical. The board walked away from the site absolutely convinced that it was the perfect choice. Three weeks later, on June 30, 1982, we signed a partnership agreement.

Question: Was Trump acting unethically? After all, he was purposefully trying to make the board of directors believe he was further along in construction than he really was. The fact was that he was still two years away and still had nothing to show anybody. Was he lying?

Trump calls what he did “truthful hyperbole”. In the world of building, Trump was the rare person that could build on time and on budget. He had a long reputation for doing so. However, that meant that even if Mike Rose, CEO of Holiday Inns (who had come to Trump to make the partnership), trusted Trump’s abilities, Trump had to convince a group of reasonably grizzled veterans that he could pull off a miracle. The law of numbers says that at least one of them is going to show some skepticism. To prevent any delays from the board, Trump put on a show to put all doubt to rest. It was a show of truthful hyperbole.

The fact was that Trump really had nothing to show. Managing the feelings and emotions of the board, which were tuned for skepticism, bullshit detection, and disappointment, was the key to Trump’s success in that deal.

Was it unethical? Well, if he had failed, then it would have been reasonable to say that he was misleading the board to commit fraud. As it turns out, construction finished on time and under budget. Trump worked a miracle. He convinced the board, through truthful hyperbole, to relax and make a good deal.

Truthful hyperbole inhabits a gray zone of human behavior that few people have the stomach or desire to occupy. However, Trump practically has his home base set up in a gray zone. This is a high level technique that you can only deploy if you have a long history and are confident you can bring the same, consistent results.

Getting people to believe things you want them to believe has many uses. Let’s talk about Irving, the shady apartment manager. Trump writes,

I’ll give you an example of how Irving worked. You’ve got to understand that we are talking about a short, fat, bald-headed guy with thick glasses and hands like Jell-O, who’d never lifted anything in his life beside a pen, and who had no physical ability whatsoever. What he did have, however, was an incredible mouth.


As I mentioned, in the early days we had a good number of tenants who didn’t believe in paying rent. Sometimes, Irving would go out and collect himself. He’d ring the doorbell, and when someone came to the door, he’d go crazy. He’d get red in the face, use every filthy word he could think of, and make every threat in the book. It was an act, but it was very effective: usually they paid up right then and there.

One day, however, Irving had an unusual encounter with a woman and her daughter while on his rounds. Then…

About an hour later, Irving and I were sitting in his office when this huge guy, a monster, maybe 240 pounds, burst through the door. He was furious that Irving had cursed in front of his daughter, and he was ready to strangle him for coming on to his wife. The guy had murder in his eyes.


I expected Irving, if he had any sense, to run for his life. Instead, he started verbally attacking the man, flailing and screaming and chopping his hands in the air. “You get out of this office,” he said. “I’ll kill you. I’ll destroy you. These hands are lethal weapons, they’re registered with the police department.”


I’ll never forget how the guy looked at Irving and said, “You come outside, you fat crap, I want to burn grass with you.” I always loved that phrase: “burn grass.” And I thought to myself, Irving is in serious trouble. But Irving didn’t seem to think so. “I’d fight you any time you want,” he said, “but it’s unlawful for me to fight.”


All you had to do was look at Irving to know those hands were hardly registered weapons. But Irving was very much like a lion tamer. You’ve seen these guys, maybe 150 pounds, who walk blithely into a cage where there’s a magnificent 800-pound lion pacing around. If that animal sensed any weakness or any fear, he’d destroy the trainer in a second. But instead the trainer cracks his whip, walks with authority, and, amazingly, the lion listens. Which is exactly what Irving did with this huge guy, except his whip was his mouth.


The result was that the guy left the office. He was still in a rage, but he left. Irving probably saved his own life, just by showing no fear, and that left a very vivid impression on me. You can’t be scared. You do your thing, you hold your ground, you stand up tall, and whatever happens, happens.

Obviously, Irving wasn’t getting anyone to believe that he was dangerous. However, he effectively got the other man to believe that it was dangerous to attack Irving. Changing the 240-pound man’s anger into fear was a product of changing what he believed. At first, he believed he could intimidate Irving, and he believed that threatening Irving was worth his time. Irving showed no feelings of intimidation, and he reminded the man that it probably wasn’t worth it to start a fight.

Understanding and managing people’s beliefs and emotions is absolutely critical to success. You can’t brush them off as irrelevant to reality because beliefs and emotions are real to the person that has them. People often forget or ignore facts and are controlled by their feelings. People will even become even more defensive if they are presented with facts that prove them wrong. Their feelings don’t care about your facts. If you want peaceful, quick, amicable resolution to conflicts or to get good deals done fast, it’s often better to appeal to emotions rather than facts.


Play the games other people play.

A philosopher that I respect named Stefan Molyneux believes, as I do, that states are unethical entities that should be abolished. Taxation is money taken against the will of the taxed through the use of force. It is legalized theft. Money the state has is not its money, it is the money of those that the state has stolen from.

Furthermore, we are angered when we see how taxes are used to engage in war and imperialism abroad in our name. We believe that it’s unethical to engage in any form of aggression at any level. When our money is stolen from us and used to kill people, we are disgusted and infuriated. Our taxes are blood money.

Typically, us anarcho-capitalists prefer to boycott the democratic system because we view it as inherently corrupt and evil. It is the dictatorship of the 51% and participating in the system legitimizes and maintains the credibility of the state. We typically would stay on the sidelines during political elections.

Yet, typical of Molyneux, he did something that most other anarcho-capitalists didn’t do: he engaged in political activism during the 2016 US presidential elections. Our choices were between the evil we know, Hillary Clinton, versus the evil we didn’t know, Donald J. Trump. He saw the lies and sheer, overwhelming negativity and bias against Trump in the media. He realized that the election of Trump would be like a battering ram to the forces of power that supported the welfare/warfare state. If Trump were elected president, the media’s legitimacy as unbiased arbiters of truth would be damaged, if not outright torn down. If the people could see through the lies and Trump could defeat the political and media elites, it could be the beginning of a turnaround in human history. We might finally be able to turn the masses toward liberty and virtue, little by little.

At the very least, it was possible that we could avoid more wars started by blood-thirsty ghouls in Washington.

Molyneux’s activism was unpopular with anarcho-capitalist purists. However, many did cheer from the sidelines as Trump brought a fury of punches like a gattling gun to the media establishment which they hated almost as much as the political establishment. Yet, many still preferred to boycott the system, rather than try to reform it. They enjoyed the show, but it was still just a show to them. Nothing would change with a Trump presidency anyway. The establishment wouldn’t allow it.

Whether they were right or not, I don’t know. However, Molyneux’s activism was undoubtedly a deciding factor in Trump’s victory. Whether Trump did anything else good afterward, his mere defeat of Clinton was enough to make it worth it for him. Using the system to defeat the system worked.
I was apathetic to the elections until Molyneux began his activism. However, Trump’s election showed that it was possible to use the system to get the message of liberty out into the world and into the attention of the general public. How many millions of Trump loyalists were exposed to Molyneux’s peaceful parenting and philosophy material? How many people we nudged closer toward a freedom-mindset?

It was not the first time, however, that Trump had shown that success lay not in boycotting or attacking the system directly, but in playing the same game everybody else was playing. Trump speaks at length about how he and other New York City builders had to play politics to get zoning changed, tax wavers, low-incoming housing subsidies, grants, etc. If you want to be a successful builder in any major city, you have to play the game.

That game includes getting some tax advantage. Subsidies are tax money given typically to corporations to give them a competitive advantage. Anarcho-capitalists call those subsidies blood money. Trump calls them a part of doing business.

Yet, Trump’s argument and role modeling is undeniable. Not only was he successful thanks to tax waivers and low-income housing subsidies, but following the early successes in his career, he managed to give the government in New York a black eye several times. He showed not only how ineffective or how corrupt it was, but he showed how corrupting it is. He modeled the ideal behavior and outcomes one might see in a truly free economy like Molyneux and I envision it.

And he could not have done so if he hadn’t taken blood money.

And if he had not taken that blood money, we might stuck in another war thanks to Hillary. Instead, Trump transformed that blood money into peace talks with North Korea, canceled trade deals, and renegotiated deals with other countries. We have yet to know what other anarcho-capitalist-friendly actions Trump may take thanks to taking blood money early in his career.

Trump shows that there is value in playing the game even if you hate the game and the players. Flipping the table or going home does nothing but subvert any possibility of changing the course of history.


Relationships don’t need to be deep to be meaningful.

Trump’s life is a whirlwind of human interactions. At the time of writing, Trump would have 50-100 phone calls a day and talk to dozens of different people about complex deals or simply to thank them for their help. No doubt, as president, things have not slowed down. It is impossible to have a “deep” relationship with so many people. You also cannot predict whether a relationship will be long-lasting or fleeting.

However, you can still have meaningful relationships with people even if they aren’t deep or long-lasting. Trump hired a company called Cimco to rebuild a famous ice skating rink in NYC follow long government delays. The build took four months. The relationship Trump had with Cimco was short but sweet. He doesn’t mention any long talks between himself and the CEO. To my knowledge, Trump hasn’t built any other ice skating rinks. He may go back to Cimco in the future if he needs a lot of ice, but otherwise, their relationship ended four months after it started.

Yet, they did something important together. To this day, he can see the rink from his home in Trump Tower. It’s busy with activity. His short-term fling with Cimco brought real meaning and value to the customers who enjoy skating there.

In my life, I’ve often seen creating a “real” relationship with someone as requiring great effort and emotional investment. Yet, I’ve also mostly experienced only short-term relationships. I’ve often felt that it was pointless to talk to or try to get to know people since I would only know them for a short time. That’s a feeling that I’m trying to reform.

Trump shows a great example to follow. Every relationship has great potential, just like every person. From the customer that warned him about pending disaster at his apartment, to Dennis Rodman who went to President Trump to tell him to talk to Kim Jung Un, to Trump’s own lawyers and business partners, every relationship contains great potential. Despite Trump’s dim view of businessmen in general, he shows that there is great light, virtue, and strength hidden in humanity. It’s worth the effort to explore each human in the hopes of finding, or creating, a better humanity.



Now personally, I don’t like to judge other peoples’ work by what I believe it should look like. People like to criticize technology, TV shows, games, etc. by a standard that only exists in their heads. You’ve heard it many times before: They should have done this thing I like! Why doesn’t it have this totally awesome and useful cutting edge technology at bargain bin prices yet?! Why didn’t my favorite characters get married at the end?!

Rather, I like to judge a work on what it does and enjoy it for the value it brings. However, I do have interests and preferences that others might share. Instead of telling you what I think was bad about the book, I will tell you what the book did that I didn’t find of value to me. Maybe you might like it, though.
From the above references, you can probably see that The Art of the Deal is well written. It made boring business and lawyer talk interesting and exciting. I was happy to read to the end.

What you haven’t seen, however, is the many, many different names that are jammed pack in nearly every story. That is especially true in the first section of the book which details a week’s worth of activity in Trump’s life. I honestly skipped about 80% of that section. That probably says more about me than about the writing, but my mind simply became numb to all of the data thrown at me all at once. Even the later stories could be difficult to keep track of due to all the people and organizations that come up. Again, probably not something bad about the book, just an annoyance I had to deal with. Maybe I’m just not CEO material?

At the end of the book, Trump kind of summarizes the current condition or results of all the different deals and conflicts he was involved in at the time of writing. One thing I would have appreciated is a maybe a timeline showing the history of all of Trumps activities throughout the book. Making deals, building skyscrapers, and political battles take time. The book is organized around the deals and conflicts Trump was involved in, but much of Trump’s work was happening simultaneously. A timeline at the end could have given a nice bird’s eye view of everything and how everything progressed.

Also at the end of the book was a picture section. However, as someone who did not see the news or pictures of people and buildings in Trump’s life, I would have appreciated seeing the pictures during the telling of the stories themselves. Of course, if I had looked closely at the table of contents and known there was a picture section to refer to, I could have used it as a reference myself. But, my Kindle sent me straight to the first chapter, skipping the table of contents. Maybe I’m just a lazy bastard, but being asked to do a bunch of navigating just to keep the story straight sounds like a mistake on the author’s part.

Images of the characters involved in the story of Trump’s many dealings would have been nice, too. I can see why many of them, like Trump nemesis Ed Koch, wouldn’t have appreciated Trump making money with their images, so there was probably some practical, legal reason why they weren’t included. Still, it would have been nice.



In spite of my small complaints about the book, I felt it was well worth my time. Whether you’re interested in understanding the mind of Donald Trump, or are interested in learning lessons for success, The Art of the Deal should be on your reading list.



Launch is an online marketing guide written by Jeff Walker. In it, he describes his Product Launch Formula, a method for selling anything online.

Or is it?

Yes, Jeff talks about all of the elements of building and using a email mailing list to launch new products and businesses. However, what the book really describes is an application of the lessons learned from Dale Carnegie, Robert Cialdini, Norman Vincent Peale, and Mike Cernovich. It combines the positive, high-energy mindsets from Peale and Cernovich with the lessons on influence from Carnegie and Cialdini. Then Jeff tells you how to make money with those lessons. And after you’re done reading, you’ll feel prepared to begin making your first list and planning your first of many launches.

Jeff begins by giving his story of going from stay-at-home dad to making six-figures in a week. How? He had a list.

The key element to the formula is having an email subscriber list. Using the list, you will communicate directly with people who have already shown an interest in you and the products/services you provide. The communication will be a series of emails over a period of around a week to ten days. The communication is what Walker calls a Sideways Sales Letter. One of the best ways to get people to buy things is to create anticipation. The SSL builds anticipation prior to a product launch. The way it creates anticipation is by providing a story and high-value content, such as instructional videos or free tutorials, that provide real value to people before they’ve even bought your product.

That last sentence hides a secret. The secret is an abundance mindset and an understanding of one of the pillars of influence: reciprocacy. If you adopt an abundance mindset—a belief in the abundance of value all around and in us—then you are much more likely to give away high-value things away for free. Generosity is a defining feature of the Product Launch Formula. If you are generous to your potential customers, they are more likely to buy. People tend to reciprocate kindness with kindness, value with value.

Of course, it isn’t only the free goods that do all the heavy lifting. Jeff spends chapter five talking about what he calls “mental triggers”. If you’ve read other books like Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends & Influence People, or Robert Cialdini’s Influence, then you are already acquainted with the contents of this chapter. He talks about authority, reciprocity, trust, etc.

In addition to telling the story of his first launch, he gives several other Case Studies that demonstrate other people using his methods to launch their first products, businesses, and gain financial freedom. After reading those stories, I really felt like the results he talked about were entirely achievable for me in the future, if I am willing to do the work to make it happen.

Jeff also provides details on how to get paid to create content, using that content either as free content for future launches, or as paid products in and of themselves. Essentially, Jeff has given the details of a system for continuous product development and launching that is organic and beautiful. Some of the marketing methods and devices you’ll learn about in Launch include:

  1. Opt-in subscription forms
  2. Squeeze pages
  3. A:B testing
  4. Using ads, social media, word of mouth, and affiliates to drive people to your squeeze page.
  5. Questions to get answers to before launching a new product.
  6. Outlines for pre-prelaunch, pre-launch, launch, and post launch emails.
  7. Seed launches (for those without a product to sell currently)
  8. JV (affiliate) launches
  9. Masterminds (business and product idea brainstorming communities)

On top of the pillars of influence, supported by the foundation of an abundance mindset, sits the Product Launch Formula. It is the actualization of that knowledge in the business world.

Do you have a business and want to give it a boost? Buy this book.
Do you have a product that you want to sell? Buy this book.
Do you want to be free? Buy this book.

For those that read until the end, in this video, I talk about what Jeff calls the Seed Launch.

The Power of Positive Thinking

The Power of Positive Thinking

In Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking, he says that we should do everything possible to push negative thoughts out of our mind and replace them with positive thoughts. He believes that positive thinking is the key to solving our many personal and professional problems. Such problems include a lack of energy, anxiety about the future, anger problems, addiction, and having problems making friends or keeping work. Pushing out our negative feelings and replacing them with positive ones is the key to solving all of those problems. Every chapter is filled with story after story of people that have used those methods to fix their problems.

If you’re wondering if the book is worth your time, consider this: Multi-billionaire and US President Donald Trump went to the church Peale ministered at. Peale was a famous minister in his time. His influence on Trump, and therefore the future of the US, is incalculable. What he taught continues to have real, lasting power. I look at results, and the results are clear: Listening to Peale is one method of becoming rich and powerful.

As you might expect from a Christian minister, he talks extensively about things like faith. Faith, or belief, is the core of his thesis. The first chapter is titled Believe in Yourself. Chapter eight is titled I Don’t Believe in Defeat. Belief, faith, is a key element of every bit of advice Peale gives. But, to the person that doesn’t believe in themselves or others, how do they learn to believe?

One of the main tools for developing belief is prayer or affirmations. Take some idea or ideal, write it down (if it isn’t already written down) and repeat it to yourself. For example, the first affirmation he mentions in the book is a quote from the Bible, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13) Many more passages are sprinkled around the rest of the book. Prayers are a form of, Peale writes, “sending out of vibrations from one person to another and to God.” He goes on to say,

All of the universe is in vibration…When you send out a prayer for another person…you transport from yourself to the other person a sense of love, helpfulness, support—a sympathetic, powerful understanding—and in this process you awaken vibrations in the universe.

Bible verses aren’t the only form of affirmation, however. He also advocates for personalized prayers. He often speaks of prayers in scientific terms, reflecting the rising popularity of turning everything scientific in his time, as he does when he describes the prayer “formula” he recommends. “The formula is”, he writes, “(1) PRAYERIZE, (2) PICTURIZE, (3) ACTUALIZE.” A friend of his, relating this formula to Peale, said that when he had a problem, “he talked it over with God very simply and directly in prayer”.

While reading TPPT, you see those elements of the formula come up in every chapter. In chapter 7, Expect the Best and Get It, he writes,

Learn to expect, not to doubt. In so doing you bring everything in to the realm of possibility… If you expect the best, you are given some strange kind of power to create conditions that produce the desired results.

In Christian terms, have faith.

He also writes,

Take the best into your mind and only that. Nurture it, concentrate on it, emphasize it, visualize it.

Once you have the best in mind and visualize it, Peale advocates that you act upon that visualization. Since actualizing requires a knowledge of the details of each problem, he has less to say on actualization. He occasionally gives handy lists of things to do during the prayer and visualization steps of his formula, such as at the end of chapter 9, How to Break the Worry Habit. Number six on that list: “Never participate in a worry conversation. Shoot an injection of faith into all your conversations.” And he does give actualization advice in a sense. In Chapter 16, Prescription for Heartache, one form of actualization he advises for overcoming heartache is physical activity. However, for the most part, Peale focuses on the first two steps of the above formula.

I found a lot of good advice in Peale’s book. In the following video, I will tell you the lessons that were most important to me. At the end, I tell you the next book I’ll be review.

By the way, Peale writes about a conversation he had with Thomas Edison’s wife! He knew Edison personally. It’s crazy to think that we are only a short time removed from that guy.