As 2017 draws rapidly nearer, let’s all go on a journey together over the next year! Remember that post I did a while back about how your brain is a programmable cyberbrain? Now it’s time to figure out what programs we’re going to add to the retinue. The complete curriculum is of course designed around being a complete man, but we’ll also have to take into account the particular set of skills we want to learn, all to continue on our road to kleos.
The 2017 program begins, as all must, with the augmentation and improvement of our character. Our character is the operating kernel from which the entire cyberbrain functions. It is a crucial determiner of our fate. Even those of a more cynical nature, such as Thucydides, knew this, famously remarking that “self-control is the chief component of self-respect, and self-respect is the chief component of courage.”
Is this not to be doubted? Did you ever see an emotional mess, someone who doesn’t know how to act, ever becoming great?
Cicero’s On Duties is perhaps the most classic of all works on practical, everyday conduct for the betterment of character, and my friend Quintus Curtius continues to serve as a vital bridge between history and the present, bringing us the wisdom of past ages in a 21st century manner. Robert Greene told you to “use the past,” and Cicero’s magnum opus is a great way to use the past to discover new ways of behaving to achieve maximum self-control and also to behave in ways that will give you the best self-image. From there, you can be confident and courageous, giving you a foundation to do everything else below.
Caesar: Life of a Colossus
Part of improving our own character means learning the lessons of other notable men. By associating with other great men, however remotely, you too can learn the mindset and the skills required to be a great man yourself through osmosis. Roosh called this the “big ass book challenge.”
You probably remember that Julius Caesar is a man on my Twenty Men list (an exercise I encourage you to do yourself). Caesar was probably one of the most complete men in history. He was a great soldier and politician of course, but he was also a master of rhetoric that exuded charisma, and he was a great seducer (long before he became notable), and he was an entertainer (of sorts), and he was a builder. Though professional actors were looked down upon in ancient Rome, Caesar’s acting was probably award-worthy.
What drove him and how did he do it? Adrian Goldsworthy, a noted Roman historian whose work I’ve encountered before (In The Name of Rome), attempts to answer that question in Caesar: Life of a Colossus.
Caesar: Life of a Colossus is, as Roosh would say, a “big ass book,” and is very detailed – ripe for a reader to associate with Caesar intimately – and become more like him.
Think Big and Kick Ass
To make anything happen you first need to think big. Imagination creates reality. Donald Trump thought big.
The 33 Strategies of War
Once you begin to regulate your conduct, think big, and associate with greatness, which ready you to play, you’ll need to see the pieces on the board before you clearly to win the game. Your strategy and approach to life and difficulty must be cool and competent.
Robert Greene always delivers in this department, and his 33 Strategies of War is the next step up. Using the principals of the great strategists of history and adapting them to life’s more mundane challenges, Robert Greene will show you once again how to behave in ways that will increase your power and keep you in a dominant position, maneuvering each obstacle and each piece on the board to final victory and glory.
The preceding books have largely been “inner game” books. They focus on the self. The following books focus on taking your best self and kicking ass with practical skills to use and win with.
2016 focused heavily on persuasion, and 2017 won’t break the trend. There’s always something more to learn and it’s always worth the time. The past year showed us that persuasion is one of the most important skills to have in your arsenal.
Fortunately, “the godfather of influence” himself, Robert Cialdini, chose 2016 to release a new book, Pre-Suasion, which emphasizes the importance of things “before” the sales pitch. In other words, if your audience isn’t primed to be persuaded, your methods will be far less effective, and you’ll needlessly lose many sales.
Scott Adams called Pre-Suasion “the biggest book about persuasion the world’s ever seen.”
So since we’re thinking big anyway, let’s master the deepest, most potent skills of persuasion with Pre-Suasion.
Unlimited Selling Power: How to Master Hypnotic Selling Skills
In keeping in line with our theme of persuasion, we’ll shift to the second book in that genre. In early 2016, I read Maria Veloso’s Web Copy that Sells, which was tremendously helpful in taking my persuasion game to the next level. After having mastered Pre-Suasion, the next step up is to take the sales pitch to the next level all over again.
Unlimited Selling Power is a bit old, having been originally released in 1990, but its demonstration of the tools of hypnosis in sales is purportedly unparalleled. While the method of delivery may have changed in the past 25 years, the tools of persuasion themselves haven’t. Hypnosis has amply demonstrated its power the past year, and it’s time for us to dive into the nitty gritty of how it works with a book dedicated to it exclusively.
Writing Without Bullshit: Boost Your Career by Saying What You Mean
In How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams describes business writing as an essential skill to learn to improve your odds from bad to good:
I was very wrong about how useful the class would be. If I recall, the class was only two afternoons long. And it was life altering.
As it turns out, business writing is all about getting to the purpose and leaving out all the noise. You think you already do that in your writing, but you probably don’t.
Consider the previous sentence, I intentionally embedded some noise. Did you catch it? The sentence that starts with “you think you already do that” includes the unnecessary word “already.” Remove it and you get exactly the same meaning: “You think you do that.” The “already” part is assumed and unnecessary. That sort of realization is the foundation of business writing.
Business writing also teaches that brains are wired to better understand concepts that are presented in a certain order. For example, your brain processes “the boy hit the ball” more easily than “the ball was hit by the boy.” In editors’ jargon, the first sentence is direct writing and the second sentence is passive. It’s a tiny difference, but over the course of an entire document, passive writing adds up and causes reader fatigue.
Eventually I learned that the so-called persuasive writers were doing little more than using ordinary business-writing methods. Clean writing makes a writer seem smarter and it makes the writer’s arguments more persuasive.
That’s a glowing endorsement for learning the skill. Writing Without Bullshit seems to be the most current guide on the subject, taking into account all the communications changes that have happened and adapting the discipline to meet them.
Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
Now that we’ve covered the principles of persuasion and how to use them in written communication, it’s time to do the same in the spoken form, is it not? While writing is increasingly important in the digital age, even in seduction (enter Tinder and so on), most of your communication and attempts at persuasion in everyday life will still be done verbally. This is especially important in making complex deals as opposed to online sales. I’d like to sell more real estate next year and that will inevitably be done largely verbally. Phone communications in particular are still a sticking point for me.
Verbal Judo has glowing reviews, and covers everything from everyday rapport building to conflict deescalation. If our squabbling politicians read it, our country might be a better place, but I doubt that they will. So it’s up to us to make it happen.
SEO Step-by-Step – The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Getting Traffic from Google
SEO is a tricky skill to learn, primarily because the field is full of “experts” that don’t know anything. The number one most important thing about getting traffic is to create good content that people want to share, period, and that’s something no “expert” can teach you.
Nevertheless, there are certain things you must know. Certain subtleties can make the difference between being on the first page and being on the second page of a search engine, and that makes a MASSIVE difference. Being not only on the first page, but on the first screen makes an even bigger difference. These subtleties are important enough to warrant getting a book entirely devoted to the subject.
SEO Step by Step is an up-to-date guide that has many good reviews. It’s also fairly cheap. Time will tell (again, you have to be careful about this subject), but it’s worth a shot.
The importance of SEO manifests itself like this – you can master all the persuasion and other skills in the world, but if you have no one to hear you, you might as well not exist. SEO is crucial for getting you the attention to make everything else happen.
Publishing 101: A First-Time Author’s Guide to Getting Published, Marketing, and Promoting Your Book and Building a Successful Career
Here’s where our paths may begin to diverge. After you’ve begun to think big you have an end, and though differing ends often have a cross-section of necessary skills to get there, your end may be different than mine, and with it, the total requisite knowledge.
Since I have The Red War coming out next year, and The Red War is undoubtedly the greatest project I’ve ever done in my life, I’ve had an obsession with making it picture perfect. One thing I learned from my experience in publishing Stumped is that persuasion isn’t enough. You need to know more about the ins and outs of the industry to optimize your chances of massive success.
Publishing 101 seems to be the best book available about that subject. Covering all the requisite sectors, and coming at a fairly low price, it will be a welcome addition to this, the 2017 talent stack.
And that’s the end of the exercise. This is the talent stack I’ll aim to build in the coming year, together with you, I hope!
There will be many more things to learn and books to read, but this is the core curriculum.
Let’s make 2017 even bigger and earth-shattering together! The next post will build on this theme!