Just One More Book…

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

Benjamin Franklin

I love reading. If you looked at my home office space right now, you’d know that’s an understatement. I’ve got books coming out of books. There are books on, underneath, adjacent and near my desk. I read both fiction and nonfiction (I find there’s value in both in different ways).


Did you sense the but coming?

But, reading isn’t everything. Books can make you smart and open your mind to ideas you never thought of. They can take you to imaginative worlds and spin thrilling tales where you can’t turn away. They can give you the knowledge (answers and questions) you seek and say your time and heartache by avoiding hard lessons learned by others. And they can become the mentors you need for $10 or so bucks when you can’t find the advice you are looking for. All from authors, entrepreneurs, artists, thinkers, warriors and more from all of human history and civilization. (Wisdom of the ages, as they say.)

But books won’t do the work for you.

Reading is sometimes insightful and sometimes a cheap distraction for something you know you need to do. “I need to start working on my business idea, but I don’t know enough yet. Maybe I’ll read another book first…”, or “One day I’ll be a great programmer, but for now I need to read *another* coding book…” No, you probably don’t. What you need to do is start *programming*. Insert your desired skill here.

Books are a great way to learn, but they don’t supplement action. 

“A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”

Henry David Thoreau

I’m telling myself this more than anyone, by the way. Books aren’t the only thing that can distract us. Maybe your thing is TV instead. Or film. Or cleaning. Or (only) hanging with friends. Or spending all your time drinking. No shame here. No shade. 

The question we need to ask ourselves is are we doing this (watching tv, eating, etc) to enjoy it or are we doing it to distract ourselves and avoid doing what we really want (and sometimes need) to do.

When it seems like you can do anything BUT what you need or want to do, then you are likely avoiding it for some reason. 

Fear can do it sometimes. fear of messing up and looking like a boob. 

Laziness too. But laziness is a delay tactic to avoid change and avoid negative or undesired life outcomes. 

But neither fear or laziness will make it — or your life — any better.

Learning is great. Reading is one of my favorite things I do. But if all we do is learn and never apply, what’s the point in the first place?

But some times you just need to put the book down, bookmark your place to come back to later, and then get out there and do something.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #866

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Notes: Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me by Justin Timberlake

Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me by Justin Timberlake

tiny review: 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 🔥 (10/10)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

I really enjoyed JT’s book, Hindsight. If you are a musician, someone wanting to be a musician, or pursuing a creative pursuit, definitely buy this book. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book. The book has a fantastic style and full of great imagery, so if reading any of the notes below gets you jazzed, grab the book and read them there instead. (And, if you can swing it, the hardback is gorgeous.)

Note: bolded sentence, (thoughts in parentheses) and headers by me (Josh Waggoner).

“Ten years ago, I couldn’t have written this book. Ten years ago, everything was about forward movement. About taking risks. About trying new things. I didn’t look behind me. I didn’t care about what was behind me. I care only about what lay ahead.”

“What I understand now is that there isn’t just one thing that I am. There isn’t just one thing that I will become.”

“Every time I make an album, I always want it to sound at least slightly different from the last.”

“The mystery of loving is God’s sweetest secret.”

Jalal al-Din Rumi, from “Desire and the Importance of Failing”, thirteenth century

“Connections are all around us, and they are inside of us. They inspire and they illuminate. They show us who we are and who we want to be. That’s why we make art and that’s why we go see it. When we watch, when we listen, we’re not getting away from the world. We’re actually digging in.”

That feeling of being different really what makes us the same.

“You don’t have to be related to relate.”

“The older I get the more I understand that so many people live in circumstances they can’t control, or in places that just don’t feel right to them. That feeling of being different is really what makes us the same. We have our own struggles, yet we want the same things. We want human connection, a place to feel at home, and pizza.
Even if people seem guarded or bashful, more than anything, they want to relate.”

Continue reading “Notes: Hindsight: & All the Things I Can’t See in Front of Me by Justin Timberlake”

Looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles

Gabriella and I did something fun tonight.

… No not that, get your mind out of the gutter.

We went rollerskating!

The Skate Place was my jam back in the middle school days.

Tricks. Pizza basically made out of cardboard. Trucking and Jamming.
Aka living the dream.

I bought a pair of skates for Gabriella for Christmas 🎄 so we went to go try them out.

The place hadn’t changed an ounce. The only thing that has changed was me. I had grown wiser yet also more anxious about my world. (Also taller, I’ve gained a few inches since middle school. I was definitely the tallest person there and I’m only 6 ft)

Before we went, we grabbed some dinner and hopped into Barnes and Nobles for a bit.

We always have fun in booklandia. (Well… aren’t you the life of the party Josh)

I wanted to find a book that will change my life, help me simplify and handle overwhelm better.

I asked Gabriella to help me find some and as we were looking she wisely said,

“If you’re looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles, you’re in the wrong place”.

She’s right of course.

If you’re looking for the perfect life in Barnes & Nobles, you’re in the wrong place.

Books are windows into mastery and wisdom.

Books can give you the insights and answers you seek. But there comes a time where books aren’t going to work for you. To change your life you must do the work. You must make the hard decisions and take action towards the life you dream of. Same goes for talking, daydreaming, complaining, wishing — eventually you must decide whether you are just going to talk the talk for the rest of your life or also walk the walk.

The difference between those who have and those who don’t is consistent, persistent actions towards the life they want. Dreams don’t fall from a book, or plow into you as you go around the skating rink; Dreams happen through Bold actions.

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

Related Insights

“When you have a dream, you’ve got to grab it and never let go.” — Carol Burnett

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” Norman Vincent Peale

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou

My Favorite Books In 2017

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” 
― George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

When I started my Renaissance Life Journey, I picked up a book.

Reading is a direct connection to wisdom and how to improve your life. I read to challenge my thinking and expand whats possible. Reading will pull you out of your worst setbacks, and raise you up to your highest potential.

(Alright alright, enough. This blog post ad is brought to you by, reading.)

My Favorite Books in 2017:

The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

An examination of Winnie the Pooh from the perspective of Taoism.

Total Focus by Brandon Webb

Deep Work by Cal Newport

Total Focus and Deep Work’s insights are showing me how unfocused I’ve become and how much I need to learn the art of when to say no, and when to say yes. This is a work in progress.

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

Two excellent biographies from the Master biographer himself. Required readings for anyone seeking to be a Renaissance Man / Woman and a Renaissance Life.

Tribe of Mentors by Timothy Ferriss

The definitive guide to life from high performers in a variety of fields. If you’re looking for advice, it’s probably in here. It will also give you 1000!! other books to add to your to-read list.

I­t­ All Matters by Paul Cummings

An action plan on how to create the life of your dreams. Paul’s life lessons stick with you and his action plans show you how to amplify what you do.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

A little too ‘man’ focused, since that was his main audience at the time in 1937, but push past that and you’ll find a wealth of insights into the mind and how our thoughts and subconscious effects our reality.

The Art of Exceptional Living by Jim Rohn (Audible)

This one hit me at just the right time during one of my worst setbacks in life to date. I would get up early and walk him Jim to inspire and put earworms in my head on how I could climb up from my pain and setbacks. (earworms…. gross)

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

Elon’s ability to create ideas, execute ideas and mitigate risks is astounding. I will be re-reading this one.

Masks of Masculinity by Lewis Howes

Lewis reinforced me on how important vulnerability is and how easy it is to hide behind masks that seem to get you far in life, but in actuality hold you back. Here’s to taking off your masks. 

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield

A Masterpiece of Spartan Theater.

What were your favorite reads this year?

Happy Reading!

Stay BOLD, Keep Pursuing, 

— Josh Waggoner



Learning Playbook: Resources on How to Master Learning — Part 1

Yesterday I made a list of the micro-skills of mastery, skills that if mastered will create massive improvements in all areas of our lives.

Tonight I want to talk about learning. My aim here is to start building a master learning playbook to teach myself (and anyone like me) how to master the art of learning. Why learn how to learn? Because learning is a universal skill that affects all aspects of our lives. By becoming a more effective learner, you will be able to develop any skill, trait or habit you desire.

Questions I have:

Q: How can we teach ourselves to learn? (Learning how to learn — or meta-learning if you want to get fancy pants-y)

Q: What are the books, blogs, courses, tools and other resources we can add to our learning playbook?

Q: Who are Masters of Learning that we can learn from? How makes learning look easy?
    What resources do they recommend?
    What questions do they ask?
    What habits do they have?
    Who do they learn from?

Here’s what I’ve found so far:

Books baby, booooooks:

The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin 

Learning How to Learn by Joseph D. Novak and D. Bob Gowin

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown and Henry L. Roediger II

The First 20 Hours: How to Learn Anything . . . Fast! by Josh Kaufman

The 4-Hour Chef: The Simple Path to Cooking Like a Pro, Learning Anything, and Living the Good Life by Timothy Ferriss (A learning book disguised as a cookbook)

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch

Teaching Smart People How to Learn (Harvard Business Review Classics by Chris Argyris

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. by Daniel Coyle

Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys To Transforming the Way We Work and Live by Tony Schwartz

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows and Diana Wright

 Learning, Creating, and Using Knowledge: Concept Maps as Facilitative Tools in Schools and Corporations by Joseph D. Novak

How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens by Benedict Carey

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Mind Mapping: Improve Memory, Concentration, Communication, Organization, Creativity, and Time Management by Kam Knight

15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John C. Maxwell

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman


I’ve started reading Be Excellent at Anything, and have read The Art of Learning and I’ll be diving into these in the coming months so expect full reviews here on the Renaissance Life.

Did I miss any books? Let me know.

Keep Pursuing,

— Josh Waggoner

#tinyReview: Smarter – The New Science of Building Brain Power

Verdict: 👌


Very enjoyable book overall! Easy to read. Entertaining.

The Down Syndrome chapter, although important and interesting, doesn’t feel like it jibes with the rest of the book, but

If you even remotely interested in improving your memory or the current state of brain science, give smarter a read.


  • Exercise, Music, Language Learning
  • Down Syndrome 
  • Clash of the Titans
  • Brain Training
  • Dual n Back, Lumosity
  • Smart Drugs


My other favorite reads

#tinyReview: The ONE Thing

#tinyReview — No Fluff, No Filler. On a Scale of One to Emoji..

Verdict: 🔥

Reasoning: The One Thing is a must read for EVERYONE.

If you are feeling stretched too thin, or feel as though you are unable to make results in your life, business or skills, The One Thing is for you.

Even though my main mission in life is to be a Renaissance Man, that doesn’t mean I should do EVERYTHING under the sun (especially not all at once!). We’ve got to have priority in life to achieve our big goals.

Results: Clarity. Focus. Priority.


Have you read The One Thing? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
follow me on twitter @jwaggoner, and on instagram @renaissancemanlife & @bookaholicsguidetolife

#tinyReview: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

tinyReview: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing

verdict: 👍

Reasoning: The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (man that’s a mouthful) is a great read! I highly recommend it for any entrepreneur, marketer, andor online business connoisseur, and anyone looking to start learning about marketing or up-ing their game. My marketing / social clout for RenaissanceManLife and boldsheep really needs some improvements (aka it suuucks), and the 22 laws have helped tremendously on my journey to getting stronger in those areas.

Here’s a few of my favorite take away quotes:

“I’d rather be strong somewhere, than weak everywhere.”

“Good things come to those who sacrifice.”

“Marketing is a battle of ideas.”

In my opinion a (non-fiction) book is useless without actually implementing, experimenting , and taking action towards applying what you’ve learned. Here’s a list of possible Action Steps / Questions we can use from the 22 laws:

  • How am I first? How can my business / product be first?
  • What word(s) can I use to represent my business / brand? (Remember: Simplicity is king)
  • What are the handful of key things I should focus on? “I’d rather be strong somewhere, than weak everywhere.”
  • Forget about being better than my competition, How can I be different?
  • Focus on long-term benefits rather than short-term solutions.
  • Less is More. “Standing for everything means standing for nothing.”
  • How can I get my business / brand /products down to the essence? What can I give up to make my business more solid?
  • “Honesty is the best policy.” How can I show honesty to my customers and employees?
  • What can I do to be BOLD?
  • Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How does your business / brand look?
  • What are some trends in my market that I can focus on? “A trend is a tide – almost invisible, but powerful over the long-term.


follow me on twitter @jwaggoner, and on instagram @renaissancemanlife & @bookaholicsguidetolife

What do you think of my #tinyReview verdict? Have you given The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing a read? If so let me know what your tinyReview is. (one emoji, & optional reason why) Please keep it civil.