Book Review, Non-fiction, Personal Development

Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum

This book by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits and Jonas Koffler is a good one to teach you to work harder and smarter. Stories and examples help to illustrate how hustle – undertaking series of various projects throughout your working life, will help you in unexpected ways.

My Key Ideas from Hustle 📌

  1. Risk is inevitable. Failure is inevitable. Projects are the ideal way to trick your brain into taking risks and even, potentially, failing. The experience you gain by finishing projects is invaluable.
  2. Small risks strengthen us. If you face no pain in what you are experimenting with, you have not grown. Aim for a “daily dose of small pain“.
  3. Start doing what you want 10 minutes a day. No thought, no judgement, just doing.

Hustle – My Review

I was thinking a lot of how the world has changed in the last 2 years and how people search for meaning a lot more outside of work. Hustle culture is now deemed to be toxic. This lead me to think I really need to read a book on hustle in the old days. 6 years ago sounds like a right amount of old…so here we are. I chose this book because I know Neil Patel from Youtube (which, funnily enough, has become the perfect side-hustle).

What I disliked about this book is what I dislike about most self development books – the stories. They are always thought out, they prove their point and I occasionally actually learn something interesting from them. However, they are so, so, so many! The points they make are often already clear by stating them. If you don’t believe me, read on the book chapter by chapter below…see if you actually miss them!

Go on, I dare you

However, other than that…I can say the title is accurate. The book actually claims the way to find meaning, as well as money, is through hustling. It defines hustling very loosely though. Hustling, here, becomes every activity. Those often unpaid hustles(or at least not yet paid) for which you volunteer at the end of the week, for example, can help you just as much as your paid hustles.

There is also a small chapter dedicated to scheduling time for creativity. It advises 4 to 8 hours a week of “off time”. So… plenty, right?

Well.. perhaps this is the main problem with hustling. There is no real down time. Not when you are always focused on opportunities, at work and outside of work. Not when, for every interaction, you need to think “How can this person serve me?”. Not even if the question is “How can I serve this person?”, with no ulterior reason. Because it makes the interaction artificial and shallow.

The message of this book is not wrong. It is also not completely right either.

It is so true that work gives us meaning because it is viewed as the way we serve society. We don’t serve society by just existing. We need to bring value to it in order for us to feel valuable. Work is a way to bring value to those around you. It is also not the only way to bring value to those around you.

But the book doesn’t claim anything of this sort. This is something we understand from the way our society is organised. The book and the entire hustle movement is just a way of living. Not the only way.

Does it have benefits? Yes! Hustling, as shown in this book, means taking action. Finishing projects. Discovering your talents. Diversifying your interests. Landing a job or a promotion. All through projects you get involve in, things you do every day, at your main job or outside of it.

All these things lead to experiences which enrich your life. And I actually love that idea! It focuses on doing things and taking risks. I see this as a very positive thing. So when does all this become negative? It’s simple…when you don’t periodically stop to reassess. The infinite hustle, which should create the mindset of the lifetime student creates instead the mindset of a lifetime of disappointment, of feeling it is never enough. So instead of curiosity and excitement with each project, we start feeling dread, tired of starting again.

The solution, as I see it, would mean to stop more to think and do nothing. It is what, in theory, this book says as well… I just don’t think anyone hears that part too often.

My Future Approach to Hustle

I think hustling is not bad in itself. Not at all. I think all it needs is to be approached differently: like a book. You should immerse yourself completely while reading/working and then stop and think about what you learned. Do not jump to the next book/hustle immediately! Wait. Think. Assess what you liked, what you didn’t like, what you learned, how you evolved because of it. Get to know yourself again after each experience. Only then hustling will truly help you and will stop being toxic.

If you liked my review, be sure to check out the chapter by chapter summary below and see if this book is for you!

Hustle – Chapter by Chapter

Chapter 1 – Don’t Rent Your Dreams, Own Them

Hustling empowers anyone to be in control of his life. Different cultures have different struggles: in the U.S., people struggle under the debt of student loans, while in Cuba, people struggle to make a living under Communism’s impossible laws. In both cases, with hustling, people control the outcome of their dreams, because “it’s not enough to simply have a dream, you have to actively pursue it”.

“Owning your dreams feels different, perhaps even strange. It involves living an engaged life; making your best, most decisive choices; not being afraid of the consequences; and correcting your course along the way. It means taking action and assuming rightful ownership of your destiny.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Chapter 2 – Repair the Meh in Your Heart

Avoiding failure is not possible, yet it is the one thing we instinctively do and which holds us back from pursuing good opportunities. Risk is inevitable and should thus be accepted as part of the cost of winning. Even more, people should be more aware of hidden risks behind what seem to be safer choices.

“In the aftermath of the horrific events of September 11, 2001, many Americans needing to travel long distances understandably opted to drive versus what they would have done before 9/11: flying the same distances. […] A 2006 Cornell University study estimated that in the 2 years following 9/11, an additional 2,302 people died from road accidents that they wouldn’t have encountered had they chosen to fly.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

However, the best lesson here is around “learned helplessness”. We are so much ingrained in the habits of our lives, in the routine of not doing what we want because of x, y, z, that we just can’t see other paths anymore. Our brain is too accustomed to our bad or mediocre situations that it is just stuck in the same patterns.

“We’re not technically depressed, but we’re not exactly happy, either. We know that there is a “more” out there, but we just shrug our shoulders and don’t care anymore.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Chapter 3 – Find the Heart of Your Talents

Here, the authors try to help us see the talents we have, because we are, more often than not, blind to them. We are inclined to overestimate or underestimate our talents in most areas. Knowing our talents is crucial in order to be happy. Otherwise, we perpetuate a continuous trial and failure in areas where it’s more difficult to excel in for us than those where we are naturally gifted.

Of course, talent is not enough. To succeed, you also need grit – meaning never give up your goal, no matter the challenges you face. To help you with that, when an area of your life is not working, it’s crucial for you to be able to draw strength from another area that is thriving.

“Diversification in your personal and professional life is not just about getting the right mix of risk, but about stealing the wonderful side effects of success—like confidence, toughness, and vision—from one part of your life to help drive other parts of your life that could use a jolt of confidence. And there is always a part of our lives that could use improvement.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

But how do you find your talents if they are not immediately obvious? You definitely need to try things, things that challenge you, that take you out of your comfort zone, but in order to understand what you are capable of, you also need to reflect.

“Before you start a new project or venture, write down your expectations about what you think that project will entail from you, what you will be asked to give and do. After the project ends, record the results. Was it a success or a failure? What did you do well? What did you do poorly? What did you find yourself doing or feeling that you didn’t know you were capable of?

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Take your time to do this consistently and notice the patterns.

Chapter 4 – Small Doses of Pain

The main idea (and my favourite one in the book) is about how small risks strengthen our biological systems. The perfect example for that is exercise.

“When we exercise vigorously[…], our muscles suffer “microtraumas,” and our bodies respond by renovating and bolstering the traumatized muscle tissue. As our muscles grow, we experience temporary, albeit acute, small doses of pain. In the long run, these lead to gains in strength, endurance, energy, and vitality, and to better physical appearance, self-esteem, and confidence.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Of course, this applies to everything: hurting just a little means you’re growing. The tiny frustrations of learning turn into long-term advantages.

Ideally, for your progress, you should try a “daily dose of small pain”. There is no gain in big pains. Progress needs consistency in a long term mindset.

Chapter 5 – Manufacturing Luck

There are 4 types of luck:

  1. random luck
  2. hustle luck – created by taking action
  3. hidden luck – created by a synthesis of past experience, depending on how well prepared one is in a certain field
  4. quirky luck – the type of luck that seeks you out because of your weirdness.

These all say that good luck comes from embracing who you are – strengths and weirdness make you unique and interesting. However, even more important than that, good luck will come if you take more and more action and risks.

Chapter 6 – The Three Unseen Laws of Hustle

The first law of hustle is to listen to your heart and let it guide and motivate you in you taking action. However, you should Not follow your passion. Passion is fleeting, changing over time as we and our habits evolve. What doesn’t change is innate talent. That means it’s more important to use and build on your strengths rather than waste time improving weaknesses.

The second law of hustle is to pay attention – keep your head up and your eyes open in order to seize opportunities. If you’re just starting, it’s natural to be aware that what you’re creating isn’t as good as you want it to be. The solution for that is focus on volume of work and deadlines to actually complete projects.

The third law of hustle is to seal the deal and make it real – this means closing the gap between saying and actually doing. Get to action!

Chapter 7 – Your Indirect Path: Unique and Oblique

The best way to achieve complex goals is through “oblique”(indirect) means – according to economist John Kay.

“The reason hustle and obliquity are so well matched is that while hustle has you finding your own gifts, obliquity has you putting them to use in unique ways.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

This means there is no straight path up a mountain. You may even descend before you go up and the path will always be winding. You also need to optimise it for yourself, to reflect your unique talents and experience.

Chapter 8 – Choose Your Own Adventure

There are four ways to get your dream:

“The Fourfold Path
1.Outside/Inside Hustle is getting a foot in the door.
2.Inside/Upside Hustle is proving your value and earning a promotion.
3.Inside/Outside Hustle is diving into entrepreneurial waters.
4.Outside/Upside Hustle is accelerating epic entrepreneurial and creative achievements.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

To move from the outside to the inside implies, most importantly, to differentiate yourself from the other candidates who want the same thing you do.

The inside/upside path implies growth within an organisation. In order for that to happen, you must be sure that you are in the type of organisation that will favor your growth.

The inside/outside hustle means using your talents to start offering services as a freelancer and keep growing your fees as your talents develop further.

The outside/upside hustle requires dedication and risk taking, a “high pain threshold” and, most of all, complete faith in your own talents.

Chapter 9 – Make Your Future Pop

POP is your Personal Opportunity Portfolio and it should capture “the sum total of your life’s work”, your contribution to the world.

To achieve it this grand lifetime goal, you only need to start with 10 minutes a day.

“The 10-Minute Rule states that instead of contemplating and delaying, simply do something that moves you—sans judgment—for 10 minutes and then evaluate.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Chapter 10 – Potential Makes You Powerful

“You are able to do a lot of things—some of them well, some of them passably, some of them not so well but you’ll give them a try anyway. But you also have your go-to superpower, your talent and strength.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

It is your go-to super power that makes you invaluable. However, you need to add some other skills to it, even if they are not performed as well. It is the combination of all these skills that will make you unique.

The easiest to learn are experimenting, storytelling, and pitching: ESP.

“Experimenting with side projects, with side hustles, with honeypots, with networking will be a 100x multiplier in finding your unique and oblique path.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

“The modern business conference isn’t that different from the traditional campfire: We gather to share stories and inspire others. When you tell a story, you allow your audience to wrap whatever data you are sharing around their brain.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

“We expect that others should see and respect our intrinsic value automatically. To pitch, we believe, is undignified groveling. In reality, pitching forces us to view ourselves from others’ points of view, and it helps us build bridges from people and opportunities to our hustle.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Chapter 11 – People Make Your Hustle Whole

This chapter is revolved around understanding the needs of people around you and, if you’re not able to help directly, maybe introduce them to someone who will. This mindset of building connections between people, helping them even if there is no direct benefit for yourself, will actually help you, because it is a way for you to prove value to them. Increasing your social capital is a long term strategy for success.

“ABCs: The key for strengthening your ties with people is to Always Be Collaborating/Connecting. That is, you want to strive for collaboration, give and take. Instead of rushing in, look for ways to work progressively with others on your goals and projects and theirs as well.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Chapter 12 – Projects Make You Stronger

The economy nowadays no longer views possible a one long 40 year career with the same employer. For this shift, the alternative is project work that will help you build a portfolio of your work. This is “the project economy”.

In it, there are three types of projects:

  1. The Day job – your most regular income, your chief focus – the 9 to 5.
  2. Experiments and Side Projects – part time – the 5 to 9.
  3. Value-Add Projects – in extra time/weekends/leisure – these ones will not necessarily bring an income, but will fulfil your creative, educational or spiritual needs (volunteer work).

Chapter 13 – Proof Makes You Bulletproof

This chapter revolves around the importance of proof in your job/project hunting. Proof means tangible evidence of your work, something an employer/client can use to judge how you work and what you are all about. The regular résumé is not enough.

Chapter 14 – Money: The Means of Momentum

Profit from your endeavours is the way to continue them.

“You already know that you can provide value to others. The key is knowing what that value (your time and talent, i.e., your work) is worth to others, what they’ll pay you for it”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

The most important thing is to always balance money and meaning.

“Too much money relative to meaning leaves you asking yourself, Why am I doing what I do? Am I being paid off for some unconscionable act?
Too much meaning relative to money, and you ask yourself, How do I keep living this way without putting myself at risk of calamity?”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

Chapter 15 – Definite Meaning

Through trial and error we find our truth and surface our talents. We are on a quest to experience meaning. It is this quest that enriches us. All the new experiences help us uncover more of ourselves and you will end up finding meaning in everyday corners of life.

Conclusion – Infinite Hustle

“Our hustle remains a lifelong quest to better understand the nature of our truest selves. Staying present and mindful in the quest is the key.”

– “Hustle”, by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, Jonas Koffler

If you really want to become a hustler, it is also essential to unplug, recharge, rest through movement, ideally in new places, that stimulate your imagination and creativity. Even more importantly, leave room in your schedule for creativity each week. It is in this off time you will get your best ideas.

Hustling is a way to find your meaning and money and momentum. But its point is none of those. Hustling is an infinite game. No fixed rules to it. Its point is just to keep on playing.

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