Built To Sell Book Summary
Book Summaries

Built To Sell Book Summary

Built To Sell Book Summary: In Built to Sell by John Warrillow, he makes a lot of points that I completely agree with, especially after having sold my company for $30m.

Built To Sell Book Summary

In the book, John’s basic premise is that business owners should build a sellable, product-oriented business, even if they have no plans to step away or sell it. The goal is to build a business that can run without them.

Assume that your company will last forever, and always make decisions to maximise its value so that it can be sold at any moment for the highest price. Think big by having a 3-year plan with a big, audacious vision for your business.

Don’t be a generic service business, be a product-oriented scalable business. Say “customers” instead of “clients”, and “business” instead of “firm”.

You need at least two years of financial statements behind any major changes in your company (restructuring, new product lines, etc) to back any sale.

Don’t become synonymous with your company. It’ll reduce your company’s value.

Specialise instead of being a generalist. Focusing will allow you to hire specialists as well, and get so much better than your competitors, allowing you to stand out.

Develop a process and own it. It’ll make it easier to pitch and for clients to buy into your service. Use this to create positive cash flow. By standardizing your service, you can front-load your invoices.

Beware of concentration risk: relying too heavily on a few clients is risky and isn’t attractive to buyers. No single client should make up more than 15% of your revenue.

Say no to projects that are outside your area of expertise. This demonstrates that you’re serious about specializing. This increases your chances of a referral because you’re known as the guy who specialises in XYZ.

Figure out how many pipeline prospects will lead to sales, and you can estimate the size of the market opportunity.

Always have more than one sales rep. It breeds competition amongst them, and shows potential buyers that you have a system, and not just a god-like sales person. Make sure they are good at meeting clients’ needs. You don’t want a sales person who agrees to customise your business to fit what the client wants.

Build up a management team and incentivise them with a long-term reward plan around their personal performance and loyalty.

Use business advisers who are familiar with your industry and for whom you will be neither their largest nor their smallest client. Never be in a discussion with just a single buyer. You want to pit your buyers against each other.

Retaining key employees after an acquisition is important. Don’t use stock options but a cash earn-out bonus instead to ensure they stay through the transition.

Built To Sell Book Summary Lessons

Thank you for reading my Built To Sell book summary. The above book summary is just a concise summary of the lessons that I had learnt from the book. I’ve also provided a link to a PDF version of this below. To get all the points and stories covered in the full book, you should purchase the full book. 

Buy The Book: Built To Sell (Amazon)

​Read More
Pitch Anything Book Summary
Book Summaries

Pitch Anything Book Summary

Pitch Anything Book Summary: In Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff, the main points that I learnt about were of frame control, and removing neediness. In communicating with people, you should only use simple concepts initially, otherwise your message will be ignored and you become invisible to the audience’s mind.

Pitch Anything Book Summary

The best pitches follow this sequence, STRONG:

Set the frame
Tell the story
Reveal the intrigue
Offer the prize
Nail the hook point
Get the deal

Using Frames To Win Pitches

A successful pitch depends on your ability to build strong frames. Defiance and humor are the keys to seizing the frame, with being playful and enjoying the game as the best approach.

In decision making, it’s a myth that we do analysis. Instead, we go with our gut. So it’s imperative that you learn how to stack frames up together.

Even with frame control, you will still face discomfort and people pushing back. The key is to always keep moving forward, and not show self-doubt. Plow forwards, like an ox plowing a field.

The Power Frame

Customers who have a big ego, big titles, or are entitled.

If the customer is busy on their phone and not paying attention to your pitch, say: “Hey, I would just hate to have to use my superpowers to take your phone from you while I finish my amazing presentation” and smiling big at the same time.

The Intrigue Frame

No one takes a meeting to hear about something they already know and understand, so when the customer thinks they have discovered the answer, they’ll mentally check out.

The key is to share your personal story, and not fully, keeping them intrigued. Keep it exciting with emotions like risk, fear, tension, uncertainty, etc.

The Time Frame

Close with a time frame, example: “Unfortunately, this is a temporary offer, I will keep it open until the end of the day at the most.”

Customer: “Hey, I only have 5 minutes, but come in.”

You: “Thank you for your time. Thanks for fitting me into your busy schedule.”

This is the wrong approach because you’re handing the power to the customer. Here’s a better way.

You: “Sorry I don’t work like that, we can’t reschedule unless I know we can work well together and trust each other. I need to know if you’re the kind of person who can keep an appointment, and stick to a schedule?”

This breaks his time frame.

Analyst Frame

When the customer is saying they only want to know figures and numbers, they’re using the analyst frame. Don’t get trapped, or you’ll waste your time spitting out numbers and projections that your customer isn’t even interested in listening to.

The most effective way to overcome the analyst frame is with an intriguing story with a personal narrative and lots of emotions and hooks.

The Prizing Frame

Get your customer to understand that he is a commodity and you are the prize. Never let it go the other way around.

People confuse money with the prize. Money is never the prize; it’s a commodity, or a means of getting things done.

Position yourself as the prize and someone who the client would be privileged to work with. Make the buyer qualify himself to you. Value yourself, and do not hesitate to walk away if the other side doesn’t give you what you want.

For example: If the key decision maker didn’t arrive for the meeting, do not start the meeting. Wait 15 minutes and if that person still doesn’t show, politely leave.

Whenever people ask, you should always know who you want to work with, and who you don’t want to work with.

The Moral Authority Frame

Align yourself with strong moral character and with significant, intangible issues that your customer will value. Oren Klaff says, “Show the brain something that society values, and you won’t just be hitting hot buttons, you’ll be stomping on them.”

While his sales competitors were busy focusing on plans, figures, spreadsheets, etc, his team’s pitch was about understanding the airport’s history, respecting its heritage, and making important contributions to the airport’s local community.


Status and framing go hand-in-hands. Having a high social status is helpful to gain dominance in a frame. To enhance your alpha status, use phrases such as “Have you done a deal this large before?” or “Remind me again why in the world I want to do business with you?”

Essentially, you want to demonstrate defiances that strengthen your frame, which also elevates your status. Remember not to be aggressive or forceful – ideally you want to be challenging and funny.

Never do things to enhance the other party’s alpha status. Always be on time, but never wait for the other person. You can wait for 10 minutes, but leave when the time is up.

Pitching Your Big Idea

Phase 1: Introduce Yourself and the Big Idea (5 minutes)

Even before you think about explaining your idea, give people your background. However, there is no point in spending 15 minutes or longer on the background.

Rather than one great, one good and one mediocre thing, stop with one great thing. Only big things are worth talking about. Get your track record on the table, and do it fast, clean, and problem-free.

This is an ideal introduction pattern for establishing the big idea:

For (target customers)
Who are dissatisfied with (the current offering in the market)?
Our product/service is (a new idea/product category)
That provides a solution to (key customer problems).
Unlike (the competing product),
We have (differentiating key features).

Phase 2: Explain the budget and secret sauce (10 minutes)

All the essential stuff must fit into the audience’s limits of attention (commonly 20 minutes). Keep information novelty high.

Don’t dwell on the figures but instead, focus on demonstrating excellence in budgeting.

Indicate “worst case scenarios” and that your company has the cash to last through bad times.

Secret Sauce: Don’t hesitate to talk about your competitors. Describe your competitive advantages, and the unfair advantages and edges you have over others.

Phase 3: Offer the deal (2 minutes)

Tell them, simply and concisely, what they’ll get when they’ll do business with you. Include all the essential details, preempting any doubts or questions.

Eradicating Neediness

Neediness, such as validation-seeking, causes a person’s croc brain to take over. Neediness is a sign of weakness/threat. Examples of neediness after a pitch ends are:

1. “So, what do you think?”
2. “We can sign a deal right away if you want us to.”

When we want something that only the target can give us, like money, we set the stage for neediness.

  • Try to eliminate your desires, at least in the eyes of the public. It’s not necessary to want things. Sometimes you have to let them come to you.
  • Be excellent in the presence of others. Show people one thing that you are very good at.
  • Withdraw. The moment your audience expects you to chase after their money, do not do it. Just step back a bit. If the situation worsens, walk away saying something like “I’m not convinced about the deal.”

Examples of strong closes (non-needy):

  • This deal will be fully subscribed in the next 14 days.
  • We don’t need VC money, but we want a big name on our cap sheet that will strengthen our initial public offering (IPO) registration.
  • I think you guys are interesting, but are you really the right investor? We need to know more about you and the relationships and brand value your firm can bring to our deal.

Pitch Anything Book Summary Lessons

Thank you for reading Pitch Anything Book Summary. The above book summary is just a concise summary of the lessons that I had learnt from the book. I’ve also provided a link to a PDF version of this below. To get all the points and stories covered in the full book, you should purchase the full book. 

Buy The Book: Pitch Anything (Amazon)

​Read More
The Obstacle Is The Way book summary
Book Summaries

The Obstacle Is The Way Book Summary

The Obstacle Is The Way book summary

The Obstacle Is The Way Book Summary: The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday, uses Stoicism to deal with overcoming obstacles, and breaks it down into a 3-step process. Learn the key lessons from this book below.

Step 1: Perception

Be Objective

Things happen all the time, but perception is what determines how we see, understand, and ultimately choose to react to them. Events that happen to us, even the obstacles, shouldn’t be seen as good or bad. They just are. We add meaning to these events, and so we have the choice to see if something is positive or negative.

We tell ourselves a story about the events that happen to us, and that dictates the emotions that we feel. If we tell ourselves a story that allows ourselves to detach from the emotions, we can maintain our composure and control. That’s when we can start telling ourselves a positive story that can move ourselves towards action and empowerment, instead of despair and debilitation.

Holiday tells the story of George Clooney, who was continuously rejected by Hollywood when he was younger. Clooney’s perspective was that the system was broken and they couldn’t see how talented he really was.

However, one day he decided to switch his perspective and see things differently. Now, he saw it as the directors and producers needing a problem solved, and that he was the man for the job. He began to project that in his auditions. It wasn’t just his acting skills that he had, but he showed that he had the whole package that the directors and producers were looking for: not just on camera, but in preproduction and during promotions.

Live in the present moment

Thinking about the past and the future aren’t helpful if it is to the detriment of dealing with the present. The only thing you truly have control over is what you do right now, anything else is just wasted. When we focus on what is in our power, it magnifies and enhances our power.

Step 2: Action

Take action

To be effective, we need directed action at the greater vision. We need to stay moving in order to create momentum. That means to take risks and move, even when we are afraid and daunted.

In 1878, Thomas Edison wasn’t the only person working on filaments, but he was the only person who was willing to test thousands of different filaments. He was persistent, and willing to fail, knowing that each failure would bring him that little bit closer to success. Genius is often just persistence in disguise.

In any venture, you will fail, but the important thing is to ask yourself what went wrong and what you could improve upon the next time.

Follow the process

Nick Saban, coach of the University of Alabama football team, uses “The Process” in coaching his team: Don’t think about winning, but just what you need to do in this drill, in this play, in this moment, on the task at hand. Focus only on what you need to do right now, and do it well. Then move on to the next thing.

What’s right is what works

Samuel Zemurray was trying to acquire the same plot of land against United Fruit, another fruit company. However, two separate owners claimed ownership of the land, in two different jurisdictions. U.F. hired lawyers and commissioned studies to figure out the rightful owner. Zemurray simply bought the land twice, once from each owner.

Use obstacles against themselves

Gandhi knew that he and his people didn’t stand a chance against the might of the British Empire. So he didn’t fight, and let the British Empire do all of the fighting, and subsequently, all of the losing.

Gandhi nonviolently resisted British rule, exaggerating his weakness. With peace and weakness as a tool, Gandhi neutralized the British Empire’s huge military advantage by making it ineffective.

Prepare for none of it to work

Even with all the preceding actions, you might still fail because we can’t control the world. However, stoicism teaches us that preparing for this allows us to neutralise its effects, and frees us to act boldly and courageously.

Step 3: Will

The discipline of will

Abraham Lincoln suffered from crippling depression and nearly committed suicide, twice. However, he found meaning in enduring and overcoming great challenges, and saw them as a way to forge his character.

Love everything that happens – Amor Fati

When Thomas Edison was 67, his lab caught fire and was surely devastated. While looking on the flames, he told his son to “Go get your mother and all her friends. They’ll never see a fire like this again.”

Cheerfulness in all situations, especially the bad ones.


There are far more failures in the world due to a collapse of will than there will ever be from objectively conclusive external events.

Antonio Pigafetta, Magellan’s assistant, said that the secret to Magellan’s success was his ability to endure hunger better than the other men.

Meditate on your mortality

Everyone dies. Life is short. If we’re not getting the results that we want, then we should change the things that we’re doing.

The Obstacle is The Way Book Summary Lessons

Thank you for reading The Obstacle Is The Way Book Summary. The above book summary is just a concise summary of the lessons that I had learnt from the book. I’ve also provided a link to a PDF version of this below. To get all the points and stories covered in the full book, you should purchase the full book. 

Buy The Book: The Obstacle Is The Way (Amazon)

​Read More
Uncommon Service Book Summary
Book Summaries

Uncommon Service Book Summary

Uncommon service book summary

Uncommon Service Book Summary: Uncommon Service (by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss) is a great book that talks about customer service and how it can grown as a reliable system in businesses. Learn the key lessons from this book below.

I’ve been running a customer service-oriented business for 17 years, and found that what Frei and Morriss talk about are right on-point. In order to provide consistently excellent customer service, it must be part of your business model. Customer service is not an afterthought and must be designed to be profitable, sustainable, and scalable in order to succeed.

You’ll need to answer these questions to design your own customer service system:

  • Which specific attributes of service are you competing on?
  • How is the excellence paid for?
  • Are employees set up for success?
  • How are customers managed and trained?

The Four Service Truths of Customer Service

You can’t be good at everything

You will need to make sacrifices by underperforming on dimensions that your customers value less. Commerce Bank bucked the trend of the industry by having extended hours daily and friendly, helpful tellers. However, it did not offer the best rates.

Find out what your customers value most.

Someone has to pay for it

Your service model must be reliably funded. The 4 funding mechanisms are:

Charging a premium, but in a palatable way. In the example prior, Commerce Bank pays for daily extended operating hours by offering the worst interest rates in the industry. However, customers are more willing to accept this than to pay an additional fee for “good service”.

Reducing costs in a way that improves service. Progressive Insurance came up with the idea of immediate-response vans for auto accidents to validate accidents and combat fraud. This was not inexpensive, but it greatly reduces fraud, disputed claims, and legal fees. It improves customer convenience and also humanises the company at the same time.

Improving service in a way that reduces costs. Intuit asked their software developers take customer support calls. This allowed their developers to get insights for product improvements without the expense of market research. In return, the customers also got knowledgeable answers from the developers who knew the product inside-out.

Getting customers to do some of the work. Ochsner Health System created a patient portal that patients could use to schedule their own appointments. This improved customer satisfaction from 50% to 90% while halving the no-show rate.

It’s not your employees’ fault

Hiring best-of-the-best employees in terms of attitude and aptitude is expensive. Since attitude is paramount in customer service, consider simplify your products so that aptitude isn’t that necessary.

You must manage your customers

If not designed for, customers will:

  • Come at any time
  • Ask for anything they want
  • Possess varying levels of knowledge
  • Put in varying levels of effort
  • Prefer varying levels of quality

Therefore, you need to design for these attributes:

  • Service only selected customers
  • Train customers to know what you can offer
  • Give your customers less work to do
  • Hand-hold and guide your customers
  • Provide great value

Uncommon Service Book Summary Lessons

Thank you for reading the Uncommon Service book summary. The above book summary is just a concise summary of the lessons that I had learnt from the book. I’ve also provided a link to a PDF version of this below. To get all the points and stories covered in the full book, you should purchase the full book. 

Buy The Book: Multipliers (Amazon)

​Read More
the alchemist book summary
Book Summaries

The Alchemist Book Summary

The Alchemist Book Summary: Read the story of a shepherd boy as he grows up and experiences invaluable lessons along his journey to search for a hidden treasure. Learn the key lessons from this book below.

A shepherd boy in Andalusia experiences a recurring dream about a hidden treasure at the Egyptian pyramids. He meets an old gypsy woman, who tells him he must follow his dream as this is his Personal Legend, and in return, give her ten percent of the treasure. The shepherd boy is comfortable with his life, and is uncertain about taking this risk.

The Alchemist Book Summary

He meets a mysterious old man next, who tells him that it is a person’s duty to fulfill his Personal Legend. The shepherd boy finally decides to sell his flock of sheep, and purchases a boat to Tangier, Africa.

After the shepherd boy arrives, he gets all his money stolen, and eventually finds work at a crystal merchant’s shop. He goes on to make several improvements that greatly improve the business of the shop, resulting in significant financial rewards for himself.

Now a rich man, he considers between returning to Andalusia and buying a flock again, or pursuing his Personal Legend. He decides on the latter and joins a caravan making its way to Egypt. Throughout his journey to Egypt, he faces many obstacles that attract, scare, and dissuade him from going further. However, he overcomes them all, and eventually makes it to the pyramids.

He digs, but finds nothing buried. Thieves beat up the shepherd boy and the shepherd boy loses all his money again. Before leaving, one of the thieves tell the shepherd boy of his dream of buried treasure in Andalusia, and laughs at the ludicrousness of it.

The shepherd boy knows exactly where the location of the treasure is in Andalusia, the place where he spent so many years in as a shepherd boy. He returns to Andalusia and finds the hidden treasure.

The Alchemist Book Summary Lessons

If I had to summarise The Alchemist into a book summary, I would focus on the following 3 lessons that I got from the book.

1. Never Giving Up

The shepherd boy went through so many failures and setbacks. Imagine losing all your money, not once, but multiple times. He still kept at it, and like many success stories that you hear, the shepherd boy found success after going through numerous failures.

2. Embrace Being Uncomfortable

Comfort by its very definition, means “a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint”, and therefore cannot be a state of growth, since growth entails having unease and pain.

The shepherd boy had numerous opportunities to give up his Personal Legend and be married, rich, and comfortable. However, he knew that it wasn’t what would truly make him happy in the end, and so chose to “suffer” but for a greater purpose.

3. Everyone Has His/her Journey

Throughout his travels, the shepherd met various people. The crystal merchant, the Englishman, and so on. These people all had their own opinions and advice for the shepherd boy.

Similarly in our own lives, we will find many people wanting to give us advice. A lot of the time, it’s coming from a place of good intention as well. However, it might not be appropriate for us.

It is easy to blindly take someone’s advice and adopt it for your own life, but it is your responsibility to ensure that what you’re doing is in alignment with your own Personal Legend.

The Alchemist Book Summary

Thank you for reading The Alchemist Book Summary. The above book summary is just a concise summary of the lessons that I had learnt from the book. I’ve also provided a link to a PDF version of this below. To get all the points and stories covered in the full book, you should purchase the full book.

Buy The Book: The Alchemist (Amazon)

​Read More
multipliers book
Book Summaries

Multipliers Book Summary

multipliers book

Multipliers book summary: Multipliers are genius makers. Multipliers invoke each person’s unique intelligence and create an atmosphere of genius—innovation, productive effort, and collective intelligence. Learn the key lessons from this book below.

Multipliers expect great things from their people and drive them to achieve extraordinary results. Multipliers look into people and find capability, and they want to access all of it and utilize people to their fullest.

Multipliers Book Summary: The Five Disciplines of the Multiplier

Discipline 1: Attracting and Optimizing Talent

Multipliers are Talent Magnets; they attract and deploy talent to its fullest, regardless of who owns the resource, and people flock to work with them because they know they will grow and be successful.

Discipline 2: Creating Intensity that Requires Best Thinking

Multipliers establish a highly motivating work environment where everyone has permission to think and the space to do their best work, free from the shackles of restrictive practices. Multipliers are liberators. Key Practices of the Liberator:

Discipline 3: Extending Challenges

Multipliers act as Challengers, continually challenging themselves and others to push beyond what they know.

The Three Practices of the Challenger:

  1. People grow through challenge, so provoke thinking and to help people discover and see the opportunity for themselves.
  2. Ask the hard questions needed to achieve a stretch challenge, but don’t answer them.
  3. Make people believe in themselves and that the impossible is possible.

Discipline 4: Debating Decisions

Multipliers operate as Debate Makers, driving sound decisions through rigorous debate.

The four parts to a well-crafted frame: QUESTION, WHY, WHO, HOW

After framing of the issue, Multipliers spark the debate, which is ENGAGING, COMPREHENSIVE, FACT-BASED, EDUCATIONAL.

Finally, a sound decision is arrived at. Multipliers ensure this in three ways. First, they reclarify the decision-making process. Second, they make the decision or explicitly delegate it to someone else to decide. And third, they communicate the decision and the rationale behind it.

Discipline 5: Instilling Ownership and Accountability

Multipliers see intelligence and capability in the people around them, and they put them in clearly in charge as owners.

When multipliers teach, they invest in their people’s ability to solve and avoid problems in the future.

The feeling of care and trust arising from giving people accountability creates an increased desire for the team member to go the extra mile and push harder to succeed.

Multipliers Book Summary Lessons

Thank you for reading the Multipliers Book Summary. The above book summary is just a concise summary of the lessons that I had learnt from the book. I’ve also provided a link to a PDF version of this below. To get all the points and stories covered in the full book, you should purchase the full book.

Buy The Book: Multipliers (Amazon)

​Read More