I first saw Tai Lopez when I was browsing around YouTube and the immediacy of his hand-held camera ad really pulled me in:
“Whoah, what’s this guy selling?” I thought to myself, making a note of his name before continuing on in my YouTube browsing. I’ve since gone through a few of his videos, distilled some of his wisdom down for you in this post (he is an enthusiastic teacher, I will give him that) and conclude with my thoughts about whether or not you should ‘enter his funnel’ and get further involved in what he is selling.
Tai Lopez is Selling Mentorship
Tai really presses the point that you need a mentor in your business life to get where you want to go as quickly as possible. Some nuggets I’ve learned from watching him on his YouTube channel and various podcasts:
– Tai encourages the belief that everyone in the world exists for you. Of course you need to contribute something back to animate & energize that person, or else you drop them and move on. You get back what you give.
– The same goes for information: his perspective is that all the knowledge of the world exists for you. Actively run tests to see what works for you and what doesn’t. Double down on what works and quickly cut what doesn’t.
– Tai mentions a consultant friend of his who routinely increases the value of businesses by doing one simple thing: he gets the CEO to tell him what he does as the CEO that makes the business the most money. Then the consultant tells him do only that for 8 hours a day, which is basically the old Pareto principle at work.
Tai on Mindset
– Don’t be “patiently impatient”. The example he gives is when people make a resolution and say they will start something “at some point in the future” – especially around certain universal time markers – Jan 1 / April, May or June 1st (to prep for Summer) / August (for back to school) / November or December (one last push before the new year). Although people are patient when making their plans, they become impatient when they start them and don’t see results right away. So instead of being “patiently impatient”, try being impatient to start but patient when it comes to sticking with a program or course of action to finally see results.
– Abundance versus scarcity. Don’t be a curmudgeon / naysayer. A fearful person / grudger worked well in evolutionary terms – to survive the bubonic plague, we needed people to say “I wouldn’t eat that” or “make sure you bundle up when you go out and don’t stop for anything.” But that instinct is just an instinct, and its probably overstayed its evolutionary purpose.
– Selfish goals – you need to be the lead reason why you do things. But you need to also have un-selfish goals to stay human.
– We are generous with our time, staying in bad relationships (including with friends) longer than we should. Yet we are stingy with our money, and willingly spend hours researching how to find the best deal. The end game is to be exhausted by the time you die – to know you’ve given it your all and haven’t heard anything back.
Tai Lopez & Books
Tai is a really fast reader and devours quite a few books in a week.
– He’s big on books, but he doesn’t “read” them. He scans them looking for pertinent pieces of information and then decides whether to give them a second reading or not. I’m paraphrasing but the basic gist is that non-fiction books, especially in the business and self-improvement niche, have a few good ideas strewn among the hundreds of pages of text. Your job is to extract those in the shortest amount of time as possible). At the very least you’ll find out about authors like Charlie Munger and Sam Walton, once the richest man in the world who wrote Made in America.
– Don’t be egalitarian in what you do. Tai says that he reads Civilization and Its Discontents every day. Now reading a sobering work by Freud probably isn’t going to make you successful per se, but it’s what works for him. Find what works and no matter how ridiculous it is – exercising at a gym at 11pm / doing a ginger-water and honey fast every morning, whatever it takes for you to feel your best.
– “Nations are born stoic and die epicurean.” – Will Durant. Tai is very much against Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Work Week – he thinks you should be leveraging your time even more than you are now. People sip out of cups, but what if you trained yourself to take gulps instead? Arnold Scharzenegger wasn’t allowed out of his room in the morning as a kid until he had done a certain number of pushups. Beethoven was beaten by his father when he made mistakes on the piano as a child. Seems cruel, but it’s what made Arnold ‘big’ and Beethoven a great musician. The idea is that you need to find not only your talents in the world but be willing to push it even more than others.
I don’t think what Lopez is doing is technically speed-reading, it’s more like reading for information. It’s actually a smart way to read non-fiction books and spend 20% of the normal reading time to get 80% of the benefit. The key to reading for information chunking is that the more you do it, the more patterns you’ll accumulate and you’ll be able to get the gist of entire paragraphs by only reading a couple sentences.
Step 1: Speed read the intro. Look at the Table of Contents using the chapter titles as signposts and either skim each chapter really fast to just get the basic idea of each chapter, or read the first few pages of each chapter. This step should take you around 10 minutes (yes, that’s how fast you’re skimming the chapters).
Step 2: Map out what chapters you’ll read and which you’ll skip. Now of the chapters you’re going to read, go about it in a disciplined fashion. Only read the first and last sentence of each paragraph to give you an idea if you really need to read that paragraph. Go ahead and skip the stories (some books have a lot of them) and try to find the main point of each chapter. This should take about 30 minutes.
You’re not looking to study these books in detail. Your objective is to pick out some nuggets from each book – maybe one big idea and a bunch of little ones then move onto the next book.
Recommended Books for Improving Reading Speed
Health – Take Small Steps Everyday
Beyond business Tai Lopez also spends quite a bit of time harping on developing your relationships and your health. He references the Myers-Briggs personality types and also mentions that if you’re an avoidant personality, be ok with the fact that you’re a loner.
Man Maker Exercise
Criticisms of Tai Lopez
I want to preface this section saying that I don’t know much about Tai himself but he seems like a genuine guy. The criticisms laid here are as much about the type of people who are attracted to courses like this as much as the course itself.
• There is a schtick that he’s running: he dangles the Lambo and his Hollywood Hills home in front of you. More power to the guy but in the eyes of his target audience, these are scarcity triggers, not abundance. How many Lambo’s are produced a year? How many people can fit into the Hollywood hills? The answer to both is “a very small number”. The Hollywood lifestyle is a scarcity trigger and even though it runs counter to what he’s teaching it’s just human nature (and profitable from an advertising standpoint) – think of what cognitive biases are being hit when he stands in front of his Lambo and implies that you too could have the same.
So I’m ambivalent: I think he’s a great teacher and his style is infectious. I know some people find him annoying, but if you don’t (and I don’t) he can be a great source of motivation. But Tai Lopez is not going to mentor you personally. Its implied but let’s be realistic: he wants to sell you stuff, plain and simple.