Modern trends in self-help and personal improvement

I started reading self-help books sometime during my JC years, quite a while before Robert Kiyosaki incited me to really take possession of my personal financial destiny. The self-help fare in those days are divided along the lines of the personality ethic books by Dale Carnegie and the character ethic books championed by Stephen Covey. Along the way, Anthony Robbins became a huge motivational … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #45 : The Last One !

All good things must come to an end. This is the last segment on this blog on Tools for Titans. I am only going to do the wealthy section of the book. Starting tomorrow, my priorities are to complete the "Wise" section at my normal pace which means that I would be done with the book over the next few days. BJ Novak is an actor, writer, director and executive producer of the hit comedy The … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #44 : The best way to predict the future is to create it.

Peter Diamandis has been named one of the World's 50 greatest leaders by Forbes Magazine. He is interested in space travel and human longevity. This is a good, solid section that is full of visionary ideas. a) A problem is a terrible thing to waste This simple idea exhorts us to cherish the problems that we discover at work because if this problem is novel enough, it can lead to the … [Read more...]

Tool for Titans #43 :The problem with plans.

Scott Belsky is an entrepreneur, author and investor. a) The problem with plans. Right off the bat, Scott talks about the limitations levied when you plan your life too well. Scott's idea is that if he plans for everything, his life will not exceed his expectations because he loses one source of creativity as he gets jammed less often. We can't really falsify this statement but … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #42 : Inspiration is for amateurs.

Justin Boreta is the founding member of Glitch Mob. I have no fricking idea who this guy is. If you are a fan of his music, please share with me his better songs. Initially, I had half a mind to skip this section because it is not coherent enough to be in this book and the editor should be shot for allowing this to be included. The only statement I will discuss today is the statement that … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #41 : What are their incentives ?

Mike Shinoda is one of the two vocalists of Linkin Park. There is only one major learning from this section of the book. When we engage with someone, the first question we should always ask ourselves is what are the incentives of the other party. For example, how do we know that insurance agents may not have our best interests in mind ? Simple. Insurance agents  make a commission … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #40 : Reject the norms of your time.

This segment is about Neil Strauss. He is the author of the pick-up book The Game. If I were to read The Game in my 20s, Neil might have turned out to be my favourite author. Unfortunately, I learnt of his works through mutual friends who experimented with "negging" women with low self-esteem at pickup bars. ( I don't neg women with low self-esteem. My wife, however, is very good at negging men … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #39 : Gut Investing.

At least according to Tim Ferriss, Kevin Rose is the best stock picker in the start-up world. Compared to the other sections of the book, this section ranks as one of the more important ones for the investing public. When it comes to start-up investing, most value investors who need to look at accounting statements would be quickly rendered impotent because may startups are hardly profitable … [Read more...]

Personal finances when transitioning from single-hood to being married.

Ok, today's article is to simply tie up a loose end from the talk. We failed to address the question directly from a question in the audience who asked us how our personal finance changed when we transitioned from single-hood to marriage. Theoretical answer I will first share a theoretical answer because it is more likely to be experienced by a reader. In the presentation I shared a table … [Read more...]

Tool for Titans #37 : Put the Big Stones into the Jar First

This section is on the father of Progressive House Music DJ Kaskade who was nominated for the Grammys five times. After reading this short section twice, I have no idea why this is in the wealth section. Anyway, I'm just going to talk about that famous metaphor where the professor asks the university students to put rocks of different sizes into a jar. If you put the smallest rocks into the jar … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #38 : The value of "I Don’t Understand"

Luis Von Ahn is a computer science professor and the CEO of Duolingo, one of the more efficient ways to pick up a new language. His section has two key ideas : a) The value of "I don't understand" Luis had a Phd advisor who kept insisting that he did not understand what Luis was trying to say when he was developing the CAPTCHA system. Eventually, it was revealed that his advisor was … [Read more...]

Money & Love Event : My take on the event

The one big talk for 2017 is over. Before I get back into finishing up law school, here are my thoughts on the event yesterday. If I can redo the event all over again, I will make two changes to the programme. First, I will work closer with SDN or ROM to find sponsorship and scale the event to invite a bigger audience. But we are still a bunch of financial bloggers who are trying to bring a … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #36 : Some Quick Tips.

[ I am wrapping my work for today to go to the venue where I will be giving the talk later. Fortunately, today's article is very short. ] Noah Kagan is the thirtieth employee of Facebook and the fourth employee of He is quite short on life philosophy but quite extensive on life hacks. Just three ideas from him : a) Increase your productivity One instant way is to increase the … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #34 : Build something which have no value in other copying them

Chris Young is an inventor and tinkerer who is co-author of this mind-melting book called Modernist Cuisine. The one single idea in this section which is worth thinking about is a question of what we would build if we have $100 million that would have no value to others in copying. This question encapsulates several more important questions we need to ask ourselves before we get into the … [Read more...]

Tool for Titan #35 : What makes a successful salesperson ?

Daymond John is the CEO and founder of FUBU. He has won many business awards. As this section is rather incoherent, rather than focus on what was said in the writeup, I would just take the opportunity to deconstruct a common trope in Singapore which is the successful salesperson. I grew up in a retail environment so I had a lot of exposure to the folks my dad hung out with. One person you … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #33 : The Rule of 3 and 10.

Phil Libin is the founder of Evernote and its executive chairman. There is only one point in this write-up which is about the Rule of 3 and 10. Phil learnt this from Hiroshi Mikitani who is the founder and CEO of Rakuten. The theory is quite simple. If you build a company, expect everything to break every time you grow 3x or 10x its size. Actually as 10 is very close to 3 x 3, it's … [Read more...]

2017 is all about Donald Trump !


On 20th January 2017, unless something really drastic happens, Donald Trump will become the next President of the United States. As SMU's only law student who supported the Republican ticket in 2016, I promised my classmates a dinner buffet if Trump won the presidential election the day before the election results were announced. I figured that there was only about 16% chance Trump would win over … [Read more...]

(On Upcoming Talk ) Tools for Titan #22 : Picking the right audience

Tracy Dinuncio is the CEO of Tradesy who has raied $75 million from various prominent investors in spite of being born with a serious birth defect. This section is short and has only one point on picking the right audience. So this is a great opportunity to share some details on planning which is going into our next talk which sold out yesterday. I originally pitched this idea as a bootcamp … [Read more...]

Tools for Titans #21 : We all begin with SUCK.

Ed Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and a recipient of 5 Academy Awards. a) We all begin by sucking at something One thing that I learnt from this section is that art is volatile. According to Ed, the first draft of a Pixar movie is often dramatically different from the final version of the movie. I read in another source that in the first version of Frozen, Elsa was even a … [Read more...]

Next Financial Bloggers Talk on 12th January : Couple Finances

Most of you would have been aware by now that my next talk will be on 12th January 7.30pm at Singapore Shopping Centre. If you wish to buy tickets to this talk, please follow this link. Once again, there will be three speakers. Other than myself there is the super-popular Lionel Yeo from CheerfulEgg who has just recently gotten married. Another speaker is Thomas Zhuo of 15hourworkweek who … [Read more...]