Screw It Let’s, Do It: Lessons in Life

An informative, inspiring quick read by Richard Branson. Full of fascinating motivational stories, and similar to all entrepreneurs he is constantly moving against the force of naysayers, challengers and “no” people.

Happiness is Branson’s North Star; revealed in many of the quotes below. Another common theme is living in the moment.

Recommended: Yes. 


  • I often ask myself, is my work fun and does it make me happy? I believe that the answer to that matters more than fame or fortune. If something stops being fun, I ask why? If I can’t fix it, I stop doing it.
  • But when you have goals and a positive outlook on life, you have something to aim for. Hard work and fun is what life is all about.
  • As soon as something stops being fun, I think it’s time to move on. Life is too short to be unhappy.
  • This is why I say, never just try to make money. Long-term success will never come if profit is the only aim.
  • Some you win and some you lose. Be glad when you win. Don’t have regrets when you lose.
  • I believe the one thing that helps you capture the moment is to have no regrets. Regrets weigh you down. They hold you back in the past when you should move on.
  • Always living in the future can slow us down as much as always looking behind…Many people are always looking ahead and they never seem content…So, even though my diary is full for months ahead, I have learned to live for the moment.
  • What’s money for, anyway? It’s to make things happen…Money was for making things happen. I believed it then and I believe it now.
  • Respect is about how to treat everyone, not just those you want to impress.
  • Whatever we want to be, whatever we want to do, we can do it. Go ahead, take that first step – just do it.

When I Stop Talking You’ll Know I’m Dead

I didn’t know who Jerry Weintraub was before reading this book; he is a true enterpreneur, hustler (in the good sense), friend of many and simply a fastenating guy. There is a lot to be learned in this book, and plenty of inspiration for the aspiring entrepreneur or businessperson.  He took Elvis and Frank Sinatra on the road, when they were at the peaks of their careers. He worked with countless movie stars and media-moguls and was close friends with George Bush Sr. (before, during and after his presidency).

In short the book is full of entertaining anecdotes, with a healthy sprinkling of life lessons.

Recommended: YES! 

Favorite quotes:

“Every minute doing one thing is a minute not doing something else, every choice is another choice not made, another path grown over and lost.”

“Relationships are the only thing that really matters, in business and in life.”

“If there’s one piece of advice I can give to young people, to kids trying to break out of Brooklyn and Kankakee, it’s this: persist, push, hang on, keep going, never give up. When the man says no, pretend you can’t hear him. Look confused, stammer, say, “Huh?” Persistence—it’s a cliché, but it happens to work. The person who makes it is the person who keeps on going after everyone else has quit. This is more important than intelligence, pedigree, even connections. Be dogged!”

“If you want to learn, find a person who knows and study him or her.”

“Work with the best people. If you have the best writers, the best actors, and the best director and fail, okay, fine, there is even something noble in it; but if you fail with garbage, then you are left with nothing to hang your spirits on. Besides, life is too short to be spent in the company of morons.”

“All these years later, people still ask me how I was able to walk away from the concert business. You have to be willing to walk away from the most comfortable perch, precisely because it is the most comfortable.”

“The world is very small at the top, with a few thousand players running everything.”

“From Kennedy I learned that the best politicians are not different from movie stars. They charm, communicate, command. The good ones never make you feel isolated or small, as if they have something you don’t. Quite the opposite. They include you in their world, enlarge you, make you recognize the best qualities in yourself.”

“There was art on the walls, shag on the floors, Perrier in the refrigerators, no expense spared. People judge on first sight, so make those surfaces shine.”

“If you want to be seen as a major, look like a major. As a great man said, perception is reality.”

“You’ve got troubles, kid? Real troubles? Well, I tell you what. Put your troubles in a sack. Bring them to the end of the road, where you will find a lady in a store filled with sacks. She will take your sack of troubles and, in return, let you leave with any sack you want.”

“Don’t care if you get flattened a thousand times. As long as you get up that thousand-and-first time, you win.”

“I told the truth instead. I asked if I did not know. I listened when someone else was talking. I sold with joy, so my products were fun to buy. Most important, I was never afraid to fail, which meant I was never afraid to try. I was never afraid to look silly, which meant I was never threatened by a new idea. I see the road ahead, too, a stretch that bends into the undergrowth.”

The Art of Happiness

A book I’ve intended to read for decades. Obviously a good read (if you’re the type of person who doubts this would be a good read, you may need some type of therapy). In my ongoing never-ending and required quest to presence and mindfullness it was time to read this.

Recommended? Yes

Favorite quotes (too many to chose from):

“If you want others to be happy practice compassion; and if you want yourself to be happy practice compassion.”

“In fact, survey after survey has shown that it is unhappy people who tend to be most self-focused and are often socially withdrawn, brooding, and even antagonistic…Happy people, in contrast, are generally found to be more sociable, flexible, and creative and are able to tolerate life’s daily frustrations more easily than unhappy people. And, most important, they are found to be more loving and forgiving than unhappy people.”

“In another experiment at the State University of New York at Buffalo, subjects were asked to complete the sentence “I’m glad I’m not a …” After five repetitions of this exercise, the subjects experienced a distinct elevation in their feelings of life satisfaction. Another group of subjects was asked by the experimenters to complete the sentence “I wish I were a …” This time, the experiment left the subjects feeling more dissatisfied with their lives.”

“Now sometimes people confuse happiness with pleasure. Happiness that depends mainly on physical pleasure is unstable; one day it’s there, the next day it may not be.” the “right choice” is often the difficult one—the one that involves some sacrifice of our pleasure.”

“Now for instance, hatred, jealousy, anger, and so on are harmful. We consider them negative states of mind because they destroy our mental happiness; once you harbor feelings of hatred or ill feeling towards someone, once you yourself are filled by hatred or negative emotions, then other people appear to you as also hostile.”

“It is felt that a disciplined mind leads to happiness and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering, and in fact it is said that bringing about discipline within one’s mind is the essence of the Buddha’s teaching.”

“When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.”

“I believe that the proper utilization of time is this: if you can, serve other people, other sentient beings. If not, at least refrain from harming them. I think that is the whole basis of my philosophy.”

“And once you encourage the thought of compassion in your mind, once that thought becomes active, then your attitude towards others changes automatically”

“It is clear that intimacy promotes both physical and psychological well-being. In looking at the health benefits of intimate relationships, medical researchers have found that people who have close friendships, people whom they can turn to for affirmation, empathy, and affection, are more likely to survive health challenges such as heart attacks and major surgery and are less likely to develop diseases such as cancer and respiratory infections.”

“If what we seek in life is happiness, and intimacy is an important ingredient of a happier life, then it clearly makes sense to conduct our lives on the basis of a model of intimacy that includes as many forms of connection with others as possible.”

“Compassion can be roughly defined in terms of a state of mind that is nonviolent, nonharming, and nonaggressive. It is a mental attitude based on the wish for others to be free of their suffering and is associated with a sense of commitment, responsibility, and respect towards the other.”

“In recent years there have been many studies that support the idea that developing compassion and altruism has a positive impact on our physical and emotional health.”

“The only factor that can give you refuge or protection from the destructive effects of anger and hatred is your practice of tolerance and patience.”

“there is a solution to the problem, there is no need to worry. If there is no solution, there is no sense in worrying either.”

“the closer one gets to being motivated by altruism, the more fearless one becomes in the face of even extremely anxiety-provoking circumstances”