30 takeaways for my 30th birthday

30 takeaways from 15 books I read this year about learning, productivity, happiness, money, and blogging.

30 takeaways for my 30th birthday
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

This week I completed my 30th circle around the sun and to celebrate that, I decided to write 30 takeaways from the books I read this year. I tried to put them in an order to keep related books together. Enjoy!

For students and lifelong learners

Make it stick

1) Learning is deeper and more durable when it is effortful. Focus more on outputs (recall) than on inputs (reading / listening)

2) Interleaving (learning more things at a time) feels counterintuitive, but it helps us learn things in more abstract context.

Power of Habits and Atomic habits

3) Habits are made of three parts: Cue, routine, and reward. We sense a trigger (cue), then do a specific task (routine) to get a specific reward.

4) Some small Keystone habits can make a large difference by spilling over their effects into other areas of our lives.


5) The key source of distractions is internal triggers. The mental unrest. Unless we find solutions to internal triggers, the solutions to mute external triggers won’t be effective.

6) To be indistractable, we need to find times for “Tractions” (opposites of distractions) by planning. Know your priorities and plan to spend time for them.

The 4 hour chef

7) For any skill, it is very hard to reach the top 0.00001%, but it is much easier to reach the top 5%.

8) To learn anything faster, follow these steps: Deconstruct (find the basic building blocks), Select (find which are essential to learn), Sequence (find the right order for learning them), and create Stakes (for motivation).

80/20 principle

9) Abstract version of Pareto’s law: The Majority of the observed output is due to a small fraction of the inputs.

10) The Pareto’s law, although discovered for economics, can be used to improve efficiency of almost any part of our life.

The unfair advantage

11) Everyone has some parts in their life that can be seen as unfair advantages (in terms of Money, Intelligence, Location and luck, Education, or Status). Instead of complaining about it, we should learn to identify them.

12) The merit alone is not always enough. We should identify our unfair advantages and use it to be successful.

Work and Money

Psychology of Money 

13) The concept of money and large scale markets is relatively new. Hence, we don’t know how it works. Our early experiences with money determine our financial decisions later on.

14) Our linear thinking brains can not yet comprehend the power of compounding.

Rich dad poor dad

15) Basics: Assets put money in our pockets, liabilities take it out. Focus on collecting assets and reducing liabilities

16) Take the financial education more seriously. It is often ignored in the schools.

The millionaire Fastlane

17) Having a business is a faster way to get rich than working at a job (even if it is high paying) because of the financial control that one gets in a business.

18) To create a successful business, it needs to satisfy the requirements of CENTS: Control (we should have more), Entry (harder to enter the market), Need (provide value to others), Time (should not require much of our time after creation), Scale (must be scalable).

The 4 hour workweek

19) Focus more on improving your productivity than working hard. This helps to create a better work life balance and results in more happiness.

20) Emphasize your strength rather than fixing your weakness. It is more fun and more effective.


Hell yeah or No

21) Raise your standards and say yes to only exceptionally good things.

22) To find what we would really like to do, ask a double negative question to get better answers: “What do I hate not doing?”


23) The key to having a longer and happier life is to have a passion (ikigai). Something that we deeply care about.

24) The prime requirements for achieving flow are as follows: we know what to do, we know how to do, we know that we are good at it, we perceive significant challenges in it, we use significant skills while doing it, and finally, we are free from distractions.

Courage to be disliked

25) All problems are interpersonal relationship problems. The best way to solve them is to separate the tasks. Focus on what is under your control and don’t let anyone interfere in it. Avoid interfering in other people’s tasks.

26) Be okay with people disliking you or your approach. It is other people’s task anyway.

Writing blogs

Show your work

27) It is not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable.

28) Documenting the process also helps you organize your thoughts over time. Solidifies the learning.


29) Good stories take the audience through an emotional journey and reflect change (of views, opinions, behavior) over time.

30) Writing a one line daily highlight helps you slow down the life and experience it better. It is also useful to track your emotional growth and helps you find good stories to tell!

My Favorites

Video: Measuring speed of light (Veritasium)

Quote: “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” ~ THOMAS JEFFERSON, retrieved from The millionaire fastlane by M. J. DeMarco