action-focused reading

The Remarkable Impact of ACTION-focused Reading On Your Life

Can you imagine reading a book in just 50 minutes? You don’t have to be a speed reader to do it. All you need to do is be selective and look for an idea you can take action on. In this nugget, I’m sharing several breakthroughs, aha moments, and valuable reminders I got from doing that.

Strangely enough, one of them is the fact that you can fold a T-shirt in two seconds. Who knew one could do that? I have been folding T-shirts the way I was taught several decades ago (it is much slower). I immediately put it into action. I now (almost) love folding T-shirts (a big bonus), and the technique saves me heaps of time!

But listen to the nugget – it is about much more than folding T-shirts.

I’m Curious

  • Which books are on your bookshelf that await action-focused reading?
  • Which one will you start with?


Greetings, Dr. Stephie here.

In this Brilliance Nugget, I am sharing something I recently embarked upon. That is, I have started to read one book almost every day. My goal is to read 250 books during a year, which averages to about five books a week for 50 weeks out of the year.

I want to talk to you about the remarkable impact of action-focused reading. It literally leads to a breakthrough. I want to inspire you with a few examples.

The 4-Hour Chef by Timothy Ferriss

The book “The 4-Hour Chef” was written by Timothy Ferriss. He’s also the author of the famous “The 4-Hour Workweek,” which you might have heard about.

On the surface, it is a book about cooking, but it is a book about, as it says here, “The simple path to cooking like a pro, learning anything and living the good life.” That caught my attention: Living the good life, who wouldn’t want that?

I already learned several things from this book. This book is quite thick and not one I will read in one day. But a good method to tackle such a book is reading as much as possible in 50 minutes. I set a timer for 50 minutes. You can get a good impression of what’s in the book during that time.

My goal is always, within those 50 minutes, to come out with at least one action that I can take immediately or close to immediately. I track which books I read and which actions I take.

I invite you to try this and test it out for yourself. You’ll laugh. What happened with this book so far?

  1. I learned that you can fold a t-shirt in two seconds. Who knew? I’m responsible for doing laundry in our household. My husband does much of the cooking. Maybe he’ll be happy that I’m picking up this book. I don’t particularly enjoy folding t-shirts. I don’t know about you, but I got intrigued when I saw that I could do this in two seconds. What’s this hack about? It’s really simple. I will put a link to it in and to this blog post.
  2. I also learned about flavor combinations. I love that Timothy Ferriss studies those things. Whatever it is, from learning to speak a language to cooking and many other things, he figures out how to simplify things. In a totally different area, that is what I do with my clients as well. For example, he says if you scramble eggs, you can make them easily in these flavors:
  • Nepalese: use chili, lime, and ginger
  • Mexican: use scallions, chili, and lime
  • Thai: scallions, ginger, chili, cilantro
  • Asian: scallions, ginger, and tamari (Tamari is not soy sauce, but it’s a Japanese sauce).

Six to seven ingredients: scallions, ginger, chili, lime, cilantro, soy sauce, or tamari. You can create scrambled eggs with flavors from just about around the world. There is a table in the book that talks all about that. “Around the world, in 44 flavor combinations.” It’s just a few ingredients that make the difference.

Why is that inspiring?

Cooking can be intimidating, but if you know the right hacks, it can be so much simpler. Folding t-shirts can be a dreadful task, but I’ve done the math: When you can figure out how to do it in two seconds, the amount of time I will save in my life from knowing that trick is amazing.

That’s my point. When you read for action and ditch your perfectionism, you create an action item from each book and then implement it.

Safe Landings by Bartholomew and Frank B. Wright

I learned (and wrote about it in the past; link) how you might want to spot big risks before you get too close to them. That way, you can make a much smaller course correction, save resources, and get ahead of the game. Make a decision more quickly, and make sure that you have enough fuel left for further course corrections that might be necessary.

Results Faster by Tony Jeary

This book, “Results Faster” by Tony Jeary. I will also spend over 50 minutes reading this book. But in 50 minutes, I learned that looking at what you’re doing and assessing whether it is a high-leverage or low-leverage activity is a good idea. Of course, this is a concept I am familiar with, but to group activities like that and to name it like that is an interesting idea.

The Irresistible Offer by Mark Joyner

****I read that whole book in 50 minutes, at least well enough to understand that

  1. You have about 30 seconds to get people’s attention.
  2. People will be asking themselves four questions (if you want to know those four questions, I recommend the book).

Born To Star by Robert Steven Kramarz

I was already familiar with this book, but I re-read it recently. I talked with a client about the “vision master” and the “execution master,” two terms central to the book. A lot of times, it’s very important that somebody who is a visionary has someone who can help execute. Having that right fit is also really important because it can go very wrong if you don’t.


I talked about this book by Price Pritchett in another nugget. Essentially, what I got from this is that you can have a massive breakthrough, not just a gradual big breakthrough. I knew that, but it’s a great reminder. That’s the point.

In Conclusion

Give yourself the gift of learning from books much faster than you might be doing now. Get one idea from each book.

You can accomplish this by looking at a book for 50 minutes. Peruse it quickly for five to 10 minutes. See what interests you right now.

I bet you’re like me. You have books on your shelf you bought because someone inspired you to buy them. You have yet to find the time to read them.

Trust me: Reading these books can have a remarkable impact. Read them quickly, not cover to cover, but see what you want and need to read to get one action item. Then implement that one action item!

I’m Curious

Which book do you have on your bookshelf that you still need to read? Which book could you spend 30-50 minutes with and get one idea you can implement? Let me know.