1-Sentence-Summary: The Power Of No is an encompassing instruction manual for you to harness the power of this little word to get healthy, rid yourself of bad relationships, embrace abundance and ultimately say yes to yourself.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
James Altucher’s universal advice to anyone is to choose yourself, but to do that, you first have to stop choosing others and letting them choose you.
That, naturally, includes saying no. A lot. Steve Jobs was pretty good at it. The thing is, most of us are pretty bad at it. I’ve said yes to so many things I knew the moment I heard the question, that the real answer was no, that I’ve lost count.
It’s something all of us need to get better at, which makes this book probably one of the most important ones we’ll ever come across.
Here are 3 crucial lessons to help you harness the power of no:
- Rate your regulars to say no to the wrong people.
- Stop doing things you don’t like, and everyone will be better off.
- Say no to scarcity to go beyond “glas half full”.
Ready to say no (you have to say yes this time)? Yes! Let’s do it!
Lesson 1: Rate your regulars to say no to the wrong people.
We all know ’em.
The people that every time we talk to, we walk away from and feel a little worse than before.
In an ideal world, we’d just get rid of them entirely, but often that’s not possible.
However, you can reduce the time you spend with them.
Here’s a good exercise for that.
- Make a list of all the people you see at least 5 times a week.
- Rate how the encounters with these people make you feel, 1 is the worst, 10 is the best.
With the results you instantly know who makes you feel good and who’s rather poisonous.
Start spending more time with all people rated 8 and above, and less with everyone else, especially those lower than 5.
You are the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with. And while you can’t CHANGE the people around you, you can change THE PEOPLE around you.
Step by step.
Eventually, you’ll only be left with an inner circle that helps you thrive.
Lesson 2: Stop doing things you don’t like, and everyone will be better off.
This year started out rough for me. At 52 years old, my uncle died in his sleep.
Stopping to do things we don’t like was one of the biggest lessons his death taught me (read more about it in that day’s summary).
James says the no you have to use to decline the things other people ask you to do, just because they expect you to, is your assertive no.
The problem with saying yes to work you don’t want to do is that you’ll not only start disliking the work, but also the person who asked you to do it in the first place.
Even worse, the people who give you the work will feel bad too, because they’ll see that you don’t really want to do it and feel like they’ve given you a burden.
Have you ever had a friend help you move while they actually had to study for exams?
You probably felt bad for “making them help you”, so it was a lose-lose situation.
So instead of conforming to other people’s expectations, form your own and follow your own path.
Lesson 3: Say no to scarcity to go beyond “glas half full”.
Our ancestors kept chasing food, better shelter, and human contact. The reason was that all of these things used to be scarce resources.
But none of them are any more.
So trying one more new fast food restaurant, moving to a new house with one more room or finally getting that 1,000th Facebook friend today are useless achievements – they won’t help you survive, but just make you feel stressed!
More, more, more doesn’t do us much good today, but our scarcity ridden brains give us a hard time accepting that.
One way you can do better at this is to just shift your focus to the abundance all around you.
Yes, your neighbor’s loud parties might be annoying (knows I speak from experience), but don’t focus on that, instead use this chance to see how amazing it is that we can have all the recorded music in the world playing right in our living room today and dance to it wherever we are.
When you recognize that nothing in today’s world is really scarce, you can go beyond the optimism of seeing the glass as half full and realize that there’s plenty of water, you’re not going to die of thirst and that you have lots of reasons to be thankful for both the water and the glass.
Practicing gratitude gives you a sense of calmness you won’t find elsewhere and make it a lot easier to say no, because you’ll see that what you have is plenty – trust me, I’ve been doing it for over 1,000 days.
My personal take-aways
This is one of the most important lessons I learned in 2015. It started with saying no to bad clients, continued with saying no to family members, trips, events, and even my own ideas, so I could focus. I’m 100% sure that he who masters the power of no will master life.
That said, I haven’t read the full book yet, but I can tell you right away that the blinks don’t cut it. The set of blinks is super short, just 6 blinks in total, I can hardly believe that that does a 270 page book justice.
Nevertheless, the lessons in the blinks are solid, can’t argue with that (as you’ll hopefully agree with me, based on the above :)), but I’d still go straight for the book.
What else can you learn from the blinks?
- What choosing life means
- A personal example of overcoming bad relationships
- How to figure out your path in life by going to a bookstore
- Why you must say no to noise and what that means
- How you can put a smile on people’s faces
- The three elements that the power of no is derived from
- What a gratitude diet is and how you can go on one
- Why the alien technique is a great way to align yourself with your mission
Who would I recommend The Power Of No summary to?
The 14 year old who keeps wondering what he should do his homework for, the 21 year old college student, who feels forced to get a degree just because her parents expect it, and anyone who’s currently in a job they don’t really like.