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#238 Jay Z: Decoded
March 23rd, 2022 | E238

What I learned from reading Decoded by Jay Z. 


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[1:39] I would practice from the time I woke in the morning until I went to sleep

[2:10] Even back then I though I was the best.

[2:57] Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography  (Founders #219)

[4:32] Belief becomes before ability.

[5:06] Michael Jordan: The Life (Founders #212)

[5:46] The public praises people for what they practice in private.

[7:28]  Lock yourself in a room doing five beats a day for three summers.

[7:50] Sam Walton: Made In America  (Founders #234)

[9:50] He was disappointed in the world, so he built one of his own — from Steven Spielberg: A Biography (Founders #209)

[12:47] The Pmarca Blog Archive Ebook by Marc Andreessen (Founders #50)

[13:35] I'm not gonna say that I thought I could get rich from rap, but I could clearly see that it was gonna get bigger before it went away. Way bigger.

[21:10] Over 20 years into his career and dude ain’t changed. He’s got his own vibe. You gotta love him for that. (Rick Rubin)

[21:41] Against The Odds: An Autobiography by James Dyson (Founders #200)

[25:27] I believe you can speak things into existence.

[27:20] Picking the right market is essential.

[29:29] All companies that go out of business do so for the same reason – they run out of money. —Don Valentine 

[29:42] There are two things in business that matter, and you can learn this in two minutes- you don’t have to go to business school for two years: high gross margins and cash flow. The other financial metrics you can forget. —Don Valentine 

[31:54] I went on the road with Big Daddy Kane for a while. I got an invaluable education watching him perform.

[33:12] Everything I do I learned from the guys who came before me. —Kobe

[34:15] I truly hate having discussions about who would win one on one or fans saying you’d beat Michael. I feel like Yo (puts his hands up like stop. Chill.) What you get from me is from him. I don’t get 5 championships without him because he guided me so much and gave me so much great advice.

[34:50] Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography (Founders #214)

[37:20] This is a classic piece of OG advice. It's amazing how few people actually stick to it.

[38:04] Nuts!: Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success(Founders #56)

[39:04] The key to staying on top of things is to treat everything like it's your first project.

[41:10] The Founders: The Story of Paypal and the Entrepreneurs Who Shaped Silicon Valley (Founders #233)

[44:46] We (Jay Z, Bono, Quincy Jones) ended up trading stories about the pressure we felt even at this point in our lives.

[45:22] Competition pushes you to become your best self. Jordan said the same thing about Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

[46:43] If you got the heart and the brains you can move up quickly. There's no way to quantify all of this on a spreadsheet, but it's the dream of being the exception.

[52:26] He (Russell Simmons) changed the business style of a whole generation. The whole vibe of startup companies in Silicon Valley with 25 year old CEOs wearing shell toes is Russell's Def Jam style filtered through different industries.

[54:17] Jay Z’s approach is I'm going to find the smartest people that that know more than I do, and I'm gonna learn everything I can from them.

[54:49] He (Russell Simmons) knew that the key to success was believing in the quality of your own product enough to make people do business with you on your terms. He knew that great product was the ultimate advantage in competition.

[55:08] In the end it came down to having a great product and the hustle to move it.

[56:37] Learn how to build and sell and you will be unstoppable. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness (Founders #191)

[58:30] We gave those brands a narrative which is one of the reasons anyone buys anything. To own not just a product, but to become part of a story.

[59:30] The best thing for me to do is to ignore and outperform.

[1:01:16] Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger. (Founders #90)

[1:06:01] Tao of Charlie Munger: A Compilation of Quotes from Berkshire Hathaway's Vice Chairman on Life, Business, and the Pursuit of Wealth With Commentary  (Founders #78)

[1:08:42] Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products(Founders #178)

[1:11:46] Long term success is the ultimate goal.

[1:12:58] Runnin' Down a Dream: How to Succeed and Thrive in a Career You Love - Bill Gurley

[1:15:11] I have always used visualization the way athletes do, to conjure reality.

[1:18:14] The thing that distinguished Jordan wasn't just his talent, but his discipline, his laser-like commitment to excellence.

[1:19:42] The gift that Jordan had wasn't just that he was willing to do the work, but he loved doing it because he could feel himself getting stronger and ready for anything. That is the kind of consistency that you can get only by adding dead serious discipline of whatever talent you have.

[1:21:37] when you step outside of school and you have to teach yourself about life, you develop a different relationship to information. I've never been a purely linear thinker. You can see it to my rhymes. My mind is always jumping around restless, making connections, mixing, and matching ideas rather than marching in a straight line,

[1:27:41] Samuel Bronfman: The Life and Times of Seagram’s Mr. Sam (Founders #116)

[1:34:15] The real bullshit is when you act like you don't have contradictions inside you. That you're so dull and unimaginative that your mind never changes or wanders into strange, unexpected places.

[1:36:25] There are extreme levels of drive and pain tolerance in the history of entrepreneurship.

[1:38:45] Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business

[1:42:24]  I love sharp people. Nothing makes me like someone more than intelligence.

[1:44:17] They call it the game, but it's not. You can want success all you want but to get it you can't falter. You can't slip. You can't sleep— one eye open for real and forever.

[1:51:49] The thought that this cannot be life is one that all of us have felt at some point or another. When a bad decision and bad luck and bad situations feel like too much to bear those times. When we think this, this cannot be my story, but facing up to that kind of feeling can be a powerful motivation to change.

[1:54:18] Technology is making it easier to connect to other people, but maybe harder to keep connected to yourself.


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