March 2023


In Becoming Trader Joe: How I Did Business My Way and Still Beat the Big Guys, the founder of Trader Joe, Joe Coulombe, shares the founding story of building the grocery store chain, lessons learned in the process and insights for navigating the entrepreneurial journey. He started the company in 1958, and as of 2020, the company generated revenue of US$16.5 billion and employed 50,000+ people.

As a partner of Rexall, Joe had started Pronto in 1958 as a copy of 7-Eleven, because there were no 7-Elevens in California.

Trader Joe’s was conceived from those two demographic news stories. What I saw here was a small but growing demographic opportunity in people who were well-educated. 7-Eleven, and the whole convenience store genre, served the most basic needs of the most mindless demographics with cigarettes, Coca-Cola, milk, Budweiser, candy, bread, eggs. Dimly, I saw an opportunity to differentiate ourselves radically from mainstream retailing to mainstream people.

In Art of Attack: Attacker Mindset for Security Professionals, physical pentester and social engineer Maxie Reynolds describes the mental model of a typical hacker. Reynold argues that to successfully fend off attacks and stay ahead of them is to be able to think like those who would seek to attack us.

War is 90 percent information.—Napoleon Bonaparte

The attacker mindset (AMs) is a set of cognitive skills applied to four laws:

In Am I Being Too Subtle?: Straight Talk From a Business Rebel, American Billionaire, and Real Estate Entrepreneur Sam Zell shares his story of how a restless, curious boy who grew up in Chicago made it to the Forbes 400. He describes the risks that paid off and those that didn’t and what he learned in the process. Sam is best known for building several commercial real estate companies with investments also in other industries such as energy, manufacturing, retail, travel, logistics, and health care.

Sam is the son of Jewish immigrants who fled Poland to escape the Holocaust and come to the United States. A former lawyer, he is the founder and chairman of Equity Group Investments, a private investment firm, founded in 1968.  According to Forbes, Sam has an estimated net worth of USD $5.2 billion as of March 2023.

In The Shallows: What The Internet Is Doing To Our Brains, American Journalist Nicholas Carr argues that instead of enhancing our intelligence, the internet is degrading it. The book is an expansion of his 2008 essay in The Atlantic – Is Google Making Us Stupid? What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains! Carr notes that the internet is affecting our ability to concentrate and contemplate. The Web and the internet affect our cognition and ability to do Deep Work.

I set a couple of goals at the beginning of the year, such as the 100 Books Reading Challenge, 50 Reports Reading Challenge, 50 Biography Reading Challenge, John C. Maxwell 50 Books Reading Challenge, 50 Magazine Reading Challenge, 365 English Podcast Listening Challenge, 365 French Podcast Listening Challenge etc.

Here is a breakdown of how I faired in executing the above goals in February 2023: