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What Do The Books On Your Bookshelf Say About You?...

What Do The Books On Your Bookshelf Say About You?...

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Episode Recap:

If you want to know what somebody values the most, take a look at their bookshelf.

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Marketing Secrets podcast
Marketing Secrets podcast
Marketing Secrets podcast
Marketing Secrets podcast

Best Quote:

...when somebody's values shift or they change, typically one of, if not the very first thing to go, are the books on the bookshelf. So I want you to understand that, because the things you value the most: there's a map, there's a visual, of what those things are, and it's looking at your bookshelf.


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What's up everybody? This is Russell Brunson. Welcome back to the Marketing Secrets Podcast. Today, I'm streaming to you from inside of one of my many libraries, a whole bunch of books on the back shelf. I know if you're listening to the podcast episode, you can't actually see it. But I want you to imagine this room, and it's wrapped in books from the greatest minds of our time, right? People like Napoleon Hill, W. Clement Stone, Andrew Carnegie, Dale Carnegie, Orson Sweet Martin, all the people who came before us who started this thing called The New Thought Movement, where people realized you could think, and you could change your life. This book is surrounded in not just books from them, but the first editions: old books, the very first ones they ever printed off the printing press, back in the late 1800s, early 1900s. In fact, this room smells like old books, which is one of the greatest smells in the world, I think.

So maybe I'm weird, I'm definitely weird. But I'm here today because I want to talk to you guys about your library. So some of you know that this is one of multiple libraries I have. I'm kind of... All right, I'll say it. I'm obsessed, I've got problems, I love books. I love everything about them. I love the fact that the person who wrote that book sat down and took a decade of their life, and they sat behind a typewriter or a keyboard, and they wrote out all the things they'd experienced: the thoughts they had, the visions, the dreams, the things they had. And they wrote them, and then they left them behind for me and you, right? Most of the people, at least in this room right here, are no longer on this earth. They passed away, they're gone, but they left their legacy, their thoughts, their ideas, their emotions, the epiphanies, the aha's: everything they discovered during their time here on this planet, they left behind for us.

And I can grab a book, and I can read through it, and in minutes, I can take a decade or two or four decades of their life, and distill down the things that they felt were the most vital, the most important, the things that were the most essential for them to share with the world as they left, right? I don't know about you, but I think a lot about that. It's the reason why I love books, the reason why I'm writing books, in all the different topics I care about. It's interesting, I started working on my very first wrestling book, because I spent a decade-and-a-half of my life wrestling, every day thinking about it, studying it, learning it, perfecting it. And a little waste if I don't leave something behind, so the next generation can read and be like, "Oh, wow, that thing, that big epiphany of Russell was given from God. He actually now is giving it to me, and I'm getting a shortcut of the success, right?"

So I love books, I'm obsessed with them. But that's not why I'm here today. I actually want to talk to you guys today, because I want you to understand that you can learn a lot about somebody by the books that are on their bookshelf, okay? The very first time I learned this... A lot of you guys know I served in missions for my church. I was in New Jersey knocking on doors for two years. I had the greatest experience. I met the most fascinating, fun people. But I remember going to one person's house, and I was with my companion, and we taught a lesson and we left the house. I still remember this day, he said, "Wow, those people are fascinating." And I was like, "They seem like normal people." And he's like, "Did you see the books they have on their bookshelf? You can tell everything about somebody by the books they have on their bookshelf."

And I was like, "What do you mean?" And he's like, "Oh, well, they had..." And again, I don't remember what they were, but he's like, "He had six books by this author, and this person, and this," and he had seen the bookshelf. And from that, he knew all of the things that that person actually valued. And he told me, he said, "Next time, next house we go into," he's like, "Look at the bookshelf, and you'll learn everything about someone, everything that's important to that person, you'll know because of the books that are on their bookshelf." And I thought that was interesting. So next house, we went into, we did our lesson. And whenever I looked over the bookshelf, and I saw, and I remember, I recognized that this person's house, there were a whole bunch of books on health and fitness and losing weight and diet and exercise and stuff. And the people were very fit and healthy.

And I was like, "Oh my gosh. You can see that the thing they value the most is their health." And that's why their bookshelf is covered in that, right? Went into somebody else's house, and I noticed something different. In every single house we went into, I noticed that whatever was on their bookshelf were the things that they valued the most. And so in an instant, in a heartbeat, I could see exactly what it was that was most valuable to that person.

And I started thinking about that. Why is that? Why is our bookshelf such a mirror into our actual soul? And the reason why is because, first off, the thing you value, most people around you are going to like, "Oh, my gosh, Russell loves wrestling. Russell loves personal moments." So they start sending you gifts for Christmas or for your birthday, whatever. They're like, "What should I get somebody? Oh, I'm going to give them a book about this, because they like this topic."

So even if you never read the book, the people around you who know you, who love you, who see the thing you value the most, they're going to find a book for you. They're going to send it to you, right? And that book ends upon your bookshelf. So once again, even if you never read it, that bookshelf is telling the thing you value the most. The people around you who love you, who give you gifts, are going to be sending it to you, because they know that that's something you value.

So that's number one hit. Number two is typically we buy books on the topics we care about. If I want to learn more about personal development, or weight loss, or dieting, or juicing, or sprouting, or whatever the thing is you want to learn about, you're going to go buy a book on it, right?

And so the things that you care about, things you're thinking about, things you value the most, are manifested on your bookshelf, which is fascinating. So this is my assignment for you guys. The next time you go into somebody's house, I don't want you just to walk in there and go to the bathroom and sneak through their medicine cabinet. Not that I do that, but I'm sure, maybe you do. But next time, go walk to the bookshelf and look at it. And in a heartbeat, you'll know what things are most valuable and most important to those people. 

It's been interesting, because I'm also on the other side right now, where I'm buying lots of books, like tens of thousands of books. Because as you probably maybe heard me talk about before, I'm in the process of building a 20,000 square foot... I say library, but it's closer to a museum, right? Of first edition, old books, old things. And as I'm doing this and I'm buying books from people, sometimes I'm buying one or two off people. But a lot of times I've been going in and I'm finding a collector who's been collecting something for a decade or two decades, and I'm buying their entire collection, right?

And it's interesting, because some people, when they sell these, they want the money; but you see it, I see it in their eyes when they're give like, "Oh, this is the thing I value most, and I'm giving it to somebody else for money." And I always see there's this... I can't explain it, but I can show it to you. The look in their eye, whether it's like, "Ah, dang it, I don't like..." And they're like, "Do I value money more than this thing?" It's always this hard, hard thing.

But I've also seen the opposite side where... Because the genres I buy in, I buy personal development, fitness, health, physical cultures, what they used call back in the day physical culture, religion, business, marketing: these are the genres that I buy books in, right? And it's the religion ones that are the most fascinating to me. Because I'll see people who, for a lifetime or half-lifetime have faith and belief in a topic, and then they go through some faith transition. And it's fascinating, because one of the first things they do when they go through a faith transition, is... Can you guess what it is? They go to the books on their bookshelf, and they get rid of them. I've gotten some amazing, expensive, awesome books from people, who no longer believe in the topic, they no longer value it, and they will just give them to me, or sell them to me, at very, very discounted rates, because they no longer value it.

And so you see it from that side as well, when somebody's values shift or they change, typically one of, if not the very first thing to go, are the books on the bookshelf. So I want you to understand that, because the things you value the most: there's a map, there's a visual, of what those things are, and it's looking at your bookshelf.

So like I said, next time you go into one of your friends' houses, instead of snooping through the medicine cabinet, go look at their bookshelf. And in a heartbeat, you'll know everything that's most valuable to them. And the second thing I want you to do, is look at your own bookshelf. And what is it saying about you?

Do you have a bookshelf? If you don't, it might be time to get one, or two, or build a library, or a dozen of them, or whatever you want to do. But just understand that books are a vision of the things that you value the most, and it's a vision of the things that the people that you're meeting and talking to care about the most. And so, start looking at people's bookshelves, and you'll know everything you know about that person.

Hope this helps you. Thanks so much for watching this episode of The Marketing Secrets Podcast. I appreciate you guys all, and we'll talk to you soon. Bye, everybody.


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