Books are a reliable source of mentorship

3 min readFeb 20, 2020

And for the first time, it’s on your own schedule

February 15th of 2016 marked the day that I earned mentorship.

Early morning that day, I was browsing on youtube watching something that I can’t remember. But what I do remember is the ad that I had watched before the video.

It was Tai Lopez, shooting a selfie video reviewing the book: Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger. He highlights Arnold’s autobiography by mentioning the typical immigrant story, which I can relate to, and praises the free enterprise system that had allowed him to become the big name that he is.

As he was closing his review of the book, he said something that changed the way I felt about books.

He had just read a piece of the book that mentioned Arnold’s daily routine while he was still in Austria — at that time part of the Soviet Union.

Apparently, Arnold had to earn his breakfast by doing sit-ups in the morning. He had to complete his assigned chores before he had the privilege to eat food. It was a routine set up by his strict parents in order to teach him the value of discipline.

And what caught my attention was Tai’s reaction to that idea. He said:

Think of what happens to your brain, with an installation of that mentality.

There is so much to unpack in this sentence and I will go ahead and share my thoughts.


My intuition told that there was value in what he had just said so I rewound the clip to confirm what I thought I heard.

Tai chose the word “installation” to convey Arnold’s impact on him in the same way it made me pause the video and rewind. He was intrigued by the idea of rewarding work with what he called a “primal” necessity — food.

And I put myself in his position and thought to myself:

I have never considered food to be an incentive.

When I think of an incentive, I think of money, sleep, and maybe physical gifts. It never occurred to me that food could be used as an incentive to reward positive behavior. That moment in itself was a remarkable epiphany.



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