Some of my favorite books don’t have subtitles:

  • “Man’s Search For Meaning” by Viktor Frankl
  • “The 48 Laws of Power” by Robert Greene
  • “Zero to One” by Peter Thiel
  • “Jesus’s Son” by Denis Johnson

And then there are a lot great books with subtitles. But they don’t need them:

  • “Thinking in Bets” by Annie Duke
  • “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari

I could go on.

But there’s a point to this.

Dan Schawbel wrote “Back to Human.”

(I’ll get to the subtitle in a minute.)

He told me about phone addiction. And the loneliness epidemic.

“We look at our phones at least every 12 minutes,” he said. “And it’s created the illusion of connection when, in reality, we feel more isolated and lonely.”

He broke it down.

  • About 1/2 of Americans are lonely.
  • 40,000 people in Japan die from loneliness every year.
  • In the UK, 9 million people are lonely.
  • 200,000 adults haven’t spoken to a close relative or friend the past month.

Here’s two more:

  • We tap our devices over 2,600 times a day.
  • We work 47 hours a week on average, in the U.S… “And with all these devices it’s almost like 24/7,” Dan said.

He wasn’t reading. He knew.

Because Dan studies the workforce. He writes books that coach you through each phase of your career.

And he writes it forward thinking.

He looks at the trends. He’s interviewed 2,000+ of today’s most successful people. And all of this gets filtered into his books. Which ties into his master plan.

Someday, Dan will coach C-suite executives.

He has this all mapped out. The people reading his books now are on their way up. And Dan’s going to be there in 5, 10, 20 years to coach them.

His trick is to be there now. He’s planting the seeds.

“I have to be at that next phase in order to coach people through that phase.”  

And this podcast reveals all the tricks to Dan’s success. Here’s 5:
1. LEVERAGE EACH STEP

Dan started as the youngest columnist at BusinessWeek. Then he created his own personal branding blog. Then he leveraged that to get more writing gigs.

“Everyone should have a plan like this,” I said.

And he keeps topping himself. The key isn’t to compete with other people at your job or in your industry. The key to only compete with yourself.

2. DON’T EMPOWER REJECTION

It’s never easy to get a book deal. Dan got rejected by 70 out 72 publishers.

He got laughed at by a lot of authors.
They’d say “You’re 23, what do you know?”

He kept trying. Got a book deal. The book hit #1 in Japan.

Then he wrote a second book.

Got rejected. Over and over again. Figured it out. And had a bestseller.

But the cycle kept repeating.

Even now, “Back to Human” was rejected by every publisher. Except one.

“What the world has done is made it impossible for me to get a big ego,” Dan said. “Because every time that even tries to come out of me, I get slammed, which totally resets me.”

3. START WITH NOTHING

No one really ever has “nothing.” And I don’t mean this in the
be positive, look on the bright side

BS self-help
sort of way.  

I just mean you have a life. And that life has people, bills, maybe a mortgage, maybe kids, maybe some good memories and bad ones, likes, dislikes, etc.

That’s part of improving 1% a day… having a place to start.

Then if you combine this with what Dan does you have somewhere to go.

Here’s the exact formula:

  • Start somewhere
  • Leverage where you are
  • Keep leveraging where you are
  • Incorporate your vision
  • Keep leveraging

Here’s an example.

I already told you Dan’s career history. And where he wants to go. So he’s leveraging…

Dan just made an Instagram account. He started with 0 followers. Just like everyone else.

Then he grew to 4,000. Then growth stopped.

“After building all these platform throughout my career, I had the humility to take a step back and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to build a whole Instagram profile by just commenting on people I like. Plus post two times a day, seven days a week.’”

“What! Two times a day on Instagram?!”

“I’m committed.”
Now he has 40K followers. In just a couple months. So “nothing” + persistence + patience = leverage. Leverage enough and you’ll have something.
4. DON’T JUST WAIT FOR GOOD THINGS TO HAPPEN TO YOU

People make 2 mistakes:

A) Sit by the phone and wait for the magic call to come in. That never happens.

Forbes didn’t call Dan after seeing his writing at BusinessWeek. He called them.
And he didn’t wait for Forbes print edition to see his work online and say ‘Oh let’s get this guy.’ He found Colin Powell. Convinced him to do an interview. Then went back to Forbes Magazine and said “Hey, I’ve got Colin Powell and I want to bring him to you.” BAM! He made it happen.

B) People stop.

Dan could’ve quit after the 1st publisher rejected. He went on to get rejected by 70 more.

He had a full time job. And still had time to get rejected.

5. CURE YOUR LONELINESS

When I was at my loneliest, I went online and pretended to be a psychic. I put an ad on Craigslist. People called me. Eventually I stopped doing this.

I don’t recommend this.

This ties back to Dan’s book. “Back to Human.”

Because part of Dan’s success is being social. Not “networking.” Or putting an ad on Craig’s List.

Just being with people.

And that’s hard. Because we spend a third of our lives at work. And most people aren’t choosing their coworkers.

So I asked Dan, “If you were lonely and suffering, what would be the first two or three things you would do?”

He said some things that seems easy.

Get coffee with a friend or plan lunch with someone. And he talked about doing weekly team meetings.

I stopped him.

“What if you don’t have team? What if you’re just trying to cure loneliness?”

“Well, I think part of curing loneliness is to do something consistently,” he said. “To know that every week or every day you’re going to have at least one social interaction because the biggest predictor of a long life is social integration.”


OK. Now the subtitle.

It’s “How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation”

I didn’t want you to read it and say, “This book isn’t for me.” / “I’m not a ‘leader.'”

I learned so much from this book. Not just in leadership or business. Because that’s not where I wanted to apply it.

I wanted to take the lessons for my personal life.

I wanted to get back to human.

Links and Resources
Read Dan’s books:
“Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation”
“Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success”
“Me 2.0, Revised and Updated Edition: 4 Steps to Building Your Future”
Visit Dan’s website
Follow Dan on Instagram and Twitter