Johnson Cook

Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Johnson Cook - Atlanta tech investor. Entrepreneur.

Internalizing What You Read – My Top Four


Successful entrepreneurs generally love reading. Reading is a great way to force ourselves into some “deep work” (I love the blog by Cal Newport on this topic).   We move so fast, juggle so many topics, and are constantly shifting gears that putting our heads down into a single topic for a week or several months and plowing through a book is rewarding.   Most of us use books as idea synthesis. We learn and apply.  We are Macgyver for ideas. We put them together and find new ways to create.

One downside of all this reading though is that we move from one book to the next and rarely internalize the teaching enough to unlock the value that lies beneath the surface of the first read.

My friend Boaz helped me realize this by suggesting that everyone read two of his top books at least five to ten times in repeat over 1-2 years. He suggests reading 10 pages in one of these two books every day of the week.   I followed Boaz’s suggestion as much as I can and have found it to be a totally different experience. This method works wonders for your psyche if you select the right books.

As far as my own deep work goes, my top four books are the ones that I aim to internalize. I’ve listed them on my books page and encourage entrepreneurs looking to take it to the next level to spend some quality time with these books.   This is my suggested curriculum for “Life 101.”


Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
  Jonathan Livingston Seagull  – Richard Bach
  Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
  How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie


  • Amy Jo Beaver says:

    Good reminder to dig back into “How to Win Friends and Influence People!”

    So, Boaz is suggesting you read 10 pages a day from one book until completion and then start over on the same book? Or do you then switch books?

    How do you like audiobooks vs. a physical book? Trying to do more audios on my commute…

    November 21, 2013 at 10:05 pm
    • Johnson Cook says:

      I have a subscription to and l love it. I dont do books 100% of the time because i’m on the phone so much in the car. Sometimes when not on the phone I just prefer the down/chill time with music and prefer that the brain is turned off.

      Boaz suggested to me to do the same book at least 5-10 times if you want to internalize it. Read it over and over, little bites at a time. It’s a lot of fun for the right book.

      November 23, 2013 at 11:25 am

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