How To Be Smarter Than People Smarter Than You

Todd Brison

Are you ready for this big secret?


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Just kidding. I have more to say, of course.

Something like 50% of people don’t read a single book after school.

Many of these people were “smart” in school.

Here’s the thing about “smart” people. They get used to understanding things. They do well in school. They are praised by everyone. Once they reach the open market, advantages suddenly disappear. This happens not because they are incapable, but because they are lazy.

Thank god I’m not very smart.

Instead, I cheat. I read the things smart people write down. By deciding to read more, you’ve already become smarter than most “smart people.”

For the most part, I cheat by reading in these 5 areas:

Read about money

Many people object to education around this topic because they don’t want to appear obsessed with money. After all, “money isn’t everything!”

It’s true. Money isn’t everything. Money management is, though, because being broke sucks. If it makes you feel better, don’t call it “reading about money.” Call it “reading about how to not be broke.”

For basic finance, most best sellers say the same thing. It doesn’t really matter whose book you read. Read a book or two, get a plan, and go to work. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Financial Peace by Dave Ramsey
  • Tax Free Wealth by Tom Wheelwright
  • Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki
  • Automatic Wealth by Michael Masterson
  • Secrets of Six-Figure Women by Barbara Stanny
  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
  • Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Read about business in general

Doesn’t matter your career. Learn about how businesses work. Learn about why businesses work. Learn how to change a business that is not going well. Learn how to start a business from scratch.

Here are my favorites:

  • Made to Stick and Switch by Chip and Dan Heath
  • The 10 Day MBA by Steven Silbiger
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Launch by Jeff Walker
  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Rich Employee by James Altucher

Read about your profession

When you read about your profession, you pick up little clues to greatness that masters of your craft left behind. You can gain decades worth of very specific knowledge in almost no time at all.

I’m a writer and video editor by title, so I have to know those technical skills. However, I also have to generate good ideas at the drop of a hat. That’s why I love these books:

  • A Technique for Producing Ideas by James Webb Young
  • In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch
  • The Artist’s Way and The Creative Life by Julia Cameron
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  • Creating Minds by Howard Gardner
  • Gods Like Us by Ty Burr

Read about humans

Because even after you accumulate a lot of money and become the best in the world at whatever you do, you’ll still have to deal with those little pink things that look like you.

Understanding the human condition is an enormous life hack.

Try these books:

  • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
  • The Complete Enneagram by Beatrice Chestnut
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • A Million Miles by Donald Miller

Read about health

In 2014, my gut was deteriorating inside me. I had trouble walking, standing, sitting, and breathing. At 24, I spend most of my time in a makeshift adult diaper because I was too embarrassed to wear real adult diapers.

My doctor told me “you’ll probably just have to deal with it.”

Nobody cares about your health. Not even doctors. They just assume you’ll be fine until you display symptoms worthy of their great talent. That’s fine. That is what they are trained to do.

You and only you are responsible for keeping yourself well.

Start with these:

  • The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin
  • Every blog post by Doc Jen Fit
  • Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson (his podcast is great too)
  • Crazy, Sexy Cancer by Kris Carr

When in doubt, read anything. You’ll be hard pressed to find a book that doesn’t teach you something.

Stay focused. Stay balanced. Think, and most importantly:


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I write books. When you're ready to write yours, call me.

Dickson, TN

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