The 7̶ (8) Books And 4̶3̶ (50) Key Concepts That Will Help You Develop a Good Personal Operating System In The Knowledge Economy [BONUS]

Brandon Fluharty 🐝
7 min readJun 12, 2022

Over the past 2 years, I have read the 7̶ (8) best books for developing an effective personal operating system — twice.

I have distilled them down to the 4̶3̶ (50) key insights that will upgrade your life.

Save yourself time and just implement these key concepts

BONUS BOOK (#8): Why We Sleep (Summary)

This book uncovers:

  • Facts around sleep deprivation
  • Why sleep is important to our overall health
  • Ways to get quality sleep to improve performance

Key Concept (44): Too Many Of Us Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep Because We Undervalue Its Importance.

More than 65% of U.S. adults are sleep deprived.

In fact, WHO has declared sleep loss as a global epidemic in industrialized countries.

This has major costs — both to the individual and systemically as societies.

→ It costs companies over $2K/yr per employee as individuals

→ In the U.S. alone, sleep deprivation costs us $411B per year

A lack of sleep is also killing us — literally!

As just one example, lack of sleep causes 1.2 million car accidents per year.

That’s higher than the number of accidents caused by alcohol and drugs combined.

Sleep also impacts so much else in our overall health:

→ Losing sleep makes us more susceptible to diseases, from cancer to diabetes to Alzheimer’s.

→ And sleep is one of the most important factors impacting brain function, memory, and capacity to learn.

Key Concept (45): The 2 Types Of Sleep Are REM and NREM (Both Are Important)

After dark, the hormone melatonin is released, which signals to the body that it’s time to sleep.

Our brains and bodies are very busy restoring and regulating themselves while we sleep.

During the night, we cycle between two types of sleep every 90 minutes: rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (nREM).

During nREM sleep, our brains are reflecting on the information we’ve taken in that day, and getting rid of what’s unnecessary.

Our brain transitions short-term memories and immediate experiences from the hippocampus to the neocortex, which stores our memories for the long term.

This creates new space in our brain for the next day, and helps us hold onto memories and information.

During the REM stage, we experience huge brainwaves. That’s when we’re experiencing our most vivid dreams.

Our muscles are paralyzed to prevent us from acting on these dreams, but our eyes are moving rapidly back and forth.

During REM sleep, we’re accessing deep emotions, memories, and motivations.

This allows us to make new connections, gain new insights, generate creative ideas, and solve problems. We wake up seeing the world in a slightly new way.

nREM dominates the first part of the night and REM dominates the second.

So, when we cut our sleep short on either end, we aren’t missing out on sleep in general — we’re missing one essential phase or the other.

Key Concept (46): Lack Of Sleep Makes Us More Susceptible To Illness (Both Short And Long-Term)

Long-term vulnerabilities from sleep deprivation:

  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer

Many of the dangers of chronic sleep deprivation arise from the fact that sleep, especially the less active non-REM phase, plays an important role in calming our nervous system.

Without it, our overworked stress response drives up our heart rate and blood pressure, and constricts our blood vessels.

Lack of sleep also takes a toll on our brains as well as our bodies.

Losing sleep impacts our day-to-day immune system, like fighting off common colds.

And over time, we actually lose the capacity to learn and store new things.

Key Concept (47): Sleeping Well Can Help You Limit Overeating, Exercise More, and Be More Creative

🍔 Sleep-deprived people eat on average 300 more calories in a day, and have less energy ⚡️ for exercising adequately because it effects two key hormones:

1) ↓ Leptin (makes us feel full)

2) ↑ Ghrelin (makes us hungry)

REM sleep also offers our brains the chance to recalibrate our emotions and build our high-level thinking skills.

This includes the parts of our brain that help us regulate our emotions and respond to others.

It also develops our ability to think about high-level problems and develop solutions.

And, in the form of dreams, to tap into our creativity.

REM dream sleep is the only time when the stress-related chemical noradrenaline is shut off.

Noradrenaline is the brain equivalent of adrenaline in the body, which triggers a jolt of stress and anxious energy.

Without noradrenaline, a dream state gives us a chance to process our experiences without stress.

We can work through traumatic events, relieving ourselves of their emotional weight.

And, as we dream, we can simultaneously assimilate positive experiences and encode them into our memories and worldviews.

Dream sleep is a unique experience that can make us emotionally healthier and even more creative, intelligent, and well-adjusted.

Key Concept (48): To Address Our Sleep Loss Crisis, We Can Use Modern Methods To Help Achieve Natural Sleeping Conditions

Artificial light, like the blue light from our smartphone screens is a big culprit.

This light exposure in the evening pushes back our natural sleep time by 2–3 hours.

Another unnatural feature of many of our modern environments is controlled temperature that stays constant from day to night, and throughout the night.

Our bodies are naturally attuned to a dip in temperature at night, and our body temperature will rise and fall throughout the night.

Then, there’s caffeine.

When we use caffeine to stay awake during the day, we often think we’re doing so temporarily.

But caffeine stays in our system for ~10 hours, interfering with our natural sleep urges.

Alcohol is a similarly problematic substance.

Since it can make us drowsy, it’s easy to think of alcohol as a sleep aid.

However, alcohol prevents the brain from achieving REM sleep, blocking this necessary sleep phase.

The biggest obstacle to a good night’s sleep, though, is modern work schedules.

Humans are the only species that artificially shortens sleep times, forcing early wake-ups with alarm clocks.

Alarms, Walker tells us, are actually very unhealthy for us, aside from the fact that they cut our sleep short.

When we’re awoken suddenly by an alarm, we experience a shock to our nervous system, activating a fight-or-flight response.

This leads to a spike in heart rate and blood pressure that stresses our bodies, especially when we hit snooze and repeat the cycle.

We have barely scratched the surface when it comes to analyzing and optimizing our sleep using technology.

Imagine a world where:

→ Our wearables alerted our thermostat to turn down the temperature at night before optimal bed time, or automatically dimmed our lights to signal it’s time to wind down.

→ While also our smart lighting projected brighter LED lighting in the morning and day time to give us a natural boost.

But until then, there are simple things we can do now.

Key Concept (49): To Get Better Sleep, Create Ideal Conditions For Your Body With A Consistent Sleep Schedule

Here are the top 7 tips to better sleep:

1) The most important piece of advice is sticking to the same bedtimes and wake-up times each day to help regulate your sleep-inducing hormones.

2) The author also recommends avoiding meals and exercise before bed, both of which can interfere with our bodies’ relaxation process.

3) Also avoid alcohol, altogether, but at least 3 hours before bed and caffeine 10 hours before bed.

4) And, if you’re going to take naps, make sure they don’t go past 3pm — that’s when they might start to interfere with your sleep schedule.

5) Creating an environment that’s conducive to sleep by removing lights and gadgets and cooling off your room before bed.

6) Take a hot bath before bed so your body will experience a temperature drop when you get out, which can help you feel sleepy.

7) If you can’t fall asleep, don’t toss and turn for too long — get out of bed again until you’re truly ready to sleep.

Until we have broader policy changes and education in the workplace and school to better adjust times and behaviors for quality sleep, these are the whys and hows of good sleep.

You’ll be:

  • Happier
  • Healthier
  • More Productive

Snag a copy of the book 📖👇

🤯 Whoa! Let’s recap the whole 7-part + bonus series…

TL;DR: To develop an effective Personal OS to thrive in today’s knowledge economy, read these 7 books (+ the 8th bonus book):

  • When
  • Deep Work
  • Indistractable
  • Atomic Habits
  • The 12 Week Year
  • Getting Things Done
  • The Perfect Day Formula
  • BONUS BOOK: Why We Sleep

All books are available via Amazon.

Some of the images throughout the series courtesy of Lucid.

Key Concept (50): Don’t Try To Figure This All Out Alone

All of the insights have been curated, refined, and further detailed into a personal operating system that helped me earn over $3.5M in 3 years as a strategic SaaS Seller…all w/o burning out.

I call it The Personal Operating System Blueprint.

It comes free when you join The Make More Hustle Less Club.

Sign up 👇



Brandon Fluharty 🐝

👋 Welcome! This is where I publicly share the personal operating system I used to go from earning $200K to over $1M/yr without burning out in SaaS sales.