When I was growing up, I was never quite happy with my lot in life. I was pretty sure I didn't know the secret to success, but I was also pretty sure there were people out there who did. I became attracted to the early personal success gurus and the books they wrote. I believe the very first personal success book I read was "Winning Through Intimidation" by Robert Ringer, the 1984 edition in paperback. The title was a little shocking, but the advice was pretty solid. Always negotiate from a position of strength, and if you don't have a position of strength, act as if you do. I also learned the three types of people in the business world you need to be aware of: 1) the sneaky liar who says he's on your side, but will stab you in the back the first chance he can make a profit by doing so; 2) the person who will stab you to make a profit, but is upfront about it and will do it to your face given you understand he's a competitor; and 3) the very rare person who makes his profit by seeing to it that you and everybody else under him can make their profit. As you can see, this book was pretty influential to me.
I went on to get more and more books. There were more Robert Ringer books, with catchy titles but solid advice, and even business oriented success books, like another highly influential book, Strategy of the Dolphin, by Lynch and Kordis. This one modeled the world with an ocean analogy; there are carp, sharks and dolphins. Carp are aware of little around them and are eaten by both sharks and dolphins. Sharks know very little other than killing and eating carp; they are territorial and play a zero sum game. Dolphins, on the other hand, will eat the carp, and are capable of killing sharks when necessary. Dolphins play a non-zero sum game, and expand their territory as needed.
Again, this must have been pretty influential if I can still remember it.
You would think I'd be a millionaire playboy today with all this advice accumulated in my mind. A veritable Tony Stark, minus the red and gold body suit of armored technology.
Obviously something was still missing.