026: Old Soul Millennial with Michael Belkin

Why is 30-year-old Michael Belkin new school and old fashioned?  Some of it has to do with his reading choices—biographies, how he prefers emails to be sent—a good subject line, and how one book and the author’s appearance at a conference reset his attitude about how business should be conducted.  Simon Sinek says Start with Why.  Michael didn’t just read it, he lives it and builds his professional and personal life around it.

Full Podcast Transcript

[00:00:11] Recorded live from the Sweet Tea Studios in Wellesley Massachusetts. You’re listening to the podcast, Why I Read Nonfiction. Hosted by broadcaster and author of The Perfect Catch and Follow the Dog Home. Here’s Kevin Walsh.

[00:00:29] Hello and welcome to the program. We got a good one for you here today. First of all, I want to thank Nirvana on beautiful Cape Cod for sponsoring the program. A couple of other housecleaning things. Subscribe to the podcasts. Do it. It’s easy and it’s free. And if you can leave a rating there as well and tell somebody about the podcast, that is how we grow. If you’re looking for a great vacation rental getaway on beautiful Cape Cod, Nirvana is your place. A newly restored, redone coastal theme Home Sleeps 10. It’s on the elbow of Cape Cod. It’s on a private freshwater Kettle pond, which is perfect for swimming, incredible for fishing. It really is what the name suggests, Nirvana. All the books that we talk about today and for a full transcript, you can find it on our website. Why I Read Nonfiction dot.com. Our guest today is Michael Belkin. Michael is one of my friends in golf, and one of my friends in life. How long have we known each other, Michael? (Michael) It’s got to be about five years now. Six years, five, six years. Our connection really is with golf more than anything else. I think we played a round of golf, (Michael) Yep a couple of caddies playing on a Monday at Wellesley Country Club.  (Kevin) In the sprinkler and everything else, just getting out in front of it. And then we found out that we both have a love of reading. (Michael) Mmmmhm.  (Kevin) I want thank you. Because you were helpful to me in one of my books, The Perfect Catch. You gave it a good copy edit before it went out and you saved me a couple times on stuff. You have a good eye for grammar, don’t you?

[00:01:56] (Michael) You know, you go to Belmont Hill, and Amherst College and write, you know, humanities papers for four years. It’ll teach you to be tight on that.

[00:02:04] (Kevin) Was there a teacher in particular that was a grammar cop that just insisted you get it right?  (Michael) 100 percent.

[00:02:11] Yes, Doc Pfast at Belmont Hill was an absolute czar for grammar. He actually made me and my friends critical of one another when we would say things that were not grammatically correct. So it was they would probably be yelling at me for saying me and my friends right now.

[00:02:29] (Kevin) Well, I remember you caught one thing I said it was so much fun.

[00:02:32] You said no “Such fun.”

[00:02:36] (Michael) Yeah, that probably wouldn’t have caught that now.   But I was still close enough back to the college and high school days then.

[00:02:42] (Kevin) Well, do you hear his voice sometimes when you hear people speaking and writing incorrectly?

[00:02:48] (Michael) So I used to a lot. But to be honest, I’m in the business world now and, and it’s not always appropriate to write with completely appropriate grammar in the business world. If that makes sense. When you’re writing emails, you don’t always want to write what’s necessarily grammatically correct, I find. You want to be brief and to the point.

[00:03:08] (Kevin) Just get to the point. I think part of that is the texting generation as well and social media has had an impact on that because the people that really grew up with that, people like yourself, you’re now in the business world. So you take a lot of the habits that you had personally and you apply them professionally. Yes?

[00:03:23] (Michael) A hundred percent. I mean, you got to think about how the person is digesting whatever content you’re sending them, wherever and however. Right? So I think a lot about how is this person going to be receiving this email on their mobile phone when they open it? Like, what’s the first thing they’re going to read in the subject line? Like right at the top when they flip? You know, it’s that type of thing I’m thinking about.

[00:03:40] (Kevin) I am all about the subject line, because if it’s a good subject line, I open it up. If it’s not, to me, it just seems like a lot of work and I get so many emails. But the reading part of your life, when did you know that you were a dedicated reader and you needed it in your life?

[00:03:55] (Michael) It happened in college when I was searching for things that I couldn’t find on my own, right?  I read fiction books when I was a kid. You know, I read the Harry Potter books and all that. But reading didn’t matter to me. It wasn’t something that I went out to the store and bought the books and started marking the pages and taking the notes and doing the things I do now when I read until I read with a purpose. And my purpose for reading is, you know, learning about people and things that I aspire and want to achieve. I’m actively reading to gain knowledge for things that I want to learn and acquire and skills to go out and kind of think about these people who I aspire to and don’t know about. Reading is my way to kind of find those stories, find that motivation, find those dreams. Really.

[00:04:39] (Kevin) So when was it in your college career? Was it, say, junior year where you’re like, OK, it’s not gonna be long before I’m graduating, what exactly am I going to do with my life? And maybe you’re looking for some inspiration?

[00:04:53] (Michael) That’s exactly correct. So I was a political science major. And after my sophomore summer, when I did a lobbying internship for the American Cancer Society and learned that, it’s a great organization.  But I learned that politics are slow moving and challenging and kind of hard to get done, what you want to do fast and in a way that you want it. I learned that business was a better avenue for me to pursue some of the things that I wanted to do and the ways that I wanted to do it versus politics. So I started reading about people like Richard Branson and Jack Ma, Phil Knight, Mark Cuban, people that I thought were interesting and, you know, doing things that I thought I wanted to do someday.

[00:05:37] (Kevin) So you were looking to see what was the path that they took?

[00:05:41] (Michael) Yeah.  How do they get to where they got to be? Did they did they come out of the womb like starting businesses.  Did they have certain skills or traits that I had. Were they great at math? Were they more creative? Just how did they go about it? Right? What got them started?  (Kevin) What did you find out? (Michael) I found out that a lot of people take twisted paths to the to the end result. Right? You know, we think about Richard Branson, someone who’s been so successful and in a myriad of different ventures.

[00:06:13] (Kevin) He was the airlines?  Also Virgin Atlantic Records? What else does he do? Those are the two that I know.

[00:06:19] (Michael) Yeah. Now he’s now he’s working on getting out into space. So he’s got the space venture and he’s also got the Hyperloop systems underneath. It’s gonna be like ultra-fast underground trains. (Kevin) What kind of a guy was he growing up? (Michael) He was a bit of a loose cannon. He had great morals and good grounding and good parents and a good family. But he, he was very much not like sitting in the classroom kind of kid. He was out, you know, causing a little bit of trouble here and there. Going around, having fun. He was he was dyslexic. So he had a really tough time sitting in a classroom. I’m not dyslexic, but I have I actually do have a tough time sitting down for more than a half hour, frankly, like I move around. You see me in the office. I’m always moving up, moving down. So I really thought about not to compare myself in any way, shape or form to Richard Branson. (Kevin) No, no.  It’s OK.

[00:07:11] Are you seeing parts of yourself in him, in that he’s a little bit restless and he needs to do that.

[00:07:17] And and you’re like, that’s me.  (Michael) 100 hundred percent. I mean, I we’re all different. We’re all unique. But just kind of hearing how successful people talk about their uniqueness and things that weren’t necessarily positive traits in the way that I was raised.

[00:07:34] Thinking about, you know, a family of pretty regimented doctors and things like that. Like there’s actually a pluses and really positive things that can come from creative outlets and learning about how people structure their lives to find those outlets to is an interesting thing.

[00:07:49] (Kevin) Yeah. You had a very stable upbringing, didn’t you? (Michael) I did. With Mom and dad.

[00:07:53] And your brother?  (Michael) The best, most stable upbringing one could could possibly hope for. But at the same time, stability is not always what you’re what you’re looking for at all times. Right? Like when I think about some of my startup ventures, some of the successes, some of the failures, none of that happens in a state of stability, so to speak. Right?

[00:08:16] (Kevin) Right.  You grow when you get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s uncomfortable when you’re doing that. Did you did you find that when you finally got out of college and you got on your own and you started doing some entrepreneurial things? (Michael) The question is getting out of the comfort zone? (Kevin). Yeah. Did you did you feel uncomfortable being out of your comfort zone,  or you’re like, this is where I need to be?

[00:08:38] (Michael) Honestly, I started feeling comfortable when I put myself in a kind of framework and state of being where I just kind of accepted that I wasn’t going to know everything and that I was going to take a kind of sponge approach, not knowing you’re gonna have, or knowing you’re not going to have all the answers, but just kind of coming with a framework in a kind of customer obsessed point of view and especially with respect to new venture type stuff. You know, you go in with that that understanding, you feel like you can you can take on anything. And, you know, there’s gonna be challenges everywhere. But like, you kind of hear about how people go from A to B and kind of their unique situations and you get comfortable with that. And you hearing how these other people have gotten to that point was was very impactful and still is impactful to me and why I continue to read about these people (Kevin) Biographies,

[00:09:27] so you’re just fascinated with people.  When you walk down the street, you people watch, don’t you?

[00:09:34] (Michael) I should be better at names, but I’m freakishly good at remembering faces. Yeah, it’s rare that I’ll forget someone’s face when I when I walk past him in the street, or if I work with someone a certain point of time, or went to school with someone way back when.

[00:09:48] But if you’re just walking down the street, you see somebody who, you know, they got that special something about they have the X Factor. Do you wonder who are they? What do they do?

[00:09:56] (Michael) I do. I do. (Kevin) I’m the same way. (Michael) And I I’ll think about things. I’ll make things up in my head. But yes, very, very much, very much interested. And people thinking about those things. Yes.

[00:10:07] (Kevin) What was the best book that you ever read where you said, OK, this is a tipping point in my life? And from this point on, I needed that at the time that I read it. And now I just think differently.

[00:10:19] (Michael) Yeah, that’s that’s going to be Start with Why by Simon Sinek. And the way I got to that book was actually at a conference. So HubSpot, which is a company I used to work for, a publicly traded digital marketing software company in Cambridge. Really great company. They do this big annual conference where they bring, you know, influential speakers and thought leaders to talk about not just, you know, marketing, but thought leadership where trends are headed. What does the modern consumer, et cetera. And when I went in in 2000, I think it was 2013, might’ve in 2014 when I just co-founded NextGen Golf. My mind was blown by Simon Sinek when he got up there.  (Kevin) Did you know who this guy was?

[00:11:02] So you’re going to this seminar, or this conference and a guy’s speaking. (Michael) Yeah.  (Kevin) Do you know who he is and what he’s all about?

[00:11:09] (Michael) It’s Friday morning. It’s probably, you know, mid-September. I was probably a little dusty from the night before, to be totally honest with you. And I show up and and it’s eight thirty AM.  He’s the opening keynote. No idea who he was. No idea what it was about. I just knew HubSpot was a really interesting company with kind of an interesting culture behind it. And I thought their software in this concept of inbound marketing might be impactful for NextGen golf down the road. But I just showed up, right? And this guy just comes with this incredible energy. He he’s, he’s, all he’s got is a whiteboard and he’s drawing, you know, his three circles. And it’s “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it. And he’s drawing.

[00:11:50] (Kevin) But are you in? From the very beginning, the moment he’s talking, yes, I had that kind of charisma?  (Michael) 100 percent.

[00:11:56] I distinctly remember turning to my co-founder Chris Hart, when he was giving this speech. I go, “This guy’s f**in’ explicit, brilliant, right? He, he’s absolutely brilliant!”

[00:12:08] (Kevin) You dropped an F-bomb, right? (Michael) Yeah. (Kevin) Okay. (Michael) I didn’t do on the podcast. (Kevin) So then, but you but if you want to, just speak freely. Okay? That’s what I’m trying to say. But but you’re listening to him and just everything he says is like “This is how I want to think as an entrepreneur?”

[00:12:26] (Michael) One hundred percent. We we didn’t have all the answers. We didn’t have a business model with unit economics that was scalable or suggested.

[00:12:37] (Kevin) Let me back you up just so everybody knows.  You started something called College Golf Pass with your partner at the time, Chris Hart, that evolved into something else. Can you can you give me the elevator speech on just what it was?

[00:12:48] (Michael) Yeah. Absolutely. So. So College Golf Pass was the original business. It was a discount membership program for college kids to access affordable rates to play golf when they’re in school. So we sold them a membership.  (Kevin) So be like a ski pass, but for golf. (Michael) Exactly. So we built up a nice base in Boston with the local schools. But, we learned when we started expanding beyond New England that there wasn’t really a need for this product across the country. College kids had discounts at local courses. But back to this Simon Sinek component of people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. We weren’t just trying to sell memberships to college students. We were actually trying to help kids play golf in school and be a resource and partner to them in that. And so by talking to these kids and learning about how they were playing golf, when they playing it, why they’re playing it, you know, were they playing for competition?  Were they playing for fun and drinking beers?  Like what was behind it, right?  Why are you going out to play?

[00:13:45] (Kevin) You were finding out all their motivations. (Michael) Everything.  (Kevin) And information is gold.

[00:13:49] (Michael) Yes. And by learning about these kids and why they were playing golf, that resulted in our pivoting our business model and our strategy to focus on hosting premium tournaments for collegiate club golf teams and not the varsity, but the club teams. So we built out a national collegiate club golf association organization to make a long story short. And we support, you know, pretty much every D1 school has as one or multiple club golf teams.

[00:14:21] (Kevin) So you’re giving them events, you’re giving them venues and giving them more than what a simple golf pass could be. (Michael) Exactly. (Kevin) So you’re sitting in this seminar, you’re hearing from this charismatic speaker and eventually you’re like, I’ve got to get this guy’s book? (Michael) 100 percent.

[00:14:38] I bought the book. I dog marked probably a third of the pages, took notes on those pages that that’s what I do. And I read these books. It’s a very active process where I am dog marking pages and underlining that I go back and I take you know, I haven’t evernote with the particular notes in the pages I go back to.  (Kevin) What’s an evernote?  (Michael) An evernote, it’s similar to Microsoft one. No, it’s just an online you know, it’s a mobile app that I use to store all my notes for anything. It’s an organizational tool.

[00:15:07] (Kevin) That’s a young person’s thing to say. I didn’t even know what it was. But this is this is how you read. You’re taking notes the whole time because you want the reference to go back to it. (Michael) That’s right. How quickly did you get through this book? Simon’s book?  I read it pretty quickly, but then I read it again. And mean, I’ve been I’ve gone back to a bunch of times. (Kevin) So this is a reference book now?  (Michael) It is. (Kevin) This is on the desk somewhere and you just keep going back to it?

[00:15:30] (Michael) I actually gave it away so I should get another copy. But but I like to give books away. Actually, I do. (Kevin) I do too.

[00:15:37] Yeah, I do too. Why? Why do you like to give them away?

[00:15:41] Because when I number one, I don’t use Kindle and I do when I read a book, I’ll purchase it generally slightly used off Amazon, maybe, maybe not, not with much on it. But I do like the paperback book. I like to mark the pages and I like to give the book to someone. I like to just it’s I don’t want to say it’s like an old school thing. For me, it’s more just like I actually like to mark the pages and I like to have the book on me.

[00:16:05] (Kevin) But you like to share it because it’s too good to keep it to yourself?

[00:16:09] (Michael) Yeah. Yeah.  (Kevin) I’m the same way.  (Michael), You can talk about it with someone. It’s, it’s a sticking point. And I always remember when I’ve been given books by people, it sits on my desk and it makes me think about them, too.

[00:16:20] (Kevin) That’s a good way to look at it. Our guest today is Michael Belkin. Michael is a software salesman. How old are you, Michael?

[00:16:26] (Michael) Thirty.  (Kevin) 30 years old, lives in Boston and also Needham, Massachusetts; so he goes back and forth between the suburbs and also the city. Thank you to Nirvana on beautiful Cape Cod for sponsoring the program.

[00:16:38] If you’re looking for an incredible vacation getaway on the elbow of Cape Cod, a newly restored home coastal theme sleeps 10. It’s on a private freshwater kettle pond. Perfect swimming hole, great place to fish as well. Close all the famous beaches and restaurants as well. Nirvana is your place.  And a transcript of what I talk about with Michael Belkin today and all the books that we discuss, you can log onto our website at Why I read Nonfiction.com, and one other thing. Subscribe to the podcast and also leave a rating as well. So, Michael, how often do you read? Where it’s your choice and not because you have to read for work?

[00:17:18] (Michael) So it depends. And it depends on that kind of state I’m in and the frame I’m in. And I would say I aspire to read four times a week. Do I always get there?  No. (Kevin) Do you have to be in a mood, though, to get it?  (Michael) Not so much a mood, but more of like a place in my life or my stuff’s in order, that I have time to, you know, dedicate to reading every night, frankly. And I and I would say that when I’m in those positions, it’s often a reflection of me having my things in order. I’m in a great place to to be able to do that. So reading is not only aspirational with what I’m reading. But I find that when I am actually reading on a regular basis and finding that time and making that commitment, it often says something that sounds trivial, me saying this right now, but it does say something, you know, as a 30 year old person with a lot of stuff going on, when I’m able to actually carve that time out, I think it says something about just having a certain preparedness and kind of routine to the day that’s very positive for me.

[00:18:14] (Kevin) Do you need a quiet place to do it? I think what you just said is you need your mind to be quiet so you can really be focused on it. I’m a little different in that regard. I mean, that’s great. When I’m at that place in my life. But sometimes if my world is just spinning, I open a book and I start reading and it settles me down.

[00:18:33] (Michael) I should do more of that. But to be honest, for me, reading is very active and it’s not like a calmer, to be honest with you. It’s really real.

[00:18:42] (Michael) It revs you up?  (Michael) Yes. (Kevin) Will it keep you up at night? (Michael) It could. It could.

[00:18:49] (Kevin) It does that sometimes that works for me, but a lot of times no.  Do you fall asleep with the book in your hand? (Michael) No. (Kevin) Oh, yeah. OK, I see how that goes. (Michael) No, no.  (Kevin) How do you find books? Do you take recommendations? Or do you pretty much always find them on your own?

[00:19:04] (Michael) Usually through podcasts.

[00:19:06] To be honest.  The most recent book I’m reading, I was listening to A Motley Fool, which is a financial podcast. I believe the book is called Timing, no actually it’s When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink.  It’s a book around just the timing and how when we do things and when meetings happen and when we reach out to people at the time of the day

[00:19:29] matters very much around that. (Kevin) I, I get it. I get book recommendations from podcasts, but also by watching the news and talk shows. If there is an interesting talking head and they’re making a point about something, then I will.

[00:19:46] I’ll purchase the book. I do it almost every time. I’ll give you an example. The Susan Cain’s Quiet, which talks about how people that have more charisma, or louder people usually do better at sales, or they they do better in business in general just because they are, because they have this something about them. But there is a quiet legion of people that are doing things behind the scenes quietly. And I remember seeing her talk one time and I’m just like, well, I’ll get that book. I do that more often than not, because I want to see if the person that I saw on TV matches up with the person that I see in the book. And that usually is the case. And I like that because then it makes my TV watching feel like I’m OK, well, that’s justified. And I’ve taken it a step further, which I think is the nice thing about a book. A book always just reveals much more to the person than than what we see. Phil Jackson would be an example of that, right?

[00:20:37] (Michael) Oh, yeah. I’ve read a couple biographies on Phil Jackson. And you talk about someone who’s got an interesting and unique perspective on how to lead and manage interesting personalities and characters. Do you think about how he deals with and all an alpha male character like Michael Jackson and a loose cannon like Michael Jordan and a loose cannon like Dennis Rodman?

[00:21:01] (Kevin) Phil Jackson, the former coach of the Chicago Bulls, won six NBA titles with Chicago, then also in Los Angeles with the Lakers, and then was a disaster in New York. But he was managing these different personalities, because I always wondered what he was doing as a coach.

[00:21:17] (Michael) A lot of Zen, a lot of a lot of things that had never been done. (Kevin) Like what, for example? (Michael) So if you think about like, how do you deal with someone like Dennis Rodman right? (Kevin) Who’s crazy for those not in the know.

[00:21:28] I mean, he was just he was dying his hair constantly. He was probably one of the first guys to have multiple piercings and tattoos before, now, that’s just commonplace. (Michael) Yeah.  (Kevin) That’s just that’s just younger kids, athletes in particular. He was he was an outlier with that, wasn’t he?

[00:21:46] (Michael) He was an outlier with everything. He was a guy that couldn’t even shoot. He was six foot eight. And what did he have? 16 rebounds a game? 17 rebounds?  The guy just had a different tic to him, clearly. And Phil Jackson was able to manage him differently.

[00:22:00] (Kevin) How did he do it? Like, give me an example of how he might have managed it.  Because if I was a coach, I well, if I was that kind of player, I think the coach would scold me. That was not going to work.

[00:22:10] (Michael) And that’s what most coaches would have done with a guy like Dennis and probably run him out of the league. But but Phil, would you know when it was time for Dennis, when Dennis needed Dennis’s time, Phil, let him have it right. (Kevin) And what was Dennis’s time for those that are not familiar with what he would do?  (Michael) Dennis sometimes would just have to go to Vegas and rage for two or three days.  Turn the phone off, you know, off the earth, you know, skip a couple of games, whatever, you know, just boom, you’re out of here. And then he’d come back and he was always, you know, once he got out of the system, he was always ready to come back every time. According to Phil Jackson, at least. (Kevin) And so they had a trust between them, right?  (Michael) They had a trust. Exactly. And you know, it affected Dennis on the court, too. Right. So he, Dennis really trusted Phil. And Dennis didn’t have a lot of trust for a lot of other people. So when Phil would get angry or pace along the sidelines, for example, Dennis would get uncontrollably kind of excited and nervous. So Phil had to literally sit down during games just to keep Dennis calm. (Kevin) So he would have to adjust his coaching for the individual? How did that sit with the other players? (Michael) I think they all bought in, right? I mean, it’s it’s a different approach to different philosophy. But, you know, you have you have these guys working a triangle offense operating in a different way.

[00:23:29] You know, the results, you can’t really carefully argue with the results that they had. And he did it with very different characters, too. (Kevin) He sure did and in different places.

[00:23:40] He gave books. You like to give books to people. I like to give books to people. He gave books to people. Did did he get into that in in his book where he would share books with players?

[00:23:52] (Michael) He definitely did. I’m, to be honest with you, I’m drawing a blank on specific books he shared with players.

[00:24:00] (Kevin) It doesn’t matter. When you give a book, here’s my thoughts on giving a book to somebody. It’s one of the best things you can give because you’re giving them time well spent. And it’s also a suggestion that I thought this was good enough for me, maybe you’re going through something in your life, and I think this can be helpful to you. Do you agree with that?

[00:24:23] (Michael) Hundred percent. It just shows that you’re thinking about someone.  And to give them a book, not only have you read the book, you’ve thought about what they’re going through and why they might care about this particular book. So then you have something to follow up with that person about. It’s not just it’s not just, oh, yeah, here’s I hope you’re doing well. You know, let me know if you want to go out sometime.

[00:24:41] (Kevin) It’s not a tchotchke. It’s just not just it’s not a gift that you just give lightly.  It’s not costing them anything. But you’re asking of their time. And nobody would ever, I would never give you a book that is like aaah, you’re not really going to like it so here you go.  Because you wouldn’t you wouldn’t value it either. (Michael) Yeah, there’s a there’s a beautiful thing in giving and getting and kind of knowing that both are going to come with both people in unison. Like, I don’t know. I just feel like in relationships and I think about the best sales deals, we do, put on a different topic. But like, the best partnerships, the best relationships, when you’re coming together with someone new, it’s always one person is giving something, another person’s reacting to it and kind of on a path toward something. And when you give someone a book, you’re giving them that book for a reason. You’re gonna assume that they’re going to read that book and you’re gonna have something, to talk about afterwards for why you gave it to them and what they thought about it. So it’s very it’s in terms of like you think about this day and age and the kind of surface nature of a lot of relationships and ways we go about kind of our lives. I think giving someone a book, having them read it, and then coming back to you on it is pretty powerful and pretty refreshing.  (Kevin) It’s profound. (Michael) Yeah. Yeah. It really is. It really is. (Kevin) You’re an old soul, though, aren’t you? (Michael) I am. I am a bit of an old soul. (Kevin) Have you always known that? (Michael) I mean, I don’t think I’m a pure old soul but you know, there’s there’s a lot of things that I think I do have kind of a traditionalist approach to.

[00:26:24] (Kevin) Our guest today is Michael Belkin. Michael is a software salesman. He’s an avid reader. One of my friends lives in Needham Massachusetts, and also spends time in Boston as well. Millennials. I, I ask you, I’ll never forget one time you and I were we’re going out to have a couple of drinks in town. And I was leaning on you to help me understand the millennial mind. And I asked you if you were a hipster.  (Michael) Hah, hah, hah!  You were so offended by that. Do you remember that?  (Michael) I do.

[00:26:54] I do. Yeah, well, I mean, one could take it as a compliment potentially. (Kevin) I didn’t know, what a hipster was. I didn’t realize because you dress well, you take care of yourself.  I didn’t know hipster was sort of… Well, how would you describe it? I didn’t even know. (Michael) I think, you know, hipster has a bit of a grunge connotation to it.

[00:27:13] (Kevin) Which is totally not you. Which is how how naive I was to the whole thing in general. But let me ask you about this with millennials. Do millennials read enough?

[00:27:26] (Michael) I would say no. I would say no.  I definitely think  (Kevin) Why is that? is that technology?

[00:27:31] (Michael) Yeah, I mean, there’s there’s. Social media is in your face and it’s everywhere.

[00:27:37] And it’s not to say that social media is all bad, but all social media all the time is not good. For sure. So there should be a better kind of balance. And I think I think it will.

[00:27:53] it’s one things I was thinking about as I was listening to some of the other podcasts you’ve done here is like, I think there could be and will be like some sort of shift back to traditional reading at some point in time.

[00:28:04] (Kevin) I hope so. And I hope there’s like, look, social media is not going away. But I hope we have a lessening of it so people can see the value in reading, the value in real conversation with people sitting across from them, going out, having a beer with them, having coffee with them instead of this, like whatever virtual world where it’s just like ‘Oh I’m visiting the world on my phone or on my computer. It’s not the same.

[00:28:28] (Michael) No, no, it’s not at all. I mean, I’ve I’ve gone through different phases of social media usage. I don’t really use it much at all right now, to be honest. And it feels pretty good. But there have been times where you do look at it and, you know, in the business world, you’re kind of tied to it too, right? Especially if you’re you’re running a startup or any of that. You know, it’s it’s all there and you can’t ever really turn it off. But, you know, not reading for me is a means to escape and to turn things off. I know it is for a lot of the guests you’ve had and I’m sure a lot of the listeners use reading as a way to get away, but, you know, even sometimes getting locked in and focused into something that, you know, someone I admire or something I’m trying to achieve or something I think about, it can be an escape, too. Even though it’s active and even though it’s intentional, it’s still can be an escape from, you know, maybe I’m trying to pursue a new job or I want to learn something special or different that I don’t have. It gives you it gives you something to kind of focus on and channel. It can be a way to get out of, you know, if you’re not happy with your current situation, you want more can be kind of a safe space to imagine.

[00:29:34] (Kevin) Well reading inspires me and clearly it inspires you. And I’m inspired by our conversation. And every time I talk to you, I just like that you have a zest for life, and that you want to you want to do something with yourself. You want to be an entrepreneur. You want to grow. So that’s who you are. You’re curious soul, aren’t you?

[00:29:54] (Michael) I try to be and I and I always find that when I’m spending time with you, I’m tapping into the best parts of that, that inner curiosity. You know, sometimes, you know, I’ve when I think about the time when we met on the golf course, it was it was kind of a magical moment. You know, two random guys showing up playing, haring our life stories right off the bat, finding out the common interests in, you know, competitive golf and travel and you name it. (Kevin) Yeah.

[00:30:17] And then we have a love of reading. You always have something else that you can share in perpetuity. Michael, you gotta come back sometime. All right? You good with that?  (Michael) I’d love to.  (Kevin) All right. Get some more books on the nightstand and we’ll talk about them. A couple of things just as we wrap up here with Michael Belkin for a full transcript of our conversation today and for links to the books that we talked about, you can find them on our website Why I Read Nonfiction.com. Make sure to subscribe to the podcast it’s easy and it’s free and leave a rating. Once again, thank you to beautiful Nirvana on Cape Cod for taking care of us and sponsoring the program. If you’re looking for a vacation rental getaway right on the elbow on a private freshwater kettle pond with great swimming and fishing, Nirvana is your place.  For Michael Belkin, I’m Kevin Walsh. We’ll see you again next time on Why I Read Nonfiction.


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