The book was grubby, pages scribbly, paper edges nattered already.
This is what you will see when you come across a copy of “Own The Day, Own Your Life”.
These 431 pages of value proved just how many pages can be ear-marked in a book until ear-marking reaches saturated usefulness. Every paragraph providing actionable discussion and tips into optimising a single day of your life, which you can then push day after day to live Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger… and develop yourself past a love of Daft Punk techno, and into a Binaural Beats Productivity Master... among other things.
When I found Aubrey Marcus, the Founder of Onnit, had written a book personal optimisation, there was no question. The book had to be read.
His personal optimisation company, the Onnit Empire-Cult is second only to Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof Empire-Cult. (Why are all the best companies’ cults?) I figured, heck, through his life he must be exposed to every lifehack biohack known to man.
Declining to sap knowledge from that experience would just be foolery.
This is a perfect case for why books are such a valuable source of compressed information. A “standing on the shoulders of giants” situation. And for sure, standing on Aubrey’s shoulders presented a hell of a view.
Covering a full walk-through on tips and mentality for waking, working, learning, eating, training, playing, sleeping, and sex, there is certainly a lot to think on.
Having listened through the Audible version and read the book through two-and-a-half times, you could say I really enjoyed this literature. Interestingly, it would also be accurate to say the learning is just beginning. There is just soooo much to unpack. In fact, I see at least another two-and-a-half-read throughs in my future. Minimum.
So, in the name of sharing value, it seemed fitting to share some thoughts on the book and help you to find out IF it is a learning journey worth embarking on in your life.
Because I won’t lie. This is a mind-expanding read I encourage to everyone. But not everyone will enjoy it – everything has Pros and Cons.
Note: For sanities sake (and to spite the google SEO gods), also take “OTD,OYL” to mean the title “Own The Day, Own Your Life”.
A rough filter to decide if this is a book for you.
Think of this like if a bouncer stopped you at the door of a nightclub and asked:
“Hey man, are you down to have some good times with your mates… at the cost of obnoxious drunks and eardrum destroying bass?”.
“Own The Day, Own Your Life” won’t spill down your back or explode your eardrums. But like the night-scene, if you want to enjoy yourself, some tolerance will be necessary.
So here as your filtering tool, I give to you Aubrey’s promotional video for “Own the Day, Own Your Life”. Take note not just of the details, but the vibe you get. It should pain an apt picture of what would be in store for you in the read itself.
You’ve stared into Aubrey’s eyes now. If you’re like me, you appreciated the passion and message… but also got that strange “am I being brainwashed?” vibe that comes from a high production motivational video. Somewhat inviting that impulse purchase – to grab the book now and change your life forever!
Ahhh… damn. The strength of skilled marketing at work. Oh, how it sucks us in!
But here’s the thing. Even recognising the creepy mind-controlling marketing influence, the video was pretty blimmin’ awesome.
It makes you want to be a better person. Level up. Get at life with full passion. That is a result I will applaud.
And that’s exactly why it is the perfect way to show you how reading the book is.
Like the video you just watched, “OTD,OYL” is highly relatable, easy to understand, and value packed. But be sure, you’re in for some Tim Ferris level marketing the whole way through. Does it stop me from reading Tim’s books or listening to the podcasts? Hell no! The man shares valuable information, he also so happens to generously lace it with things for you to spend your money on.
Aubrey and “OTD,OYL” is no different. If you can’t take that, or feel overly vulnerable to it, fair enough. No fault there.
Leave this article here and know, this book probably just isn’t for you. Go forth and enjoy your day, knowing you have made a fair decision.
BUT - If you can deal with the pull of well-crafted sales in a calm and level-headed manner, not to be overly pulled in by the hype, and still enjoy the ride… then you are surely a good candidate that may find immense value from “OTD,OYL”. To you I say, read on mate.
What does the “Own The Day, Own Your Life” discuss?
Onto the book’s actual content and how it is presented.
Set out in a defined path with 16 chapters each on a specific topic, Aubrey leads you through a comprehensive manual on what to do in your day to optimise and biohack it to the fullest.
Each chapter is structured by:
1. Getting Owned: A section discussing the problem.
2. Owning It: How to solve the problem, flush with real life examples, study references, and discussion on why this solution works.
3. Prescription: A practical instruction on what to do to implement the solution.
4. Now Do It: A small hype segment motivating you to give the prescription a go.
5. Three Pointers: A highlighted summary of the chapter.
The chapters are also ordered in sequence with how Aubrey proposes to lay out the day. Chapter 1 dealing with the first thing to do on waking, Chapter 2 being the next step, and so on.
And sure, health and lifestyle tips aren’t a completely unique topic of discussion. But the awesome part about “OTD,OYL” is that even to an experienced guy such as myself (#stayhumble), a number of the suggestions were completely new to me. Then the ones that weren’t new often had extra little tricks involved that just take the practice up one level or made it easier to carry out on the daily.
In the chapter “The Power Plants” there is even a little chat on using one of my very favourite nootropics – Huperzia Serrata (Huperzine A). Below is a quote on Aubrey’s experience with this little mossy supplement.
My other highly rated chapter is “Deep Breath, Deep Freeze” which goes all out into the Wim Hof Method for cold exposure training and introduces the Power Shower. This chapter is presented beautifully and the benefits from implementing the practices are so valuable to forming a clear mind and strengthening mentality. This is one practice to try – no matter how apprehensive to cold you may be. :)
3 Pros, 2 Cons
Because this book is better than it is not, we’ll start and end on a positive with 3 Pros, 2 Cons!
PRO #1: Actionable, Actionable, Actionable.
This book will have you highlighting, underlining and page folding all the way through.
The purpose is to provide and actionable manual describing the issues and how to solve them. It succeeds in that purpose.
Providing a plethora of actionable tips that you can come back to revise like its your religion. This is also well supported by a thorough appendix, meaning you can always find your topic quickly. Aubrey even provides a quick reference guide to streamline you into implementation.
CON #1: Name-drop Marketed to near Death.
We’ve discussed this somewhat already, so I’ll keep this short.
I understand the book is an important cog in the Onnit & Friends marketing network… but enough is enough. Joe Rogan, Tony Robbins, Dan Eagle - We get it, they're your boys!
It’s a great excuse for them to share the book and provide social credibility to your audience. Copywriting-101. But “OTD,OYL” is a book, please don’t turn it into a click funnel.
Just ease up 20 or 30% is all we’re asking here.
PRO #2: Structured yet Casual, Objective yet Personal.
The structured approach to each chapter means that you always know where its going, and how to flip to the information you need at a later date. This is then kept light and breezy with his very personal feel to the writing, frequently cracking jokes or sly references. This conversational like style is then emphasised further if you listen to the audiobook, which is read by Aubrey himself. “OTD,OYL” has the utility benefits of a textbook, but delivered in a style that keeps the pages turning.
CON #2: Cringe.
Perhaps a little harsh, but when Aubrey calls himself a “frat dog” with no contextual need, then shout-writes “KAPPA SIG!” … I was pained to my very core. My face crumpled into an uncomfortable cringe, and hence I present this con.
There’s nothing worse than being pulled out of a deep reading flow by Aubrey dropping the words “Pound Town” in his advice for sexual performance.
Honestly, I thought this is what editors were for? As mentioned in PRO #2, the personal feel is very appreciated. Creativity in writing is fun too.
Although sometimes someone needs to do the little tap on the shoulder and a “Hey mate, maybe we can skip that one out aye?”. But hell, if this is genuinely good content for the American audience then I’ll shut up. Nobody else seems to get our kiwi humour either.
PRO #3: Quick Reference Diagrams and Recipes
These are a priceless component of the read. They add to the actionability mentioned in PRO #1, as well as the usefulness as a book to continually refer to after completion.
The recipes for foods include accessible ingredients and are simple enough that any inexperienced cook can whip them up. Oh, and they're as tasty as life gets. That’s important too.
The exercise diagrams are more to give you a concept, as opposed to being an exact step by step guide like the recipes. Usually showing three or four stages to the movement, providing a simple instruction to get the idea across. For best execution you will likely want to see them in action, so these are best used as a direction to send your YouTube research at.
Using another Tim Ferris reference, “Own The Day, Own Your Life” is the personal health, biohacking and optimisation book of what “The 4-Hour Work Week” is to business strategy.
Highly personable, structured and full of super useful tips.
And also with few thousand dollars’ of consumer purchases sprinkled throughout.
If you can manage that with a clear and level head, the shear volume of value tips presented will easily make the book worth it, 10-fold over.
Like I hope you do with this review, you would be best to challenge and consider each point for yourself. I don’t 100% agree with everything Aubrey writes, and I doubt he expects us too. What he has done is share insights, research, and experiences that are delicious food for thought… and that’s all I would expect from any writer.
Is “Own the Day, Own Your Life” a good read for YOU? Now that’s for YOU to decide.
Intrigued, Curious, Want to learn more?
Course you are mate, you wouldn’t have come this far if you weren’t!
I’d recommend giving Aubrey’s Keynote Speech at SXSW a watch – note it does contain a plethora of spoilers.
There’s also his video series version of “OTD,OYL” which covers each chapter individually. Also free on YouTube – and obviously contains massive spoilers also.
Borrow a copy to read?
If you’re a part of the New Zealand VitaKea community and keen for a read, we actually do have a copy available that we share around. Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can go about getting in shipped in with your next order. Do note, this copy won’t be yours for keeps, just to read and return so that we can pass it on to the next keen reader!
[Now, brace for slick Aubrey/TimFerris-esk product linking]
Buy a copy?
Want a version for keeps, to scribble and highlight all over?
If you're New Zealand based and happy to pay a little more for a hardcover version, we've got a few copies in store you can grab. Otherwise the Audible audiobook is great too, you just miss out on the diagrams and recipes somewhat.
If you're a visitor from beyond our kiwi shores, I'm sure you'll be able to get a copy off Amazon, Onnit or some other retailer.
Any questions, thoughts, critique?
So in advocating for the read, I am also opening up to any questions you’ve got. So shoot me a message or comment below! It’s always a pleasure to help, and bounce ideas with another curious mind. And be sure, there are PLENTY of thoughts, opinions and resources bouncing around my cranium just waiting to be released!
PS. Much love Aubrey, appreciate all your hard work!
Your KeaLad, Thomas.