Every book I read in 2017 was non-fiction. I was driven my desire to consume as much information and knowledge as possible. So I read a variety of personal development, self-help, business books and biographies.

I avoided Fiction because it felt like an indulgence and I (wrongly) believed that I couldn’t learn anything from these stories.

I’d heard about the book “Ready Player One,” from one of my closest friends. He gave me the synopsis and highly recommended it to me. While it sounded interesting, I didn’t think twice about it because it wasn’t anything pertaining to personal development.

 

Then I saw the book on sale at Costco (I love Costco) and I was purchasing books with a gift card I received for Christmas.

It turned out to be some of the best $10.00 I have spent. If I had to go back and purchase this book with my own money, I would gladly do it.

To me, it’s that good!

I don’t want to butcher the synopsis of such an amazing book, so here’s the plot summary from the “Ready Player One” fan Wiki

“The year is 2044 and the world is in near-ruins. The Great Recession has taken its toll on the world’s economy, and resources are scarce. The Internet and gaming culture have evolved into a creation known as OASIS, a massive multiplayer online simulation game created by James Halliday and Ogden Morrow of Gregarious Simulation Systems(GSS), formerly known as Gregarious Games. Halliday, with no heirs or other living family, dies suddenly and leaves a video will to those in OASIS and a book that was dubbed Anorak’s Almanac, which purports to be a volume written by James Halliday’s avatar Anorak in OASIS. The video says that whoever can collect three keys (Copper, Jade, and Crystal) that are hidden throughout the universe of OASIS and pass through the matching gates will receive his fortune and controlling stock in GSS. This becomes known as the Hunt and people immediately begin the search for Halliday’s Easter Egg. Those searching for the Egg are referred to as “gunters,” a truncation of “egg hunters.” Gunters devote an enormous amount of time to studying 1980s pop culture, the decade Halliday grew up in and was perpetually obsessed with, in the hope it will assist them with locating and solving the puzzles involved with the Egg.”

What I loved even more about the book are the life lessons it teaches throughout the story. Thanks to Ernest Cline (the author), I learned 4 lessons about success that I can take with me on my quest to a $240 billion fortune.

When the opportunity crosses your path, you better already be prepared

The contest goes for about 5 years before the first gunter (Parzival — the main character) makes any progress towards Halliday’s Egg. However, in that time frame, he diligently studied Halliday. He even created an all-encompassing file/journal/diary on the creator of the contest.

He diligently watched Halliday’s favorite movies, studied his every move, played his favorite games, read any article available on Halliday and watched every interview he could find. No details were spared. If it was available for him to learn, he learned it.

He became obsessed.

By the time Parzival need to piece together a part of the puzzle to solve a riddle and move step closer to the main fortune, he was a Halliday expert. He solved the first part of the puzzle with ease.

When you want to fulfill your dream or want to accomplish a big goal, you must work as if you already have the opportunity in front of you. Don’t wait for the opportunity to potentially cross your path before putting in the work; be ready sooner rather than later!

Use discipline to learn something about your dream and progress towards your goal day-by-day. Try breaking down your big dream or goal into “bite-size” tasks.

If you want to learn a new skill, the internet is your greatest friend. From free YouTube videos, to paid online courses, to blogs and eBooks, to finding a mentor, the answer is out there. All you need is curiosity and a willingness to learn.

Get learning and be ready! You never know who you might end up networking with.

Don’t let success allow you to settle

At one point in the contest, Parzival had a substantial lead on the nearest competitors. He was feeling invincible.Being one of the first people solve the first puzzle, he felt like he had a leg up and was somehow exponentially smarter than the other contestants.

As it turns out, he was wrong. Others caught up and even surpassed him.

Being the first person to solve the first piece of a puzzle that the entire world could not solve in 5 years, he became a celebrity. He became famous and made more money than he dreamed possible. This security blanket was pulled over his eyes and he lost sight of his mission — to solve the remaining two pieces of the puzzle.

Getting his ass handed to him was humbling, but was the right amount of motivation he needed to put himself into overdrive.

One thing the super successful people have in common is that they do not settle. They achieved Goal A? Great! Let’s figure out how to achieve Goal B. Then Goal C. Once their done with Goals A-Z, move on to Goals 1- infinity.

Their hunger to achieve and accomplish insatiable.

When you achieve success, it will be easy to coast. You’ll want to enjoy your hard work. As you should! You deserve it. However, too much of a good thing is not so good. It’s important to keep trying to progress. Complacency will cause you to regress.

One way to combat this is to stay curious, keep learning and never stop asking questions.

You’ll meet amazing people on the way to your journey through success.

The hunt for Halliday’s egg was designed to be a competition and the winner would have access to his entire fortune of roughly $240 billion. Parzival was competing against every other gunter. I mean who doesn’t want to be $240 billion richer? During his journey to cement his legacy as the greatest Oasis player ever, he came across other amazing competitors.

These competitors were more like “frenemies.” They shared the same ambition to be the best and wanted the fortune all to themselves.

However, by the end of the story, the top competitors end up becoming lifelong friends. It turns out, they have much more in common than they realized.

As I’ve embarked on the journey of turning a blog into an online business, I’ve met some really cool people along the way. There are people doing similar things to me, there are people doing completely different things than I am, yet they are awesome people I turn to for advice or simply to share a new piece of knowledge that I have uncovered that I think could help them.

As you stroll down your path to success, networking is going to be an invaluable skill to have. What’s worked for me is being genuine and finding a way to add value. It’s all about building and maintaining relationships.

I like the saying “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses,” but in this case it’s more appropriate to say “Don’t forget to high-five the people you meet along the way!”

Success is not often achieved alone

Whenever a boxer delivers a knockout punch, or a basketball player sinks a game-winning 3-point shot or an author who delivers a best-selling book, their success is not achieved alone.

Don’t get me wrong, the credit goes to the individual at the helm of the situation. However, it would be remiss of us to overlook the people surrounding the boxer, astronaut, author and basketball player that are essential to their success.

A boxer needs his or her trainer, cutman, promoters and sparring partners.

An author needs his or her publisher and agent.

A basketball player needs, a coaching staff, a training staff and his or her teammates.

The same principle rang true for Parzival.

During the final moments of achieving success, he needed rely on his former competitors, turned friends, to complete the quest.

It resulted in an epic showdown between Parzival and his friends against the main antagonists in the story. Without his gang of fellow dreamers, Parzival and the other competitors would have lost the quest to the villain.

As I read about successful people and analyze those around me, the most successful people are surrounded by those who help amplify their efforts. They always have a team. Every leader of a company, organization and country has a team of people they trust.

Build your team, build your network and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve together!

More fiction, please!

I attribute my obsession with the book to how well written the story is, and my love for video games.
It was a serendipitous experience to garner lasting life lessons from a fiction novel. I’ll admit, I was blinded by my close-minded view of exclusively reading non-fiction.

Now I’m aiming to find a balance between self-help books, biographies and fiction novels.

I’m sure I missed some lessons from “Ready Player One”, I’d love to get your thoughts on the book and any other lessons you learned about life from Parizval’s journey.

Let’s hope my boy, Stephen Spielberg, does the movie justice!

If you have a fiction novel that has made a lasting impact on you, let me know in the comments section!

Keep learning, keep networking and keep working towards your goals!

-KG