Books Reviews

2-Minute Pep Talks

Cover of the book 2-Minute Pep Talks by Niklas Göke


Feel Full of Hope, Love, and Comfort in Just 2 Minutes a Day
Imagine waking up every morning, feeling comfortable in your skin. Imagine loving yourself enough to ask life for no less than what you truly want. Imagine refusing to quit — and tackling every day with the endless optimism most adults believe is reserved only for children.
What if you could begin every day fully believing you are ready to take on the world? Better yet, what if it only took 2 minutes to start your day like that? That’s what 2-Minute Pep Talks is for.
In this collection of 67 jolts of inspiration, celebrated writer Niklas Göke shares some of his favorite pieces, reworked ideas, and never-before-seen material, all to help you handle life’s increasing complexity with grace, enthusiasm, and compassion.
You’ll learn…
· Why our missteps are sometimes our best ones
· How to work with your brain rather than against it
· Why perseverance is more than just stubbornness
· How to express yourself more honestly
· Why you don’t need more friends
· How to stop flinching when the phone rings
· What to do when you don’t feel valued
…and a lot more! With more than two months of daily inspiration across five categories, 2-Minute Pep Talks will be your daily pick-me-up, a new perspective providing additional fuel to accomplish your dreams.
Whether you’re looking for the silver lining in a world that seems to get messier by the day, novel ideas to stretch your brain, or that extra spring in your step — if you’re ready to regain that light, energetic, hopeful feeling we all used to possess as children, this book is for you.


I knew of Göke from his Four Minute Books newsletter. So, I was quite interested in reading his books. To my utter surprise and delight, he very kindly sent me a copy of 2-Minute Pep Talks.
It has so many interesting stories/ideas/concepts. I have come across many of them elsewhere. Then what makes this book worth reading?
Well, I read many self-help books, some of which seemed patronizing, critical, and ableist to me. 2-Minute Pep Talks is certainly not one of them.
Göke’s writing comes across as thoughtful, warm, and concerned about your life. It is simple yet soothing and conversational but insightful.
The book is laid out in short sections, which means that even people with a limited attention span can enjoy it. You can read the whole book from the front to the back (which is what I did) in one go or start anywhere and read one or two chapters at a time.
No matter what you do, the book has uplifting content that motivates you. It also has a practical side to it as it gives you actionable advice, tools, and resources to follow it up.
To sum up, a good, well-intentioned, easily digestible book.

The following are some of my notes/highlights from it. Some are verbatim, and some are paraphrased or rewritten. If any of these make you curious or resonate with you, do read the book.

  • A $100 bill is still worth its full value no matter how crumpled it is.
  • The story of Buddha and the muddy water.
  • The story behind the funding of one of the longest-running children’s TV shows of all time, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
  • Charles Proteus Steinmetz sending an invoice for $10,000 to Henry Ford.
  • Time billionaires are far wealthier than their older, financially richer peers.
  • Whenever you can, choose to get paid to learn instead of idling to earn.
  • Be a “jack of all trades, master of junctions.”
  • Don’t 80/20 Your Dream: If you use the 80/ 20 rule on everything, you’ll live an unsatisfying life.
  • Sharing your art is a privilege. An act of service. The honors should be attached to your name, and so should the fallout. That’s how you learn. (Apropos outsourcing/ghostwriting)
  • Relationships are like trains.
  • “Just” is the most dangerous word in the English language.
  • “Jab sab galat ho raha ho, tab sab sahi ho raha hai.” When everything goes wrong, perhaps it’s setting itself right.” (Pleasantly surprised to see a Hindi saying in the book!)
  • The Chapter ‘The Isms That Ruin Your Judgement’ – the whole chapter, especially in today’s world.
  • The French scientist Pierre Fouquet’s categorization of alcoholism.
  • Your phone should be like your toothbrush.
  • If you can’t beat the fear, just do it scared.
  • The story of four monks who decided to meditate in silence.
  • A magnificent contradiction: Someone will save you today. …However, when it comes to the big things in life, no one will come and save you. You must be your own light. No one will make you rich, happy, healthy, or fulfilled. Those torches only you can carry. At the same time, you are constantly being saved.
  • You can still forgive yourself — one more time.
  • If you’re not valued, you’re in the wrong place.
  • It’s never too late to try something new. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
  • You can do anything. Don’t forget.
  • Life is about taking chances.
  • One thought. One thought can change everything.
  • Now would be a great time to give up. But what if you don’t?
  • Tomorrow can be a good day.
  • You are the one we need.

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