Book Talk with Dmitry Dragilev, JustReachOut founder: I pretty much stopped reading business books
Dmitry Dragilev is the founder of JustReachOut – helping startups forget PR firms and pitch journalists and influencers themselves.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you might be interested in his PR That Converts program. It helped 500+ entrepreneurs since early 2016 get exposure and publicity to go from hundreds of visitors per month to thousands within a few months.
Dmitry’s backgound is in marketing and from 2009 he helped two startups grow from 0 to acquisition through PR and content marketing, as well as SEO and influencer marketing.
One other interesting thing is that he doesn’t really read business books because he thinks most of them aren’t that practical when it comes to implementing the advice they offer.
What’s your favorite book and why?
My favorite business book is Rand Fishkin – Lost and Founder. Why? It’s the only startup book that I ever read, it’s the most open, most actionable account on how a startup really really is.
It’s not painting stuff with this amazing success, or this crazy failure or this crazy road of raising money and sailing your ship into the Neverland once you exit.
It’s real and it gives you the real info you need to build your business. It doesn’t paint anything in gold colours.
My favorite favorite favorite book non-business… I don’t know, I’ve read a lot. Currently, I read something like A Terrible Country by Keith Gessen. Which is one of my favorite books. I’m reading something called The Senility of Vladimir P.: A Novel by Michael Honig. And both are really funny. Takes your mind off the business world, it puts you in a different reality, sort of like Soviet Russia, Communist Russia. I’m from there, so makes sense.
Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell us about it?
You know, most of the stuff I read in books is like good advice, but you can’t really implement the stuff? I’d say, when I read Rand Fishkin’s Lost and Founder, when he talks specifically about the incentives of venture capitalists and why if you are not aligned with the incentives of venture capitalists to return their money to their LPs, you shouldn’t raise money from investors – period. Really helped me up. That was a big deal.
What books had the biggest impact on you?
I mean, The 4-Hour Workweek, all that stuff kinda like, I’ve been thinking to work less and I certainly did that. 37 Signals books, Rework, a lot of Jason Fried’s writing. Got me thinking a lot about working, and I only work 25 hours a week now. I’ve been on this crusade to work less and less and less and be much more productive. I earn the most I’ve ever earned in my entire career, and it’s all due to books like that, I think.
What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why?
- How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton Christensen is a wonderful book in terms of figuring out what is you’re doing with life in general.
- The ones that I mentioned, Rand Fishkin’s Lost and Founder, plus a handful of others. There’s just a number of these guys that I’ve followed and I can’t remember their actual names.
- The Startup Checklist is another one, it’s a great research by David S. Rose. Very cool book, just practically like what do you do in terms of building a startup. Really enjoyed that.
- There’s a book called Brain Rules, also a great book, by John Medina, sort of like how your brain works.
- There’s a book Moonwalking With Einstein by Joshua Foer, amazing book about how memory works in general, really changed the way I kind of think about.
Can you tell us some “opposite” marketing techniques that you experiment with?
I’m not sure what you mean by opposite but I’d say… I do marketing very differently so I usually… You know, I had 125 articles on my blog, I deleted all but 22 of them, I’ve tripled my traffic to tens and tens and tens of thousands of users. Not quite hundreds of thousands of visitors per month, but close to that. What I do is much less content and much higher quality. So kill the quantity, focus on quality content. I don’t do any ads, I don’t do any paid, I don’t do any GV’s, no partnerships, nothing else but pure amazing content on my blog, and I run my business that way.
I made the most money I ever made this year (2019) and I’ve worked the least amount of hours this year. All with much less content. Again, 22 blog posts drive all my leads.
Breaking of Google is probably the best way I do marketing, I’d say, in terms of marketing techniques, as SEO and content and a whole bunch of other tactics that go along with that I’d say is the best way to do this.I deleted all but 22 of the articles on my blog and I’ve tripled my traffic to tens and tens and tens of thousands of users. What I do is much less content and much higher quality. So kill the quantity, focus on quality content. Click To Tweet
How do you make time for reading? How often do you read? What format do you prefer?
I’ve got two kids, after they go sleep, around 9:30, I dedicate 30-45 minutes to reading a book before I meditate. And I like to read on Kindle, and I have a regular book as well.
Do you take notes?
Yeah, I think I re-read each book at least twice, sometimes three times. I firmly believe that after the invention of Gutenberg press and paper people’s memories are not what they used to be. That needs to change. That’s where I think small notes helps.
How do you choose what books to read next? Do you prioritize books recommended by certain people?
You know, I’ll take recommendations from friends that I trust. If I follow somebody who I admire I might read their stuff, but honestly even like with, I don’t know, the latest book by Tim Ferriss, I get jaded with all the stuff that comes out that’s new.
I think reading clubs is a good idea. Go to your local library, find a reading group that you like and just hang out with people you really admire and like, who are just nobodies, but are really, like, smart and you can learn from and take recommendations from them.
Also, within the first chapter of the book I know I’m gonna be really sticking around.
Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?
I’m reading Michael Honig and I’m just trying to enjoy it and have fun and take my mind off work. That’s probably a very different answer usually here, but business books are just not that practical in terms of actually implementing real advice. They’re nice to read once in a while, but I pretty much stopped reading business books. 90% of what I read, maybe 80%, is non business books.
I’d say what I try to gain from books is sometimes I just try to read for fun just to take my mind off and to really decompress and you do learn certain things like other cultures, and you know, like history. I’m really big into history, so I love reading historical fiction. One of the best, maybe I can mention that in some other questions on recommended books that followed, but he has a book called The First Conspiracy. It’s a conspiracy to George Washington the president and how he caught the people that tried to kill him and that was the genocide of the CIA and that was a big deal. That’s how CIA got started, because George Washington built this ring of spies around us. That was the first counter intelligence unit. And it’s an amazing book. There’s just amazing historical fiction that kind of like plays a different light on it.
Another great book is A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Just a must read for anybody out there in terms of like, I’m thinking, Columbus. There’s history there that’s so different from what we learn in school. In school we learned Columbus came over here and we move and that’s just horrible. When he first came here, based on diaries, as this book is based on diaries of people from that time, you can see that they raped most of the women, most of the men had to go and become slaves here to find gold for these conquerors, for Columbus, and his team basically, the people he was with, to bring gold back to the crown, back to Spain. And so… it was just a brutal time.
So anyway, this is some of the books, I hope this really finds you well.
Links where you can follow Dmitry Dragilev or find out more about his projects:
- His blog: criminallyprolific.com
- Connect with Dmitry on Linkedin | Twitter
All books mentioned by Dmitry in our interview:
- Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World, by Rand Fishkin
- A Terrible Country: A Novel, by Keith Gessen
- The Senility of Vladimir P.: A Novel, by Michael Honig
- TThe 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich, by Tim Ferriss
- Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
- How Will You Measure Your Life?, by Clayton Christensen
- The Startup Checklist: 25 Steps to a Scalable, High-Growth Business, by David S. Rose
- Brain Rules: 12 Principles of Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School, by John Medina
- Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer
- The First Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill George Washington, by Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch
- A People’s History of the United States, by Howard Zinn