Founder of Scott's Cheap Flights talks about his favorite books
In 2013, after getting his degree in political science, scott keyes was working as a freelance journalist in Washington D.C.
One night, while randomly browsing flights, he ran into a bargain: an incredibly cheap round-trip plane ticket, between New York City and Milan (Italy), for only $130. The city wasn’t a priority on his travel bucket list, but he decided he couldn’t miss the opportunity. When he got back from his vacation, his friends and coworkers asked about his travel hacks, so they could also discover similar offers.
That’s how Scott’s Cheap Flights was born. Instead of just notifying each person that was interested in deals, Scott started a free newsletter that he sent to his friends, where he alerted them of extremely cheap flights. It started as small side project, but grew into what’s now a business based on a freemium-model, with more than half a million subscribers, 15 employees and $4 million annual revenue.
I reached out to Scott, curious to learn what books influenced him, what he learned from them, what books he’d recommend, what’s his reading routine and the likes. Find out more from our interview below!
¿Cuál es tu libro favorito y por qué? Negocios y no negocios, si es posible.
1491. It’s one of those books that takes everything you thought you knew about the history of European colonialists and indigenous groups in the Americas and turns it on its head. Just a fascinating deep-dive into early American history that questions a lot of dogma we were taught in school.
Business-wise, Getting Things Done. Big believer in the David Allen method.
¿Hubo algún momento, específicamente, en que algo que leíste en un libro te ayudó? ¿Me puedes decir al respecto?
Reading How To Win Friends And Influence People when I was young and realizing how important empathy is. Putting something in someone else’s best interest rather than your own. Few books that were written nearly a century ago are still as true and eloquent today as they were then, but Dale Carnegie’s work is certainly one of them.
¿Qué libros te impactaron más? (quizás cambió la forma en que ves las cosas, cambió drásticamente tu carrera profesional)
Reading Daily Rituals by Mason Currey dramatically improved my productivity and work-life balance. It showed me that most great historical figures weren’t workaholics, but instead worked hard (mostly in the morning) and then had plenty of unscripted time in the afternoon to ruminate, digest, and brainstorm. It’s a model I’ve tried to emulate, waking up early in the morning, churning out a bunch of work before lunchtime, and then taking it relatively easy thereafter.
¿Qué libros recomendarías a los jóvenes interesados en tu camino profesional? ¿Por qué? (sin límite de número aquí)
Other than How To Win Friends And Influence People y Daily Rituals (for the reasons outlined above), I would recommend reading both malcolm gladwell’s collection, everything from Tipping Point to David y Goliat, y Michael Lewis’ as well, from Moneyball to The Blind Side. Irrespective of content, both are wonderful writers who use stories in effortless, compelling ways to make larger points. It’s something that can and should be emulated by everyone, not just writers.
Me interesa saber más sobre sus hábitos de lectura. ¿Con qué frecuencia lees? ¿En qué formato?
Not often enough! Once I entered the start-up world too much of my free time got eaten up focusing on work. But doing my best to get back into reading books and long-format magazines like the New Yorker.
¿Cómo haces tiempo para leer?
I used to read before bed every night, but then my body associated reading with sleeping and it made it hard to last more than a few minutes. So nowadays usually late afternoon once I don’t have any creative juices left is when I’ll turn to a book or magazine.
¿Tomas notas o tienes alguna otra técnica para conquistar el torrente de información?
Not really! I’ll keep a list of books I’ve read and enjoyed, and maybe one or two most interesting takeaway points from each, but other than that I just enjoy them as-is.
¿Cómo eliges qué libros leer a continuación?
Whichever one on my ever-expanding to-read list is available from the library the fastest, I’ll grab.
¿Priorizas los recomendados por ciertas personas? ¿Hay alguien a quien consideres un gurú de las recomendaciones de libros?
Absolutely! Not anyone public per se, though I do enjoy the book recommendations that The Ezra Klein Show always ends his podcast with. In general though I’ll usually post a bleg on Facebook to get ideas from friends about books I may enjoy.
Última pregunta: ¿qué libro estás leyendo actualmente y qué esperas obtener de él?
Just started The Skies Belong To Us. Working in the travel industry, excited to get a sense of what flying was like decades ago.
Links where you can follow Scott Keyes or find out more about his projects:
Books mentioned by Scott Keyes in this interview: