Here Are a Few Reasons Why Donald Trump Is Taking Aim at Amazon

President Donald Trump this weekend renewed his long-running attacks on Amazon and its owner, Jeff Bezos. Trump’s criticisms are wide-ranging, and at least some of them seem deeply flawed. So what’s really driving the President’s hostility towards the e-commerce giant?

Most fundamentally, Trump’s attacks on Amazon are in line with his populist politics. In a Thursday tweet, Trump said Amazon was “putting many thousands of retailers out of business!”

There’s plenty of evidence for this view, as retailers nationwide close stores and declare bankruptcy in droves. Retail jobs have declined in rural areas, where Trump’s support is strongest. But there has been some pushback against the idea that retail as a whole is in trouble, or that Amazon can be blamed — the stores that are closing or shrinking often have unrelated problems.

And even if Amazon is putting more pressure on brick-and-mortar stores, it’s not at all clear that this is the disaster Trump frames it as. A generation ago, competition from Walmart was decimating smaller retailers and retail jobs — but also lowering prices with its focus on efficiency. Amazon, by the same token, beats traditional retailers by making the process of shopping more efficient. That the President would object to this seems to reflect a view of capitalism as a zero-sum game, rather than one in which efficiency and innovation ultimately benefit everyone. It’s the same worldview that has led him to push for more restrictive international trade rules, and to defend inefficient, outdated coal-derived energy.

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As part of his multi-pronged attack, Trump has also repeatedly claimed that Amazon is gaming the system by getting preferential rates from the U.S. Postal Service. That criticism appears to be based on a 2017 Citigroup analysis, but that finding applied to all packages, not just Amazon’s. Even then, the claim relies on some selective interpretations of USPS’s cost structure. Trump’s claim that Amazon pays “little or no taxes to state & local governments” is even less rooted in reality — Amazon collects sales tax in 45 states.

So there’s room for debate over some of Trump’s criticisms of Amazon. But Trump’s last big critique is more fundamentally worrying. On Saturday, the President reiterated claims that the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, is “used as a ‘lobbyist’” that pushes Amazon’s agenda. In fact, the Post has published significant negative coverage of Amazon, and there’s no evidence that Bezos interferes with the newspaper’s coverage.

That suggests Trump’s attack on the Post could be read as a more sophisticated repetition of his blunt attempts to discredit critical reporting as “fake news.” And in fact, Trump’s latest round of anti-Amazon venting came immediately after a Post report detailing multiple investigations into the Trump Organization’s finances.

There is one other possible motivation for Trump’s long-running hatred of Amazon — personal resentment of Jeff Bezos. Trump has consistently shown a deep attraction to straightforward signals of power and success. As a developer, it was famously reflected in his love of gaudy décor. As President, it has been reflected in his tall, super-wealthy, and militarized cabinet picks. For a man who sees the world in such simplified terms, it must be deeply galling to face an opponent who is as much as 40 times richer. It’s hard to imagine Trump doesn’t take some pleasure in watching that gap close every time he lambasts Bezos’s company.

5 Signs Email Is Ruling Your Life (And 7 Ways to Take Back Control)

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?

  1. Your hand is on your phone before you even have both eyes open in the morning.
  2. The sound of an incoming email sends you sprinting for your phone or computer (and it doesn’t matter what you’re interrupting in order to do it).
  3. You’re pulled away from your email by the phrase, “Did you hear what I just said?” on a regular basis.
  4. You feel an almost obsessive need to hit the ‘Get Mail’ button (you know, just in case your notifications aren’t working).
  5. Unanswered emails hang over you causing stress and existential overhead.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have to face the fact that email is ruling your life.

The good news is you’re not alone in your obsession. Research shows that the average person unlocks his or her phone 110 times each day – that’s about 10 times per hour. Other research puts this number as high as 150 times per day.

And given that even small interruptions – like quickly checking email – can result in a huge loss of productivity, getting a handle on your email habits is something better done today than tomorrow.

Remember: You’re not a helpless slave to your email…it’s time to take back control! Here are 7 ways you can stop letting email rule your life.

1. Come Face to Face With the Cold Hard Truth About Your Email Habits.

Sometimes it takes a dose of reality to come to terms with your bad habits. Use an email analytics tool such as EmailAnalytics to find out exactly how much time you spend on email, as well as how many words are in an average email you send, what days of the week you send and receive emails most, and a bunch of other interesting metrics.

It may seem over the top, but the average person spends 13 hours per week managing their email (reading, replying, sorting, etc.). Finding out exactly how much time email is eating up is the first step to diagnosing and fixing the problem.

2. Pause Your Inbox.

Simply promising yourself you won’t check email often doesn’t work. The allure of the email notification is just too strong for many of us mere mortals to be expected to resist.

This is where Inbox Pause for Gmail can help. This software literally adds a pause button to your email, allowing you to stop getting new messages in your inbox. When your designated email-checking time (see #4 below) has arrived, simply click Unpause and all your messages will be delivered.

No willpower required.

3. Use Your Subject Line as Your Entire Message.

When you have a super-short email to send (like a meeting reminder), restrict your message to the subject line. For instance, “Reminder: Meeting today at 2pm in the conference room.”

This helps other people keep their email under control, and keeps you from feeling pressured to write long emails just to take up space. No small talk, no greeting line, no signature. Just a to-the-point subject line.

4. Set Designated Times for Checking Email.

I KNOW how hard this is. What if you miss something SUPER important? What if you finally hear back from that guy/girl/employer/client/media outlet that you’ve been anxiously waiting on?

I’m here to tell you that with the very few exceptions, your emails can wait. This is particularly true if you’ve trained people when to email you (see #5 below) and you’ve set up priority alerts (see #6 below).

Tim Ferriss, author of the wildly popular book The 4-Hour Work Week, checks personal emails once a day, and business emails every 7-10 days.

5. Train People When to Email You.

#4 only works when you train the people around you not to expect a response until a designated day or time. Using autoresponders is a great way to ensure everyone knows when you’ll be checking and responding to emails.

It doesn’t need to be anything elaborate: “Thanks for your email. In an effort to increase productivity and provide the highest level of service to my clients, I will only be checking and replying to emails at 1pm and 4pm. Thank you for your understanding.”

Sure, you may face some resistance at first; but once people are used to your new routine, don’t be surprised to see some of them implementing this strategy themselves.

6. Set up Alerts for Priority Emails.

Okay, so there may be some emails you HAVE to get immediately. But that doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to your phone.

Howtogeek.com has a walkthrough on how to set up alerts for specific people or topics that you just can’t miss. Scared of missing a changed appointment or deadline? Give the software access to your calendar, and messages relating to upcoming meetings will make it through the filters.

Get the important emails you need, without having to read through all the emails you don’t.

7. Subscribe to the Five Sentences Philosophy.

A ‘quick email’ can quickly turn into a big email. The Five Sentences Philosophy ensures you don’t write an email longer than — you guessed it — five sentences.

You may want to include a line in your signature indicating why your emails have suddenly shrunk. Something like this:

Q: Why is this email five sentences or less?
A: http://five.sentenc.es

You don’t have to be a slave to your email! Your email should act as a tool to increase your productivity and improve your communication. When it starts doing the opposite, it’s time to take a stand and put email in its proper place in your life priority list.

Is email ruling your life? Which of these steps can you implement today to take back control?

The Top Books You Need to Read to Make Your Marketing Timeless

In terms of marketing, being overwhelmed by the amount of content online can become as common as driving past a McDonald’s. The sheer volume of online courses, e-books, YouTube tutorials and more can cause one to nearly go numb trying to keep up and retain all of the information.

Yet, many people forget there are some principles of marketing that almost certainly won’t change in our lifetimes or in the centuries ahead. Why? Well, because marketing is driven by psychology, and the human brain doesn’t evolve overnight.

Here are four timeless books that changed my life, business and marketing for the better, and, if read and absorbed, can do the same for you.

The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

When talking about having a long-lasting impact with your marketing, it’s only right we kick off this list with The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. The amount of simple yet brilliant principles Ries and Trout lay out in this book are game-changing and have stood the test of time.

When it comes to marketing, this book started it all for me. I was working as an intern at a startup and aimlessly trying to decide on my career path. I tried project management, computer science, sales and more, but none felt like the right fit.

I had always been a storyteller, and after reading this book, it hit me that all of marketing can be boiled down to stories and principles of human behavior. That began my love affair with the industry, and we’ve been going strong ever since.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook should be required reading for any and all marketing professionals. The main reason being that many people approach online interactions and in-person interactions differently when they should be treated exactly the same way.

You wouldn’t ask a potential girlfriend or boyfriend to go on vacation with you after the first date (at least, I hope not). Yet, for whatever reason, across social media and beyond we see people asking for a prospect’s time or money without giving an adequate amount of value to earn those things.

This was the book that led to me writing my first viral, breakthrough article, which then led to me launching my business, landing my Inc.com column, securing speaking gigs and more. The epiphany I had was simple: play the “long game” by adding value to my readers, month after month, year after year. Only after I build that trust up should I ask them for anything in exchange.

Hooked by Nir Eyal

Hooked by Nir Eyal is another book overflowing with priceless information on consumer psychology. Eyal takes an approach focused on modern-day companies like Twitter and Instagram. If you’re interested in learning how tech giants reel in and retain their users using psychology, Nir’s bestseller will be a book for you.

Most of the examples Eyal uses in Hooked are based on products, not outgoing marketing materials. I began to recognize that marketing was a facet of every piece of the business from the product to the elevator pitch, so I could add value to all parts of my client’s businesses.

Influence by Robert Cialdini

Robert Cialdini’s book has remained a favorite amongst entrepreneurs, sales and marketing professionals and more since it was published in 1984. After reading just a few pages, you’ll realize why. The enduring principles Cialdini delivers in Influence are aspects of the human psyche that are hard-wired into us, and aren’t going away any time soon.

This book was gifted to me by a former manager who I consider the closest thing to a mentor I’ve ever had, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was working a fast-growing startup in San Francisco while building my startup, Arctiphi, on the side. I wanted things to move faster so I could go full-time into my business, but sales was never my forte. I lacked the confidence, the body language, damn near everything I thought made a great salesperson great.

After reading the book, I realized the way I was thinking of sales was all wrong. The packaging didn’t matter nearly as much as the product. Marketing and sales were brother and sister, not distant cousins, and the same tactics I was using in my copywriting could be applied to in-person sales, public speaking and more.

It worked. Within a few months of reading Influence, monthly revenue increased sixfold and I was able to go full-time into Arctiphi.

There are many marketing principles that’ll remain true for centuries to come. By equipping yourself with these timeless principles instead of “keeping up with the marketing Joneses” daily, you’ll position your brand to stay relevant no matter what the world throws at it.