Success After Prison With Michael Santos



Success After Prison highlights experiences and lessons Michael Santos learned while conquering 26 years of imprisonment. He shares strategies that he learned from leaders like Socrates, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Viktor Frankl, and Martin Luther King. Those leaders taught concepts to overcome struggle and adversity. Michael shows how living in accordance with those strategies opened opportunities for him in prison and prepared him for success upon reentry. He emerged from prison successfully and he explains how others can use these strategies to overcome challenges in their lives.


  • Episode 10: Steve Jobs and Other Mentors For Me In Prison

    Episode 10: Steve Jobs and Other Mentors For Me In Prison

    25/02/2016 Duration: 20min

      As Steve Jobs, another mastermind said, “Good artists copy ideas, but great artists steal ideas.” To prepare for success, I copied ideas from the most successful masterminds I could find, whether they lived thousands of years ago or whether they served time alongside me in federal prison.   Regardless of where you are today, you have masterminds around you. Question yourself on how your actions and choices influence they way those masterminds perceive you. If they perceive you as being worthy of their time, you will find that they will want to invest in you. I cannot recall how many people invested time, energy, and resources in my success, even though I did not know them prior to my imprisonment. They saw me as being authentic and they wanted to help.   I found that I could “will” avatars into my life who would invest in my future. And if I could do that while serving 26 years as a prisoner, then just think what you can do!   Some of the people who invested in me along the way include the following:   Pris

  • Episode 9: Driving After Prison

    Episode 9: Driving After Prison

    24/02/2016 Duration: 21min

      That initial meeting with Charles went well. Why? The roots for that successful meeting extended way back to the 1980s, when I was still locked inside of the Pierce County Jail. Recap? While in my cell I read about Socrates. From his story, I learned the importance of living for something greater than myself. Instead of dwelling on the challenges that had come from my own decisions, I could empower myself by thinking about others. Through Socratic questioning, I could learn the relationship between my decisions and the ways that others would perceive me.   With that insight, I began contemplating people like Charles—case managers and probation officers—before my judge even imposed my 45-year sentence. They were my avatars. By thinking about what they would expect, I could create plans to influence their perceptions. Then, by executing those plans every day of my sentence, I believed that I could influence a better outcome upon release.   Some readers may be familiar with the social scientist Abraham Maslow

  • Episode 8: Prison to Halfway House

    Episode 8: Prison to Halfway House

    23/02/2016 Duration: 22min

    Who are your avatars? What would they expect of you? In what ways are the decisions you’re making today leading you closer to earning support tomorrow?       Chapter 3: Transition from Federal Prison to a Halfway House   By 3:00 am, on August 12, 2012, I was up and ready to start my exercise inside the federal prison in Atwater, California. It would be my last day locked inside of a prison. I had 9,135 days of imprisonment behind me, just over 25 years. Carole was scheduled to pick me up at 9:00 am. Together we’d drive to a halfway house in the Tenderloin District of downtown San Francisco, where I’d serve the next 365 days—completing my 9,500-day journey as a federal prisoner.   I walked through gates that separated the minimum-security camp from the penitentiary so officers could process me out. A staff member handed me a few hundred dollars in cash from my account and indicated that I’d receive a check for the remainder. That was it. I walked outside and met Carole. She wore a yellow dress with a yellow ri

  • Episode 7: Release to California From Prison

    Episode 7: Release to California From Prison

    22/02/2016 Duration: 21min

      California: As we approached the end of my term, we had to figure out where we wanted to live. When a man served longer than a quarter century, he didn’t really have roots anywhere. We chose California because I’d built a strong support network that would be easier to leverage from a large state. Further, California was a big market and the state had some significant problems with its prison system. Since we wanted to live in a place that offered the best opportunity, California seemed perfect. Besides the opportunity, I liked the weather.   I had another reason to choose California as the place where Carole and I would begin our life together. Toward the end of my sentence I met Justin Paperny, a former stockbroker who served a relatively brief sentence for violating securities laws. We became friends. Justin’s conviction meant that he would need to create a new career for himself upon release. At the time, in 2008, the nation’s economy was sinking. I used Socratic questioning to help Justin see the challe

  • Episode 6: Earning Freedom From Prison

    Episode 6: Earning Freedom From Prison

    21/02/2016 Duration: 20min

    Leaders begin by clearly defining success. They contemplate the pain or challenge they’re experiencing at a given time. They contemplate steps they can take to build a better outcome. They create a plan that will lead them to success. Then they execute the plan.   Individuals who aspire to succeed always follow that pattern. Those who reach their highest potential follow the pattern in sports, in business, in politics, in marriage, and in any area of life where they want to excel. They always know where they are and they know where they’re going. They create plans, strategies, and make decisions in accordance with those plans and strategies.   In order to build a career around my journey, I needed to craft my own products and services that would communicate that message. With that end in mind, I began writing specific books. I wrote Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term to show people who were going through the criminal justice system the exact path that empowered me through the decades I served i

  • Episode 5: Reviewing Books To Prepare For Success After Prison

    Episode 5: Reviewing Books To Prepare For Success After Prison

    20/02/2016 Duration: 21min

    Date I read the book: Why did I choose to read this book? What did I learn from reading this book? How will this book contribute to my prospects for success upon release?   By adhering to that strategy, I read with a deliberate purpose. Every decision had a direct connection to the success that I was determined to become. There were opportunity costs and risks associated with every decision. Since I knew that many people placed a high value on where they positioned their seat in the movie room, or whether they had the authority to change a channel, I avoided television rooms. In fact, every decision I made in prison began with a question.   If I choose to watch television, will that decision advance or hinder my prospects for success upon release?   If I play organized sports, will that decision advance or hinder my prospects for success upon release?   If I play table games, will that decision advance or hinder my prospects for success upon release?   If I associate with one person or another, will that deci

  • Episode 4: Publishing From Prison

    Episode 4: Publishing From Prison

    19/02/2016 Duration: 21min

    The first step would be to write a book proposal. Then I would need to write sample chapters. Next, I would need to write a cover letter and begin sending self-addressed-stamped envelopes to literary agents.   My research showed that if I could persuade a literary agent to represent me, the literary agent would connect with publishing houses. If editors who worked at the publishing house liked my book, the editor would issue a contract to bring my book to market. It wouldn’t be easy. But prison had conditioned me to deal with rejection.   The book proposal itself required about 30 pages of writing. Sample chapters added another 30 pages. Postage and copy costs would be too high if I were to send the entire package to scores of publishers. I needed a more economical way.   Instead of sending the full book-proposal package, I leveraged off of my earlier work. First, I identified 100 literary agents. Then I wrote a query letter that described my background, my educational credentials, my publishing credentials,

  • Episode 3: 45-Year Prison Sentence

    Episode 3: 45-Year Prison Sentence

    18/02/2016 Duration: 21min

    Sentenced to 45-Years: My judge chose not to impose a life sentence. Instead, he sentenced me to 45 years. I was sentenced under a different set of laws than the sentencing laws that exist today. Under the laws that existed for crimes committed in 1987, I could earn 19-years worth of good-time credits. For readers who don’t know about good time, they’re rewards for avoiding disciplinary infractions. A prisoner didn’t need to do anything particularly good to earn good time. He simply needed to avoid being convicted of violating disciplinary infractions. So long as I didn’t lose any good time during my journey through prison, I would satisfy my sentence after 26 years of imprisonment.   Since I was 23-years-old when authorities took me into custody, I didn’t quite know how to process the concept of serving 26 years. Thankfully, by reading Socrates I had a vision and a strategy. By thinking about my avatars, I could craft a strategy that would allow me emerge successfully. I would focus on that three-pronged goa

  • Episode 2: The Beginning in Prison

    Episode 2: The Beginning in Prison

    17/02/2016 Duration: 22min

    I’m Michael Santos and I’m typing this manuscript on an awesome Mac Pro computer. When I served my sentence, I had to write all of my manuscripts by hand. Now I’m addicted to Apple products and word processors. These tools allow me to write much more efficiently, but I no longer have the time that was available to me while I was in prison. Again, that’s why I won’t devote hundreds of hours to editing this manuscript. At least for this draft, what you see is what you get. I started typing this manuscript on Saturday morning, December 4, 2015. I don’t know how long it will take for me to finish, but I’m going to do my best to finish a solid draft before the end of this year. Why? Well, it may seem strange, but I’m scheduled to visit the United States Penitentiary in Atwater on January 8, 2016. After speaking at a judicial conference in Sacramento that I wrote about in the introduction, I had a conversation with Warden Andre Matevousian. He extended an open invitation for me to return to Atwater—the prison that

  • Episode 1: Why?

    Episode 1: Why?

    15/02/2016 Duration: 19min

    Success After Prison! How I Built Assets Worth $1 million Within Two Years of Release from 26 Years Inside (And How You Can Succeed, Too) 1. Introduction My name is Michael Santos and I’m writing this book in a conversational style, wanting to share the story of my return to society after 26 years as a prisoner. This book isn’t about prison. It’s about overcoming struggle, or more precisely, about strategies I used to overcome challenges associated with long-term confinement. I’m convinced that we all face struggles or challenges at some point. Anyone can use the same strategies that empowered me to conquer struggle in their life. I’m sure of it. Before I get into the strategies, let me explain why I’m writing this book so soon after finishing my prison sentence. Judge Charles Pyle, a federal judge from Arizona reached out to me in early 2015. I didn’t know Judge Pyle, but he had heard about my journey and my work to improve outcomes for people who’ve been to prison. The judge and his team were coordinating t

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