Tag Archives: books

January Reads | a quick recap

This year I resolved to read a book a week, that’s 52 books in 2012.  So far its going well, but I can tell that tough times are looming.  Below is a quick recap of what January brought with links to the reviews I’ve done so far.

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The Flinch

The Flinch is about stepping outside of your comfort zone and pushing your instinctual boundaries. The more you step outside of your comfort zone, the easier it becomes and all of a sudden, you no longer ‘flinch’ in social situations or thinking of working out or asking for the job after a pitch. The more you exercise the instinct to flinch, the less likely you will be to actually flinch when it comes time to do something.

 

The Snowman

Jo Nesbo is regarded as the Norweigan version of Stiegg Larsson. I can see the comparison, both writers have a dark and cold atmosphere in their books (native to their home towns that they write from) but Nesbo’s character Harry Hole is a bit more traditional in the who dun it variety than Lisbeth Salander ever was.

The Snowman is a good murder mystery, especially if you like scandinavian vibe from authors like Stiegg Larsson and Lars Kepler. Nesbo has a series that follows this character, so if you enjoy it there are sure to be a number of good books to read afterwards.

 

Outliers

This is the story of success. Not the glorified examples of a down and out hero who comes back to win the championship but an actual study of why people succeed and more importantly what circumstances allow them to succeed.

This is chalked full of amazing stories of why people have become huge successes and what events in their life allowed them to succeed.

 

Double Dead

I randomly came across Chuck Wendig on my Google+ feed for a link to his book 500 things a writer should do which is also a good book if you’re interested in that variety. I like it so much I wanted to check out his fiction and the plot seemed pretty unique and interesting.

Double Dead is about a Vampire who wakes up in the midst of the Zombie apocalypse and he’s struggling to find actual humans who aren’t zombies to feed on but he has to be careful not to run out of his food supply. Good book. Interesting story line and an exciting adventure.

theflinch

The Flinch | a book review

“In rugby, I was told, ‘show me a guy who flinches and ill show you a guy who gets injured.’ In mountain biking, they say the best way to get hurt is to brake. Riding fast helps. All of life is like this your’e only as strong as your weakest moments”

As I started reading The Flinch, I hated it…at first. I think I’ve said this before but the beginning of this book reminded me of so many other books and blog posts that I almost gave up. I thought it was just Juliens spin on the same thing that everyone else has been writing about, which it is in a way.

I haven’t been following Julien very closely, I have a general idea of who he is and what he does but I don’t follow his posts and tweets as closely as I do some other people. I did however stumble upon his post about reading a book a week for a year. Finally we connected on something! It was that post that inspired me to do my own read a book a week challenge and since I was already reading The Flinch I thought I should just keep going and finish it out. And I’m glad I did.

The Flinch shares some thoughts on ‘Doing The Work’ and fighting ‘the resistance’ but the one thing that really resonated with me was about acknowledging your fears and hesitations and fighting through them to do the right thing. or less dramatically, to break out of your comfort zone and expand your horizons.

The Flinch, as Julien puts it is, the point at which you hesitate because you’re about to do something outside of your comfort zone. When you’re able to acknowledge that your hesitation is your natural defense against doing something that you wouldn’t normally do but which might improve yourself, the easier it becomes to actually do those things on a regular basis and eventually become the person you want to become or do the things you really want to do.

“this works on business settings and public speaking very well…tell yourself it doesn’t matter and it wont”

books

Reading A Book A Week In 2012

Reading a book a week in 2012
I’m a little late in jumping in on this but I’m going to give it a shot.

I’ve resolved to read a book a week in 2012. I was inspired by Julien Smith’s post about how he did it last year. Before I read his post, I had already made a few goals/resolutions about reading this year. Nearly every year I say I want to read more (I already enjoy reading and I probably read more than many people) and I wanted to read something that I wouldn’t normally choose. These are both great, but by reading a book a week, I will undoubtedly achieve both of the goals that I set for myself.

So this year my goal is 52 books. By Julien’s math, that’s about 40 pages a day (or 15% if you’re doing Kindle math). That shouldn’t be hard, right? Riiight. So far, I’m on track, four weeks into January and five books down. I’ve finished Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, The Flinch (by the same guy who inspired this challenge), The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly and Double Dead by Chuck Wendig (5 book in 4 weeks!). Below are a list of the books that I’ve marked on my list to read this year. In no particular order.

The Day of the Jackal – Frederick Forsythe

The Purple Cow – Seth Godin

What the Dog Saw – Malcolm Gladwell

Seeing Gray In a World of Black and White – Adam Hamilton

American Gods – Neal Gaiman

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

Savage Season – Joe Lansdale

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

In the Plex – Steven Levy

Anything You want – Derek Sivers

The Art of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau

When Christians Get It Wrong – Adam Hamilton

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – Susan Cain

For a little added emphasis, I wanted to throw in this little gem from Chuck Wendig from his post, 25 Things Writers Should Start Doing

Said it before, will say it again: we all get 24 hours in our day. Nobody has extra time. You must claim time for yourself and your writing. Time is a beast stampeding ever forward and we’re all on its back. Don’t get taken for a ride. Grab the reins. Whip that nag to go where you want her to go. Take control. Hell, pull out a big ol’ electric knife and carve off a quivering lardon of fatty Time Bacon all for yourself.

 

Any other suggestions for books to read this year? Let me know in the comments section.

Outliers: The Story of Success | a book review

Outliers was another fantastic book by Malcolm Gladwell. Its a scientific look at what makes people and situations so unique. In his own words, “Outlier is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience….I’m interested in men and women who, for one reason or another, are so accomplished and so extraordinary and so outside of ordinary experience that they are as puzzling to the rest of us as a cold day in August…Outliers is the story of Success. Actually its the story of luck and the opportunities that were provided to certain people that allowed them to succeed.”

Its not just a scientific look at this information that makes it good. Its scientific data told through stories…interesting stories that make you want to read more and learn more about them. There are some very interesting stories in here about Bill Gates, Bill Joy (founder of Sun Microsystems), stories about why Asians are good at math (seriously) about why Asian proverbs are more positive than Russian proverbs, about where a co-pilot is from matters more than anything else when looking at why a plane crashes! Fascinating stuff.

Outliers follows a similar flow that Gladwell used in The Tipping Point (also a great book). Its a conversational tone that makes both of these books so easy to read. It’s also the fascinating information that Gladwell has been able to discover. Here are a few quotes from the book that stood out to me.

“practice isn’t the thong you do when your good. Practice is the thing you do that makes you good.”

“Outliers are those who have been given opportunities-and who have had the strength and presence of mind to sieze them….Their sucess is not exceptional or mysterious. It is grounded in a web of advantages and inheritances, some deserved, some not, some earned, some just plain lucky-but all critical to making them who they are. The outlier, in the end, is not an outlier at all.”

“Our world only allowed one thirteen-year-old unlimited access to a time-sharing terminal in 1968. If a million teenagers had been given the same opportunity, how many more Microsofts would we have today? To build a better world we need to replace teh patchwork of lucky breaks and arbitrary advantages that today determine success.”

If you’re in need of something to read and you don’t mind thinking while you read, give this a shot. Its a fantastic book that you won’t regret spending your time on. Also, check out the other books by Gladwell. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Kindle Fire | A First Hand Look


The Kindle Fire has been out for a few months now and reviews have been coming in pretty consistently. Mainly saying that this is a mediocre device. Here is a good recap of what several of the online tech blogs thought of the Kindle Fire.

Regardless of the reviews, there is an awful lot of excitement around this device. I for one, am one of the excited ones. I’ve had the Fire for a few weeks and for what its meant to do, it does it great. In my mind, that means it makes it easy to read. Some people call it a tablet – wrong, others say its a media consumption device – close. But from what I’m looking at, its a full fledged reader. Its hand held (can’t do that with an iPad, two hands only please) and it allows you to easily read books, blogs, magazines, email, newsletters, RSS feeds etc…you name it and you can read it.

It also give you the ability (as a bonus) to browse the web, play games, watch videos – although aside from someone traveling, who would want to watch a movie from their Kindle Fire OR iPad(7 inches or 10 inches, why not watch it on 40 inches!)?

Lets talk about screensize for a sec. Admittedly, I was skeptical of the screen size. Is 7 big enough? Yes. Its actually a great size. If you’re like me, you want a tablet to use on the couch while watching TV or in bed reading or just keeping you occupied while traveling. The 7 inch size is perfect for that. Its small enough to carry around in one hand. You can watch the game, have a drink in one hand and have your website up at the same time in your other hand. The screen is perfect for reading a book or magazine. And If you’re on the web, most sites work great but you can always pinch and zoom. Also, the digital keyboard is a good size in portrait or landscape, so if you need to crank out an email you can. More likely, your tweets, facebook posts and notes are all easy to make.

You can do everything on here – except call people that you can do on your phone, its just a little bigger and easier (its also easier to get your content to read) you can do the same stuff your going to do on your laptop, its just a little harder to do a lot of typing or data entry (spreadsheets). its not meant to do everything but it still allows you to do them if you’re in a pinch.

Its a great device with the right mindset. Its not an iPad – nor is it trying to be. Its not a laptop and its not acting like one. One of the great aspects of the Kindle is that it makes it so easy to do what you want. Its easy to get online, its easy to read a book, its easy to read a magazine and its super easy to read your RSS feed or even check out a YouTube video. Its easy and simple. Amazon took what Apple is famous for and made this device simple, user friendly and focused. There is no need for a user manual, when you turn it on, you know what you can do, how to do it and what you want to do is right in front of you.

So whats wrong with it? Here are a few items that I find annoying:

  • You can’t hook the kindle up to your TV and watch Amazon videos through you’re TV. This is annoying for me because I don’t have a TV or device that streams Amazon videos.
  • Not all Android apps are avaialble for download. Specifically I’m thinking of Google apps, like Google Plus. You can go to the android app store, but you can’t always download those apps. The Amazon app store is slightly smaller. This is annoying but you can always just go to the website.
  • There is no desktop. There actually is a ‘desktop’ but its not a traditional desktop. Its not really something I don’t like but its definitly something that I am trying to get used to. Mainly because THIS IS NOT A COMPUTER. Its a reader or if you want, its a media device. You’re not supposed to do all of the same things you do on your computer.

All in all, this is a great device. If you’re expecting a laptop, you won’t like this. If you want a suped up Kindle that will let you do whatever you want, you’ll love it.