Category Archives: Books

10% Happier

Just finished 10% Happier by Dan Harris that chronicles his journey from young upstart reporter to drug use then finding meditation as a tool to help calm the mind and make him 10% happier. It really is a good book, and his sarcastic tone makes it a perfect read for anyone skeptical of meditation and Buddhism. Probably my favorite chapter is the one on his experience at a 10 day silent retreat, and the skeptical/derogatory thoughts running through his mind. In the end, the best part is that I didn’t think it came off as preachy or as my mom would say “she she la la”. Give it a try, or if you want to check out his next book try: Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics. It’s on my list.

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Tribe of Mentors

Just finished Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss which is really just a follow up to Tools of Titans if you ask me. That said, there’s still some wisdom here that is worth considering. Find some of my highlights and points to ponder below.

  • addiction is when we’ve “lost the freedom to abstain.” Let us reclaim that freedom.
  • While everyone else is running around with a list of responsibilities a mile long—things they’re not actually responsible for—you’ve got just that one-item list. You’ve got just one thing to manage: your choices, your will, your mind. So mind it.
  • Most teenagers choose to fool around rather than exert themselves. Halfhearted, lazy effort gives them a ready-made excuse: “It doesn’t matter. I wasn’t even trying.”
  • One of the most powerful things you can do as a human being in our hyperconnected, 24/7 media world is say: “I don’t know.” Or, more provocatively: “I don’t care.”
  • There is almost no situation in which hatred helps. Yet almost every situation is made better by love—or empathy, understanding, appreciation
  • We’d rather be pissed off, bitter, raging inside than risk an awkward conversation that might actually help this person and make the world a better place. We don’t just want people to be better, we expect it to magically happen
  • amor fati (a love of fate). It’s not just accepting, it’s loving everything that happens.
  • Let’s not confuse acceptance with passivity.
  • Perhaps today will be the day when we experience happiness or wisdom. Don’t try to grab that moment and hold on to it with all your might. It’s not under your control how long it lasts. Enjoy it, recognize it, remember it. Having it for a moment is the same as having it forever.
  • there is one thing and only one thing that causes unhappiness. The name of that thing is Attachment.
  • Don’t let another day tick away in ignorance of the reality that you’re a dying person. We all are. Can today be the day we stop pretending otherwise?
  • while we might be good at protecting our physical property, we are far too lax at enforcing our mental boundaries. Property can be regained; there is quite a bit of it out there—some of it still untouched by man. But time? Time is our most irreplaceable asset—we cannot buy more of it. We can only strive to waste as little as possible.
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Kristen Hadeed – Learning to Lead

I thought this was pretty good and she has an interesting story. Feel free to pick up a copy of the book too.

#238: Kristen Hadeed—Learning to Lead

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The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Just finished “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz who is probably best known as the Horowitz in “Andreessen Horowitz” – as in Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame. It was a quick read. Mostly targeted at CEOs, especially CEOs of tech startups, but still had some useful ideas and concepts for those of us not in that camp. I’ve pulled out a few of my favorites below.

  • If you’re going to eat $hit, don’t nibble
  • The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible
  • In any human interaction, the required amount of communication is inversely proportional to the level of trust.
  • Build a culture that rewards – not punishes – people for getting problems into the open where they can be solved.
  • When you expect your employees to act like adults, they generally do. If you treat them like children, then get ready for your company to turn into one big Barney episode.
  • Being too busy to train is the moral equivalent of being too hungry to eat.
  • Management purely by numbers is sort of like painting by numbers—it’s strictly for amateurs.
  • The Law of Crappy People states: For any title level in a large organization, the talent on that level will eventually converge to the crappiest person with the title.
  • Once an employee takes a public stance, the social pressure for him to be consistent is enormous.
  • Shock is a great mechanism for behavioral change.
  • Move fast and break things.
  • Perks are good, but they are not culture.
  • You want to optimize the organization for the people—for the people doing the work—not for the managers.
  • In life, everybody faces choices between doing what’s popular, easy, and wrong versus doing what’s lonely, difficult, and right.
  • How easy is it for any given individual contributor to get her job done?” In well-run organizations, people can focus on their work (as opposed to politics and bureaucratic procedures) and have confidence that if they get their work done, good things will happen both for the company and for them personally. By contrast, in a poorly run organization, people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries and broken processes.
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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*uck

Recently finished listening to the audio version of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, and have to say I would highly recommend it. You’ll have to get past the language if that’s an issue for you, but the message is definitely worth it.

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The Checklist Manifesto

Just finished The Checklist Manifesto

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…and now I’m contemplating checklists for everything 🙂 Really though, it was a good quick read and had a number of gems like this one:

“under conditions of true complexity—where the knowledge required exceeds that of any individual and unpredictability reigns—efforts to dictate every step from the center will fail. People need room to act and adapt. Yet they cannot succeed as isolated individuals, either—that is anarchy”

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Now Reading Atlas Shrugged

Now Reading Ayn Rand’s Classic: Atlas Shrugged

It’s been a long time since I’ve started on a book that has been hard to put down. After hearing about this book for years I finally had someone get it for me off of my wishlist and I’ve been up every night until around midnight to 1am reading. At over 1000 pages it’s a long read but it’s a great story with a message I mostly agree with (so far). Of course there are a few things I’m not entirely on board with, but I’m interested to see how it all shakes out in the end. By far my favorite part is Francisco’s speech at Jim Taggat’s wedding about 35% of the way into the book. Right now I’m on John Galt’s radio address near the end and sadly it’s my least favorite part. Too long winded. If he wants to sell his idea to the world I say he needs to cut to the chase instead of blathering on. The mental image I keep getting is of the entire nation listening, and after about ten minutes just tuning out.

Still, this is one book I would highly recommend.

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Clutterfree with Kids


A few weeks ago I was honored to receive an advanced copy of “Clutterfree with Kids” by Joshua Becker for review. One of the things I appreciate most about Joshua’s writing and articles is that he’s what I consider a “normal” minimalist in that he owns a house, has kids, and has a job. In other words, he’s just like you and me – only he and his family have chosen to live a life of less so that they may appreciate it more. Even better, he rightfully acknowledges that everyone’s brand of minimalism is different.

Regarding the book, I’ll say that if you’ve read one book on minimalism you’ve read them all and this is not a huge exception to the rule, but if you have not this is a great place to start if you consider yourself to be a “normal” person and are interested in how living a life of less can give you more.

I think the key if you’re married is that you have to get your spouse on-board. Otherwise, don’t expect to have a truly “clutterfree” life (not that it’s really even possible with kids). I think the most you can really hope for is a more organized chaos. Making intentional choices like limiting TV or Internet time. Choosing to eat together as a family. Choosing your activities more deliberately. Choosing to travel with less so that you experience more.

To hit on some of the high points, these were a few of my main take-aways…

  • Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it <- Read that again
  • Start with small victories. Don’t tackle the hard things first.
  • Owning less allows us to own higher quality items.
  • Consider the true cost of your purchases – time, maintenance, cleaning
  • Less is different than none.
  • There is more joy to be found in owning less then can ever be found in organizing more.
  • Organizing more never addresses the underlying problem.
  • It is far better to de-own than to declutter.
  • Intentionally or unintentionally we are all minimizing something.
  • Gift giving: take time to let the fads show themselves then purge without concern. Conversely don’t force your ideas on others.
  • Compare downward – many people with less “stuff” are actually happier.

Bottom line, for a couple bucks and a few hours of your time, there are much worse things you could be doing, and on the bright side, it just may change your life. Can’t go wrong with that.

Get the book today

What do you think?

PS: Thanks again Joshua for allowing me to preview the book. I read every word, and it was a good refresher.

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Now Reading Mini-Missions

Reading Courtney Carver’s latest book: Mini-Missions for Simplicity

Interesting so far. Anyone else out there read it? Thoughts?

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