Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What I'm Reading

I haven't done one of these in a while, so this is what I've read this year:

The Art of Learning
by Josh Waitzkin - This is one of the best books I've ever read. Waitzkin is genius, and has led an incredible life so far. He has spent his entire life analyzing how he learns and reacts to stimuli, which is why he has the credentials to write this book. I'm just going to go ahead and admit that most people won't like this book as much as I did, because about 25% of it is spent on an idea that I'm obsessed with: slowing down time. Many people have had these experiences - whether it is during an accident or just seeing something incredible - where time slows down to a crawl. He explains how to cultivate these experiences and use it when you want to. Not to mention the other 75% of the book which breaks down the learning process brilliantly.

I, Claudius
by Robert Graves - The first historical fiction book I've ever read, and it was very, very good. The story itself is incredible. If you don't know who Claudius was, he was born lame in 10 BC. He hid behind his shell of a body and used his appearance to stay alive during an extremely tumultuous time in Rome, where he eventually became Emperor. Amazingly researched, and while I don't know exactly how much Graves made up, it was an awesome read into an idea of what it was like to live back then.

The Art Of War
by Sun Tzu - Obviously a good book, but it didn't impact me that much for some reason. Possibly because I have already read so many of his strategies expanded on in other books. Most of what is in it just seemed obvious by the time I read it.

The Great Santini
by Pat Conroy - Lifted out of Tucker's reading list, a well done book with a main character that you shouldn't like, but you can't help to.

Tribes by Seth Godin - I love the idea behind the book, it's one of those things that seems so innate, but having it spelled and fleshed out brings out the beauty behind it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Assuming Risk

I recently had the choice between a couple different jobs. I could of chosen to do the type of job that I have done before, just mindless busy-work, or I could go in a new direction - a job that puts 100% of the risk on myself. Either I put in the effort, learn skills that I will need in the future, become good at what I do, and be very highly compensated for it, or I fail, and make nothing while losing a lot of time. Easy choice. I've been reading a lot about the selling process, but reading is only part of the equation, knowledge might be an ingredient to success, but it definitely isn't the key. If you don't practice and apply what you know, they just remain other peoples ideas, once you implement them and apply them to your own situations, then they become your own.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ads in Google Reader

Right on the heels of this post by Steve Rubel, Google Reader just put ads up in their feed. I have no idea why he didn't think that Google would be able to run ads, but they apparently can. This pisses me off, because now the beautiful clean look of Reader is gone, but the good news is that there aren't ads in every feed for some reason. The only one I have noticed so far is in the WSJ's Numbers Guy blog, does Google have to ask for permission to put ads up? Hopefully, because if there are ads in every single post, then I might look for another reader.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I haven't posted in a week, I've been really busy with trips and school starting up today, so sorry for not posting, but I should have some posts up soon. But I have to lay out who I want to win on Sunday, in the NFL Conference Championships.

Arizona/Philadelphia: I was born in Arizona, and have spent my whole life here. During that time, I almost became a Cardinals fan. They have been consistently horrendous through my whole life, but I was about 10 minutes away from buying season tickets when they were moving into their new stadium. I decided against it, but I've always secretly rooted for them, and anyone who is man enough to be a fan of a team this continuously bad has my respect. Everyone seems to keep doubting them, so that should continue to fuel them in their underdog role, and with Boldin coming back, and Westbrook getting hurt again, I think they pull this one out.

Pittsburgh/Baltimore: Now for the game that I really care about. I have been a Ravens fan since 2001 or 2002. I LOVE this team. Pittsburgh played incredible against San Diego, and San Diego couldn't stop them from running the ball right up the middle. The Ravens can. Flacco has been completely unflappable, and I'd like him to get some more throws in this game, he is not a normal rookie. Both of the games between the two so far this year have been incredible, with plenty of controversy in both. For some reason, I just feel like the Ravens pull it together, (they've played 17 straight weeks without a bye) and find a way to win. I just think this defense has too much pride to be beaten 3 times in a season by their biggest rival.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Training for the jump

Throughout my life, I have always thought that big opportunities are all around us. The obvious problem is that we don't see them coming and almost all the time only notice them once they have past. Why do we constantly miss things that seem so obvious after they are already taken advantage of? Two reasons. We do not question enough of what we see, the motivations behind how something is done, or why it isn't done another way. But also, we cannot see what we don't understand. The only way to understand an opportunity that is almost certainly not the norm, is by engaging your mind with constant new ideas, testing them against one another, and then seeing which makes the most sense. How are you supposed to see something different if you are not questioning why things are done the same?

That is why I have always tried to learn as much as possible, at all times. Every time I have an article that I don't want to read because I am lazy, I think about how maybe this is the article that will make the connection I need to understand something, and then act, in the future. Whether it is seeing what's missing, or noticing a flaw that is making something inefficient. We have to incessantly be absorbing new things, or we will just get stuck in the static of current ideas.

Like someone smarter than me said, "If you challenge the conventional wisdom, you will find ways to do things much better than they are currently done."