Book review: Factfulness

Book cover of Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Turn on the evening news, and you will be overwhelmed with the tragic events of the day:

  • Terrorist attacks
  • Horrific storms and natural disasters
  • War, or the imminent threat of one
  • Mass shootings
  • School violence
  • Kidnappings
  • Animal attacks (e.g. sharks, bears, lions, etc.)

And the list goes on. It’s pretty easy to come to the conclusion that the world is a lot more dangerous, unsafe, and scarier than it’s ever been.

If you subscribe to the premise that the world is a more dangerous place, you should grab a copy of Factfulness by Hans Rosling. Rosling takes a measured, fact-based approach to show that the world is not as dangerous as the media would lead us to believe. Using numbers and statistics, he shows us that the world has never been a better and safer place than it is today.

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Rethinking Retirement

I find it interesting how society creates arbitrary rules that become the expected norm over time. Retiring at age 65 is one such example.

I’m not 100% certain, but I strongly suspect that the original Social Security Act, which was passed in 1935, had a lot to do with setting this expectation. It set an age of 65 to receive full retirement benefits. While the age requirement for receiving full benefits has been slowly increasing to 67, the “retirement age” in most people’s mind is still 65.

I believe it’s time we need to rethink retirement. We need to re-evaluate what it means to retire, and the age at which retirement starts. Here’s why.

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Book review: Emergency Skin

Book cover for Emergency Skin by N. K. Jemisin

When in between books on my reading list, I’ve been taking a break to explore the works in the Amazon Forward Collection. So far I’ve read Summer Frost by Blake Crouch, which I really liked, and Randomize by Andy Weir, which was decent. For my next selection, I chose Emergency Skin by N. K. Jemisin.

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Book review: The Energy Bus

Book cover for The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

Business books are generally very dry. Most times it feels like you’re reading an academic textbook or business journal article. Now, I’m not saying that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with that style. You can learn a lot from a good business book. I just find that it’s more enjoyable and easier to read a business book that teaches its concepts through an engaging, interactive story.

The first business book I read that was written in this style was The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. He used a fast-paced fictional story to show how his Theory of Constraints principles were applied to make a factory more efficient. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend reading it if you haven’t already. Since then, I’ve read a number of other business stories, including my latest read, The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon.

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Teaching a Teen to Drive – Final Thoughts

Over the last two months, I’ve documented the drives around Southern California that I used to teach my kids how to drive. There were a total of nine long drives, an overview and an introduction.

I didn’t have a teaching process when my first child was ready to drive. I stumbled upon one, somewhat by accident, while teaching her. The process worked so well for her that I continued using it with my other kids. Each time I revisited it, I refined and adjusted it to the final versions which I’ve shared here.

So with the drives documented, here are some parting thoughts and final words of wisdom to consider as you start the process of teaching your teenager how to drive.

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Book review: On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington)

Book cover for On Basilisk Station by David Weber

In addition to having a (ridiculously) long reading list, I also have a library of books that I’ve purchased and haven’t read. Some of these books have been sitting on my digital and physical bookshelves for 5 years or more. Usually this happens because I see the book through one of my daily deal emails from Amazon. The book title looks interesting, the description fits with one of my preferred reading genres, the reviews look promising, and the price is too good to pass up.

Such was the case with On Basilisk Station by David Weber. I saw the book in an Amazon Daily Deal email in January 2014 (date thanks to Amazon for keeping track of my purchases). The book fit with one of my preferred reading genres, science fiction. The reviews were encouraging. And the price was certainly too good to pass up since it was free.

From there, the book sat on my digital bookshelf. Each year when putting together my reading list, I had every intention of reading it. It just never made it to the top of my reading list, until earlier this year. So after languishing for over 5 years, I finally read On Basilisk Station.

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Supporting the Fourth Estate

I recently renewed my subscription to The Guardian. Given our expectation that news on the internet should be free, the $69 fee seems excessive. On the other hand, if you compare it to the role that an effective fourth estate fills in a democracy, the subscription rate is a bargain.

If news content on the internet is available for free, why did I decide to pay for it?

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Book review: Mindset – The New Psychology of Success

Book cover for Mindset by Carol Dweck

One of the (few) blogs that I follow on a daily basis is A Learning A Day written by Rohan Rajiv. It’s interesting to read his observations on life, what he has learned, and how he is applying the lessons learned.

In addition to his observational posts, he occasionally makes mention of books that he has found particularly insightful. At the end of 2017, he wrote about 5 books that had a significant impact on him. Given my interest in self management and self improvement, one of the books that looked particularly interesting on his list was Mindset by Carol Dweck.

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Teaching a Teen to Drive – Open Road, The Final Exam

Google Map for The Open Road, Final Exam

For the ninth, and final drive of my Teaching a Teen to Drive series, we’re going to hit the open road. We’ll be taking a long drive that tests all the skills of the prospective driver. There will be lengthy stretches of the three skills that are important for a new driver to master (in my opinion) – freeway driving, canyon driving, and urban driving.

This is also one of my favorite drives in all of Southern California. It hugs the coastline through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The inland portion that takes you over the San Marco Pass has stunning vistas on both the way up and on the way down. It’s a long drive that covers nearly 175 miles and will take 3-4 hours (or longer) to complete depending on stops.

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