Teaching a Teen to Drive in Southern California

Abbey behind the wheelEarlier this year, Abbey got her driver’s license. She’s the fourth child I’ve taught to drive, and my last. Riding along with my kids while teaching them was challenging at times, interesting at others, and, believe it or not, fun overall.

Through the experience, I’ve learned that teaching a teenager to drive takes a lot of composure, even more patience, and a process. While I can’t help much with the composure and patience parts, teaching four kids has allowed me to develop and refine my process that I’m going to share with you in the rest of this post. 

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Book review: Artemis

Book cover - Artemis by Andy WeirThe Martian is one of my all-time favorite books. I loved the near-term science fiction that seemed to cover all the intricate details of a manned mission to Mars. The first person narration from astronaut Nick Watney’s point of view was top notch as well. It felt like I was stranded on Mars with him.

When author Andy Weir came out with his second novel, Artemis, there was no question in my mind that I was going to read it. I was eager to see if he would tackle the challenge of establishing a colony on the moon with the same level of detail as he did a manned mission to Mars. I was also looking forward to being entertained, which certainly wasn’t an issue in The Martian. Let’s see how Weir did with his follow-on.

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We Are Family

Since moving to California over 25 years ago, getting the whole family together has been a rare event. There’s only been a couple of times that I can remember. It usually takes a significant life event to make it happen, and Brad’s wedding in Ann Arbor, MI last month was one such opportunity to bring everyone together. It was great seeing how many immediate and extended family members made the effort and were able to make the trip.

The Borodaty family

There were so many memorable moments at the wedding, but here are the ones that have stuck with me since the trip.

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Book review: A Return to Love – Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles

Book cover for A Return to Love by Marianne WilliamsonPersonal development books are one of my primary reading genres. Since I’ve started down this path a few years back, I’ve discovered a seemingly limitless number of books and related resources. Some have come through the Amazon recommendation engine. Many others have come through discussions with friends and colleagues about the books we’ve read. At the end of the day, it’s amazing how many great resources are available to us these days.

The best of these resources are books that provide both guidance on better living and challenge our thinking, whether it is about ourselves or the world around us. A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles by Marianne Williamson clearly fits and definitely belongs in this category. 

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Our most precious resource

In our daily activities, it’s easy to forget that life isn’t about what happens to us at work. It’s not about the latest current event or news article. It’s not about binge watching the latest and greatest television series. It’s not about accumulating ‘likes’ on Facebook, ‘followers’ on Twitter, or wishing we had the life of an ‘influencer’ on Instagram.

When you talk to people who are nearing the end of their lives, they don’t wish they had spent more time on social media and the internet. They don’t wish they had worked more. They don’t wish they had spent more time binge watching television shows. They don’t wish they owned more stuff.

So what do they wish for?

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Book review: The 1-Page Marketing Plan

Book cover for The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib

There aren’t a lot of books available that apply to small business owners. Most business books focus on theoretical concepts that apply to bigger businesses and corporations. The techniques and principles are complex, require large teams and specialized resources, and may even require complex tools or software to implement. They don’t take into account the limited time and budget a small business owner has.

When you’re running a small business or just starting out, it’s the simple things that are important. As the business owner or CEO, you need to stay focused on the marketing of your product(s) and service(s) in order to generate the sales to maintain and grow it. Usually, you don’t need a lot of time, money, or resources to effectively market your business. What you need is discipline, perseverance, and a well thought out plan. Fortunately, I was introduced to a book recently that fits these requirements perfectly, the The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib.

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Book review: The Stone Man

Book cover for The Stone Man by Luke SmitherdMy recreational reading habits involve reading quite a bit of science fiction. The genre is extremely deep. There are plenty of well known, popular authors and books to choose from, but I love discovering the lesser known, sometimes self-published ones. The Stone Man by Luke Smitherd is one such example. I’m not sure how it ended up on my reading list, but my best guess would be that I found it through the Amazon recommendation engine. Either way, it was in my preferred genre, and the description and reviews made it sound like an interesting read.

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The measure of a life is not time or money

I wish I could take credit for title of this post, but I stole it from the end of Steve Blank’s commencement speech to the 2019 graduating class at UC Santa Cruz. I would urge you to swing by Steve’s website and read the speech in its entirety, or watch the video if that’s more you’re thing. Here’s the link to it – https://steveblank.com/2019/06/18/u-c-santa-cruz-commencement-speech-2019/.

Even though I have never personally met Steve, I have a lot of respect for his writings, what he has done for the tech entrepreneurial community, and his public service, which he discusses in his commencement speech. Living in California, the stories he has written about his time spent on the California Coastal Commission have been very informative. It has made me more aware and appreciative of the natural beauty of the California coastline, and the effort that it takes to protect and keep it that way.

Steve’s writings are always full of good insight, such as this one on the failings of the current generation of start-ups (and this one too),. Very few people in the tech community have the courage to call out the need for change, but this is a story for another time that I’ll hopefully get around to posting about soon.

In the meantime, getting back on topic, Steve covers four important lessons he learned while working on the Coastal Commission. The lessons aren’t just for the college graduates. They are life lessons that all of us can benefit from.

I’m going to close this post the same way Steve closed his speech. Here are his words to the graduates, which are words we should all keep front of mind as we go about our daily activities:

Graudates, as you set out on your own extraordinary adventures, remember the measure of a life is not time or money. It’s the impact you make serving God, your family, community, and country.

Your report card is whether you leave the world a better place.

 

Book review: Company

Book cover - Company by Max BarryMy reading list is long. It may not be the longest out there, but by my standards, it’s ridiculously long. There are books that I’ve added to it that sit there for years before I get to them. Such was the case with Company by Max Barry.

I’m not 100% certain how I came across Company, but my best guess is that it was my nemesis, the Amazon recommendation engine. What I am sure of is that I added the book to my reading list years ago. It made it to my reading list for 2017, but I didn’t quite get down that far. Since I like sampling books for different authors, I prioritized it in my 2018 reading list, and finally got around to it (yes, I know, I’m still quite a bit behind on my book reviews).

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On meditation

Near the beginning of this year, I decided to add meditation to my morning routine. Numerous books I had read recently talked about the benefits of regular meditation, so I figured it would be worth trying.

I started by doing unguided meditations, which pretty much involved sitting quietly on the floor with my eyes closed for five minutes. Since then, I’ve transitioned to doing guided meditations using the Headspace app, which came recommended by a close friend. 

After doing a few weeks of unguided meditations, and now using Headspace for almost 3 months, here are my thoughts on the activity.

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