The best way to start one’s day is by reading something positive and inspirational. For 2018, I used The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations of Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday. I discovered the book through one of my trusted review sources, the blog of Brad Feld. He wrote about it towards the end of 2017. After reading his review, I figured it would be a great way to start my day throughout 2018. Previously, I had been using numerous blogs for daily readings, but there’s something different about a daily reading that follows a theme and has a purpose. For me, it’s one of the many things that makes The Daily Stoic special.
2018 makes it 6 years that I’ve been keeping the blog. As I’ve done for each of the past five years, here’s a look back at the past year. We’re going to do the usual tour through traffic, number of posts, popular posts, performance to 2018 goals, and the goals for 2019.
For reference purposes, you can see the posts for of the previous years by clicking on any of the following years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013.
You would think that a self-help book written over 100 years ago, in 1903 to be exact, would not be applicable in the modern world. A person writing a book at that time would not have to deal with the distractions of mobile phones, email, social media, and incessant negativity in the media. How could their wisdom possibly help someone today?
As it turns out, some pieces of wisdom are timeless when it comes to personal development. The guidance James Allen provides in As a Man Thinketh is one such case in point. It was the first book I read in 2018, and it was a great way to kick off the year.
During 2018, I read 27 books, which is slightly above my average for a year. I read a mix of science fiction, personal development, business, and general fiction books. As I like to do every year, here’s my best of list from the past year. You can use these to round out your 2019 reading list if you’re in need of a few suggestions.
A couple of years ago, I made the choice to take a more focused approach with my reading. Instead of sprinkling personal development reads in with my fun reads, I chose to separate them into their own list. I also decided that I would dedicate time each morning to reading those books. The purpose was (is) two-fold:
- I wanted to develop better habits to manage my behaviors and actions; and
- I wanted to start the day with positive energy and thoughts, which you don’t get from reading the daily news or from morning talk shows
My adventure has been both interesting and rewarding. What’s interesting is that once you make the choice to explore a specific genre of books, you discover that the depth of books in that genre is limitless. In addition to getting tips from Amazon’s relentless recommendation engine, the books themselves contain their own recommendations, reading lists, and resources to explore.
Such is how I discovered The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Anchor. The book was suggested reading in The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, which was one of my top reads for 2017. So it should come as no surprise that The Happiness Advantage was one of my top suggested reads for 2018. So yes, even though I finished the book over a year ago, here is my review.
As I do each year, I finished organizing my reading list for 2019 this past week. While my list is still ridiculously long at over 200 books, I did a better job of managing it during the past year. I read 27 books and only added 36 the list. Given I read 25-30 books per year, I’m still sitting around 8 years of backlog.
I have a well documented love-hate relationship with the Amazon recommendation engine. Sometimes it’s spot on, and other times not so much. No matter the case, it’s omnipresent and seems to follow me around. My latest read, The Everything Box by Richard Kadrey, came courtesy of the Amazon recommendation engine through their sci-fiction and fantasy newsletter. I subscribe because I like seeing what’s up and coming in the science fiction genre. The Everything Box, as it so happens, fits more into the Fantasy domain. I figured I’d still give it a shot to see if the recommendation still had “it”.
Given how out of control my reading list is (200 books and climbing), it can be a while before I get to one I’ve added. Such was the case with The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. The book made the Gizmodo Best of 2015 list, that was published in December of 2015. I added it then, so it took a couple of years to get around to reading it. Given the length of time some books languish on my reading list, that wasn’t all that bad. In fact, there’s books that have been on my reading list for over 5 years. I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll ever make it around to cracking those open.
So my calendar may be off by a few days. I realize that it’s nearly mid-December, but, as they say, better late than never.
Even though I said it wasn’t going to happen again, I let the beard make another appearance this year. For this edition, I switched things up just a bit. I let it go five weeks with little, if any grooming, which is the picture you see here. I also decided to start it a little early. I usually let the beard stick around until after the holidays, but I’m not planning on it this year.
I’m still not feeling the beard, even after having done it for the last 7+ years. This could be the last year it makes an appearance.
Then again, I say that every year, so even I wouldn’t bet on it. As a good friend of mine says, I’m 85% certain this is it.
If you’re interested in taking a peak back here’s the post from last year that has a history dating back to 2012 – Fear the Beard – 2017.
Over the last few years, I’ve discovered that success is directly correlated to how we manage ourselves, especially our inner voice or self talk. To improve, I’ve sought out a number of books on the topic and have adjusted my routine by adding a morning reading session focused on personal development. One of the books I consistently come back to is Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. It has had such a significant impact that I figured I should pick up another book authored by him (or in this case inspired by him), which led me to Zero Resistance Selling.
A couple of things stand-out with regards to the book. First, it would appear that it is a book about sales, which it is. However, there is a lot of things you can take from the book and apply to your specific career and, more generally speaking, your life. Second, the book isn’t directly authored by Dr. Maltz but by a collection of five authors who apply his Psycho-Cybernetics teaching to the profession of sales. Regardless, the book still feels as though it is written in the voice of Dr. Maltz himself.