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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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”.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.
I get out to Las Vegas a couple of times every year. Usually, I’m there without a car, and my coffee options are limited to what’s available on The Strip. Unless you’re drinking the coffee from one of the restaurants, about the only place you can get a cup is by venturing into one of the stores with the big green logo.
Since I’m not a big fan of their coffee, and I had access to a car on my recent trip to Vegas, I decided it was time to venture off The Strip to see what Las Vegas had to offer in the way of coffee. Given the population density, I figured there must be at least a couple of worthy options if I was up for doing some exploring. Without giving too much away, let’s just say my hunch was correct.
A couple of the computer science topics that I am deeply interested in are machine learning and artificial intelligence. I’m particularly interested in the progress and development of artificial intelligence. It’s already a part of our everyday life. Currently, it’s narrow in the tasks that it handles. If you’ve ever used Google’s search engine, the Facebook news feed, a maps application for directions, or the sales chat/IM features on a website, you’ve interacted with AI.
The development path for AI is to move it from narrow to more general tasks. It is here where there is a fear that AI will reach the point of “singularity.” Singularity is considered the point of runaway technological advancement where the AI moves from narrow tasks to general intelligence. At that point, it develops the ability to learn, or improve itself, faster than humans can control it. In the apocalyptic scenarios, the AI evolves rapidly to the point where it sees humans as resources to be optimized, which might eventually result in the extinction of the human race. While that is the grim side, there is also the hopeful side that a runaway AI will usher in a new age of prosperity for the human race in which rote, menial tasks are done by machines while humans can focus on more meaningful items.
In addition to sampling Seattle’s coffee and ice cream scene (two of my favorite indulgences, by the way), I had the opportunity to check out a few restaurants during my time there this summer, too. The restaurant selection in Seattle is large, diverse, and good – very good. It doesn’t top San Francisco or New York City in my opinion, but it certainly holds its own. Of the numerous places I tried, here are the ones that stood out. They’re the ones that I hope to get back to someday and would recommend to anyone visiting the city.