My 2018 reading list

I have a problem with my reading list – a big problem.

I organized my reading list over this past week for 2018. I was happy to learn that I read 28 books last year. Unfortunately, it didn’t even make a dent in my master wish list of books since I added 48 new books to my list during 2017. My wish list of books to read is sitting at over 200. Last year, I had 7 years of books on my list. This year it’s grown to 8.

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Book review: Disruptors, Discounters, and Doubters

Every so often, I like to read a business book on industry strategy. It’s even more interesting when the book is about an industry that I have a lot of contacts in and spend a lot of time working around – real estate. It made reading Disruptors, Discounters, and Doubters by Joe Rand an easy choice. For one, it was an excellent opportunity to gain valuable insight into the real estate industry and where it’s headed. Second, I know Joe personally and have on-going projects with him. I figured his book would provide a better, deeper understanding of the goals behind the projects we’re working on together.

What makes the book especially valuable for anyone working in and around real estate is that it is an insider’s view of the industry. More often than not, industry strategy books are written by outsiders who forecast or critique based on observation. Joe is writing his critiques while in the trenches. He has the foresight to see that disruption of the real estate industry is on the horizon. In fact, it’s inevitable. He’s raising the warning flag and suggesting that the disruption happen from within. Otherwise, those with little or no industry knowledge will force it on them from the outside .

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Books to read in 2018

Overall, 2017 was a very good year for book reading. My goal is to read 25 books during the course of a year, with a stretch goal of 30. My book count finished at 28 last year.

I changed things up a bit last year. In the past, I had only one book in progress at a time. In 2017, I almost always had two going at once. I would read a fun book during the evening, and a business or personal mindset book in the morning. I believe this strategy helped push me over the top with respect to my reading numbers. It also shaped my readings as the majority of the books I read last year were of a nonfiction variety. Not that it’s a bad thing, but I’d like to read a longer list of lighter, entertaining books in 2018.

I’m nearly finished compiling my 2018 reading list and plan to post in the next few days or so. In the meantime, here are the books I recommend that you include on your 2018 reading list.

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Book review: Cumulus

Cumulus by Eliot PeperI enjoy discovering and reading new authors, especially those that aren’t well known. I also find reading from a variety of authors important. Each has their own life experiences and philosophies that permeate their works.

One of the “undiscovered” authors I enjoyed reading during 2015 and 2016 was Eliot Peper. Even though I’m not a huge fan of the trilogy, I really enjoyed his Uncommon Stock series. I made it a point to put one of his more recent releases, Cumulus, on my 2017 reading list.

It took a while, but I finally got around to reading it over this past summer.

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2018 fitness goals

Just like years past, I had three primary fitness goals for 2017 around working out, activity, and diet. 2017 didn’t go quite as I would have liked due to a number of planned and unplanned circumstances. There was travel for work, an extended vacation, and the gym I frequent closed 3 weeks for remodeling. The loss of my furry companion in November didn’t help either.

I’m not suggesting or saying that 2017 was a disaster, it just wasn’t as good as 2016. For 2018, I’m going to make a few minor adjustments, set a couple of stretch goals, and make it happen!

Let’s take a look at 2017, and then set the goals for this year.

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Book review: Scrum – The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time

Scrum - The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland and J.J. SutherlandWhen it comes to work, there are a few principles that are important to me. One is to always be learning new things. A second, closely related principle, is to continuously improve. As part of living out these tenets, I like to read books that I can apply to my business. Because time is precious, I look to trusted sources and watch what other CEOs are reading and recommending to add to my reading list. I learned about the book Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland and J.J. Sutherland through Matt Blumberg’s Return Path blog. He had great things to say about the book. Since I run a software development business, it was a no-brainer to make sure I read the book during 2017.

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Letting go

Amanda move out dayIt was just over a year ago – December 3, 2016 to be exact. We helped Amanda pack up her stuff and moved her to Santa Barbara. She wanted to be closer to the job she had just started there, and I’m sure that she also wanted to have her own place (and a bit of space from her parents). Living with the parents is fine, to a point.

I was happy for her. Officially moving out is a big deal. It was great to see her achieve a significant milestone.

On the other hand, parts of me were sad. We do a lot for our children and always want the best for them. It’s hard watching them go and not knowing what will happen when they leave. At some point though, we have to do it. As hard as it is, we have to let go.

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Book review: Setting the Table

Setting the Table by Danny Meyer - Union Square Hospitality GroupWith most books, it’s pretty clear what you’re going to get when you read them. Others can surprise you. I’d have to put Setting the Table by Danny Meyer in the latter category.

I received the recommendation from a customer I started working with last year, who I would now consider a good friend. When we started working on a project together, he suggested that I read the book. My first thought was, “a book by a guy who runs restaurants, how could it possibly apply to my technology business?”

Turns out, the book is very applicable to my business. In fact, anyone running a business that deals with customers, meaning every business owner, can benefit from the lessons and experiences Danny Meyer’s shares.

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Blake

Blake - Resting after a walk

Resting after a walk (July 17, 2011)

This past Saturday, we had to make the difficult decision to put down our family dog, Blake. Needless to say, it’s been a tough week as we’ve worked our way through the grieving process. It’s amazing how much of a mark these silly, furry little animals make on our hearts and in our lives.

Dogs bring us so much joy, memories, frustrations, and sorrow. They teach us a lot, both about ourselves and about life. Here’s a look at what I learned in the 7-1/2 years I had with Blake.

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Book review: It Starts With Food

It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa HartwigOne of my reading themes is health and fitness. And why not? What we do and eat on a daily basis has a huge impact on our quality of life. It affects how we feel, energy levels, quality of sleep and more.

My latest read in this genre was recommended by my sister Tricia, who has become more aware of and interested in learning how food affects health. She suggested that I read It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig.

Given how much I got out of Wheat Belly and Grain Brain, adding It Starts With Food to my reading list was a no brainer. I was interested in seeing what other nutrition tips and ideas I could pick up from another source.

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