Book review: Eat That Frog!

Book cover for Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy

I’ve been on a bit of a roll over the last year when it comes to reading productivity books. A few of the titles I’ve read include The Miracle Morning, Getting Things Done, The 80/20 Principle, Deep Work, and Get It Done. Next up on my list was Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy. It was recommended to me by a customer contact a couple of years back and finally reached the top of my 2019 reading list.

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Turning Off the Media Noise

A couple of years ago, I made a conscience decision to cut my media consumption. I stopped watching morning television to start my day. I quit watching evening television shows. I even changed my engagement with sports. Instead of letting it run (and sometimes ruin) my life, I started treating it for what it is – entertainment. Even though I never had a big social media presence, I totally disconnected from it. I significantly cut the number of blogs I follow. You get the picture, I turned down the media noise in my life.

You would think that I would have missed out on important events, that I would have lost touch with family and friends, that I would have been left behind, disconnected from the world, out of touch with reality.

Turns out, none of that came to pass. In fact, I’ve found that my mental state of mind and attitude towards life has never been better.

Coincidence, I don’t think so. And here’s why.

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Book review – Randomize

Book cover for Randomize (Amazon Forward) by Andy Weir

I really like the idea behind the Amazon Forward series. They pulled together six up-and-coming science fiction authors and had each of them write a short story.

I started off the series by reading Summer Frost by Blake Crouch, which I thoroughly enjoyed. For my second read in the series, I chose Randomize by Andy Weir. I’ve read other books by Weir which include The Martian and Artemis. The Martian was the best book I read back in 2014, and it remains one of my all-time favorites.

Based on my experience with Summer Frost and my prior experience with Weir’s writing, I was looking forward to diving in to Randomize. Here’s my take on it.

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Teaching a Teen to Drive – Urban Driving, The Final Exam

Map for Urban Drive - Final ExamCanyon and urban driving are the two primary themes of my long drives when I teach a teen to drive. I find that I can mix-in other important driving concepts, such as freeway driving, within these themes.

We’ve already completed two other urban drives in my teaching a teen to drive series. For drive #8, we’re going to do our Urban Driving Final Exam. It will be a mix of congested city streets and freeways. We’ll be navigating the busiest and most challenging freeways around Los Angeles – the CA-110 from Pasadena through downtown LA, the Santa Monica Freeway through the Westside, the 405 over the Sepulveda Pass, and the US-101 through the San Fernando Valley.

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Book review: The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs

Book cover for The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs by Hal Elrod and Cameron HeroldI’m continually on the lookout for ways to improve. I especially like reading books that provide tips and techniques on managing myself. With each book I read, there is often at least a couple of things, and sometimes more, that I learn about and can incorporate into my daily routine.

It’s one of main reasons that I became interested in The Miracle Morning, which is available in numerous versions. There is a generic title that is applicable to everyone and other versions tailored to specific occupations. For example, there is a version for real estate agents, one for salespeople, one for writers, and one for college students. Since I spend the majority of my days running my own business. I chose to read the version titled The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs by Hal Elrod and Cameron Herold.

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Going Off the Strip in Las Vegas

Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada SignBetween business and pleasure, I usually go to Las Vegas 3-4 times per year. I spend most of my time on the Strip, primarily out of convenience. What I’ve learned is that you pay for that convenience. Prices for everything on the Strip are easily double, triple, or more than what you’ll pay off the strip. If you like to gamble, the table stakes are 2-3x what you can get at the “local” places. What’s even more disappointing are your options for coffee. Unless the ‘Big Green Machine’ is your favorite place, you’re pretty much out of luck.

In recent years, I’ve spent time trying to get to know Las Vegas outside of the Strip. I’ve discovered the area has a lot of character and, outside of the many casinos sprinkled throughout town, is not much different than any other ‘normal’ city. I’ve even managed to find a few great places to get coffee (and breakfast) as well as some fun things to do that won’t cost you a fortune.

The next time you’re in Las Vegas and have access to a car, or don’t mind taking a longer taxi ride, here are some place you should consider adding to your list of things to do.

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Book review: Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue

Book cover for Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue by Hugh HoweyEver since reading Wool, I’ve been a fan of author Hugh Howey. I’ve read quite a few of his works including Sand, Beacon 23, Hurricane, Half Way Home, and numerous short stories. They vary in terms of genre, though he has a tendency to lean more towards science fiction, which is how I discovered him. What I find distinctive about his writing is how immersive and engaging his stories are. He has a knack for building vivid environments in your mind, developing relatable characters, and telling a story.

Every year, I do my best to have a least one Hugh Howey book on my reading list. For 2019, that book was Molly Fyde and the Parsona Rescue.

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Teaching a Teen to Drive – Urban Driving, Part 2

Map for Urban Driving, Part 2After a teen driver has mastered canyon driving and is confident handling a car, I like to spend more instruction time in urban driving situations. Urban driving can be just as challenging as canyon driving, but in a different way. Whereas canyon driving focuses on handling and cornering, urban driving teaches a new driver how to deal with distractions, how to handle obstacles of all sorts (pedestrians, cyclists, kites in the road), and how to navigate congested city streets and stop-and-go freeway traffic.

For drive number 7, we’re going to head down to one of my favorite areas of Southern California, Santa Monica. We’re going to get there using Pacific Coast Highway (CA-1), drive around 3rd Street Promenade, and head back to Camarillo using the I-10, I-405, and US-101 – 3 of the busiest freeways you’ll find anywhere in the United States.

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Book review: Getting Things Done

Book cover for Getting Things Done by David AllenI’m in the middle of a productivity reading binge this year. It was inspired by Cal Newport’s Deep Work, which I read during the first half of 2018. Since then I’ve read the 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch and Get It Done by Michael Mackintosh. The next book up on my productivity journey was Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen. It was recommended by one of my co-workers, Julie Yousefi. Given how organized her desk always is, I figured she must be on to something and that Allen’s book was worth a read.

I wasn’t prepared for what I was getting into when I opened up Getting Things Done. Most books on productivity are theoretical. They give you some broad, generalized ideas that are left as an exercise to the reader to figure out how to incorporate into your daily routine. More often than not, I store away those theories as “to-do’s” and never get around to figuring out how to put them into practice.

Well, I’m here to tell you that Getting Things Done is short on theory and long on practical ideas that you can implement immediately, which is a good thing.

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Is this a Golden or Gilded Age for VC Funded Startups?

Last month’s delay of the WeWork IPO and the subsequent turmoil around the company got me thinking about the startup scene again. There seems to be a never-ending supply of capital available to promising startups. We’re seeing public market exists for companies Uber, Lyft, Slack, Peloton, Pinterest, and Zoom in the billions of dollars. On the surface, it would appear that we are in a golden age for startups.

Are we really in a golden age for VC-funded startups? Or is it possible that we could be in the gilded age of VC funded startups?

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