Warming up the gear (and top 10 books of 2019)

Alright so I’m getting back to podcasting. I’m going to try taking time to write up some show notes or at least some thoughts on the episode as a supplement. Here are the different sections of the episode.

Start, stop, continue (with the podcast)

I talked about getting back to podcasting. Because there were multiple months between basically every episode last year, I feel like a broken record at this point talking about how I’m going to get back into podcasting.

But mayyyyybe this time will be different.

Anyway I did write some notes about what I want to start, stop, and continue with the podcast. I think it’s a useful exercise that’s really flexible.

It’s flexible in time. You can look at a day of work and ask yourself what went well that you should continue doing (maybe you tried working out at a different time today and felt better for whatever reason), what you should stop doing (maybe you went too long without eating in the afternoon and ended up overeating at dinner), and what you want to experiment and start doing tomorrow (pre-plan a mid-afternoon snack).

You can expand it from a day to a month to do a monthly review.

It’s flexible in that you can use it to review different aspects of things in your life. Some of the examples above were for fitness and nutrition. But you can do it to review your writing habits.

You’re pausing to reflect and build awareness around what’s working and what’s not.

3 book quotes from some of my favorite books in 2019

Okay so I think that I can just put books and the quotes here. (I’m also realizing I can just write these posts out straight into WordPress and I can save the draft page as a PDF to use as my outline while recording the podcast episode.)

Oh yeah the books and quotes.

There was no method to picking these three books to pull quotes from except that they’re from my top 10 books from 2019. (Which I’ll get into in the next section.)

Alchemy by Rory Sutherland

“This book is intended as a provocation, and is only accidentally a work of philosophy. It is about how you and other humans make decisions, and why these decisions may differ from what might be considered ‘rationality’. My word to describe the way we make decisions – to distinguish it from the artificial concepts of ‘logic’ and ‘rationality’ – is ‘psycho-logic’. It often diverges dramatically from the kind of logic you’ll have been taught in high school maths lessons or in Economics 101. Rather than being designed to be optimal, it has evolved to be useful.”

It was great to read basically example after example of how we behave irrationally. And how you can use that knowledge (without abusing it) in work you create. If you’ve ever thought “oh so that’s why…” when someone points out elevator lobbies have mirrors or reflective surfaces to give people something to do while waiting (to make the wait seem shorter) then you’ll like this book because it has a bunch of stories like that.

Linchpin by Seth Godin

“Tom Peters, corporate gadfly and writer, is an artist, even though his readers are businesspeople. He’s an artist because he takes a stand, he takes the work personally, and he doesn’t care of someone disagrees. His art is part of him, and he feels compelled to share it with you because it’s important, not because he expects you to pay him for it.”

I have a bunch of weaknesses. I want to get back into leaning into strengths this year. One of them being that I do know how to make podcasts, make videos, and make blog posts. (Not make them well, mind you, but just that I understand the logistics which might be the least important thing in reality.)
This was a weakness when combined with the idea that you should focus on one thing at a time. (Which I very much believe in, but will put on hold for a bit.) Because, well, let me put it in a couple bullets.
  • What I probably should do that I think would work: focus on either the podcast, videos, or blog (but only one of the three!) for 6 or 12 weeks and then see how that goes, then switch to one of the remaining mediums. By the end of, say, 18 weeks, I’ll have a good idea of which one I’d probably want to focus on for the longer term.
  • What I would do instead: commit to podcasting for 6 weeks, podcast for mayyyybe 2 weeks, then decide to commit to videos for 6 weeks, make 1 video, then decide I should commit to daily IG stories for 6 weeks…

Instead, I’m going to just try doing a weekly mix for a longer term. And I’ll try to centralize everything to this blog. (At least writing up notes for podcasts and videos. Spread the surface area and all that)

Anyway. The reason I mention all that is that I think that might be how I can be a linchpin, by just rotating between mediums I know how to do. If anything, I think it’ll keep me interested in making things.

And for the third quote.

Work Clean by Dan Charnas
Me and Wally are going to talk about this book in our first episode back. It’s one of the best books I’ve read, particularly if you value books that change your behavior. Here’s a list of major principles presented in the book.
Charnas spells out the 10 major principles of mise-en-place for chefs and non chefs alike: (1) planning is prime; (2) arranging spaces and perfecting movements; (3) cleaning as you go; (4) making first moves; (5) finishing actions; (6) slowing down to speed up; (7) call and callback; (8) open ears and eyes; (9) inspect and correct; (10) total utilization.
There’s surprisingly no Kindle version. I read the audiobook and recently picked up a hardcover to re-read. I really just love this book.
I think me and Wally will split the 5 principles and go over each in our next episode. Maybe make it a 2 parter or something like that.

The top-10 books I read in 2019 (here’s the full, unranked list of 52-ish books)

I have some drafts of about books from this ranking (and, of course, some navel gazing about my reading process), but here’s the list.

  1. Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality
  2. Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense
  3. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
  4. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
  5. Work Clean: The life-changing power of mise-en-place to organize your life, work, and mind
  6. Liar’s Poker
  7. Creative Calling
  8. Recursion
  9. Stillness is the Key
  10. The Algebra of Happiness: Notes on the Pursuit of Success, Love, and Meaning