Week’s Highlights

Some of the things that caught my interest this week.

  • Stu Larsen’s “I Will Be Happy“. This may be my new travel anthem for a while. I had listened to George Ezra’s Wanted on Voyage, especially on my last trip to Europe. (Barcelona was a particular favorite.)
  • Fountain Pen usage. After listening to Neil Gaiman’s interview on the Tim Ferriss Show, where he talked about Moleskine and Leuchtturm notebooks, and the fountain pens he uses, I decided to look into breaking out some pens that I’ve had stashed away for quite a while. I usually use Uni-Ball Vision Micro, but I’m always willing to try something new.
  • “How Not to be Boring”. This was an interesting video that I think came to me from one of the few newsletters I didn’t unsubscribe to. There’s a lot going on here, and I think it touches on charisma, introversion, honest and truthful exchanges with others, and self-discovery.
  • Godel, Escher, Bach. This is a book I came to through Seth Godin’s blog some years ago, and I started reading it but never finished. While perusing a used book store a couple of weeks ago I found a well-thumbed copy, and I decided to give it a go. It’s been my go-to nonfiction for the past week, and I’m excited to make a dent in this tome.

April Reading

Books Bought:

  • My 1980s and Other Essays – Wayne Koestenbaum
  • Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, and Living with Books – Michael Dirda
  • Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad – Austin Kleon
  • Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant
  • Plato: Collected Dialogues – edited by Edith Hamilton
  • The Secrets of Closing the Sale – Zig Ziglar

Books Read:

  • Money: Master the Game – Tony Robbins
  • The Essential Rumi (Translated by Coleman Barks) – unfinished
  • The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham (Revised Edition) unfinished

After listening to the Tim Ferriss Show, mostly catching up on episodes I’ve missed, I heard him compliment Tony Robbins’s Money. I had audio book credits through Audible, and decided to give that one a try. So far I’m enjoying it. Some similar threads to Intelligent Investor – a book I’ve had for years but didn’t read much.

I’ve been an investor, and at times a speculator, over the past fifteen years. Mostly I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had success in school with Finance: Micro- and Macroeconomics; & Managerial and Financial Accounting. But mostly I just played around.

I had my first 401(k) in 2004, when I went full-time with NASCAR (prior to pursuing a career in the arts). In five years I think it went up to just over $10,000. I rolled that over into an IRA actually rather recently, in 2014 or 2015. Then, in 2016, I cashed out that IRA entirely. It was at the height of my dark period, and I was getting out of the country for a while.

I think even though I’m back in the country, I’m still somewhere else. My friend Anthony tells me that it’s been a three-year wake-up call, and now I get to be who I was supposed to be in the first place. Honestly, he may be right.

So I’ve been re-looking into the financial markets – which I did used to enjoy learning about.

I’m also newly into Audible, which I had cancelled maybe a decade ago… I like the physical book, more than I did audio or digital. However, I’m finding much more time spent driving or traveling in general, and the convenience of that audio book is nearly impossible to beat. After going from South of St. Petersburg to Daytona and back a few times last year – enough to listen to Ferriss’s 4-Hour Workweek twice, I decided it was time to re-up Audible.

As for Rumi, just another staple in my go-to perusal section. I’ve been thinking about the tavern-goer:

This drunkenness began in some other tavern. When I get back around to that place, I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile, I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary. The day is coming when I fly off, But who is it now in my ear who hears my voice? Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul? I cannot stop asking.

If I could taste one sip of an answer, I could break out of this prison for drunks. I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This is one of those constant quandaries that invades my thoughts, and reading Rumi not only gives it the poetic air, but also expands my thoughts on the problem itself. Knowing others who share your thoughts, your concerns, makes the load of those concerns a little lighter – even if this person has been deceased for quite some time.

My book purchases were impulses mostly. I knew the name Koestenbaum, but hadn’t read anything before by him. Browsings seems similar to Ten Years in the Tub, which I’ve yet to finish, but it’s right up my alley. I read Steal like an artist before, so I wanted to read Keep Going for a while. Kleon always has something fun and inspiring to say.

Two books of philosophy, for my downtime reading… (here’s hoping I get a lot of downtime). And Zig Ziglar came at the recommendation of Godin, and as I’m working in sales right (along with my other gigs) I thought improving those skills couldn’t hurt.

Time is a finite resource

How do you spend it? What does your currency go towards? Are you doing things that make you happy?

Some of the more pervasive questions I’ve been asking myself of late. Over the past two years I’ve had roughly 4 different jobs, and I’m currently interviewing for a new position. (Several, actually, across disparate fields.) I’ve had okay “jobs”, and tended to excel in them. However, much of the work has been hollow. Or left me feeling hollow.

Certainly it’s a societal norm to trade hours for money. And we trade the best years of our life away in a notion that we’ll enjoy our retirement that much more.

Yet I’ve been reading the 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss (finished it, and have actually begun rereading it). It’s one of those books that resonates with me. The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin was another. Business-focused, creative, and with just enough balls to say that the system may be wrong.

When I was a president of a board, I recall bumping against the mindset often; the mindset that was resistant to change because “it’s the way we’ve always done it.”

And if that’s the kind of mindset I have to fight tooth-and-nail with, is that really how I want to be spending my time?

I think not.