Roz Savage has written 2 books about ocean rowing. I decided to read her account of rowing across the Atlantic since I had just watched a documentary about rowing the Pacific.
I really enjoyed Savage’s account of participating in the Atlantic Rowing Race. I didn’t know this event existed, but my timing was fantastic because I got to follow the end of the 2017 race while reading this book.
It is a journey of self-discovery and reflection. The deepening relationship with her mother was especially touching. I also enjoyed the layout of the book and how she tied the emotions she felt while rowing to different people and events that led her to the middle of the Atlantic.
Rowing across an ocean seems agonizing, and like it or not Savage shares gory details about boils and sores that the documentary I watched glossed over. It’s also very dark in some places which made me wonder why anyone would want to do this to themselves. The challenges she faced toward the end of the race were particularly gut-wrenching. The anticipation of being done mixed with the frustration of yet another obstacle must have made the finish all the sweeter.
The Clouds of Anxiety chapter was my least favorite because it goes into the details of her divorce. Who am I to judge another person’s journey? It is an important part of Savage’s life, so I’m glad that she shared the memories in the book. I also liked that she thanked her ex-husband in the Acknowledgements which made it seem like a happier outcome for all involved.
A short, exciting read that I would recommend to anyone looking to delight in a second-hand adventure.
I’m learning the bluegrass style of banjo playing which is often called Scruggs style. I wanted to read more about the man who has influenced so many artists.
It’s refreshing to read about such a talented man who also seemed like a genuinely nice person. Many of the people who knew Earl Scruggs commented on his generosity as much as his skill with the banjo. And Scruggs path to icon status shows the impact he had on the world of bluegrass.
The book certainly has a bias in favor of Scruggs. They don’t go into a lot of details around the negative aspects of his life like band break ups or some of the personal issues he faced. However, it is more of a memoir about his banjo playing rather than a full biography so that makes sense.
The last chapter called The Influence of Earl Scruggs was dry and formulaic just listing quotes from people who were directly or indirectly influenced by Scruggs. Since most of the people were mentioned throughout the book it seemed repetitive. A sad last note for an otherwise fantastic book.
This is a great read I would highly recommend to anyone with an interest in the banjo. I’m glad I read it after I started learning the banjo because there are a number of passages where they discuss Scruggs specific technique that would have gone over my head without some knowledge of the instrument. Another tip to enhance your enjoyment of the book is to listen to one of Scruggs instrumental albums while reading. It really brings it to life!
Bonus Material: Check out this fun video mentioned in the book of Flatt & Scruggs on the Beverly Hillbillies!
The title of this book jumped out at me when I was searching for books on the banjo. It has great reviews on Goodreads so I thought I would give it a shot.
I didn’t realize there was enough material to write a biography on a musical instrument, but the banjo’s history is extensive. Dubois explores the earliest writings and images of the banjo to piece together how it traveled from Africa to America and the different groups that embraced and changed it. Strife shaped banjo music and some parts of this book were horrifying. I reconciled my continued interest in classic banjo songs and the twang of the instrument by realizing it’s always better to know the truth no matter how brutal.
An added bonus, Dubois introduced me to a number of different banjoists (and the word banjoist). I am now obsessed with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, even though they seem to have all moved on to solo careers. I started a Banjo playlist on Spotify so that I don’t lose track of these great artists.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone with a passing interest in the banjo. You’ll get a lot more than you bargained for. But keep in mind it’s an academic work. I’m glad I read it on our Surface so I could easily look up all the words I was sure Dubois was making up.
The Little Book of Common Sense Investing opens with Buffet’s “Gotrocks Family” parable which sets the tone for the entire book. Investing carries inherent risk, but the average investor exacerbates the problem by trying to beat the market. Bogle asserts that index funds let the market work for you.
The facts, figures, and math are easy to follow and lend credibility to the argument rather than bogging it down. I especially like the “Don’t Take My Word For It” sections that show how other top financial minds are interpreting the data and investing.
I’ve always been intimidated by the stock market, and even though I have investments I haven’t felt comfortable with my portfolio decisions. I am not sure if this is my confirmation bias, but I love that this book made me feel comfortable with a set it and forget it strategy.
It’s a fantastic book that will make you feel empowered to start investing. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
Judging this book by it’s cover did not work out so well…
This book reads like a blog, because Brooke is a blogger. Each chapter is a day in the month and has a series of challenges at the end. I read it straight through even though it is intended to be read one day/chapter at a time. Each section isn’t applicable to everyone so you can certainly skip around and focus on the parts that will help you the most.
It is nice to have a lot of helpful advice all in one book with logical categorization. If nothing else I was turned on to Amazon’s Subscribe & Save so that’s a plus. The fact that she gives advice in areas that she admits to not being an expert in (like recommending homeopathy in the name of saving money) made me to give this book a lower grade.
It’s good for anyone just starting their financial journey. However, a lot of the information can be found on her Creative Savings blog.
It isn’t easy to find quality books on generosity. A lot of the lists that I perused were overly religious, hokey, or geared towards children. When I read the synopsis for More or Less it seemed in line with what I am trying to accomplish.
This book is the practical application of generosity. It is told through a series of anecdotes about what has worked for Shinabarger and his family and friends. The “Enough Talk” sections help the reader to stop thinking about being generous and start being generous. There were a number of times that I put down the book, and did SOMETHING. It was fantastic!
Through the course of reading this book I made a clothing donation, meditated, and sent my gift cards to Gift Card Giver. It is amazing what can be accomplished in a short amount of time when you confront your excess.
With as much focus as there is on practical application, I was expecting more from the “Your Enough Experiment” section. It could have been more straight forward, but does seem to align with my habit building, so that’s a plus.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for inspiration during the giving season. It is also a great read for anyone else with a minimalist bent.
What books inspire your generosity? Please share your recommendations in the comments.
I lost touch with reality in the month of August while preparing to take the PMP exam, but it was worth the effort because I passed with flying colors!
Action Plan Progress:
DONE – Completed the Agile PMP training seminar
DONE – Read Critical Chain by Eliyahu Goldratt
DONE – Completed the RMC PMP Exam Prep course
DONE – Read the PMP Handbook
DONE – Completed the PMP application
DONE – Passed the PMP exam
The Agile PMP
The Agile PMP course was a part of the Project Management Institute’s SeminarsWorld event. Karl Muenchow led us through 2-days of great content. His presentations have helped me to reconcile the gap between old-world-PMP and new-world-agile frameworks. They are not as far apart as some would have you believe, and this new perspective has helped me a lot at work.
This book was recommended to me by a colleague. It is supposed to do for project management what The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement did for production. I don’t think it is as good as The Goal. The sections about how padding estimates creates more problems than it solves was very well done, and it has helped to solidify my understanding of estimating. I would recommend this book as light reading for project managers.
The rest of my action plan was geared toward the PMP exam. Submitting the application was a stressful process, but most exam prep classes give you some tips and tools related to completing the application. I also attended a PMI workshop that walked me through the process. I probably could have figured it out on my own, but was glad for the extra support.
I do not think I could have passed the test without taking a prep class. RMC Learning Solutions came highly recommended and I took their 2-Day PMP Exam Prep Course. It is an intense course that comes complete with homework! They helped me to identify the gaps in my knowledge base and tailor a study plan for my needs. In the 2.5 weeks between the course and my exam date I studied for 37 hours and took 2 practice exams. And when I was done I saw the most beautiful email header I have ever seen…
And with that I have achieved my project management goals for the year! Now I am going to focus on other areas of personal development.
Please share any goals you have achieved this year in the comments below. We should all take time to celebrate the wins!
The section where Openshaw listed all the different types of greens she uses in her smoothies and what parts of the plant to use was excellent. This week I left the ribs of most of my leafy greens in and I’m excited to try my radicchio and dandelion greens smoothies. I wish there had been a similar breakdown for the fruits and to that end there was not nearly enough of the content that I wanted. Anecdotes and unsubstantiated claims abound. I also thought her recipes had too much going on. I would not recommend this book, but I’m glad I read it.
Tonic is a local kitchen and juice bar located in Rochester, MN. Clayton and I stopped in at the start of a road trip and they had a great selection of fresh juices and smoothies. I went with the Coastal Sunshine: orange, lemon, lime, and carrot. It was good, if a little heavy on the carrots.
For dinner I ordered the Market Vegetable Wrap and Clayton ordered the Midwest Mac. I ate more of Clayton’s meal than my own even though I was pleasantly surprised by the kale chips.
Our smoothie consumption stayed steady after I stopped tracking this habit daily. Of all the habits I have featured on this blog, this one has been the most successful. I feel comfortable moving forward without an additional check in!
Please stay tuned for a new habit as I continue my journey of personal development.
King shares an unedited fictional piece, and then a mark up of the same work. This is exactly what I have been looking for in these writing books. King’s work as a teacher gives weight to the lessons in this book.
It’s a popular book for good reason, and I recommend it to anyone looking to improve their writing.
6 Month Goals:
Improve my blogging stats
Blog about 4 new habits (one in each category)
Read a book to help improve my writing
Watch a documentary on writing/writers
Accomplishments abound with this blog. My closet is clean, I drink smoothies, eat veggies, lost 10 pounds, and manage projects better than ever. The best part is I’m still doing all of my favorite things like watching movies, reading books, and trying new things; just in a more focused manner. Here’s to leveraging your strengths!
I picked up this book at Urban Outfitters last week because I thought it could help me achieve my goals for this diet habit and the goals I had for my previous meditation habit. I also loved the design elements and photographs.
Part 1 of Eat Yourself Calm is about how the food you eat impacts your ability to cope with stress. It includes what foods can help combat stress and a guide of what to eat for specific symptoms like irritability or low energy. It concludes with a meal plan that seems pretty intense.
Part 2 is a variety of recipes that utilize the ingredients discussed in Part 1. It is broken down by course, and I am especially excited to try the healthy, calming desserts. I am most intrigued by the Mango Brulee:
2 large, ripe mangoes – peeled/stoned/sliced
2 teaspoons rum OR vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
6 teaspoons brown sugar
Divide sliced mangoes between 4 small ramekins filling them half way, then drizzle rum or vanilla and sprinkle cinnamon. Spoon yogurt on top and level. Sprinkle the brown sugar on top. Low broil for 5 minutes until sugar browns and bubbles.
Doesn’t that sound amazing?! I’m sure this will pop up on my Instagram feed soon.
Do you have a favorite healthy recipe that helps you relax? Please share the recipe in the comments!
Only add greens to your smoothies (kale, spinach, etc.), not other vegetables (carrots, beets, etc.)
Simple recipe: greens, fruit, water
Drink your smoothie by itself, not as a part of a meal
Part 2 offers a tremendous amount of recipes, some more appetizing than others. After reading through the recipes I’m excited to try new ingredients like bok choy, celery, and tomatoes.
This book is a quick and enjoyable read, but there were too many dubious claims for me to give it a higher grade. In appendix 2 Clent Manich lists out 18 benefits he has experienced from drinking green smoothies including whiter teeth and sweeter breath. There is also an “Anticancer Smoothie” recipe. Despite the widely quoted material there still seemed a lack of credible evidence.
I read this book hoping to get some new ideas for smoothies recipes and pick up some helpful tips on smoothie prep. In that respect this book was spot on, but could have been 50 pages shorter.
Did you notice any significant changes once you started drinking green smoothies? Please share your experience in the comments.