My Audible List

In Sept of 2013, I realized that I wasn’t reading quite as much as I’d like. The barrier that I felt was difficult to overcome was – time. To try and “read” more I subscribed to Audible and have been subscribed ever since. I love it. I often find myself listening to books: in the car, at the grocery store, on a run, walking Kelty…

I may not always be listening to a book, as i like to consume many podcasts also – but I’ve found Audible a great way to get the information from books that I want to read, but likely wouldn’t take the time to sit down and read (as evidenced by the number of unread books at my Kindle App at the moment).  I thought I’d share the list of books I’ve listened to, with one or two sentences about each:

List starts with most current:

  1. Predictably Irrational – started just this morning, I’ve heard Dan Ariely a couple times on youtube videos or podcasts and decided to finally listen to this book. Human behavior is my thing.
  2. Scrum, The art of doing twice the work in half the time – I listened to this on the car ride from Chicago last week. The methodology is mostly used and known within the software development world, so it was interesting to get other examples.
  3. The hard things about hard things – The VC world and how it impacts start-ups is of large interest to me. It was interesting to hear the stories that Ben Horowitz had as a entrepreneur prior to becoming a VC.
  4. Fooled by randomness – When I spend a lot of time thinking about using data, understanding patterns, etc. It’s good to have perspective that opens my mind to the idea that maybe, there are events that are not predictible and completely based on randomness.
  5. The patient will see you now – I loved the discussion and thought provoking ideas around the future of health care. Where will I fit into that mix as my mission is to provide preventive care?
  6. Rewire – started.. but didn’t get into it. May try again?
  7. The signal and the noise – It made me start thinking about how data is used, primarily in a Bayesian way. The idea of using probabilities to help guide your decision making and inferences, opposed to tests of significance is not a common practice in most academic literature and this made me think about that.
  8. The innovator’s dilemma – I’ve actually listened to this book twice. It has many lessons about the pitfalls businesses can encounter when innovation is hindered.
  9. The innovators – I love almost everthing I’ve read by Walter Isaacson (Einstein and Steve Job’s bio) and this is not different. I felt like I got a college education on the history of innovation in technology, which made me go listen to The Innovator’s Dilemma again.
  10. The wild truth – I started it… but stopped. The story was a little too depressing and made me feel really shity.
  11. Crucial conversations – listened to a few hours, didn’t finish.
  12. Zero to one – I love to listen to people that have contrarian view points and Peter Thiel is one of those guys. One lesson I took away is that when you are starting a business, look for the opportunity to establish a monopoly.
  13. What I learned losing a million dollars – It was one of Tim Ferriss’ book club suggestions. It was interesting and fun story to listen too, if nothing else because of the knowledge the guy started at the University of Kentucky.
  14. Antifragile – I liked the content of the book and enjoy Nassim Taleb’s points of view, but I stopped listening to this book about half way through. It should really be read and not listened to, so I hope to get to it again someday.
  15. The five dysfunctions of a team – I generally don’t like lessons being taught through stories and fables, but this book was worth the time to listen to. It’s easy to see how many of the dysfunctions can happen and are likely very common.
  16. Bird by bird – I purchased because Jason from This Week in Start-Ups suggested the title. I needed motivation to start writing again and it was enjoyable to hear the authors approach, struggles, etc.
  17. The art of mental training – I was wanting to read more on managing stress, anxiety and taking lessons from sport into other areas of life. The stories and narrative of the book were interesting, but hinted a little too much to the idea of the karate kid.
  18. Think like a freak – I love the freakonomics guys, so this book was a no-brainer. I need to go back and listen again.
  19. Shrinkage – The story of Bryan Bishop going through his experience with brain cancer. A tough topic with enough humor to make it palatable and not overly sad.
  20. The talent code – One of the best books that I’ve listened too on Audible, as the concepts are so widely applicable to my work as a coach. The value of practice is understood – but the right kind of practice is what really matters.
  21. The rise of superman – The ability for extreme sport athletes to achieve Flow is reviewed in this book, along with discussions on the benefits of achieving Flow. The topic of the dark side of Flow is also discussed, which is interesting for me at this point, because what does an athlete do when they can no longer unlock that feeling?
  22. The sports gene – The other book that I’ve enjoy the most, in counter argument to The Talent Code. Are some people born to have advantages in sports… of course they are.
  23. The everything store – I loved the background story about Amazon’s rise to becoming what they are today. I liked the biographical stories and insight about Jeff Bezos even more.
  24. Running Blind – one of the Jack Reacher novels.
  25. Free – Is it possible to have a business that operates on the idea that the price of an item or service is free? That’s the topic of the book and looking at the app and software world today, it feels like everything as the initial price of free.
  26. The energy bus – The Nebraska Athletic Director was said to have handed this to people when he got the job, so I wanted to listen. The Husker AD follows through with the philosphy as he fired Bo Pelini (who could easily be seen as a energy vampire)
  27. Tripwire – a Jack Reacher novel
  28. Die Trying – a Jack Reacher novel
  29. Killing Floor – a Jack Reacher novel

Wow. That is a lot more books than i realized as I’ve never when through them prior to just now. As you can tell, I do give myself permission to stop listening and move on to something else once I start to get bored or find no more value in the book. That is something I find much harder in a book that I’m reading, not sure why?

Any suggestions for something to listen to next?

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Book Review: How will you measure your life?

If you would have told me 20 years ago that I’d be interested in owning a business, I would had said you are freaking crazy. I saw my parents work days, nights, weekends, holidays and year round to make A-1 Air Care a viable enterprise that could keep the family’s bills paid. I had a love for being active, playing sports, bouncing basketballs and running down the runway to time my mile time (if you ever tried to land a plane at the Broken Bow, NE airport you likely saw me running around somewhere).

By the time I was heading to college, I thought I’d likely be a physical therapist or coach high school sports and become a teacher. I don’t know when, where or how it happened but somewhere around my junior year of college I got the idea that I wanted to start an internet business that pulled together different allied health professionals and serve people (it was 1999 / 2000 that year so I wasn’t alone in this thought). My drive to create a really great business started there and hasn’t stopped. The fact is that I’ve become really good at some things, but really bad at some things too.

The book, “How will you measure your life?” is a very interesting book because it takes business theories that Clayton Christensen has developed and then takes those theories and applies them to your life. It’s a positive way to approach the question, for me, because at this moment in time I appear to be more keen to view things through a business lens than a personal self actualization process. There are some interesting, almost Lean Startup, concepts in the book that are then taken to the personal level.

My best thoughts after reflecting on the book a little are this: In business when things don’t work out, what happens? For those of us that love the idea of creating, we start again. In our personal lives, at least at the end, there’s not the same ‘do over’ we may get in business; therefore use the same keen awareness and evaluation processes that you may dedicate to a business and at least be that diligent and intentional when managing your life.

Here are my top ten highlights taken from my Kindle notes:

One

People often think that the best way to predict the future is by collecting as much data as possible before making a decision. But this is like driving a car looking only at the rearview mirror—because data is only available about the past.

Two

But so much of what’s become popular thinking isn’t grounded in anything more than a series of anecdotes. Solving the challenges in your life requires a deep understanding of what causes what to happen.

Three

The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. —Steve Jobs

Four

All of these factors—priorities, balancing plans with opportunities, and allocating your resources—combine to create your strategy.

Five

“What about doing something important, or something you really love? Isn’t that why you came here?” “Don’t worry,” came back the answer. “This is just for a couple of years. I’ll pay off my loans, get myself in a good financial position, then I’ll go chase my real dreams.

They’d managed to expand their lifestyle to fit the salaries they were bringing in, and it was really difficult to wind that back. They’d made choices early on because of the hygiene factors, not true motivators, and they couldn’t find their way out of that trap.

Six

In my assessment, it is frightfully easy for us to lose our sense of the difference between what brings money and what causes happiness. You must be careful not to confuse correlation with causality in assessing the happiness we can find in different jobs.

Seven

This is another way of saying that if you are in these circumstances, experiment in life. As you learn from each experience, adjust. Then iterate quickly. Keep going through this process until your strategy begins to click.

Eight

Because if the decisions you make about where you invest your blood, sweat, and tears are not consistent with the person you aspire to be, you’ll never become that person.

Nine
A string of quotes, not taken in perfect sequence but fitting a nice theme

The same is true in our relationships: we go into them thinking about what we want rather than what is important to the other person. Changing your perspective is a powerful way to deepen your relationships.
More important, the jobs that your spouse is trying to do are often very different from the jobs that you think she should want to do.

A husband may be convinced that he is the selfless one, and also convinced that his wife is being self-centered because she doesn’t even notice everything he is giving her—and vice versa. This is exactly the interaction between the customers and the marketers of so many companies, too.

I deeply believe that the path to happiness in a relationship is not just about finding someone who you think is going to make you happy. Rather, the reverse is equally true: the path to happiness is about finding someone who you want to make happy, someone whose happiness is worth devoting yourself to.

But you have to go beyond understanding what job your spouse needs you to do. You have to do that job. You’ll have to devote your time and energy to the effort, be willing to suppress your own priorities and desires, and focus on doing what is required to make the other person happy.

Ten

The marginal cost of doing something “just this once” always seems to be negligible, but the full cost will typically be much higher. Yet unconsciously, we will naturally employ the marginal-cost doctrine in our personal lives. A voice in our head says, “Look, I know that as a general rule, most people shouldn’t do this. But in this particular extenuating circumstance, just this once, it’s okay.”

Interview he did with Forbes

Here’s a Tedx presentation that he did presenting these ideas: