January, Book(S) of the Month.
Posted on February 4th, 2017
I set a new goal in 2017: Read one new book every week. One year, 52 books. I've decided to set each month around a different theme, be it sports, self-help, classics, best sellers etc. This first month I decided to read four un-related books that would help me focus and harness this new energy and excitement into something productive. Without further ado:
The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg
This book reads as a collection of short stories and case studies about what habits are, how to effectively implement them, and the impact the smallest of changes can make on your life. I didn't enjoy this book. I found it to be very surface level and it didn't get into anything deeper or more meaningful. All of the information in this book could have been efficiently written as a 1000 word blog post.
Quite frankly there is no ground breaking information in this book but rather Duhigg over-elaborates on extremely basic ideas. For example, food journaling, keystone habits, and cues and rewards. Can you say Zzzzzzz.
The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive - Jim Afremow, PhD
This book came and went way to quickly leaving me hanging on to every single word. My favorite thing about reading this book was the endless amount of inspirational quotes. Not only did Afremow relay the quote, he also gave it context in a way that the reader was directly motivated and involved in the topic. Because so many of these quotes resonated with me, I made an inspiration jar filled with little snippets of this book. Strategically placed in my common area (I live with five women) has allowed my entire house to benefit and further reach their goals.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- "Don't believe the hype - create it!"
- "Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are" - Chinese Proverb
- "Not being able to govern events, I govern myself." - Michel de Montaigne"
- "The key to peak performance lies within you."
- "Don't throw away even a single drop of sweat by holding yourself back."
One of my biggest take-aways was a case-study Afremow relayed done on long-distance cyclists. It concluded that cyclists achieved significantly faster times when riding in the presence of pacemakers, and that, "the bodily presence of another rider is a stimulus to the racer in arousing the competitive instinct". I've since adapted this to my lifestyle and have inserted myself into my friend Rachel's morning gym routine. Something about the accountability, wanting to beat her and better myself keeps me coming back at 6am.
This book was chalk full of easily actionable items. Amongst them were>
- Creating and sustaining a winning strategy for fitness
- Eating for Pleasure and Performance
- Pain Management: Brain over Pain
- Injury Management
- Regeneration and Relaxation Tips
- Goal Setting
- Anxiety and Panic Management
- Personal Pep Talks and Mental Strength
You'll have to read the book to get the full insight.
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich - Timothy Ferriss
I loved this book too. It was an easy read full of inspiration. As I'm in the midst of negotiating a work remote opportunity within my current position, I found everything to be extremely applicable to my lifestyle. What I liked most about the book was that at the end of every section/chapter there was a thorough list of online resources. Granted I knew half of them already, it still serves as a great reference.
This book is organized into four main categories:
The 4-Hour Workweek spells out step-by-step exactly how to lived untethered, how to create residual income, and how to travel the world cost effectively. Once you read this book, there are no excuses.
My one critique of this book is Ferriss's extreme romanticization of everywhere other than where you are. I felt like he was correlating happiness to movement, to living abroad, to the beach. Fantastic as that may be I've found that happiness is a way of live regardless of where you may live.
#Now: The Surprising Truth about the Power of Now - Dr. Max Mckeown
#Now is a predictable book talking about embracing today. In it, McKeown reiterates a series of studies that focus on people's ability to make decisions. It divides people into Nowists and Thenist and dives into the core behavioral characteristics that separate the two. Taking it one step further, he breaks down the Nowist category into dysfunctional and functional impulsivity. Dysfunctional Nowists often find themselves in trouble through avenues of gambling, addiction and financial missteps. Comparatively the healthier, functional Nowists are able to "roll with the punches", take steps to reach their long term visions, and set realistic goals.
I found humor when the author was talking about those who embrace a YOLO (you only live once) lifestyle. He categorizes this way of thinking as a Thenist mindset where the person evades responsibility by living in the day-to-day and thus making their goals unreachable.
If anything, this book served as a positive affirmation to myself that being a Nowist rocks.