Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Books I've read in the last two months...

Funny that this is one of the only resolutions that I’m doing really well about keeping. I’ve read the most amazing books in the last 2 months, including:
Getting Things Done—David Allen
This book is required reading for anyone who works a white-collar job. I can’t imagine getting organized and productive anymore without his guidance.
Mind Hacks, Mind Performance Hacks—Ron Hale-Evans
These two amazing books help explain the workings of the brain. An extremely interesting thing to read while also reading GTD.
The Road—Cormac McCarthy
This is the most prolific book of our time. Hands down. As depressing as the book was, I will end up rereading it at least two more times before I understand the two main characters in detail. I am more like the man but strive to be more like the boy. This thought scared me more than the landscape.
The World Inside—Robert Silverberg
Another dystopian novel, not nearly as prolific, but interesting in its own way. I only wish that you didn’t have to write a sexually shocking book in order to get published in the 70s, the free-love movement unfortunately vomiting over culture. The urbmon concept is really interesting though, and I do agree with the hypothesis that humans will evolve to mold into the constraints of their environment, be it biological, social, or political.
Also on audiobook I’m finishing Altered Carbok by Richard K. Morgan (thanking fate for Audible and iPods). Talk about dystopia. I still really don’t know what to think of the whole concept of sleeving.
I can say that I have accomplished restarting my reading bug again for the following reasons:
1. The only TV I watch anymore is whatever I can get from my iPod, South Park, or Lost. I’ve gone down from 20 hr/wk to 4.
2. I have 4 books on my plate now: The Illuminatus Trilogy (enjoyable reread), Them (interesting nonfiction about conspiracy theories), Freakonomics (wonderful way to learn economics), and David Allen’s sequel Ready For Anything.
3. I see no stop to reading in my foreseeable future.

David Allen knows...

I just finished reading Getting Things Done by David Allen. This is a very important book for anyone wanting to understand why you should get organized. I didn’t realize how much I was wasting by not doing so. It’s interesting that the book is about productivity and yet this is the first thing I thought to comment upon after reading it. Take it as a sign and check the book out; there are some really good hints there.

Small thanks

Lately I've found myself doing a curious thing with my mail at work. I will label each email that has a thank you that is in whole or in part directed at me, and label it "gratuity". I then reread these emails at the end of the week, via an automatic Outlook search folder. This allows me to do two things:
  1. It allows me to reflect on the good that I did during the week. Many times at work I may get the incorrect impression that I'm not doing a good enough job, or that I'm doing thankless tasks. This allows me to remember that I'm not.
  2. It also lets me know who is most thankful of my work, and this is the person who has the best impression of me, implying that this person is one I don't ever want to let down.
Does this seem simple or trite? It's not to me; even if the person is saying thank you in an offhand manner, it still conveys some level of gratitude. It also reminds me to respond in kind. I used to be "that guy", the one who wouldn't send thank-you cards. I now understand the importance of them, because even though I do so in a methodical manner (as methodical as my lazy-ass can become) I now realize that all people do the same thing, just more commonly on a more subconscious level.
I am typing this on my new laptop (thanks Mom and Dad!) and am now realizing that because of the small keyboard I end up typing across on my border letters again. I once broke that habit by only using split keyboards. Unfortunately I have redeveloped this habit. I can't complain too much though; the laptop kicks too much ass for me to begrudge it. :)
So, here's to breaking old habits, and hopefully forming new ones. Time for me to write a thank-you letter to my parents. They'll think that I've gone off my meds.