Other Things I’ve Read In 2013

As stated in the previous post, here are some things that I read that deserve to be counted among the things I read this past year in their own separate list.

Books I Have Started But Not Finished

  • The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman: Timothy Ferriss — This book actually explains, up front, that the best way to read it is not cover-to-cover. Instead, it proposes specific chapters in order to achieve specific goals (weight loss, increased strength, etc.). Therefore, I went with that. What I read was great.

  • Value-Based Fees: How to Charge – and Get – What You’re Worth: Alan Weiss — This is perhaps one of the most influential books I’ve read about charging for your services as a freelancer/consultant. But, I’ve had to take it in slowly and re-read several sections in order to meditate on the ultimate meaning and application to my business.

  • StrengthsFinder 2.0: Tom Rath — The book is really only a guide to the real product which is a test that helps you evaluate, understand, and best leverage your strengths. A code to take the test is included in the back of the book. Therefore, the strategy is to read the introduction and take the test. The rest of the book is meaningless until you do so and not even needed once you do so. All the information you need is included in the test results.

Books I Wrote Or Was Otherwise Involved In

In fairness, a lot of my reading time is taken up by reading my own books or books I’m somehow involved in. If I’m asked to write a forward for a book, I will likely read through it a couple of times — before and after writing the forward — to make it a good fit. I then often read through it a third time after it has been published. In fact, I might read through my own books a dozen times or more in the process of editing and publishing. This year, these books include:

  • The Mobile Writer eBook: Julio Ojeda-Zapata — I wrote the forward for this and it features my writing methods throughout. Julio is a good friend and it was an honor to be asked and included. Therefore, I’m hardly unbiased. That said, this is a perfect book for any writer who has wanted to get more productivity while on the go.

  • So, You Want To Be A Mac Consultant… — My guide to everything you need to know to get started as an independent technology consultant. If you’ve ever even considered it, this will give you the tools you need to make the leap.

  • Minimal Mac: What We Believe In — My updated and expanded collection of the best post from four years of my other site, Minimal Mac.

Other Things I Read

  • Literary Journals — I read a couple of literary journals that I picked up at a book fair this summer. First volumes of The Common and Rust Belt Rising. Enjoyed them both and reminded me of my love of a good literary journal.

  • The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls – Three Stories by JD Salinger — Three previously little known and unpublished short stories by one of my favorite authors leaked for free online. This was a no brainer. So, so, rewarding.

  • Articles in Instapaper, various magazines I read monthly, etc. — The point being that time reading these (still valuable and worthy) things means less time for reading a good book.

Books I’ve Read 2013

Here is a list of the books that I read this year. I try to post this up once a year as a reminder for myself that, despite my feeling like I did not read enough, I actually read more than I thought. There might even be a few I have missed recording but this constitutes the bulk of it.

Last year, I just gave a simple list of the books I read. This year, I added a short review to each. It was also my goal to read more fiction than I normally do. I think I did well with that goal but know I could (and want to) do better in the coming year. More on that later.

This also does not include some items I felt deserved a list or two of their own. More on these later too.

So, without further delay…

Kindness

Kindness. It is amazingly simple to practice. It avoids so much suffering. Yet I’ve seen so little of it as of late. Especially surprising given the season.

If Justine Sacco had practiced kindness, would she have been more mindful of how hurtful her words may be? If those who read those words had practiced kindness in their response, would she have lost her job or had the opportunity to learn and, thus, be even better at it?

If those on the Angry Mac Bastards podcast had practiced kindness in their constructive criticism of Aaron Vegh’s webpage, would he have had the opportunity to make it better? If the response from Aaron and others who took umbrage would have been that of kindness, would there have been opportunity for all to understand a way to communicate disagreements better?

These are just two recent and raw examples of cases where I really think that kindness and compassion displayed by either side would have helped. Instead, we have people who have lost their jobs or felt forced to shutter something they enjoyed. And, the hurt feelings, anger, and feeling of having been attacked remain on all sides.

And, here’s a little secret I’m going to tell you — kindness in the face of an adversary immediately gives you, the kind practitioner, the upper hand. It often throws those gripped by anger off balance. It often diffuses the tension. It puts one in a position of power to effect positive change. And, even if it fails to do any of those things, it garners the support of those viewing from the outside. Who can fault the person who tried to bring kindness, compassion, and understanding into a bad situation? Who can fault the person who stands with peace in opposition to aggression? Who really has the moral power and respect of others — one who takes up arms against another or one who lays theirs down in response?

I would argue that it is my practice of kindness in such situations that gives me the most power. So, instead of being disheartened by the lack of it I have witnessed lately, I’m encouraged to practice kindness even more. I invite you to do the same.

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