Looking back at 2018 after one day into 2019, one word comes to mind, tumultuous. I started a new job, read more books in a year than ever before, and got back into writing and recording original music. Picked up some new life lessons that I'll be trying to implement in 2019. We'll see how that goes.
2018 included some Nordic highlights. I finally got to live the dream of seeing Finnish rock vocalist (ex Nightwish singer) Tarja Turunen sing a medley of Nightwish songs. Her concert was one of the best live shows I saw in 2018. Thanks to a friend I was also introduced to the Finnish rock group Sturm und Drang. Although the band is unfortunately no longer together, their 2012 album "Graduation Day" is one of the best rock albums I've heard in a long time (here is one the singles from the album). I also found out from 23andme that I'm 2.4% Finnish! Hence my affinity for everything Nordic.
As an avid podcast listener I've added a new section to this year-in-review, "Current Podcast Subscriptions". It's a snapshot of the podcasts I'm subscribed to right now. Curious to see how this list evolves in years to come.
I wanted to also surface this wonderful Scott Forstall interview from 2017. Scott was the software leader for the first iPhone, and this was his first public interview since he had left Apple. The interview is inspirational and includes some fantastic lessons and stories.
- Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly
- Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio García Martínez
- City of Thieves by David Benioff
- Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health by Ben Lynch
- Black Privilege: Opportunity Comes to Those Who Create It by Charlamagne Tha God
- Machine Learning Yearning by Andrew Ng
- How Does The Oura Ring Work by Ben Greenfield
- Productivity by Sam Altman
- How Airbnb Democratizes Data Science With Data University by Jeff Feng
- The Big Business of Becoming Bhad Bhabie by Jamie Lauren Keiles
Movies & Documentaries
- War Of The Worlds, Pt. 1 by Michael Romeo
- Sleepwalking by NINA
- Equinoxe Infinity by Jean-Michel Jarre
- Songs About People Including Myself by The Bad Dreamers
- Life Is Not Beautiful by Arion
- Kids by The Midnight
Current Podcast Subscriptions
- Jocko Podcast
- Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher
- The Ben Shapiro Show
- The Bill Simmons Podcast
- The Daily
- The Joe Rogan Experience
- The Kevin Rose Show
- The Lowe Post
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- This Week in Startups
wait just start Posts
In my 2016 post I set a few goals for 2017. Travel more (visited Sweden and Denmark). Launch a project (Bechant). Read (see below). Refine my diet (tried Keto, low-carb, learned a ton about nutrition) and exercise regiment (hello Kettle bells). And explore the great city of New York (done and done!).
Beyond the goals one experience stands out from 2017. The weekend long retreat I took in January with meditation teacher and author Tara Brach. I learned a lot about myself and met a lot of great people during the weekend. It coincided with the release of a new album by my all time favorite musician Mike Oldfield (first link in Albums section). Now every time I listen to the album the wave of emotions from the weekend envelop me. It was during this weekend that I wrote the post "A moment with my future self".
In the last quarter of 2017 I made a big change professionally by switching to part-time work. I spent my free hours diving deep into several industries (school nutrition, social emotional learning) seeking out potential entrepreneurial pursuits. Although I didn't find a concrete problem to solve, I learned a lot about the industries and also about my process for researching and refining a problem. My biggest takeaway? Remain disciplined. Make progress everyday. Read something, brainstorm, do something everyday. And eventually one idea can spark something bigger.
And so in 2018 my priority is discipline (borrowing from the first book in the Books list below). Setting up processes and habits I will follow everyday to make progress in relationships, music, career, personal projects, health and fitness. Did I mention music? I'm excited to say that I'm working on original music again! The last time I put out music was in 2012, so I'm already excited for what's to come in 2018.
And so here is to a disciplined 2018, here are some of my favorites from 2017...
- Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual by Jocko Willink
- A Confession by Leo Tolstoy
- Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari
- The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of Building of the Brooklyn Bridge by David McCullough
- I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- The War Against Boys
- Good and Bad Procrastination
- What You'll Wish You'd Known
- Things You Should Never Do, Part 1
- 100 Blocks a Day
- Devin Townsend's top 5 tips for guitarists
- Return to Ommadawn by Mike Oldfield
- Blade Runner 2049 Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer
- Letters to Myself by Cyhra
- Into the Great Unknown by H.E.A.T
- To The Bone by Steven Wilson
- Under Your Spell by The Birthday Massacre
- The Optimist by Anathema
- The Big Dream by Lonely Robot
- Blackfield V by Blackfield
NYC Places to eat/go
wait just start posts
2016 was a year of experiences. My second year in New York. My first year back at a startup. I got to see Sting and Peter Gabriel live, tried go cart racing and iMax Shift, took handstand lessons and got to hear the US Chief Data Scientist speak. I also traveled the most I've ever traveled in a single year, highlighted by a trip to Amsterdam and Cape Town South Africa.
In 2017 I aim to travel more. Launch some personal projects. Read. Refine my diet and exercise regiment. And continue to explore the great city of New York.
Here are some of my favorite things from 2016...
- The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly
- UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michelle Borba
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Sinbad by Kurt Vonnegut
- Know Your Customers’ “Jobs to Be Done”
- Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City
- Thoughts on Gender and Radical Candor
- John Myung’s Top 10 Bass Playing Tips
- 1,000 True Fans
- Von Mensch zu Mensch by Unheilig
- The Fall of a Rebel Angel by Enigma
- Atlas by FM-84
- Maximalism by Amaranthe
- Delirium by Lacuna Coil
- Falling Satellites by Frost*
- Lust and Loathing by The Unguided
- The Astonishing by Dream Theater
NYC Places to eat/go
- Uncle Boons
- Elevated Acre
- Four & Twenty Blackbirds
- Wah Fung Number 1 Fast Food
- Vinegar Hill House
- Jacob's Pickles
- Soba Totto
- Selamat Pagi
2015 was a year of many changes for me. I quit my job at Dell after 4 years of service. Sold my car, moved out of my condo, packed two suitcases, and moved to Brooklyn, New York. I started a new job at Amplify, only to get laid off 9 months after because News Corp. decided they no longer wanted to be in the education business. Thanks to friends and connections I was able to find a new opportunity very quickly and I'm happy to be back at a startup working on an important problem (child literacy).
I learned, experienced, and started many new things this year. This post is a collection of some of my favorites (they are not ranked in any order).
- The Naked Warrior by Pavel Tsatsouline
- Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
- Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It by Kelly Gallagher
- Mad Max: Fury Road
- A Most Violent Year
- Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger on Psychological Warfare
- Pavel Tsatsouline on the Science of Strength and the Art of Physical Performance
- The “Wizard” of Hollywood, Robert Rodriguez
- The Person I Call Most for Startup Advice
Song discovery of the year
NYC Places to eat/go
- Table 87 (best pizza in NYC)
- Bedouin Tent
- Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine
- Frankies Spuntino 457
- Steve's Authentic Key Lime Pies
- Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Harney & Sons
- Gourmanoff (Russian Whole Foods)
- Nargis Café (Russian fooood)
- Calexico Carne Asada
- Academy Records Annex