A list of books, videos, and articles that have rubbed me the right way.

1. “5-Year Commitments” by Steve Pavlina |  article: self-improvement
Really good article that talks about committing and staying disciplined enough to stick with projects for the long term. He breaks down goals and progress into the simplest form, basically expressing that if you’re trying to get to the top level in any field, working at it for less than 5 years is a waste of time. Most people quit right before they make that huge leap of progress.


2. “Good to Great” by Jim Collins | book: business
Jim Collins is like a mad scientist of business. He analyzes the top public companies in recent history and compares them to other companies that are GOOD, but either fell off or weren’t able to reach the pinnacle. Then he gives us the results in the form of principles. The cover looks boring as shit, but this book might change your life.


3. “Be Free David Letterman Performance” by  J. Cole |  video: musical performance
I’m a huge hip-hop head and I feel like the dynamic of the culture is changing right now to become more artistic. I call the 90’s the golden era of hip-hop. I think right now is the renaissance. There are a lot of artists in the mainstream right now, probably due to the internet, that are being real creative and pushing the music forward by combining classic sounds with new cadences and revamped lyrics. It’s beautiful and J. Cole is one of the artists at the forefront of this new movement. This is an example of an unorthodox hip-hop performance on a Late Night show where they usually perform singles to get more fans.


4. “Lucid Dreaming: A Beginner’s Guide” by Tim Ferriss |  article: self-experimentation
I have been interested in lucid dreaming for a while, but have only succeeded in achieving the lucid state twice in my life that I can recall. With a little more time to experiment, I am using this as my guide. In the article, Tim Ferriss talks about how lucid dreaming has been used to enhance skill acquisition and achieve zen-like stress-free focus. Taking the time to learn how to consistently lucid dream sounds like an interesting and profitable practice.


5. “1,000 True Fans” by Kevin Kelly |  article: art & entrepreneurship
As a designer, artist, and entrepreneur, one of my goals is to connect with people all over the world on design and business projects through travel and through the internet. The idea of creating a brand (including website and Youtube channel) around this idea of gaining 1,000 true fans who love my projects so much that they are willing to pay for nearly everything I put out resonates with me. This is because I think if you have a skill, you can definitely build it to the point where at least 1,000 people absolutely adore it. Musician Amanda Palmer wrote a book about this recently called, “The Art of Asking”, which probably belongs on this list too.


6. “No More Yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or No” by Derek Sivers |  article: inspiration
This article talks about only doing projects that excite you so much that you say HELL YEAH. If it isn’t a “Hell yeah”, it is a no. The lesson here is to not settle. Make sure you have fun and make sure that life excites you.


7. “How Death Saved My Life” by The Buried Life |  video: death
The Buried Life is a group of four friends who set out one summer to check some things off their bucket lists. They were disillusioned after witnessing a death of a friend and questioned life and its purpose. On their trip, they realized that people were willing to help them achieve their dreams. In return, they offered to help others achieve their dreams by asking “What do you want to do before you die?”, and then did what they could do. This is an inspirational video that reminds you that life is finite.


8. “Ectomorph Workout Guide” by Jay |  article: workout
I’m a skinny bastard trying to get bigger and healthier. I’ve always had trouble gaining weight and this is currently the workout routine I follow (updated: 5/18/15)


9. “Light Weights Are Just As Good for Building Muscle” by McMaster University | article: exercise
Research shows that after 10 weeks of training to fatigue, light weights are just as effective as heavy weights in building muscle. On the other hand, those who trained with heavier weights showed a higher increase in strength compared to those who trained with light weights.


10. “The Truth About Moving Somewhere New By Yourself” by Erin Stephany | article: travel

This is a great article about the good and bad of living somewhere far away from home. It describes my experience pretty accurately.


11. “How Our Side Project Generated $51,365 In 60 Days” by Marshall & Jon | article: entrepreneurship

A fun article about how this collaborative made money from selling emoji masks. What? Yeah. There are some ups and downs that are valuable here. The lesson I got from this is that it’s really about taking action and keeping the momentum going. The planning, all that jazz, is often unnecessary. And we make it way more difficult than it needs to be.


12. “The Dream Team Documentary” | video: documentary

THE documentary about the original Dream Team, probably the greatest team ever assembled in basketball. I’m a huge fan of basketball and grew up in the Michael Jordan era of the NBA, so I recommend this to any basketball fan.


13. “Your Next Big Life-Changing Breakthrough Is Already Happening” by Mark Manson | article: motivation

This is an article reminding us that huge breakthrough moments are not really moments, but a collection of moments that follow process. He talks about the “breakthroughs” that Einstein, Harrison Ford, Michael Jordan, and Steve Jobs went through. Success is a process.


14. “36 Questions that Lead to Love” | article: relationships

Three sets of questions that are designed to bring two strangers closer to each other. The first time I tried this was with a friend with whom I had a rocky relationship with. We ended up having a three-hour long conversation that really helped us understand each other.


15. “How Hard is it Being a Wife and a Mom?” | video: self-improvement

I love love love love looooooooove this video. Jada Pinkett Smith answers the question from her daughter Willow: “How hard is being a wife and a mother?”. In her response, she talks about how she learned that she had to take care of herself in order to be the best mother she could be. She talks about the difficulty of finding balance to do the things that she wants to do as an individual. In the beginning, she forgot how to take care of herself and explains that you have to take care of yourself and make sure that your mental and physical well-being are at the capacity for you to be able to help others. You have to fill the well. The more in balance you are, the more you are able to be a better person for the people in your life.


16. “Derek Sivers on Developing Confidence, Finding Happiness, and Saying “No” to Millions” | podcast: self-improvement

Derek Sivers is such an intriguing, atypical successful person. What I mean is, he is not all about optimizing everything and working to the limit. On the contrary, he is very much about immersing himself in the moment. In this podcast, which is very reflective and insightful, he goes into little lessons that he learned along the way in his life that really shaped his approach to work. He tells a story about how he used to go on a bike ride in Santa Monica. He used to huff and puff and stress his way to finishing the ride in 43 minutes. Then one day, realizing that he had come to dislike biking, he decided to just take his time and enjoy the ride. At the end of the ride, he realized that the bike ride had only taken him 45 minutes – just TWO minutes over the usual. The lesson: sometimes just stepping back and relaxing and enjoying the ride is much more effective in the long run because you don’t burn out AND you enjoy the ride. There are so many little nuggets like that in here.


17. “Tools for Creating Ideas” | article: brainstorming

This is an amazing list of brainstorming techniques that help you think outside the box when you’re not feeling too creative.


18. “An Intentional Life” | article: self-improvement

A great short article from Leo over at Zen Habits about being intentional in each of our interactions or activities. It’s about understanding what you’re doing and why you are doing it. The idea is that things may take on a newfound air of importance when things are done intentional. For example, when I sit down at the piano and practice for 30 minutes (something that may seem minimal and unimportant), I may state the intention that I am learning to play piano in order to relax, learn a new skill, and reap the benefits of re-learning how to play the piano. Now there is a why.


19. “How To Do So Many Diverse and Awesome Things that People will…” | article: entrepreneurship

I love pretty much anything that Johnny B. Truant puts out and this is one of those things. In the article, he talks about how he is able to do so many different things and excel at them. I have this type of attention span as well and need to have multiple projects going on in my life to feel interested. The important point in this article is that you have to ship your projects. You can’t just balance a bunch of unfinished projects. If you don’t ship, it doesn’t count and you need to narrow your focus.


20. “How You Can Become Rich with Just a Dead Mouse” | article: motivation

Amazing fable about a young man who starts with a dead mouse and uses his imagination to see connections between new opportunities. Read this to be inspired. This is the power of taking initiative and combining it with enterprise. 

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