Thursday, July 30, 2020

Tao Te Ching: A New English Version by Lao Tzu

It's hard to refute any of the ideas that Lao Tzu, regarded as the found of Taoism, has to offer. Every page is quotable. Every saying has balance. His teachings emphasize the art of doing without doing. If Lao Tzu's teachings were scientific, they'd be the equivalent of Newton's 3rd Law - for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

Regardless of what faith you have or religion you follow, this book and the teachings contained herein can be applied to our everyday lives. All it takes is some introspection, observation, and dedication to balance.

A version, not a translation, by Stephen Mitchell. That's an important distinction.

Check it out on GoodReads.

Buy it on Amazon.

Here's an excerpt that I enjoyed: 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Become Like Water My Friend

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu - a version by Stephen Mitchell

This reminds me so much of the Bruce Lee quote:
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
 He must have studied Lao Tzu, and is clearly a master of the Tao.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Mexico City - Just A Taste

After spending the first half of November 2019 in Saudi Arabia, we capped the month off with a long Thanksgiving weekend in Mexico City!

We stayed in La Condesa, a walkable neighborhood adjacent to Bosque de Chapultepec. La Condesa is so typical of the areas in a city that we love to stay in because it has a little bit of everything within walking distance. You've got delicious small restaurants with al fresco seating. There are quaint coffee shops where locals frequent and you can people watch. There are side-street bakeries that waft their aromas of freshness in a 3 block radius. There is street food close to the highly accessible public transportation entrances. There are plazas and parks to relax and people watch. There are trees that provide shade to siesta-time nappers. And there is vibrant character in the people, the art, and the overall feeling of the bustling area.

For 4 days we immersed ourselves in the Mexican city-life. We used the Metro if we could not walk, or called Uber if we public transportation couldn't get us to a specific destination. I practiced my Spanish with the locals who were often surprised by a Chino speaking their language. We broke our fast at local hotspots, took coffee from hole-in-the-wall shops, and dined finely at some of Mexico City's best restaurants. And this is what we really find to be the best way to get in touch with a culture. Eat and drink with them.

Teotihuacan. Yea, we did some sightseeing too. 

For us, it's not about all the sightseeing, though we will do some. It's about the feeling of the city / town / village, wherever we might arrive. And what better way to feel good than through fare and drink.

Here are links to the highlights of our 4-day feeling/feeding-frenzy:

It would be impossible for me to share all the food photos, so I'll just mention the locales by name and let you have at it to try for yourselves. In a way, this is kind of like those lists, like 96hrs is Mexico City or something like that. Anyway...

That was a lot of great eating in some of the most local of places to the most chic of restaurants that CDMX has to offer. Food will never cease to immerse me into the best of a culture.

The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek

It's funny to think about how much you think you know someone who is a tv personality, but you're barely scratching the surface. I've been watching Jeopardy! since I was a kid. So I always feel like I "know" Alex Trebek. But the like all good bios, his sheds lights on so much more. His attitude, feelings, ways of life, thoughts, and other aspects that you really just don't know from tv. 

Alex Trebek is like any one of us. Despite being the world-famous host of the longest running television quiz show on earth, his reflections on life are much like yours and mine. As humble as he is on tv is the way his book is written. In fact, I imagined that if I ever get around to writing a book about my life, it will be in a similar fashion. And likely in a similar cadence to the way this autobiography is setup. 

The Answer Is... is written more anecdotally. We get tidbits of his life at different times in short-story format that give us glimpses of moments where he's learned something and carried it with him for his entire life. But all the pieces add up and connect in the end. We learn that Trebek is a good humored, clean-cut, charitable, handy-man that takes pride in his craft and loves his family. There is seemingly no celebrity out there who is as unpretentious as Trebek. 

Check it out on GoodReads.

Buy it on Amazon.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

In a way, this book was a combination of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything and Neal Stephenson's Seveneves. Yuval Noah Harari is able to reach into the past to formulate his lessons for the future. He looks to the current events, how we got there, and what potential issues may arise or remain if change is not made. And it's not just the physical world he refers to, it's the mental and existential aspects too. He examines the thought processes and briefly touches on the depths of historical relevance. There are conversations of technology and big data, the climate and environment, politics and relationships. It's a very interesting weave of the intricate past / present / future / analog / digital / political / religious / scientific / moral / immoral / social / personal and many more aspects of our lives as humans. Interesting is the easiest way to describe it. Thought-provoking is probably more apt. And like all great writers, he makes it amazing to read his thought process, support, justification, and prognosis of the future.

Check it out on GoodReads.

Buy it on Amazon.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Timothy Ferriss

After casual reading over the past 4 months, I've finally finished this anthology of responses from some of the most successful people on the planet. The list of names spans practically every career from athlete to scientist. And each of them provides a short and sweet insight to the way they live, what they've learned, and what's made them who they are over time. The key is the way in which Tim Ferriss extracts these tidbits from each interviewee. It's through the set of 11 questions that are very telling of a person's character. Every answer is allows you to peer into their lives. But truly more importantly, the Q&A found within this book helps the reader do some soul searching themselves. 

What do you believe in? What makes you tick? How do you dig deep to avoid future failure? How do you react? What do you read? Oh, this happens to celebrities too? I thought I was the only one. Are you introspective? Do you know who you are? 

These are some of the questions and thoughts that you often formulate about yourself when you read about others. The beauty in all of this is that despite how big-ticket their name may be, you can relate to them. Their experiences can be taken away for your personal use. You can learn from them even without being connected. 

I've tried this experiment myself. I've circulated the same series of questions used by Ferriss to my tribe, a short-list of the people who I've surrounded myself with over the years - family, friends, colleagues. I've gotten some phenomenal answers and have created my own anthology for my family and (eventually) children to look upon, similar to how I've read this book. I hope to grow this collection of answers, not by making more friends or acquaintances, but by asking these same questions to these same people maybe 10 years from now. I think it'll show us a different perspective or further ground our original learning. 

Check it out on GoodReads.

Buy it on Amazon.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

What The Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell

Ever since The Tipping Point, I've been a fan of Malcolm Gladwell's writing. I've read all of his books. His works include:

And now I've finally rounded out the collection with What the Dog Saw and other Adventures. The book is an anthology of his best works from his writing at The New Yorker, where he's published plenty of articles since 1996.

Like his other 5 books, this one stitches together his in-depth research and interesting fact patterns, opinions, and observations. Although by now these stories are a little bit dated (the book was published in 2009), but if you're old enough, you'll remember some of these specific newsworthy issues. But even if not, you'll still recognize the issues being described and people he references as they've become household names over the years.

Each story in this book digs into the details of seemingly boring, unique, or confounding situations, only to reveal that everything is pretty darn interesting and for sure relatable to the reader. The book provides insights to thought processes and opposite points of view. The running theme in each of the stories is that it's important to understand what others think or feel or perceive a situation to be. And "others" could mean another person or another animal, as the title of the book suggests.

Check it out on GoodReads.

Buy it on Amazon.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

Bob Iger's path to success was the combination of having an opportunistic yet patient mindset and a learning attitude, with the understanding of details, the fearlessness of risk-taking, and the premonition of when to say "no". He embodies the businessman's dream path, starting from the bottom and reaching the top. This book captures his life, partially, and business lessons, mostly, in a relatable and concise way. The practical and the thought-provoking results are a testament to his character and of those he employed and worked with. Disney would be a different entity, it seems, had they not given Iger the reigns and followed his path and allowed him to further build one of the biggest creative and intelligence trees in entertainment history. A company is the sum of all it's people and the product of their passion, integrity, and intelligence. That's a big tree!

Check it out on Goodreads.

Buy it on Amazon.