Reflections on 2015: From a book perspective

The ice-breaker

2015 is over, 2016 has begun, what does that mean??

  • “New year new me!”
  • “I’m going to be a gym fanatic this year!”
  • “It’s a new year, behold my fancy new diet, as I wait for my outstanding new body to take shape :D”
  • ”New outlook, new thoughts, new life!”  
  • “2016 will be my year! better than all the rest” etc etc…

Alright, yes I agree it is a ‘new year’ but I mean honestly it’s really just the continuation of life really, time can only move forward, life carries on and we just need to take it one day at a time. I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but just try your best not to get caught up in the hype, this year won’t give you anything that you are 1) not mentally prepared for and 2) not actively attracting yourself. 2016 owes you nothing, so don’t passively expect anything to change. #IceBroken.

Forward vs Backward

A lot of people solely view the new year as a time to set new goals, build a new list of resolutions, map out the next step in the life-long journey, each of which is extremely vital for progress. On the other hand, some people first take the time to reflect on the previous year, see what went right and what went wrong, while continuously taking note of what to be grateful for. Naturally as a self-proclaimed introvert and deep reflector, I chose to look back first, before I begin to plan my steps going forward.

2015: No regrets

2015 was a great year, filled with ups, downs, lefts, rights (and of course, a few wrongs here and there). It was a year that saw me do things that I had promised myself to do (follow my passions of software development, business and writing) and reach for levels that I had previously challenged myself to get to (financial independence). It was a year that saw me take bold leaps in my career as well as delve deep into new territory with regards to my personal life.

Naturally it was a year filled with moments that I am very proud of (starting my second company), as well as moments that I am not so proud of (ask no questions, hear no lies). But all in all, each and every one of these moments, good and bad, have brought me here to where and who I am today, so of course I have no regrets.

2015 was a year filled with challenging experiences, new people, new places and new thoughts. Thoughts that came from new perspectives, perspectives that were drawn from new information, information that I absorbed from a number of sources: videos, articles, conversations and of course, the mighty book. The legendary medium of knowledge transfer, the old-school King of communication. 2015 saw me complete 14 books in total, a diverse collection with genres that include self-help, spiritual, fiction, economics, technology, and business.  

The books!

Out of the books I read in 2015 I decided to pick a few that had a profound affect on my life (they all did, so this was a hard choice).

  1. No More Mr Nice Guy – Dr Glover

This book jump started my year, and the rest of my life really. What I learned from this book was to be myself at all times, to stop trying to please people and to always say what was on my mind, regardless of how it comes across. As much as I am a ‘free thinker’, one who likes to ‘express’ himself and a proud anti-conformist, a large part of me still deeply cared about what people thought and that same part of me strived so much to be accepted. So while reading this book, I had to swallow my pride as I slowly exposed and accepted the parts of me that Dr Glover describes as the typical ‘Nice Guy’. It is a conventional self-help book, a bit cheesy at times, but it got the job done. It taught me that it’s ok to be myself, my blunt, raw, transparent and real self. This book made me feel a lot more comfortable with being myself and also helped me differentiate between confidence and arrogance. I have made a promise to myself to prioritize being real over being nice regardless of the situation.

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   2. The Dip – Seth Godin

The Dip! I love this book and I admire the Author. I picked up The Dip on an ad-hoc visit to the bookstore (like all my other trips there), I had actually gone to buy medication while I was on sick leave, I passed by the store, I saw the book and I instinctively bought it immediately. My life was never to be the same! It is a very short book with a very powerful message:” In life you need to know when to quit and when to persist”. The book is basically about ‘dips’ in life, how to spot them and what to do about them. In many aspects of life, be it in your career or personal relationships, some paths will lead to cul de sacs (i.e dead end job, pointless relationship), some will lead to cliffs (i.e drug/alcohol abuse), and some paths, very few paths, will lead to eventual success, you just need to know when you are in a dip worth pushing through or if you should just call it quits before wasting your time.

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3. Access to inner worlds – Colin Wilson

Access to inner worlds, another book that literally called to me at the bookstore. I was actually drawn to this book because the author, Colin Wilson, was mentioned in another book I had recently read, titled ‘Call No Man Master’ (an excellent book detailing the spiritual journey of Joyce Collin Smith). The key takeaways I got from this book are that I will be able to do what is best for me if I only allow my inner-knowing to lead, guide and direct me at all times. This book reaffirmed my belief that there is a large amount of unharnessed potential that we each have as human beings,  immense creative forces that we can actively tap into in an instant.This book assured me that my consistent practice of meditation, mindfulness and awareness are not in vain. You need to listen to the voice within, thought can only take you so far, in this world.

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4. Rework – Jason Freid, David Heinemer Hanson

Rework! A legendary book by Legendary people, Jason Fried and David Heinemer Hanson of Basecamp (formerly knows as 37 Signals). The principles contained in this book are golden nuggets, “to be ignored at your own peril” (as Seth Godin brilliantly states). In this ultimate gem of a book, the authors outline a number of simple rules to be followed when starting a business. Every chapter is beautifully written out in a very easy to absorb, direct, summarized form, it is basically like the Bible of technology business ventures. So whether you are a developer or an entrepreneur, whether you already have a product or only have an idea, whether you want to start a business, or are currently running a business, you need to read this book, really, you do… it will change your life.

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5. Linchpin – Seth Godin

Linchpin was recommended by a good friend and business partner of mine, another magical book by Seth Godin  (come one, admit it – you gotta love this guy!) This book was a great way for me to end off the year, it made me feel very proud of the decisions I made and the feelings I had prior to reading it. There are a number of brilliant points made inside this book , it is very hard to summarize (but I’ll try). Personally, what stood out for me was the following:

  1. Ship now, ask questions later! We should strive to ship whatever we are working on, don’t wait for perfection just ship, get it out there, take your idea out into the world.
  2. Be weary of The Resistance, that is the feeling inside you that shies away from greatness. The timid part of you that doesn’t want to be noticed, that strives to be average, that loves to be mundane. The Resistance is your greatest enemy, overcome it, don’t be afraid to show the world your brilliance.
  3. Be an Artist. Create something valuable, don’t worry about financial rewards, the money follows the art.
  4. Be a linchpin. Be irreplaceable, do more than is required of you. Strive for greatness, don’t find satisfaction being a simple cog in the wheel. Don’t get swallowed up by The Machine.

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Thank you Seth. To your brilliance, I pay homage. This was an excellent book, filled with a lot of truth and valuable insights.

These are just a few books out of the many that I read last year. Looking back at the massive strides that were made in 2015, it is quite easy to understand why I am eagerly looking forward to the next batch of knowledge and information that I will absorb this year.

To everyone that recommended a book to me last year…. keep them coming.  To everyone that will recommend a book to me this year, I am eagerly awaiting your knowledge-oriented blessings.

One book can change your life forever, never stop reading….ever.

Happy 2016!


 

PS: If you like this post, please feel free to subscribe to my blog via email. I can sense a lot of writing coming through me over the next few months 😀

Thanks.

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