What I’ve been doing

… over the last few weeks.  I’m overdue for this type of post, so it will be longer than normal.

Books I’ve been reading

The Starfish and the Spider by O. Brafman & R. Beckstrom — Excellent, highly recommended.  I loved Brafman’s Sway, and while this book is very different, it’s also a lot better in many ways.  The authors do a great job at breaking down the dynamics of decentralized organizations.  Couple this with Long Tail and Pirate’s Dilemma, and you’ll have a solid grasp on how the web has radically changed things forever.

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink — My favorite book so far this year.  The people who will excel in this world are the ones who have a strong right-brain (the artistic, emotional side).  I had about 15 new business ideas for one of my clients while reading this, so it was the worth the cost for that alone.

And the Hippos Were Boiled in their Tanks by J. Kerouac & W.S. Burroughs — I had to buy this when I saw the cover.  Two very unique authors co-wrote this before anyone knew who they were.  If you’re really into Kerouac or Burroughs, you’ll appreciate it.  The story isn’t that great, but it is an excellent period piece.

Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard — My second favorite book this year.  This is Adam’s true story about how, after graduating from college, he decides to see if he can get himself out of a homeless shelter and into a full-time job with only $25 to his name. The author is a genuine humanist and a very good writer, as well.  His story was really fun and inspirational to read and it was hard to put this book down.  You’ll definitely want to read this, especially if you’re in your early-20’s.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig — Meandering and very little substance in the philosophical passages.  I made it about 200 pages into this before putting it down.  Would have put it down a lot sooner but two of my very close friends recommended this to me.  I have no idea what they were thinking.  Skip it.

How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gelb — Remember that “No idols” post I did?  Uh yea, I take it back.  Da Vinci was insanely brilliant and ahead of his time in every imaginable way.  I have a newfound respect for him, even though I thought I knew a lot about him already.  This is an interesting book, worth flipping through.

Survival is Not Enough by Seth Godin — Another smart book by Seth.  Here’s the thing: if you’re familiar with his other works, you probably don’t need to read this book.  You already know that mediocre businesses that stifle innovation and fear change will die out in the long-run.  Still, it wouldn’t hurt to check this out.

A few great articles

Obama’s social media toolkit — Download this right now, it’s fantastic.  Probably the best thing I’ve read regarding Obama’s online marketing efforts.

Ten politically incorrect truths about human nature — From Psychology Today.  A stimulating article throughout.

How do I make good art? — I asked Tucker this question and his response started a thread.  Absorb what Tucker says, and be careful with everyone else’s advice.  I could be wrong, but it seems like a lot of the people who responded are armchair quarterbacks.

Gilt Groupe: online retail phenomenon — From my buddy Matt Daniels.  This is the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

What I’ve been watching

Final Cut tutorials — I’m trying to teach myself Final Cut and it’s a beast.  Way more complex than Photoshop, Flash, and iMovie.  Most of the tutorials I’ve come across have been lame, but this guy’s Vimeo account is awesome.  Really straightforward tutorials that you can follow along with.

Daniel Tosh’s comedy — I got to see him live on Saturday night, and he was excellent.  You know it was a good show when you overhear people outside saying, “He was hilarious, but man was he offensive.”  Download some of his stuff, you’ll love it.

4 comments on “What I’ve been doing

  1. Glad you liked ‘The Starfish and the Spider.’ I have ‘Sway’ checked out from the library, and have some free time set aside to read some of it tomorrow.

    Interesting that you found and enjoyed Adam Shepard’s ‘Scratch Beginnings’ — he actually went to my high school, and came back and spoke shortly after the book was released (pre-hard cover).

    Very nice, very humble guy; he really tried hard to impress upon us that his book is not a criticism of the homeless or a proclamation that anyone can ascend as quickly as he did, but it was rather a test of self-reliance.

  2. Just finished Scratch Beginnings in a day. Awesome book. I’m giving it to my younger brother for his high school graduation. Thanks for the recommendation.

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