Monthly Archives: March 2016

Expanding my understanding of school

I built my first car.

A 1977 Jeep CJ-7. I bought it for $150 (of my own hard earned money) and brought it home on my Dad’s flatbed trailer. That was when I was 15 years old. Shortly after getting my license at 16 I was driving that Jeep to school every day, and off-roading every weekend.

I bring it up because when I think back and reflect on my childhood of learning that Jeep is the first thing to come to mind. There is no doubt that I learned a lot in school, but the lessons are Continue reading

What’s on the bookshelf.

Have you ever postured yourself to look smart, or wise, or traveled by strategically loading your bookshelf? It’s natural for us to place judgement on others based on what they claim to have read. The whole e-reader thing is throwing this off kilt. I think the next product I’ll invent is an interactive poster of a bookshelf that updates in real time to reflect all the books on one’s kindle. Clever, right?

Reading has been my pastime of choice lately so I’m going to share with the world the books on my bookshelf, physically and digitally.

Clive Cussler: This dude has been keeping me very well entertained. All fun fiction about marine scientists solving the pressing problems in the world. As a navy dude/ocean engineer stuck in the army’s domain, I’m living vicariously through my boy Dirk Pitt. I started with Black Wind, was lead to Raising the Titanic and am now on Atlantis Found. I follow Tim Ferriss’ guidance by reading fiction before bed to slow the mental wheels that would otherwise spin over the mundane but find myself so enthralled I end up taking my kindle with me wherever I go in the event I get a few minutes to read while waiting somewhere. (digital)

The Resilient Homestead – Ben Falk: Ben is a fellow permaculturist with a bit of a head start over me, but what I like most is that he is doing great stuff in Vermont, a comparable climate to my own at home. His book reads more like philosophical farming text book, which has its place in my routine, but hasn’t been one that I can’t put down. Rather, like Naval Ravikant suggests, I pick it up and flip to a part that I’m interested in at that moment in time and read there for a bit. Not cover to cover, and no strong desire to get to the end before moving to something else. (physical)

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! – Mr. Feynman: A fun read about a mischievous technical nerd. Enjoyable, and up my alley, but not a true competitor to Dirk Pitt, so I’m not deeply engaged on this one. (digital)

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture – Sepp Holzer: Clearly another permaculture book. This one is good because this dude, Sepp, was cultivating with permaculture techniques before the term was coined. He has got me really interested in ponds and mushrooms. I’m not a doomsdayer, but I fear that someday we will look back and be embarrassed by the way we treat water. Not like ‘water treatment’ but like not catching what falls from the sky, and instead expediting its journey to the ocean as if its presence is a problem. (physical)

Gaia’s Garden – Toby Hemenway: I read this cover to cover last summer. It’s now a great reference in the realm of permaculture. Toby includes lots of tables to assist in companion planting (guilds), nitrogen fixers and so much more. I’ll probably never read this again cover to cover, but will reference it for as long as I’m digging permaculture. (digital but I want a physical version)

The Secrets of Happy Families – Bruce Feiler: My ambition is to come home from this deployment a better husband and father than I left. I picked this one up to gain some insight into ways to improve, and it has some good tips, but after getting a quarter of the way through I decided it was written for someone else, so I put it down. I welcome suggestions on this topic, my opinion to date is that most books on this topic are written at or near the 3rd grade level. Not trying to be an ass, just honest. (digital)

With one major exception:

The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran: Published in 1923, has withstood the test of time. The concept is this prophet is leaving a community and before he goes the townspeople ask his opinion on all the truly important topics in life, e.g. love, religion, family, work, etc. The prophet’s answers are succinct, inspiring and accurate. I almost well up just thinking about the answers to marriage and children. If you consider yourself an insightful person you must buy this book, read it to your family and keep it front and center on your bookshelf to revisit frequently. (digital, but hardcopy on its way)

What’s on your bookshelf? What do you recommend? What book have you gifted the most? Let me know in the comments section.