Posts Tagged books

Sunday Column (517)

At time of writing, late Friday night, the week seemed as if it was extra long. No idea why, it was just one of those weeks, busy and full of achievement; a week that makes you think you are progressing. A nice week actually. It went differently as planned. Instead of going to Germany, the trip had to be cancelled last minute. Never mind, I actually spend a lot of time catching up on some work which meant I got ahead of a few things. Nice! It also meant I worked from home which was nice too.

I am clearing out my blog drafts and noticed that I still had the following draft about reading books: Not many people actually know but I read a reasonable amount of books. Over the years, since commuting an hour into London, I make a point of NOT doing work in the morning but read instead. So unless something urgent is happening, the morning commute is my time. The evening commute on the other hand is different 🙁

I mainly read personal development books and biographies. Steve Jobs’ biography resulted in me becoming an Apple fan boy and I truly loved his story. Currently I read the biography of Albert Einstein. Also, for many years, I have been fascinated by the hippie culture as well as the 70ies free spirit motor bike culture. The 70ies in general have always fascinated me, the idea of free love, free rein, do whatever you want, rebel against the system, be cool and be free. However, back then there were more opportunities than now it seems. Steve Jobs inventing a computer. Have we saturated inventions? Surely not.

So over the years I started reading more books about Steve Jobs. A lot of people seemed to start writing about him, as he became an iconic figure, despite his distortion field and non existing EQ. Hence, when I discovered the book by Chrisann Brennan, his girl friend and the mother to Lisa, the daughter Steve ignored for years, I had to read it. It has been a book that took me away. Not often I get so engaged in books that take me away. I was sitting on the train in the morning and didn’t notice us getting into Victoria station, London. Not often do I read until late at night in bed, but I couldn’t put the book down.

Why? Simple. Chrisann didn’t only tell her view of the story of Steve and their relationship. That for me was only part of the story. But she went into detail how they lived, they as in the generation of the 70ies. How they went to India to discover themselves, lived in communities, how life was simpler. She drew direct comparisons saying, we didn’t have mobile phones back then, no texting. We just drove for 45 miles hoping someone was home, we had no way of knowing. She captured all that in her book, in my opinion, the Zeitgeist of the 70ies. The generation that has fascinated me for so long. And I believe that the challenges she had with Steve, the therapy her and Lisa went through, were very common in those days. Of course, Steve was an eccentric and different, but it almost becomes a side story in the book. At least for me.

I know Lisa published a book too, but I am afraid if I read it, it will water down this experience. We shall see.

And if you like reading about India, read Siddartha by Hesse.

It’s four weeks to Christmas. So this post finishes my drafts. I am reflecting a lot on 10 years of writing and I am sure I keep going on the occasional post. But there are times of change in terms of focus. And that is a good thing. Change is good, otherwise life would be boring.

So, this is it for this week,
Volker

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Sunday Column (499)

A full working week it seems. Not quite, actually, only four days, but I was working in London and I was busy. I suppose I will get used to it again very quickly. I also recorded another podcast and managed to finish the audio book Sapiens. In all honesty, I wasn’t as taken with the book as everyone else seemed to be. Some interesting snippets of human history but a lot of bla bla about life. Never mind, another book done. I very much enjoy reading Richard Branson’s biography, it is a fun story of a successful man’s life. Stories of Success, really.

However, I then started Homo Deus by the same author of Sapiens and it is more interesting as it is looking to the future. It is about how things might look like moving forward for humans, and mankind and on this planet in general. A philosophical book, it gets you thinking, but again if I didn’t listen to it whilst out running, I am not sure it is my time worth spend taking it all in. Nevermind.

I started writing this post as I sit at Clapham Junction on a Gatwick Express service, air conditioned, cold and with wifi access. We were held as London Victoria got evacuated due to a fire alarm. When the train guard announced that we were held due to London Victoria station being evacuated, you could see how people got really quiet on the train. I am not sure if my perception comes due to me reading about 9/11 in Richard’s book, or because everyone went really quiet, but people just seemed to be worried. And that’s a fear we are living with: terrorism. Although, based on the Homo Deus book, more people die of overeating than undereating these days, and terrorism or airplane accidents are very rare. That of course doesn’t necessarily go in line with our perception of things.

What both books show me time and again is that our thoughts form what we make of our environment. I wasn’t too worried it being a terrorist attack but it crosses one’s mind. And then your mind can go on a rampage. What if the city was under attack, would it not be better to sit in Clapham? It surely would be. It was a false alarm, which is good and we continued our journey. Your thoughts however determine what you make of things.

On that note, on Friday I had a day off. My last one for a while but holidays with the family, and I spend with cars. We had a courtesy car from the garage, an SUV, a Skoda Kodiaq. I really enjoyed driving it but it isn’t sportive, it is an SUV. On the one hand I like sitting up, maybe changing my driving a bit and enjoy more comfort. Skoda has a nice ‘Landrover green’ colour they introduced and next year they bring out hybrid models. Let’s bear all that in mind for now 😉

I also spend the day looking at a few Jaguars. My choice of a second car is clear: a Jaguar XK8 or XKR, 2006 model or younger, as the older model is too small for me. Now I need to find the budget and the time to look at one and buy. Or will I hold off and be sensible. But for what? Life is for living and who knows how long we can enjoy it. Anyway, lots to think about.

And on that note it was the last day of school for the boys. Now I got two boys in middle school from September, they are just growing up so quickly. I love that as much as I hate it. Being able to join the leavers’ assembly was great, a bit emotional but overall it is great to see them moving on, growing up and becoming little grown ups. What will the future hold for them? Will AI and robots rule the world when they will be our age? Nothing ever stays the same, things always change.

Let’s use my parents as an example who have been able to connect with us since the introduction of What’s App. I remember putting coins into a phone booth when calling my grand parents from a holiday. Nowadays we send pictures instantly, whilst then we had to develop a roll of 36 pictures and got them a week after the holidays. Wow. We are talking half a life time here, and things will only get faster.

Have a great summer, enjoy things whilst they last.
Volker

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Sunday Column (333)

July. A month that is traditional quiet, even in media. Not so for us this year or last year tbh. Whilst a few meetings got moved about, and yes you could argue a lot of admin catch up is going on, there is also still a lot of work todo. It doesn’t seem to stop, which is good I suppose.

Also, which doesn’t seem to stop, is the renovation work. Finally we made some progress. Builders, with all due respect, are not easy to handle. You kind of know you have to pay a bit more than anticipated. And you know they are dodgy or sleazy somehow. Not all of them, and the one we have is really good, and does a great job too. Yet, in stereotypical manner, they are what they are. Two more projects to finish, then we are done.

We also saw the dog trainer – that is good news. It is a bit down to us, a bit down to the breed and a bit down to the dog and its age. But overall we learned a lot more about what we have to do with Rosie to keep her stimulated, and train bad behaviour out of her. Nothing anyone before told us in that way and it looks like she is a keeper. After a very stimulating 2 hours work with the dog trainer she was mentally exhausted. Fantastic, yet a lot of work we still have to do with her.

Creative Space

Now, maybe I write a bit about my plan for our spare bedroom. When we moved to Hassocks we got a 4 bedroom house, with the intention to turn one room into a guest room/office. However, I noticed we don’t have too many overnight visitors and often they come alone. So we have an extendable bed/sofa bed and a height adjustable desk. This in itself is great but when you start putting a 22 inch screen and an iMac on it, it gets too small. My dream was to get a big office, with a desk for the family with the desktop, printer, Jen’s stuff for her photography etc. and a desk for myself or later the boys to hot desk with a 2nd screen to increase productivity. This is now happening. I am excited!

Also, we reduced the amount of books, reducing the shelf space needed. Based on that we free up floor space for both a green grass carpet and an orange bean bag. The room, to increase harmony and productivity and stimulation will have grey and green walls. The walls will be getting motivational quotes, a Buddha wall paper, white board and furthermore some pictures.

Overall we aim to create a creative, yet energetic room where anyone can relax, use it as a second living room without a TV, read, work or study. A family room that is used for work, play and fun. Whiteboard sessions for the family, boys, or work; Flipchart demonstrations and planning sessions for anyone. Top of that, it is a guest room, ironing room, laundry room and meditation room. Calm yet energising.

Once the new carpet is in and we have the first walls painted, I shall post some pictures. Hopefully you agree with me.

I am excited about the room, the space and the possibilities. Hopefully the wife and the boys agree to use it regularly for all kinds of activities.

Stay tuned and have a great week. I don’t believe next week it is going to be August already!

Cheers,
Volker

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A list of influential books I read

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What am I reading in September?

I thought that it would be good to share a book a month of what I am reading. Last week I was in the fortunate or unlucky position – you never know, do you – to run out of books to read. Then again, it was more of me finishing all papers I had on me, not knowing which of my thousands of books at home I am going to read next and having 20 minutes to wait for a train.

Therefore, I quickly went into WHSmith and found a good deal on books. One was the one I am reading at the moment “Dragons’ Den – Success from pitch to profit“.

I like the book. It gives a good introduction to the Dragons without reading all their individual books. Also, it gives you an idea of their thinking:

Why not invest in something? What makes the person tick? Why should I invest into this after all?

I really enjoy reading it. Nothing too complicated and not too much concentration needed in order to undstand it 🙂

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