Novis Weekly Read: The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist

What I am “Reading” This Week

This week I have been listening to the excellent book “The Soul of Money,” By Lynne Twist. A friend of mine recently circulated an article that appeared on business insider. where the author has yet to meet a “rich person”. Everyone he met, no matter how wealthy in appearance, always had a tale of frustration and woe. No one it seems, feels rich.

Mrs. Twists book goes right at that concept and it dove tails nicely with Daring Greatly. It turns out in a culture driven by a Scarcity Mentality, few Dare to live greatly because there is never “enough”. I love books that challenge the status quo and make us reconsider the unquestioned answer.

Peter Thiel of PayPal fame and author of Zero to One, is noted for asking, “What one truth do you believe that very few other people believe?” This book is one of those truth. I first learned about it from Verne Harnish but it keeps popping up over and over again.

It’s worth a read.

My Pen This Week

These week I was fond of my Delta Skeleton Stub. This pen is a piston filler with an impossibly smooth nib. It is bold and writes great with Iroshizuku Ku-jaku Ink. You want to be careful because it does lay down a LOT of ink, but that’s partly what makes it fun. They pen is hefty with a steel exoskeleton over the signature orange celluloid. I picked up in New York at the Fountain Pen Hospital and it has been one of my favorites ever since.

The piston filler has a novel ratchet mechanism which keeps you from over tightening the screw. All in all it is a great pen, but not a cheap one. It took me a long time to pony up for Delta and my only regret is that I did not do it sooner.

Novis Weekly Read: Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

What I am “Reading” This Week

When I walk the dogs, I use the Audible App to listen to audio books. A few years ago, I read Tim Ferriss book the 4 Hour Work Week, and in it he challenged me to stop listening to the news. His premise is that you will get better information if it is filtered and cultivated by your smart friends. It also makes you more interesting to talk to because you really want to listen to what they have to say. Neat trick. but… if I don’t listen to the news what should I listen to?

I used to listen to a lot of talk radio. And when you don’t listen to talk radio or the news, you start to notice something. Many, if not most radio personalities are very skilled at cultivating rage. They want to get you worked up. If you are worked up you will listen to them. My life as a husband, father, and entrepreneur is challenging enough without driving around and picking up artificially induced outrage.

For a while I turned to TED Talks. They are awesome. There is something inspiring about hearing really smart people, share their passion to change the world. The trouble is, that many of these are very visual and I can’t watch a video and walk the dogs. That’s what lead me to Audible. I discovered that most of the books on my reading list have excellent narrations available. Even better, some of my favorite books are narrated by their authors. What’s great about that, is I feel like I am hanging out with this super smart person who is sharing something smart they learned. It’s as good if not better than a ted talk.

By subscribing to Audible, I get a new book each month. What’s more, if I buy the kindle edition, I can usually buy the audible version for a few dollars more. So I usually do that.

While I love it, most of my friends don’t have time for that nonsense, but they do seem interested in what I am reading. The real trick is to try and take at least one thing from what I read and apply it.

So with that in mind, I wanted to start to share what I am listening to, and what I think I can apply from it.

Daring Greatly By Brené Brown

This is an amazing book, and is part of the reading material for her course in Courage Works. Professor Brown is famous for her Tedx Houston talk that went viral about vulnerability. For me, I found the idea of vulnerability hard to wrap my head around, but it’s a lot easier to grapple with her core research: shame. Understanding and becoming shame resilient is a skill I would love to develop. There is a side benefit however. If you understand people’s shame triggers, it makes it easier to understand what can motivate certain responses to certain triggers. In short, I think her work can help me avoid certain emotional landmines and be a better communicator. I am still trying to wrap my head around being vulnerable in order to become wholehearted. It’s a very interesting read.

Pen of the week

While I take my notes, I have been favoring my Pelikan Souverän M800 limited edition burnt orange fountain pen. This has a custom grind provided by John Mottishaw from The grind is a medium stub which makes the line thicker on the down stroke and thinner on the cross stroke. The pen is exceptionally smooth with character. I enjoy using this pen with Aurora black ink.


Mistborn Author Brandon Sanderson is fun to read

Mistborn Author Brandon Sanderson is fun to read


I often say read, when what I really meant is that I have listened to, a book. With Audible, it is easy to complete a book while walking the dogs, or driving to work, or in some cases, driving long distances for baseball tournaments or family reunions. However, I personally can’t always listen to self improvement or business books. Sometimes, I just want to kick back and hear a good story. As a kid I remember my Dad has these audio tapes which had old 1940’s radio soap operas on them. Some had Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I believe one was called The Shadow. It was a vintage radio show. I remember how much fun those were to listen to when we were driving cross country and you could turn the radio station across the dial without picking up anything. I therefore like to listen to fiction. Occasionally, however that habit can lead to real reading. And if the author is good enough, I will even pick up my kindle Voyager and hunker down to a great story.

Last night I finished reading one of those stories. I completed Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. It was one of those stories that kept me up until all hours of the night. It was one of those stories I found myself reading on my iPhone (love the kindle app that kept pages in sync with my kindle Voyager). It was one of those stories that near the end, I tuned out just about everything so I could finish it. It was that good.

I first came across Brandon Sanderson when I drove to a family reunion in Las Vegas. Looking for something fun to listen too (business books can get a little old) I discovered his clever Rithmatist audio book. The reading was decent but the story was clever. I am pretty sure most people discover Sanderson’s work this way but his clever creation of an alternate universe with a new magic system really grabbed my attention. So I looked for more of his work.

I discovered: Mistborn

Mistborn reads like an Orson Scott Card novel. It is quick to get into, and he uncovers the details of his universe – teasing and revealing in an almost sing song way. He teases, then reveals at just the right intervals exposing you to something new so you think, “What is that?” Then within the next chapter comes your answer. He masterfully leaves you in a state of intrigue and gratification, carefully and skillfully stepping you deeper and deeper into the world of his head.

In the end he brilliantly binds together all of the elements in that magical way that you realize with a start all the pieces of the puzzle felt like they were there from the beginning, but you were looking at them wrong. As he uncovers each layer of the plot, everything makes sense except the central mystery – which he manages to turn skillfully upon it’s head and like an origami flower a flat piece of paper becomes this wonderfully complex thing in your mind, and everything you experienced up until that moment acts like a new story to you.

Events take on new meaning, characters grow richer, and your frustrations turn to pride as the characters live out their convictions in a way that is utterly consistent with who you hope they are.

I cannot recommend Mistborn highly enough. It is high fantasy, but it is the characters struggling with their own humanity that make the stories compelling.

via Blogger

Stars and Strikes – Good Read

I just finished reading stars and Strikes by Dan Epstein is an interesting tour through baseball history. Recommended to me by friend and fellow baseball fanatic John Bodow, Stars and Strikes tells the story of Baseball during Americas Bicentenial.

Stars and Strikes

I find it gives me a strange feeling to have lived long enough to read about “historical” events that occurred during my own life time. As I read the book, Dan recounts popular music “I loved Boston!” and popular players – I recallgoing to see The Bird pitch. I realize Mr. Epstein also grew up in Detroit and through his book we are sharing memories of our childhood. Well, I am not sharing mine with him, but he is rekindling mine.

He is also adding more background, flavor, and perspective than I would have had at 10 years old. Yes it is hard to believe the Bicentenial was nearly 40 years ago. I still vivedly remember putting red white and blue crey-paper in the spokes of my bike and hand crafting a long coat. I don’t know where my mom found the triangular hat – but they were every where that year.

She probably found it at K-Mart (No one had heard of Walmart or Target in 76). There were parades, and fireworks, and picnics. That was the summer I learned how to cut through a cheap steak on a paper plate with a plastic fork.

As for the book it is a pleasing blend of baseball and history. I will grant you that it does get a bit tedious when he recounts much of what was happening in some games. I just don’t enjoy reading baseball statistics for players I have never heard of. However, I found it easy to skim those parts and get to the real story – my story, the story of growing up in the mid 70’s.

Seventy Six was important for another reason. This was the last year of the reserve clause, the year before Free agency became a thing. This was the last time baseball players made salaries people could relate to. Personally I am glad for the athletes. There should be no cap on what someone can earn.

However, this book puts a perspective on an era that is otherwise impossible to remember or relate to.
If you are a fan of baseball, and you can recall the Bicentennial then I highly recommend this read.