Category Archives: Lifestyle Books

The $100 Startup

The $100 Startup

One of the other students, in the HTML/CSS beginner class that I am doing at Starter League, suggested that I read $100 startup.  It is written by Chris Guillebeau, and was done after research he did with more than 1500 business owners.

==> Click here to buy: The $100 Startup <==

The book offers some great motivations and is in many ways very similar to The 4-hour workweek by Timothy Ferriss.  He tells the stories of many of the people included in his research; why they’ve started, how they’ve started and grew from there.

I found the first half of the book to be really good and inspirational.  He encourages actions and talks a lot about finding the point of convergence between what you love to do and finding something others are willing to pay for.

In The $100 Startup he also explains this idea of selling emotional benefits of your product instead of the descriptive features.  The examples he gave here illustrated the point perfectly, like a ranch that sells “Be a cowboy” instead of “take a horse ride”.

I found the second half of the book a little slow going.  Sometimes this type of self-help book does a great job motivating action but then slows down too much in order to try and convey very practical advice.  I am sure that it is great for some people that are looking for that type of practical advice.

==> Click here to buy: The $100 Startup <==

My own take is that motivation is the biggest stumbling block.  Once you take action your learn to solve the many problems that cross your path once you get going.  Learning to solve some of the potential problems while you are still standing still is pointless.

Overall The $100 Startup is worth the read.  But more importantly – take action! Follow Chris Guillebeau’s advice and start doing something today.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts – Review


I have been captivated by the idea of long term world travel since I’ve read The 4-hour WorkweekIn that book Timothy Ferriss referred to Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term World Travel by Rolf Potts.  This short guide to this unconventional life offers some great insights and describes the roads less travelled in vivid detail.

Our time in Fernie was a first step in exploring long term travel, although after reading Vagabonding  I’ve realised that there is so much more to do, and more importantly so much more to learn.  But as Potts articulates in Vagabonding it is about getting into a completely different mind-set.  But this is a mind-set very difficult to understand when you are trapped in the rat race of normal everyday life.

==> Click Here to buy: Vagabonding <==

Vagabonding also builds on one of the key ideas I got out of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where Robert M. Pirsig put it as follows:

“To live only for some future goal is shallow. It’s the sides of the mountain which sustain life, not the top.”

While in Vagabonding, Potts says:

“As new experiences and insights take you in surprising new directions, you’ll gradually come to understand why long-time travellers insist the journey itself is far more important than any destination.”

Reading the book also got me thinking about the contrast of seeking happiness vs. significance, a topic I will try and explore in a future blog post.

The last chapter in Vagabonding is about returning home and seeing it with new eyes, since you are no longer the person you were when you left.  Potts talks about feeling homesick while being at home…homesick for the other places that you’ve left behind.  I can appreciate that feeling right now.

He also offers some advice about trying to relate the stories gathered on your travels to you friends and family back home – “leave the best parts out”.

I think everybody can benefit greatly from experiencing life not as a race from weekend to weekend, but as a long extended travel experience. Where every day is something to look forward to, learning as you go, and taking in all the different parts of the world has to offer.

==> Click Here to buy: Vagabonding <==

And before you say that it won’t be possible for you, Vagabonding show how almost anybody can do it if they wish to.  Whatever your excuse is, somebody else have already overcome the same challenge and made it happen.

As Donald Miller says in A Million Miles: “Make sure your life is a story worth telling”

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values

I have never before ventured into the world of philosophy.  Although I have been curios at times to know more about it, I never got to read a book on the subject.  I was actually prompted to read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by a quote in a Paul Graham essay, then after seeing some tweets from others that have read it, I had to give it a try.  Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was a very long read, but I found it thoroughly thought provoking. It definitely got my mind thinking and asking questions even more than it usually does while reading.

The timing of reading the book was also a happy coincident.  Spending the ski season in a small BC ski town, and embracing the mountain lifestyle, was the perfect setting for me to read this 1970s’ classic.  It helped me think about what a quality life would really mean for me and my family, and where we are most likely to find it.

==> Click here to buy: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance <==

The book tells the story of a motorcycle journey through the North West United States, while on the road trip the narrator takes you on an intellectual expedition of discovery into philosophy.  He asks some fascinating questions about quality, technology and education.  It also gives insight into the narrator’s struggles with mental illness and his relationship with his teenage son.

As many in my generation, my idea of technology is sometimes limit to what we experience today.  So when he talks about how technology changes the world in a book written before I was born, it serves as a reminder that technology transcends our lifetimes.

The way he talks about working on a motorcycle in the book reminds me what great cricket batsmen always say they try and do while batting.  To live in the moment, they look for that state of mind where you don’t think about anything else than the next ball you have to face.  This ability to completely embrace in what you are doing is something I want to work on.

==> Click here to buy: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance <==

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was also the first book in a long time, maybe ever, that I have read written in the first person.  As the author explains in the introduction to this edition, that limits the reader to the narrators view of the world.  After finishing the book, I had to read the introduction again.  This got me thinking how the same limitations apply to own thoughts and the way we view the world.

I can see how Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance became a classic. Take the time to read it, you will not regret it.