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2017 Recap: Books Read, Podcasts and Goals


On December 31st I decided it might be fun to put together a last minute yearly recap post. A lot of this is from memory.

Quick Jump: Books Read | Podcasts Consumed | Personal Output | 2018's Goals

I enjoy skimming through other people’s yearly round up posts because it gives you a quick index into what they’ve been up to for the year. I usually walk away with at least 1 or 2 books to read and a few things to think about.

Here’s what I’ve been up to this year in terms of input and output:

Books Read

These are in no specific order because I didn’t keep track of when I read them. All I know is, I read them sometime this year because their created on date was from 2017.

  • On the Shortness of Life by Seneca
    If you ever wanted a Stoic themed kick in the pants, then this is the book for you. Seneca was a Roman Stoic philosopher and this book packs a ton of insights and quotes to help you maximize your enjoyment of life.

  • A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech
    The thing I like most about this book was opening you up to the idea that for most things, there isn’t 1 right answer. It’s a real confidence booster because you’ll begin to trust yourself instead of constantly looking for validation.

  • Mike Tyson’s Undisputed Truth by Larry Sloman
    I’m not even a fan of boxing but for some reason I’ve always liked Mike. Sure, in the ring, he was a total animal but outside the ring he is this really well spoken and articulate dude with a ton of great advice on life. He is surprisingly open in this book.

  • Advertising Secrets of the Written Word by Joseph Sugerman
    Joseph was a legendary copywriter and this is one of my favorite books to read when I need inspiration on writing the marketing material around a course or any product / service. He gives you a lot of actionable tips to apply to your own situation.

  • Ghost in the Wires by Kevin Mitnick
    I used to goto 2600 meetings in the 1990s and we talked about topics like red boxes, dumpster diving and social engineering. In this book Kevin shares his personal adventures from back in the day. This book is both educational and hilarious.

  • Tools of the Titans by Tim Ferriss
    Tim talks to about 200 highly successful people and reports word for word what those people think about various topics while also giving you perspective on their lives. There’s some really juicy info in this book and it’s easy to read for ~10 minutes at a time.

  • The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason
    This book is filled with parables from ancient Babylonian times that teach you how to better manage your income and grow wealth. I even mentioned it in an IRC related article and read it cover to cover in 1 night.

  • Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson & Ken Blanchard
    I’m a sucker for a good story and this book has a simple parable on how you can deal with change around you. You could choose to ignore it and stick your head in the sand, or embrace it while creating your own luck. It packs so much into such a short story.

  • The Entrepreneur’s Guide To Getting Your Shit Together by John Carlton
    John has a really entertaining way of opening your eyes and helping you see through questionable times where you might not feel motivated. He shares a ton of personal stories and insights on business, marketing and copywriting.

  • Deep Work by Cal Newport
    This book is great for people who are creating content on a regular basis. This could be books, courses or anything really. Cal really dives deep (pun intended) on how to maximize your “work time”. There’s a lot of tactics to apply to your unique situation.

Podcasts Consumed

I do a massive amount of walking. If I were to guess, probably about 500 hours this year alone. Walking is a great time to absorb audio, which I mentioned in the power of walking article a few months ago.

  • The Tim Ferris Show
    Tim has long conversations with successful people from all walks of life. I listened to an absurd amount of his podcasts. I can’t speak highly enough about them.

  • The Changelog
    I only discovered this podcast in December so I haven’t had a chance to listen to a lot of episodes yet, but there’s a wide range of developer focused episodes. For instance, there’s a great one featuring DHH talking about 10+ years with Rails.

  • SyntaxFM
    This is a new podcast from Wes Bos and Scott Tolinski where they talk about web development topics ranging from front end tips to soft skills such as staying fit. They share what they’ve learned as full stack developers over the years.

Personal Output

  • 87 articles were published on this site. That ended up being 80,109 words or 292 pages of double spaced content without counting the ever growing drafts/ folder.

  • 2 courses (Dive into Docker and HTTPS with Let’s Encrypt) were planned and produced, resulting in 8 hours of video. 78,896 words were written to plan and narrate the courses, not including any included workbooks. About 2,600 student questions were answered.

  • Open source work, blogging and course creation are a big part of my life but I still need to do freelance work to help pay the bills, so there was a bunch of that this year too.

2018’s Goals

In 2017, one of my main goals was to get a better handle on finance management. So this year I tracked every single ingoing and outgoing transaction I made using GnuCash.

I would say I’m happy with the outcome. I feel like I learned a lot about my spending habits.

For 2018, my main goal is to start doing a private weekly journal to better track what I did or did not do for the week. The goal here is to create a tangible time line to see whether or not I’m moving towards other goals.

Speaking of other 2018 goals, I’m looking to get an MVP deployed for my custom course hosting platform, launch 3 new courses (including a 100% free no strings attached course) and I’m thinking of other ways to distribute free content other than blogging.

What did you do in 2017, and what’s on the horizon for 2018? Let me know below.

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