Books I read in 2016

Last year was my lowest year in ten years for amount of books read.  To be honest, I was working through textbooks and FreeCodeCamp learning to code, which took away from my reading time.  Still, there were a lot of interesting books on this year’s list!
1.) 4th Generation Warfare Handbook – William S. Lind and Gregory A. Thiele


4.) Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft – by Elizabeth Bear and Greg Bear et al.


11.) Gorilla Mindset – Mike Cernovich




15.) The Circle – Dave Eggers
16.) Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War – P. W. Singer and August Cole


17.) The Cartel Hit (Mack Bolan the Executioner #438) – Mike Linaker, Don Pendleton (Series Creator)
19.) The Tournament – Matthew Reilly
21.) Scarecrow Returns – Matthew Reilly
22.) Progression – Sebastian Marshall


23.) Abyss Deep (Star Corpsman #2) – by Ian Douglas
26.) Bitcoin for the Befuddled – Conrad Barski and Chris Wilmer


28.) Star Wars: The Rise of the Empire – John Jackson Miller et al.
29.) Re-read GIS for Dummies – Michael N. DeMers
30.) The Blood of Gods (Emperor #5) –  Conn Iggulden




32.) Head First Mobile Web – Lyza Danger Gardner and Jason Grigsby
33.) The Water Knife – Paolo Bacigalupi


34.) Public Health 101: Healthy People – Healthy Populations – Richard Riegelman, Brenda Kirkwood
37.) Planet of Slums – Mike Davis
38.) Proxima – Stephen Baxter


39.) There Will Be War Volume X – Jerry Pournelle, Editor
40.) JavaScript: The Good Parts – Douglas Crockford

Goals, Strategy and Rules for Renegades

Tim Ferris did a post that inspired me to buy Rules for Renegades by Christine Comaford-Lynch.

I’ve been going through a paradigm shift lately.  Hate to use such a clichéd term, but there it is.  All my reading, all my thinking, it’s all hammering home the same lesson:  I have to create the life I want.  No one is going to give it to me, and it’s not out there already waiting for me to find it.  It doesn’t exist yet, and it’s up to me to make it happen.


Some telling things:  What is my ideal lifestyle?  If I had all the money I ever needed in the bank, what would I do day to day?  I do not have answers to those questions right now.  And that is a serious freaking problem.


I’m pondering becoming a futurist, getting a degree in Strategic Foresight. 


From Christine Comaford-Lynch’s book, a couple of things:


1.)  Supreme Confidence, gigantic, absolute, quiet confidence has to come from within and it cannot be validated by others because it’s there no matter what others think.  How many times do I have to learn this lesson?


2.)  She talks about business plans.  So often, she says, people have this plan:


            a) Develop widget

            b) ?

            c) Make millions


     Where b is undefined but basically tells how you are going to pull this off and get from A to C.

     For me, in the past, it’s been like this:


            a) Get degree

            b) ?

            c) Go to Mars, become successful in business, become a pastor, or I dare say, a futurist.


Well, what’s B?  It was never defined.  And that’s why I’ve been in a series of jobs I don’t care about, why I’ve never gotten to do the things I want to do.  My plans are never complete.  I get a harebrained idea, launch into it with a big cool goal and never figure out what goes in between.  It’s like playing chess and moving your first pawn to D4 and ignoring the rest of the moves to checkmate.  Usually, you’re the one that gets checkmated as you react tactically to the other players moves.


In other words, strategy counts.  Where are you going, and how are you going to get there?  This doesn’t mean having a rigid plan.  Instead, you need to have options.  If this doesn’t work, what will you do?  If you end up here, how will you get to there?  Once you get the degree, then what?  What options do you have?  How will you act on those options?  More importantly, are you sure that those options will give you the lifestyle you want?  Is it possible that starting this path will lead you to something else you haven’t thought of, good or bad?


A lot to think about.  But key and critical to making the right decision for a change.


Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Christian and I believe in praying about it.  But two things:  First, God gave us a brain so we could use it, and with that brain came free will.  We can choose, whether it’s a good choice or poor choice, He lets us make it.  He’ll work out His plans no matter what we do.  Second, my track record on praying before has not worked that way – usually it’s after I make the decision and commit that I have an idea that I did the right or wrong thing.


Like I said, a lot to think about.



How to be a Man, Introduction

Many years ago, before I married my wife, I had a problem.

I had no idea how to be a man.  I always thought that when I grew up I’d be mature, confident, in control.  But I wasn’t, and most of the time I was just muddling through.   I wasn’t doing well with women, so I joined a Christian dating group, and at one event, I asked a girl out.  She said no, she didn’t date, and said it was because of a book by Josh Harris called I Kissed dating Goodbye.

Naturally, I (and many others interested in the same girl) went out and bought the book.

To be honest, I didn’t think much of his philosophy.  Your mileage, of course, may vary.  But what did impress me is the last part of the book where he talked about making yourself ready for your wife.  Improving your character, getting right with God, useful skills, that sort of thing.

I took a good long look at myself and I wasn’t happy with what I saw.   So I started to read, prolifically, and work on my social life.   Then I got married and had a kid.  Now I’m working on my career.

I won’t lie and say I have it all figured out – I’m not sure anyone ever really does.  But I’d like to share my learnings in an occasional series of posts.  My next post will mention some of the books I started with, and some of the lessons I learned from them.

Stick around.  I think you’ll find it interesting!


On Leaving a Legacy, Part 2

Before I got married and had a child, I really didn’t pay much attention to the future. Even after marraige, I was pretty much concerned only with having enough to retire on. But when my son came along, things really changed. I knew already I needed to think about things like wills, insurance, and college education, but soon I found out there was more…

The first that happened was that I read a series of articles in Worth Magazine. Now don’t get me wrong, I hardly fit into their income demographic, but it seems to me that knowing a little about how the wealthy think would help me to manage my own finances. In any case, the series of articles was on the 100 Year Plan.

If you look at the Rockefellers, Hearsts, etc., you’ll find families that have managed to preserve their wealth through time. Many families start with nothing, make a lot of wealth, and lose it all in three generations. My family tree shows that happening. So I wanted things to be different, and these articles talked about managing not just financial wealth, but social, intellectual, and spiritual wealth through four or five generations. My goodness – I was thinking about my great-grandchildren!

The second thing I read was the story of a preacher in what we’ll call Denomination X . This man got on his knees fifteen minutes a day and prayed for his descendants. He had children – boys and girls. The girls all married ministers in Denomination X, and the boys all became ministers in Denomination X. The same proved true for the next generation. And the next generation, his great-grandchildren, did the same, except for one. That one, the one who decided not to be a minister, was James Dobson.

Now you may or may not think much of James Dobson, depending on your political views, but still, his great-grandfather left quite a legacy!

So I began to see the future in a whole new light. And I evaluate my goals, both short and long term, in light of the fact that I would like to leave a legacy for my own family.

No pressure, no pressure…..


What I’m Thankful For

Tomorrow, of course, is Thanksgiving, and on blogs all over I’ve seen posts on what people are thankful for.  Since gratitude for what we have (and not worrying about what we don’t have) is important to our happiness, I wanted to note my list:

I’m grateful for…

My beautiful, intelligent, loving wife

My awesome son

My parents

My Gram

My sister

The rest of my relatives

My In-Laws

My job

My car

My apartment

My salvation

My friends

My health

My sight

My hearing

My sense of taste

My sense of smell

My sense of touch

My country

This beautiful world

And for so many other things.

When I look at how much I have to be thankful for, it reminds me that what I don’t have in material possessions isn’t that important.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Spirituality and Wisdom

I’m a Christian by faith, and (attempt to, anyway) read my Bible every day. A few years back, I found the “48 ways to Wisdom” on a Jewish site.

On Winds of Change, another blog, they have a series on Sufi wisdom (the Sufis were a branch of Islam distinctly different from Wahabbism), which makes for interesting reading.

And of course, there are the ancient traditions from Asia and India.

So, here’s my question. Where do you stand on wisdom from sources other than your own religion? I ask, because there seems to be three main schools of thought in Christianity :

1.) Anything outside the Bible is not useful (Fundamentalist, extremely conservative, etc)
2.) The Bible was written by man, so any source is good (Liberal, atheist/agnostic, etc)

3.) All sources are inspired by God, the Bible was written by God, so as long as it doesn’t contradict Scripture, it’s useful. (conservative, Berean, etc)

I tend to fall into the 3rd camp. How about you?