Review of Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

Short and quick book to read. It's written in an interesting way. Very much the author speaking directly to you. Also uses sporadic huge fonts and random positions of text on page as a wa to emphasize points.

I enjoyed the book. It calls out the inherent challenge facing anyone that tries to do something. He calls this challenge Resistance. Pressfield says Resistance is a natural force, as much so as gravity or time or anything else. Resistance is constantly there and continually trying to prevent us from accomplishing our goals.

In order to complete anything, Resistance must be overcome. It's a fact that everyone who tries to do anything must accomplish. Basically, rather than being upset at the fact that there is Resistance, the right approach is to recognize that it's normal, and take the steps to work through it. That's the real accomplishment -- getting past Resistance.

This Resistance comes at all times. To start a project obviously. But just as much to finish a project.

Resolutions Update: January, 2016

As most people do, I put together a list of resolutions for 2016. I've been tracking a few of these resolutions (with a great app called Momentum which I highly recommend).

Here is a summary of my January:

  • Reading: 27/31 days. Books Read: 3. Two of these are the first 2 books in the Edmund Morris trilogy on Teddy Roosevelt. Long story short, I've become obsessed with Teddy Roosevelt this month. There's an entire blog post I should write just on Teddy but that's for another time.
  • Exercise: 24/31 days. A lot of this has been 7 minute work outs. Also a good amount of free weights.
  • Meditating: 26/31 days. This is entirely new for me. Everyday after I shower, I meditate for 10 minutes. I use (and also highly recommend) an app called Headspace to facilitate this.
  • Daily Journal: 7/31 days. I started off strong here but failed quickly. Basically I couldn't find a good consistent time in my schedule to make this work. I enjoyed writing it for those 7 days. If I can find a consisten time that'll work, I can see this one working.
  • Public Writing: 1/4 weeks. This is also a fail. Basically, going from not writing to writing on a consistent basis has been a difficult change. Need to figure out how to make it happen.
  • Alcohol Consumption: 18/31 days. I don't actually have a goal for how much I want to drink or not drink. Started tracking though so I thoughts it'd be interesting to share.
  • Launched IsraelWeekly : This has been something I've wanted to do forever. Its a weekly newsletter that goes out and summarizes the past week of Israel related news. I started it because there's so much news on Israel (and issue in an of itself) which makes it very difficult for non Israel news addicts to keep up with what's going on. I got to 50 subscribers by end of January (my original goal was 200) so need to work on that.

These are just my personal (non work related) goals. Overall I'm pretty happy with the progress I've made. Improving on the writing side is definitely a next step I need to take. Any tips on how to make it happen?

Lost Opportunity: NBA Recap Videos

I'm a big NBA fan (go Spurs!).

I'd love to watch all 82 Spurs games in a season but its practically impossible. Instead, I end up watching ~15% of their regular season games in full (~12 games of the 82 game season) and catch the back-half of another 15%. For the remaining 58 games, I'm left reading articles and watching recap videos to see how my Spurs played.

Each recap video the NBA makes is a 1-2 minute summary of the game. The videos are filled with dunks, steals, 3 pointers and buzzer beaters from the game. While this is better than nothing, I think the NBA is missing out on a big opportuniy by not producing more in depth recaps.

Lets take a look -- I'll use the Spurs recent win over the Suns as our sample video.

Seconds 0-15: Setting the stage for the video by telling us which players are back from injury. No actual gameplay footage.

Second 16-29: The first actual gameplay here. After skipping over the first 7 minutes of the game, we see a sick block by Kawhi that leads to a fast break dunk.

Second 30-44: Also taking place in the first quarter, a three by Kawhi.

Seconds 45-54: Final section of the recap shows Boban Marjanovic (the hot Spur flavor the week) making a layup at minute 11:11 in the 2nd quarter.

To recap the recap, the NBA has taken a 48 minute game and trimmed it down to 39 seconds and 3 plays. We only actually see gameplay that happened between 5:21 in the first and 11:11 in the second -- nothing at all from the second half of the game.

To be fair, the game was a blowout (go Spurs!) so I understand that it wasn't the most exciting game to recap. In fact, this recap is perfectly adequate for a casual NBA fan that wants to quickly see what happened in yesterday's games. For serious fans however, its nothing more than a cursory overview of what happened in a game.

I'd happily watch a 6-8 minute video that shows what happened throughout the game. I want to see where the Spurs did well and where they did poorly. I want to see more than just dunks, steals and 3-pointers. I want to see the flow of the game, all the way from minute 1 to 48. To top it off, I'm willing to pay to see this.

How could this work? The NBA could charge $20 a year for in depth recaps of up to 5 teams or $1 per game on an � la carte basis. It'd be great for fans to stay closer with the teams they love and a great way for the NBA to capitalize on footage that otherwise just sits on the shelf.

What do you think? Would you pay for more in depth NBA recaps?

Motorcycle Posts - Intro

I've wanted to get a motorcycle for a long time. Over the last 2 years, this desire has grown from an idea to something I actually want to do.

The best way for me to do anything is to spend money towards it. Once I'm monetarily commited, the odds are high that I'll accomplish my goal. This technique got me to start going to the gym (the $200 down payment was incentivizing) and pushed me to backpack South America (I signed up for a 3 day hike to Machu Picchu while studying for finals during McGill).

In May, I signed up for a weekend long motorcycle training course. This was the first required step towards getting a license and thus a bike.

I'm proud to say that as of June 11th I am the proud owner of a 2013 Triumph Bonneville. Stay tuned for some posts on learning to ride.

"America's best days lie ahead"

Late in 2009, amidst the gloom of the Great Recession, we agreed to buy BNSF, the largest purchase in Berkshire's history. At the time, I called the transaction an "all-in wager on the economic future of the United States."

That kind of commitment was nothing new for us. We've been making similar wagers ever since Buffett Partnership Ltd. acquired control of Berkshire in 1965. For good reason, too: Charlie and I have always considered a "bet" on ever-rising U.S. prosperity to be very close to a sure thing.

Indeed, who has ever benefited during the past 238 years by betting against America? If you compare our country's present condition to that existing in 1776, you have to rub your eyes in wonder. In my lifetime alone, real per-capita U.S. output has sextupled. My parents could not have dreamed in 1930 of the world their son would see. Though the preachers of pessimism prattle endlessly about America's problems, I've never seen one who wishes to emigrate (though I can think of a few for whom I would happily buy a one-way ticket).

The dynamism embedded in our market economy will continue to work its magic. Gains won't come in a smooth or uninterrupted manner; they never have. And we will regularly grumble about our government. But, most assuredly, America's best days lie ahead.