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Tag Archives: book review

I re-read Grit this morning. (Truth in advertising, I used Blinkist this time!). Here are a few quotes/highlights.

Conventional wisdom says that we should do what we love. But, more importantly, you need to stay committed to doing what you love. Giving yourself small daily chores is a good way to keep up your levels of effort. Low-level goals like these can serve as a path to meeting your goals.

This is huge for me! I build lofty dreams and ideas, but get lost in them without the day to day small actions to stay committed. There are several other books I’ve read or am reading that speak to this (7 Habits, Atomic Habits, 12 Week Year). I’m recommitting to Bullet Journalling to track this.

In the same 2011 study, the musical experts were played two recordings and told that one was a naturally talented musician, while the other represented years of hard work. While the experts had said they favored hard work, they overwhelmingly chose the naturally talented musician as being superior. But here’s the catch: the experts were played identical piano pieces by the same musician!

We have a bias toward natural talent even though we say we admire hard work. It’s easy to idolize the “over-night success” when in fact that success was years in the making. Reminding myself of this bias helps keep me grounded in the day to day when life and work are tough.

These statistics highlight a simple fact. No matter how much grit you have, if you want to stay motivated, it’s important to do something that interests you.

Finding purpose in your work is a great motivator, but finding your true calling can take time.

These quotes seem obvious but it’s good to be reminded of the obvious sometimes! Steve Jobs once said:

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

This is a key component of grit, to keep checking in that things interest you. It’s easy to get off track.

The fact is that practicing hard can be a waste of time if you don’t practice intelligently.

It can be easy to simply put your head down, get to work and end up on autopilot with the assumption that you’ll inevitably end up reaping the rewards of your practice time. But that won’t happen until you stop and reflect on precisely what it is you need to improve and start practicing smart.

Speaking of getting off track…hard work isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. If you aren’t checking the results of your efforts, you may be doing a Herculean effort in your work but not getting much done. Take time to pause, reflect, and refine your work practices.

Teachers and parents can help ensure future success by rewarding hard work more than natural talent.

This is another concept I’ve heard in other books and witnessed in my own life. If you reward the outcome you will lean toward taking shortcuts, or less risk. Reward the smart effort in yourself and those around you.

Final Review

A classic, worth reading the entire book (and check out her TED talk!)

I recently read the following post from Derek Sivers: “When in doubt, try the difference“.

One part of the article that stood out to me was:

If you’re in doubt about something that’s in your life already, get rid of it. Not just things, this goes for identities, habits, goals, relationships, technology, and anything else. Default to not having it, then see how you do without.

I realize that all the “stuff” I own stresses me out. I don’t use it. It clutters spaces, and generally leaves me feeling unhappy.

Thus I begin my quest for minimalism.

A move in the office gave me the opportunity to reconsider what I carry around. I have 25 books that move from space to space, and I don’t generally reference them on a regular basis.

There are some great books here!

My plan is to:

  • Re-read each book
  • Write a review and summary (Similar to:
  • Give each book away! (Either in-person or online).
  • If a book gives me great value, I’ll purchase a Kindle version.

Update – change of plans!

I’ve decided to donate all the books to the F5 Project. It’s run by my friend Adam Martin who is doing amazing things to help people re-integrate into society after being in prison.


I don’t impose limits on myself. If I find a better idea for a scene, I adapt the story. That way, the narration remains instinctive, which is especially important for a story like The Land of Lines.

-Victor Hussenot

One of the things I love about having children is the opportunity to see the world through their eyes. It keeps my sense of wonder fresh and new every day. Stuff that could easily be ignored by adults such as graphic novels or animated films are part of a parent’s daily rhythm.

Several months ago I was browsing through Zandbroz Variety (my favorite store in Fargo) and started flipping through a book. At first I found myself idly flipping through pages waiting for the words to start but soon realized there were no words. Only lines and pictures.

Intrigued I started over and began my journey in the land of the lines.

Click the picture for a great interview with the author – but beware the spoilers if you plan on reading the book.

Slowly but surely the story drew me in and I followed this journey of discovery, adventure, and more. I found myself feeling connected to these characters and feeling a sense of sadness when the story ended. How could I feel sad about a few lines after only a five minute read?

There is power and beauty in simplicity. If you haven’t read the book, stop by my office and take a quick peek (it only takes 5 minutes to read), then buy yourself a copy and pay it forward.

In the land of lines, anything is possible…