Friday, December 31, 2010

A Book A Week Challenge Results

"Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read." — John Wooden

One of my "Goals for 2010" was to read a book a week for the entire year. I thought it would be easy as I read quite a bit, but it definitely was not! After a few months I let things slide a bit and had to pay catch up. In fact, I was behind so many books that my own wife confessed to me that she didn’t think I could do it and promptly made a bet with me that I would fail. Today though I’m pleased to report the results of my challenge:

Stats:

Books read

53

Pages read

16270

Avg pages per book

306.98

I did it! It’s amazing, but when I think of all the new ideas I’ve read I do totally feel like a different person. My mind has been stretched so much on so many topics: psychology, finances, faith, sex, nature, etc. Would I do it again? Absolutely. Because I had a goal I had to actively search out new things to read – and often I found the unexpected. Of course not all of them were great so tomorrow I will post a list of my favorite reads from the last year. In the meantime here is the list of completed books for anyone who is interested:

A Book A Week

Number

Book Title

Pages

1

Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell

208

2

The Five Love Languages By Gary Chapman

208

3

Last Child In The Woods by Richard Louv

390

4

The Sex Starved Marriage by Michele Weiner Davis

224

5

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson

349

6

The Art of War by Sun Tzu

96

7

Pure Desire by Ted Roberts

300

8

The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

208

9

The Call Of The Wild by Jack London

128

10

Love Is A Decision By Gary Smalley

224

11

The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

224

12

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

383

13

Every Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn and Fred Stoeker

336

14

The Automatic Millionaire: Canadian Edition by David Bach

256

15

Love Must be Tough by James Dobson

272

16

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (graphic novel) by Tim Hamilton

160

17

Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind by T. H. Eker

224

18

The Liar In Your Life by Robert Feldman

304

19

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

288

20

Out Of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis

160

21

The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns

768

22

Perelandra by C.S. Lewis

288

23

That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

544

24

The Mummy at the Dining Room Table: Eminent Therapists Reveal Their Most Unusual Cases

336

25

And No Birds Sang by Farley Mowat

256

26

Robin Hood - King of Sherwood by J.A. Watson

100

27

Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat

288

28

Jungle – A Harrowing Story of Survival by Yossi Ghinsberg

272

29

Byzantium by Stephen Lawhead

880

30

The Boat Who Wouldn’t Float by Farley Mowat

256

31

Honey, I Don't Have A Headache Tonight by Sheila Wray Gregoire

144

32

You Have What It Takes by John Eldredge

64

33

Switch - How To Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath

320

34

The One Minute Millionaire by Mark Hansen & Robert G. Allen

388

35

When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back In The Box by John Ortberg

256

36

The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

416

37

People of the Deer by Farley Mowat

264

38

I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

266

39

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells

168

40

Codependent No More by Melody Beattie

264

41

The Last Lecture By Randy Pausch

224

42

Superfreakonomics by Steven Levit & Stephen Dubner

288

43

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey

384

44

Losing My Virginity - The Autobiography by Richard Branson

608

45

Animal Farm by George Orwell

112

46

The 47th Samurai: A Bob Lee Swagger Novel by Stephen Hunter

384

47

The Life and Times of the Thunderbot Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson

448

48

The Snowball - Warren Buffet and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

976

49

The Voyage of the Dawntreader by C.S. Lewis

180

50

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

190

51

Rich Kid, Smart Kid by Robery Kiyosaki

288

52

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

180

53

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

528

Book Review: The Horse and His Boy

Book Review: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

This is the third book in the Narnian Chronicles and my favorite. It is mostly set in Calormen, an Arabic-like nation south of Narnia and I like how Lewis’s characters interact with this unique culture. A boy named Shasta grows up in this land and eventually runs away from his father with a talking horse named Bree. The book follows their adventures as they try to escape to Narnia. There are battles, desert crossings, palace intrigues, and of course powerful interactions with Aslan the Lion.

I think that I like this book the most because the character of Shasta connects with me. He is a humble boy who has no real assets according to the world around him but finds himself to be very special (and eventually heroic). Is this not every boy (and man’s) privately held hope? I also enjoy how Aslan is portrayed in this book and how everything he does/allows to happen is for a reason. He tells several of the characters who are looking for answers as to why certain things happened "I tell no one any story but his own." I rate this book 4.6 ninja stars out of 5.

Book Review: The Lost Symbol

Book Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

This book is hard to put down. I read it it’s over 500 pages in just over 2 days. It felt like literary crack cocaine. Dad Brown is a truly amazing author in that he can keep you engaged at such a high level for such a long time that you begin to wonder if you are being hypnotized. That being said, this book is not quite as addictive as "The DaVinci Code." It is a new adventure with Robert Langdon, the humble symbologist who is the hero of Brown’s previous books but instead of the Church being his main target, it is the Masons.

Although this book got lots of bad reviews, I thought it was actually pretty good. Like his previous books, Brown tries to get you to swing to his worldview (deism) and so in many ways it’s a propaganda book that most Christians would find annoying or theologically “abhorrent” but as pure entertainment I’ve read far worse. I’d give it 1 ninja stars for its message and 5 stars for fun so in the end it gets a 3 ninja stars out of 5 rating.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Book Review: Rich Kid, Smart Kid

Book Review: Rich Kid, Smart Kid by Robert Kiyosaki

It seems that most people, when I ask them what their parents taught them about money say something like this: "Not much." Most kids do learn from their parents -by watching how they handle their money (and listening to how they talk about it). Some parents teach their kids how to save, some teach how to give, and some even teach thrift and frugality. If you were taught some or all of those things then consider yourself lucky. But there are only a handful of people out there who were taught by their parents how to invest their money. This book teaches you as a parent how to share this important information (and helps you understand why - even if you were never taught it yourself.

I loved this book. The subtitle is "Giving Your Child A Financial Head Start" and while it is not comprehensive, I am very much using much of what he shares to help my kids. I have already taught (thanks to this book) Riker a few simple concepts:

Me: "Hey Riker, what's the difference between assets and liabilities?"
Riker: "That's easy. Assets put money into your pocket, liabilities take money out of your pocket."

The book is mostly a book about financial philosophy and the importance of teaching kids about money. It is fairly opinionated, definitely not comprehensive, and a bit repetitive. But if you want to teach your kids how to handle you money then I highly recommend this book as an easy to read starting point. I rate it 4.2 ninja stars out of 5.