After surpassing my New Year’s Resolution of reading 30 books, I set the goal of reading 52 books, one for each week, by December 31. In August, I completed five books:
- A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
- The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
- Hammered (The Iron Druid Chronicles #3) by Kevin Hearne
- Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
- Finance and the Good Society by Robert Shiller
I enjoyed most of these books with the exception of The Sixth Extinction, which I classified as 3 out of 5 stars. My favorite for the month was the Bill Bryson book, which is an entertaining overview of what we currently know about life, earth, and the universe from science. My total number of books comes to 37, which puts me slightly ahead of schedule (this is the 36th week) to reach 52 by the end of the year.
2. 365 Opportunities
My New Year’s resolution of identifying 365 opportunities was intended to help change my perspective and improve any entrepreneurial tendencies that I may have, if any. Unfortunately, I have consistently underperformed in this particular resolution. Last month, I reduced the August goal to just 15 opportunities to make the goal more obtainable.
This reduced goal may have helped as I came up with 17 opportunities. Some ideas are interesting and have potential; others are ridiculous. I’m ok with this – I want to develop the skill of seeing opportunities around me, without worrying about generating the perfect idea. For September, I will attempt to identify 20 opportunities.
3. Exercise More Consistently
August was a good month for achieving my fitness goals. I exercised on all but one day in August when I was feeling sick. A screenshot of my monthly progress is shown below and the original graphics are available here. The original goal in August was to alternate between strength training with my new dumbbells and running 5km. As you can see, I did pretty well with alternating schedule with the exception of the first 3 days in August where I was avoiding running due to some slight pain in one of my knees. The pain was most likely due to the age and mileage on my running shoes. I have not had any issues since switching to the new shoes.
For running, I achieved a 7:20 pace for a 5km distance. My goal was to achieve a 7:15 pace but that was probably too ambitious. Maybe the 7:15 pace can be achieved in September. Since May 10th, I’ve run approximately 250 miles – I never thought I had the willpower to run this consistently.
For September, I plan to run 2 days to every day of strength training. I enjoy running more than strength training and September may be the last month for comfortable running weather before cold weather arrives.
I started my fourth class for the year – Introduction to Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics from the University of Washington. This subject is quite different from my typical classes (i.e. engineering, math, science) but I’ve always been intrigued by investments and would like to learn more. Who knows – maybe some of the concepts I learn in this class can be transcribed into my current work. This class continues into November. I will need to take one more class to achieve my goal of 5 classes this year.
5. Build Something
This resolution continues to suffer relative to the others. Most of my “building” has been web-based design such as the graphics summarizing my fitness progress (see menu items above) and reading progress (not posted yet).
One of the things that hold me back is that I often think most of my ideas are stupid and lose any motivation of moving them past the idea stage. For September, I should just make something regardless of it is stupid. One idea would be a bird house with an embedded camera that is triggered when a bird lands. See – stupid idea but I should do something other than just allow a whole year go by without completing anything.