Mud, Sweat and Tears by Bear Grylls

Just finished reading “Mud, Sweat and Tears” by Bear Grylls. Everything comes with a cost, and he payed with lots of mud and sweat. I believe most of the tears were dropped by happiness. I liked it.

It starts really slow and dull, about his roots, from the ancestors (great grandfathers and so) to parents and sister. All the people that were influential through childhood to manhood… i understand that he wants to give a good background about himself, but it’s rather too much of it, as one actions are much more important that one background.

Anyway down the line it starts to pay off, from the SAS training (the failed first attempt to the successful second go), the parachute accident, his faith and recovery, and of course it climaxes with the climb to the summit of Everest.

It’s an inspirational book, lots and lots of details (the summit ascend alone is around 200 pages) and funny stories. It has a simple life pattern: do what you want/love, work hard, give that extra to the ordinary, take risks, and with a bit of luck it all comes together.

Rework by 37 Signals

Like Gordon Gekko once said “Because everyone is drinking the same Kool Aid“, and just because everybody in the business (the web business i mean) is drinking “Rework” by 37 Signals, i also drinked it too…. so what’s my taste of this book?

It’s a complex taste book, not because it digs deep the rabbit-hole, but because it (tries to) speak all things about the business universe, it goes from (unordered list) planning, to meetings, to time management, customer management, task prioritization, hiring and firing, office policies, marketing, product building, product minimalism, workaholism, by-products, productivity, startups, etc, etc….

It’s filled with common sense (is not so common) and Lapalissades, witch makes one feel smart:

«Failure is not a prerequisite of success.» – I knew that

«Forgoing sleep is a bad ideia.» – I also knew that

«Other people’s failures are just that: other people’s failures» – Duhh

«Revenue in, expenses out, Turn a profit or wind up gone.» – Heck, even the tavern owner where i go for cheap drinks knows this

«If you want to get someones attention, it’s silly to do exactly the same thing as everyone else.» –  I rest my case

But in the other hand, you are always making reality checks, comparing your own practices with the ones described in the book, and this review is obviously good.

Anyway, the work smart not hard philosophy makes sense, there are some good marketing tips, i really liked the teach and spread your secrets of the trade approach. It also makes a strong point about minimalistic products, those products that you strip down to the core, make them easier, cheaper, maintainable. Likewise, they don’t like guys throwed in suits (about#hate) and useless meetings (about#hate) ….. ahhhh…that was good for my ego.

The final balance is positive, everyone can get good ideias out of it, but is not the “fabulous”, “best book in my life and afterlife” hype that you read in Amazon reviews.

Here some of my favorite quotes:

«When you treat people like children, you get children’s work»

«And when everything is high priority, nothing is»

«Business are usually paranoid and secretive. They think they have proprietary this and competitive advantage that. Maybe a rare few do, but most don’t»

«Having the idea for eBay has nothing to do with actually creating eBay»

«The worst interruptions of all are meetings»

«How long someone’s been doing it is overrated. What matters is how well they’ve been doing it»

Ultramarathon Man

Just finished reading Dean KarnazesUltramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner – and what an excellent and inspirational book it is. What it skips about training and nutrition delivers back in double in pure emotion. It makes my mind spin, just to think how can one run for 320Kms……

Some appetizers:

«If you can’t run, then walk. And if you can’t walk, then crawl.  Do what you have to do.  Just keep moving forward and never, ever give up.»

«Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head for the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy…»

«If it comes easy, if it doesn’t require extraordinary effort, you’re not pushing hard enough: It’s supposed to hurt like hell.»

«I’d  also come to recognize that the simplicity of running was quite liberating.  Modern man has virtually everything one could desire, but too often we’re still not fulfilled.  “Things” don’t bring happiness.  Some of my finest moments came while running down the open road, little more than a pair of shoes and shorts to my name.  A runner doesn’t need much.»

«The real battle was inside my head.»

«Life is a not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: “WOW!! What a ride!”»

«Most dreams die a slow death.  They’re conceived in a moment of passion, with the prospect of endless possibility, but often languish and are not pursued with the same heartfelt intensity as when first born.  Slowly, subtly, a dream becomes elusive and ephemeral.  People who’ve lost their own dreams become pessimists and cynics.  They feel like the time and devotion spent on chasing their dreams were wasted.  The emotional scars last forever.»

Some seek the comfort of their therapist’s office, other head for the corner pub and dive into a pint, but I chose running as my therapy…