100 Books

News of the Weird (per Stone and Sea)

James Clavell's ShogunFirst: I’m not sure why it’s stuck with me for as long as it has, but there’s a quote from James Clavell’s, ‘Shogun‘, that has surfaced in my mind on more than one occasion: “…like a butterfly on the summer’s breath.”

I hear it in the background when I realize that I just can’t seem to focus on a project, or while listening to my kiddos during any of their countless rapid-fire summaries of that day’s events, or sometimes (ahem) when trying to keep up with my wife when we’re [debating]. I’ve also heard it, from time to time, while drumming up ideas for posts here at Stone and Sea.

You see, one of the great things about kicking-off this blog again is how much it’s changed the way I’m consuming information.

Second: Perhaps not unlike yours, feeds in my social networks have, for the last few years, been so insanely negative and frustrating that I typically log-in, scan for a handful of minutes, then close up and go drink. You know, heavily.

Since I’ve started writing again, though, I find that I tend to avoid the nasty threads and instead jump down random, thought-provoking/intriguing rabbit holes to see where they lead. The only caveat I’d note with that note is that I avoid, like the plague, the comments section on anything. There are far too many mean, vapid, and seemingly psychotic individuals that live in those threads. Go there at your own peril.

Those rabbit holes, however, often lead me to surprisingly interesting posts, articles, tweets, images, etc. So, taking a queue from The Austin Chronicle, I’m going to keep a file of those random moments under the heading of “News of the Weird” and post them here from time to time. Who knows where they might lead you, but if you discover a cool bit of this or that in the journey, let me know.

For now, here are a couple I thought you might like:

TED Talk: Elizabeth Gilbert – Your Elusive Creative Genius

I’ve had this Elizabeth Gilbert talk bookmarked for years because it’s just about one of the most awesome things in the history of ever. Ms. Gilbert is the author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ and spends her time in this talk addressing creativity, what it means to be a genius, and provides a word or two on poetry. If you’ve not seen this before you’re in for a treat.

 

The lost years of William Shakespeare

The Iron DruidFor the last few years I’ve read a series of books under the heading of ‘The Iron Druid Chronicles’, by Kevin Hearne. If you’re into SF/Fantasy, they’re a great and fairly light read and are absolutely worth a look. To be clear, I’m not saying they’re fluff, but they’re certainly not the mental commitment of ‘Lord of the Rings’ or the ridiculous time-sink that is Jordan’s ‘Wheel of Time’ series.

They are, however, a lovely and well-written series of tales that manage to incorporate Irish, Norse, Asian, and Native American religion and folklore, viewed through the lens of a modern-day Druid working to preserve the planet. There’s also a wolfhound named Oberon who is (not surprisingly) obsessed with meat, gravy, and more meat. Check it out – you’ll like it.

In one of the novels, the lead character (Atticus) tells a story of the time he prevented Mr. Shakespeare from becoming a late-night snack for a coven of witches. Yes, I get that it sounds goofy out of context. Read the series and you’ll totally get it.

That story, however, prompted me to do a little research on the real-life bio of our favorite bard, and I discovered an interesting fact: he was MIA for seven years. My mind immediately started building Robert Johnson/Deal with the Devil scenarios, but that’s me.

Where was he? What was he doing? It’s a mystery, but one that’s fun to chew on. If you’re interested, you can find more information here.

 

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100 books

I had an idea I thought might be both fun and smart. And while that’s fairly uncharted territory for me, I think I’m going to run with it. You see, not long ago Seth Godin published a post where, among other things, he wrote about the number one habit successful people share. The secret? 

“They read books to learn. They do it often and with joy.” 

In the years since I graduated I can count on one hand the number of books I’ve read to learn. I read a ton on the Web, I squeeze in a Steven Brust or Stephen R. Donaldson when I can, but finding the time to sink into a book that really concentrates on professional growth has proven to be a challenge.

I hope to change that.

You see, in that same post Seth also plugged a new book that just might help. It’s called The 100 Best Business Books of All Time and you can check it out here. My copy should be arriving any day now, and when it does, I’ll begin this new experiment of mine. It goes something like this:

In no particular order (as I can find them, more than likely) I’m going to read these 100 books. Then I’m going to tell you about them, so maybe you can learn a little bit as I’m doing the same. I’m hoping that by the time I get through the list I’ll have picked up at least a portion of wisdom that I can apply to my career. What do you think?