Another Challenge for the Year

I’ve enjoyed the 31 day running and writing challenge so far, particularly the writing aspect (although it’s only day 3!). I’ve often thought about starting a daily blog. I’ve always enjoyed reading Seth Godin’s blog,  impressed with the fact that he posts to it every day and at this point has over 5,000 posts, and thought “I should do that.” But for a variety of reasons I’ve never done anything about it.

But I guess there was just something about this #writeandrun31 challenge that appealed to me; perhaps the fact that it was exercise-based, had the daily writing challenge, and was started by a vegan hit all the right buttons.

Anyway, while I am excited by this 30-day challenge, another 2015 challenge captured my interest, and I have signed on for that as well.

Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame has started “A Year of Books” challenge in which you read and discuss a new book every two weeks. While I love to read, this will be a daunting task, since I am sure there won’t be any Calvin and Hobbes books among Mark’s biweekly choices, unfortunately. As one data point to support this view, the first book is “The End of Power” by Moises Naim.

It will be interesting to keep track of what happens to the books that Mark selects; Naim’s book is already the number 2 selling book in its category on Amazon, despite having only 54 reviews. I am guessing the impact will be similar to what happened to the books chosen for Oprah’s book club. I am also curious to see if there will be any works of fiction among the chosen books.

All of this talk of books has helped me to recall some of my favorite books of the past few years, all of which I can highly recommend, and some of which may be a little off the beaten path:

The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin; mentioned in yesterday’s blog as well.
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts; a beautifully written, mostly autobiographical novel.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas; OK, so I was way behind in getting to this one, but it was well worth the wait.
Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes; again, just getting caught up on some of the classics.
The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion; this was highly recommended by Bill Gates, who called it “one of the most profound novels” he had read in a long time.

I’m still hoping that at some point these daily blog posts become less about me (who I am thankful for, the search for my passion, or my 2015 challenges) and more about providing my thoughts on issues that I care about, but for now I am happy that I am just writing something every day.



4 thoughts on “Another Challenge for the Year

  1. 1. Blogs are always about the writer, Jim. Keep posting to yours because I (and many others) enjoy your thoughts.
    2. Yesterday’s blog re life’s mission got me thinking. I have felt called to do something only once in my life, and that was after I retired. It’s volunteer work through my church, bringing communion to patients at a local hospital and a nursing home. Nothing interferes with that, including my current job. I didn’t have this on my bucket list pre-retirement. It just appeared and I mulled it over for a couple of years, then jumped in. So glad I did. Re your mission: I’m sure many of your students and colleagues think your mission is to be in the classroom at VU, being the stellar prof that you are. Sometimes a poll of others who are close can reveal a view of ourselves that we would never see. Test that theory. Ask some of your close peeps what they think is your passion or mission in life.
    3. My father said he never really knew what his mission in life was. He just kept doing what he thought was best day after day. He was an inspiration to me, my sister, & many others. He was a lifeline for my mother. I am absolutely sure he carried out his mission in life, even though he wouldn’t phrase it that way.


    1. Hi Sue, Thank you again for such thoughtful feedback. I am thrilled to hear that you are doing something that you enjoy so much. Your father sounds like he made a positive difference in the lives of you, your sister, your mom, and many others. At the end of the day, I think that is what life is all about.


    2. The comment “Blogs are always about the writer” helped me make a decision to keep on writing my #writeandrun31 posts on my existing blog, which is supposed to be about being an expat in the Netherlands. I was seriously considering starting another one for more personal musings and stories about my life and thoughts, but I suspect I might get more visitors to my blog if it covers more subjects. Whether they want to stick around and follow me is another question entirely!


      1. Sarah, I had the same response. While I sometimes think it would help if my blog had a more specific focus, it is nice to have the freedom to write about whatever pops into your mind.


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