So Much for Sticking to My Goals

Here is a copy of my third post from January 3, 2015, followed by a brief update:


I’ve enjoyed the 31 day Write and Run 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 forthe 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.


Well, I stuck to the 31 day Write and Run Challenge, in fact, it’s now been going for over seven years.

However, my goal of reading all of the books that were part of Marck Zuckerberg’s Year of Books Challenge was an epic failure.

I never finished the first one, and I ended up starting the second one late. I never finished that one either, and sp at that point, I called it quits. I didn’t finish a single book on the list, and I never even started any of the final 21 books on the list.

Maybe I’ll start a new challenge, to read one of the 23 books each year, for the next 23 years. That will get me to the ripe old age of 87.

I can’t do any worse than I did the first time around.

In case you are curious, here is the complete list. I was right about one thing, there were no Calvin & Hobbes books on the list…

  1. The End of Power by Moisés Naím
  2. The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
  3. Gang Leader for a Day by Sudhir Venkatesh
  4. On Immunity by Eula Biss
  5. Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull
  6. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn
  7. Rational Ritual by Michael Suk-Young Chwe
  8. Dealing With China by Henry M. Paulson Jr.
  9. Orwell’s Revenge by Peter Huber
  10. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
  11. The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldun
  12. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  13. The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
  14. Energy: A Beginner’s Guide by Vaclav Smil
  15. Genome by Matt Ridley
  16. The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James
  17. Portfolios of the Poor by Daryl Collins, Jonathan Morduch, Stuart Rutherford, and Orlanda Ruthven
  18. Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
  19. The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley
  20. The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  21. The Idea Factory by Jon Gertner
  22. World Order by Henry Kissinger
  23. The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch

77 thoughts on “So Much for Sticking to My Goals

  1. This was quite a wordy and ambitious post. I see that in later years you learned some good shortcut tricks. Sort of like Ripkin arguing a called strike in the third inning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just checked my WP stats, and I noticed that for the first five years of my blog, my average word count was over 500 words per post. Two years ago it was 451, and last year it was 428. So you are quite observant! And I am probably getting lazy. Although this year, so far my average count is 495 words per post. Probably because I’ve reposted a few of my older, and longer, posts…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. and I am also sure the average reading level of my posts has gotten lower as well. At this point, my writing is likely at the reading level of a first or second grader… but that’s ok, because that’s where my level of humor is as well…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am late as well in reading Counte of Monte Cristo. Its on my list. My mom was actually just talking about it today. She remembers reading it and enjoying it back when she was in school!

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  3. Zuckerberg’s list doesn’t look like it includes any light reading material. About the closest I can come is I once read a book by Henry Kissenger (one of the authors on his list). Since you’re starting to recycle some of your old posts, I hope you decide to pull out your tire post one day to see what happens.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. there’s only a couple of books ont hat list that I would consider reading, and one is one of the ones I started – The Better Angels of Our Nature. I’ve seen it recommended many times.

      Right now, I am going through my older posts chronologically, although that could change at any time…

      I’ll build up the excitement for the tire post 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really enjoy reviewing these older posts with your added perspective. It seems that over the years you have successfully refined your writing skills and found that unique balance between informative and humorous. Do you see a difference between your writing then and now?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thanks, Brad.

      Perhaps a couple of differences – over time, a good number of my posts were based on my reading something, and then offering my perspective on it. I thnk my earlier posts were probably more reflective. And another commenter, Tippy, did pick up that my posts have become a bit shorter over the eyars 🙂

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      1. I see the shorter length representative of a learned talent for concise writing honed over your many years at the keyboard. If there is one thing I can say about your writing presently, you do not ramble, and it is appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I can see why you didn’t complete the reading challenge. I’ve heard of just three of those authors and absolutely none of the books – it looks like a list compiled by a pseud trying to look clever! Stick to Harlan Coben, his books are much more enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Are there *any* novels on that list? For the most part, in books I read fiction. I get my NF fix from the news and WP. I know you’ve got your writing streak going. Are you saying you have a 7 year running streak?

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  7. Yes, Jim, congrats are in order! Can’t believe you’ve been blogging daily since 2015! That’s quite a feat and I find it a struggle to do weekly so kudos to you, sir!! I love LOVE LOVE books and loveee reading but I hate book clubs… I think one of the major reasons is that I get stuck reading books I will ultimately find boring or uninteresting (we can’t all like the same books) so my numerous book club attempts were failures… perhaps I just need to join a book club that only reasons non-ficture and memoirs! LOL… I’d have failed that reading task too!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have enjoyed some fiction but I generally gravitate more towards non-fiction and memoirs! I posted about my favourite books I read during the pandemic: https://bosssybabe.wordpress.com/2021/12/15/something-christmasy1/

        But I don’t remember if you were a reader of memoirs.. I find it’s quite divisive, people either enjoy it or don’t find it at all interesting.. and I get both sides! 🙂 The most recent one was Katie Couric’s book. I haven’t picked up a book in some time :/

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      2. ah, yes. now I remember. I even posted a comment on that post. I like memoirs as well. I’m not sure if you would call SHoe Dog by Phil Knight a memoir, but it was quite good…

        is there a difference between an autobiography and a memoir?

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I prefer challenges that are doable so I like your read one of those books each year. That way you’ll feel the sense of accomplishment that I know you want to feel. I’ll be rooting for you from the old people’s home.

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  9. I had a goal at one point to read a book from the authors listed in the background image of my library card. I still haven’t met that one but maybe I can pick it up again. Reading takes time, for sure!

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  10. I love reading but I generally go for books I would personally like and avoid other peoples lists because I know I won’t like them. I wouldn’t be able to finish this list either.

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