Book Review | A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

This is deep stuff. There is a lot of good in this book, but it’s something I will need to study, not a light read. I listened to this on audio and I think I’ll have to go back and re-read this. I would recommend it.

I listened to this audiobook. To be honest, I thought it might be a too new age for me, but it had a lot of people’s recommendations so I gave it a go. I gave this book 4 stars, but I stick with my initial review above, I think I need to read this again. Maybe the next time in print and take my time with it. I’d also be open to reading more from Tolle as I know he has written some other books that have become very popular. No, highlights from the book to share with you as this was the audio version.

Book Review | Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness

Outer Order, Inner Calm: Declutter & Organize to Make More Room for Happiness
by Gretchen Rubin

Wonderful. I really enjoyed this book. It encompasses much that has been said elsewhere and adds more to it. It also is not filled with too much other stuff or reiterating over and over. Very well done. One star removed for the final chapter “Add Beauty”. I felt that this last chapter “adds” too much when the idea is to declutter. But as with all books and learning, take away what you want and leave what you don’t. Wonderful book!

Book Recommendations:
A Pattern Language by Christopher Alexander
Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern

Top Ten Tips for Creating Outer Order
1. Make Your Bed
2. Follow the one minute rule: anything you can do in less than one minute do without delay
3. Have a weekly power hour: make a list of tasks you’d like to accomplish and spend one hour, once a week, tackling the items on the list
4. Make it fun to get the job done
5. Don’t let yourself fall into empty
6. Don’t put things down, put them away
7. Don’t stockpile: that is, don’t store more of an item than you can realistically use
8. Keep mementos that are small in size and few in number
9. Keep things organized, but not overly organized
10. If you can’t find something, clean up

Book Review | Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul

Dwelling: Simple Ways to Nourish Your Home, Body, and Soul
by Melissa Michaels

The author writes this book specifically for women, mentioning makeup and other female-only topics. The author also spends a lot of time speaking about religion and if you are not Christian you may find this off-putting.

Lowest rating for 2020 so far. I just couldn’t relate to this author and her story as she was too focused on the religion and women for a story that I think is bigger.

Book Review | The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store

The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
by Cait Flanders
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
by Cait Flanders

My first audiobook of 2020. One woman’s journey to do with less. Less spending and less alcohol specifically. Flander’s relates her difficulties in addition to shopping and drinking and how a bargain with herself to spend less and stop drinking benefitted her life.

I’ve never had these struggles myself, but can certainly understand that they would be difficult addictions to part with once established. While I can certainly do with less (buying and possessions) I didn’t feel like this particular story really spoke to me. I’m married with children, I don’t have a drinking problem, and my wife and I discuss any purchase over $50.

I do think that many of these experiments seem to be young people who are unmarried and without children. These circumstances make it easier for them to make large changes in their life. Not saying it’s not possible for those who are married with children, it just poses more challenges. 

This was another book that only received 3 out of 5 stars. I listened to it in only 3 days, but I just couldn’t relate. Not at all a fault of the writing or the author.

Book Review | Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language

Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch
Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch

Good, but drier than I thought it would be. Interesting stories, but I wanted something more. Something more fun and interesting, that was here but there wasn’t enough of it for me I guess.

Maybe I was overly excited for this one, but it lead me to only 3 out of 5 stars for my review.

In the book, Gretchen mentioned a podcast: Lingthusiam, which I listened to and it also left me wanting more. And that was the only note I took in the 327 pages of text in this book. Sorry for the meh, review, but it was kinda a meh book.

Book Review | Waste

Waste by Kate O'Neill
Waste by Kate O’Neill

Very thick and full of references. I learned a lot which is why it gets 4 stars. I wouldn’t say this is for the casual reader.

55% of waste in the US is buried in covered landfill.

Kate O’Neill

Besides the above I learned that I live in the state, California, with the largest landfill in the US, the Puente Hills landfill, which was close in 2014.

Books O’Neill references

Roughly a third of food produced of human consumption every year–approximately 1.3 billion tonnes–is lost or wasted.

Kate O’Neill

52% of fruit and vegetable produced or purchased in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is discarded. Wow!

Documentary mentioned: Plastic China (2016)

This book was 4 out of 5 stars. I have a lot to do to improve here and I look forward to reading the books that O’Neill mentions above.

Book Review | Educated

Educated by Tara Westover
Educated by Tara Westover

Sad. This book had some difficult parts to read, but they did tell the story and the author can write well. The story is one that spoke to me in regards to the divide that develops between the educated and the less educated.

I gave this book 4 out of five stars. When I first started reading the book I actually though it was about the education system, but it is a biography of a woman who grew up in a very strict mormon family. They didn’t allow anyone to seek medical attention or see doctors for any reason, including child birth.

It is a wonder she and her siblings survived this upbring. As I said in the beginning it really did remind me that an education is so very important, and just the ones available at institutions like public or private school, but those you can gain yourself just by reading.

This book was powerful and a reminder that people with drastically different views on the world and really any issue have that view for a reason. Don’t count them out, speak to them and try to understand where they are coming from. You both might learn something.

Book Review | Digital Minimalism

Digital Minimalism
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport

…checking your “likes” is the new smoking

Cal Newport

The quote above tells us a lot about Cal’s book. I had really been looking forward to this book. I first her about Cal Newport from The Minimalist podcast. They talk about his book often almost as much as the books they have written themselves. In Digital Minimalist by Cal Newport I learned to delete apps that I use too much. Pay attention to the app usage reports that my iPhone gives me and try to stay away from social media apps, not much to be gained there. Although I do believe there are some good uses, you can just pick up your phone every time you get bored, as the quote above suggests. “Everyone secretly fears being bored.”

Another keeper from Cal is, “…wearing a red shirt on a dating profile will lead to significantly more interest than any other color,…” I love these kinds of insights, although I have no need for that particular one, maybe it will help one of you reading this post!

…the notification symbol for Facebook was originally blue, to match the palette of the rest of the site, “but no one used it.” So they changed the color to red–an alarm color–and clicking skyrocketed.”

Cal Newport

Likes is a behavioral addiction, the drive for social approval. Many are caught up in there. Many also believe that anyone can start a popular, revenue-generating blog. I’ve never made any money on any blogs or the podcast that I ran for years. Some can but it is the minority for sure.

It all comes do to this really…

Digital Minimalism: A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.

Cal Newport

The average Facebook user uses the site for 50 minutes every day!

Don’t click and don’t comment

Cal Newport

Authors mentioned in the book: Decartes, Newton, Locke, Pascal, Spinoza, Kant, Leibniz, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Kierkgaard, and Wittgenstein.

A 2015 study found that teenagers use social media (text messaging and apps) about 9 hours a day on average.

In 90% of your daily life, the presence of a cell phone either doesn’t matter or makes things only slightly more convenient.

Cal Newport


  1. Prioritize demanding activity over passive consumption
  2. Use skills to produce valuable things in the physical world
  3. Seek activities that require real-world, structured social interactions

The Dunbar number of 150 is a theoretical limit of the number of people that a human can successfully keep track of in their social circles. How many “friends” do you have?

Your Time = Their Money

Cal Newport

We all need to read and understand what Cal is telling us. We have fallen asleep and fallen into this new digital world, leaving the real-world behind or at the very least largely ignoring the real-world and real people. This book will hopefully, help you make some changes and wake up!

Book Review | The Minimalist Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life

The Minimalist Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life
by Joshua Becker

Excellent. While Becker goes over quite a bit I wish there was more about the benefits and more about just how to get it done. Details would be very interesting to me as I still struggle with just how much to let go of and how to get the family onboard.

Above is my review from Goodreads right after I finished The Minimalist Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life. Since reading this I have read more on minimalism, and they all seem to state that if we can model minimalism for our family members then eventually they will see all the benefits, and want to make the transition with us. So far, I have found this minimally successful.

Over the course of an average lifetime, because of all the clutter we live in, we will spend 3,680 hours, or 153 days, searching for misplaced items. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list.

Joshua Becker

Josh Becker is kinda famous in this minimalist world. He has a great youtube channel and has influenced others to start their own.

Joshua Becker – What is Minimalism

Minimalism is — the removing of unnecessary possessions so we can better live the life we want as a family.

Joshua Becker

In the book among many other things, he discusses the endowment effect, which is the tendency to consider an object more important than it really is simply because we own it. For example, if I have an Anaheim Ducks mug, I may want to keep it, but if I saw the same thing in a store, I wouldn’t want to buy it. If I don’t like it enough to buy it then why do I need to keep this thing?

Never organize what you can discard.

Joshua Becker

I really love this one. How often do we see something in a drawer and just move it aside or look for a way to better organize it, when we really don’t need that thing at all?

You don’t need more space. You need less stuff.

Joshua Becker

Another great point that Joshua makes it all the time we waste watching tv. He states American’s on average watch 35.5 hours of tv a week. That’s almost a full-time job! Think about what you could do with that time, other than earning an extra income.

Another great one, that American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually. Is that really necessary? I mean, I don’t think anyone really cares what I wear? As long as my clothes fit I don’t think I need any more.

In 1930, the average American woman owned nine outfits. In 2015 that figure was 30 outfits–on for every day of the month.

Joshua Becker

Joshua also tackles the hard one, kids’ toys. He states that toddlers with fewer toys focused better and played more creatively.

Another favorite of mine is the garage. Joshua says, for a quarter of Americans the garage is so cluttered that we can’t even fit our cars in them.

How much did you spend on the holidays this year? Joshua estimates that the American family spends about $1,000 for the winter holidays on gifts. How many of those gifts are then donated or simply thrown away?

He just keeps going, I love all these bits of data he throws in to prove his point and I want to read more of his work. I subscribe to his youtube channel and will continue to follow his work. 4 stars for this book. A must read, if you haven’t gotten to it yet.

Book Review | Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike

Just Ride
Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike by Grant Petersen

Excellent common-sense advice from someone who knows what they are talking about. Ever wish you could sit down with the bike shop owner for a few hours and pick their brain. This book is your chance. Great advice and makes sense to this Unracer.

Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike by Grant Petersen introduces us to those people who cycle not to race and not to get faster, but maybe just to get somewhere or to have fun. The recreational cyclist.

There are a lot of very expensive bikes and expensive gear. What Grant seems to set out to do in this book is to tell you that it’s not really needed to have some fun on a bike. Just because you have a bike doesn’t mean that you need to increase your FTP or find your optimal cadence. You can just ride to have fun and that can be enough.

You have way too many gears For all-around riding over a variety of surfaces and terrain, you need eight gears

Grant Petersen

I love this! Another one is to make it easier going up hills Grant suggests just standing up, you don’t have to shift down necessarily. There is nothing wrong with just getting up and letting your body weight on the pedals help propel the bike up the hill.

Look at the land as something to pass through, not to conquer

Grant Petersen

“Your bike will go where your eyes look”. Great advice. Another one he mentions you can turn with your hips, turn your hips in the direction you want to go and you don’t need to turn the handlebars. I’ve tried it and it works.

No matter how much you like it, bike riding shouldn’t be your only exercise. Ride your bike half of the time, then work the muscles that bike riding doesn’t

Grant Petersen

I highlight the quote above because I am guilty of this. I do add in yoga but really only so I can ride more without such stiff hips.

Just ride is a great book that reminds us that riding a bike doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or hard….just ride.