February Reading List

This month’s Reading List is a bit of a short one. I got sick twice in February, along with it being a short month. I know a lot of people that read a lot when they get sick. I don’t know how they do it. When I’m sick, my brain turns off, and the Netflix app turns on.

Ego is the Enemy – by Ryan Holiday

Ego is the Enemy

All of us at some point in our lives will struggle with ego. The more successful you are, the more you will struggle with ego. Ryan does a great job of illustrating the dangers, and subtleties of how ego sneaks up on us. It starts with something small, and before too long, balloons into us believing we can’t do anything wrong.

As Ryan keeps pointing out, the trap is success. If we were very successful at one thing, we have a distinctive need to try something else. If we beat the odds and become successful at another vocation, we might start to think that everything we touch turns to gold.

Here in lies the biggest question. “What is better? To be average, but noticed. Or be a game changer, and have no one know?”. I’ll admit it. I struggle with this every day. If you think you don’t, then your ego might be getting in the way more then you think.

Jurassic Park – by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park is one of my favourite movies. It’s easily in my top ten. Admit it! The minute you saw the book cover, that awesome John Williams music from the movie started playing it your head. I started reading this book because I heard on a podcast how the movie left so much out from the book. I just had to know what they left out.

Wow! That’s my review in a word. If you love the movie, you need to read this book. There are dinosaurs, and there is an Island. All the characters have the same name too. That’s about where the similarities end. This is just a great book, written by an amazing author in Michael Crichton.

Anything else I tell you will be a major spoiler. So please, just go read the book.

To The Stars – by George Takei

To the Stars

To The Stars is the autobiography of Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu. If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, or visited my Twitter profile page, you’d know I’m a huge Star Trek fan. While the Original Series (TOS) isn’t my favourite of the series (TNG all the way), I defiantly have been a fan of Mr Sulu, and George Takei.

George Takei had a very interesting childhood. I suggest you read this, next time you think you had it hard growing up. I also suggest you reference back to the book, the next time you think you are being treated “unfairly”. Take a good look at George Takei and his family, and what happend to them in the 40s. Suddenly you being “unfairly” passed for that promotion will seem fairly trivial, as it should.

It amazes me how little George Takei made during the entire run of Star Trek, including the movies. It wasn’t until at least Star Trek IV: The Search for Spock, when he started making six figures. I think the studios saw Mr Sulu as a background character, and I believe they got that so wrong. In the movie reboots, he is clearly a main player, and I think he has always been thought of as one in the fans eyes.

The Mental Game of Poker – by Jared Tendler

The Mental Game of Poker

I put myself through University playing poker and taking on any programming project that came my way. I don’t talk about Poker much on this blog, and I think I should change that. The amount of Poker related articles I see on Hacker News is astounding. It seems that Poker and Programming seem to go hand in hand.

I don’t play much poker these days. I’m just too busy with work and family. The problem is, the less I play, the more I am susceptible to tilt. When I use to play 6 – 12 tables online, I really didn’t care when I took a bad beat. If it happend on table 7, it probably wouldn’t happen on the other 11 tables. Now, I play very occasionally, and only get to sit at a live table about once a month. If I loose that night due to a bad beat, I have to wait another month to have another chance. This often leads to me tilting more at the table, shortly after a suck-out.

The teachings in this book are a fairly good start. I liked how Jared used a lot of the similarities of Golf, and discussed “warming up” before playing. One part in particular was a big take away for me. Jared was talking to one of his students, and the student was explaining how a certain player frustrated him. Jared’s response was “That player doesn’t have the power to frustrate you. You are the only person who has the power to frustrate you”.

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