Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Things I like, things I do.

Hey All, I've been a little busy lately and have switched jobs since we talked last.  The only problem the longer I am employed at companies is, the less and less I can say about those experiences :-)  I thought I would share with you some of the things I read, and like.  The intent is that you can see what I do and hopefully some of it will help you in your own learning to code journey.

I believe your education never ends.  When people say they are "well educated" referring to their college education, I see it as offensive and slightly ignorant.  I believe you should never stop learning, and should always be improving your own education regardless if you are in school or not.

According to studies 85% of our success in the work place is due to 'human engineering', not your level of college education.  When I was 14 I said something to my Aunt Becky that she took as being rude.  Her husband called me later that night and told me how rude and offensive I had been.  My Aunt and Uncle had historically always given me cash for my birthday in a card that matched my age. For my 15th birthday instead of $15 in cash as I expected, I received a very worn out copy of Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people" and 1 single stick of gum...I guess I had bad breath too :-) 

I read that book 3 - 4 times, it changed my life.  I had no clue about how humans worked or what they liked or didn't like.  I know now at age 30 that my strongest asset is my people skills.  Most people that I have worked with, and most of my coaching student's weakest area is dealing with people.

Here are the books that have meant the most to me over the years.  Honestly, if I hadn't read them all, I don't think I would have ever been able to switch from a career as a Blacksmith/Farrier to one of writing Code.  There are many more good books, but I think all of the ones below would help anyone learning how to code.  Only 4 of the books below are code related though.  There are more great tutorials and resources, but if you completed just the 4 I mention, you would have enough technical ability for a junior Rails position, and know the basics of coding.

I think the most important tool that we have as a "knowledge worker" is our brain.  Which is why I do things every day to improve it.  For example I write left handed and use my mouse all day left handed even though I am a natural right hander.  I have high lighted the top 10 books I recommend if you only could pick 10.  I try to read at least 10 new books a year.  Last year I read 13.  NOTE: I don't make any money by recommending these books:

  • How to win friends and influence people - Dale Carnegie
  • The power of eye contact - Michael Ellsberg
  • No More Dreaded Mondays - Dan Miller
  • Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar: How Self-Education and the Pursuit of Passion Can Lead to a Lifetime of Success - James Marcus Bach
  • Whole Brain Power - Michael Lavery
  • The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won't Learn in College About How to Be Successful - Michael Ellsberg
  • The Choose Yourself Guide To Wealth - James Altucher
  • Rhinoceros Success - Scott Alexander
  • How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People - Les Giblin
  • Anything You Want - Derek Sivers
  • What Every Body is Saying - Joe Navarro
  • The Compound Effect: Jumpstart your income, your life, your success - Darren Hardy
  • The ONE Thing - Gary Keller
  • It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want To Be. - Paul Arden
  • Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job - Jon Acuff
  • The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules | Live The Life You Want - Chris Guillebeau
  • The Magic of Thinking BIG - David J. Schwartz, Ph.D
  • WIN: The Key Principles to Take Your Business From Ordinary to Extraordinary - Dr. Frank Luntz
  • The Real You - Dr. Kevin Leman
  • Eat That Frog! - Brian Tracy
  • How to Think Like Einstein: Simple Ways to Break the Rules and Discover Your Hidden Genius - Scott Thorpe
  • Learn To Program - Chris Pine
  • Michael Hartl's Rails Tutorial
  • Whys Poignant Guide To Ruby
  • In The Beginning Was The Command Line - Neal Stephenson

Things I do to daily/weekly to improve myself:

If you read Whole Brain Power and agree with what he says about the overall benefits of becoming ambidextrous, and how it improves your overall brain function.  Then these next few things will make sense to you, otherwise you will think me a bit weird :-)

  • I use my mouse at work left handed the entire day.
  • I bounce a golf ball off of very small hammers and also off of very heavy hammers several days per week.
  • I convert license plate numbers into pictures using Phonetics.
  • I convert the letters into numbers, and then into pictures.  For example DE would make the number '45' which would convert to the picture of a Rail Road Track.  ( Look up the Majors memory system if you want to know how it works )
  • I close the number 1 Grip Crushers = 140 pounds of force to close, every 2 days ( most weight lifters can not close it )
  • If I need to take notes in a meeting I make sure I write them down and that I do it with my left hand.
  • I go to the acupuncturist once per week for needles and cupping.
  • Read a part of a book each night or work on my Rails app.
  • Basically do everything as much as possible left and right handed, for example when I was at Fidelity I would play 2 games of ping pong after work most nights.  I would always play one game right handed and the other left handed.  I consistently beat people with my left hand.
  • Always lots of goals, some huge goals, and then 1 or 2 crazy outlandish goals that I don't tell anyone or else they laugh at me.  I think that keeps me very positive when thinking of the future and full of energy to welcome the start of a new day.

All the above may be weird, I personally think they help me learn quicker and keep my brain as healthy as possible.  I don't mind doing weird things as long as they work.  Most very successful people do things that others might consider strange or unusual.  My motto is when I see what everyone else is doing, I go the opposite direction.  How can you have remarkable success in life if you merely follow what everyone else does?  How can you be anything but normal if every night you simply watch Netflix?  Oh yeah, I don't watch much T.V. either :-)

Keep coding peeps, you can do this!