004 - What I read in October

Still trying to read 4 books each month

Creative Calling by Chase Jarvis

Build up a daily creative practice—This book was a really good reminder how effective it can be to create something every day. I'd recommend it to people who want to do more creative work and want practical guidance to create their practice and stick with it.

Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday

Take a walk, get rid of your physical stuff, and build awareness of your information diet—You're probably on your phone too much. You probably have things you don't really use that take up some of your attention and energy day in and day out. And you look actively for things to react to. It's worth the effort to add a little more stillness to your day.

The Launch Pad by Randall E. Stross

Talk to users, build your product, and stay healthy. A lot of startups have come out of Y Combinator. Stross followed the summer 2011 batch closely and writes about the challenges they faced and talks about prior YC teams and the history of the accelerator. I really enjoyed this and plan to read his earlier book eBoys (2000) soon.

The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek

Consider the long game. You can always think longer term. This book made me consider the creative work I'm doing and how focused on the short term a lot of it is. Write X newsletter issues in Y days. Make a video in an hour. Make a slideshow in 30 minutes. I want to get more focused on which of those things I'm learning from most because learning compounds over time. On the other hand, the book gave me confidence that I'm getting toward the right approach to fitness. Which mostly means accepting that I won't get abs in 30 days (or 3 months), but I can feel a lot better day to day with more consistency and less intensity.

Insanely Simple by Ken Segall

Learn to wield the simple stick. Insanely Simple is about Apple and Steve Jobs's focus on simplicity, from the perspective of Apple's ad agency. The story that's been sticking with me most is the simplicity of the 2x2 grid to describe their computer offering: consumer laptop, consumer desktop, pro laptop, pro desktop. MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac, Mac Pro. It's still true today. (Though people quibble about what "pro" means.)