Last month I read three books, as well as countless articles and blog posts. I’ve included my thoughts on the books I read, an interesting article, and a few noteworthy blog posts for you to check out in this October Reading Report.
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker
Joshua Becker was spending a Memorial Day weekend cleaning out his garage for the umpteenth time, when a neighbor commented that maybe he didn’t need to own all that stuff and introduced him to the idea of minimalism. Becker got his wife and children on board and began changing their lives. Once they started getting rid of things, they found that they had more money and time to pursue the things that they were passionate about, and felt more free.
The More of Less tells Becker’s story, and offers practical tips for how you can begin decluttering and become more conscious about buying. Becker talks about how there is no one-size-fits-all approach to minimalism, and how you need to find what’s right for you and your family. He also brings up good points about not trying to get rid of your spouse’s or kids’ belongings without their permission.
Becker’s lifestyle change opened up opportunities for him to write and inspire others, as well as gave him the time and extra money to start a foundation. Once you strip away all your belongings, and get off the consumerist carousel, you find out who you really are and what you want to get out of life.
This Road I Ride: Sometimes It Takes Losing Everything to Find Yourself by Juliana Buhring
Last month, I read a book about a woman attempting to break the world record of most vertical feet skied in a year. This month, I read a book about a woman attempting to be the first woman to bike around the world. Next month, I will decide to break a Guinness record myself and begin writing my book about it.
As I started to read This Road I Ride, I realized how familiar it sounded. Buhring was suffering after losing the love of her life, and decided to go on the adventure of a lifetime to find herself. Early on in the book, Buhring talks about her childhood growing up in a cult and her decision as a young adult to leave it. I realized that I knew who this woman was, just having recently watched a documentary about a transAmerica bike race that she was in. I also realized that I knew the story of her boyfriend, Hendri Coetzee, who was tragically EATEN BY A CROCODILE while kayaking in the Congo. The story of his last expedition was told in the movie Kadoma, which I saw a few years ago at the Banff Film Festival.
Buhring’s story is one of a determined woman. The book is written as a diary with different entries from various countries around the world. Whether it was a breakdown, extreme weather, or being harassed by creeps, Buhring faced new problems every day. For Buhring, the journey was just as important as achieving her goal.
Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold
Man, I’m really on an adventure memoir kick right now. A couple months ago, I read Tommy Caldwell’s book The Push, and was inspired to read another climbing memoir. Alex Honnold wrote Alone on the Wall with a veteran writer, David Roberts, trading sections of his stories with Roberts’ commentary and insights shared by Honnold’s closest friends.
Alex Honnold, like his good friend Tommy Caldwell, is a very talented, and very famous climber. Caldwell is known for extremely difficult, big wall climbs, while Honnold is best known for his free soloing projects. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, free soloing means climbing without a rope or any kind of protection. In Alone on the Wall, Honnold chronicles a number of the big walls he has free soloed including, Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park, the Regular Northwest face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, and El Sendero Luminoso in El Portrero Chico, Mexico.
At the end of the book, he talks about how there is no limit to what is possible in climbing, and how in a few years, his accomplishments won’t seem that impressive anymore. He dreams of a future project, and being the first person to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite, but is afraid that with his level of fame in Yosemite Valley, it would be difficult to do the training necessary on that wall without drawing a crowd. After writing this book, Honnold got his chance, and become the first person to free solo El Capitan.
Before I read this book, I thought that Alex Honnold was either insane, or had a death wish. There has to be a limit on how many times you can risk your life, and come out alive. Honnold actually puts it quite eloquently, that there is a difference between risk and consequence. He is not climbing anything out of his comfort zone or ability level without a rope, so the risk is low. However, if he falls, the consequence is great. He is climbing climbs with a low risk, but high consequence. In addition to Honnolds’ incredible free solos, he also has many speed records and multi-wall link-ups to his name. As the bar keeps getting raised in climbing, I look forward to what the future will bring for the sport and for Honnold.
If you were intrigued by the story of Hendri Coetzee, then I recommend you read this piece from Outside Magazine. Coetzee was a true adventurer who felt more at home when he was away from home. He lived his life in the moment and was always trying to have the best day ever. Coetzee’s life may have been cut short, but his list of accomplishments is quite long and his legacy lives on.
Noteworthy Blog Posts
Tubb’s Fire 10/9/17 – A Sudden Evacuation – Dads Dollars Debts
Dads Dollars Debts wrote this incredible post about evacuating his family from the Santa Rosa Tubb’s wildfire. He details being woken up in the middle of the night by loud noises, the dog barking, and neighbors rushing at his front door. It took a few seconds to register that the people running towards him with flashlights were trying to warn him to get out and that a wildfire was headed their way.
This post made me think of how unprepared I would be in the case of an emergency like this. In his haste, Dads Dollars Debts grabbed some camping gear and dog food, but left most of his most valuable and important possessions behind. He makes a strong point for having a “Go Bag” and lists what kinds of things should be included. Luckily, he got his family to safety, but unfortunately they were one of many families that lost their house in those devastating fires.
People Are Predictably Irrational – A Nobel Memorial Prize Winning Theory – Chief Mom Officer
In this post, Chief Mom Officer discusses behavioral economics, and Professor Richard Thaler’s prize winning theory that you could predict the irrational choices that people make and influence those choices. For example, many people do not sign up for their company’s 401k. Companies know this is because of inertia, so many are making signing up the default option, and you actually have to opt out of it (which people again would not do because of inertia). Some of these same companies know that their employees do not increase their contributions each year, so they will do that for them, unless they opt out again.
This is a really interesting idea that there are “nudges” in our daily lives leading us to make better decisions. After reading this article, I’m more aware of the nudges in my own life.
Your Awesome New Construction Home is Finished. Now What? – Millennial Money Man
In this post, Millennial Money Man lists seven things to keep in mind once the construction of your new home is finished, and while you’re getting ready to close. He recommends having an independent inspector do a walkthrough, and making sure that the work in completed to your liking. Make sure you read the fine print on your contracts, and don’t be a afraid to ask questions to your builder or lender, if there’s something that you don’t understand.
All this is great advice for us, as we are beginning the journey of building our first home. Our situation is a little different than Millennial Money Man’s because our general contractor is a close relative, so we don’t have as much to worry about with the quality of the work or our relationship with the builder. However, we will be shopping around for the best loan, and will be sure to ask lots of questions to the potential lenders.
Also, in case you missed it, check out THE BIG REVEAL on Our Next Life. I loved reading about the people behind the emojis.
What have you read this month?
Interested in what I read last month? Check out the September Reading Report.
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