I was blind but now I see

Joe Choi – Copywriter, Golfer, Health Fanatic

Joe Choi is a copywriter, golfer, and overall health fanatic. He once wrote and published a book called ‘Happy Foods’ on a challenge in 11 days. He shares his personal stories, advice, and anecdotes on his blog: fescuefairways.com. These are his good things.

Good things to read.

Outlaw Platoon: Heroes, Renegades, Infidels, and the Brotherhood of War in Afghanistan by Sean Parnell and John Bruning. This is an incredible book that highlights the sacrifices our troops make during their tours of duty. What I really like about this book is that it not only highlights a number of heroic battles in the war in Afghanistan, but it also highlights other struggles soldiers face. The author highlights what it feels like when you’re on leave while others are still at war, politics and trust among other soldiers and counterparts, and having to patrol while injured and exhausted.  

Start with No: The Negotiating Tools that the Pros Don’t Want You to Know by Jim Camp. How many times have you been told to win-win? Heck, it’s even one of the 7 habits of highly effective people according to Stephen Covey. Camp shows you why this win-win attitude is harmful and it even causes some seasoned business people to drive themselves, and their businesses, to the brink of failure. Now, you may be thinking that you don’t want to be adversarial and you want others to like you and all that. But Camp actually outlines how to be a great negotiator without being adversarial or hostile. In fact, what he advocates is the exact opposite of what you may be thinking.

I’ve received the low end of the bargain many times in my life. This book showed me step-by-step, how to get back what I deserve and what is rightfully mine without being adversarial. This book isn’t just for business and multimillion dollar deals, we negotiate everyday and Camp gives examples throughout.  

I Was Blind But Now I See by James Altucher. This is actually my favorite book by James Altucher. We go through life assuming many things and do things we supposed to do, without ever questioning why. We all put ourselves through hell by sticking to jobs we hate, paying down mortgages, and taking on massive debt by going to college.

Altucher highlights why many of these assumptions are wrong and how we can be happy and succeed without having to pay dues of unhappiness upfront. You don’t necessarily have to agree with all the points—although I do—but you should read it with an open mind. If certain parts make you angry, ask yourself why you feel that way. Is it because of a deep-rooted assumption you’ve held your entire life and you fear being wrong? Is it because you’ve experienced something else? Don’t just disparage the thoughts in the book right away, but really explore them to get the most out of it.

Good things to watch.

Miracle. This is about the 1980 US Men’s Olympic Hockey team. They were just a bunch of college players going up against an international powerhouse. I like this movie because I have a certain personal attachment to it. I played hockey growing up and had the privilege of training with a former Soviet skating coach. He developed a number of notable players who went on to play professionally. (No, I wasn’t one of them). He had a very radical approach to skill development that is very different than what North Americans do. Being able to experience that was pretty neat.

In the summer of 2005, I lived in Moscow, Russia. I was browsing a souvenir market and came across a deck of postcard-sized cards of the former Soviet Hockey team—I guess it’s the Soviet version of baseball cards. All the great names like Tretiak, Festisov, and Makarov were in the deck. I bought it as a souvenir. Miracle highlights the tremendous accomplishment of the US hockey team in 1980. I’m not sure that people realize how big of a deal it was before then.

8 Crazy Nights. This is Adam Sandler’s animated holiday movie and my favorite holiday film. I usually watch it sometime after Thanksgiving. It’s very funny and has some great characters in it. I love repeating lines from this movie and making references to it, even though nobody knows what the hell I’m talking about.

Strangely, the first time I ever saw this was in Seoul, Korea while I was visiting there. It was the only thing in English I could find on TV, so I ended up watching it and loved it! I had to buy it when I got back to the states.

Big Fish. I saw this alone in a movie theater in London for the first time. It’s a Tim Burton film so the artistry is phenomenal. But I also like the story and characters. It’s half fantasy and half reality. I don’t really know how else to describe it, but I love it. It is based on a novel, which I haven’t read, but perhaps I should at some point.

Good things to use.

SuperFlex Bands. These are layered resistance bands that are flat and form a giant loop. They make a few different resistances and sizes. I love how convenient the bands are. I use them at home just about every morning to get in a good workout. They’re also very easy to take on the road when traveling. I keep one in my golf bag and use it to warm up before I play.

MacBook. It took me a while to warm up to Apple products, but I’m glad I started using Mac as my personal computer. It’s great for portability, the battery life is long, and the computer never seems to slow down. Honestly, I don’t even use a lot of the applications on it and there are probably things that I can do with it that I don’t even know about.

I mainly use word, internet browser, and iTunes. Everything is easy to use and works like a charm. I also like that I can take photos with my iPhone and it syncs to my Photo Stream without me having to plug anything in. Time Machine makes backing up everything on the computer easy and fast.

Kindle. I’ve been making it a goal of mine to decrease the amount of stuff I own. I read a lot and don’t mind spending money on books, but the number of books can pile up and this can become a storage issue really fast. It’s also a pain if you ever move. Realistically, I’ll read most books once and never open them again. With a kindle I can store many books on a device the size of my two hands put together. I could move books to archive and manage the archive from my computer.

I have an older model (the one with the clay keys). It works fine and gives me what I need so I don’t see any reason to upgrade. One thing I wish I’d done was shell out the extra couple of bucks for a case with a light on it. I was trying to save a few bucks and not thinking of the value a light can have for my reading pleasure. Oh well, you live and learn!

Connect with Joe on Twitter @jchoi007.

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Mike Dariano

My name is Mike Dariano and these are my good things

What are three good things you’ve read?

I just finished Anansi Boys by Gaiman and it was very good.  I’ve read Gaiman’s American Gods and thought that was a better overall book but this was shorter and felt more focused.  Plus it had a lot of the same good stuff that was in American Gods. 

I also re-read Altucher’s I was Blind but now I See kindle book.  Some good thought provoking ideas about college, congress, and life. I enjoy reading things that remind me that the power in my life is up to me. 

Slowly I’ve been trudging through 1Q84 and it’s very good with the pacing and character development.  It’s been like watching two sets of storm clouds slowly, beautifully, move across the horizon and you’re just waiting to see what happens when they meet.  Though I do wish they would meet a bit sooner. 

What are three good things you’ve watched?

After putting our kids to sleep my wife and I watch Colbert Report which seems a bit funnier to us than The Daily Show but Steward seems funnier than Colbert.  Who knows. 

I re-watched Drive again the other day and Ryan Gosling will always live in my mind as someone who doesn’t talk in movies but is very good at meme’s. The movie reminds me of driving around large cities at night when the roads are all lit but very few people are out and it feels like another world. 

A friend turned us on to Tosh.0 an that’s another show we watch after the kids go to bed – and for good reason. 

What are three good things you use?

Long ago I stopped watching or reading the news because it proved to be too much of a time-suck for me but recently I subscribed to Pell’s Next Draft.  It’s a week day email summary of what happened with some clever comments from Dave.

For email I’m giving Postbox a try.  After launching this site and taking a new teaching position my number of email accounts grew to too many for a browser and I’m hoping the desktop client works well.  I’m still within my 30 day trial but it’s been wonderfully minimal in interface but with many features. 

I’ve been using Orchestra for my new to do list and it’s great! Forwarding emails and dictating what I need to do while driving have been awesome features.