Along the Way


”If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” – Neil Gaiman

Last monday, I finally had the chance see Spectre. I was astonished at how the critics were brutal with that movie. It’s a step down from Skyfall and Casino Royale, I admit it. But, it’s not worse than Quantum of Solace. When I look at the big picture, I remember the Pierce Brosnan’s years. Die Another Day is still a nightmare I want to forget. Spectre is a league above that movie. People forget fast, the James Bond’s franchise was down the sinkhole 10 years ago.

My goal here isn’t to talk about movies. I thought that the Bond’s example was perfect to make my point. Progression will never be linear. In whatever you’ll do, you will hit obstacles, plateaus and you will have set backs. The idea that your progression must be a straight line going upward on and on is simply not real life. A multitude of factors will always influence your performance. You can hit 70 push-ups as a record, but it doesn’t mean you’ll be at 80 next month. It’s possible that you’ll go back down at 63, before going back up again. The idea is that you keep doing it, keep trying.

You cannot have your best day everyday. It’s the same for the Bond movies. The next will probably be better. In the end, we must look at the big picture. Can we see a global improvement? That’s the real question that must be answer. The only way to make that question relevant is to at least attempt something.

How to (Really) Read a Book


A good book deserves an active reading. The activity of reading does not stop with the work of understanding what a book says. It must be completed by the work of criticism, the work of judging. The undemanding reader fails to satisfy this requirement, probably even more than he fails to analyze and interpret. He not only makes no effort to understand; he also dismisses a book simply by putting it aside and forgetting it. Worse than faintly praising it, he damns it by giving it no critical consideration whatever.Mortimer J. Adler

This is the logical follow-up How to Read 50 Books in a Year. Reading a book doesn’t finish with the last page. Far from it. Work needs to be done afterward. That is in my opinion the most important part of reading a book. That will be the make or break in what you’ll get out of the book. Really reading a book means to be an active reader. If you go from point A to Z without any work, chances are that you will forget 99% of the book in a year. Here are some thoughts about my reading process.

*I’m active during my reading. That mean I highlight things of interest. It can be interesting quotes, stuff to apply in my daily life, interesting resources (books, movies, authors, music, etc.) or just interesting facts. In other words, highlight everything you find interesting. I don’t hesitate to write ideas or comments inside my books. They are my personal working tools. They aren’t meant to stay blank. You will read at a slower pace. That’s fine, it’s not a race. No need to rush.

*Once the reading is done, I write a summary of the book in Evernote. You can use whatever tools you want for that. I used to have a desktop folder with summary written in Word documents. To each is own way. You could write them on paper sheet if you want. In the summary, I’ll write about: the author, the subject/themes, what I thought about the book (make a critic of it), what I learned and whatever ideas that comes to my mind.

*After that, I will transcribe all book notes (things that we’re highlighted) after the summary. I’ll usually keep the most important stuff. I think notes should be well-organized for a later consultation. Dividing by chapters is probably the easiest way. Writing all your notes will boost the retention of what you just read. It can be a long process, but you’ll get use to it with time.

*As you can see, Fiction don’t follow the same pattern. I won’t use the summary/notes organization. I will start by saying what I thought about the book. Then, I will make a longer summary with quotes here and there if the book is like Game of Thrones or Dune. What I mean is that the book main point is to tell a story. The other option is to write you summary around the themes of the books. Here I’m thinking about Fight Club. Sometimes, you’ll have book that fall in between.

*The way you do your summary is personal. The important point is to do it. The way of doing will differ from person to another. Some people will keeps pages and pages of notes. Others will prefer the one page rule. It’s up to you. You can write on computer or by hand. You can use tables, images, whatever you want. The idea is to make it useful. For example, for my summary of The Borgias, I’ve included a map of Italy in 1492.

*I would suggest to keep a task list (if you read a non-fiction) when you are transcribing your notes. It’s a good way to make things you learn actionable. By doing that, you’ll commit to apply what you learn it the real world.

*I keep a system to check at least 1 or 2 old summaries/notes every week. That point is very important. You need to go back to your notes once in a while. It’s interesting to add new thoughts to your book notes after a year. You’ll see things differently each time you’ll return to it. I suggest adding new comments each time to make it a perpetual work.

I would rather read 20 books in a year with an active reading mindset than 100 in a passive reading way. I believe reading is an activity to make us grow. Making the most out of it make sense. See it as your personal school. You need to do your homeworks if you want a good grade. It’s the same for books. You need to do the work if you want to get the most values out of them.

27 Things I Learned in 2014


Each year of my life comes with important lessons. I’ve been inspired by many books, movies, blogs, podcasts, music and people. I’m fortunate to had the chance to assimilate all that knowledge. It was without a doubt a great year of education. I’m already looking toward 2015 in great anticipation. Here his a bunch of things I learned during the year. Have a great read! And by the way, happy New Year! 

[1] From I Will Teach You to be RichI learned that being rich isn’t the same for everyone. I have my definition and your’s is probably different. I’m more into a life rich in time doing things I love. I want rich quality time with my friends and family. I want to travel the world. I’m not into luxurious car, huge house or 10 000$ watches. The idea is simple, spend money according to your priorities. If you don’t care about clothes, don’t buy 200$ jeans, it won’t make you happier.

[2] I learned great lessons from James Altucher. The first one was to write 10 ideas a day. The second one was to use gratitude about negative stuff in my life. I’ve talked about these two things in Foundation.

[3] In War of Art I’ve learned about Resistance. It’s part of everything in my life. If I don’t fight it, I will collapse. Resistance comes in many forms like fear of failure, anxiety or procrastination. I must be aware of it everyday of my life. Otherwise, I won’t do my work.

[4] In 2014 I’ve learned about economic history. It was a bit outside of my comfort zone. I’ve in The Great Crash that the crisis of 2008 was nothing compared to what happened in 1929. In 1938, the unemployment was still at 20%. People never saw it coming, in fact the 20s were an era of prosperity. What made 1929 was a unique set of events that couldn’t repeat itself today. 

[5] I learned in The Millionaire Fastlane that time is the most precious asset, far more than money. The older I get the more I understand that. I see that I get more and more offer for projects, sidelines or activities. Not all of them are useful in my life big picture. We usually tend to put more time at the wrong places. Always remember that time is precious. Smart use of your time can be a make or break.

[6] I’ve got a complete education of the Tibetan culture by reading 7 Years in Tibet. Very interesting book. Read it.

[7] The absence of promise guarantees unhappiness. In other word, if you have nothing plan in your life or no goals, you will feel down. I’ve taken that lesson from The Willpower Instinct.

[8] The Book Quiet by Susan Cain has help me understand myself better as an introvert. It made me understand that I had a creative side that I wasn’t using at all. This blog is a consequence of that. It’s fine that after busy social day, I need to spend time alone and relaxed. That is a normal behavior. If I feel quiet, it’s nothing weird, it’s just how I am. Extrovert should also read that book.

[9] The book Black Swan was my favorite in 2014. The most important thing I’ve learned is that when we see a sequence of events, we tend to associate a explanations and causes to them. We store patterns to simplify, we are hungry for rules because it’s easier to store in our heads. The more we summarize, the more order we have, the less randomness. It pushes us to think that the world is less random than we think.

[10] Also from Black Swan. Every time we remember a story it change. Memory is far from being fixed and constant. 

[11] I’ve had success with many goals in 2014, but some of them failed miserably. I’ve understand one important thing. Always base your goals on habits that you can do on consistent basis. For example, if you want to read 50 books in a year, set yourself to read 300 pages a week. It will be way easier than just trying to read 50 books. This is something I will apply for each of my goals in 2015. Focus on the base, not the outcome.

[12] Speaking of failed goals, meditation was way tougher than I thought. It’s one of my big failure of 2014. I had a plan to do it 20 minutes everyday. I’ve aimed way too high. Like anything else, being cocky isn’t a recipe for success. From now on, I will accept that I’m a rookie in everything new I attempt. I’ll start slowly.

[13] Some Old Sci-Fi books are surprisingly great. On top of my mind,  The Island of Dr. Moreau was great. A story about men trying to play God. In the same idea, I’ve started to watch The Twilight Zone on YouTube (all free). It’s great. We should avoid to judge something bad because it’s old. Some of the best books or movies were created 50 or 100 years ago.

[14] I’ve learned from the Little Book of Contentment that most of our personal problems are caused by discontent. There is always a cause of discontent tied to the problem. We have an ideal, a fantasy, unhappiness with who we are, lack of trust or we are seeking happiness externally. I that idea, it’s important to be content with what we have right now. Showing gratitude is a big step toward that.

[15] In The One Skill, I read that one of the biggest problem we have is our inability to let go things in our life. For example, we feel anxious or stress about the next day. Most likely, the next day you have something important and you have built a scenario about the outcome. You slowly start to fear that the scenario won’t happen like you want. The problem is that we are constantly tied in to the past or the future. Our mind should be in the present.

[16] I’ve put my nose is some philosophy. The Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill showed me that I shouldn’t wait to be paid to do something useful for society. The simple act of doing something good or useful should be a big enough motive to do it. That was a huge lesson of 2014.

[17] I learned from Steal Like an Artist and Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus Notch Persson that the best have always stealed (or got inspired) others before them. Shakespeare took most of his influence from Plutarch. The inspiration for Minecraft came from other games. Look around and you’ll see dozen of games that took their inspiration from Minecraft. It’s a never ending wheel.

[18] I shouldn’t be afraid to read big books. Law of Success and 48 Laws of Power were among my best books of the year. I’ve learned A LOT of stuff in those two books. Going for shorter books is a form of resistance. One of my main concern was probably my fear of not finishing the books. If it’s good, I don’t see why I wouldn’t finish it. Let’s go for huge books in 2015.

[19] If you want to get better at something. Keep a log about it. The importance is in understanding details. You’re only way to achieve that is reviewing what you do.

[20] I think it was the year where I’ve played the less video games in my whole life.  It’s not that I dislike it, it’s just a lack of time and putting time elsewhere. But I had the chance to watch two great documentaries about video games. The King of Kongs was about competitive gaming and beating world records. Indie Game: The Movie was about the creation of games by a single person or a small team (Fez, Braid and Super Meat Boy). 

[21] I learned from Caesar’s Gallic Wars that if you want to fight at your best, you should destroy all your hopes of retreat. He burned his ships when he invade Britain. Many leaders used the same tactic during history. Cortez did the same when he landed in Mexico. With you back against the wall, you don’t have any choice to fight.

[22] In the past, I was judgemental about comic books. To me it was a lost of time. The Crow has brought another perspective. Comic novel can tell a good story and make me learn. It’s not different from a novel. I think it’s a field that I need to explore.

[23] The weightlifting book 5/3/1 has taught me the importance of having a proper structure in everything that I do. I the same vein of idea, we should always measure what we do. Peter Drucker said that what get measured get managed.

[24] I learned that there are only two great risks when we try something: Time and ego.

[25] I’ve learned that creating is something that his done mostly with rigorous discipline. It’s crazy that society hold the myth of the creative person that his either an alcoholic or a drug addict. They aren’t the majority. Far from it. I remember watching an interview a couple of months ago with Jamey Jasta from the band Hatebreed. He said at one moment that he hasn’t drunk a proper beer in 6 years (or something like that) and that it was the main reason he was productive in life. In my head, a guy in a rock band was necessarily drunk every night. It was like a punch in the face.

[26] I learned that I should set goals that I can achieve, but I should always leave room to achieve more. For example, if your goal is to put 5000$ aside, make an alternative goal to reach 10 000$. In other word, you make a realistic goal and one goal that you would like to reach in a perfect situation. You could be surprise. The perfect situation goal could be achieved. Reach for the sky.

[27] I’ll finish with a quote of Ben Franklin:”Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.

Book #4: The Dip


“Quite or be exceptional. Average is for losers.”Seth Godin

You probably already know Seth Godin because of his popular blog. Who doesn’t know him? If you don’t, I seriously think it should be on your must read list. For the others, it’s also possible that you know him because of one of his seventeen books. He’s a best selling author. On the top of my mind I can think of books like Tribes, Purple Cow and Lynchpin. In the field of marketing, Seth is a great and popular writer. For The Dip, he went in a different direction. This book isn’t about marketing. It’s a book about motivation and life decisions. The main idea is “when to stick or when to quit”. This is the core of the book. Well obviously, the author push the subject deeper than its surface. The book is quite short, less than a hundred pages, but it very interesting. Believe me, it is worth it. Recently, I had a few problems with a project. I was about to quit. Then, this book came back to my mind. The project was saved. Thank you Seth.

Godin advocate that we should know when to quit. Many projects are dead ends and shouldn’t be pursued. That’s a problem we often meet. Let’s take the example of someone who isn’t able to let go a business that isn’t worth a shit. Another common example is staying in a job with no possibilities of advancement in salary or/and responsibilities. It’s the idea of accepting a permanent status quo. This kind of situation is a dead end in the pure sense of the word. It’s not even a dip. If you work harder, nothing will change. On my part, I can say I had that exact problem when I was in university. I’ve forced myself to complete a bachelor in a field that I had zero intention of working in afterward. My decision was already taken at the end of my first year. At that time, my motto was: “always finish what you start”. What a dumb idea! Looking back at it, it was a useless “pride” problem. Pride can easily be the cause of a dip.

On the opposite side, some people quit way too soon. I’ve seen a lot of people starting weightlifting with promise. Things would go well for a few weeks, then whitout warning they would vanish from the surface of the earth. No explanations, total mystery. The problem is that we all start things with ease. After the honeymoon, things start to get hard…sometime really hard. That’s “the dip” and that’s where most people will quit. When I’ve started snowboard, everything was easy at first. I had a teacher and everything was going fine. Once the teacher was gone, the dip came and my snowboard adventure was over. I could make a very long list of all the things “dips” have crushed in my life. The problem is that we want it easy, we want the quick fix mentality. We are pain avoidant. As soon as things will get hard, resistance will tune in and we’ll most likely quit.

People who do great things are the one who get through dips. They see the light at the end of the tunnel where others aren’t able to see it. It’s accepting the long term rewards. Being on the other side mean big opportunities. Godin is right when he says that we should never start something if we intend to quit when we reach “the dip”. Otherwise, it’s a total waste of time and energy. It’s making a habit out of it. Like Godin said, you’ll become a serial quitter. Starting one thing after another and never finishing anything. Quitting is most likely a bad decision at a bad moment. One of the best advice I got from this book is to never take a decision during a crisis. We tend to make big moves during those times of panic. In other words: “Never quit something with great long-term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.“.  The best thing to do is to wait and take you decision when calm is back.

Nobody can avoid the dip. Not you, not me. The only difference is how we react when we meet one. The next time things start to get hard, you’ll know that are going down in a dip. The good news is that you can reach the other side. Remember, hard work and persistence can lead to big rewards. Be great or quit. It’s the only solution.

Life Lessons from 7 Years of Weightlifting


It’s been seven years since I’ve started the practice of weightlifting. I’ve been touching various types of training like Crossfit, bodybuilding, olympic lifting and powerlifting. I’ve tried tons of methods of training and eating. I’ve digest hundreds of articles on the internet. I’ve certainly acquired great knowledge of the field during those 7 years. Without a doubt, there was a good progression in physic and  in strength. I’m in much better shape and health than before. But most of all, I’ve gained many lessons that I can apply in my daily life. Today, I want to share those lessons I’ve learned from my seven years of weightlifting.

*Learning never stop. Often during the learning process, you’ll reach a point where you think you know enough. That is exactly what happened during my progression. I remember reading tons of materials on weightlifting from various resources, then one day I’ve come to conclusion that I didn’t have anything more to learn. I thought I was smarter than others. The problem is that I was out of new ideas. I became dogmatic about my training. I’ve also noticed a process of unlearning. The brain can’t remember everything, it needs from time to time a review of what he already know, otherwise you will forget stuff over time. I remember last year reading Built for Show, a basic bodybuilding book. I was surprised how much stuff I had forgotten simply by not reading and reviewing my notes. Then, reading Bench Press : The Science showed me totally new ideas I wasn’t even aware of.  I’ve come to conclusion that if I wasn’t among the best, I certainly had more things to learn. This idea applies to any another fields.

*Having the right resources. In anything you’ll learn, you will meet charlatans or people who don’t know what they are talking about. I’ve found that reading from the best in weightlifting is one of the most valuable thing I could do. I think of names like Eric Cressey, Jim Wendler, Lou Schuler, Bret Contreras, Mark Rippetoe and many others. Find the best in whatever you are doing and learn from them.

*Not going with the crowd. In the same vein, I’ve learned to be skeptical of what people told me or of what I’ve learned. In a gym, you’ll always meet people who think they know everything. They even try to teach other people. The worst is that they are average at best. They will often claim you the last bro science ideas and they will be dogmatic about what they do. You will be confronted to popular ideas that can be far from the best. It’s the same in boxing, in stock market investing, in cooking and I could go on for hours naming them all.

*Having a plan and sticking to it. I’ve made my biggest progression whenever I had a clear plan for my training and for my nutrition. Without a clear plan, you’re going anywhere but where you want. Imagine that you have a clear plan for learning to cook. You know wich class you’ll follow, how much you will practice every week, you have books from the best to read and you have plan progression with goals. You’ll probably make a good progression. On the hand, if you have no plan, you’ll probably won’t do much. And, by the way, you should stick to your plan. You can change it, but try it for while. There is nothing worse than juggling with different plans.

*Keeping track of progression. One of the best tools I think about is keeping a log of progression. In weightlifting it was keeping track of each exercises progression in weight and volume. In nutrition, it was more habit keeping track of different habits. I’m still amazed to see people come at the gym without anything to take notes of what they did.  Keeping a journal is another important tool. It is great to make a review of what you did good or bad from time to time. It’s the best way to know where you’re at. Philip A. Fisher words summarize this idea very well: “I have always believed that the chief difference between a fool and a wise man is that the wise man learns from his mistakes, while the fool never does“.

*Better worse than not at all. It’s better to lift weight on you worst days than not at all. I know plenty of people who will skip gym at the first sign of tiredness or stress. If you want to read a book, won’t you be closer to the end if you read 10 pages instead of 0?

*Find the key items. With time, I’ve found that nothing is equal. I mean that some things will give much greater benefits than others. I can give the examples of deadlift, bench press, overhead press and squats that are probably the exercises that will give the most rewards. In supplements, creatine and proteins will be the one that gives you the most benefits.  The problem is that we tend to focus on to many things and a lot of them aren’t that useful. It’s a simple application of Pareto 80/20.

*Don’t underestimate the obvious. In other words, if you have difficulty with progression, maybe it’s basics life needs that you aren’t respecting. Do you get enough sleep? Do you eat healthy food? Do you take much alcohol or caffeine? Is your stress to high? Those are all things that we most of time don’t look out, but they can make a huge difference on many aspects.

 *Be consistent. It is really hard to be consistent. I’ve had all the difficulty in the world to achieve that. Many things can disrupt your progression like a new work, travel, school, a new relationship and many other things. People who carry on even during these times will be reward with much greater progress over a long period. Otherwise, you can expect to have a progression in waves.

Those ideas have really help became who I am today. I apply them consistently in all the aspects of my life. You don’t only learn in books and in school, you also learn by what you do on a daily basis in your life.

Randomness of June 2014

In “randomness”, I’m posting about the interesting stuff of the last month. It can be quotes, books, articles, websites, movies or whatever I think you could find interesting.

[1] I’ve been reading Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus Notch Persson and the Game that Changed Everything. I don’t remember reading a book that fast. It was a really well written biographic book. It was a complete dive in the world of indy games. It’s also a great story of success. It will probably part of my series “On the Bookshelf”.

[2] Here is a great quote by Calvin Coolidge (president of United States from 1923-1929): “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.The quote is self-explanatory. Whatever gift or talent you have, whatever school degrees you have, it won’t get you anywhere if you are not willing to do hard work.

[3] Do you know about It’s an independent organization that presents research on supplements and nutrition. They have tons of references to research on their website. They just released their Stack Guides. They cover subjects like testosterone, fat loss, sleep quality, bone health, memory and much more. You can buy each of them separately or all of them for a lower price.

[4] You should listen to the Art of Manliness podcast with John Romaniello. John is a bodybuilder and the writer of Man 2.0. The podcast is touching subjects like testosterone, Joseph Campbell, hormone optimization, intermittent fasting, fitness, the definition of “alpha” and a lot more.

[5] An excellent quote by the writer Mark Twain: “I am a very old man and have suffered a great many misfortunes, most of which never happened.” It’s easy to be stressed by many things in our daily lives. Most of those things aren’t that important. We tend to overestimate the impact of bad things on long-term. If you have a house over your head, food to eat, your family is in good health and so is yourself…probably that your other problems are not that much important. My best example…last week I’ve had problems with my cellphone. On the moment it was the end of the world. It took a matter of 10 minutes to get things in order at the cell company. One week later, I don’t even bother anymore. In three months I won’t even remember about it.

[6] I recommend two great articles by Ryan Holiday. The first is Things I Learned On the Way to 27. I relate to this article because I’ve turned 27 in June.  Here is a quote I’ve found impactful: “It doesn’t matter what age you are or how healthy you are: people die. They die unexpectedly. They die tragically. Sometimes they die violently. Never let this drift too far from your mind.” The other one is 30 Must Read Quotes From Icons of History Required To Turn Your Adversity Into Advantage. Get ready for the like of Marcus Aurelius, Churchill and Thoreau. I hope you like quotes!

[7] I’ve read 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler. It’s a weightlifting program as a book. I’ve you are in interested in powerlifting or bodybuilding, it’s worth taking a look. I’m currently doing that program and it’s breath of fresh air. 

[8] I’m cheating, it’s a July article, but here is Love is Not Enough on Mark Manson blog. It’s about the idealization of love and relationships. I was surprise by the intro on John Lennon and so you will. Great stuff. 

[9] Another good quote by the humorist Louis CK:You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away, is the ability to just sit there. That’s being a person.” It’s true that we have so much difficulty nowadays to just spend time with ourselves. It’s like we are junkie for information or sensation. Being active non-stop. It’s not a surprise that we have so much anxiety and stress in our lives. On that note, I’m planning to read Mindfulness In Plain English.

[10] One more book that I’ve read was The Gallic Wars by Gaius Caesar. The title says everything, it’s the military campaign of Caesar in Gaul just before Rome Civil War. It’s really straightforward. Don’t expect things about the life of Caesar or the Roman army, it’s mostly a summary of the different military campaigns. It’s the only book that has been written by Caesar. 

In the Bookshelf #1: Appalachian Trials


This is the first book of the For Victory or Death bookshelf series. In that series of post, I’ll review great books that in my mind are similar to the main ideas behind FVOD.  Today’s book and the first in the bookshelf is Appalachian Trials by Zach Davis. I’ve stubble on that book by pure randomness. I’m not a hiker and I don’t read anything about hiking. I wasn’t expecting anything special. In my mind it was a travel journal. The book was finally a lot different from I thought it would be. The author give the most precious lessons he learned from preparing and doing his trip. In fact, it was more about the mental preparation for the hike. The principles in the book can be applied to any other goals you have, it’s not hiking specific. Whether you are trying to achieve a deadlift milestone, learn a new language or wanting to do an Ironman, Appalachian Trials could help you.

As you can expect the book talk about Zach’s goal of hiking the whole Appalachian Trail. For those who don’t know (like me before reading the book), the trail is 2200 miles long in the eastern part of USA and crosses over 14 states (Georgia to Maine). The ultimate goal is to thru-hike the whole trail and reach the  summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine. Zach spent 5 months to achieve his journey.

“We never know when our last day will be, everyday is a great day.” – Zach Davis

Davis wanted to do something special with his life. His purpose became the Appalachian Trail. He quit everything in his life to achieve his goal. For him, the greatest denominator of success is having a purpose. Without one, you’re going nowhere. He went on the trail without any background in hiking. He prepared himself differently than the common hiker. Instead of trying to plan everything beforehand, he made mental preparation his priority. He was ready for any setbacks he would encounter on the trail. We can find similarity between this book and The Dip by Seth Godin. In that book, Godin explain that after you start a goal you will always meet a downfall on your path. Most people will quit once they meet their dip. If you carry on, you will conquer it.

Davis on his part want us to be aware of the honeymoon. It’s right after the start when everything is great. In everything, with job, with your girlfriend, with a new sport, you’ll meet a point where that thing isn’t new anymore. After the honeymoon, the challenge become a mental one instead of physical one. In other words, you better be equipped with tools to face those challenges.

“If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” – Yogi Bera

Furthermore, Davis identify 3 types of hikers: the quitter, the goal oriented people and those who enjoy the process. Zach identify himself as the latter kind. It’s a lot harder to quit when you enjoy what you’re doing. Many tools can help achieve this mental state like meditation. It’s great way to reduce stress, anxiety and muscle tensions. You must also be aware that serendipity can strike at any moment. In other words, you will that everything is going bad, until suddenly something good happen out of the blues. We got to keep in mind that all conditions are temporary. We overestimate the length of something bad. We always adapt sooner or later.


If you want to read a good book about achieving goals and getting a good mindset, you’ll learn a bunch of things in that book. In bonus, you’ll want to go for a hike. If you want to know more about Zach David and the Appalachian Trial, I suggest you take a look at Appalachian Trial Blog or on Twitter.


On Learning


Learning is an important process in our lives. This is the most important way to grow and to improve ourselves. Learning can be done with different processes. Here are some good examples : reading a book, watching a documentary, writing in a journal, improve a skill, making a summary of a book, studying a language, travelling, visiting  a museum…you get the idea. To reach the beat of ourselves we must learn. Nobody became great by apathy and ignorance. Here are 10 great quotes about learning.

  1. Education is what remains after one has forgotten all he learned in school. – Albert Einstein

This is a great quote by Albert Einstein. He meant that once school is over, you shoudn’t stop learning. It can also mean that once school is over you’ll learn by your life experiences. Those life experiences will be your true education.

  1. If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The man of rare intellect didn’t become how he is alone. He found knowledge and inspiration from somewhere. That somewhere is more often than not in books. You would have asked Kennedy in the picture above about great book suggestions…and you would have probably ended with a list of dozens of books to read. A good point to start with the bookshelf of Bonaparte.

  1. The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing. – Voltaire.

I thought before my bachelor in History that I knew a lot about the subject. After 3 years and 30 classes…I came to the conclusion that I knew nothing. The more knowledge you’ll get, the more you’ll see that you don’t know much. Usually, people who learn a lot will become more humble about their own knowledge. They know that knowledge is infinite and that they only know a tiny part of it.

  1. Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is. – Isaac Asimov

Written in 1975 in Science Past, Science Future, this quote by Asimov can be seen as an attack against school. Self-learning is the real and only education. It is the one that will follow you all your life. It is the one that will make you unique and build your character.

  1. You cannot open a book without learning something. – Confucius

Anytime you open a book, you have a chance to learn something great. That quote from Confucius is an encouragement to curiosity. In other words, read more books and you’ll get knowledge.

  1. “If we let ourselves, we shall always be waiting for some distraction or other to end before we can really get down to our work. The only people who achieve much are those who want knowledge so badly that they seek it while the conditions are still unfavorable. Favorable conditions never come.” – C.W. Lewis

There will always things outside of you control that will distract you from learning. If you want to achieve something, you must seek knowledge without waiting for a more favorable moment to come. People who really want to achieve something will be eager to learn at any time.

  1. Change is the end result of all true learning. – Leo Buscaglia

For those who don’t know him, Buscaglia in an American author and motivational speaker (1924-1998). I think he means in that quote that the process of learning will change you if you truly apply what you’ve learned.. You’ll become different from the person you were before.

  1. Learning is not child’s play; we cannot learn without pain. – Aristotle

Aristotle (384-322 BC) is best known as a Greek philosopher and the tutor of the Emperor Alexander III (known as « the Great ») of Macedonia. He means by that sentence that learning will never be easy. You can’t avoid the pain period in any learning you’ll do. I suggest the book Mastery to learn more about that idea. You will always want to do something easier like having distractions (TV, video games, drinking, etc.). You will learn if you are eager to accept the pain.

  1. Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence. – Abigail Adams

Nobody will become succesful by chances, like nobody will get knowledge by chance. Someone who acquire a lot of knowledge, is someone who put a lot of time and effort in learning.

  1. Being ignorant is not much a shame, as being unwilling to learn. – Benjamin Franklin

If you have the chance to learn, you should learn. I know plenty of people who have all the intelligence they need to read books and learn. They have money to buy all the books they want. But, they prefer distraction like tv or magazines. Franklin is right, it is more shameful to refuse to learn, than being a plain ignorant.

Randomness #1


Every months I’m posting stuff that were great or that will be great. It can be article around web, books, stuff (apps, useful tools, etc.), thing to watch (movie, videos, etc.) and something to drink.

(1) A Brief History of Male/Female Relations on [History/Evolution] A great article that tell the whole history of male and female relationships starting from the caveman era to the present. I’ve learn a few things and the references at the end of the article can be great ideas for your next book reading.

(2) Identify Weak Points and Destroy Them on T-Nation by Charles Staley [Health/Fitness] It’s step by step guide to identify your weak point in weightlifting and how to destroy them. The ideas can also be applied outside of fitness don’t worry.

(3) How and Why to Keep a Commonplace Book on [Reading/Learning] Probably my favorite blog post of the week. Ryan Holiday tell you why you should keep a commonplace book. The article also tell you the benefits of having that kind of book. You will be surprise to see how much leaders from today and the past we’re keeping that kind of book.

(4) I Lived a Day According to Ben Franklin’s Schedule and It Changed My Life on The Good Man Project [Productivity] A simple article about a guy who lives in Franklin’s shoes for a day. He reproduce an entire day of Franklin.

Knowledge is Power


“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was always curious about what was making a person more successful or more powerful than others. Why do certain people seem to achieve far more than others? With time, I’ve came to the conclusion that knowledge was a key factor in the rise of great minds. It can be education in school, but it can also be self-education. I remember reading an article on Tim Ferriss blog (author of the 4-Hour Workweek), he was stating that he had been reading 1 to 3 books per week for the past few years. He had been reading 50 to 150 books a year. No surprise to see how successful he is. You can also take the example of Ryan Holiday (Best-seller author) who writes a newsletter per month of the books he has been reading. Those newsletters usually suggest 8 to 10 books a month. I guess Holiday read 2 to 3 books a week. Is being a good reader the path to be a better writer? I don’t know about that, but usually good writers are also good readers.

“As you know, I kind of like to read books” –Richard Nixon

I was curious about successful politician or businessman. I search on reading habits of US presidents. First, Barrack Obama is also known to be an avid reader.  Clinton was also a huge reader. Bush peaked at 95 books in 2006. What about successful presidents from a century ago? There are claims that Theodore Roosevelt was reading at least one book a day. Franklin D. Roosevelt was known to have 22 000 books in his bookshelf. It is astonishing to see that people with the busiest jobs in the world find the time to read near a 100 books a year. It’s not a coincidence those people have success. Sir Francis Bacon said almost 500 years: “Knowledge is power”. He was right. Knowledge is leverage for power. Reading is a common habit you’ll find in most successful people. Now we can ask ourselves a simple question: Do I read enough?