Randomness #6: Steve Jobs, World War II, a Millionaire Living in a Van and More.

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Life & Culture

[*] The Man in The Van (ESPN) – The no.1 Jays’ prospect, Daniel Norris, lives in a fucking van. Yes you’ve read well. A millionaire living in a VW Camper. You can consider it his own way to escape to stress of the major league. He doesn’t want to change who he is because of the money or because of what society think is normal. Amazing article.

[*] The Scene of the Crime (The New Yorker) – The My Lai massacre of 1968 was a pivotal moment of the Vietnam war. Take a look at this event as reporter Seymour M. Hersh goes back after 47 years. He was the one who broke the massacre story in 1969.

[*] Undeveloped World War II Film Discovered (10 minutes @ Vimeo) – This is a video about The Rescued Film Project. They discovered and processed 31 rolls of film shot by an American World War II soldier over 70 years ago.


Growth

[*] The Library of Ernest Hemingway (Art of Manliness) – I’m always curious to hear about great people reading list. Ernest Hemingway was a huge reader. He spent many hours a day reading. He had the habits of reading 4 books at the same time. Books by Tolstoy, Dumas, Thomas Mann and Marcel Proust were among his bookshelf.

[*] 10 Things I Learn From Richard Branson (James Altucher) – We can learn a lot from people who has achieved great success. Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, is one of them. Altucher take 10 quotes from Richard Branson and tell us how we can learn from these.

[*] 17 of our favorite Steve Jobs quotes from the new book about his life (Business Insider) – All these great quotes are from the new book Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart Into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli. The book will be release this week.


Health/Fitness

[*] You’ll Never Guess What’s Actually in Your Supplements (Exo Journal) – Interesting article about how some supplements could be misleading. Imagine buying a St-John wort bottle and that in fact is just rice. An other example? Finding plant species not listed on the label. The University of Guelph study was only about herbal products. It would be interesting to take a look at sports supplements.

[*] The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide (1hr40 @ Tim Ferriss Show) – Interview with James Fadiman (Ph.D. from Stanford) the author of the book The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide. Fadiman is seen as “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use”. Jim Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 60s.

[*] How Tea Works (55 minutes @ Stuff You Should Know) – An interesting podcast on the origin of tea and how it works. Tea is the second most popular drink on the planet after water. They explain the different categories of tea and the process for each of them.


Motivation

[*] THE HIMALAYAS FROM 20 000 FEET  (3 minutes @ Vimeo) Short video filmed from a helicopter with a crew flying from Kathmandu at 4,600 ft. up to 24,000 ft. on supplemental oxygen. The images are simply breathtaking. I highly suggest you watch it.

[*] Kron Gracie Highlight Reel (6 minutes @ YouTube) – Kron Gracie is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and a member of the famous Gracie family. He is the youngest son of Rickson Gracie. If you remember, I’ve talked about the Gracie in Against the Grain. It’s a short video of his best highlights.

[*] MMA: When Taunting Goes Wrong (4 minutes @ YouTube) – I hate people who are taunting and disrespecting the opponent. It’s always a satisfaction when taunting goes wrong. Including Anderson Silva getting knockout by Chris Weidman.


Entertainment

[*] Birdman (movie) – It is the winner of the 2015 Academy Awards for the best motion picture. Mikael Keaton is in the role of a washed-up actor, who once played an iconic superhero. We follow him in the days leading up to the opening of his Broadway play. The movie his filmed in one long sequence.

[*] The Imitation Game (movie) – What a great movie! This is the story of Alan Turing, who helped break Germany’s Enigma code during World War II. Turing is widely considered to be the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence. Great performance by Benedict Cumberbatch.

[*] Tracing the History of Pinball from Illegal Gambling Game to American Obsession (14 minutes @ Vice) – Did you know that between 1940 and 1970, pinball was banned in some of US biggest cities? Learn about the game past and future in that interesting video from Vice.

[*] The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Book) – A little book I’ve started few days ago. It’s a classic business book by Al Ries and Jack Trout that was published more than 20 years ago. Marketing has its laws just like nature. We should violate them at our own risks.

[*] The Making of NHL 94 (Blake J. Harris) – A great article by the author of Console Wars. NHL 94 is classic game from my childhood. It’s interesting to see the history behind that game.  I had a great laugh when I read about the confrontation between the producer Michael Brook and the hockey player Ken Baumgartner.


The Wasteland

[*] Bourbon cocktail: Wild Child (Daily Shot) – Here is a good idea for a cocktail with Bourbon. You’ll need lemon juice, maple syrup and Aperol. Enjoy your drink!

[*] 12 IMAGES THAT SHOW THE GRIT AND BEAUTY OF MYANMAR (Matador Network) – Last month I’ve talked about wanting to go to east Asia. Take a look at these pictures of Myanmar. You’ll want to buy your plane ticket in the next hour.

[*] THE WORLD’S BEST WHISKIES 2015 (Cool Material) – The best single malt of the world in 2015 is from…Taiwan. Get ready to hear about whiskies you didn’t know at all.

Randomness: Jamie Oliver, Psychedelics, Fight Club 2 and More

Life & Culture

[*] Foundation: Kevin Rose interview Jamie Oliver (YouTube/59 minutes) – Great interview with chef Jamie Oliver about the passion cooking and how technology can positively impact our food system. 

[*] Extraordinary Vintage Photos Capture NASA’s First Space Explorations (Esquire) – A bunch of crazy pictures taken in space and on the moon.

[*] Will Smith on Kids, His Career, Ferguson, and Failure (Esquire) – Will Smith is now 46 years old, didn’t know he was that old. Good interview by Esquire. Will talk about Basketball, fitness, his new movie Focus and a bunch of other stuff.


Growth

[*] Tim Ferriss Interviews Arnold Schwarzenegger (Podcast/67 minutes) – Tim Ferriss interview the one and only Arnold. They touch different subjects like confidence, having a vision, life obstacles and meditation. Mr. Schwarzenegger also talk about his childhood, his move from Austria to United States and his movie career. Really interesting.

[*] 33 Ways To Be An Insanely Productive, Happy Balanced Person (Ryan Holiday at Thought Catalog) – Learn great productivity advises like inbox zero, ignoring false emergencies and learning to say ”no”. Once again, another great blog post by Ryan Holiday.

[*] Unmistakable Creative – This is a really interesting podcast. The host meet creative entrepreneurs from different backgrounds like writers, cartoonists, psychologists and much more. As I write these lines, I saw that the last interview was with Seth Godin. Most interviews last more or less an hour.


Health/Fitness

[*] The Trip Treatment (The New Yorker) – Amazing article by Micheal Pollan the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. It’s an exploration of the current research about psychedelics and health. Get ready for a long read, but it’s worth it.

[*] MAGIC MUSHROOMS AND THE HEALING TRIP (Video @ The New Yorker/6 minutes) – While we are here, we could go on with the theme of psychedelics. Follow Eddie Marritz’s experience in this short video. He was a participant in one of N.Y.U.’s Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety research studies.

[*] 7 SURPRISING WAYS TO BOOST YOUR MEMORY – (Fast Company) – I’m 100% confident that writing something help to remember. As for the other six ways to boost memory, I think you should take it with a grain of salt.


Motivation

[*] Top 100 Inspirational Quotes (Forbes) – You like quotes? Here are a hundred of them by sports legends, famous writers, musicians and historical figures. Here is one by Wayne Gretzky: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

[*] GoPro: Vebjørn Enersen Goes Big in Norway (YouTube/2 minutes) – That is a scary ski jump in the back country of Norway by Vebjørn Enersen. You will get fear of height just by watching it.

[*] Risk Takers: Extreme Kayaking (National Geographic Live/11 minutes) – Extreme kayaker Trip Jennings almost died during his source-to-sea first descent of the Pandi River in Papua New Guinea. In this video, he talk about why we take risks, facing death and having a passion.


Entertainment

[*] Fight Club 2 (Rolling Stone) – If you didn’t know about it yet, Chuck Palahniuk will release a sequel to Fight Club. It will be released in May 2015 as a 10-issue comic book series. Fight Club 2 picks up 10 years after the events of the first book. We will find the anonymous narrator married to Marla Singer and struggling to be a good father to his nine-year-old son. And, expect Tyler Durden to comeback. I can’t wait to get my hands on Fight Club 2.

[*] Nightcrawler (movie for rent) – Oscar nominated film with Jake Gyllenhaal. It’s the story of Lou Bloom, a more or less crazy guy, that start working as a Los Angeles crime journalist. The movie explore the idea of the dehumanization of the victims of crimes in media for the sake of good tv ratings. What is shown on the internet and TV today would have been unthinkable 50 years ago. Is violence becoming too casual?

[*] Fury (movie for rent) – Good entertaining movie with Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf. It is the story of a Sherman tank and his five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines, in the heart of nazi Germany. The film isn’t a true story, but it’s based on a collection of true stories from veterans. It’s violent and sometime disturbing.

[*] Better Call Saul (TV show @ AMC) – New TV show from the creators of Breaking Bad. It also in the same universe as Breaking Bad. The first season is a prequel. We follow criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.


The Wasteland

[*] 57 Best Cooking Tips of All Time (Epicurious) – 57 tips to make you a better cook now. I’ve read it and I’m still bad. Seriously, I’ve learned a bunch of stuff I didn’t know.

[*] 100 trips everyone should take in their lifetime (Business Insider) – I love to travel. I was nostalgic of my last trip at number 13 (Dubrovnik). But, it gave me some ideas for my next trip. I would love to go Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.

[*] Classic New Orleans Brandy Milk Punch (Boulder Locavore) – If you didn’t have the chance to go to Mardi Gras like me, here is a nice cocktail to try at home.

In the Bookshelf #3: 7 Years in Tibet

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“We have a saying in Tibet: If a problem can be solved there is no use worrying about it. If it can’t be solved, worrying will do no good.” – Dalai Lama

When I think about an epic life, Heinrich Harrer comes immediately to my mind. He was on the climbing team that made the first ascent of the north face of the Eiger in 1938. The novelist Arthur J. Roth called it the “Wall of Death“.  Harrer went to India to attempt an ascent of Diamir Face of the Nanga Parbat. He was planning to conquer the Himalaya. His projects were halted when the Second World War erupted. He was arrested and put in British POW camp in India. He had to tried multiple attempt of escape before finally succeeding 1944. He has managed to reach Tibet by foot and cross the border. He will live in Tibet for 7 years until the Chinese invasion. Even more impressive, he will one of the few westerners to be accepted in the “foreign city” of Lhasa. He will meet the Dalai Lama and will become his tutor. After, his seven years in Tibet, Harrer will do many more adventures where he will climb several mountains in Alaska, Andes, Borneo, New Guinea and in Eastern Africa. He explored the Amazon with the former king of Belgium Leopold III. He’s the author of 40 documentaries and more than 20 books including The White Spider and today’s book Seven Years in Tibet. The book is mainly Harrer’s travel journal from is prison camp to his departure of Tibet in 1952. 

I think one of the main lesson I’ve learned from “Seven Years in Tibet” is to never quit. Harrer never accepted to stay in prison as POW. He didn’t want to lose years of his life in internment. He tried multiple attempts before succeeding. Most of us would have quit the first time. Reaching Tibet by foot from India is not easy deed and he managed to do it. In Tibet, he was sometime in really difficult condition, without food and sleeping outside. Tibet’s authorities didn’t want him in the country because he was strange. He tried every possible ways to stay in the country. He bought more and more time. He didn’t quit in his dream of reaching Lhasa even with minimal chance of getting inside the forbidden city. After Tibet, he will never quit his fight against the chinese invasion. I think we can learn a lot from that.

Seven Years in Tibet also teach us to be more open to other cultures and to be more curious about life. Harrer comes to Tibet as westerner. Tibet in 1945 was still in feudal system ruled by the Dalai Lama. Men, beasts and lands are property of him. Is power is strongly supported by a monastic order of monks. Buddhism is the main religion and it is deeply anchored in Tibet tradition. As he will see, it is forbidden to kill any living animals or humans. Even taking something that come from an animal like honey is against the law. People in Tibet express deep devotion. Religion occupies most of the life of the individual. Harrer will learn a whole other way of living. As he will say: “Tibet has not yet been infested by the worst disease of modern life, the everlasting rush.”  European haste has no place in Tibet. The book can make us understand the different tradeoffs of the modern culture. A new way of living, will mean the disappearance of an old way. A new technology will remove an older one. A new custom, will make an old one go. Harrer explained it well: “Here it is the yak’s pace that dictates the tempo of life, and so it has been for thousands of years. Would Tibet be happier for being transformed? Tibet will deeply change him.

He will be force to leave Tibet because of the invasion. Powerless and he will say: “I felt like a spectator at a play, who foresaw the tragic denouement and was saddened by the inevitable end, but had to sit out the last act“. But, he will never forget how lucky he was for those seven years. He lived something that couldn’t have happen elsewhere. He will feel homesick of Tibet even after is return in Austria. He will write “Seven Years in Tibet” in the hope of turning the eyes of the world to the fate of Tibet. Forty-four years later a movie will be made about this epic story.

In the Bookshelf #1: Appalachian Trials

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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.