March/Feb in review

So, Feb got rather busy and I didn’t get time to post anything. But, now I seem to have a bit more time with the whole “lockdown” situation that the UK now finds itself in etc.

An unedited copy of my resolutions is here – I’ll break down each and see how I’m doing:

  • No more purchasing from Amazon

Done pretty well on this one, just 1 order in 2020 so far, and that was for some Tupperware I just couldn’t get anywhere else. I also used a “refund voucher” for something that I sent back, so no actual new money went to Amazon. Be interested to see if I can maintain this now we are on lockdown etc.

  • 5,000km of bike rides (logged on Strava), virtual or real

Eeeek, with lockdown in place, I’m not getting my commute km’s in.
  • Lose some weight- yea, I know its a standard new years one, but I have great plans for this- no figures for the moment

Getting better, really trying harder to cut out snacks etc- helping that I can’t go out very much to get them on this one! Lack of normal walking is taking its toll as well though.

  • 12 x 50km+ rides. Try and get at least 1 longer ride in per month- these might naturally fall to the summer, but the idea is to get 12 done

Well, this is totally on hold at the moment, unless I do virtual rides, which I guess I could consider, especially if this goes on and on…..

  • 26 books – one every 2 weeks. Looking to write a quick review on each as well so I can review what I thought about it as well. Christmas has brought me tons of new books, so I certainly have enough material

Actually read 4 books, but havent reviewed one of them. I have actually read 4.5, but, do you have the problem when a book just gets so “sticky” to read, but you have already started it, so you want to finish it, but it totally puts you off reading. I have one of them, that I just need to get through (but have started another book I’m liking much better)

  • Start & write 52 articles- I don’t want this linked to this domain, but let’s see if I am any good at writing!

13 posts written! I’m quite amazed at myself, I still have a ton more content that I want to write as well- I keep a list as I write- so that I can interlink the content etc. 11 Articles still to write, and I’m sure these will all have other articles that will come from them. Helps that I set a Friday deadline to get the articles published.

January in review

So, I’d thought I would post a monthly review about how/if I was achieving my resolutions- mainly as a reminder to myself to see if I’m on target or slipping etc.

An unedited copy of my resolutions is here – I’ll break down each and see how I’m doing:

  • No more purchasing from Amazon

This was actually much easier than I was expecting. I am still using it in work- but at home, I haven’t used it for a single thing. It does involve a little more thinking about where I am going to get the item I need, but I haven’t missed it as much as I was expecting. It has also saved me money- as its hassle to find other sites etc, I just haven’t bothered to buy as much!

  • 5,000km of bike rides (logged on Strava), virtual or real
So I’m way behind on this one. Hoping by the summer I am getting some bigger rides in.
  • Lose some weight- yea, I know its a standard new years one, but I have great plans for this- no figures for the moment

Muh, I’m still trying on this one.

  • 12 x 50km+ rides. Try and get at least 1 longer ride in per month- these might naturally fall to the summer, but the idea is to get 12 done

Zero completed, but to be fair the weather hasn’t been great on this.

  • 26 books – one every 2 weeks. Looking to write a quick review on each as well so I can review what I thought about it as well. Christmas has brought me tons of new books, so I certainly have enough material

Been reading much more than normal- actually ahead of schedule on this one. I am 3 books done, and half way through another. Getting at least 30 minutes per day before bed is just perfect

  • Start & write 52 articles- I don’t want this linked to this domain, but let’s see if I am any good at writing!

Have written 2 articles on this, it took me way longer to get the hosting/domain and some ideas together on this. But once that was done, writing the articles themselves was pretty easy, and each one has spawned another 3/4 ideas for more. Just need to get some more time on this.

Book Review: The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt & Jeff Cox

I picked this up as it was suggested in one of the other books that I read. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect- I don’t tend to read these “management type” books, since I’m never sure that I would be able to implement the learnings that I would have from this book. That said, I was pleasantly surprised at how engaging this book was.

It follows- or should I say, the unicorn project, follows a very similar story thread. There is a company/plant that isn’t doing well, and everybody is “working as hard as they can”, and yet nothing is really working- everything is getting shipped late etc. It’s a story that most people that have had a couple of jobs can easily relate to- well’ I certainly did.

So, if you have multiple plant “machines”- whether they are people or actual machines/robots, all working at 100%, surely you cannot produce anymore product right? Without getting even more resourcing in there- that surely seems like the only opinion. This book takes you through a number of options that can actually help you create more effective. All that product that you are producing to sit in your warehouse for months/years- what the hell are you doing? Why don’t you reallocate that resourcing to producing the product your customers are screaming for- even if this is “less effective” than producing the easier product. This is wrapped in financials that seem to only look at production rates- rather than what every company should be looking at- ACTUAL SALES. If it’s in your warehouse, its not sold- no matter what anybody says.

This is just 1 example of many throughout the book which are explained in great detail- both the current system and what could be achieved with changes etc.

I really related to this book- and although its not anything like real life, I really enjoyed it. 9/10.

Book Review: The Guardians by John Grisham

Ahhhhh, John Grisham- one of my favourite authors. Whenever I pick up one of his books, I know that I’m almost guaranteed a good read that I won’t be able to put down. Sure, he’s written a couple of books that I just didn’t “get”- Playing for Pizza was one of them, but mostly they are just great.

Now we have my fanboy-ness out, how good did I find this book. Welll….. actually, I found it a bit, muh. It’s good a good starting that makes your heart race, and the story itself is interesting. So, why didn’t I find it as good as the rest of his work?

It feels like he’s done this book before, man sentenced to death- didn’t do it, with our (usually worn out) private-detective type person roaming around trying to prove that he didn’t do it. Sure, the story itself is different- and the twists that the story takes haven’t been done exactly, but the overall premise has.

So, I was a bit disappointed to be honest- maybe its one that I will pick up again in a few years, having forgotten his other books that tell the same story, but for the moment- if you have read all his other books, I just wouldn’t bother with this one.

5/10 – Only really worth reading if you haven’t read his other books.

Book Review: The Unicorn Project by Gene Kim

This is written as somewhat as a “companion” book to Gene Kim’s original book, “The Phoenix Project” (with additional authors Kevin Behr & George Spafford). That isn’t saying that you have to read that book before this one- but it will definitely help to understand the nature of the book. I have already read The Phoenix Project, so if you haven’t- suggest doing that first!

The style of this book is like nothing I have ever read before- it’s based on a fiction company & this provides the context for the “learning” to take place. This doesn’t happen by accident, and is a brilliantly woven piece of fiction that provides the reader with easy to digest information.

Hopefully you work in a company that accepts new ideas- by the end of this book, you will be full of them. Even with companies that are well run- will still get value from this book. I do suggest that you will want to read it twice- first time will be learning the characters, seeing how this did various tasks- what improvements they made. Second time- making notes of the various tooling changes that they made that you could see that would give value to the business you run/work for.

Highly recommended- and almost as good as the original book. The only negative is the book is rather 100% perfect- which real life and companies are certainly not- though there are some characters in the book that do try and rock the boat just like any normal business. It would be nice to see what their actual motives are for this… maybe there will be a third book…

10/10 Will be reading again.

Book Review: The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort

Having already seen the film (mentioned on the front cover of the book) I was quite aware of what I was about to read. I knew it wasn’t going to be the best written book in the world- but in that weird time between Christmas & New Year I thought it would be a light read to enable my brain to have a bit of a rest before the new year started.

It was pretty much just as I was expecting- lots of drug usage and breaking of various laws- but just leaving enough wiggle room to get away from the police- until at various points bribes would need to be paid. Although its a pretty incredible story- Jordan does well to explain how it was actually possible- keeping it believable- just.

I had 2 disappointments with the book:

  • The ending of the book sucks. I’m not going to ruin it in case you are going to read it yourself- but leaving the reader in that position wasn’t great. Do note- it’s not a small book at over 500 pages.
  • Lack of detail of some of the various antics regarding his firm and how he actually managed to do some of the deals etc that he managed.

Would I recommend? Well, if you don’t mind the trashy nature of the book, and are interested in how Jordan managed to blow literally millions of dollars on things- then yea, this is the book for you. Would I ever read it again? No.

Overall rating- 5/10, only worth it if you are already interested in him, or how you can spend/waste millions of $$$.