Mike Vardy – Productivityist

Mike Vardy is the author of The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want.  He also co-hosts the Mikes on Mics podcast and is the founder of Productivityist.  These are his good things.

Good things to read.

The Authentic Swing by Steven Pressfield. In this book, Pressfield uses the story of how he wrote his novel The Legend of Bagger Vance as a means to get this message across — and while the novel (and subsequent film) illustrates the message very well, the actual process of writing also does this effectively. As a writer, this resonated with me very much. But you don’t have to be a writer to get the underlying message behind The Authentic Swing. That said, how you interpret the message will definitely be personal rather than universal…and that’s what makes this book so worthwhile to read. (And I do have a soft spot for it since he used golf as a metaphor in the book, as I did in The Front Nine.)

Here is New York by E.B. White. While in New York late last year, someone recommended that I pick up this book after I told him that I was fascinated with the city. What amazed me about the book wasn’t so much that it still stands the test of time, but there are some mentions in there that seem almost ominous in today’s setting. I don’t want to spoil those for you, but I will recommend that you read this book so you can find out for yourself. It’s a short read, and a very good one.

The Tower by Chris Guillebeau. This is one of the best books I’ve read in the past couple of years…and it didn’t cost me a dime. The author turned his focus from the tower-building game to his tower-building life, and he had the courage and the generosity to share his story. It’s not a long story, but it certainly is a full one.

Good things to watch.

A Football Life. The thing I really like about this series is that it humanizes NFL players – both past and present – in a way that brings you even closer to the game of football itself. I am a big football fan, and this series makes me appreciate it on a much larger scale.

Arrow. As a comic book fan, this series appeals to me. It’s the one show that acts as my escape hatch every week, and it even got me to take up archery. It’s the best non-zombie oriented comic book adaptation on television in recent memory, and it’s the only show my wife and I watch together. That last thing might be the main reason why it’s so good to watch.

Living In A Material World.  This was the film that made me really appreciate Scorsese’s work. I’ve been a fan of his work for eons, but the fact he took my favourite Beatle (who oddly enough for me, is the one who was known for being quiet) is admirable. Even more admirable is how he crafted a film that stands among one of his best…and it’s a documentary, no less!

Good things to use.

Pilot Coleto Hi-Tec C. I have a wide variety of notebooks I use, but the writing utensil I always seem to grab for is this one. I’m big on using colour when I capture things on paper, and the Pilot Coleto Hi-Tec C offers one of the best pens in four different colours in a single body.

iSlider.  This has become the iPad stand I use more often than any other. It’s incredibly portable, keeps my iPad stable, and is impeccably designed (much like all of Rain Design’s products). In fact, it’s the only stand I dare to use when I’m writing on the desk I mention below.

FitDesk.  This exercise bike/desk combo allows me to write and stay in shape all in one go. I’ve logged over 5000 words and 20 miles in about two weeks on this thing. There’s something about keeping my body active while in the process of writing that helps ideas flow more efficiently and effectively. Maybe it’s because my mind wants to get me off the thing. Maybe it’s because there’s really something to the concept of exercising while working. Whatever the reasoning, it’s working for me so I’ll keep on using the FitDesk.

Connect with Mike on Twitter, @MikeVardy.

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