Bruce Harpham is the founder of Project Management Hacks, a career advancement resource for project managers and corporate professionals who want to build outstanding careers. He also writes at Productivityist, Lifehack.org, CIO.com, and other leading websites. These are his good things.
Good things to read.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. David Allen’s guide to productivity and everyday life management is one of the very few business books I have read more than once. In 2015, I read the new edition of the book with interest. In addition to the excellent tips and techniques, Allen’s methodology intrigued me because it is a bottom up approach to getting a handle on life. In my day to day life, the two minute rule and the Weekly Review have become important practices.
The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson. I began my career in the financial services industry in 2009. It was a unique moment – a time of crisis and uncertainty. To understand the immediate causes of the crisis, I turned to a variety of books and the outstanding EconTalk podcast. However, I was hungry to understand the broader story of finance and money over time. In this book, Ferguson tells us about trade, the rise of life insurance and how different countries sort through financial questions.
Bonus suggestion: I also learned a great deal from “A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World” by William J. Bernstein
Toronto: Biography of a City by Allan Levine. I have long had a passion for cities and the excitement of urban life. I have also been deeply interested in history since my first visit to the UK in 1994. In reading this book, I finally learned about the history of the city that I call home. It was exciting to learn about the mayors, companies, and people who have made my city what it is. Toronto’s history is also an intriguing evolution. In the 19th century, Toronto was known as the “Belfast of North America” for the violent clashes between Catholics and Protestants. Today, Toronto proudly proclaims itself as the one of the most multicultural cities in the world – about half of the city’s population was born outside of Canada.
Good things to watch.
Nursery University. Years after seeing this documentary at the Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival, this documentary still stands out as one of my favourites. The documentary looks at the intense competition families
face when seeking to place their children in preschool. It’s a fascinating portrait of parenting, education trends and elementary school education.
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. This film series delivered the goods for me as a long time Tolkien fan. I have watched the films several times in theatres and at home. I love the epic storytelling and incredible world building that Tolkien and Peter Jackson bring to the films. In addition, I thought the filmmakers did an outstanding job of producing behind the scenes features on the DVDs and producing an extended cut of the film.
The West Wing. One of the best TV series I have ever watched. For those of us frustrated by the current political situation, President Bartlett was an inspiration. The series inspires and entertains in equal measure – can I ask for more? I’m looking forward to watching this series again on Netflix. I have often described “House of Cards” (another favourite of mine) as a “dark West Wing.”
Good things to use.
Google Calendar. This is my “go to” calendar and schedule resource. Where to begin? The fact that it is a free resource is what attracted my attention at first. Later, I discovered the power of reminders (you can have multiple email reminders – this is helpful when you are planning a trip or a big event). I also very much like the fact that Google Calendar can be integrated into other apps and resources such as ScheduleOnce and WeekCal – two other schedule tools I use.
Audible.com. I have subscribed to Audible.com for about a year and have found it to be a great resource. Though I have been a fan of podcasts since 2008, there is something special about audio books. All the Audible.com programs I have received have had great production values and well worth the cost. I also like that Audible.com audio books can be paused and resumed seamlessly. All those benefits make the hassle of loading content to my iPod and iPhone worth it.
The 5 Minute Journal App. I started to use this 5 app a few months ago after learning about it from Mixergy. The low time commitment involved was a key point for me. I also love that the 5 Minute Journal encourages me to be more focused (choose only 3 key tasks each day). If you have ever tried the journaling habit and given up, this app (or the print book) is a great resource.
Connect with Bruce on Twitter, @PMPHacks.