fight club

Alex McClafferty – Entrepreneur

Alex McClafferty is the co-founder of WP Curve, Content Club, ConvertPress and Informly. He lives in San Francisco with his beautiful wife Brittany and loves content marketing, powerlifting and making new friends. An ex-MBA and former wantrepreneur, Alex made the leap into entrepreneurship in July 2013 and hasn’t looked back.  These are his good things.

Good things to read.

The Sticking Point Solution.  Jay is called ‘The Billion Dollar Man’ for a reason. This book is the best I’ve read about business strategy… and I’ve read A LOT of business books. Jay unpacks 9 different ways your business can become stuck and breaks down the actual tactics and actions you can take to get your business back on track.

Poor Charlie’s Almanack.  When Warren Buffett says someone is a smart guy, it’s worth reading what they have to say. Charlie’s book on investment, psychology and mental models is absolutely brilliant. When you pick up this book, you might be thrown off by it’s ‘picturebook’ look and feel… but once you reach the Psychology of Human Misjudgment section… you will be highlighting, writing notes and bookmarking like your life depends on it.

Choose Yourself!  If there was a hashtag for James Altucher’s writing, it would be #nofilter. James challenged my assumptions and forced me to ask… why? Why should everyone follow the path most travelled? Although this book feels choppy in parts, James is honest, authentic and real. I read this book on my honeymoon, then told my wife and later, my co-founder to read it. It is that good!

Good things to watch.

The Wire.  To me, HBO series are the pinnacle of quality TV. You get characters that feel real, high production value and an evergreen storyline. I’ve watched this series twice. I will probably watch it again later this year.

Blackfish.  Documentaries sometimes present a one-sided account of the ‘facts’ to strengthen the impact of their story. In Blackfish, res ipsa loquitur… the thing speaks for itself. Check it out on Netflix.

Fight Club.  The first rule of Fight Club is… you don’t recommend Fight Club on 27 Good Things.

Good things to use.

Chuck Taylor All Stars.  This product has stood the test of time. First produced in 1917, these shoes are durable, comfortable and have been worn by NBA stars, rap icons and world class powerlifters. If you want to learn about how to develop a product for a low cost that can be customized to satisfy the wants of everyone, check out a Converse store… you can make your shoe any color, style or material that you like. Comfort, style and durability for $50.

Your gym membership.  I’m serious! You only need to do 45 minutes of exercise a few times a week to reap the benefits. If you really want to challenge yourself, try powerlifting. Powerlifters invest years into perfecting their form and strengthening their weaknesses, which is the same mindset you need for being a successful entrepreneur.

Duolingo.  Excuses for not learning a language – be gone! Duolingo is a brilliant app that will help you crush your New Year’s resolution of learning an exotic language. It’s fun, free and you can compete against your friends.

Connect with Alex on Twitter, @alexmcclafferty.

Jeremey DuVall – Trainer, Publisher, Helper

Jeremey DuVall is a former personal trainer turned writer and digital publishing guy. He spends his time helping bloggers produce amazing content and contributing to a variety of health and fitness publications. He’s also really great at high fives. He blogs regularly at  These are his good things.

Good things to read.

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Yes, before there was a movie, there was a book, and in my opinion, it’s much better than the motion picture. Although it can be difficult after having the stage set by Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, try forgetting everything you know about Fight Club and read the book with an open mind. Palahniuk’s writing is unusually entertaining, and the characters will keep you reading page after page. Be sure to read the afterword and find out that many of the events (like peeing in the soup as a waiter) are actually based on real-life events.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is just a great story from start to finish — plain and simple. Combine the interesting adventure with real life lessons, and you have one hell of a book.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve read all of Gladwell’s books, but this is by far my favorite. Far too often, I think we look at the success of others with contempt and envy. Outliers presents success in a very different light. While you’re reading, go ahead and pick up Tipping Point and Blink; you won’t regret it.

Good things to watch.

New Girl. By the time Tuesday arrives, everyone is usually in need of a great laugh. For my fiancee and I, New Girl provides just that. The situations the characters get themselves into are likely reminiscent of your own life. Plus, everyone knows a real-life Schmidt. Two things I’ve taken away from the show:

  1. Everyone should play True American at least once in their life.
  2. The Douchebag Jar needs to be utilized in most places.

This is Water. This commencement speech by David Foster Wallace has gone all kinds of viral. It’s certainly worth 8-9 minutes of your life. After watching, you will view the world through a different lens.

Your Own Presentation. Whether it’s giving a presentation or interviewing for a new job, getting an outsider’s perspective on your presenting style can make a world of difference. I was lucky to have several interviews critiqued when I was starting to apply for jobs. The feedback I was given made a huge difference in my confidence in front of others.

Good things to use.

Noise-Canceling Headphones. I work best when I’m isolated in my own environment. To stay focused and avoid outside distractions, I use a pair of Able Planet headphones. Put those on, and it’s like the entire world disappears around you. Seriously, someone could be screaming right next to me, and I wouldn’t hear it. For those that don’t like working to music, I occasionally use Coffitivity to give me some ambient background noise, or I play something more mellow like Acoustic Alchemy.

A Standing Desk of Some Sort. Coming from a personal training background, I’m used to constantly moving throughout the day. Since I began working at my computer more and more, I had to rely on a standing desk otherwise I would go absolutely crazy. Sitting, in general, isn’t great for your posture. Plus, you’ll likely be more awake and concentrated with a standing desk. Currently, I use a ledge in my apartment when I want to stand, but I’m looking for the ideal standing/sitting combo desk (likely going to build one). If you have to sit all day, invest in a laptop stand and use a wireless keyboard and mouse so you can avoid staring down while you work.

A Timer. Ever wonder how you finish the day with half of your to-do list unchecked? Probably by wasting time on Facebook or browsing the internet. Using a timer can help you best allocate your time and also plan intermittent rest breaks to recharge. I use Timebar because it sits in the menu bar at the top of my screen so I can see how much time I have left before the buzzer. If you find yourself constantly checking out your friend’s pics on Facebook, consider using SelfControl, a free app that both acts as a timer and a buddy that blocks any URL you want (like

Connect with Jeremey on Twitter, @JeremeyD.

Happiness Journeyman – Brave New Life

The Happiness Journeyman writes about his journey to financial independence – early retirement – at Brave New Life with a mantra to live simple and be fulfilled, these are his good things.

Good things to read.

Your Money Or Your Life. If it were up to me, this book would be a requirement in every public high school. This is no ordinary financial book about investing strategies or 401K’s. Nope – this book goes deeper by explaining what money really is, and helps the reader figure out how to consciously live, work, save, invest, and spend.

How many people can say they changed jobs, sold their car, and moved across the country based on a single book? Well, I can. After reading this book, everything changed. How I lived, worked, saved, invested… Even how I viewed life and family changed, and all for the better. If you’re working/spending/saving without understanding the concept of this book, you’re building a house on a foundation of sand.

Fight Club, by Chuck Pahlaniuk. If you liked the movie, you’ll love the book. Don’t be fooled into thinking this book is about fighting, it’s not. It’s an entertaining novel about our consumer culture, and the inner struggle we all have to escape it (whether we know it or not). Let’s face it, we all have a little Tyler Durden in us. Here’s a few great quotes to wet your whistle:

You buy furniture, you tell yourself, this is the last sofa I will ever need in my life. buy the sofa, then for a couple of years you’re satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you’ve got your sofa issue handled, then the right set of dishes, then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things that you used to own, now they own you.

Getting fired […] is the best thing that could happen to any of us. That way, we’d quit treading water and do something with our lives

I’m breaking my attachment to physical power and possessions, because only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit.

The liberator who destroys my property, is fighting to save my spirit. The teacher who clears all possessions from my path will set me free

Classic Kid’s Books. A few years ago, when my son was 3, I was so fed up with all the crappy little Disney books that filled his bookshelf. These books are atrocious. I’m not taking anything away from some of the better Disney movies (Cars, Toy Story, etc) – but the book spin-offs for 3 year olds are unforgivably bad. Not only are they too short for a 3 year old, but they are mind boggling boring to read as an adult.

On the other hand, consider a timeless classic like The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. When I read this to my son, we usually would read one chapter each night. My son was fascinated with the book the entire time (which took a few weeks). Each night during dinner he would talk about the book, practically begging for bedtime so he could find out what was going to happen with Dorothy, scarecrow, and the flying monkeys!

Just a few other great children’s books include Call of the Wild, Curious George (the original), The Little Prince, and of course – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. How can you go wrong with a children’s book that includes a cat smoking hashish from a hookah?

And by the way, you can usually download these classics to your kindle or kindle app for free!

Good things to watch.

Nature. Let’s face it, between DVR, Youtube, and smart phones – we stare at screens way too much. Many studies have shown that the disconnection from nature that came with the industrial revolution is seriously harmful to our physical, mental and spiritual health. So I like to spend as much time as I can outside, observing everything not man-made. Even now, I’m writing this on an outdoor patio. So yeah, put down the smartphone and go for a walk.

Although I try not to watch very much TV, occasionally I do watch documentaries. One that I watched recently and really enjoyed was I Am, by Tom Shadyack. It’s a story of a rich and famous man who wrecked his mountain bike and spent nearly a year in chronic head pain. When the pain finally subsided, he went on a journey to understand what life was really about. He learned something interesting – check it out.

Kids At Play. First off, I’m not suggesting that you become some creepy old man hanging out at playgrounds and staring at kids. But when I’m around kids at play, including my own, I always find it uplifting. Seeing their pure innocence, joy, and energy reminds me how great life is when you live in the moment. Sometimes we just need to be reminded.

Good things to use.

Your bike. If you don’t have a bike, go get one. If you don’t use yours, go out to your garage and pump up those tires. I’ve been riding my bike as my primary source of transportation for 2 years now, and that time spent outside is my favorite part of the day. I feel bad for the people sitting in their stuffy little cars and trucks drinking their caffeine trying to wake up in the morning, as I zoom down the road with natural endorphins giving me the energy I need for the day. There are plenty of studies to show the health benefits of bicycling regularly, and I can personally attest to this.

Team Treehouse. Before signing up at Team Treehouse, I had never written or studied Objective C, the language used to program iPhone apps. But within 2 days of taking these online courses, I had already completed my first app. The subscription is $25 per month, but easily worth it if you want to learn one of the many skills they teach. Besides programming languages, they have topics ranging from website design to “how to start a business.” With the $25 subscription, you can take as many courses on as many topics as you choose. That’s a helluva lot better than the cost of college. I also appreciate that the videos are a good balance of form and function. There’s nothing dry – unlike most college professors. The first month is also free to try.

The library. It blows my mind that so many people pay money to own books, when there’s a library that will let you borrow the book for free. I mean, how many books are you really going to read more than once?

You can follow him on Twitter, @BraveNewLife.