hell on wheels

jlcollinsnh – Money, Life, Business

James Collins is financially independent and writes about money, life, and business at jlcollinsnh.com, these are his good things.

Good things to read.

There is nothing you can’t learn, no place you can’t go, if you read. So I’m going to cheat with expansion on this one a bit.

Fiction.

I once had an engineer friend proudly tell me he didn’t read fiction because “he couldn’t be bothered with things that weren’t true.” Nonsense. Good fiction writers are meticulous in getting their background facts right and some of the greatest of all truths are to be found in their works.

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier might be my all time favorite novel.

George Pelecanos has a series of novels set in the gritty inner city of Washington DC where the African American and Greek American communities intersect. Fun, light, exciting, sometimes intense books with wonderful tone.

Tony Hillerman’s novels will take you out west to the Four Corners desert reservation where you can ride along with Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee of the Navajo tribal police. You’ll witness another way of looking at the world while you do.

Non-Fiction.

My blog is about using money to achieve financial freedom. Freedom being the operative word. Two of the more influential books that shaped my thinking are:

How I found Freedom in an Unfree World by Harry Browne.

The Richest Man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason.

In another realm, Knocking on Heaven’s Door by Lisa Randall almost makes particle physics understandable for me. No small feat that.

Magazines.

I love magazines. I spent my career in the business. At any given moment I have subscriptions to about half a dozen and the subject matter can be just about anything. The serendipity of what you stumble upon in them can be magical.
Once you subscribe to one, you get offers for others. I’m forever letting subscriptions lapse and adding new ones. I once subscribed to a newly launched glossy magazine called Garbage. It didn’t last long, but how could I not?

Good things to watch.

TV. Yeah. I know. The more common advice is to trash can your TV. Not me. Sometimes you just want to be spoon fed entertainment while sinking into the sofa. At least I do. And the programing has never been better. Dexter, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Hell on Wheels are a few that leap to mind, all more captivating than most movies I can remember.

People, preferably from outdoor cafes. Next time you’re traveling to some exotic – or not so exotic – local, skip one of the endless museum and church tours. Park yourself instead on the plaza with a cup of coffee and just sit. Watch and absorb and, for pity’s sake at least for this brief moment, put the camera away.

Live Theater. Every time I go I walk out wondering why I don’t go more often.

Good things to use.

The Public Library. What a brilliant concept. If they don’t have a book I’m looking for, they find it for me. Why anybody not living in the wilderness ever buys a book is one of life’s enduring mysteries to me. Since I hope to publish one of my own one day soon, I’ll be grateful they do. Baffled, but grateful.

Money. We live in a complex world and the single best tool for mastering it is money. Moreover, if you don’t learn to be its master, it will certainly become yours.

Down Time. The irony of my retirement these last two years is just how damn busy I’ve been. It is all self-inflicted and nothing I don’t relish doing, but it over-fills the days all the same. One of the best uses of time is doing nothing. I need to recapture some time for just that.

James isn’t on Twitter but you can read about more of his good things in his Home Again post and this one.

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Jana Lynch – Daily Money Shot

Jana Lynch is the owner of the personal finance blog Daily Money Shot and the founder of Bloggers Helping Bloggers, an online mentoring program, and these are her good things. You can find out more of her likes on Twitter – @dailymoneyjana – and Pinterest.

Good things to read.

The Outsiders by SE Hinton. This is the book that made me want to write. I first read it when I was in high school (maybe 8th grade) and the characters, the subject matter, the fact that SE Hinton was 16 when she wrote it all hit home for me. The storytelling was more like listening to a family member or friend recount a tale than reading a book. I reread this book at least once a year not only because it’s a great book but it’s also motivation that if a teenager can write a book, than I can at least finish the one I started.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. While her books are definitely formulaic and can get a tad tedious at times, this one lives outside of that mold. About a Jewish woman plagued by her own demons whose asked by a Nazi to help him die, it is an amazing, incredible story. The second part of the book, where the main character’s grandmother describes her time in a concentration camp, makes this novel worth reading. It’s not often that I’ll stay up until 1 AM reading a book but I did with this one.

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. It’s pretty much a tie between this and Mitch Albom’s The Time Keeper for my favorite book of the last 5 years. It’s hard to explain exactly why I love this book so much except for the fact that it’s just so well written and using the dog as a narrator, and humanizing him the way the author did, borders on brilliant.

Good things to watch.

AMC. The reason I can’t get rid of cable. I thought maybe I could pick one show from this channel to highlight but that’s like asking to pick your favorite type of M&M; you just can’t. They’re all so different yet all so tasty in their own way. I mean how can you choose between <Breaking BadMad Men, The Killing, or Hell on Wheels? You can’t so you don’t and you watch them all. 

I Love You, Man. I love this movie. A lot. I don’t know if it’s because it’s hilarious, has Jason Segel and Paul Rudd, is amazingly quotable or because it pays homage to Rush. Probably all of the above. It’s one of those movies that I can watch over and over again and it’s funny every. Single. Time.

Friday Night Lights. I never thought I’d like a show about football but much like the movie, it’s more a show about people using football as the backdrop. If you have not watched this show, I suggest you settle down on your couch with Netflix and binge watch all 5 seasons immediately. Texas Forever!

Good things to use.

Spotify. If you’re like me and have an eclectic taste in music that your wallet cannot keep up with, Spotify is perfect. I love being able to create playlists, listen to whole albums (did I just date myself with that word) or program radio stations. For FREE! I actually prefer Spotify to Pandora for the simple fact of being able to actually listen to the song I want to instead of what it feels like telling me I want to listen to.

Write or Die. Probably the best web app around (also an iPad app but I prefer to use the web/desktop version) to keep you focused on writing. You get to pick the parameters for length of writing time, grace period when you stop, and consequences but no matter what you pick, you will stay focused. If for no other reason than having your computer or tablet make loud, alarming noises at you is a little troubling.

Gel ink pens. Far superior to ball point pens, which always seem to run out of ink quickly. Gel ink pens are kind of fancy and they give a nice, dark ink impression. Unless you’re left handed. Then maybe they’re more of a smudgy inconvenience but I still think you should use them anyway.

Paul Jarvis – Gentleman of Adventure

Paul Jarvis “writes books and makes websites for awesome people.”  He writes at PJRVS.com as well as Medium.com and these are his good things.

Good things to read.

Abby Kerr—Abby and her team are some of the smartest strategy and content folks I’ve ever known. Every blog post is packed with great advice and insight.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle—I get lost in my work/industry sometimes and read far too much non-fiction. It’s good to take a break with something out there, and this is my favourite fictional book by my favourite author.

Life Without Pants — Matt has always got great advice about working for yourself. My favourite hustler.

Good things to watch.

Hell on Wheels—It’s a well-written period piece about building America’s railroads. I’m not even from the US and I really enjoy it. It’s got amazing characters you’ll love to hate (seriously, there are no straight-up heroes) and very intentional story-line. It’s on Netflix at well (since I don’t have a TV or cable).

BlogCastFM—Although technically you can’t “watch” this, since it’s a podcast, you also can’t “read” or “use” it, so I’m putting it here. Srinivas Rao is a brilliant interviewer who has some amazing guests on his show to share their stories about business, success, entrepreneurialism and other topics. Always time well spent listening.

Shane Koyczan’s “To This Day” TED Talk—one of the most honest and touching TED talks I’ve ever watched.

Good things to use.

IA Writer—I use this program to write all the articles and books I’ve ever written. I love it because it has no features, all you can do is use it to write without distraction.

The Adoption Form at Your Local Shelter—I’m a big believer that the animal companion you’re looking for is in a shelter somewhere, looking for you to adopt them.

Mailbox—I love me some “inbox zero”, and this app let’s me get there quickly. You can use it to be reminded of emails that are important, but important right now (so they show back up into your inbox at a later time/date). Plus, every time you zero your inbox, you see a beautiful and always changing photograph.

You can connect with Paul Jarvis on Twitter, @pjrvs