ted talks

Shanna Germain – Author

Shanna Germain is an author of poems, short stories, essays, and books, recipient of a few awards, and lover of words and games. These are her good things.

Good things to read.

Galveston.  If you liked True Detective, or even if you’ve never seen True Detective, but like gritty, southern-semi-noir novels with a strong voice, I’d suggest Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto. The language, the landscape, and the human truths of the novel break your heart and then put it back together before you can even take a single, hitched breath.

All the Windwracked Stars: The first of a trilogy by Elizabeth Bear, this book just blew me away with its wonderful language, its unique mixing and retelling of myriad mythologies, and its wonderful anti-hero, Muire. Science-fantasy with a post-apocalyptic, mythological bend? Yes, please.

Fallen Angel. I read a lot of comics, and this series continues to be one of my favorites. Created by writer Peter David and artist David López, it is a beautifully dark, sensual, powerful tale of a screwed up woman, a corrupt town, and a plethora of characters that you either want to make out with or junk punch (or sometimes both).

Good things to watch.

Upstream Color.  If you liked director Shane Carruth’s movie Primer (or if you like weird, narratively abstract, beautiful science-themed movies at all), I highly recommend Carruth’s second movie Upstream Color. I was physically shaking when I left the theater, that’s how strongly it affected me. I am afraid to rewatch it, in fact, although it’s been on my queue for a good long while.

True Detective.  I’ll admit, I thought long and hard about whether to put two items by the same writer on this list, but I had to do it. I think True Detective is some of the best TV we’ve seen in a long time (and I say that as someone who’s well aware that we’re in a feast-phase of great TV, with shows like Walking Dead, House of Cards, and Sherlock at our fingertips).

TED Talks. I don’t care which ones you choose — this fantastic one by Cameron Russell on how looks aren’t everything or this harrowing and heartbreaking one by Philip Zimbardo on the psychology of evil (NOTE: super graphic and awful images are in this TED Talk. Please be careful before you click, but find something that interests you and grows your mind.

Good things to use.

A Treadmill Desk.  As a writer, I sit too much. That is a serious truth of my life. So I have my computer set up on a regular old treadmill with a bar across the handlebars to hold my keyboard and mouse. I crank up the incline and go pretty slow, but I can do a couple of hours a day if I’m lucky. Sometimes I work while I’m on it — answering emails or editing. Other times, I game on it. It keeps me moving during the day, and keeps away whatever sedentary disease is creeping up on me and my writing-based lifestyle.

Don’t Starve. One of my favorite all-time past-times is gaming, and this adorable action-adventure game has everything that I appreciate in a game. Great characters, smart game play, interesting ideas, and just great fun. You can pick it up and play for a little bit, or you can waste long hours on the treadmill desk trying not to get eaten by giant spiders, frozen by winter, or starved by your own inability to cook something in a crockpot.

Your Body and Your Mind.  I know, it’s two things. But they’re so closely connected that I feel like they can be listed as a single entity. Work your body, work your mind. In whatever way is good for you. You only get it for so long. I try to remind myself never to waste these incredibly valuable resources that I have at my constant disposal.

Connect with Shanna on Twitter, @ShannaGermain.

Markus Almond – Brooklyn to Mars

Markus Almond publishes a zine blogs at BrooklyntoMars.com where he writes about ‘business, art, and life’, and these are his good things.

Good things to read.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. The most beautiful and accessible Buddhist book.

The War of Art. A real kick in the ass for artists and entrepreneurs.

Good things to watch.

Big Bad Love.  The most underrated movie of all time.

Walk The Line.  The best love story ever told.

Motivational Talks (these are both awesome talks and they have conflicting views):

Cal Newport speaks at World Domination Summit and Larry Smith: Why You will fail to have a great career.

Good things to use.

Clear.  The best iPhone app for your to-do list.

Boomerang. A Gmail app for getting your inbox down to zero every day.

30/30.  An awesome time management app for your iPhone.

Mog.com. The best way to listen to music.

Connect with Markus on Twitter, @MarkusAlmond.

Chris – Founder of FollowUp.cc

Chris is the founder of FollowUp.cc, which enables you to set reminders on emails you send, snooze the emails you have for later and schedule tasks right from your email.  It’s something that every inbox needs these days, here are his good things.

Good things to read.

Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. Really contrarian and interesting book about the way the world works and how wealth is created from massive shifts.

The Einstein Factor by Richard Poe. Ways to better your brain through different techniques. Image Streaming is amazing on what it does for cognition and vocabulary.

Paranoia by Joseph Finder. A fun corporate espionage thriller, great summer read and the movie is coming out in August with Liam Hemsworth, Harrison Ford and Gary Oldman.

Good things to watch.

Shark Tank (TV). Definitely gives a semi-realistic view into the dynamics of talking to an investor but most of all is inspiring to see people’s ideas, their execution, and their success

In Time (Movie). Certainly no oscar winner, but a really interesting movie about time being the currency for material goods and life itself

Can We Eat to Starve Cancer (online). Really interesting research on how food protects us from disease, worth the watch for anyone who’s ever wondered if their diet matters

Good things to use.

FollowUp.cc. I’m definitely not shy to suggest my own service because I literally couldn’t function without it, and my inbox would be a mess. I set about 250-350 reminders per month and there are customers who use it way more than that. It’s basically the missing piece of every email system.

Rapportive.com. The best plugin for Gmail to see who you’re emailing and their recent social updates

F.lux. This app removes the blue light from your laptop/monitor to mimic the sun setting. We spend too much time on electronics at night and this affects a lot of people’s circadian rhythms, so it’s a great app to automatically solve that problem as we continue to use our gadgets at night!

Get more Followup.cc news on Twitter, @followupcc.

Ciera – Designer

Ciera Holzenthal is a “graphic designer and blogger who loves photography, traveling, the color green, typography, New Orleans, festivals and keyboard shortcuts” who creates at Ciera Design and these are her good things.

Good things to read.

The Cheese Monkeys by graphic designer Chip Kidd: A hilarious autobiographical, coming-of-age novel about art school and graphic design classes. I loved this book since I studied art in college and could totally relate. It had me laughing out loud.

Amanda Genther’s Blog: Amanda is a young entrepreneur who I look up to as a small business owner myself. She shares amazing insight on personal branding and resources to help grow your business.

Me Talk Pretty One Day or any book by David Sedaris, he is hilarious.

Good things to watch.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Another awesome coming-of-age comedy-drama, I guess I like this genre. After I watched it I was thinking about it for days. I still need to read the book.

Lynda videos – I am always looking to learn new things and Lynda.com has educational tutorials on just about everything including accounting, photography, note taking and typography.

TED talks: Inspirational no matter what the topic, watch as many as you can.

Good things to use.

Wunderlist: This is my favorite digital to do list. It’s simple, well designed and has desktop and iPhone versions.

Panasonic Lumix: I love my camera! It’s pretty small so it’s not a hassle to bring it everywhere and the lenses are interchangeable so it has a lot of variety.

Washi Tape: colorful tape makes everything pretty.

See more of Ciera on Twitter at @CieraHolzenthal.

John Saddington – Entrepreneur

John Saddington blogs at John.do and is running  ran a Kickstarter campaign for a photo filtering app for WordPress.

Good things to read.

The first is Daniel Pink’s book Drive, which is an incredible book that highlights some of the elements that really motivate us to do our best and most enjoyable work. I recommend this book to every single person I meet because in one way or another it challenges them to rethink the way they see work as well as how they are going to do it. It also challenges them to think so much bigger than where they are currently and see a much brighter future.

The second thing to read is 37signals’ Rework, a fun read that can be done in 2-3 minute segments, sometimes even less. Challenging some long-held beliefs of work and productivity, they come at those ideas from a software perspective but it’s equally applicable in every environment. They speak plainly about things like “meetings” and how they are “toxic” to productivity. When was the last time you were enthused about your Monday-morning status call?

Thirdly, Andy Stanley’s When Work and Family Collide, a firm reminder about the true loves of my own life and the reason I do what I do. This was one of the first corporate things I had my company do when we started so that we could align ourselves together as a team.

Good things to watch.

The first thing you need to watch is Kevin Rose’ Foundation interviews. These interviews are candid and powerful with some of the innovators of our time. Bookmark and watch one a week.

Secondly, many of the TED talks are amazing. I watch at least one of these a week for inspiration as well as keeping me abreast of some of the foremost thinkers in fields that are outside of my own expertise. This helps me expand my ideas about how I’m implementing and creating products as well as keeps me on the edge of advancement and critical thought.

Thirdly, the popular channel over at Youtube. I do this not just for entertainment purposes but also so that I’m aware of the trending topics and memes that may be important for me to know about. Many of the ingenious products, companies, and innovators were sourced through Youtube and I’m still very fascinated with the mechanics of video and virality.

Good things to use.

I keep my toolkit lean and simple. The first thing that I use is my personal notebook, for sketches, wireframes, and capturing ideas. I’m particularly found of Action Method journals.

Secondly, my iPhone 5. I know, I know, but my entire life and business can be captured in my pocket. The power of this truth is mind-numbing and also very scary.

Finally, water. You must hydrate. Trust me. Most of us don’t drink enough. A simple cup of water will do.

Find more of John on Twitter, @Saddington.

Ryan O’Loughlin – Student of Life

These are Ryan O’Loughlin’s good things.

Good things to read.

Well, I’d have to go with a few classics here. Rich Dad Poor Dad was the first book that really shifted my mindset, and ever since then I’ve never stopped learning about business. The Four Hour Workweek is my second favorite book of all time because it really broke the mold of the 9-5 lifestyle. And finally, The Education of Millionaires by Michael Ellsberg is a great read for anyone who isn’t sure about the investment of college.  Oh, and how could I forget The Millionaire Fast Lane?


Good things to watch.

I am not a huge fan of TV, but for things to watch I like Ted.com. For example, this talk on dieting – Minding your Mitochondria –  is very educational and this talk – Play is More than Fun – is great too. I also go to YouTube for interesting videos or tutorials. 

Good things to use.

If you travel a lot, I recommend Tripit. It’s a Smartphone app that syncs your airline, hotel, and restaurant reservations on your smart phone. Just makes traveling easier. I also just joined Charles Schwab Bank. Their mobile app is awesome, because you can take pictures of checks and they will be deposited into your account. Also, their checking account has virtually no fees or minimums, which is great for everyone, especially an international traveler.

Mike Hrostoski – Men’s Coach

These are Mike Hrostoski’s good things.

Good things to read.

The Way Of The Superior Man. This is my go-to book when someone asks me for a book recommendation. Of any book I’ve ever read, it has had the shaped me the most of how I show up in the world as a man. This should be required reading for every man in the world.

The Millionaire Fastlane. This is one of my favorite books on money, investing, and entrepreneurship. MJ Demarco is very straight forward and doesn’t beat around the bush, but I respect him more considering he was a millionaire BEFORE he wrote the book, not after. Meaning he didn’t make his millions from selling books on how to make millions.

Loving What Is. Byron Katie’s system of The Work is one of the simplest and most effective healing modalities that I’ve come across. I use it all the time in my coaching practice and in my life. This book helped me stop suffering from arguing against reality and start accepting things as they are.

Good things to watch.

Nature. I work from anywhere in the world with my laptop and an internet connection, so it’s easy to spend a lot of time sitting behind a computer screen. I make sure to go outside every day whether it’s a hike, jog, walk, or just a 10-15 minute meditation break from my work. I feel the most alive when I’m outside, so I try and maximize my time outdoors.

Live Music, Dance or Theatre. There’s something that’s beautiful about watching live music, dance or theatre. Anything can go wrong. Every moment is so fragile. I’m blown away any time I watch a large production with hundreds of moving parts, all working together in symphony. You don’t get that feeling from watching reruns of Scrubs on Netflix.

TED talks.  I’m sure a lot of people mention TED, but it’s my go-to place for killing an hour or two. I don’t watch TV and I rarely watch movies, but I’m always up for being inspired, moved, or educated for 18 minutes.

Good things to use.

Your Body. Move! Our human body wasn’t designed to sit for 10-12 hours a day. I’m always trying to add movement into anything I do. I take phone calls while walking around the block. I’m always stretching. I work out regularly whether it’s at a gym, park, or in my living room. My health is my most valuable asset and I structure my life around it.

Google Voice. Since I starting traveling internationally more, I’ve started using Google Voice for making free calls to any US number through the internet. It’s amazing. Even when I’m in the states, I use it because it’s so convenient.

DuoLingo. I started learning Spanish before a recent trip to Colombia and Mexico. This is one of the best language learning systems I’ve ever used. And it’s totally free.

David Postic – unraveling the mysteries of life, 500 words at a time

These are David Postic’s good things.

Good things to read.

Deep River by Shusaku Endo. It is an extraordinary book about the search for religion/meaning, told through the perspectives of several different people. A short read but overall one of the more compelling books I have read of late.

Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I’ve read this one 4 or 5 times before, but each time it offers me new insight and advice for my life. This time I am reading it for a discussion group I moderate at my university. In my mind, everyone who wants to make something of themselves should read this book.

One Billion Hungry by Gordon Conway. Every once in a while I like to take a step outside my normal area of expertise and read about something totally different. This time that “something” is the crisis of extreme hunger in the world. Although I have to constantly research ideas Conway presents, it has been illuminating to read about the subject and has stirred within me a passion to do something (and the knowledge than I can, in fact, make a difference).

Good things to watch.

Sir Ken Robinson’s TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” I got a chance to meet Sir Ken last fall and he spoke to me (in reference to my struggle with figuring out what to do with my life) about the importance of finding something I am passionate about, something he elaborates on in his book “The Element” (which is another good book to read). His famous TED Talk ignited within me a passion for education, and I owe to him (in large part) my style of speech construction.

Zeitgeist 2012: Year in Review. Every year I always think it is useful to take a moment and consider the accomplishments, shortcomings, and growth of the previous year. Of course, it always helps when that review is put to some inspirational music.

Lincoln. I love history, especially presidential history. I also love movies. All of that put together, and Lincoln is one of my favorite movies ever. Everything about it is perfect.

Good things to use.

Golf clubs. I try to golf as often as I can. I find it very soothing and, in many way, relative to life. (Something I learned from “The Nine Lessons” by Kevin Milne)

Frying pan. I cook mostly every day. Not only is in a nice time to stop and think, but I’ve found that food always tastes better when you have to work for it.

A pen. Over the past year, writing has become one of the great joys of my life. Sometimes I don’t know how I’m feeling until I put pen to paper and spill my thoughts out. More than anything it’s therapeutic, and I recommend it daily to everyone.

Dennis Heenan – founder of BodyFit Formula

These are Dennis Heenan’s good things.

Good things to read:

The Primal Blueprint. The ultimate guide to living healthy, getting more out of life, and simply being awesome. Fun and easy read!

Today Matters by John C Maxwell is one of the most life changing books I have ever read. The 12 daily disciplines he covers can be applied directly to anyone’s life. This is a book I can read over and over because of the encouragement and confidence it instills in you.

Mastering the Seven Decisions by Andy Andrews. Andy discusses 7 habits that ALL highly successful individuals have, and how each of us can learn these and apply them to our lives. Andy studied successful individuals for years and noticed they all had seven traits in common. He shares and expands on each trait to help you become a better overall person.

Good things to watch.

Food Inc. covers the eye opening truths about where your foods actually come from. This film makes you more aware of what goes on in the food industry and is a must see!

Ted Talks. Educational, inspirational, and highly fascinating.

The Office. The greatest TV show ever made. No matter what time of day, The Office is always something that will give you a good laugh.

Good things to use.

Kettlebell. Aside from your own body, this is the most powerful piece of exercise equipment on the planet. Burning up to 20 calories per minute, you can expect to see some great results from this simple movement.

iPad. I use my iPad for just about everything: calendar, reading books, taking notes, writing, to-do lists, and more. As a bonus, I recommend grabbing a wireless keyboard if you are going to be doing lots of writing or note taking with it!

Sigg Water Bottle. We all know the importance of water

Trey Genda – creator High Rise Habits

These are Trey Genda’s good things

Good things to read.
Drive by Daniel Pink.  Most people tend to think about motivation in terms of carrots and sticks: behavior occurs when we’re offered something good, or threatened with something bad. ‘Drive’ makes a compelling case that this model of human nature fails to account for a third—and more powerful—motivation, which Pink labels as internal (or intrinsic) drive. In short, it’s the motivation to do things without any regard to external coercion; usually because an activity is intrinsically worthy as an “end” and not only as a “means.” Pink outlines the reasons that carrots and sticks can be counterproductive and often lead to short-term compliance but long-term disengagement.  The book focuses on principals of human nature, which makes it equally applicable to personal development, professional leadership, parenting, and any other arena where it’s important to understand human motivation.  

The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations’ by Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom. From government to business, social movements to churches, every human activity has a corresponding model for organization—and the way we organize matters. ‘The Starfish and the Spider’ is often labeled a business book, but for me, it’s much harder to categorize. Brafman and Beckstrom outline the difference between centralized (hierarchical) and decentralized (organic) systems, and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each. I appreciate the way the book weaves together principles of leadership and motivation with organizational structure, and explains why certain systems lead—or don’t lead—to specific types of behavior.  For me, the most powerful application of the ideas in this book (as well as those in ‘Drive’) center on my faith and on my expectations and approach to church in general. Organizations can easily ignite or squelch passion by the way they organize and approach members, and these books have greatly influenced the way I think about my faith and the importance of organization in long-term individual and group growth. 

Wired Magazine and The Atlantic.  It might be breaking a rule to include two different publications as one item, but I view Wired and the Atlantic as complementary publications.  They’re also my two favorite magazines, which means I’ve also avoid the potential dilemma of being forced to choose between the two.  In any case, I appreciate both magazines because of the quality of the writing and their similar concentration on society and culture.  Wired emphasizes science and technology, and the Atlantic focuses on politics, religion, and world events—but work from either would often feel “at home” if published in the other.

Good things to watch.

Shawn Achor’s TEDx Presentation. The Happy Secret to Better Work.  In this humorous framing of positive psychology, Shawn Achor makes the case that psychology should focus on far more than the identification and treatment of problems.  Achor discusses the all-too-popular assumption that success precedes happiness, and provides concrete examples to illustrate what might seem a counter-intuitive:  when we focus on happiness, gratitude, and purpose, we’re far more likely to be successful than if we focus on success alone.  

Clay Shirky: Institutions vs. collaboration. Clay Shirky discusses the social dynamics of decentralized systems, and the shift from industrial-era social and economic models to new systems based more on motivation, altruism, and cooperation. In his presentations and books, Shirky uses easy-to-understand examples to illustrate underlying principles, and this TED talk is no exception. The video is dated (particularly in internet time), but the ideas describe forces and influences still transforming entire industries. Shirky discusses motivation and business, but his particular focus is on media transformation and the “mass amateurization” of activities that previously belonged only to professionals.  

Drew Dudley: Everyday Leadership. We often think of “leadership” as something that’s beyond the grasp of most people (after all, isn’t it just for “leaders”?). In this video, Drew Dudley outlines a different approach: leadership as something within the reach of every single person, and an activity we engage in every single day–whether we realize it or not. This video is a great reminder that small interactions can shape lives in profound ways. 

Good things to use.

A common theme for my three my app recommendations is the idea of syncing systems and info for simplification.  Dropbox & Evernote.  Most people are familiar with these two apps, so I won’t spend much space or time describing them here.  However, both Dropbox and Evernote are each helpful enough that I feel obliged to include them in my list, because they’ve made such a big difference for me in simplifying my files and information. Having access to the same ‘stuff’ everywhere allows me to focus on more important things, and not get distracted by the logistics of questions like “now, where’s that file again?” 

CoBook simplifies contact management and integrates info and data from different networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) into one address book that remains consistent—and up-to-date—regardless of device. For the first time ever, I have the same contact info on my desktop, laptop, email, and phone…and it’s wonderful.  Unfortunately the desktop version is Mac-only at the moment, but an iPhone release was recently added to the App store.