use your mind

Giovanni Dienstmann – Meditation Coach

Giovanni Dienstmann is a meditation and self improvement blogger, and also an iOS app developer. His app WeSync has been featured in national television in Australia. He coaches people in meditation at and blogs at His goal is to “bring meditation and personal growth to a million people”. These are his good things.

Good things to read.

Essentialism: The Discipline Pursuit of Less.This is definitely one of my top three books this year. We all kind of know that we are too distracted, that we need to slow down and focus. How much of our daily activity is really productive and important; how much is just being busy? The author reminds us that we need to say no to many good things, so we can say YES to a very few great things – which are our maximum point of contribution and satisfaction in this world. He explores in detail how we can untangle ourselves from habits and mindsets that compels us to say yes to non-essential things, and gives us tools to live the “essentialist way”. If you like to explore more about keeping to the essential, take a look here.

Predictably Irrational – The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions. I think this is a mandatory read for every human-being. We believe we are very rational in our choices, and yet we are not. This lack of self-knowledge about what actually drives most of our decisions is the cause of a lot of regret, stress, waste of time, and waste of money. You will learn about how to avoid pitfalls when comparing your options, how to not be baited into bad decisions (by marketers, friends, of whoever), how to make more accurate judgements about our behaviour, among other interesting things.

The Personal MBA – a world-class business education in a single volume. If you are a business owner, is starting a side-business, or are thinking about it, and you could buy only one book – this should be it. The author, a successful businessman himself, went to the trouble of studying and summarising thousands of books on business related subjects, in this concise and clear guide. The sections of the book that treat about “The Human Mind”, “Working with Yourself” and “Working with Others” are insightful even for those that have no interest in business.

Good things to watch

Hero, with Jet Li. This is a very inspiring movie for me. Besides the majestic fight scenes, this movie teaches a lot about bravery, sacrifice, virtue, and mastery. If you are familiar with the concept of “Flow” from author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, you will see instances of it all over the movie – from the training of the swordsman to the work of the master calligraphist.

What the Bleep Do We Know. This is not a “mainstream” movie, so probably most of you won’t know about it. It is a mixture of a drama with a documentary on the latest findings of quantum physics and neurology, and how this challenges our world view. Do you think you know what reality is? Are you aware how much you are affecting it? Watch this movie with an open mind, and be ready to ask yourself some very deep and thought-provoking questions.

Inception. By now you know already that I like some “weird things”… I love exploring the idea (or reality?) that our life is a dream, and this movie gives a nice image for it. It has all the elements of a movie to be loved: engaging, mind-bending, surprising, great production. No wonder it is in the top 500 of iMDB!

Good things to use

Your mind. Seriously! The most important skill any human being can develop is how to use one’s own mind. This includes your power of focus, self-control, self-knowledge, and the types of emotions that we house inside of us. If you know your mind, and how to use it, there is nothing you cannot achieve. Like the Buddha said, “Your mind is either your best friend or your worst enemy”. No place in the world we can get away from our thoughts. And, if the mind does not cooperate, no amount of skill, knowledge, or money, can give us either success or happiness.

What do all wealthy people and word-class athletes have in common? They all understand that mindset is everything; they have put time into developing themselves, into personal growth.

One of the most essential tools for personal growth – and for mastering your mind! – is meditation. I have been doing meditation daily for over 14 years and it has transformed my life and taught me so much. Exploring this subject further would be out of scope here, but I’ll be happy to personally guide any reader from 27GoodThings. Just contact me and say you came from 27GoodThings.

Connect with Giovanni on Twitter, @

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.

Jill Duffy – writer and reviewer for PC Magazine

Jill Duffy, Writer, Columnist, and Product Reviewer for PC Magazine

Good Things to Read.

99 Percent Invisible. I consider a lot of my “reading” to be podcast-listening (although if you want to “read,” check out the show’s blog). 99 Percent Invisible with Roman Mars is a podcast and blog discusses the importance of design in everyday things, from the sound design of our smartphones to how living in a cul de sac shapes our social behaviors.

Freakonomics Radio. Another audio show (and blog) that uncovers the hidden side of things is Freakonomics Radio, which uses economic theory on unsuspecting matters of subject. Freakonomics started as a book (by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt), which I also recommend, but the podcasts provide continued analysis of different ideas through the lens of an economist.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. What the heck? I’ll toss in a book, too. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the most read business books of all time published in 1989, has greatly informed my opinions about organization and productivity, two topics I write about in a weekly column on called Get Organized. Quite frankly, the first half of the book delivers an almost touching amount of introspection, while the latter half seems more like what the publisher demanded be in the book (the seven habits explained one by one, which is much less interesting). Being effective, productive, and organized is part of a lifestyle, which has become one of my mantras. It’s not about the single choice you make right now; it’s about the accumulation of small choices made week over week, month over month, year over year.

Good Things to Watch.

People. Many of us misconstrue the art of people-watching to mean voyeurism of some sort, but I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from watching people around me. For example, I’ve picked up all kinds of neat tricks for how to tie plastic bags to make them stronger or more comfortable or so their contents won’t spill just by watching very savvy old ladies on the bus. Another example: I commute by bicycle in New York City, and if I didn’t pay close attention to how other riders handle different traffic situations, I probably would never have survived the road. If you pay attention and ask, “How did she do that?” and “What was the outcome?” you can learn so much about what to do and what not to do.

Man on Wire. My very favorite movie of all time is Man on Wire, the story of Philippe Petit, a tight-rope walker who plotted an elaborate stunt to break into the World Trade Center in 1974 and walk between the Twin Towers. What’s remarkable is not just the story itself, but how it unfolds through some really incredible documentary film-making techniques–theatrical reenactments intercut with interview footage of these selfless people put themselves in danger to help one man carry out this dream. The whole film just oozes passion.

Peep Show. This list needs something silly, so let me recommend the British comedy television series Peep Show. It’s a little raunchy, a little uncomfortable, but I swear, it’ll grow on you.

Good Things to Use.

Your mind.

Your heart.

Your voice.

Jill’s on Twitter between writing product reviews and