Linda Poitevin – Author

Linda Poitevin is the author of the dark urban fantasy series, The Grigori Legacy, from Ace/Roc Books. Linda lives near Ottawa, Canada’s capital, and in her other life is wife, mother, friend, gardener, coffee snob, freelance writer, and zookeeper of too many pets. When she isn’t writing, Linda can usually be found in her garden or walking her dog along the river or through the woods. These are her good things.

Good things to read.

Anything by Bill Bryson. You’ll learn something, you’ll laugh, you’ll come away feeling smarter.

Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. It will change the way you look at food, change the way you relate to food, change everything you’ve ever thought about food.

A book by an author new to you, and maybe even one outside your usual genre. You never know where the good stories are hiding until you go looking for them.

Good things to watch.

Water. Rivers flowing by, the sparkle of sunlight on lake waters, the roll of an ocean surf. There is something incredibly calming about water. It centers me, lulls me, grounds me.

Puppies. Kittens. Babies. Just because there is such joy to be found in watching such joy.

Firefly. I still consider this to be some of the smartest writing I’ve ever come across on television. And yes, I still hold out hope for its return.

Good things to use.

Local foods. Support a farmer, know where your food is coming from, cut down on transportation and help the environment, eat real food.

Feet. I think walking is one of the very best modes of transportation. It slows the world down for you so that you see things you’ve never noticed. It gives you time to think. It keeps you active. And it still gets you where you’re going.

Contigo spill-proof travel mug. no more coffee-meets-keyboard disasters! Plus it keeps my coffee hot for a good hour or more, for those times when I get so into my writing that I forgot to drink the coffee. Don’t laugh. It happens. No, really.

Connect with Linda on Twitter, @LindaPoitevin.

Amelia Beamer – Author

Amelia Beamer is the author of The Loving Dead, the number two zombie novel of the past decade according to Barnes & Noble. Read the first four chapters, short fiction, and accounts of her international travel at AmeliaBeamer.com.  These are her good things.

Good things to read.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. My favorite book and a primer on writing humor. Open to any page and you’ll probably find something absurd.

Way of the Wizards: New Blood by J E Honey. This is a silly and fun book about wizards who need apprentices and children who are learning how to wizard. It has puns and arm flapping and wildly different people who learn to trust one other.

The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz. A true narrative of a journey on foot from a Russian prison in Siberia to safety in India. It’s harrowing and heartening and shows the depths of the human spirit.

Good things to watch.

Louis CK on Conan. Louis CK’s comedy is honest, revealing, emotional, and brilliant. This five minute piece starts with why he doesn’t want his children to have cell phones and includes singing and talking about the value of sadness.

Mary & Max. This Claymation from Australia is the story of a pen friendship between an old man in New York City and a shy girl in suburban Australia. It’s touching and will make you laugh and probably cry.

Kikujiro. A naïve boy finds an unlikely protector in “Beat” Takeshi Kitano while looking for his mother in this Japanese film which is both gentle and gritty.

Good things to use.

Water. I think many people are dehydrated most of the time and don’t notice. The best water in the world comes out of the tap in Iceland and is unprocessed glacial melt. Tap water in Wales is also amazing, and makes great tea.

Sunlight. I try to get some sun on my face every day, even during a Chicago winter. People in northern climates, especially those who have darker skin tones, can be low in Vitamin D without realizing it.

Olive lip balm from Good Rich Goods. This is the best lip balm in the world. It heals chapped lips rather than just coating them like other balms. The feeling is of natural soft lips that can’t help but smile.

Connect with Amelia on Twitter, @Amelia_Beamer.

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.