The Arrival by Shaun Tan

I see book recommendations all over the internet and in the past, I would try to make a mental note or add the title to my task list to check out later. This never really panned out because I went back to check I would forget who recommended it and without that personal connection I’d decide against getting the book.

This year I changed that up and decided to add any book that a friend recommends to my Amazon cart that way I’d be forced to ​take ​action on it. The Arrival is one of those books and it came as a surprise because someone else in my family completed the cart and it came as part of the order. #lifehack

As I started flipping through it I was amazed that it was a graphic novel telling about the immigrant experience. It’s beautiful and will make a great coffee table book and one to go through with my kids.

The one downside to all this is now I can’t remember who I have seen​n recommend it, but I appreciate it.

If you want to know more about the book itself this review from Alana Abbott is perfect:

Tan captures the displacement and awe with which immigrants respond to their new surroundings in this wordless graphic novel. It depicts the journey of one man, threatened by dark shapes that cast shadows on his family’s life, to a new country. The only writing is in an invented alphabet, which creates the sensation immigrants must feel when they encounter a strange new language and way of life. A wide variety of ethnicities is represented in Tan’s hyper-realistic style, and the sense of warmth and caring for others, regardless of race, age, or background, is present on nearly every page. Young readers will be fascinated by the strange new world the artist creates, complete with floating elevators and unusual creatures, but may not realize the depth of meaning or understand what the man’s journey symbolizes. More sophisticated readers, however, will grasp the sense of strangeness and find themselves participating in the man’s experiences. They will linger over the details in the beautiful sepia pictures and will likely pick up the book to pore over it again and again

You can get your own copy of The Arrival on Amazon and it’s currently $13.99 for the hardcover, which I recommend.

When it comes to tools like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram: don’t let the fear of missing out dictate how you live your life. The most productive and fulfilled people I know often got where they are by doubling down on the activities that return them huge benefits, while happily ignoring everything else.

Cal Newport – On Analog Social Media

Read books and listen to audiobooks with Libby

The public library system doesn’t seem to get a lot of love lately, but they are making great strides in modernizing. One example​ is the Libby app for phones and tablets.

I first seen it mentioned by a friend on Twitter and decided to check it out. I found the Leonardo Da Vinci biography as an audiobook and put it on hold. ​Last night I got an email it was available and was instantly able to start listening.

The app is pretty well done, and it includes all the main features you need. Plus a bonus for ebooks to automatically send them to your Kindle.

The only downside is that a lot of book titles that I looked for had only one or two stock and you have to place a hold which can take some time before it’s available, but if you haven’t tried out your local library lately, I’d recommend it.

Profit First

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz is one of the business books I read last year and I decided to start 2018 off by implementing some of the features of this book and I wanted to share they are working well so far. In fact​, it’s​ working so well I got my wife on board and we setup our family budget using the same ideas.

The premise of the book is, of course, on taking your profit first​ and in order to do that Mike recommends creating several different banking accounts. For example, here would be all the different bank accounts for a small business. Income, Profit, Owners Comp, Tax, Operating Expenses “Opex”, and two extras, Profit Hold and Tax Hold.

Then it works like this:

  1. Deposit all revenue into your income account.
  2. Every 10th and 25th transfer out into the main accounts based on percentages above.
  3. Take your biweekly/monthly draw from the Owners Comp account.

Now for my business,​ this felt way overboard and I honestly didn’t need all those accounts. I decided to simplify and go with income, profit, and taxes, then instead of twice a ​month at the end of the month is when I do my transfers. By doing it this way I can look at the P&L statement and know exactly how much income I’ve had and then just move it around.

As I said I’ve enjoyed this process and its​ personal finance at the basics. Every dollar goes somewhere and if you aren’t purposefully planning where that is, then it’s probably getting spent. Because of this, I talked to my wife and we decided to give this same thing a try for our family budget. Here are the accounts Mike recommends you setup:

  • Income Account – Every deposit goes in here
  • The VAULT – Emergency Fund (Start at 1 month. Goal is 8 months)
  • Recurring Payments – Mortgage, Cars, HOA, etc.
  • Day to Day – Grocery, Gas, Dining​
  • Debt Destroyer – For paying off debt

This felt like too many to me again so I simplified, (yes he says you shouldn’t do that, but he isn’t the boss of me):

  • Income Account + Day to Day combined (debit card)
  • The VAULT – Emergency Fund (Money Market)
  • Recurring Payments – Mortgage, Cars, HOA, etc. (regular checking without debit card)

We divided all our recurring payments out and found the exact amount that needs to go in that account, now when a paycheck comes in that amount goes to Recurring, a set percentage goes to the Emergency Fund, and the remainder stays in Income for day to day expenses.

By doing this I’ve noticed a few things. The first is we are spending less per month because the income account doesn’t have a lot in it. Something happens to you when you know your only account with a debit card is low, and that is the personal side that takes over.

I’m sure this system will not work for everyone, but if you feel stuck in a rut that you can’t get out of it could be worth a shot.

My First Online Doctor Visit

The end of February I came down with a cold, allergies, something. It was horrible and after a few days of suffering, I decided it was finally time to see a doctor. Being the internet loving nerd that I am I figured I’d try out one of those new online doctor apps called, Teledoc.

I made an appointment for 10PM and went through all their settings to make sure my computer would be able to connect, and at about five till I logged in and waited for the doctor to arrive. Just after 10PM I heard someone come on but apparently, they couldn’t hear or see me, but I could hear them, just not see.

At around 10:30 the doctor finally called my cell phone and we did the consultation that way. It was like I was talking to a call center, the doctor had a foreign accent that I couldn’t understand, and all they did was give me some cough medicine and tell me to take some Claritin-D.

Flash forward four weeks since then I am still not better and after attempting to ride my bike yesterday and having a horrific coughing fit I decided to see my local doctor.

I ended up having fluid on my ears, stuff in my chest, a red and swollen throat, and I got a shot plus four different types of medicine to get this junk out of my system.

All because I wanted to save time I ended up suffering and probably get worse with each passing day. Now that I’m on all this medicine they say it’ll still be another five days before I’m fully back.

What is weird is that I have friends that have used the same online service and rave about it, I don’t know if I just did it at the wrong time, got the wrong doctor, or what, but it was not a great first experience and I doubt I’ll do that again. I’d rather take an hour off work and see a real doctor who can actually make a diagnosis of my symptoms.