Reading time: 5 mins
Happy New Year People!
I hope that you had a great one but now we’ve finished the last of the turkey and put away the Christmas decorations for another year, we’ve got some work to do!
Usually the New Year is the time in which we reflect and look at ways to improve our lives! As you guys know, I’m a massive fan of Personal Development books and in honour of 2017, these are 7 books that made a major impact on my life!
This blogpost will give you a mini-review of what they are about & how it helped my life. I hope you enjoy!
For me, this is the greatest personal development book I have ever read.
This is the book that will make all the other books work. Period.
I use The Slight Edge in everything in my life: from teaching, to learning to code to even writing this blog. If you will buy one book this year, buy this one! I’ve reviewed it already for this blog, so please click here for the full review!
This is the Granddaddy of personal finance books and it is an absolute classic. Written in the 1920’s just before the Great Depression, this book actually started off as a collection of pamphlets that Clason wrote advising people on how to manage their money.
The book is a collection of fables that centre around a man called Arkad – an extremely wealthy merchant that lived in Ancient Babylonia over 4000 years ago. Arkad spends many of the stories advising friends, children and other merchants on how he made his wealth.
Please note. This book will not give you the secrets to picking the latest tech stocks (it was written almost 100 years ago – for goodness sake!) But it will give you universal principles on how to earn, keep and invest money. I still consult this book to this day. If you are absolutely clueless about personal finance (as I was), this will be a great investment!
If “The Richest Man in Babylon” was the beginner’s class on Personal Finance, then Dave Ramsey’s book is the intermediate/expert class that will take you finances to the next level.
Personal Finance guru Dave Ramsey takes you through a 7 step plan that is designed to get you out of debt, build an emergency fund and if you have the stamina, help you become financially free. Please note: I said financially free NOT rich. In the very simplest terms, Financial Freedom means that if you lost your main source of income (your job) you would have enough assets (things that make you money) to cover your expenses/costs of living – which is perfectly achievable. This book seriously changed my life. It taught me how to eliminate my debt, budget and basically get my money right. Dave is frank and straight forward and the stories in the book are very motivating! A must buy!
Author Michael Ellsberg believes that the formal education that is taught in schools and universities, apart from teaching you technical skills, teach you very little on what it takes to be successful in the real world – especially if you are thinking about becoming an entrepreneur. After meeting and interviewing several millionaires and billionaires, Ellsberg sketches out in this book, the alternative ‘life degree’ of key skills that will help you get promoted quicker, start a business, meet the right people and have a more fulfilling life in general.
How this book really helped me was it taught me that skills like sales, networking and marketing were not just skills for entrepreneurs but skills that everyone should learn. The book has plenty of case studies and personal exercises to help you put them into practice. The sections about networking and sales are absolute genius and has helped me massively in my personal and professional life. I recommend this book especially to young people out of Uni or those that may be jaded by formal education and traditional careers. It’s a great book!
Carol Dweck is a professor of Psychology at Stanford University who’s main specialism is in Performance and Motivation. Dweck through her research found that most people’s thought processes when undertaking a new task or skill came in 2 flavours:
a) Fixed mindset – These people believed that the ability to perform a task was directly linked to your innate talent and that this could never change.
b) Growth Mindset – These folks believed that ability was flexible and could grow like a muscle if you worked on it.
Her research showed that the majority who were at the top of fields had a ‘Growth’ mindset which caused them to practise more, keep learning and bounce back from failures – and these things are the building blocks of lasting success. This book has a very special place in my heart. Dweck’s book, backed by lots of clinical research, has a lot of practical tips on how to develop a ‘Growth Mindset’ and this has proven invaluable as I am taking on my greatest challenge to date: learning how to code. Whenever I have felt down about my progress, I remember the lessons in this book. If you are learning any new skill, please read this book first.
Jim Rohn was a giant in the Personal Development industry and some say he may have been the greatest of them all. Rohn was the personal mentor of Performance Coach superstar, Tony Robbins and you can see where Tony got his groove from!
Rohn talks about 7 areas in which we should focus our attention on to maximise our lives. He talks about the obvious areas like finance and career, but looks at the less obvious areas like health, family and even spirituality. Jim’s very simple, folksy but direct style is fantatsic as he breaks these complex areas down and each line really hits home. Jim believed that “nothing in your life will change until you change” and spoke about improving your ‘philosophy’ which is the way that you think about life.
This book changed me profoundly as it made me look at, analyse and work on my own personal philosophy. I have read the book at least 5 times and I always come away with something different. This book inspired ‘The Slight Edge’ and it is an excellent companion to it. If you are serious about Personal Development then you need to read this book!
Now Robert Greene is a divisive figure: He wrote the best-selling book “The 48 Laws Of Power” which described ways that you could manipulate, steal and crush your competitors (and sometimes even your friends) to gain power and influence. This book is not the CareBears…
But… I absolutely love Robert Greene’s style of writing as he seamlessly mixes psychology, science and history in ways that are elegant and beautiful and I think that this book is one of his masterpieces.
Greene expands on the ‘10,000 hour rule of mastery’ which was made popular by Malcolm Gladwell in his bestseller, “Outliers”. The premise is simple: In any field in the world, whether it is being an winning Olympic athlete to a world-class coder, the masters in that realm spent 10,000 hours perfecting their craft.
But it’s not as simple as it seems. What Greene’s book did for me was show me that there are different stages on the path to mastery that will require you to do different things like finding a mentor, discovering a suitable niche, experimenting as well dealing with often difficult people and troublesome organisational structures. “Mastery” gave me a roadmap on what to do and what to avoid as I try to become a expert coder and the best that I can be in my life!
Well I hope these mini-reviews helped! If you pick up one of these books, I’m sure that it will make a real difference to your year.
What books have helped improve your life? As always please share! Leave your comments below or tweet me @karlwebdev & give me your feedback!
Thank you and see you next Thursday!
Happy New Year Guys!
As I said in my previous post, thank you so much for reading my blog, retweeting commenting on my posts!
I just had a quick brainwave: During the six months that I have been blogging I have chatted to many of you, who like me, were thinking of changing their careers into Tech. Well, this year I wanted to hear YOUR stories.
Guys, if you are new on your coding journey, I would love to hear from you about how’s it going! What successes have you had? What difficulties have you encountered and how did you overcome them? Is there anything that you wish you knew before you started?
It doesn’t have to be a whole blog – it could be some wise words that helped you or books/online courses that helped… whatever!
My hope is that we can help support each other more and I want to take the first step!
Add a comment below or tweet at me @karlwebdev and we can see what we can put together!
I look forward to hearing from you!
See you next Thursday!
Good Morning People!
I hope that you all had a very safe, fun and fulfilling Christmas! I just wanted to say a massive thank you to all you guys that have read, shared, retweeted and liked my blog. This is my 30th blogpost and my blog has been read by people in over 40 countries – its amazing and I really appreciate all the love and support!
I just wanted to leave you with my 10 favourite blogposts so far. Most of these blogposts struck a cord with you guys and I also despite the down days enjoyed writing them! As always, thank you for journeying with me as I get into the world of tech and self-development and please share this post far and wide and hopefully it can help someone else!
My most popular post to date – I’m so happy it could help people!
Given the current social climate right now, we must still believe that things can get better and everyone can get a fair shake in life. Glad it resonated with people…
An absolutely brilliant book by Seth Godin and I talk about “The Dip” a lot in my blog – a game changer!
For me, this is the greatest Personal Development book I’ve ever read and started me on my new coding journey! Please read!
I’m really proud of this blogpost. I was very shy of writing a ‘technical’ blogpost as I am still learning the ropes but the support I got really gave me the confidence that I wasn’t writing gobbledegook – cheers!
This book inspired me to write this blog. Another life changing book – a must read!
I am a music teacher by trade so as I was learning to code, I started seeing a similar pattern when I created a professional quality song to writing a successful program. Any guys that are interested in music production, this blog will give you an insight of what happens in a music studio.
This is how I handle my ‘Dip’
If you have any questions or you wanna say something, please leave your comments below or tweet at me @karlwebdev.
Well this is the last blogpost of 2016! Have a great NYE and see you next year!
I am taking a short break so I will be back on Thursday 12th January!
Through my adventures in social media, I have spoken with many interesting people and if they were discussing a topic that I was passionate about, I would point them to one of my blogposts and would use it a springboard for further discussion – this helped me foster deeper connections than I would get just typing 140 characters!
At an event a while back, I spoke to a tech recruiter about my career change plans and she helpfully suggested that I blog about tech because
a) It will show that you have interest in the subject
b) Your blog can be evidence of your learning and can help you eventually get jobs in the field.
The recruiter then said something that blew my mind away – She said that:
“blogs are the new CVs as rather than get a bland two page document listing your grades, your blog will tell what projects that you are working on, what are you truly passionate about and what you personality is like. Basically your blog will tell me whether you will fit in our organisation”
Wow. Your blog can help you land a job before you even send an application.
Huh? But you have just started I hear you cry! what can I possibly give? Well a lot actually. As a teacher, sometimes I will be teaching a large class of students who are not getting the concept that I am trying to teach them. Nothing that I explain is working. But just when I want to give up, a plucky young student will stand up and explain it to the class in terms that only they will understand and voila! The whole class is cooking with gas.
Also I wouldn’t be pursuing this dream if it wasn’t for all the teachers, volunteers and mentors who took the time to help me on my way. Don’t wait to be Mark Zuckerberg: start sharing what you know because the way that may explain it could help more people than you realise!
Thank you for reading and as always leave your comments below or tweet me @karlwebdev to let me know what you think!
This is the last blog before Christmas so thank you for reading and please have a very cheerful, relaxing and merry Christmas!
I have one more blog to drop before 2017 meet me here next Thursday!
Reading time: 7 mins
The Governor of The Bank of England, Mark Carney claimed that up to 15 million jobs in the UK (which is just under half the UK workforce at the time of writing) will be replaced by machines in the coming decades. And it’s not just the menial, low skilled jobs either. Carney warned that “safe”, well paying jobs like accountants, auditors, copywriters and salespeople could all go as well.
Although some believed that his views were ‘alarmist’ and ‘extreme’, I wrote a blog post a while ago saying that the 40-40 plan (40 hours a week, for 40 years) had vanished and was not coming back.
The major anti-establishment backlash that we saw in the Brexit vote and the shock 2016 US Election victory of Donald Trump were as research shown were made caused by disenfranchised workers, who made have lost livelihoods to machines and companies taking their jobs overseas.
But this is not something that any leader or politician can fix nor turn back the clock. As Mark Carney said… we are living through technologically and economically a massive time in human history and our old way of thinking just won’t cut it. The genie’s out of the bottle Aladdin and it won’t go back in.
I have discussed these themes before but with this blog post I wanted to make it more personal. I have personally seen what technology can do to a whole industry… Let’s talk about music…
A month ago, my wife and I went to watch the fantastic Jazz Saxophonist Soweto Kinch at the Roundhouse for his new album launch – seriously guys check him out!
As were waiting in line, this young, very eager guy approached us telling us to buy his new album on special offer for only £5. He spoke about the production, his dreams, the artwork and everything in between without catching a breath. When he finally stopped, I told him that I loved every word he said & I would have bought his album but there was major problem:
I don’t have a CD player.
In fact I haven’t bought a physical CD in 5 years. I mainly stream music or watch it on YouTube. But what made me sad was his reaction to what I said – rather than understand my point, he took it as an excuse and personal insult from me not buying his music. This guy did not realise that the music industry has moved on and he didn’t want to go with it.
When I got into the music industry in the mid 90s (I know I’m old right?!?), cassette tapes and CDs were still the rage and if people wanted to know what the hottest tunes were, they would listen to DJs like John Peel and Trevor Nelson and watch programs like Top of The Pops and CD:UK. To buy an albums, you had to physically go to the shops, listen to the album of your choice and then pay anything from £10 – £30 (especially if the album was an import!) To listen to our CD, we would use a portable CD player called a ‘Discman’ which was huge! When you clipped it on your jeans it was like having a small dinner plate stuck to your hip – but it was cool!
Record labels because they relied mainly on physical sales, had a lot more money to throw around and could afford to take more risks on up coming talent and give them “development deals” – where they would help them develop their artistry. It wasn’t perfect but it was easily understood…
But as the Internet Age came so did file sharing services like Napster and LimeWire, then platforms like iTunes and YouTube – and when Steve Jobs created the iPod and said those legendary words “it’s like having 1000 songs in your pocket”, it was last grenade that blew the Music Industry Business Model wide open and it has never fully recovered ever since.
A good friend of mine works in a publishing agency, which as a company that collects the ‘royalties’ on behalf of record labels and artists and when we sat down to chat, he told me that “most of these artists that you see on TV don’t actually make a lot of money off their music anymore.” Seeing my puzzled face he said “mate, I am responsible for signing these guys royalty checks off – unless you are Beyoncé or U2 you’re not making big money. The days of living off one album for the rest of your life is dead”.
Whoa. I wasn’t ready to hear that – I spent at the time, the best part of my life preparing to enter the industry, but as the years rolled on, I realised that my friend was right. Labels merged or went under, studios closed and people that were making good livings making and performing music started to lose their jobs. The Titanic sunk. With luck on my side, I got a teaching position in a wonderful music college which I cherish dearly.
But as time went on, something started to worry me. Time and time again, I taught these wonderful young people who with their music, wanted to change the world. Their tunes were brilliant – but they were completely ignorant to how the music industry works and the gigantic changes that were happening. The still believed in “burning their CDs and getting it to the right A&R guy”, totally unaware that social media and YouTube has made the traditional A&R redundant and labels will be more interested in your Twitter following than what instruments you used in your 4 minute masterpiece. Technology has changed the whole game & they didn’t get the memo.
Is this the end as we know it? No, it won’t hit us like a meteorite – but that’s the point.
In the music industry, these innovations didn’t happen all at once but they rolled at gradually over the years and decades. Likewise we talk about the future like it’s some far away place but it’s here. We have self driving cars and planes, cashless banks, 3D printers, cashier-less shops and Artificial Intelligence becoming more and central to our daily lives. Humans no matter how we measure things, have a very poor relationship with time – we are always on the look at for the for the sudden, explosive changes but more often than not it’s the gradual and slow changes that hurt us the most.
Mark Carney’s words were frank and grave but I feel that they were right. Although technology is a major part of the puzzle, I feel that we have to rethink ALL parts of our culture to face the massive challenges that humans face in the 21st Century.
Thank you for reading! What do you think? Do you think Mark Carney was right or wrong? Leave your comments below or tweet me @karlwebdev.
Thank you for reading and see you next Thursday!