Review of Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza

Wisdom Meets Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza

This review is based on a free book I received as part of the Book­Sneeze review program. For info on how I do these reviews, check out my disclo­sure policy.

Wisdom Meets Passion is the latest book by world renowned career coach Dan Miller. In Wisdom Meets Passion, Dan and his son Jared come together to explain the differ­ence between gener­a­tion X & Y’s career goals and work ethics and how the wisdom of the older can be partnered with the passion of the younger to create change in the world while earning a profit.

The book is written mostly by Dan, with Jared injecting stories into the various chapters to show how passion has directed his career and his life.

The Good

Dan Miller is famous for good reason — his advice works. He is easily under­stood and his encour­age­ments throughout the book will lead anyone into success in this new work envi­ron­ment. The stories by Jared are inter­esting, and usually are related to the point of the chapter. In addition, Dan Miller and Jared Angaza are inter­esting. They tell good stories, will make you laugh, and show you that work can be different than what your parents expected.

The Bad

This book isn’t necessary. Every­thing in this book is a rehashing of No More Mondays. I was excepting new insights and deeper inter­ac­tion with his son. It’s more like they took No More Mondays, cut out some of the how-to sections and threw in Jared’s stories. A good book with good infor­ma­tion, but not for those who have already read No More Mondays.

The other thing I didn’t really like were Jared’s stories. They were always inter­esting, but rarely enhanced the discus­sions going on in the rest of the chapter. I wish they explained more of the “how” it happened and less of “what” happened.

Final Thoughts

I give this book 3 out of 5. While an inter­esting read, it’s a mostly unnec­es­sary in a Dan Miller library. I wish Jared’s stories were more infor­ma­tive and less descrip­tive. But I still thought the infor­ma­tion Dan Miller gives is sound and it was a great shot in the arm for someone who hopes to live his life in the style Dan and Jared recommend. If you have to choose, I’d suggest picking up No More Mondays. If you don’t, it might be fun to pick up this book, read through it, and then enjoy No More Mondays with Jared’s expe­ri­ence in mind.

Review of Exploring the Unexplained by Trent Butler

Exploring the Unexplained: A Practical Guide to the Peculiar People, Places, and Things in the Bible

This review is based on a free book I recieved as part of the Book­Sneeze review program. For info on how I do these reviews, check out my disclo­sure policy.

Trent Butler’s Exploring the Unex­plained: A Practical Guide to the Peculiar People, Places, and Things in the Bible is a part of Thomas Nelson’s A to Z series of books which is basically a dictio­nary style look-up for the Bible.

Exploring the Unex­plained says it “answers all your questions about unusual, hard-to-explain, and difficult-to-understand stories in the Bible.”

I first got excited about the book when I read that I would “learn more about people like Enoch, Moses, and the Nephilim”, which are all subjects that interest and confuse me — espe­cially the bit about the Nephilim (One of the Bible’s great mysteries).

The book is written like a dictio­nary where subjects are broken down alpha­bet­i­cally by name. Next to each word is the book, chapter, and verse where the word is found. Under­neath there is a brief expla­na­tion of the word followed by an “issue” that you are asked to consider after you’ve read the explanation.

The Good

The book is easy to use. The first thing I did was flip to the part on the Nephilim and I found it without issue. Also, for new Chris­tians the book, chapter, and verse next to each name is helpful for finding infor­ma­tion on the same subject through multiple books.

The Bad

Most of the expla­na­tions are short and unhelpful. The longer expla­na­tions are for subjects like the Nephilim, but instead of explaining the confusion and discussing different ideas about the Nephilim, he dives right in and says they are “children of humans and angels…”. Really? You know that for sure?

In addition, the “issues” at the end of each expla­na­tion are unhelpful and usually have very little to do with the issues in the text and more to do with random issues loosely connected to a few words in the expla­na­tion. Since I’ve already talked about the Nephilim, I’ll use their issues as an example:

Tradition is filled with fright­ening horror stories of gigantic warriors. Be careful to note the reaction of your children to stories you tell or read, letting the children see the good side of the story rather than the fearful one. Why would the Bible want to scare us?

While that is an issue about “monsters” it isn’t an issue from the text and, honestly, isn’t an issue relating the Nephilim. Most of the issues I read were similar, having little to do with the text and mostly trying to create a family discus­sion. Also, this may just be me, but the answer the author seems to be looking for in “Why would the Bible want to scare us?” is “the Bible wouldn’t want to scare us”, which isn’t true. God scares us all the time. Jesus does too.

Final Thoughts

While I like the idea of this book, it fell short for me. Butler’s expla­na­tions don’t really explain much, and he’s too confident on the ambiguous subjects he explains fully. In addition, the issues aren’t helpful in explaining the text or dealing with real issues that text brings up.

I give this book a 2 out of 5. While seeing all the passages about a subject is helpful, and it’s possible to use this to find parts of the Bible you’ve never dived into before, the expla­na­tions and issues would hinder and confuse a new believer and leave a seasoned believer frustrated.

Why I Put Down My Camera

My first camera

If you knew me growing up, I have a picture of you. Probably dozens, if not hundreds of pictures of you.

I can’t remember how old I was when my parents first bought me a camera, but I couldn’t have been older than 6 or 7. It was an old film camera without a flash. Back then, every time you used a flash it burned out the bulb. My birthdays and Christ­mases were full of film and extra flashes – or the money to buy them. All of this was made more expensive by the diffi­culty of getting the film developed into pictures.

And yet, I still remember the joy of picking up my pictures from the developer. I would look through them and rejoice in the memories of the last few months of my life.

As I (and tech­nology) grew, I discov­ered the joy of dispos­able cameras. For cheap, I could carry around a camera in my pocket and not worry if it got banged up a bit. I must have gone through a hundred or more dispos­able cameras while in High School.

In 2004, I purchased my first digital camera with the proceeds of my first job. It was the most expensive thing I had ever purchased. I used that thing until it could be used no more, used it’s photos to get my first photog­raphy gig, and later upgraded to a Digital SLR camera – my first profes­sional camera.

This one was the one that took me to the next level. I learned how to crop photos, edit in Photoshop, and manip­u­late lighting. I started getting requests to take photos at events and even­tu­ally got paid for my time and my pictures.

But one day, I put my camera down and rarely picked it back up.

It’s not because I stopped liking pictures. Photog­raphy is still a joy of mine and every once in a while I take out the old camera and snap a few photos. However, I learned that life without the camera is much better than life with it.

There But Not

After years behind the camera I realized something: I wasn’t enjoying these events, I was chron­i­cling them.

The differ­ence between chron­i­cling and expe­ri­encing are massive. When I go to a friend’s wedding with my camera, I come back with beautiful photos but very few memories. My memories are or me, behind the camera, finding good shots and talking briefly about my camera and rela­tion­ship with my friend. But when I set down my camera and expe­ri­ence the event, the most wonderful memories are created! I have good conver­sa­tions with friends, I see all the funny and extra­or­di­nary events that happen, I am forced to open myself to people I can ignore behind my camera.

Ulti­mately, I realized I had to choose between my love of photog­raphy and my ability to expe­ri­ence life. After a lot of thought, I chose to expe­ri­ence life.

Now I spend time with my wife and friends instead of taking pictures of them, I enjoy weddings and other events without the hindrance of a camera, and while I don’t have many photos of the last few years I do have memories – wonderful, beautiful memories.

Expe­ri­ence Your Life

Next time your friend is about to do a trick, the fireworks are about to go off, or you’ve found a beautiful spot you’d like to remember put down your phone, your slr camera, and all your recording devices and enjoy the moment.

Watch the trick.

Enjoy the fireworks.

Expe­ri­ence the place.

These memories are better, and more powerful than any photo you will ever take.

And every once in awhile, after fully expe­ri­ence the moment, take a picture or two. Be satisfied with the few. You won’t regret it.

Losing Weight Is More Than Math

Today I have the pleasure of intro­ducing my friend Mike. He’s a deep thinker and a local sports writer (with regular posts on Yahoo! Sports and Nolan Writin). I always enjoy hearing his thoughts, and the topic of this one will certainly get you thinking! This is the second in a two-part series click here to check out part one.

Emile Is Greedy

This is why I don’t eat with Emile…

But that’s not all, my friends!

There’s more to this than the plus and the minus. In thinking about it for at least a couple of weeks now, I’ve come up with several more ways in which your diet and your budget mirror each other.

It Pays to Plan Accordingly

If you sit down in your kitchen at the end of the month, calculate what you’ll make in the next 30 days, and decide how you’re going to spend your money, what are you doing?

If you sit down in your kitchen at the end of the week, write down what you want to eat in the next 7 days, and then go to the store to buy the stuff from your list, what are you doing?

See my point?

Theo­ret­i­cally, if you do your homework and plan ahead, you should be able to control where and how your money is spent. In the same way, you can also plan out your diet beforehand.

There’s no reason that a smart, capable adult can’t avoid excessive amounts of sweets and junk food, espe­cially if you make your decisions before you even set foot in the grocery store.

You’re a Part of the Equation

How often does someone budget because someone else told them to? Almost never.

If you do sit down and do the work, it’s because you’ve decided that the way you were living your life no longer makes sense. Your prior­i­ties have changed and you’ve made the conscious choice to do things differently.

This applies to both your finances and your health. No one can nag you into improving yourself. It’s up to you to make that decision.

Do it for yourself and don’t blame anyone else if you fail. If you really want to change, you will.

Don’t Stop, Even When You’re Done

What do you do when you’ve finally paid off your credit card? Do you go apply for a new credit card and buy a bunch of stuff with it? Maybe you do, if you’re an idiot.

Unfor­tu­nately, this is what a lot of people do when they “go on a diet.” They eat right and exercise for a week or a month or 6 months; then they go back to doing exactly what got them into trouble in the first place.

Before long they’re right back where they started, but why does this happen?

Part of it, I think, is the way that our culture looks at dieting. If summer’s on its way and you want to look good in your swimsuit, then cutting out carbs for a few weeks is fine.

But a lot of people don’t need a sprint; they need a marathon.

For many people, it isn’t about quick fixes and “losing a few pounds.” It’s about deciding what your prior­i­ties are and then adopting a lifestyle that matches those priorities.

Crash diets generally don’t work long-term because they’re not supposed to work long-term. They don’t teach you how to eat better; they teach you how to cut corners without giving you the tools to live a better life.

If you really want to change, that change should be funda­mental, not temporary.

This Isn’t About John McClane

When you were born, were you already bad with money? Were you already a glut­to­nous slob?

Hopefully you answered “no” to both of the questions above because the way that you eat and the way that you spend your money are both learned practices. You might have gotten it from your parents or from the culture; maybe you developed some of it on your own.

Regard­less of where you learned it, you did learn it. If that’s the case, you can unlearn it too.

Habits aren’t impos­sible to break, but it takes time and effort and it won’t always be easy. Some of your habits may go back decades and you know what they say about old habits.

They die hard.

(See what I did there?)

Beware the Impulse Buy

Maybe this has happened to you before…

You go to Best Buy to get something that you need. Maybe your head­phones broke and you need a new pair of head­phones. You’re there with a purpose and you’ll be in and out in less than 5 minutes.

But then you see this sign over by the DVD section and it says that select movies are Buy 2, Get 1 Half Off. “Holy cow, what a steal!” you exclaim to yourself.

Before you know it, you’ve walked out of the store with 3 movies that you’d never intended to buy and, maybe, you were so excited about the unex­pected “bargain” that you even forgot about the head­phones that you came in for!

Maybe this has happened to you before…

You’re out eating with friends, having a good time. You’ve finished your meal and the waiter asks if any of you would like dessert.

You ponder for a moment because you did see the picture of the hot fudge sundae on the back of the menu and it looked really good and you’ve been really good on your diet for the last month and you’re an adult, so why shouldn’t you get a sundae if you want a sundae?!

Before you know it, you’re lying on the floor of your apartment in a sugar coma with hot fudge and shame smeared all over your face!

Generally you buy something impul­sively because you assume that it will make you happy. It isn’t planned, it just sort of happens, and it can completely derail both your diet and your budget.

It also rarely makes you happy because it doesn’t take long for you to realize that nobody really needs to own Monkey Bone on DVD, even if it seemed like a good idea when you bought it.

Even If You Get It, You Might Not Get It

Watching how you spend your money should be easy, shouldn’t it? Most people would agree that it makes sense to have an emergency fund and savings and to live within their means. In fact, what disad­van­tages are there to budgeting? Don’t the pros far outweigh the cons?

So it is with dieting and exercise. Nobody really wants to be unhealthy, but many of us don’t even bother trying to change ourselves, even if we know it’s for the best.

Why not? Is it worth trading a longer, more comfort­able life for the little bit of grat­i­fi­ca­tion that comes from an extra milkshake every couple of days?

Are you finally tired of rhetor­ical questions? Good, ‘cause I’m almost done.

One Final Thought

There’s more to the connec­tion between personal finance and health than what I listed above. The fact is that, if you’re 30 pounds over­weight, you’re costing yourself money down the road.

Being unhealthy takes its toll as you age. You might have knee problems later on in life, which could require surgery. You may also suffer from something more serious, like heart disease or stroke.

Some of those things may happen anyway, but some of it can be avoided. If you knowingly live an unhealthy lifestyle, you’re putting your life and your financial wellbeing at risk.

If you are going to put yourself at risk, don’t do it for an extra meat patty on your cheese­burger. Do it for something noble, like saving your ex-wife from German terrorists!

Are there other areas where finance and health inter­mingle? Are there other places in your life where the prin­ci­ples of budgeting can be applied? Let me know in the comments!

Contain Your Wallet…and Your Belt

Today I have the pleasure of intro­ducing my friend Mike. He’s a deep thinker and a local sports writer (with regular posts on Yahoo! Sports and Nolan Writin). I always enjoy hearing his thoughts, and the topic of this one will certainly get you thinking! This is the first in a two-part series s0, come back Tuesday for part two!

Obesity is a serious problem in this country. Countless Americans are over­weight and many assume that they can’t do anything about it. They say that dieting doesn’t work for them, either because it’s too hard or they don’t have time or a hundred other reasons excuses.

But what if you started looking at it differ­ently? What if you applied the prin­ci­ples of personal finance to your eating habits? Would that change the way that you thought about dieting and losing weight?

The Numbers Game

Budgeting is simple, right?

You figure out how much money you make and then you spend less than that amount. There is more that goes into it, obviously, but that is the essence of budgeting. That is it at its core.

So, what exactly is dieting? It’s the same thing!

Everybody takes in calories when they eat, but they also burn calories. If you eat better food you can control caloric intake. If you exercise, you can increase burn.

To lose weight, all you have to do is burn more than you consume.

Math! That’s it!

My First Budget

I’ve heard Alex’s story of the first time that he tried to budget. If you’re a regular reader of Entre­pre­life, you’ve probably heard it too.

He sat down one night and guessti­mated all of his monthly expenses. He made a lot of assump­tions and, as it turned out, he was way off in some areas.

I decided to do the same thing a couple of weeks ago, but with my stomach instead of my bank account.

For 6 days I ate the way that I normally do and at the end of each day I added up the calories using myfitnesspal.com. I decided that 1600 calories per day was a good place to set my “budget.”

This is how it broke down:

  • Monday +305
  • Tuesday +104
  • Wednesday +481
  • Thursday –120
  • Friday –73
  • Saturday +392

All of these numbers are approx­i­ma­tions, mind you, but it was an inter­esting exper­i­ment nonetheless.

Just like Alex, when he reviewed his first budget, I started to see where I was going wrong. Things like pancakes (800 calories including the syrup) can dras­ti­cally affect your totals, though most of us wouldn’t think about it when we’re ordering a short stack at IHOP.

That’s really what this is about. If you stop and look at your finances, you’ll start to see that you’re not as good with your money as you thought you were.

Your diet is no different. Even if you’re pretty good, I’ll bet that you still have your trouble areas. I’ll bet that you can do better.

For instance, I drink too much sweet tea. It isn’t that I dislike unsweet tea. I actually really like it! I just like sweet tea better, even though I know it isn’t good for me.

Think about yourself for a moment. Are there parts of your diet that could be just a little bit better without much effort? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t Read Everything, Just What Works

I don’t read every personal finance book out there. In fact, I have only read a handful.

I don’t read every theology book ever written. But I have read several.

I don’t try every method I’ve ever seen. Sometimes, I purpose­fully ignore certain methods.

Why?

Because success doesn’t come from knowing every­thing, it comes from knowing what works.

It’s good to try and fail – failure breeds success; but after one or two failures it’s time to move on and try something else. This is how you succeed. This is how you win.

So don’t read every­thing that’s put in front of you – most if it is rubbish. Only read what works.

Highlights (03.31)

March has come and gone. Tomorrow, April will be upon us and tricks will appear. “April fools!” they’ll say.

10 Things to Do When You Win The Power Ball — these articles show up all the time, this one has some surpris­ingly good advice.

Spike Lee Acci­den­tally Tweeted The Address of an Elderly Couple — Even though the facts of the Trayvon case are unknown and there are a slew of conflicting stories, Spike Lee still thought it was a good idea to give out the shooters address. Too bad it was the wrong address…

The NSA is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center — Turns out, the NSA is trying to know every­thing about you. Once this thing is done, big brother really will be watching. So glad our govern­ment doesn’t have a Consti­tu­tion or anything to stop this nonsense…

A Quick Update

I was planning on having a guest post for today, but that fell through a little bit (not on the fault of the poster, it was all me). So instead, he’s a bit of an update on what’s going on.

Grandma’s House is in that quiet stage where nothing is happening. At this point, we’re just waiting for the closing which will happen near the end of April. Until then, there are a few things the buyer has asked for, but nothing substan­tial. This seems to be going more smoothly than our previous sell and I can’t imagine anything coming up. If it does, I’ll let you know.

The blog hasn’t gotten a lot of attention from me lately. It’s because I’ve taken a step back from writing recently while I try to figure out what’s next. I thought two posts a week would be easy (honestly, they are), but with my attention other places it’s been more difficult than normal to come up with topics.

Besides that, not a lot has been going on. I’ve scrapped a few things that were “in devel­op­ment” because I don’t think the long-term payout is going to be worth it. In addition, I’ve started seeing a career coach who is helping me figure out what I should do next with my life. He’s been asking some hard questions and giving me homework to do. It’s a lot harder than I imagined. I sorta thought I’d sit down with him, tell him my story, and in an hour he’d give me advice on three or four jobs I should apply at. Boy was I wrong!

God Bless,
–Alex

Do Higher Prices Make You Healthier?

Predictably Irrational

I’ve been reading the book Predictably Irra­tional by Dan Ariely, and it’s got me thinking.

Ariely is a college professor at Duke Univer­sity who studies behavior – specif­i­cally, irra­tional behavior. He asks questions like, “why don’t we trust politi­cians?” and “Do nurses prefer to use proce­dures that are easier for them or less painful for the patient?” He studies how zero effects our buying habits and why we overvalue what we have.

But the thing I’ve been thinking about the most is his chapter, “The Power of Price”. Continue Reading…

Highlights (03.24)

This hasn’t been a partic­u­larly happy week in the news world. Innocent people died (both state side and inter­na­tion­ally), corrup­tion was mentioned in two of the biggest, most influ­en­tial, companies in the world, and to top it all off I saw a really sad video.

Here are the highlights:

Article 1, Section 4 — My friend Matt is contin­uing his series on the Consti­tu­tion. This is required reading for Americans. Ask lots of questions, this guy is an expert.

The Tragedy of Trayvon Martin — This could be the best thing I’ve read on the Trayvon Martin tragedy. It asks great questions and points out some harsh realities.

If I Had A Son, He’d Look Like Trayvon — Speaking of Trayvon Martin, President Obama offers some poignant and important thoughts on the situation. A fantastic response from the President.

Teen Killed At Project X Party — A teenager was killed at a party meant to replicate a crazy “project x” party from the movie of the same name. It’s one of many parties that have started popping up throughout the country in response to the movie. Does anyone really think movies don’t effect our decisions? It’s not just teens doing dumb things.

Why I Left Goldman SachsTo put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important invest­ment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

Why I Left Google — People are quitting jobs all over the place! This one explains how Google + and the company’s shifting culture caused a prominent Google employee to leave.

This 3-Minute Anime Will Make You Cry — Even though I didn’t cry, it’s still a beautiful video that tells a compelling story in three short minutes.

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