Results from my annual list of goals, plus books
Following up on the list of I laid out last January, here’s how 2017 went, goals-wise. I also read 12 books last year, and listed them below.
I’ll be posting my list for 2018 soon, ideally before 2019.
Happy New Year.
- Finish Ironman Arizona faster than 13:30:18. Yup. Finished in 13:12:10, and cut my marathon time by more than 45 minutes. Read my race report here.
- Complete 50-mile ultramarathon. Nope. Unrealistic to aim for 50 miles two weeks after IMAZ. My IT band told me it wanted to take a couple months off. Perhaps in 2018.
- Learn Mandarin – enough to get by. Nope. I didn’t fit Mandarin classes into my schedule. Instead, I made reading books (in English) a priority this year. See my 2017 book list below.
- Land a standing backflip. Nope. Gah. Three years in a row. Gymnastics, tumbling, parkour – I see the benefits. I got pretty bored with it. Maybe I’m missing something – flexibility.
- Become great at remembering people’s names. Yup. I usually make the effort and do good job, but still need improvement. This is one of those lifelong skills to continuously work at mastering.
- Blog at least once a month. Nope. I published five blog posts. More reading than writing in 2017 – not necessarily a complete failure.
Books I read in 2017. In reverse chronological order. Three favorite in bold.
- *Behave: The biology of humans at our best and worst by Robert Sapolsky
- Scale by Geoffrey West
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John LeCarre
- Stiff by Mary Roach
- Winter is Coming by Garry Kasparov
- A is for American by Jill Lepore
- The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse
- All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
- The Complacent Class by Tyler Cowen
- Messy by Tim Harford
- Discover Your Inner Economist by Tyler Cowen
*There’s likely recency bias at play, but I can’t recommend Behave enough. And I can’t stop thinking or talking about it. It’s nearly 700 pages, and it takes some determination to get through – especially the first 400 pages. It all pays off in the last 200 pages. From about Chapter 14 on I couldn’t go more than a few pages without underlining something crucial, and fascinating and complex, that kept me up at night. Here’s a book review. Tough and important concepts from a brilliant author.