Blinkist Book Reviews: My First 10 Books

Think I mentioned this Blinkist app in a previous post and am loving it as I have a massive list of Non-Fiction books that I would like to read and not enough time. Blinkist is like Cliff Notes on steroids, so I’ve jumped in and have now knocked out almost 50 books in 2 months. Here are the first 10 in order of what I found the most riveting and/or highlighted up the most along with a quick Blinkist highlight…definitely going to try and pick up at least the first one for some long plane rides. Think this is my new filter as there are just too many books out there.

If any of you have read any of the below, and have recommendations, holler…

1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** (2016) concentrates on living a better life by caring about fewer things. In this book, based on his influential blog, Mark Manson explains the few simple rules that will help anyone lead a happier, less stressful existence. Do what you want, not all you can.

My own highlight on this one: We try to do too much in life and this leads to stress and unhappiness. Forget FOMO and learn to say no. We have to stop striving for immortality. We need to stop “giving a f***” about fame and power, and instead concentrate on the here and now. Look for meaning in the present and seek to spread happiness and joy where you are. If you want to focus only on the things that really matter to you, it is vitally important to say “no!” to everything else. It’s more important to miss out on the right things.  So pick what’s important to you, and ignore the rest.

2.The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

The Art of Seduction (2001) examines the amoral game of seduction, explaining how seduction always starts in the mind and that the most successful seducers know this very well indeed. It explains strategies for inciting interest, disorientating the target of seduction, stirring desire and kindling emotions. These tactics will lead to the eventual seduction of the target.

3.TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson

TED Talks (2016) is the definitive guide to delivering a killer public speech. These blinks cover everything from stage fright to choosing the perfect outfit and will prepare to give a talk that’ll inspire any audience.

4. Leonardo Da Vinci: The Biography by Walter Isaacson

Leonardo da Vinci (2017) is an illuminating and thoughtful account of one of history’s most renowned individuals. Isaacson has studied previous biographies and accounts of Leonardo’s life – including the very first one, from the sixteenth century – as well as Leonardo’s wealth of notes. Isaacson paints a very human portrait of the legendary Renaissance artist and engineer. Though one of the few people in history who may truly be called a genius, Leonardo was only human and there is much that can be learned from his curiosity and approach to life.

5. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Stumbling on Happiness (2007) explains how our brains make us think about the future. It employs accessible language and everyday examples to help us understand complex theories from psychology, neuroscience and philosophy. Stumbling on Happiness helps answer the question: why do we make decisions that leave us unhappy? By showing how our brains work, it aims to help us imagine our futures in new ways, ways that could leave us happier.

6.Perennial Seller: The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

Perennial Seller (2017) explains how to ensure that great creative work also succeeds in the market. These blinks not only demonstrate how to generate success for a particular project, but also how to secure continued long-term success for yourself as a creative individual.

7. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

In The Effective Executive, author Peter Drucker offers a step-by-step guide to becoming a more productive and effective executive. By mastering a few procedures and principles, you can develop your own capacities as a leader and also support your employees’ strengths, with the goal of improving results across your organization.

8. Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable by Seth Godin

These blinks explain why traditional marketing no longer works, and why to be successful you need to build Purple Cows, remarkable products and services that stand out of the crowd. They also explain how you can reach your target market once you’ve found your own Purple Cow.

9. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer

A Curious Mind (2015) investigates a vital attribute that many of us simply don’t value highly enough: curiosity. These blinks explain the vital importance of curiosity, and outline the ways it can improve your relationships with your employees, customers or loved ones – and even help you conquer your fears

10. MONEY: Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins

Do you want to master money, and make it work for you? In this book you’ll discover the steps you need to take to achieve real financial freedom. Whether you’re just starting your career or moving toward retirement, MONEY offers sound advice from seasoned professionals on saving and investing so you can live the life you want.

Smoky Cold Mezina Cocktail

I couldn’t resist on the name. I was playing with some ingredients (Mezcal + cucumber juice) and came up with this:

  • Mezcal
  • Triple Sec
  • Cucumber juice
  • Jalapeno infused simple syrup
  • Garnish w/ a jalapeno sliver and for a little more smoke, a salt & smoked paprika rim

A little smoky from the Mezcal, a little cold from the cucumber…blam, Smoky Cold Medina!

Fish #TacoTuesday

Knocked out these Fish Tacos last night for the kids and they crushed! 2 big thumbs up…will do again and again. It may look like a lot of work, but they were truly worth it and it was actually a lot faster than I thought. I included ingredients below for ease of shopping, check the links for how-to’s:

  • This Blackened Cod recipe although I added lemon juice to it before applying ingredients, let it all sit about an hour and then drained the lemon juice before blackening. I’m not married to this fish, but it came out pretty good, but think the rest of the stuff below really made it…any other suggestions let me know as I’d be game. Ingredients are here, for the how-to check the link above:
    • 1 1/2 lb cod fish (cut into 3 inch long fillets)
    • 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp black pepper
    • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
    • 2 tbsp canola oil
    • I added lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • And this fish taco sauce, and I changed the sour cream to yogurt (although Honey Greek Gods yogurt which was all I had and it was yummy…will do again). Ingredients are here, for the how-to check the link:
    • 3 tablespoons sour cream (I subbed in Greek Yogurt here)
    • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce
  • Costco Uncooked Flour Tortillas:Heat up a pan and cook and as good as hand made…I love these tortillas and they make a huge difference
  • Killer, Creamy Black Beans: these take some time…I usually make them in big batches and freeze them down as they are just as good when you pull them out:
    • 1lb bag dry black beans
    • Chicken Stock
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 2 teaspoons seasoned salt
    • Olive oil
  • This groovy Mexican slaw. Ingredients are here, for the how to check the link:
    •  14-ounce package prepared coleslaw mix
    • ¼ small red onion, thinly sliced
    • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
    • ⅓ cup canola oil
    • 2 limes, juiced (about ¼ cup)
    • 3 cloves garlic, pressed (I used garlic powder)
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon oregano
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 6 dashes hot sauce
    • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Avocado, slice
  • Your favorite hot sauce if you like. My favorite for this is Tapatio
  • I also added these groovy pickled red onions that I made well ahead of time…they are amazing

Also, consider washing it down with this Gold Margarita…put a little Tajin and salt on the rim for this one to change it up…Tajin rocks!

‘Slap Yo Mama’ Cornbread

I worked on this recipe with the Mrs. over and over until we got it exactly how we wanted it and I think we crushed it, but I’ll let you be the judge. The kids made the muffins in the pic above over the 4th and they were a smash hit.

If anything ever made you get so excited you might slap yo mama, this is it, but resist as that kind of stuff cannot be condoned. Anyhow, here goes:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1 Cup of Cornmeal
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tbspn Baking Powder
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Tspn Salt
  • ¼ Cup Honey
  • 1 Cup Plain Yogurt (I use Non Fat Greek…guess it makes me feel better!)
  • 4 oz. Apple Sauce
  • ¼ Cup Butter
  • 1 Ear Fresh Corn
  • Optional: Want to change it up a bit, try mixing in some minced jalapeno or shredded coconut (I dust the top with coconut as well, like the snap at the top, before putting it in the oven)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Remove kernels from ear of corn and set aside. Cold whip the butter. Grease a pan w/ a little butter (for this I like to use either tiny muffin cups or a square cast iron pan but do what you like) and sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal in each cup or on the bottom. Pour batter in cups and bake approximately 22-25 minutes. Stick a toothpick in it and it should come out clean so you know it’s done.

Let it cool down just a bit and get after it…goes amazing with this Shrimp Creole by the way. Enjoy!

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Friends…Choose Wisely

“A friend is one to whom you can pour out the content of your heart, chaff and grain alike, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away”

Show me your friends and I will tell you who you are. If as the saying goes, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, who are those 5 and are they the ones you know they should be?

As my beautifully wise Mom told me at one point when I was a boy, true friends you can probably only count on one hand… the kind that will drop everything just to help you regardless of what is going on in their own life. Regularly tell these people you are grateful for them…they are nearly impossible to replicate.

If you’re married, consider that your significant other is probably your best friend… do you treat them that way? If not, time for you to do better.

To make more friends, ask yourself at the end of the day…”who did I help today?”… you have to take a risk to be somebody’s friend… put yourself out there. See your relationships as the place you go to give, not a place to take.  Friendships of convenience in the moment usually end poorly…look for long term potential.

Always be elevating your associations…not for more money but for people that will challenge you. Really good friends will help push you out of your comfort zone… associate with people that will do you this kindness.

Could it be possible that some person whom you consider to be a friend is in reality your worst enemy because of his negative influence on your mind? Sometimes the truest friends come in disguise. You may not recognize their true beauty at first. The same is true in reverse. Choose wisely!

“It doesn’t matter how many friends you can count, but how many you can count on. It is more about quality than breadth… go deep” -Jason Gaignard

Texas Style Smoked Brisket

Nothing reminds me of my early years growing up in Texas than a beautifully smoked brisket. This one is lovely…

Ingredients:

  • 8lb brisket

Rub:

  • 2 parts brown sugar
  • 2 parts sea salt
  • 1 part ground black pepper
  • 1 part chili powder
  • 1 part smoked paprika

Directions:

  • I have a small Weber smoker (and I love it for its portability), so I have to cut my brisket in ½ beforehand (love me or hate me for it, it doesn’t fit otherwise)
  • Rinse brisket and blot dry
  • Score it in a cross hatch on the fatty side
  • Generously apply rub all over
  • Wrap in plastic wrap overnight
  • Fire up the smoker to 225F and put brisket on fatty side up and let it go for about 3 hours (I used hickory for this one, but love some mesquite and Texans swear by it)
  • Remove brisket and double wrap it in tin foil and put it back on for 3 hours…baste in it’s own juices about halfway
  • Check temperature…done should be about 190F
  • Remove it and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. Cut it across the grain and see how you did…it should be beautifully moist and tender with a nice smoke ring

At this point, you can slice it or chop it, and apply your favorite BBQ sauce as desired…my favorite is a slider with a little coleslaw on a Hawaiian roll…heaven!

And, if you want something nice to wash it down with, this Grand Marnier Gold Margarita works fabulously!

My 5 (6…just found a new one) Favorite Apps

Here are some of the apps on my phone that get the most use that some of you may not use or may not have known you even had a need for:

My Fitness Pal: I think of myself as a pretty good eater, but this app really forces you to see what you are putting in your body and think about the portions…Baby Back Ribs = 1360 calories + 2 IPA’s = 500 calories = a full day’s worth of calories for me. Now I’m not a food freak, but that’s a day’s worth of other food I could be eating…I love my ribs and micro brews, but I could do a steak for 200-300 calories, a nitro stout for 120 (or my new favorite a Deep Eddy Ruby Vodka on the rocks for 70) and still have lots more eating time to spare…blam! This one helped me lose 15 pounds in 4 weeks…and I’m still going.

YELP: Yes, I’m a Yelper. I love food, eating out, and sharing the good stuff with others who enjoy the same. Here’s one of my posts on eats in North County San Diego and here’s my space on Yelp (T-Money M.)

Headspace: When my mind is running a million miles an hour or I’m freaking out about whatever is making me freak out for the day, this quick 10-15 minute meditation app is legit…yeah, yeah, yeah, I know…freaky California boy, but try it and you’ll see how good a job it does of clearing your mind…just do it!

Duolingo: Fantastic, free language app. I suck at languages and not even saying this has helped me improve as I have to put the time in, but when I do have time and can put a little in, this is a fun way to learn it

Stitcher: When I’m killing time in the car and I’ve already run through all my music for the 2,000th time, I love digging in to some podcasts. There are a million out there, I can start and stop as I like and actually learn something on the go. Here are some of my favorites:

Blinkist: Just ran across this one recently. I have a massive backlog of books I want to read and no time. This is basically Cliff Notes on steroids (text or audio)…great book summaries I can digest in a fraction of the time…love it! 25 books done in just a couple of weeks part time.

Any suggestions back, please leave a comment. ‘Preciate ya!