The Alchemist – Quick Book Review (HarperOne, 2014)

This book is written as a fable and filled with many tremendous life lessons and instructions. It is a spiritual book but not a Christian book as it combines middle eastern philosophy, religion, Bible, and ‘wonders’ to teach valuable lessons. The book is an easy and fast read but I enjoy reading it once a year or so since it reminds me of a few great points that often life causes us to miss.

A young shepherd boy travels from his homeland in search of his life’s treasure and calling.  His journey causes him to encounter the Biblical king Melchizedek after meeting with a gypsy woman.  Melchizedek requires one tenth of what he has and the gypsy requires one tenth of what he will find when he discovers his treasure.  Melchizedek states that he (Santiago – shepherd) cannot promise what he doesn’t have but can give what he has in his possession.

The book centers around two central points with one major lesson –

  1. Transform the power of our dreams into reality
  2. Listen to your heart
  3. Often your treasure is closer than you believe and in your ‘back yard’

Santiago encounters many people and learns tremendous life lessons as he is in search of his ‘treasure’.  However, what he learns is as valuable as to what he is able to teach others along the travel. 

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own [life].”

“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world and normally doesn’t know it.” – The Butterfly effect [my thought]

“It is said that all people who are happy have God within them.”

Paraphrase – Those who fail to pursue their life’s calling will always fail to enjoy the journey of life.

This is a great gift for the high school or college graduate.

“Never stop dreaming.”

“Give yourself freedom to try out new things
Don’t be so set in your ways that you can’t grow.”

“Usually, the threat of death makes people a lot more aware of their lives.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Audio Version

Camscanner | Evernote | OneNote

Currently, Camscanner is my favorite scanning APP which works great with multiple applications including Dropbox, Evernote, OneNote, and more. A quick how to get scanned documents or images into your favorite application.  I use Camscanner to scan receipts, documents that I want to share and/or save into Evernote, OneNote, or Dropbox.  It is great to […]

The voice of a loved one | Keep it with technology

Technology and keeping life’s treasures. Use technology to keep one of life’s greatest treasures, the voice of a loved one.  Google Voice Mail is tremendous for receiving, transcribing, and keeping voice messages.  However, I suggest adding another purpose to its use. Those we love never go away. They walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but […]

The Last Lecture (Hyperion, 2008)

Although this book was released in 2008, I didn’t read it until this year.  I watched Randy’s talk via YouTube and like most who watched it was moved beyond words.  I included it below in the event you didn’t have the pleasure to watch it.  There are thousands of reviews online and over 2300 positive reviews on Amazon.  Therefore, I will save adding a book review and state, take the time and read the book but more important, take notes and apply the life lessons learned from the book.  Write in the book, write in the front cover, buy a copy for a friend or family member as a gift.  One day they will thank you!  If you listen to the audio version too, there is an interview at the end of the book that is worth the listen.

The book entitled “The Last Lecture” goes beyond the talk Randy gave at Carnegie Mellon University and dived into something that many of us ponder.  How can we leave behind not only a legacy for our family but teach them items that we want them to learn because of our experiences in life?  You can search “The Last Lecture” and find thousands of sites it quotes, summaries from each chapter, and life lessons.

Not only did I take away life lessons from a man who as he stated, packed as many years as possible into the years he lived and always lived in an upbeat manner.  But I was challenged to continue and put my thoughts, life lessons, and more into a ‘notebook’ for my family.  A goal I have is to complete it in parts and make it available for my grandchildren to read for when they are older.  I believe that too often our family never learns tremendous life lessons from parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents.  In this day of information, I think it is our duty to not only leave this information for our families, but it will help them NOT repeat our mistakes, and learn from our life lessons.


“You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.” – Sam Levenson

“Smart people learn from their mistakes but real sharp ones, learn from the mistakes of others.” Brandon Mull”


“Time is all you have and you may find one day that you have less than you think.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture


The Last Lecture challenges us to ‘act’ –

He stated that because he knew the end was near, he dedicated the time to write his “Last Lecture” indicating that proverbial truth that 1. we never know if we will make it until the next day and 2. time is of the essence.  I believe that most of us have something important to leave to the next generation and it is our responsibility to do so before we leave this world.  Some will do it via books, videos, lectures, speeches, memoirs, blogs, sitting individually with people, and more.  Whatever method you select, start today.


The Last Lecture

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

“I’ve never understood pity and self-pity as an emotion. We have a finite amount of time. Whether short or long, it doesn’t matter. Life is to be lived.”
Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Invest in yourself in 2016

Invest in yourself Do what you do, do it well and you will have plenty of competition Do what you do, do it better than most and you’ll command an audience Do what you do, do it better than anyone else, and you will have the world at your doorstep As 2015 comes to a […]

The Miracle Morning | Book Review (Hal Elrod, 2012)

The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)

I will jump to the end, “I highly recommend this book but more important, implement its practices into your life!”  However, if you are a person who likes to read and not implement the truths learned from the book, then I recommend reading a novel instead. Take notes, write in the book or if you purchase the Kindle version, highlight it then export to Evernote or OneNote.

“Mediocrity has nothing to do with how you compare to other people; it’s simply a result of not making the commitment to continuously learn, grow, and improve yourself.”
Hal Elrod, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life

“Hal Elrod is a genius and his book The Miracle Morning has been magical in my life. What Hal has done is taken the ‘best practices’—developed over centuries of human consciousness development—and condensed the ‘best of the best; into a daily morning ritual. A ritual that is now part of my day.” —ROBERT KIYOSAKI, #1 bestselling author of Rich Dad Poor Dad

This book is filled with little nuggets that are easily missed but I will summarize one that I implemented long before this book dating back thirty years ago and Zig Ziglar discussing the importance of rising early with a plan.  The key to a successful day is to outline what you will do the first 60 minutes of your morning.  In this book, Hal outlines the principles used by many of the influential and successful people in the world.

These are the six items outlined in the book and his suggestion is to dedicate ten minutes to each item to start your day:

  1. Meditation
  2. Affirmations
  3. Visualization
  4. Journaling
  5. Reading
  6. Exercise

Combine them, mix, them, modify them but spend the first sixty minutes each day ‘focused’ on building you.  Start with prayer then thank the Lord for the day He gave you adding ten minutes of knowing He will supply your need.  Combine this with another ten minutes of Bible reading and ten more of journaling about what you read and/or are thankful for but the key part is to do something ‘powerful’ with the first sixty minutes of your day.  Finish with a powerful ten minutes of exercise and your day is ready to rock.

This is a book that is easily read and never implemented.  However, I suggest not only reading the book but listening to it as an audio and taking notes.  If you know me, I am a big fan of journaling and writing your thoughts on paper.  Build a plan to try this for at least 30 days but the key is to ‘implement’ the practices in the book.

A few notable quotes of others about the book:

  • “Every once in a while, you read a book that changes the way you look at life. But it is so rare to find a book that changes the way you live your life. The Miracle Morning does both, and faster than you ever thought possible. I highly recommend Hal Elrod’s latest book.” -TIM SANDERS, NY Times bestselling author of The Likability Factor
  • “To read The Miracle Morning is to give yourself the gift of waking up each day to your full potential. It’s time to stop putting off creating the life you want, and deserve to live. Read this book and find out how.” -DR. IVAN MISNER, NY Times bestselling author and Founder of BNI(r)
  • “How The Miracle Morning Has Changed My Life and Business” – Greg Hickman
    • Greg has a great outline how he adapted the six items for his morning

Is there anything new in the book?  No, however, Hal does an amazing job organizing it in a manner that isn’t boring and he filled the books with stories and life applications from his life and others.  Please keep in mind that he implemented these items to overcome serious challenges in his life such as, being hit head on by a drunk driver and was dead for six minutes then was told he had permanent brain damage and may never walk again (he became an ultra-marathoner).

We are less than fifteen days from a new year when many people and companies set new goals and challenges for their lives and businesses.  This is a great book to start the year with but again, it is a must implement to help you with your goals for the year.

Do you want to lose weight?  Set a measurable goal and use the techniques from this book to keep track of your progress.  Please keep something in mind as you go through this book, ‘it is a guide’, not a rule book.  Maybe you want to set aside 120 minutes because you want to read for thirty minutes combined with twenty minutes of journaling, then do it!  The important item is to set a plan for your morning.  Maybe you want 3-5 minutes for a quick exercise to start the day and will finish with a full workout later in the day, that is fine, but the intent is to ‘get blood flowing’ and to wake up your body.

Do you want to spend more time praying and reading your Bible?  This is a great outline to get you started every morning.

Hal suggests starting the day by brushing your teeth and drinking water and brushing your teeth before anything else is tremendous.  It seems to wake me up and get me started without issues.  In fact, when I don’t do this and begin my ‘routine’, I want to stop and brush my teeth.  It might seem odd, but this trick works.

One other point – the key is to have a plan!  Goals must be measurable based on the SMARTER system.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound
  • Ethical
  • Recorded

The Miracle Morning helps you stay on the path to meet your goals and put legs to your dreams.

“Strive to make everyday the best day of your life, because there is no good reason not to.”

“Strive to make everyday the best day of your life, because there is no good reason not to.”


  • “At first, I thought Hal had lost his mind-why on earth would anyone get up so early on a regular basis?!?! I was skeptical… until I tried it. When I implemented Hal’s strategies I noticed an immediate difference in my personal and professional life. The Miracle Morning(tm) will show you how to take control of your life, regardless of your past. I highly recommend it.”
    • -JOSH SHIPP, TV show host, author, and Teen Behavior Expert

Forks over Knives DVD

Buy it, watch it, share it, follow the principles and steps outlined in it!

Short and simple review –

When people ask me what movie and/or book they should read to learn about following a plant based lifestyle, I always recommend Forks over Knives first.  Since the movie came out they released a cookbook, books, smartphone app, and more to help you in your journey as you follow a plant based life style.  If you take the time, you can search the internet, your local bookstore, or library and you will find thousands of resources concerning a plant based diet.  From my experience, you will not find a better resource than Forks over knives if you are interested in learning more about a vegetarian diet.  The video discusses what many call the “diseases of affluence”.  The diseases that occur from injesting too many processed and/or animal based foods. As you watch the video, you will see the personal jouney of Dr T. Colin Cambell and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn and their commitment to helping the viewer improve their health and reverse the effects of poor eating habits.  “Their research led them to a startling conclusion: degenerative diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even several forms of cancer, could almost always be prevented – and in many cases reversed – by adopting a whole foods, plant-based diet.”

If you are struggling with excess weight and/or the diseases of affluence, please take the time and watch this video then follow its principles.

Many will list as a New Year’s resolution to improve their overall health and/or lose weight.  This is a great first step!

Watch it today on Amazon. 



GRAYL Legend Water Bottle Filter Review

 “Highway robbery!” Miss Daisy from Driving Miss Daisy A favorite movie quote is “Highway robbery!”  What does that have to do with water bottles or a review for a GRAYL Water Bottle?  Not much but everything!  There are months when I am in an airport 2-3 times per week and some days pass through 4 airports […]