Thoughts & Tips For July 2020

Wood-july2020Photo by Steve Holden. MORE LIKE THIS!

CURRENT EVENTS

On the health front -- all continues to be AOK with regards to COVD-19 for us and our immediate families.  We continue to be vigilant and focused:

  • #wear_a_mask,
  • #wash_your_hands,
  • #social_distance, and
  • #stay_home_if_sick.

La_Mesa_Walls_Project_Masks_Destruction_With_Art

Related to #blacklivesmatter, and increasing social justice & ending racism, I do like this new YouTube show Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man

Screenshot 2020-07-12 at 13.20.25

I am learning a lot, and working on a bunch mental changes as I become aware of them.

CAMPING

We recently did some camping in the local mountains near Julian in a San Diego County park called William Heise County Park.

2020-06-15 17.24.07-COLLAGEIt was a lot of fun and relaxing.  We had some good food also:

20200615_200844-COLLAGE

Wynola Pizza & Bristo
20200617_175538-01-COLLAGE

Julian Beer Company

TECHNOLOGY AND TIPS

  • I am trying out these bone-conducting water proof headphones for swimming -- AfterShokz Black Diamond Xtrainerz -- so far I like them a great deal.  More updates as I get more use out of them.
  • I recently listed to three Audible books that were "free" for being an Audible Subscriber.  If you aren't an Audible Subscriber, the price on these are pretty reasonable:
    1. "How to Defeat a Demon King in Ten Easy Steps" by Andrew Rowe.  This is a fun book about taking on (from a D&D perspective) a very important quest, but doing it in a not so traditional way. 
    2. "Caffeine: How Caffeine Created the Modern World" by Michael Pollan.  A great detailed account of how caffeine came into the modern world and the impact caffeine has had via coffee, tea, and now a ton of other drinks.  I learned a lot, but it didn't change my caffeine consumption much.  I have over the years reduced my caffeine use later in the day.  I use to drink a soda late in the day on the way home from work.  That stopped several years ago.  Then I stopped consuming caffeine by 3 pm. And after this book I moved that back to 2 pm without much trouble, and much better sleep.  Maybe 1 pm should be the next experiment?!?
    3. "I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships" by Michael S. Sorensen. This is an excellent book, especially right now with #blacklivesmatter, and the conversations happening around racism, justice, inequality, and opportunity.  The listening skills outlined in this book are simple and easy to learn.  If you want to listen better, then I highly recommend this book.
  • If you are running Windows 10 then I strongly encourage you to buy a 16-GB USB Flash Drive, and follow these recommendations to make a recovery drive.

OTHER TOPICS

  • My in-person David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) classes for July and August are moving to August and September respectively. We are still at maximum telework at work and being onsite is limited to mission essential tasking. I did finally get access to the digital GTD online course content per some licenses we bought for work. My next step is review that material, and then determine when and with what collaboration tool-suite to run a pilot.
  • I am still playing a good amount Dungeons & Dragons with some friends online.  The main books that I bought were the: DM Guide, Player Guide, Monster Manual, and DM Screen.  The tools we are using to play online include: Zoom/Discord (for video collaboration), Beyond D&D, (for character sheets & DM resources) and Roll20 (for sharing maps, combat, etc).  Two of my favorite mapping tools are: Inkarnate (for world, geographic, city, and town mapping) and Dungeon Scrawl (for dungeons, buildings, combat level maps, etc).  If you want a demo, then let me know.

QUOTE I'M THINKING ABOUT

We all have choices to be made ... attributes that matter ...

Chose Discipline over Weakness
Chose Fortitude over Rashness
Chose Courage over Cowardice
Chose Clearheadedness over Disorganization
Chose Selflessness over Selfishness
Chose Sacrifice over Cowardice

Source: "The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom" for June 13, 2020.


Gray Man Series - Major Book Recommendation

Screenshot 2020-05-10 at 15.23.41I am a big fan of Mark Greaney's Gray Man Series.

I have consumed all of them using Audible.

These are the books in order (I do recommend listening or reading in order if you can. However, they do stand alone if want to listen or read them out of order).:

  1. The Gray Man
  2. On Target
  3. Ballistic
  4. Dead Eye
  5. Back Blast
  6. Gunmetal Gray
  7. Agent In Place
  8. Mission Critical
  9. One Minute Out

Here are several reasons why I enjoy them:

  • Court has a moral compass.
  • The moral compass gets him in all sorts of unintended consequences.
  • It is action packed.
  • It is fast moving.
  • The story telling is exceptional.
  • The locations are well researched.
  • I like action spy/espionage/intelligence/special operations/covert/clandestine/etc. stories.

Notes From Manager Tools M Conference 2019

M-Conference-GraphicHere are my PDF notes from the Manager Tools M Conference held in Dallas, TX from October 9-10, 2019.

I think the notes speak for themselves.  This was an amazingly effective use of my time.

I will be getting a return on investment throughout the rest of my professional career, and then probably even more once I retire.

If you are interested in attending in 2020 then Manager Tools wants to hear from you!

I didn't take enough photos, but here are what I got via Google Photos.


Freedom In A Free Society - Daily Stoic - July 18th

Screenshot 2019-07-20 at 14.24.48

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman

The July 18th "Daily Stoic" reading was based on Marcus Arelious Meditations, 8.56.

It is pretty challenging --

"The foundation of a free country is that your freedom to swing your fist ends where someone else's nose begins. That is, someone else is free to do what they like until it interferes with your physical body and space. This saying can work as a great personal philosophy as well.

"But living that way will require two important assumptions. First, you ought to live your own life in such a way that it doesn't negatively impose on others. Second, you have to be open-minded and accepting enough to let others do the same.

"Can you do that? Even when you really, really disagree with the choices they're making? Can you understand that their life is their business and your is your own? And that you've got plenty to wrestle with yourself without bothering anyone else?"


Thoughts & Tips for June 2019

Health Update (Bulged Disk & Bike Injury)

Things have been improving since my last month's update (May).  I think I've returned to my overall health level from February . I am tentatively planning my next Sprint Triathlon for the end of July. 

Strongest Conference

IMG_20190518_085337_134

I attended Mike Foster's Strongest workshop on May 16 & 17, 2019. It was an amazing learning experience and the people at the conference were super inspiring. Mike Foster has plans for another one so follow Mike on social media or listen to his Fun Therapy podcast for updates.

Strongest-CollageGetting Things Done (GTD)

At the end of May 2019 I taught my 9th Getting Things Done (GTD) course at work (over 90+ people trained since first class), and my GTD story was published recently on GTD Times.

Technology & Tips

Last month I mentioned I was experimenting in the morning with a Panda paper planning system.  After about a month thought I've made some adjustments because the written monthly, weekly, and daily planning part for my calendar and other item date specific items was not helping me that much.  However what was helping me during my morning devotionals was tracking on a daily basis:

  • what I was thankful for,
  • what I was looking forward to,
  • what God was telling me in my devotional,
  • what I could work on as person (these are coming from the Stoic daily reads from the book The Daily Stoic), and
  • how I am exercising.

This summer I am embarking on a big project with the help of my son Spencer to digitize 99% of all of our physical photos using this scanner -- Epson FastFoto FF-680W Scanner.

Future

This upcoming next month is going to be completely consumed by:

  • Spencer is graduating high school!
  • Carson, Conrad, and I are going to Europe from June 8 through June 23 (Germany, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands).

Quote I'm Thinking About

“You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.” — Alan Watts


An Audio Excerpt On Management From "John Brown's Body" By Mark Horstman

Screenshot 2018-04-24 at 15.23.46

Mark Horstman at Manager Tools has a great weekly newsletter called "Things I Think" (subscribe here).

This past week Mark had a reference to a fellow Manager Tools listener -- Robert Greiner -- who posted a blog post about a great quote about management that Mark has been sharing for years from Stephen Benét's Pulitzer-Prize winning book "John Brown’s Body."

I've loved this excerpt so much that one time, I think in early 2013, that Mark actually read it outloud in a podcast.  So on Feb. 18, 2013, I took that podcast and abstracted the audio of Mark reading the poem.

It's been sitting in my library for only me to enjoy.  So, that ends today.

Here is Mark Horstman reading that excerpt from "John Brown’s Body."

I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires me.


Short Introduction To David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD)

Short-into-to-productivity-tips

On Sunday, July 17, 2016 I did a little presentation at my church about David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD).  Here are the references I used to prepare:

The focus of the presentation and the hands-on exercises included:

  1. Mindsweep
  2. Two Minute Rule
  3. Project Brainstorming

Here are the PDF copy of the presentation+notes.

Other material highly recommended for additional personal development (not in any particular order):


Notes From Leadership Summit 2014

WCGLS-Icon

Below I have a link to an Adobe PDF of my personal notes from attending Willow Creek Association's Leadership Summit 2014 this past week.  I was not able to attend in person, but I did attend via video broadcast with my church at Journey Community Church in La Mesa, CA.

Here are few take aways:

  • Leadership requires a commitment to a constant and dedicated learning process that never ends.
  • Leadership is not management.  If you want to be a better manager, then check out: www.manager-tools.com.
  • Successful deployment of strategies and vision require teams, and teams require multifaceted leadership skills/abilities/traits (for instance: humility, vulnerability, trust, truth, honesty, integrity).
  • Sometimes you just need to "figure it out."
  • Michael Jr is very funny.

Next year's conference is August 6-7, 2015.  If you get a chance, then I highly recommend you attend if you are in a leadership position.  I probably won't be able to attend as next year's DEFCON is August 7-9, 2015.

Here is the link to the PDF.  Let me know if you have any questions, comments, corrections, etc.

 


How I Studied For & Passed The CISSP

I got asked the other day at work on how I studied to pass the Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) back in Dec 2011. While I was relaying my experience, I made a few notes, and I figured it would be good to document the endeavor in a blog post.

AFC79C51-1617-4C5A-85ED-C70FE57E43BF

I think my main advantage was that I was able to get access to SANS Management 414 class via their self-study content using training dollars from work [direct link for more info].  While expensive, the 'do it on your own time' offering was much better for me than going to a class (which can also be expensive). 

One of the other key features that I liked about the self-study offering was there were seperate MP3s of all the sessions plus the online course review material.  This allowed me to binge listen to the audio content during my daily exercise, drives in the car, and while on travel (which happend about 5 times during my prep time before the test). The only bad news about all this 'listening' is that when I have a CISSP related nightmare I still hear Dr. Eric Cole's voice.

The package included printed slides for all the material (sync'd online to the audio feed): [Domain 1 - Information Security Governance & Risk Management; Domain 2 - Access Controls; Domain 3 - Cryptography; Domain 4 - Physical Security; Domain 5 - Systems Architecture & Design; Domain 6 - Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery Planning; Domain 7 - Telecommunications & Network Security; Domain 8 - Application Security; Domain 9 - Operations Security; Domain 10 - Legal, Regulations, Compliance, & Investigation], and a copy of the following book - "CISSP Study Guide" by Eric Conrad, Seth Misenar, Joshua Feldman. Also included was a series of pre-tests both online and paper and then a full practice test that was online.

Other books I used for reference included:

Once I went through all the material one time via MP3/Slides, I then deteremined when there was a class about 16 weeks/4 mouths in the future and signed up for that one.  I found it very useful to have a target date on the calendar to motivate me to block out time for studying.  I then spent every Off-Friday from work and ~4 hours each Saturday and Sunday studying the material up to the test week.  The test was on Tuesday and I pretty much studied full time Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before the test.  If my math is correct that was about ~250 hours of studying (not including the MP3 material listening which I continued doing during my exercise, driving, etc times up to the test).

In addition to the study reference material above, I also took a great deal of practice tests.  If there was a test I could take I took it. My prevous experience getting a Windows OS certification and Security+ was that there was a ton on of value in reviewing as many questions as possible. This turned into a a pretty detailed stats tracking on how I was doing and where I needed extra focus.  Here is the "final" view of my spreadsheet tracker I setup in Google Docs:

Cissp-test-tracking-1Cissp-test-tracking-2

The other thing I did that really helped was that any question I missed during any of the tests I took and turned it into a 3x5 study card.  I also kept the cards organized by the 10 major topic areas of CISSP.  This helped me really focus on studying the areas that needed the most work.  By the end I'm pretty sure I had 400 cards, and on the day of the text all I did before the test was drill through those cards.

What about the actual test?  Yes, it was very hard. Definitely the hardest test I've ever taken. I was the last one to leave taking up all but the last 5 minutes before the scheduled end time.  I don't know how well I did other than I passed.  And since that was the goal -- mission accomplished!

If you have any additional questions, comments, etc. then please let me know.

[Originally written on 2/24/2012 but updated 2/23/3014]


Book Review - "Wait" by Frank Partnoy

Wait Book Cover Image After hearing a recent news blurb from The Economist on a new book called "Wait" by Frank Parntnoy I put this book in my queue.

I just finished reading the book -- well to be completelly honest, I listened to it via my Audible.com subscription -- and here is my review.

I found the book very interesting and a good balance between some of the "physical" and "mental" reasons for how we make decisions, and why waiting before making a decision is a valid decision making process.

The book moves through examples of "waiting" from a series of perspectives that drive home the point that waiting is a natural course of activity and something that should be a valid alternative to snap decisions and first-imrpessions.

Here is a list of highlevel topic areas where waiting is analyzed:

  • Relationships (Baby to Parent, Dating, etc)
  • Financial (Lehman Brother's collapse, )
  • Athletics (Football, tennis, baseball, cricket , )
  • Humor (Commedian's and their punch lines)
  • Fast Food (just seeing a logo can speed you up)
  • Military (OODA loop)
  • Politicans (and the art of the apology)

In addition, one of the main themes of the book is that "managing delay", which we called today "procastination," is actually something we really need to cultivate more or we will continue to have growing problems with time-based decision making.

In summary, according to Professor Partnoy the best decision makers are those that can gauge how much time they have to react, and then wait the longest possible amount of time before making/executing on a decision.