One of the Keys to Life?

As many of you know, I love to read. It’s one of my hobbies that I find I can really lose myself in and something that I wish I could spend more time doing. And to that end, I hope I can share with you why I love to read, some of the inspirations as to why I read, and hopefully encourage you to read more as well.

Why I Love to Read:

  • mental stimulation / intellectual challenge (you can find books on pretty much every topic imaginable)
  • learn new ideas and concepts (why reinvent the wheel if someone’s done it for you already?)
  • learn from other people’s mistakes (so hopefully I won’t do the same thing)
  • build your vocabulary (they say there’s a positive correlation between salary and vocabulary – though nothing yet for me so far)
  • explore what life is like in another world, through the eyes of an interesting character (as I fantasize about my next travel adventures, this will have to suffice for the interim until I can get out there myself)

Some Inspirations

  • Will Smith – check out this video and you’ll understand the title of this post.
  • I’m remember hearing somewhere this potentially apocryphal statement that the average American reads less than 1 book a year and if you were to read just 1 book a month, you’ll find yourself in the top 10% of the population in terms of reading. Do you want to be in the top 10%?

Want to Start Reading, but Don’t Know Where?

  • – social networking for book lovers
  • – interesting book recommendation engine, different than Amazon
  • – a great resource for business books
  • your local pubic library – your librarian will have lots of recommendations

Some Personal Recommendations by Yours Truly:

  • Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
  • The 3 Musketeers, by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien
    • as a side note, I just realized that these first 3 books are quite lengthy, but definitely worth the read
  •  Influlence: The Psychology of Persuation, by Robert Cialdini
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
  • The ABC Murders, by Agatha Christie
    • shorter and much more manageable books, but still great reads
  • Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson
  • The Dip, by Seth Godin
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Roald Dahl
    • even shorter books that you can read in less than an hour

Now get out there and start reading, what are you waiting for?

October Reflections

October was another interesting month, and it’s the time of year when you know the warm weather is coming to a close and winter is starting to set in. We still had some warm and sunny days to enjoy being outside (and playing frisbee!), we take a long weekend for the holiday known as Thanksgiving, and Halloween and tasty candy await us at the end of the month. Here’s a brief update on some of the things that was going on for me this past month.

1. Twitter and Social Media
This month marked my beginning of a foray into a new social media channel – Twitter. While I haven’t had much time to search out interesting people to follow, or write about too many interesting things, it is something that I think can be very useful from a business and personal perspective. If you’re interested, you can find me here.

Speaking of social media, my business recently hired two new interns for a social media program with Young Urban Farmers. Through this program, we’re hoping to develop and grow our brand presence online while building up a community of followers and branding ourselves as the experts in urban gardening. More updates to come as we just finished the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring process. Now comes the fun part of developing and implementing the program.

2. Canning Workshop
At the beginning of the month, I had the privilege of attending a free canning workshop, put on by the nice folks at the Riverdale Food Working Group. In an industrial kitchen, we had the chance to make a whole bunch of stuff, including fresh salsa, plum jam (delicious!), peaches in light syrup, and canned tomatoes. All of this tasted great, and the best part of it was that we got to take some of the cans home to enjoy. All I can say is that fresh homemade plum jam is delicious!

3. Networking Session
This month, I had a chance to go to two interesting networking sessions, one hosted/sponsored by the Telus Small Business Group, and the other by the Toronto Chapter of JCI (Junior Chambers International – a  worldwide federation of young leaders and entrepreneurs). These were different than the “typical” networking session in that it attracted a good, diverse, and interesting mix of people to the events, and in the fact that the Telus event was quite interactive with a variety of people giving small mini-sessions on a variety of topics relevant to small business. It was also nice that free food and an open bar was provided (who doesn’t like that!).

4. Pumpkin Carving
In the spirit of Halloween, I decided to carve my own pumpkin this year. It was something I hadn’t done in ages, and I had forgotten how much fun it was. The best part of all though, was roasting and eating the seeds afterward. Yum!

5. Joe’s Bachelor Party
Also this month, I had a chance to spend a day with a friend celebrating the end of his days as a single man.  We had a fun afternoon of paintball (with extra targets printed out and duct-taped to strategic areas), great food, and most importantly – good company.

I was talking with James during the party, and somehow we got talking about what our future bachelor parties are going to be like, and after a brief discussion, we’ve got it all planned out already. All I can say is that it may involve cute animals……

6. Planet In Focus – Environmental Film Festival
One interesting event I went to in October was a screening at the Planet in Focus environmental film festival. I went to see a film called Homegrown about urban farming, which highlighted one family’s journey into living a more sustainable eco-friendly lifestyle, right in the heart of Pasadena California. It was a very enlightening film to see what one family can do in such a small area, though their lifestyle choices aren’t something that I would want to adopt. You can check out more about the film here:

7. Chocolate Festival
One of the interesting food events that I went to was the Toronto Chocolate Festival – well more of just a bunch of restaurants/cafes offering discounts/coupons on their products, but I’ll take an excuse to eat chocolate any day. You can check out some more details here:

8. Idea Challenge
Last week, we entered into an Idea Challenge – a competition that provides a bit of seed money to interesting, unique, and inspiring ideas. It sounds like an interesting initiative and to potentially raise some money for a new project/non-profit organization I’m working on (if our idea gets shortlisted in the top 10 based on popular votes, and if the judges like our idea), we submitted our idea along as well.  Feel free to submit your own idea or show some love and support our idea here. We’d really appreciate it. Voting closes Sunday Nov. 8th!

This is part of the news I was alluding to in my last update, and as we get progress further in the planning and preparation stages of this venture, I’ll update you with more details.

I don’t have too much to write for this part, so instead I’ll leave you with this parting quotation, which I think is a good summation of how I felt eating a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.  ~Melody Beattie