Fat-loss, Rails and Tim Ferriss

17 Mar 2013

Today I want to share some interesting observations of occurances which took place in my life recently.

I have to start my narration from a while ago. That time when Giselle, my Taiwanese ex-girlfriend, came to visit me to Shanghai, I saw a message on Facebook from John Biesnecker, informing his friends, that he’s giving away books from his home library, with a view to digitize his book collection. I know John as an outstanding talented human being of different areas, including languages, marketing, programming, and now a father of two. So, for me it was a fantastic oportunity to steal some of his precious knowledge. When we arrived to his apartment, Giselle was more interested in playing with a métis little boy of theirs, but I was carried away with picking books from a superb collection, feeling shy to take all I wanted to take. But every time I hesitated to put a book into my bag, John did it for me, adding a comment like “I recommend” or “It’s a good one”.

So, finally, half an hour or so later, it felt like I took most part of his precious collection with me. A huge plastic bag, full of books, was too heavy to lift. There was many books about self-improvement, management, PR, programming, Chinese and Japanese languages, dictionaries, etc. Now I am very proud to have John’s library in my possession, and I also remember, that I gave myself a promise, that I would not leave Shanghai, until I read them all.

So, the visit to John’s place happened almost a year ago, and… I am a slow reader. Another huge problem of mine, is the fact, that I am often very passionate to start reading a book, but the probability that the book I started would never be finished is very very high. The language is not an issue, I abandoned reading many books in my native tongue too. And it is not that I start to find a book, that I was so passionate about a week or two ago, boring or too protracted, it is more that my interests are changing faster than I am able to finish reading a book on a topic which lured me a while ago. On other hand, my hobbies are cycling in rounds most of the time, and it is possible that I will finish reading a book I started few months ago later. But it is not a rule at all. Any way to fix it? Learning to read fast, I guess… What should I do to learn to read fast? Read more, I believe… But reading more wouldn’t necessary increase you reading speed. There are technics to actually increase reading speed, which one need to learn and practice thoroughly. But it can be hard, especially taking into consideration, that I am reading not in my mother tongue.

The first important book of those which I read complitely and quite fast, was Daniel H. Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”. The book really inspired me, gave me a great amount of food for thought and was an often topic of discussion with people around me. Then, I have tried to read a book in Chinese, for the first time. It was 黄金时代 by 王小波. I read a lot, but still it was too hard to read for me. The reading involved tons of dictionary lookups; most of words and expresions I don’t think I will use often or ever again, though. Hence, I have already forgotten most of them now. I tried to read the same book for the second time, not a long time ago, and felt like I had to look up same words again. Still, the book is interesting, and I am pretty sure there will be a third attempt in reading it soon.

There were also books on Japanese language, which I read quite thoroughly, other books on linguistics, which inspired me but never were finished. I am not telling about “The Secret”, which was actually the very first book I opened among all those, but this one seriously is not worth mentioning. Just a waste. What is more important, and what this post is partly about, is my attempt to read “The 4-hour workweek”. I don’t know why, … may be because I started reading it right after “A Whole New Mind” or because it’s mostly focused on people from “the developed world”, but I also expected, that I would be more enthusiastic of finishing it and following the advices. But, Nope… It was one of the books, which I did not finish. I’ve stopped somewhere in the center. But still, I learned who Tim Ferriss is and definitely have nothing but respect and admiration to his person.

Later I learned, that he has another two books of similar formats. One is about the cooking, another one is on building your body. “Why don’t give them a try?”, I thought. So, I found them and… never open either of them them until today. But now I will tell about something else.

Five months ago I’ve signed up for a gym, located near the place I live, which allows me to go there for half a year. As a result, I went there quite often in the beginning, but later became quite lazy. So now, I have aproximately a month left on my card, but also about 25 visits to go. That is, I don’t think I would use it completely, but also it is not a big waste. To completely use all the credits of it now, I would have to go to the gym daily. Not possible or necessary, but, actually, the fact of realizing, that I need to use my credits more often now caused some kind of inspiration to go excerise more these days. The same feeling I have, when I weight my body and see those high numbers. It shocks me, makes me want to work out. Yesterday, I went there again and established a record in my life. I ran one hour non-stop: 8.33 km! I was exhausted, rubbed a skin between my legs so bad, that I could not walk the whole evening, and had a feeling, that I am doing something wrong… something not effective.

Another, seeming absolutely unrelated occurance happened in my life about half a year ago. Benny the Irish polyglot, was learning Chinese and was using Android app for ChinesePod, which I have created. So, when he was in Shanghai, he made a visit to our office, where he and I were introduced to each other. That time I knew nothing about him, hence did not know what to say and how to react. The more so I did not know, what a unique person was standing in front of me. Only later I had a look at his website, learned more about him, wrote him an email, and even was a bit proud of shaking his hand few days before. He also was one of inspirations of mine for another wave of desire to learn Esperanto, by the way, since he can speak this language pretty well.

Also, it seems I am starting to work on another project now, which is not extremely interesting for me, but would still be useful. Especially because I will have another reason to recall what Ruby the programming language is and what had happened recently to Ruby On Rails, a framework to which I devoted few years of my life in school. So, yesterday I spent good half of the day reading on Ruby 2.0, the comming of Rails 4.0 and also this thing called Ruby EventMachine. I have watched several videocasts, few speach videos from RailsConf and RubyConf, and had a better understanding of Node.js aproach to Ruby programming and others. Also, good value of information and links were provided to me by my good friend Alexander.

Why did I say all that? Seems like last few paragraphs of the article now are completely unrelated, but now I will connect all the dots, explaining why I started writing them at all. Not long time ago, I have checked updates on Benny, who I personally met half a year ago, the polyglot’s website, learned that he’s in Egypt now, studying Egyptian Arabic (my friend Alexander just came from there too), but also saw an interesting video on his page, where he is interviewing Tim Ferriss, whose book I haven’t managed to finish reading, but whose two other books I was about to start. So, since recently I go to gym more often, and after this long and exhausting run of yesterday, I have decided to give Tim Ferriss’s “4-hour body” a try. It’s more than 520 pages, which seems not to be something very inspiring to work out, but after reading an introduction, where he says, that after you set your goal, reading less than 100 pages will be enough to start working out, I started to trust the book a bit more again. But I was still very skeptic, for sure, and the book actually recommends you to be skeptic about all you read in it, which is kind of cool and seem right. But ok, then. What was this paragraph about Ruby? How is it related? You are not gonna believe me, but in this book, on page 45, Timothy gives a detailed example of finding inspiration to lose weight and initiating the action by describing an experience of Chad Fowler, an organizer of RubyConf and RailsConf, who manageed to lose 70 lbs. in 12 months. That’s 31.75 kg in 1 year! But the craziest thing is not even how much he lost, but how everything I am telling here is conected with my life. So, I can generalize that I know Tim Ferriss, one of the world’s most successful entrepreneur, author and public speaker, via just one person. In his book he’s talking about people, who are working on losing weight and building their body, but also are impotant people of my profesional sphere.

Ruby, Rails, Timothy Ferriss, Working out… All is connected and that is inspiring me. Cheers!