Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Russki Boot Camp

January 9, 2010

A couple of Russian woman in my neighborhood, Tatiana and Alysia,  have taken to walking the streets at night. This mother-daughter duo invited me to come along last month. Now, this is NOT what you think. I am referring to their exercise program, which I affectionately call Russki Boot Camp. They walk 10, 000 steps every day and I joined them. Many times I walk with only Tatiana, the matriarch of the two.

Now that the holidays are behind us, we are committed to sticking with the program. This takes up a good 1.5 hours a day and is a partly responsible for me taking a break from reviewing audio books and engaging in ‘social networking’.

One of the benefits is that I am now learning Russian and as you can tell from my first words, our conversations run the gamut of  food, relationships, and politics. My first vocabulary words are as follows:
bystryee – faster
zavtra – tomorrow
dieta – diet
yeda – food
politika – politics
Ded – grandfather
YA tebya lyublyu  – I love you

If you are following my MBA program, you can see how I am finding creative ways to get educated! However, I have continued to listen to  books and I am committed to reviewing some of my recent ‘listens’  in the coming weeks:  Three Cups of Tea,  A Whole New Mind,  Outliers, Younger Next Year, an The Knack.

Keep your browser pointed to AudioBookFitness!

Advertisements

Book Review: Wired to Care

September 24, 2009
Dev Patnaik's book, Wired to Care

Dev Patnaik's book, Wired to Care

I don’t recall ever hearing the word ’empathy’ and ‘corporation’ in the same sentence…that is, until I picked up Dev Patnaik’s audio book, Wired to Care.

Through stories drawn from the histories of some of our best known corporations, such as Mercedes Benz, Nike, Disney, IBM, Clorox,  Harley Davidson,  Patnaik illustrates how a deeply empathic knowledge of  one’s market can be utilized to increase customers’ feelings of validation. This, in turn, attracts customers, because they are drawn to that which makes them feeling good about themselves.

The subtitle of this book, How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy, is well illustrated. However, this book isn’t only about prosperous companies, it’s also about making  this world a better place, calling on corporations to embrace a higher standard, and giving meaning to the work we do.

In one of my careers, managing a design studio at a university, and later, in my work as an information architect,  I learned the importance of knowing one’s audience and of always being able to see from their perspective. This is one of the most valuable competencies I have acquired on my career path so far. Many companies hire people for what they know about business rather than what they understand about their customer.

While listening to this book, I got many great work outs on a treadmill, and an elliptical trainer and was so enthralled, I finished reading the book in 4 days.

The audio book version of Wired to Care is available on  Audible.com. If you prefer having a hard copy, you’ll find it on Amazon.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Length : 7 hours, 42 minutes (Unabridged)
Narrator:  Dennis Holland
Release Date: June 2008
Publisher : 2009 Audible, Inc.

Fast Company’s 30 Second MBA

September 21, 2009

For those of you taking my MBA (Master in Books of Audio) to heart, I just want you to know that I could have some serious competition. FastCompany is now offering a 30 second MBA.  One can listen to the nation’s most respected CEOs,  as they divulge  answers to such questions as “What is the single most important task for a leader?” or “How can teams make better decisions?”.  I’ve watched a few of these 30 second videos, and I have to say that I am not at all threatened.  I’m trying to master business by listening to Audio Books, Fast Company is attempting to make their audience smarter by watching merely a series of 30 Second Videos. Go figure!

I am currently listening to Wired to Care, a book I’ll be writing about in my next book review blog. Although I’ll be listening to a steady diet of audio books during the year ahead, I certainly would choose my own personal MBA anytime over a series of 30-second videos.

One last note, Fast Company, is one of my favorite publications. I subscribe, and even receive the digital edition via email. I did happen to notice that Audible now offers audio editions of Fast Company magazine. Since my life is quite busy I know for certain that I will eventually end up trying this format. When I do I’ll report back to you!

Book Review—The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm

September 12, 2009

The Age Curve: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Storm, by Kenneth Gronbach, came highly recommended as a must-hear (or must-read) and is a book for any players in the corporate world, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations and even parents.

The Age Curve

The Age Curve

Having listened to The Age Curve, I never will look at a news story, business decision or politics in the same way. This book has added to my ability to think critically about trends shaping our country and about business models that exist today. It is one of the best business books I’ve heard or read.  Start to finish, this book is so informative that I have found myself re-listening to some of the sections.

And I wish to give a hand of applause to the author, Kenneth Gronbach.  He actually made a book about demographics that not only is informative, but also is entertaining! I especially appreciate his concise style.

I have a confession to make. When listening to the audio book, I found the subject matter so valuable for considering  long-term career goals  (the next 20 years at least) that I went out and bought the hard cover version for my book shelf. I know I will refer back to it from time to time. And although this is a blog about audio books and exercising the brain and body, I promise to read this hard cover version on a stationary bicycle!

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Length : 6 hours, 6 minutes (Unabridged)
Narrator:  Max Bloomquist
Release Date: June 2008
Publisher : 2008 Brilliance Audio Inc

School’s in Session…Almost

August 26, 2009

It is time to start the MBA that I’ve written about in previous posts. It seems that many kids are starting school and going back to college.  I’m going to master Audio Books and save myself the $20,000 that it would cost to attend Jack Welsh’s Business School.

I started with a book by Brian Tracy, Eat that Frog. My six word summary is this: Stop procrastinating, be unstoppable and amazing. So far I love it. When I finish I’ll write more…maybe a 12 word book review. Just kidding!

What I want to address is the ‘Almost’ part of this blog title. I am a member of 24 Hour Fitness and am having a difficult time showing up at the gym during ‘peak’ hours and competing with their sound system. I have no desire to listen to the ‘top 40′ rock songs that are blasting. Is it fair that when I listen to my book, that 24 Hour Fitness is forcing on me a sound track at the same time, one that I don’t want to hear?

On Monday, after my elliptical workout, I went to a Yoga class. The soothing new age music that was played to a class of Yoga students had to compete with blaring music on the other side of the door. What’s up with that? Tomorrow I am calling two managers at 24 Hour Fitness, the one I worked out at on Monday and the one I worked out at tonight. When I spoke with the clerks, I was told that the music is pumped up during Peak Hours so everyone can hear it, and turned down at other times.

Geez, I shouldn’t have to go deaf if I want to listen to a good book during a workout!

My MBA: A Syllabus in Progress

July 31, 2009

In my previous blog, I wrote about creating and listening to a series of books that would lead to a ‘ Masters in Books of Audio’ or an MBA. With input from friends and family, I am diligently working on a syllabus for my MBA. You may be surprised by the range of topics.  I have about six months of listening , and I still welcome your suggestions! You may view the Syllabus at this link:  MBA_Syllabus. The syllabus is a work in progress, and I’d love to have input from you. I am curious about many things and the list  reflects this.

Once the dust settles from all my summer excursions, and the sand is brushed off my feet, and all my summer visitors fade in the horizon, I’ll be settling down for the MBA adventure.

Running Shoes and Smartwool socks

Running Shoes and Smartwool Socks

It seems as if I am getting ready for school and getting ready to run a marathon. I’ve put plenty of thought into my schedule, what I’ll wear, and such. I did buy a pair of New Balance shoes, Nike Shoes and Asics (I walked the Maui marathon with these).

On a recent shopping trip, I  found an exceptionally comfortable pair of socks. I bought several pair and will not wear any others. Ever. Check out www.Smartwool.com. Their Light Cushion Running Socks are superb.

More to come–keep your browser pointed to AudioBookFitness!

Get your MBA in 1 Year

June 23, 2009

According to today’s Business Week headlines,  Jack Welch is launching an online MBA. Apparently his years as CEO of GE helped to make him the man he is today: wise, knowledgeable, competent and highly respected. Welch’s MBA will cost $20,000.

Although I can’t afford 20 grand,  I’ve decided that I can design my own MBA program.  My MBA will stand for Master of Books in Audio.  What if I were to spend an entire year listening to nonfiction books—mostly business books, books on career, some self-improvement—and reviewed each book on my blog? What would be the results after a year? How would I measure those results?

I am looking for suggestions on ‘good listens’ in this genre, so if you want to recommend any audio books for my MBA program, let me know and I’ll add them to the list. Stay tuned…I’ll start sharing this ongoing list in the upcoming weeks. I will listen during morning walks and will commit to 4 -6 morning walks weekly. For a year.

Oh, and by the way, depending on the source of audio books, my MBA will be practically FREE!!

Five Days of Short Stories

May 16, 2009

At a company event I won an iPod shuffle and decided  to experiment downloading short stories to my new device. Since I am a fan of NPR’s Selected Shorts and the website Sniplits.com, where you can download a free story a week, I was looking for a change of pace from my usual non-fiction fare.

At  Sniplits.com, I paid $2.06 with my PayPal account and downloaded three stories to iTunes and from there to my iPod Shuffle.  One story was the free story of the week. Sniplits.com has done a GREAT job of making the purchase and download easy, the process was seamless. Then I downloaded a few shows from  Public Radio’s (PRI) broadcasts of “Selected Shorts podcast that I located in iTunes. Here’s my upcoming listening schedule, not necessarily in the  order I’ll hear them at since I expect the stories to be shuffled:

SESSION A*, 30 MINUTE WALK

  • Story: A Brief Excerpt in the History of Salt by Venita Blackburn
  • Story: Hand Signals by Venita Blackburn

SESSION B*, 40 MINUTE WALK

  • Story: House Rules By Libby Fischer Hellmann

SESSION C, 1 HOUR WALK

  • Podcast: Playwright’s DelightSelected Shorts

SESSION D, 1 HOUR WALK

  • Podcast: Indian CountrySelected Shorts

SESSION E, 1 HOUR WALK

  • Podcast: Shatterd PeaceSelected ShortLOGOwebhorz

I will begin listening to stories on Monday, May 18! Send me your tips for this upcoming week. Oh, and watch next weekend for the upcoming reviews on the all above mentioned stories/podcasts!

* These downloads are from www.sniplits.com

¿Habla Español?: Learn à la AudioBookFitness

May 14, 2009

I was lucky to meet a neighbor, Teresa, who speaks fluent Spanish. She worked in a contract position at Yahoo until last year.  Since I have always wanted to practice the Spanish I worked so hard at learning as a college student and review Spanish for an upcoming trip to Spain, we worked out an agreement that I would help her with her resume and she would help me with my Spanish.  I am fortunate to work at home (company  lap top and cell phone), and I would run over to her place, read for 20 minutes, converse for about 10 minutes and then come back  home, have a quick  lunch and get back to work.  It worked well until her mother had a stroke and she had to return home to Mexico to help her mom for a month.

Not wanting to loose the language skills I have been gaining, I bought a new Garmin nüvi GPS (to be reviewed at a later date) that plays MP3 files and I am dedicating it to reviewing and learning Spanish while I drive.  I downloaded the highest rated Spanish audio book series from AudiblePimsleur, Spanish I, Second Revised Edition: Lessons 6 to 10. This was only for review, and after listening to it, I realized it was a bit on the simple side. ‘Vamos a bebir una Cervesa in al resturante Colon.’  or ‘¿Cuanto Cuesta dos Cervesas?’ are not sentences I will use daily (well, I could change cervesa to vino…) yet this has proved to be a good brain exercise while I am driving. Actually, audio language books are IDEAL for puttering around town, because if you are using a GPS with an MP3, the interruptions of GPS instructions (‘In 500 feet, turn left.’) are best interlaced with the short verbal exercises and sentences of a language (‘Repeta: ¿A donde va Carlos’?) rather than a long narrative of a book.

The biggest challenge for me has been finding the right level of Spanish instruction to start at since I am familiar with the language. There was no assessment to help determine what audio book to start with. So if you have tried any of the Spanish audio books, let me know what you like and didn’t like about them along with some commentary about their difficulty level. I’d love to hear from you.

Italian and French are next…then Chinese. And of course, I will be starting with Level 1 on these languages when the time comes (Yo! I could be in my nineties by then!).

I keep thinking about a study that I read years ago about elderly nuns learning French and how it kept them mentally agile into old age. Yes, that is one of my goals, brain fitness and agility, and I want to speak decent Spanish as I meander the cities of España.

The Granddaddy of Audio Book Listeners

May 9, 2009

I’ve been listening to a new audiobook, ‘The Black Swan-The Impact of the Highly Improbable‘ by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

Two and a half hours into the book, I learned  that we Audio Book Listeners actually have a forefather.  Pierre-Daniel Huet (1630-1721), a French philosopher, churchman, and scholar  had a servant who followed him around and read to him during meals and free time.  Huet was considered the most well-read person of his time….(And it’s quite possible Heut’s servant was considered the best read domestic help of his time!)

This diligent servant, of course, goes unnamed. If he were alive today his role would be replace-or outsourced-to one of the many Portable Media Digital players or Readers currently on the market. Or perhaps if he were living today he would have the wherewithall to shift his career to that of a Voice Over Artist or Narrator.

We owe Huet and his well-read servant an honored historical spot for leadership, of sorts, to the wonderful world of audiobooks.