My Recap of 2021
Table of Contents
Another intriguing year has gone by, not completely over COVID-19 but I think it was better than 2020. Overall it felt like a productive year for me and I am looking forward to 2022.
Find The Right Books For You Blog
This project was a spontaneous result of using something I’ve started doing in recent years, book reviews, along with technology I discovered and started using, Next.js and graphCMS.
From experience, I know it can be difficult to find your next book to read, even more so if want to learn something specific.
I have also tried to incorporate something you find in courses called a learning path into this project, where you can find what to read next after a certain book providing you with a reading path.
With this project, I am trying to share what I read and help others discover new and exciting books to read.
Find out more here.
Snapshot Growth React Native App
This year, I finally got around to developing a Reactive Native app using Expo, graphQL, and MongoDB.
It was exciting and scary, to be honest as this is a field I don’t have experience in and is quite different from making a web app responsive for smartphones and tablets.
The concept for the app was influenced by two books I read (Atomic Habits & The Compound Effect) and how effective and useful the principles were after trying them for myself.
Because I had tried, I wanted to make it easier for anyone with a smartphone to implement and use them.
The app uses the following process to help people develop habits and achieve their goals:
- Define a goal, something you want to achieve within a minimum of 3 months
- Provide a reason why you want to achieve this goal
- What is the smallest action you can take every day to achieve this goal
- Set a time to be reminded every day of whether you completed your action or missed it
- Get weekly reports of how many actions you completed or missed so far
At the moment the app is only available on Android and can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.
It is free and I hope that it enables others to achieve their goals and develop healthy habits.
During this year I decided to do a few courses and expand my knowledge.
Below are the reviews:
TypeScript 3 Fundamentals, V2
I heard a lot about Typescript and saw its usage continuously increase over the last few years but didn’t know how to effectively use it in my development so I decided to do this course.
I have to say I am astounded at the depth of knowledge Mike has when it comes to Typescript, it is incredible.
After doing the course, I have a better understanding of why Typescript was created and how effective it can be when developing.
I do think it can take some time and practice to get the most out of Typescript as several features that were discussed in the course were a bit complex for me.
Overall, if you want to know more about Typescript this is a great course to start.
Node.js Intro Course
I enjoyed the Next.js course Scott presented so much that I searched for another course from him.
I’ve been using Node since I started with React and ES7 but never had a comprehensive understanding of it, that’s why I decided to do this course.
It was fun and exciting learning about things I used here and there but never knew where it came from or what else was possible.
I feel a lot more confident using Node now and look forward to doing more with it.
For the past two or three years, I’ve wanted to start learning Python and I finally did!
Nina presented this course brilliantly! She takes through all the fundamentals of the Python language which is the most important part when learning a new language and it was great learning the basics using the REPL.
So far from what I’ve seen, I like the language a lot and I’m looking forward to doing the intermediate course as well!
After doing the fundamentals course, I was excited to learn more Python!
I have become a fan of the Python language, it seems to be very neat and efficient.
While doing the course, I realized that I didn’t have a proper understanding of classes, instances, inheritance, and how important and useful they are especially with a language like Python.
I am happy that I eventually got around to doing these courses and am looking forward to using and gaining more experience with Python.
Masterclass Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training
I am planning on getting a puppy within the next few months and I decided I should educate myself in the art of training them, or at least the basics so that I don’t do or say the wrong things.
I came across this course on Masterclass and gave it a try.
After watching the introduction video where Brandon shares his history and story I was immediately inspired, he truly has a love for what he does as well as the “students” he works with.
The course offers everything you need to get started training your dog, whether it is a puppy or an adult. There are also several DONTS or things that people usually do that they shouldn’t which I found to be very useful.
Seeing that I have German colleagues that can speak English, I decided it is only fair that I try and learn their language.
I downloaded the Duolingo app and started doing a German course have enjoyed it so much! The app makes it so easy and fun to learn a new language.
I got into a perfect exercise routine and have managed to stay committed for a while until I had to move and the season changed.
Before I fell out of my routine I was cycling between 3 - 4 times a week and walking at least 2 -3 times a week.
So far this year I have:
Cycled: 498.43 KMs
Walked: 1 581 015 steps
I heard a lot about the Nutribullet and the benefits of having one so I decided to take a chance and try it out for myself.
I have to admit that it is one of the best appliances I have bought, it makes it easy to improve your diet.
At the moment I have a smoothie in the morning for breakfast using the following ingredients:
- 2 cups of baby spinach
- 1 cup of blueberries
- 1 tablespoon of chia seed
- 1 tablespoon of goji berries
- 1 tablespoon of MCT oil
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- 1 banana
- Vanilla chai ice tea
I finally started learning how to cook, something I have been wanting to do for a while now.
I bought a book by chef Jamie Oliver book called 5 Ingredients.
It provides simple and easy dishes that you can cook using only 5 ingredients per dish.
For now, I chose 5 different dishes to practice with and it is getting better with every try.
I am enjoying learning something new that is not technology-related and look forward to attempting more dishes soon.
5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver
Becoming A Father
This year I got the best news a person could hope for, I found out that I will become a father to a baby girl in June 2022.
I am both excited and nervous at the same time, this will be the biggest change in my life since my father passed away in 2020.
My greatest hope is that I will be able to be the best father I can be and make both my girlfriend and daughter proud.
12 Week Ultrasound Scan
The Compound Effect
by Darren Hardy
It is an action-packed book with everything you need to get yourself in the right mindset and attitude to achieve what you plan to.
I am so happy that I started the year reading this.
For me, the one thing that impressed me the most was that there was no BS. As the author Darren Hardy mentions in the book, all the noise, fat, and fluff have been removed.
As we are all aware, learning is not enough, you need to apply what you learn and at the end of every chapter, there are exercises you can do which will help you get started quicker.
But that’s not all, there are also free worksheets that you can complete that helps you focus on the things that will help you succeed.
Without going into the details of how the compound effect works, one of the key takeaways for me was that it is always working, it depends on you whether it is going to benefit or harm you.
If you want to start your year off right, I highly recommend giving this book a read, Darren Hardy offers actionable, simple advice and techniques that anyone, and I mean anyone can apply to their life so that they can receive the benefits of the compound effect.
Re-read The Obstacle Is The Way
by Ryan Holiday
by Brendon Burchard
Unfortunately, this one was disappointing for me, perhaps I am biased.
I felt that all the expert business content was things I learned before from other people. The only truly unique content was Brendon’s life story and why he chose to become an expert or start an expert empire as he calls it.
In terms of the content on starting and growing a business, I feel that it is no different from any other business, and for that reason, I believe a person would get a lot more value from reading or watching something that is more entrepreneur/business-focused such as:
- Reading Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People
- Peter Thiel Zero To One
- Jeff Walkers Launch
- Ramit Sethi’s Zero To Launch Course
He also mentions the problems that an expert or the expert community encounter, once again these are things that anyone in business or as entrepreneurs will experience, I don’t believe that is specific to an expert or expert community.
As I said in the beginning, I could be biased because of what I’ve read and watched, perhaps if you haven’t read or watched anything that is business or entrepreneur related you will get some benefit from this book.
by Hykie Berg
This was recommended to me by my mother as she said it was an inspiring and incredible life story.
She was not wrong.
I cannot believe everything Hykie went through because of his battle with drugs and alcohol, it is absolutely shocking that someone can endure such a journey all because of addiction.
There were a few times where I could not believe what I was reading, it sounded like something from a movie.
I have had my own struggles with alcohol as well as the experience of having a family member that struggled with addiction, it was nothing close to the memories Hykie shares.
There is a stigma attached to addiction, especially drug addiction but not everybody knows what it is about or the demons these people deal with.
If you are looking for a story about drug addiction story where the person manages to come out the other side, definitely give this one a read.
by Jim Kwik
I was so excited to read this, especially after watching the video below of Jim Kwik.
I was not disappointed, this book is jam-packed with useful, practical advice and techniques on helping achieve your potential and as the book suggests becoming limitless.
There is so much to learn from this book but my favorite part was the last one which explains and whos you how you can become limitless which include improving your focus, studying, memory, speed reading, and believe it or not thinking.
A refreshing surprise for me was when Jim not only mentions the best brain foods but he also provides recipes for smoothies and meals.
With all that, there are exercises to help you apply what you are learning so that it is not passive learning.
I think if anyone else created the content it could result in being quite boring, but Jim presents this valuable material in an exciting and fun way that involves superheroes and movies.
If you want to go from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset and become better than you are yesterday every day make sure to get a copy of this book as I’m sure it will change your life as it did mine.
Never Split The Difference
by Chris Voss with Tahl Raz
What a fascinating read!
My view on negotiating has completely changed.
I used to think that only certain types of people could learn or develop the secret art of negotiating and that it was not for me.
I’m not saying that negotiating is easy, it takes practice like anything else, except now I know that there are a set of simple and effective techniques you can use which will help you negotiate anything, from a better price on something you want to buy to secure a business deal.
As with finances, I believe negotiating is a skill that should be taught and developed in school as it is such an incredibly helpful and useful skill to have.
I always had the belief that negotiating eventually results in conflict, because parties can hardly ever agree to terms that benefit them both.
Even though this can happen, the true art of negotiating is about gathering as much information as you can so that you and the other party can agree on a creative solution together.
Never see the other party as the enemy, the subject you are dealing with is the problem.
Besides everything you can learn in this book, the true short stories at the beginning of each chapter make the lessons even more interesting as they have been used in practical situations, it is not just theory.
If you want to become better at dealing with conflict and managing confrontations, I can highly recommend reading this book.
Marcus Aurelius (Translated by Gregory Hays)
I heard and came across so many references to this book because of Ryan Holiday.
Marcus Aurelius seemed to practice many of the principles that are considered part of Stoicism and because of this was considered to be a Stoic himself.
Meditations are thought to be journals of Marcus, an emperor of the most powerful empire at the time, Rome.
But you wouldn’t say so while reading the entries as they are insightful, wise, humble, and perfect inspiration for reflection all of which are not attributes you would associate with an emperor of Rome.
Even though Marcus was an emperor his life was by no means easy, he lost his father when he was young, survived many attempts at the thrown, went through plagues and wars but still managed to try and live his life with truth, justice and self-control.
This is a book that you don’t read once but many times over and again.
To end I would like to quote a few of my favorite passages:
“You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”
“Not just because we move daily closer to death but also because our understanding–our grasp of the world–may be gone before we get there.”
“Not live as if you had endless years ahead of you. Death overshadows you. While you’re alive and well–be good.”
“The only thing that isn’t worthless: to live this life out truthfully and rightly. And be patient with those who don’t.”
“Before long, nature, which controls it all, will alter everything you see and use it as material for something else–over and over again. So that the world is continually changing.”
“To love only what happens, what was destined. No greater harmony.”
“Joy for humans lies in human actions. Human actions: kindness to others, contempt for the senses, the interrogation of appearances, observation of nature and of events in nature.”
“To do harm is to do yourself harm. To do an injustice is to do yourself an injustice–it degrades you.”
“You’ve lived as a citizen in a great city. Five years or a hundred–what’s the difference? The laws make no distinction.
And to be sent away from it, not by a tyrant or a dishonest judge, but by Nature, who first invited you in–why is that so terrible?
Like the impresario ringing down the curtain on an actor: “But I’ve only gotten through three acts… !”
Yes. This will be a drama in three acts, the length fixed by the power that directed your creation, and now directs your dissolution. Neither was yours to determine.
So make your exit with grace–the same grace shown to you.”
Hans Rosling with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund
I heard about this book from a colleague, saw it in reading lists and the subtitle made me curious, Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World - And Why Things Are Better Than You Think, which made me curious.
I decided to search for the book and read the description along with some reviews and decided to get it.
I was not disappointed, it is one of the best books I’ve read to better understand the world and what is happening.
As mentioned in the book, a lot of us are walking around with world views we learned in school which can be several years ago and a lot has changed/improved since then.
At first, you think the book is optimistic with rose-colored glasses but it is not, there are still bad things and problems that need to be solved but we have made progress the only reason we don’t hear about this progress is that it’s incremental and not as exciting as the bad news that is a lot more dramatic.
One myth that this book debunked for me was that the global population will carry on increasing until there are too many people on this planet.
This is not true if you look at the facts, data, and what we’ve achieved so far.
By 2100 the population will plateau at around 11 or 12 billion people, nothing is definite but if you look at the explanation behind this, it makes sense.
There are two tools mentioned in the book that will quickly make you change the way you see and understand the world, these are:
- How your country and others have progressed through the 4 income levels: https://www.gapminder.org/
- How do people on either income level 1, 2, 3, or 4 live around the world: https://www.gapminder.org/dollar-street
If you want to be more informed and learn how to understand your community and the world better, definitely give this book a read.
The Thursday Murder Club
What a fantastic, funny, brilliant novel!
Each character is unique and special with their own stories and background, it was fascinating getting to know them while following along with the main plot.
Who would’ve thought a murder novel with characters that could be your grandparents in a retirement village could be so much fun.
If you are looking for a murder mystery that is different but intelligently funny get yourself a copy of The Thursday Murder Club.
The Krugersdorp Cult Killings: Inside Cecilia Steyn’s Reign of Terror
I wasn’t aware of these murders or the court case until I heard about it from my mother that saw it on the news and was wanted to read this book.
I bought her the book and became more intrigued while she was reading it and sharing snippets here and there.
Even after I finished reading the book, I still cannot believe that it took place, it feels as though you are reading a fictional novel.
From how gullible the people were that was involved to how brutal and motivation for the murders was, I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
If you are familiar with this story or want to know more about it this book is for you, every chapter will have you in shock.
Jana Marx did a brilliant task of gathering all the evidence and research to create a compelling and honest book.
Life Less Lived
I think this is one of the most honest stories about burnout and depression especially because it happened to someone that was by all accounts average and it could easily be me or you.
It forces you to stop and reflect on your own life and ask questions even if the answers scare you.
I have been exposed to people close to me that have mental illnesses and I understand that is not something that is easy to manage or deal with but it always seemed to have a reason, whether it was because of the history of a person or perhaps genetics but never because the person was not taking time to reflect and listen to the warning signs their body was giving them.
Richard was fully functional even to the point of earning awards and achievements until one day he couldn’t even get out of bed, if that is not a wake-up call I don’t know what is.
As he mentions in his book, there are numerous people that are suffering from the early stages of burnout and depression without even realizing it until it is either too late or you need to be hospitalized.
This was a terrifying, refreshing, and insightful read that once again tries to convey the message of taking time to reflect and make sure that what you are doing is giving you fulfillment, that the success you are after is what you defined for yourself, and remember to live, laugh and love as much as you can things can wait until tomorrow.
Can’t Hurt Me
I was in absolute awe finding out what David was able to put his body through while reading this book, it is unbelievable.
I can see why this book is on a lot of recommended lists it truly is an inspiring read that sometimes feels like a fantasy.
But he didn’t start as one of the fittest and toughest men, as he mentions in the book “he should have been a statistic” because of his childhood.
Incredibly he was able to take control of his mind and body to defy the odds and achieve what most people just dream of.
As you read through his achievements it is hard to believe that one person has been able to achieve so much, as he puts it he has lived ten lives in one.
While each story or lesson is inspiring enough, he also provides challenges after each chapter so that you can apply what learned in your life which makes the book even more valuable.
I think this was the perfect book to end the year with, if you are looking for some fascinating holiday reading give this one try!
I wasn’t planning to read another book this year and then I came across this one on Instagram and saw that it was only 90 pages so decided to squeeze it in.
The title immediately got my attention as I struggle with overthinking and getting my thoughts together sometimes and this book seemed to be something that could help with that.
Luckily I was right, I see why it is a short read as the chapters only focus on what is necessary and it is meant to be something that you can read over and over again when needed.
I probably almost bookmarked the whole book as there is a lot of brilliant advice and useful techniques discussed in the book from discerning what is useful and useless thoughts to a few money rules.
I am going to keep this one close so that I can open it as soon as my thoughts start running away with me.
If you are looking for a quick and very useful read give this one a try!
I have no doubt there will be a lot of learning coming in 2022 with the addition of our baby girl.
New React Native App
After I developed Snapshot Growth I thought of another app I would like to create and I might be doing it in 2022 depending on how busy things get.
For the past year or two, I’ve been wanting to grow my vegetables, especially spinach for my smoothie, hopefully, I can get around to it in 2022.
I would like to get back into daily journaling as I fell out of the habit in the middle of this year.
Transcendental Meditation & Animal Shelter Volunteering
Both of these come from 2019 & 2020, maybe I will get to do both in 2022.
I hope you enjoyed reading my 2021 recap and if you have any comments or questions please post them below.