Book Recommendations:
For this month, I’ve got 3 books for you.

All three books are in different genres, I guess you could say.
That way, there’s a better chance you’ll see one that is interesting to you. 

  1. The Terminal List, Jack Carr
    This book was turned into a series on Amazon starring Chris Pratt. I haven’t watched it yet, mainly because, for those who have been reading these newsletters a while, you’ll know that it takes me a while to watch movies based on books I like. 

    This book was turned into a series on Amazon starring Chris Pratt. I haven’t watched it yet, mainly because, for those who have been reading these newsletters a while, you’ll know that it takes me a while to watch movies based on books I like. 

    The book was written by a former Navy Seal. It is a fictional story of a Navy Seal who gets wronged because of a conspiracy, and he basically hunts down everyone who caused him pain. 

    If you like Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne, or stories like that, you’ll like this one, too. 
  2. A Rip Through Time, Kelley Armstrong
    This one is for the murder-mystery lovers out there. A present-day detective is ripped through time (hence the title) and finds herself in 1869, living in a housemaid’s body and trying to solve her (the housemaid’s) attempted murder. 

    Kept me guessing and had me thinking, “How would I prove that I was actually from the future if this happened to me?”

    It leaves things open to a 2nd book, which is out there and I’m trying to get my hands on to see what happens next.
  3. The Stranger in the Lifeboat, Mitch Albom
    The premise here is that a group of people shipwrecked on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean pull a strange person from the water. He claims to be “the Lord,” and he tells them that he can save them, but only if they all believe in him at the same time. 

    I’m not trying to push any sort of religion or belief system on anyone. This book – in my opinion – isn’t pushing anything either. Simply bringing perspective around what is and isn’t important as humans interact with other humans, especially in life-threatening situations. 

    I enjoyed this book and think you might, too. 

    That’s all for the book recommendations this month. Moving on…

Words of Wisdom
You know the saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” 

Old is relative, and I understand that, but in this case, I think it deals with a mentality that is resistant to change.   

This year, I had a New Year’s Resolution to get my “old” self learning new tricks. 
For a few years, I’ve had the idea of starting a YouTube channel called, “Expert in a Week.” 

The idea is that I would be given a challenge, new topic, or skill, and then I would have 7 days or sessions to become as competent as possible. 

So, I gave myself the first challenge in January:


I’ve never been able to swim. 
Let me clarify that…
I’ve never been able to swim – well

Sure, I can swim for about as far as I can hold my breath, and then just doggy paddle around. My swimming experience has been limited to backyard or hotel pools where I can always touch the ground or grab onto a wall if I’m tired. 

I’ve never been able to really swim. 
You know, like Michael Phelps, powering his way to a bajillion gold medals. 
Or, Katie Ledecky, swimming a mile at a time looking more calm than I do on a casual stroll around the neighborhood. 

So, on January 13th, I got a pass to the local rec. center that had swim lanes, and went about my first attempt at swimming laps. 

I documented the journey in more detail on Facebook, so if you want to see that, I’m happy to friend you on Facebook, but I’ll just give you a quick recap here with session highlights… and keep reading – I promise there’s a lesson here…

Session 1 
10 laps in a 25-yard pool (down and back is 1 lap and 50 yards)
I felt like I would drown if I tried to do a down and back at one time.
Swimming is hard!

Session 2 
20 laps.
18 of them were one, 25-yard swim at a time.
2 of them I did 50 yards at once (nearly dying). 

Session 3 
20 laps.
12 of them were 50 yards at a time.
8 of them were 25 yards at a time.

Session 4 
36 laps.
8 laps (100 yards at a time) with the pool buoy.
2 laps, 25 yards at a time. 
30 laps, 50 yards at a time. 

Swimming session #4 had two major breakthroughs.  
I can finally breathe!
I sort of figured out the flip turn.

Session 5 
36 laps. 
2 swims of 300 yards (6 laps, no stopping, no swim aids)
4 swims of 200 yards (4 laps)

Session 6 
40 laps. 
First 21 laps were a struggle. Couldn’t find any rhythm.
Swam 9 laps in a row with a pool buoy.
Swam the last 10 laps in a row with no help.
My longest swim so far with no stopping! 

Session 7 
40 laps including 2 sets of 6 laps, 1 set of 8 laps, and 1 set of 10 laps.

The Results
I’ve always HATED cardio exercise.  

I’m like a dog – if I’m not chasing a ball or a frisbee, I get bored and don’t like exercise. Not to mention the fact that years of basketball and tennis cause my joints to scream at me if I try to do any distance running.

Biking rubs me wrong in all the wrong places, and by avoiding these cardio exercised, I could feel my heart and breathing getting worse and worse. 

Over the last 3 months, swimming has changed my life. 

If someone had told me after swimming session 1 – where I struggled to swim 25 yards – that I would be able to swim 20x that distance by my 6th session, I would’ve called them bonkers. 

I stopped documenting each session for the Facebook world after session 7, but during session 8, I swam 20 laps without stopping and have since swam a mile without stopping. 

I continue to swim 3 times a week. My heart rate is better. My lung capacity is better. My physical appearance is visibly different. All of this is because I started with something difficult, but small, and worked my way up from nothing to something.

Here’s the point, I guess. 
Humans are incredible.

There are countless stories, much more impressive than mine, where people of all ages, including seniors, have had a goal in mind and, through baby steps, have learned new talents and expanded their world. 

If you’ve had something you’ve always wanted to do or learn, why not start now?Start small. Take baby steps. 

We live in a time where it has never been easier to find quality advice on YouTube or other sources. 

One of the biggest catalysts to improving my swimming technique was talking with my co-worker Chandler. He was a stellar swimmer in high school, and he has been a great instructor through this process, giving me tips and showing me drills that have enabled me to swim better. 

Unless it’s something highly illegal or immoral, find someone you know who has experience doing what you’d like to learn and ask for help.  

Along those same lines, one thing I hope to bring to the front of your mind is that there are people in your life who look at YOU and think, “I wish I could do [insert talent here] as well as [insert your name here].” 

You are someone’s hero.
You are someone’s definition of Expert.
You are someone’s role model. 

And I think that’s pretty cool. 

So, that leaves two questions:
What are you going to do to improve yourself?
And, who can you help along the way?

That’s all I got for this one.

PS – If you have any suggestions around what my next “Expert in a Week” skill should be, I’d love to hear them. 

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. You are my hero! Thanks for sharing. You are truly inspirational. When I grow up I want to be you. (I’m serious!!!)

    Cousin Dave Fenton


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