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A Life in Parts, Bryan Cranston

A Life in Parts, Bryan Cranston

fun read
when a working actor, tells their story, it’s always a treat.
when a working actor, who struck it big, tells their story, it’s a roller coaster :)
Bryan has fun with the book; there are tales that appear so real, until he yanks the rug, telling you it wasn’t. And there are passages that are unbelievable, but true.
Loved this passage in the book …

Early in my career, I was always hustling. Doing commercials, guest-starring, auditioning like crazy. I was making a decent living, but I confided to Robin that I felt I was stuck in junior varsity. I wondered if I had plateaued. Ever thoughtful, my wife gave me the gift of private sessions with a self-help guy named Breck Costin, who was really wonderful with actors and other creative people.

Breck suggested that I focus on process rather than outcome. I wasn’t going to the audition to get anything: a job or money or validation. I wasn’t going to compete with the other guys.

I was going to give something.

I wasn’t there to get a job. I was there to do a job. Simple as that. I was there to give a performance. If I attached to the outcome, I was setting myself up to expect, and thus to fail. My job was to focus on character. My job was to be interesting. My job was to be compelling. Take some chances. Serve the text. Enjoy the process.

Books I Read in 2019.

Want to know what I was up to, with my reading last year?
The whole big list is here.
I read in November and December too, but some books you just … cannot :)



via the ever creative, Tom Gauld


If you want to see the books I read over and over again, every single year, here is my Lindy list.

I hope to learn more, enjoy more, read more this year.
I got so much more out of my books this year, by being more mindful as I read.
I enjoyed my pulp and my crass fiction too :)

I owe some of you kind folk, loads of gratitude.
I started the feed my reading, list on a lark and some of you have actually gone and bought me books :)
This probably is the kindest thing, people have done for me and I internally squeal with glee, every time a book comes home.
From Rumi, to Computer Science Problems, to Market Cycles, to communicating well using drawing … you have indulged my every whim.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I start, as I usually do with the Lindy list and then lets see what the New Year holds.
I hope something from that list catches your fancy and you do read this year.

Because like Gaiman says,

Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.

Einstein does one better,

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

I wish you, Happy Reading! :)

P.S. Subscribe to my mailing list! Forward these to your friends and get them to subscribe!
P.P.S. Feed my insatiable reading habit.


Year End Reading For a Better You

As much as I love books, I also like to read blogs, and listen to podcasts.

So here is the year end, most popular, best of stuff that some of the places I frequent, have shared.
And in turn, I share it with you, to help you get a good jumpstart to the new year :)

For times, when you just want to veg out, the Ars TV Guide should have you covered, at least for January

Let’s start with Austin Kleon, in Your output depends on your input:

Problems of output are problems of input.

These amazing curated playlists are just a feedback loop. They’ll tell you what to listen to next week based on what you listened to last week. And because they’re a feedback loop, they won’t show you anything new or interesting.1
So what you need to do, if you really want to broaden your horizons as a listener, is to get exposed to new things. Pick somebody. It doesn’t have to be me…. Find somebody who you trust as a guide, and let them open your ears to these new experiences.

If you do that, you will be rewarded infinitely …

And here is Austin’s list of books he read in 2019.
(I just started reading Range.)

To get your finances in order, it always helps to stick with the basics.
Subra has a list of sensible suggestions to get stuff, ship shape.

I love Tim Urban’s ginormously long posts, like this one on SpaceX’s Big Fucking Rocket.
But what I really love about Tim this year, is that he’s started with a ginormously long series.
It’s called The Story of Us and it’s about, well, us.
From how consciousness evolved in us humans to how our animal brain still shapes our collective actions, this series has it all!
Read it all here. Definitely worth your time.

Tim Ferriss has started a series within his podcast, called Books I’ve Loved.
Short little episodes, from people, I love reading.
Tim kicks it off himself, here.
Seth Godin and Esther Perel share an episode. (I loved Thinking in Bets, a Seth recommendation)

Leo Babauta, the man who practically gives away darn near everything he creates and helped me find calm, celebrates a decade of writing on Zen Habits.
His list of posts are at the bottom of the page.
I personally loved, Working with the Heartbreaking Feeling That Something is Wrong with You.

Derek Sivers, argues Your year changes when your life changes.

If my post summarising James Clear’s Atomic Habits didn’t do it for you, then Ryan Holiday does a much better job with How to Develop Better Habits in 2020.

Daily Stoic has their best of the best up.
I loved You Have The Power To Straighten Your Back.

The Art of Manliness has a post on the highlights that made up their year.
I’m a big fan of all their Fireside posts.

On to the man who made me fall in love with learning, Scott Young.
He too had long guides this year, alongside all his other learning endeavours.
Find them all here.

Farnam Street were their usual incredible selves this year.
I am happy I live in a time when something like this exists.
Shane’s annual letters now rival Warren Buffett’s for their clarity of thought.
The podcast is a treat, I always look forward to. I loved the Kahneman episode.
And this years posts, somehow resonated with more depth, for me.
How Not to Be Stupid is one such example.

I’ll close with two people, who I cannot pick any favourites out of.

If you can, read all of Neil Gaiman’s tumblr.
The man is kind, patient, wise, and has incredible advice.

And finally, read Maria Popova.
I credit her, (after my dad) with opening my eyes to everything in life.
Art. Beauty. Tolerance. Kindness. Poetry.
Name it, and she beautifully explains it.
She has a best of, page, but seriously, you owe it to yourself, to just subscribe to her blog.

And with that, I bid you good bye for now.
See you warm folk, next year :)

P.S. Subscribe to my mailing list! Forward these to your friends and get them to subscribe!
P.P.S. Feed my insatiable reading habit.


  1. Yes, I get the irony of quoting this in my curated list :) 

I Wish You Warmth!

Sandra Fabiani

Warmth is a fire place in winter.
Warmth is the love of your family and friends.
Warmth is compassion end empathy.
Warmth is a smile and kindness from strangers.
Warmth is a hug when we are feeling bad.
Warmth is kind words when you are doubting yourself.

Monica Lewinsky

Soul connecting hugs …

Ben Stiller

Fireplaces, hearths, wood. Everything I didn’t experience growing up […]
Also puppies and Xmas music

Caitlin Geghan

My dad’s last letter to me—words of encouragement & love, handed to me after he passed for our first Christmas without him. (Amazing how a single paragraph of love can push you through the hardest days. I reread it whenever I need his long-armed hugs.)

Sarah Hajar

Warmth is "Sabrina's Scarf"

December 2014. Amman. On a bus. Ready to move on. A little girl appeared. Our guide called to us. "Anyone has extra scarf for this girl. She is from the Syrian refugee camp." My sister Sabrina took off hers.

Melinda Beatty

The smell of cinnamon. The color orange. Coffee. Fresh bread. Low ceilings with dark, oak beams. 

Roger Burks

For me, warmth is togetherness. Shelter in family & friends. A feeling that, no matter what else is happening or what troubles await, that particular moment is safe, sacred & shareable. It's a sense of care that endures. […]

Tina Knuth

As a homeless single teen mother in November of 1981, Friends shared an apartment. 5 adults and three children under age 4. We kept everyone fed (barely) and were warm for that winter. Life sucked badly, but the apartment became our stronghold for 6 months.

Kit

I grew up poor, our parents only let us turn the heat on when family visited on holidays. When I moved out I fell in love with cast iron radiators. They make strange noises and when I use them I get the sense my grandma is about to arrive for dinner.


“What reminds you of warmth?”



That was the question Neil Gaiman, posed to his twitter followers, hoping to crowdsource the best thoughts into a short poem to help the UNHCR with their appeal to help Syrian refugees survive the freezing winter, far from home.

Easy peasy. How hard could it be?
It was only ridiculously difficult, as it turned out.
The tweet went viral and Gaiman found himself facing twenty five thousand words worth of replies.
And from there, he wove a poem of beauty.
I quote it, in its entirety here.
via The Guardian


What You Need to be Warm by Neil Gaiman

A baked potato of a winter’s night to wrap your hands around or burn your mouth.
A blanket knitted by your mother’s cunning fingers. Or your grandmother’s.
A smile, a touch, trust, as you walk in from the snow
or return to it, the tips of your ears pricked pink and frozen.

The tink tink tink of iron radiators waking in an old house.
To surface from dreams in a bed, burrowed beneath blankets and comforters,
the change of state from cold to warm is all that matters, and you think
just one more minute snuggled here before you face the chill. Just one.

Places we slept as children: they warm us in the memory.
We travel to an inside from the outside. To the orange flames of the fireplace
or the wood burning in the stove. Breath-ice on the inside of windows,
to be scratched off with a fingernail, melted with a whole hand.

Frost on the ground that stays in the shadows, waiting for us.
Wear a scarf. Wear a coat. Wear a sweater. Wear socks. Wear thick gloves.
An infant as she sleeps between us. A tumble of dogs,
a kindle of cats and kittens. Come inside. You’re safe now.

A kettle boiling at the stove. Your family or friends are there. They smile.
Cocoa or chocolate, tea or coffee, soup or toddy, what you know you need.
A heat exchange, they give it to you, you take the mug
and start to thaw. While outside, for some of us, the journey began

as we walked away from our grandparents’ houses
away from the places we knew as children: changes of state and state and state,
to stumble across a stony desert, or to brave the deep waters,
while food and friends, home, a bed, even a blanket become just memories.

Sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place,
to hold out a badly knitted scarf, to offer a kind word, to say
we have the right to be here, to make us warm in the coldest season.

You have the right to be here.


And here he is, narrating it …


So, on this Christmas day, I wish you all warmth!
I wish we be kinder, and more inclusive.
I wish we be more generous.
I pray that we start with the Man in the Mirror.
I pray for more warmth :)
And if you do need reminding, just look at the replies to Neil’s question.

Merry Christmas, all you warm and gorgeous people!
And a Happy New Year!