August 2017 Book Recommendations

Apologies to those anti-subtitlest, but subtitles seem to be the common thread this month  . . . read on . . . 

Perennial Seller - The Art of Making and Marketing Work that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

The world is big and confusing and changing and a lot of folks feel lost. Ryan does an amazing job taking those big and changing ideas and turning them into quick and clear and actionable items with a sincere respect for the grand task at hand - "We are fighting not just agains our contemporaries for recognition, but against centuries of great art for an audience."

The Four Seasons Punta Mita is where I'd read this book if I had another chance to.  A nice long weekend away, with a short flight back home to come up with action plans.

Shark Drunk - The Art of Catching a Large Shark from a Tiny Rubber Dinghy in a Big Ocean by Morton Stroksnes

I would have never come across this book had it not been for a bookstore. So number one piece of advice is to always go to bookstores.  And number two piece of advice is to be a decent human being and buy the book from the bookstore if you discover it there.

Shark Drunk is a spectacular conservation book, human story book, funny aside book, and a dozen other things. The core journey about two guys trying to reconnect with the past leads to side trips about the creation of the universe, the plight of cod, and factual tidbits about one of the world's longest living creatures, the Greenland shark (450 years old!)

Of course Greenland or Iceland is the place to take in this story. There are a couple ship based Greenland trips I'm aware of, but sea sickness is my enemy, so I'd recommend an Iceland Adventure. Nothing better than being fireside with the cold temperatures on the outside and a warm fire on the inside.

What Doesn't Kill Us: How Freezing Water, Extreme Altitude, and Environmental Conditioning Will Renew Our Lost Evolutionary Strength by Scott Carney

Wim Hof "madman or prophet" that's one of many questions Scott Carney had when researching this book that took him to the cold base of Wim Hof's method in Poland to a topless Kilimanjaro trek. The coldness defined Wim Hof originally - but the book does a good job showing how Hof is transitioning to focus on his breathing exercises and techniques.  Definitely worthwhile to check out the Vice Documentary on Wim Hof and if that connects with you, then the book will be a welcome discovery.

Definitely there's no better way to read about climbing Kili than while you're climbing Kili.

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Patrick Leigh Fermor is my spirit author. If I could write like anyone, then it would be him. Fourth wall breaks, endless lists, big words that you have to look up, all of it just makes me smile. 

Mani is a sincere account of a place that Fermor sincerely loved. And that means a lot coming from a traveler and adventurer like Fermor. His genuine love of the folks of Mani really comes through.

I think everyone needs to read Mani twice. Once while getting ready to go to Greece and a second time while they're there. This has to be one of the best trips for it.

Natural Born Heroes: Mastering the Lost Secrets of Strength and Endurance by Christopher McDougall

I remember listening to the audio version of this book when it first came out and hearing Chris McDougall mention Patrick Leigh Fermor. He was recounting a daring adventure Fermor led during World War II that forms one of the core plots of this book. I made a note to look up Fermor and then promptly lost it. Fortunately someone recommended Mani to me and consequently I got to rediscover Fermor.  

Chris is a great author that approaches these grand feats of endurance and humanity with a curious awe. He does a great job connecting science with story succinctly. Greece is the obvious choice to read this one, but since the book was written in the states I feel like a National Parks itinerary might work for it. There's always something nice about longing for something far away, and I think the beauty of the parks plus the descriptions of Greece would make for some really good inspiration.

More book recommendations from 2017

So many book recommendations picked up over the last few months.  Highlights below . . .

Any books on your recommendations list to share?


On words . . . Fermor's Mani

Getting through Patrick Leigh Fermor's Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese.  He writes like I think - run on sentences, endless lists, and digressions everywhere - so I'm enamored.

It'll take forever to fully share my thoughts on the book - but I want to share the words in it - because they might be enough to convince one to give the book a try. 

From pages 150 to 230 . . . 

  • Espalierwise - a trellis or framework; support for growing bushes
  • Chthonian - belonging to the underworld
  • Hyaline - a glassy, translucent appearance
  • Haversack - a small, sturdy shoulder bag
  • Velleities - wish or inclination not strong enough to pursue (I heart this word)
  • Ecologue - a short, pastoral poem or dialogue
  • Solicitude - a case or concern for someone or something
  • Tramontana - the Northern wind
  • Quinquereme - Hellenistic era warships
  • Fustenella - a stiff white kilt worn in Greece and Albania
  • Opprobrium - harsh criticism or censure
  • Simoniacal - making profit from sacred things
  • Sartorial - relating to tailors or their trade
  • Supercilious - haughtily disdainful or contemptuous; as a person or facial expression
  • Mephitic - offensive smell; noxious
  • Dilettante - a person that takes up a subject for amusement; dabbler
  • Pleonastically - redundancy; the use of more words than necessary to express an idea
  • Puissant - having great power or influence
  • Corybantic - in the spirit of wild and frenzied
  • Maenadic - unnaturally excited or distraught woman
  • Kermesse - a charitable fair
  • Inveighed - protest or complain bitterly or vehemently
  • Anathema - cursed by ecclesiastical authority
  • Bibulousness - highly absorbent; fond of alcohol
  • Confabulation - to fill gaps in memory by fabrication

Have a read and let me know what you think?

A short and sweet and beautiful picture about the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia

Director Joey Schusler absolutely, 100% gets it right at the beginning of Trail to Kazbegi when he says, "The people of Georgia are wonderful people. Globally renowned as among the most hospitable people in the world."  And that's just half the story - what unfolds in this, quick, fifteen minute, documentary reveals the gorgeous landscapes of one of the most beautiful countries on Earth.

Expedition crew of Joey Schulser, Brice Minnigh, Ross Measures, and Sam Seward spent their time in Georgia out on a multi day biking epic through some of the spectacular Georgian passes. And these aren't just any passes, these are rough and technical peaks that even the Russian army didn't dare pass through.

The images they brought back from the expedition are amazing - quick switchbacks amongst the white peaks with not another human in sight except for shepherds, dogs, horses and sheep. The ancient traiding paths and agricultural trails are gorgeous and quiet (except when there are thunderstorms), everything that an intrepid traveler looks for when solitude is the prescription.

Highly recommend to take a few minutes to watch this inspirational film. And then take that inspiration to consider going to Georgia. Best way is via Turkish Airlines into Istanbul, then a quick flight to Tblisi. From Tblisi it is easy to get to some amazing spots (including Kazbegi) via road.

Watch the short film here 

Unvetted but Confident - Book Recommendations from Pure Life Experiences

Everything  at the Pure Life Experiences show in Marrakesh, Morocco is my favorite. The meetings are my favorite, the people are my favorite, the format is my favorite, everything comes with the post script "my favorite".

One thing that makes a meeting with a person my extra special, most favorite is when I come away with a new book recommendation.  Here are a my favorite few and my favorite people that mentioned them. Also, I haven't gotten to read any of these yet - so please share your thoughts if you get to them before I do.

Thanks to the amazing Zita Cobb, Innkeeper at Fogo Island Inn, for sharing this insightful book.

Jimmy Nelson, photographer extraordinaire, shared the story of Curtis who served as an inspiration of Jimmy's own work. 

From Sofi Hatzivassiliou, Fermor was described by a journalists as "a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond, and Graham Greene."

The result of years of work and enthusiasm, this book is the accumulation of Jimmy Nelson's adventures around the globe trying to preserve the history of indigenous peoples.

Another from the amazing Zita Cobb.