Flashbacks, Human Nature, Movies, Books & TV Shows, Numbers

Airport Purchase

Someone was interested in the book ‘The No Asshole Rule’, which I placed on the second-hand website almost two years ago. The person wanted to buy it for half the price I asked. D rolled the ball back to the potential buyer, negotiating for 80% of the asking price, plus sending cost. It was a no go.

There was really no loss on neither side. Potential buyer did not want the book enough to pay for what I asked, and I did not need to part with the book that desperately…

I bought the book at SFO, after a business trip to China. Do not make a book worm wait at an airport for hours, for no good reasons.

Movies, Books & TV Shows

50 Years Of Books

My fascination for books and all sorts of narratives spans half a century. The following is a rough list of what I remember reading…

Angels. German shepherd. Nursery rhymes. Woodland creatures. Grimm’s fairy tales. Disney comic books. Enid Blyton. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Mark Twain. Alice in Wonderland. Robinson Crusoe.

DC comics. Marvel comics. The Naked Sun. Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series. John Lennon. Mother Theresa. Little House in the Big Woods. Laura Ingalls Wilder. A Christmas Carol. A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. Little Women.

2001: A Space Odyssey. Arthur C. Clarke. I, Robot. Isaac Asimov. Angela’s Ashes. Interview with the Vampire. It. Great Expectations. The Arabian Nights. King Arthur.

The Little Prince. Harry Potter. The Chronicles of Narnia. The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings. J.R.R. Tolkien. The Da Vinci Code. The Odyssey. Stranger in a Strange Land. Robert A. Heinlein. The Art of War.

Of Mice and Men. The Grapes of Wrath. John Steinbeck. Mars Trilogy. Kim Stanley Robinson. The Foundation Series. Snow Crash. Animal Farm. Brave New World. Watership Down. A Farewell to Arms. David Copperfield. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? The Law of Success.

How to Win Friends and Influence People. Hyperion. Dan Simmons. A Game of Thrones. Homo Deus. Wool. Blindsight. The Three-Body Problem. Liu Cixin. The Expanse. James S. A. Corey. Redshirts. Old Man’s War. The Interdependency. John Scalzi. The Culture series. Iain M. Banks. Ender’s Game. Orson Scott Card.

Human Nature, Movies, Books & TV Shows, Simplify

Saturday Errand Walk

This Saturday morning, I stopped at the library to return and borrow a couple of books. Then, I strolled to the bank to get some cash because it is good to have a healthy getaway stash… πŸ˜‰

Lastly, I went to the grocery store to purchase some discounted items I wanted. Normally, I avoid the weekend crowds at grocery stores. But today, I made an exception.

Special times call for special measures.

Jibber Jabber, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Between Two Rainfalls

I had to return two library books today. They were already one day late. Yikes…

So, after checking the weather forecast, I walked off at 14.20, keeping in mind that I have at least an hour of clearing. I have my umbrella with me, just in case. It was a short walk.

After returning the two books (phew, no late fees), I could not stop myself from borrowing three books and walking home with them.

Off topic, people are really good at smiling with masks on these days. Hey, we have all developed a new social skill. πŸ™‚

Also off topic, happy 42nd birthday, baby brother!

Belgium, Human Nature, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Human Interest

Recently, I have been watching several Belgian TV programs. Most of these are short documentaries, or programs which are categorized as ‘human interest’.

Knowing other people’s stories gives me better perspectives in life. Most of these stories are filled with hope, human kindness, courage and resilience. They also provide me with the much needed, but positive distractions.

So, thank you Lidewij, Rudi, Dominique and Joris. The stories you have chosen to tell have definitely provided some brightness in these dark times.

Flashbacks, Human Nature, Movies, Books & TV Shows, Simplify


In March 2019, I read the book Delivering Happiness and blogged about it. Tony Hsieh (who was barely 45 then) will be going places, I thought to myself. November this year, he is no more. In his quest of delivering happiness to everyone else, he had forgotten to take care of himself. πŸ™

When travelling on the speedway of life, we mere humans tend to neglect ourselves. We lose ourselves in worldly busyness and placed aside simple things like eating well, getting enough sleep, enjoying nature, breathing deeply, loving honestly and laughing.

D and I watched The Nest last weekend. Here, you see people who were already doing quite well in life, almost perfect. But then, there is that need to reach a station higher. To accomplish more. To have acquired a million will quickly turn into the dire need to possess ten million, and thus the vicious circle of greed continues.

It will never be enough… if one does not learn to cherish the simpler things in life.

Business & Creativity, Flashbacks, Movies, Books & TV Shows

The No Asshole Rule

One of the books I am currently reading is The No Asshole Rule by Robert I. Sutton. Even though the book is 13 years old and I have been away from the rat race for just as long; I know from random tweets, the news and my acquaintances that a lot of the things mentioned by the author still holds true today.

On page 65, point four of the hiring and firing policies states:

Every candidate is interviewed by people who will be above, below, and alongside them, status-wise. And people from unrelated professional disciplines participate.

I did that when hiring junior graphic designers at Zappos. I did not called these interviews, nor make them official. I just divided up my own interview session, and encouraged some of my co-workers to have a chat with the potential candidate.

Also on page 65:

Research on job interviews and hiring decisions shows that the recruiter tends to hire candidates who look and act like his or her favourite person on the planet – him or herself.

Well, my hires included a young father who previously worked for a bank, an internal hire of a Hawaiian Filipino who worked in customer service, an ambitious quirky African American woman, and a German American teenager who looks like a Viking. My then team of designers also included a scruffy, sometimes disgruntled New Yorker who just happened to end up with me. Any of them look or act like me? Probably not…

Was I an asshole manager? Maybe not, judging from the positive reviews I got from all of them. I can be strict and demanding, but I was well liked and respected. These are now just good memories. The important thing is that my little ones have grown and flown far from the nest. And I am proud to have been a tiny part of that.

Jibber Jabber, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Library Membership

My library card is going to expire this August. The yearly fee is supposed to increase from €3 to €5, allowing members to borrow books from all the regional libraries. Normally, this would be an advantage for me and I would not hesitate in paying the extra €2. However, I shall not be renewing my library membership this year…

First of all, one must wear a mask when visiting the library, or risk a fine. Secondly, there shall be no more dilly-dallying, and I like doing that when I visit a library. And lastly, this might be the perfect time for me to finally go through my own library of books, bought and collected more than ten years ago.

Books about business, design, and communication may not seem to have anything to do with my current situation, but one never know, I might still learn a thing or two from these decade old books. After that, I will try to sell them online. Oh, I also have a collection of novels in Dutch. Maybe there will be time for those as well.

Yep, adapting to the new normal, because there will be no more business as usual.