Best books about life

There are some excellent books that I came across which teaches invaluable life lessons. There are tons more books about live where these came from. Leave a comment if you wish to see more.

Life Lessons – Two experts on Death and Dying Teach us about the mysteries of life and living.

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This books has one of the highest positive rating on amazon. Here is a brief from amazon.com about the book. Don’t be fooled by the title. It is about life and living and not about death. Here is a review from amazon page.

After experiencing a paralyzing stroke in 1995 and facing her own mortality, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross realized she had some unfinished business to take care of. “I wanted to write one more book, not on death and dying, but on life and living,” she explains. So she joined forces with coauthor David Kessler, a leader in the field of hospice care, and together they wrote about the lessons we can learn about living from those who are dying. As Kessler explains in his introduction, “The dying have always been teachers of great lessons, for it’s when we are pushed to the edge of life that we see most clearly.”

Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life

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This is an excellent book from Harold S. Kushner who is famous for his best seller (When bad things happen to good people).

Here is what Wall-street journal had to say about the book (From amazon page).

Whatever one’s religious beliefs may be, Mr. Kushner has much to say about the enduring value of community, the universal need for a sense of belonging, the moral sense that makes us human and the ways in which we also help ourselves by helping others.

Life Lessons – Everything you ever wished you had learned in kindergarten.

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There is a reason why this book is having a 4.9 star (out of 5) in amazon.

Life Lessons is a practical and inspiring guide to help you understand why things happen the way they do in life. You are NEVER being punished. You are NEVER a victim of your life. If it is happening in your life, it is because it is there to teach you something. And the sooner you can get that lesson, the sooner you can move on with your life. In clear and easy language, Donnalynn Civello, CHHC, AADP, Certified Intuitive Life Coach and Holistic Nutritionist helps you to understand the nature of life and the many life lessons that we encounter on a daily basis.

Its not for everyone though. Checkout the book and go through a few pages. You will be hooked.

Life’s Greatest Lessons – 20 Things that matter.

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This book has sold quarter of a million copies, and for good reason. The popularity and number of positive comments in amazon is an example of how this book is changing lives. Here is a brief review from the amazon page.

Life’s Greatest Lessons is a wise, wonderful book. In it, Hal Urban, a parent and an award-winning teacher, presents twenty principles that are as deeply rooted in common sense as they are in compassion. The topics, gathered from a lifetime of teaching both children and adults, span a wide range of readily understood concepts, including attitudes about money, understanding the real meaning of “success,” and the importance of having fun. The book will help you find the best—in the world, in others, and in yourself. Classic in its simplicity and enduring in its appeal, Life’s Greatest Lessons helps us all rediscover that the desire to live a good life is timeless.

30 Lessons for Living – Tried and True advice from the wisest Americans

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This is the holy grail if you are looking for books about life. You will find stories from thousands of extraordinary Americans in this book. You will have to take your time to read this and it will be well worth your time. Here is an small review from amazon page.

After a chance encounter with an extraordinary ninety-year-old woman, renowned gerontologist Karl Pillemer began to wonder what older people know about life that the rest of us don’t.His quest led him to interview more than one thousand Americans over the age of sixty-five to seek their counsel on all the big issues- children, marriage, money, career, aging. Their moving stories and uncompromisingly honest answers often surprised him. And he found that he consistently heard advice that pointed to these thirty lessons for living. Here he weaves their personal recollections of difficulties overcome and lives well lived into a timeless book filled with the hard-won advice these older Americans wish someone had given them when they were young.

Please leave comments if you think that another book should be included in this list.

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Zillow to google sheets. How to get data from Zillow to google sheets

Data from zillow.com can be referenced from Google sheets using some inbuilt functions that Google sheets provide. We will be using two functions for this.

  1. importxml()
  2. index

The importxml will import all elements which are matched in the xpath query. In the example below, we are asking google sheets to get the contents of elements with class value ‘zest-value’. Now this query alone will return two results. We need only the first one. That is why we use the index function and specify the “1” in the end. So the whole formula will look something like this.

=index(importxml(<insert the zillow link here>,“//*[@class=’zest-value’]”),1)

Here is an example.

=index(importxml(“http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/3817-Vista-Verde-Palm-Springs-CA-92262/63316638_zpid/”,“//*[@class=’zest-value’]”),1)

Youtube link showing copy of data from zillow to google sheets

Redfin to google sheets data copy

I tried to copy from Redfin to googlesheets using the same technique after making changes as per the sites source listing. But didn’t have much luck there. If you guys figure out how to do that, please share the same in the comments section.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

– Warren Buffett.

Warren Buffett has mentioned this quote numerous times in his various interviews. Here is a short version of the video where he makes the same comment and explains it.

Importance of Habits

After watching several videos in which Warren Buffett gives general advise on how to be successful, I noticed that the very first point he makes is about how to form efficient habits early in life. He stresses time and again on how important it is to develop these good efficient habits earlier in one’s life. The above quote shows the compounding effect of habits overtime. Warren Buffett is not the first one or the only one to highlight the importance of forming good habits. But like all his other actions, he is able to support his advise with a very practical, do-able action item which we all can do today.

Actions for developing good habits.

His advise is to look no farther than our immediate surroundings. Pick a person who you like and is successful in one way or another in your eyes. Now write down (it is important to do this exercise by writing down) the list of this person’s good qualities/habits that you would like to see in yourself. Similarly list the bad habits that you want to get rid of and make a conscious effort towards eradicating the same.

The good thing about habits is that we can train ourselves. There are lots of research which states that it takes us an average of 21 consecutive days to form a new habit. This can vary from person to person and the focus level with which he tries to implement the new habit. Once you reach an age range like 50’s or 60’s it becomes more hard to form new habits. In other words, the old habits will be like chains that will be too hard to be broken.

If you are still in your 30’s or below, you will have to believe that this invisible chain of habit is very real and we will have to work towards maintaining the good ones and breaking the bad ones now.

Tools for developing good habits.

The best thing is to keep a journal on the habit. Just explain the habit you need to form and keep daily track of whether you were able to achieve it. If you own a smart phone, then tracking becomes much easy. There are habit tracking apps that are available for free. I use an app called habit bull which allows me to simply keep track of my habits. I have coded it in a way that only I can understand. I have noticed that it is much more effective to commit during the beginning of the day that you will make it a positive day rather than waiting till the end of the day to track that day’s status. For example, if you are trying to get rid of smoking, it will help if you make the conscious decision during the beginning of the day that you will not smoke and mark that day as successful. I have attained complete control over one of my bad habits this way. I have added more items to track. I am also planning to do an in depth review of habit bull app.

Ending Note on Habit formation.

Compounding applies not only to your investment but also to personal development and habit formation. Compound is such a powerful tool that it would be wise for you to be on its good side and make it your friend.

Moto X review. 1 Week review of Moto X

I switched my wireless to $25 unlimited talk text and data plan and I got a Moto X with the plan. I Paid $299 for the phone but got $20 referral discount and a free google chromecast ($35 value) along with it. This makes it a super value deal. I have been playing around with the Moto X for sometime now and I absolutely love it. I had a samsung galaxy S3 before I got the Moto X. The Moto X is several times faster than the S3 and has very less bloatware. In my experience so far, the apps that Motorolla pre installed in the phone are super useful. I know that 1 weeek is too early to post  a very detailed review. But here are some of the things that I loved about the phone.

1. Moto X Hands free control.

The voice commands has improved leaps and bounds from the S3 era. The voice commands are processed faster and has very less error. I have a slang but still the Moto X was able to detect about 99% of the commands I did. I went through the official Moto X voice command list . But I soon discovered that we can really extend these commands. For example I had Google Music installed in my previous phone. I used the same gmail account to login to the new one and the phone automatically downloaded all the compatible apps to the new device from my old S3. Along with that the Google Music also got installed. I wanted to try out Google Music with the voice command, so I said “Ok Google Now, Play Google Music”. What happened next surprised me. Google music randomly created a playlist based on my previous use and started playing them one by one. And I have to say that all the songs which they predicted were much to my liking. I am still experimenting with it for setting reminders, setting alarms, adding calendar events, opening Pandora etc.

2. Moto X Design

I got a white version which is non customized. I like the ergonomic design and it feels a good fit in my hand. I can easily reach the four corners when held with one hand which makes it super easy while navigating webpages. The pattern on the back side and the small dip on the back makes it classy in my opinion. It does not feel cheap at all.

 

3. No bloatware

There are some apps which comes pre installed with the device but unlike Samsung which fills the new device with garbage apps, this one had very useful ones. I found the Motorola migrate, Connect and similar apps very useful. I have to admit that this is the first time I am using any pre installed apps.

 

4. Battery life

So far the battery life has been decent. Since I just got the phone I have been using it heavily. Even then, it comfortably lasts for a whole day. I haven’t put it yet on battery savings. One huge advantage of this device is that the builders took preserving battery as one of their main objectives while designing the product. That is why they have a separate processor for voice command accelerometer and several other less used features.

Not a major point but still worth mentioning is the way in which we can see the time when you just tilt the device. In my Galaxy S3, I had to push the power button to know the time. But if you just pick up the Moto X when it is in sleep mode, a small black and white display appears showing the time. I just have to move it a bit to activate it. This will also be instrumental in saving the battery live.

 

I have a few concerns that i found but they are minor ones.

I am used to navigating with S3, so the absense of the menu button is something I have to deal with. At times, I will be searching for the menu button to bring in some additional options while navigating through an app. So I have to tell myself that this is a different device and sure enough the same options will be available as a different gesture/inbuilt menu option.

Stay tuned for more reviews on the device and some accessory recommendations.