Janus (1): Looking back

Disclaimer: This post was written mostly for me – if you’re not me, you may wish to skip to the end or to skip it entirely!

2020: Goals in Review

Looking back, who knew what 2020 was going to be like?

I’ve heard several people say that it was a year in which mere survival (for you, for your organisation) was a result to be celebrated, and there may be something to that – but it’s important to aim for more, even if we fall mostly short.

I confess to not having looked at these goals for months, but here we go:

Goal 1: Writing Goals

Writing Goals

Overall Vision (this one will sound a bit vague):
A) To keep building Driverless Crocodile as a tool for my own learning and to help others.

Medium – Long Term Specific Goals / Vision:
B) Complete the DriverlessBookadile
C) Use this as the basis for reorganising / redesigning the site
D) Podcast it for fun
E) Workshop it somewhere if anyone’s interested

Goal for this 12 Week Year (wb 6th January to wb 23rd March):
F) Complete a first draft of the DriverlessBookadile, in rough-cut, blog-post form.

12 Week Year: DriverlessCrocoGoals

Goal A: Success. DC is still going well, is more visited than ever and continues to grow despite ups and downs in my motivation and focus. 365 days, 365-plus posts (of variable quality, some good). Job done.

Goal B, C, D, E and F: Abject failure. I made a few forays, polished some old drafts and made a few plans, but none of this (apart from one additional podcast episode) feels much closer than it did at the start of 2020.

Ouch.

Metagoal: The Twelve Week Year: This really didn’t work for me. I’m reluctant to criticise the system because I don’t think I gave it a fair go. This – and my current to do list system – needs some thought as we start 2021.

Other Goals:

  • 2020 was the year of my first marathon, a long-running goal of mine.

Reading list in review:

I’m not promising to finish in 2020, but I’d like to. Needs more fiction.

Getting things done (4)

  1. 12 Week Year – Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington* (read 2020/01/09)
    • Read – decent premise, much repetition.
  2. Atomic HabitsJames Clear*
    • I feel like I read this – habits (or practices) have become a key part of my thinking about how to get things done.
  3. Make Time – Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky (added 2020/01/05)
    • Unread
  4. Start Finishing – Charlie Gilkey (added 2020/01/05)
    • Didn’t start (!)

People stuff and organisational culture (5)

  1. Switch – Chip and Dan Heath
    • Unread
  2. The Culture Code – Daniel Coyle
    • Unread
  3. You Are What You Do – Ben Horowitz
    • Unread
  4. The Infinite Game – Simon Sinek
    • Unread
  5. Drive – Dan Pink (remembered and added 2020/01/05)
    • Unread

Design and making things (4)

  1. The Design of Everyday Things – Don Norman*
  2. Macintosh Human Interface Guidelines – Apple Computer*
  3. Letting Go of the Words – Ginny Reddish*
  4. Something by Steve Krug*

All unre-read.

Marketing and communication (4)

  1. This is Marketing – Seth Godin*
  2. Story Driven – Bernadette Jiwa*
  3. The Fortune Cookie Principle – Bernadette Jiwa*
  4. The Compelling Communicator – Tim Pollard*

Unread

Management and strategy (6)

  1. The Excellence Dividend – Tom Peters*
    • Part read. Good for dipping in and out of.
  2. The Pursuit of Wow! – Tom Peters
    • Bought. Skimmed. One of those hundreds-of-short-chapters books. Non-essential.
  3. The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – Michael E. Gerber*
  4. Strategy Rules: Five Timeless Lessons from Bill Gates, Andy Grove, and Steve Jobs – David B. Yoffie and Michael A. Cusumano*
  5. Crossing the Chasm Geoff Moore
  6. The Long Tail – Chris Anderson

If uncommented – unread.

Ways of seeing the world and decision making (6)

  1. Factfulness – Hans Rosling
  2. Enlightenment Now – Steven Pinker
  3. Thinking Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
  4. Thinking in Bets – Annie Duke
  5. Map and Territory – Eliezer Yudowsky*
  6. Antifragile – Nassim Nicholas Taleb (added 2020/04/01)
  7. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (added 2020/01/12)
    • Listened to! Fun.

More general hinterland reading (5)

  1. A Brief History of Debt – David Graeber
  2. Generous Justice – Tim Keller
  3. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
  4. The Gift – Lewis Hyde
  5. Indonesia Etc. – Elizabeth Pisani (added 2020/04/01)
  6. The Canon – Natalie Angier (added 2020/01/05)
    • Made a valiant start. Fascinating science. Overwritten. Won’t finish.
  7. Fighting Talk: Forty Maxims on War, Peace and Strategy – Colin S. Gray (added 2019/01/09)
    • Read bits of – some interesting bits. Heavy style and rather boring. Won’t finish.
  8. The Life You Can Save – Peter Singer (added 2020/02/16)
    • Started in audio form. Worth continuing.

Fiction, history and other (6)

  1. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo*
    • Read! Epic. Worth the effort.
  2. Interesting Times – Terry Pratchett
  3. Forgotten WarsChristopher Bayly and Tim Harper
    • I was about to mark this “read,” but I think I’m remembering its prequel. Will double check when I finally get back to my bookcase post-Covidlife.
  4. Can Love Last?: The Fate of Romance over Time Stephen A. Mitchell (or a substitute)
  5. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution – C.L.R. James
  6. Bandwidth – Eliot Peper
    • Partially read. It was highly recommended but is – so far – not great.

Remaining books unread.

Books I did read:

(Including the above):

  • The War of Art – Stephen Pressfield
  • Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – Robert O’Brien
  • The Explorer – Katherine Rundell
  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting – Robert McKee (audiobook)
  • Generous Justice – Timothy Keller
  • Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within – Natalie Goldberg
  • Dreyer’s English – Benjamin Dreyer
  • Following Jesus – Henri Nouwen
  • Small Giants – Beau Burlingham
  • Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
  • Dominion – Tom Holland (audiobook)
  • Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman – Richard Feynman (audiobook)
  • The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make us Human – Jonathan Gottschall (audiobook)
  • The 12 Week Year – Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington
  • The Prosperity Paradox – Clayton Christense, Efosa Ojomo and Karen Dillon
  • A Chinese Life
  • Akenfield
  • Ethel & Ernest
  • Explorers on the Moon
  • Why You Should Read Children’s Books

… and many others dipped into or started in sample form.

Conclusions

  • Some of this goal-setting stuff seems rather futile. Hard to tell if I would have achieved more or less without them!
  • 40 books on the reading list was rather over optimistic (hence “2020 and beyond” in the original), but this set of 14 includes a couple of whoppers. The list for 2021 will feature… 20 books. Coming soon.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...