Jan 20, 2015

Book Review: The Sports Gene

David Epstein's The Sports Gene was exciting read for me. I follow many different sports and I've been intrigued about how much success is about nature (genes) and how much about nurture (training, etc). This was the first time I got some concrete facts about the subject.

David Epstein isn't a scientist, but a sports journalist, who has made a long learning journey to be able to write about so technical subject. I believe this book is better, when it's written by a journalist and not by a scientist. Book goes quite deep into the genes and biology, so it's better when it's written in bit more understandable way.

Book tells stories and facts about athletics, basketball, sprint running, long distance running, cross country skiing, baseball and many others. It really tries to look for patterns behind athletes and their genes. For certain sports there are definitely genetic differences that make some athletes to have a superior change to succeed to others. Still success always needs lots of training.

In one way book is depressing for some sports. As an example, with current conditions in the world Kalenjin Kenyans will rule the marathon and long distance running field for some time. But actually not that long ago, Finnish people used to rule the long distance world (Hannes Kolehmainen, Paavo Nurmi, Lasse Viren) , before we got richer and didn't run that much anymore. So in a way we Finns still might have the genes for it, but our environment and training doesn't support those anymore. The same might happen to the Kenyans at some in the future.

The whole book bounces between nature and nurture. What is certain is that there are no genetically perfect athletes, because no one doesn't have any good ideas what genes actually are needed for which sports. There are some genes found which might prevent success in some sports and some genes that are common with the elite athletes in that sport. Most often still, the genes of elite athletes can be found from thousands of other who still are not elite. So there is no one answer for nature vs nurture debate.

One other thing that interested me was the trainability of people. Different genes actually mean that people develop differently. Populist journalism often tells that training like this and that will only give results. The fact is, people acquire skills differently. The famous 10 000 hour rule, isn't exactly true, but then on the other hand it gives an idea of the ball park people need to train. People need to train the way their body and mind adapts. That's the most important lesson of the book.

I highly recommend this book the everyone interested about sport training or coaching. It felt bit longish at some point, but reading this is time well invested.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Jan 2, 2015

Wordle 2014

I have a tradition to create Word Cloud with Wordle of the blog posts I've written during the year. It visually shows what I have written about. It's a nice easy way to see what this blog is all about.

Wordle of Blog Posts from 2014

It wasn't a surprise to myself or anyone who have read my blog, that word book is the most popular word in my blog. That's how it has been in the previous years and that's how it most probably will be in the future. The next most popular was people. That has been in the second place in the previous years also.

To get more insights of what I have written this year, I removed Book and People from the word cloud to see what were the next most popular words. (note: common words have been removed)

Wordle 2014 without Book and People

After this change the Wordle looks much more interesting. I'm happy that I've written about organizations, work and companies a lot. That's something that has interested me and I'm glad that I've also blogged about those.

Word Clouds from Previous Years

Wordle 2010
Wordle 2011

Wordle 2012
Wordle 2013

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 30, 2014

Best and Most Popular Posts of Web Wanderer Blog in 2014

Blogging frequency have been going down again from the previous years. One reason has been that I haven't read as many books I would have hoped to. Also I haven't written that many other posts that in previous years. On the other hand, I've written down almost 30 ideas of blog posts that I should write. So blog isn't fading away, I just need to find the time to write it in the future.

Five Most Popular Posts from 2014

  1. Separate Testing is Waste
  2. Book Review: The Essential Deming: Leadership Principles from the Father of Quality
  3. Disease of Being Busy
  4. Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris
  5. Book Review: All The Devils are Here by McLean and Nocera

Most of the posts come from earlier this year, so maybe that's the reason those got more reads than the newer ones. This year I didn't have any one post that would have been much more popular that any else, but there were many which were quite popular.

For some reason the most read blog posts of the year were from 2011. These three blog posts suddenly raised to be popular this year. Almost no one had read those before, but now these got lot of attention. It is weird, but it also proves that good content will find its way to be read sooner or later. There are the three posts from 2011 that actually were most read this year:

My Own Five Favorite Posts 2014

This time again, only one of the most popular posts are the same from the ones I think that were my best posts. All of these got attention, but I would have wished those would have got even more attention.

Thanks for everyone who has read my blog during this year. It's been good year and let's wish next one will be even better.

Dec 29, 2014

Book Review: Organize for Complexity

I got book Organize for Complexity when I was at Dare Festival in Belgium about a month ago. Author Niels Pflaeging did also give a speech at the conference. The contents of the speech and the book (or perhaps booklet) were mainly the same, so this review is a bit about both of those.

Topic of the book interests me a lot. I've recently had many thoughts, writings and discussions about how organizations should be organized in the future, to be able to suit the markets of the future and the needs of next generation workforce.

This short book is a good first step to the new organizational thinking. It gives some initial ideas why the organizations should change and it gives one simple view to the challenge. It is not a book as such, more of a booklet with few paragraphs and illustrative pictures. It gives basic ideas well and raises some thoughts, but it lacks all critical thinking and discussion about the subject.

I liked the ideas what Niels seems to have, but I don't think this book really brings those forward. It's almost as powerpoint slides would have been transferred to book format. It isn't really a proper book, but it has some powerful thoughts.

If you want to have a simple touch on the organizations of the future, this book might be for you. The contents are valuable, the format of the book wasn't just to my taste.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen

Dec 16, 2014

Book Review: Today Matters by John C. Maxwell

Once in a while I like to read self help books. Today Matters by John C. Maxwell was highly recommended book by many. The full name of the book actually adds to the Today Matters a second title, 12 Daily Practices to Guarantee Tomorrow's Success, which actually tells quite much about the book.

Book explains a simple way to succeed tomorrow - make every day count. The whole idea of the book is to understand to concentrate to today. Make the right decisions every day to support your growth to whatever you wish to be in your life.

John C. Maxwell is author of many books, priest and teacher of leadership. He has been given many rewards about leadership and management. He seems to be interesting character, who gives quite easy and straightforward advice.

I've read some self help books about success and in a way there wasn't that much new in the book for me. Still the idea, which is so simple, concentrate to today, is something that easily gets lost in the busy world we live in. Every day counts. You shouldn't care too much about the past and definitely not think too much about future. You need to make the right decisions every day to help you to become who you want to be.

The idea in the book is to concentrate to the 12 Daily Practices. These are basically values or point of views that should be taken in to account every day. I did write my own Mission Statement after reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and I think the ideology behind is similar. That's the reason I'm not taking this in to daily use for now. For many people those 12 practices definitely will be valuable.

Once a year it is good to read a classic like this about personal development. If you haven't ever read one or haven't read one for a while, I recommend this book. It's a good book and it did change my behavior a bit already. I enjoyed it and it was quite easy to read. So go ahead and read it.

Written by +Henri Hämäläinen