4 recommended reads from my 2021 reading list

The ever-growing collection: if you can’t see the title I haven’t read it yet. With only one left, I’m gonna need some more books soon.

If you happened to read my last post (shame on you if you have not), you’ll remember me referencing reading quite a bit. This cannibalizes my writing time, but to hone your craft of combining words, reading is the tried and true practice. Read all sorts of different books. Read all sorts of writing styles. Fiction. Non-fiction. First person. Third person. You get the idea. 

I like to think I might have some books on the shelf that those who read this blog might enjoy. Some recommendations from friends. Some I found on my own. All sorts of literature crammed together spine to spine. I decided to tee up a couple books you might want to consider opening: 



For my rap fans and biography junkies. This tells the tale of Lamont “U God” Hawkins, a kid growing up in Staten Island that would help create one of the most famous rap groups in history: the Wu Tang Clan. It’s just one of those books once you pick it up it is hard to put down. Also, you might feel a little extra fortunate about your upbringing-not having to deal with some of the same struggles Lamont dealt with.

(ALSO READ: LENNY KRAVITZ LET LOVE RULE– A similar tale of a star’s rise to success.)



I picked this book up after hearing Ross talk on a podcast during one of my workdays. Here’s the skinny- the guy swam around Great Britain. You can only imagine the amount of problems one can run into while swimming 1780 miles at sea. A great story about never giving up and doing the unthinkable.

(ALSO READ: DAVID GOGGINS CAN’T HURT ME– Another strong minded individual [and much more known than Edgley].)



Everyone’s head inflates a little at some point in their life. Ryan explains the many benefits of putting hard-headedness to the side and embracing the underdog role. There’s a big difference between ego and confidence-and this book helps draw the line. 

(ALSO READ: RYAN HOLIDAY THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY– Kinda the sequel to ego is the enemy, it again hones in on perspective and the best way to embrace challenges.)



One of my favorite books on my bookshelf. A quick, easy read that you can tailor to whatever situation in life you may find yourself. Read it quickly-read it often.

(ALSO READ: DEEPAK CHOPRA 7 SPIRITUAL LAWS AGAIN- It’s one of those books worth revisiting after a little time has gone by.)

Use this time wisely

As I penned the opening bit to my last piece, I was dwelling on the fact that 2020 was the start of a new decade and one that was often romanticized about as “the future”. I lightly touched upon “…a virus spreading…” just as a casual reference to something that has clearly blown up since I originally mentioned it. Never would I think the next couple days would play out the way they have. With the cancellation of all and any events and asking people to gather in groups no larger than 10, it seems like a quarantined world is looming eerily upon us and for our own good there isn’t much we can do about it. With how rapidly this virus has spread and the media hyping it up more and more, it seems like following the “social distancing” protocol isn’t a terrible idea. Many things will take hits while others might be able to blossom. I think the outlook we need to have on this situation is one of untapped potential rather than forced confinement. Some of the things that might take a toll: social life, sanity lost due to being confined to your house for both work and leisure, and much, much, more. While many will view this confinement as extremely negative (in reality, it is, as no one should shield themselves from the outside world and not engage in social norms [also, the situation with the actual virus is extremely negative]). But let’s shine light on some of the positives we can establish from this. This is a great time to work on yourself. Whether that is expanding your taste in certain areas, gaining more knowledge (from any outlet you may find), picking up things you don’t do nearly as often or have never done before, or just critical thinking about your past, present, or future. Now is a great time for reflection. Try not to dwell on the negative too much. Keep it positive and inspirational, rather than dismal and down. Also try not to be down thinking about the things you could be doing if you were not on quarantine. There is no way around it, and disregarding what is seen as best policy puts you and also others at an extreme risk. And you should be thinking about others more than yourself. Most of the people reading this are not the ones worrying. As age grows, so does concern and wariness. While improving on yourself, you should stimulate your mind and social skills while reaching out to people you might not speak to as much. Your social circle is going to be small and repetitive for quite some time, so reaching out to friendly faces far and wide will help cope with the stress and current state of affairs. Talk more with your roommates. Learn more about the people you care about. With technology, we have communication at our fingertips. Use it (just not in over abundance, and if you need tips on how to reduce screen time, check this out [TLDR: read, write, practice something analog, exercise])! Although we will be inside a lot more than typical, get outside. Sit on a deck (if you have one), go for a morning or sunset walk, surf (which cannot be stopped, and I am pretty stoked to just surf a shit ton while on quarantine), or even just sitting outdoors and in the sun will feel a lot better than inside walls. Take this post as just tips and tricks to stay sane in this wild and erratic time. People will spin it many ways, some truthful and others far from it. Thinking in a positive and rational mindset will give you the most success and clarity. It is a strange time in all of our lives, young and old. But it will all work out. It always does.

Detaching from the Screen

Image result for screen time icon

It’s 2020. Can you believe that? Twenty Twenty. Shouldn’t cars be flying by now? Or AI initiating a hostile takeover on our lives? Or maybe the world should have ended on doomsday of 2012 and we are eight years further than we ever thought we would be. It’s 2020, and while some predictions are accurate, the world we live in is constantly changing. With a virus spreading, an interesting presidential race, and the evolution of modern technology happening all right under our noses, it is interesting to see how the start of the new decade will end. One thing that has been very prevalent the last 5 years and only getting more and more of the norm, is how much time we (as in just about everyone that is on socials or owns a smartphone) are glued to the small screen we carry with us everywhere we go. It isn’t necessarily a terrible problem, but sometimes time away from the screen is definitely needed. Here are 3 ways to kick the screen away (even if it is only for 30 minutes). 

Pick up something tangible.

This is kind of another way of saying read a book, but that’ll come in a few sentences. Essentially, we are on our phone searching for content or chatting with friends. We all love to text and Facetime, but this requires staring at our screen or staring at it every minute between responses. A good alternative to this is picking up a cup of coffee (or a beer, or any preferred beverage or even snack) and to meet up with someone face to face. Sure it requires getting out of bed, leaving your house and looking presentable, and then spending money. Okay, so it is a lot more work then a push of a button. But someone’s literal presence is just different. On another note, for the content quest, pick up a book or a magazine. Whether you just like looking at photos or reading, there is something for everyone. Sure, you definitely will get judged more for reading a playboy magazine than getting stuck in the vortex of Instagram models, but at least you aren’t straining your eyes. Books are rad because they are pretty much videos. Except they require effort and imagination, which makes them worse than videos. 

Make it a part of work.

If you have the ability to, maybe make checking socials a part of your job. Whether it’s freelance or even just helping someone out, there is a limit to how much you can look at your phone. If you are looking at it all the time for a paycheck or under a different account, it definitely will wear down your time for personal use. Same goes with computers. If you find yourself grinding in an excel doc or constantly surfing the web for work, you probably will get home and just want to disconnect. Both me and my roommate feel this way, but occasionally I overindulged in both my phone and laptop. It’s all relative, as sometimes you might binge and other times go completely analog for the day. This is realistically the least useful way to step away from the screen. This assumes you have a job that requires avid screen time, which isn’t the case all the time. And most who don’t have a line of work like this probably aren’t looking to get into the screen sector. All good, theres at least one other recommendation you can try above and below.

Do something and vow not to check it. 

Hobbies are things you really like doing. If you didn’t, you probably wouldn’t put aside so much time to do them. A hobby could be designated time to not look at your phone and really enjoy what you are putting your focus into. Some hobbies are much easier to do this than others. Any sport will make you put your phone down. Especially surfing, which makes you most of the time leave your phone in the car and go bob up and down unbothered by other humans via technology. You definitely will still get bothered by either that annoying talkative guy in the lineup or the dude who you almost hit on that screamer of a wave as he just sat in the middle of the wave like a deer in headlights. Aside from activities that require exercise, there are plenty of other things you can do and just leave the phone far away. Drawing, learning to play an instrument, cooking, or just doing chores around the house are all great ways to avoid the screen. Just put it very far away and forget about it. If there is a reason you need to be by your phone (ie emergency or awaiting a certain call/notificaiton) so be it. Even 20 minutes with no screen is better than 20 minutes on the screen. 

Recommended Reads


Summer may be over, but September and October offer some of the best weather both in my hometown of Lavallette and also out here in my new home of Southern California. Affectionately referred to as “indian summer” and “local summer”, these two months deliver beautiful weather with a fraction of the amount of people and clutter that come with it in the summer. Sometimes when the beach is quiet and the waves are flat, nothing is better than burying yourself in a good book. Here are 5 different types of literature perfect for a sunny September day.

Scar Tissue – Anthony Kiedis, Larry Sloman (Buy Here)

Probably one of the best autobiographies I’ve have read front to back, Scar Tissue takes you through the tumultuous life of lead Red Hot Chilli Peppers singer Anthony Kiedis. From the ups and downs, to the uppers and the downers, this book is a very real and raw look into one of the longest and craziest battles of substance abuse all while being on top of the world music wise. It also give insight into meanings of some of your favorite RHCP songs, which reminds you to play them a little more. This book had me reading multiple chapters and not taking more than a day in between reading it. One of the fastest times I’ve finished a book is from this great read.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding (Buy Here)

While this book does not have a spot on my bookshelf, I vividly remember reading it my freshman year of high school and genuinely really liking it. Something that was rare for an assigned reading, I kept coming back to read another chapter. I remember this was a summer reading project, and would come with me to the beach when the waves were absent. An interesting tale with many underlying lessons from an unlikely group of friends, if you have not read this classic, get to it ASAP. To be honest, I think I might need to grab a copy and crack it open just to enjoy it all over again.

Stoned Beyond Belief / F*ck, That’s Delicious – Action Bronson (Buy Here)

These two books come from one of my favorite and most imaginative rappers, Young Prosciutto AKA Bambambaklava AKA Bronsolino AKA Action Bronson. As whacky as his rhymes, these two books explore Bronson’s two loves in this world: cooking and kush. While the F*ck That’s Delicious to my understanding is more purely recipes, the Stoned Beyond Belief book delivers funny stories and meals made up around Action smoking like a chimney. It is a nicely made book with fine imagery and on top of all this mine is signed on the inside. Talk

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World (Buy Here)

I just picked this one up based off a recommendation from someone on some podcast (super vague, but I remember the person talking about it and more of Cal’s work and I was enticed enough to investigate). While only a few chapters in, this subject matter definitely hits home for me and I would bet most of you, as it seems as though screen time is only on the rise and walking away seems almost impossible. Cal breaks down and elaborates on how to declutter your digital life, and also pulls real life examples from people who have used his technique and learnings from the book to stray away from the screen. While I don’t know if I will be enacting his practices anytime soon or taking a social media break, it will be cool to look back on if I ever plan to.

A Good Magazine (Buy Here)

Every time I find myself in an airport, I will buy a magazine. Even if I have a new book or a magazine from the departing from CA flight, I use the extra time between boarding as an excuse to justify the 7-10 dollar purchase. I find I really like magazines purely for the fact of what you can do with one. You can skim it for the pictures, cherry-pick your articles, or just read it front to back. You also can immerse yourself in one of your passions by picking the right magazine. My go-to magazines are any of the few surf related publications left, GQ, Mens Health, and wildcards like Maxim, Forbes, or Wired.

4 New Year’s Resolutions to improve your 2019

Every New Year, millions of Americans and people all over the earth pledge allegiance to a set of goals or standards for the New Year. While people shouldn’t wait for the calendar to change to adopt better lifestyle choices, I too am found guilty of every new year setting up some aspirations and ways to switch up or spice up the regularity of routine living. Here are 4 things everyone should do this new year to throw a curve ball in your usual daily tasks.

Read more books

Every day we find ourselves more and more enthralled in the immense amount of technology and digital distractions in front of us. From content on YouTube and Instagram to online articles and everything in between, it seems as though ¾ of the day I am tuned into to either my phone or laptop. The holding of a physical book seems dated, but feels great when actually done and also provides a good way to slow down your brain before bedtime rather than watching something. One of the few ways to improve your IQ is an hour of reading a day. With the amount of books out there in the world, there is a piece of literature for virtually anyone. Step away from the screen and turn some pages in 2019.


My current but hopefully expanding selection of literature.

Move at least once a day

Getting the body in motion and being able to get a mind body connection at least once a day is a great way to spice up your daily routine. Just adding something in between that is unlike everything else being done in the day because you are moving makes the mind feel rejuvenated. As an avid surfer and just as avid gym goer, this is essential to every day of my life. I find just as much joy in both and sometimes do both in one day. While everyone doesn’t have time in their day for an hour gym session or 2-hour surf, everyone can carve out at least 30 minutes in the day to get up and shake those limbs. Walking, going on a bike ride, and just about any other outdoor activity will make you feel refreshed and also lets you take in your surroundings distraction free.

Pick up a new hobby

Most people have at least one or two things they are passionate about. It could be a sport, an instrument, a TV series, writing, drawing, the possibilities are endless. Sometimes we find ourselves so stuck to the normal and forget to broaden our interests with things that can take you out of your comfort zone. Switch it up. Become a novice at something this year and become more and more accustomed to it as the year goes on, gaining skill as well. You will most likely meet more people with the same interests that you can bond over, and also can give you a moment of clarity and a fun learning curve.


Hobbies queued up for 2019.

Expand your music taste

The soundtrack of my 2018 was definitely hip-hop. With the large amounts of music released every Friday, it definitely consumed my playlists and listening time. In 2019, I aim to switch it up and dive into some different genres. I’ve curated some playlists for reggae, slow/alt rock, and music that brings me back to my younger years. If you don’t listen to music as often, start 2019 listening to critically acclaimed albums of 2018 and try and add music to activities where it can be applied. With festival season approaching and the Coachella lineup released, it is a good time to get familiar with artists you might not have ever listened to.