The Influence Of Books On Me

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. ~Mark Twain

Here are the five books that have influenced my life the most:

  1. The Book Of Mormon – Written by ancient prophets who lived on the American continent, this book stands with the Bible as “another testament of Jesus Christ.” When I read the book, I feel so at peace and my mind is clear. A special moment of the book is when Jesus visits these people and shares with them His love. The most amazing thing about the book is it comes with a promise that anyone can know the truth by asking.
  2. Of Mice And Men – I think this is the only book I ever read in school and enjoyed. I have read it many times since then. I usually read it twice a year. Something about the simple writing simplifies life for me.
  3. Encyclopedia Brown – The young boy in these books would take on the neighborhood mysteries and would solve them for “25 cents per day, plus expenses.” I was always sure to read every new book that came out and was always amazed at how Encyclopedia solved them. I’d always try so hard to figure it out before I read the answer. I also remember wishing that someone in my neghborhood would get a bike stolen.
  4. Mind Hunter – I was captivated by this book as I read. It was written by John Douglas, the pioneer for profiling in the FBI. He was involved in every major serial murder case in the last 50 years. He learned to see patterns that criminals would follow. This would make it easier to catch future criminals. This book taught me how to read everyday people. There are so many patterns that people follow and recognizing them will benefit you. In business, dating, and friendships, you’ll be able to know them thru their patterns.
  5. The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer – People always told me that Tom Sawyer and I were two in the same. I took that as a compliment.

To Be Observant Is To Be Wise

When I was smaller, I’d look at my feet while I walked around. One day I was visiting my Grandma Stucki and she said, “If you keep looking down like that the whole world is going to pass you by and you’ll never know it.”

Since that day, I’ve worked very hard to be observant. It’s funny how grandma’s can offer one line of advice and have it be remembered forever. I just enjoy noticing things now and I believe it has made my life more enjoyable. I don’t need to be obsessive compulsive but observing also allows my mind to stay busy so I can keep my “Rule Of Two Things.”

You can be visually observant in everyday little things. For instance:

  • Whenever I go to a movie, I pay attention to what kind of people are sitting where. I note where the younger smaller people are and whether they are with older siblings or parents. That way, if they are making noise when the lights go down, I know whether it’s ok to throw an empty threat that way or not.
  • When I enter the men’s bathroom, I’m always sure to use the urinal furthest from the air freshener on the wall. That way, when you hear the freshener rev up to puff the fragrance, you aren’t “tethered” to a nearby urinal and covered in “Lavender Potpourri” scent.

Granted, those are little things, but they are just two examples of things I notice now. Being observant goes much further than movie seats and bathroom scents.

Being observant of your surroundings will offer you more opportunities to serve others. You will see what they need and how best to offer it.

One thing I do is keep a list of things people enjoy. That way, when Christmas and birthdays come around I’m able to offer a gift that I know will be appreciated.

I’m glad that grandma was observant enough of me to offer her advice and change my life.


A Surprise Phone Call

About a year ago, I wrote about the night that UNLV named their basketball court after Jerry Tarkanian. But, I didn’t write about what happened before the game.

Coach Tarkanian was out on the concourse signing copies of his book. I already had the book at home but I wanted to get a copy for my dad anyway so I purchased another one and had Tark sign it for my dad. Also, I had written a thank you letter to give him. The letter wasn’t anything special. I just told him how much the Rebels meant to me growing up and how I appreciated all the work that went into his coaching. I told him that my dad and I always had such great times when we went to watch the Rebels and the nights they won and lost the championship were highlights/lowlights of my childhood.

When we got up to the front of the line and he signed the book I got a little nervous. It was my first time meeting him and I had wanted to my whole life. Candace ending up giving him the letter for me because I was too nervous. (That’s very, very uncharacteristic of me. It was strange.)

Well, I thought that was the end of it but I got a surprise phone call last night, over a year since I gave him the letter.

Lois Tarkanian, Coach’s wife, called and said that she had found the letter on Jerry’s desk and when she read it she was really touched. She said that it meant a lot to her and Coach that I loved the Rebels so much and she thanked me for the letter. She also asked if she could send me a couple of Jerry Tarkanian’s Rebel tickets. I was floored and accepted without hesitation. It was great! I couldn’t help but think of all the recruits and players that she has mothered over the years. It felt cool that she took the time to call me.

We already have season tickets to the game, but these tickets will be special. I can’t decide whether I’m more excited becuase they are right on the court across from the player bench or because they are Coach Tarkanian’s seats and I get to sit in them. I suppose I’ll enjoy both factors.


San Francisco Week

I spent this last week in San Francisco. I always enjoy visiting this city. In fact, I’ve visited 44 times since I returned from the Bay Area, where I served as a Mormon missionary. I just can’t get enough of it.

This most recent visit was a trip for work. My company,, had a booth at Macworld and I stayed with the booth to introduce our service to expo attendees.

My good friends Richard, Kevin and Alan Miller also attended the expo so it was fun to enjoy the city with them. On Friday morning, Kevin and I went over to the Transbay Terminal at 5:30 am so we could catch the bus out to Treasure Island, CA.

City Sunrise

I love the view from Treasure Island. For a long time I had heard that the sunrise view is great as well.

It was really cold on the island. The wind comes off the ocean and continues to rush over the bay. Since the island is so flat, there are no natural barriers so it cuts right to your bones. The wind and my frozen fingers made it quite hard for me to get a really good focus.

Once the sun was up, it was starting to go into perfect position. But then, a huge ship comes creeping under the Bay Bridge and slowly covers up the city. I think it may have been competing for the “Slowest Boat In The World” record and it blocked the city during most of the ideal light.

Despite the ship and the cold winter wind, I did my best to get a nice panorama of the city. You can see the image above or you can check out the large and very large one.


It’s How You Ask The Question

I get so bored with questions that are asked out of habit. “Hey, how’s the married life?” or a salesman may ask, “Do you have any questions about anything?”

When I get asked a question that had no thought, I usually give an answer with no thought. Just imagine how answers would change if things were asked different.

Instead of “Do you need any help?”, ask “I want to help. What can I do?”

Instead of being a salesman that asks, “Do you have any questions?”, you ask “Can I show you what’s on sale?” What shopper would say no to that?

If you don’t like the answers you get in life, consider changing the way you ask the question.