It’s become a ritual now, I like to start off every year by reviewing the past one (2017) and then setting intentions for the upcoming one (2018).
2017 was a good year, especially so for reading. I’ve very rarely regretted the purchase of a book; a $20 investment for hours of enjoyment and the potential for life-altering wisdom is a definite “sans-brainer.” I set out a goal of reading 15 books and by year-end, nearly doubled it with 28. This was thanks to my library card, which completely freed up with financial burden of reading; combined with ample recommendations from friends. I highly recommend the former and hopefully this list helps you with the latter!
Top Books of 2017
5. Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
Ryan Holiday is a modern day proponent of stoicism: “…happiness and judgment should be based on behaviour, rather than words. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses.” This book is powerful, concise, and incredibly practical. Once you read it, you will become aware of just how often your ego rears its ugly head.
4. Peak by Anders Ericsson
I love these type of books, it’s probably the driest out of the top 5, but if you love performance psychology, this one is a must. Anders Ericsson who was the scientist who gathered the 10,000 hour data, that Gladwell made famous in Outliers. This is the REAL truth behind 10,000 hours and what it takes be at the peak of anything.
3. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
One of the better sports epics out there, hard to not be captivated when you combine Olympic sports and WW2. This true story depicts the US rowing team in Hitler’s infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics.
2. Red Notice by Bill Browder
This book is gripping, disturbing and incredibly relevant (and of course, all true). Bill Browder had his life threatened in the writing of this book, but had to get his story out. An American who starts an investment fund in Russia and ends up going toe-to-toe with Putin. Whether you’re into politics or not, it’s a story that needs to be read.
1. Game Change by Ken Dryden
Admittedly a tad biased, as I love hockey more than life itself and this is quite simply one of the best hockey books ever written. It is a landmark in sports books addressing the future of Canada’s game with the growing concussion epidemic. It is marvellously narrated through the life & death of former NHL player Steve Montador, providing an uncanny glimpse into the highs and lows of professional hockey. I literally could not put this book down.
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (must do audiobook)
- Sleep by Nick Littlehales
- The Hidden Life of Trees by David Wohlleben
- The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
Top Moments of 2017
2017 was a monumental year in Canada, representing our 150th birthday (est. 1867). As a result, I wanted to spend any travel time I had within our vast and beautiful country. I made visits to the following:
1. Victoria (home)
4. Prince George
Winnipeg: #CoolerThanYouThink #ywg #thepeg #manitoba #canada A post shared by Bear Johal (@bearjohal) on
11. Quebec City
Review of 2017 Goals
365 Meditation Sessions
☒ Just off, did 284
350 Sweat Sessions
☒ Just off, did 312
☒ Just shy, did 350lbs
Visit ONE New Canadian Town/City
☑ Did THREE: Gimli, Plaster Rock, and Prince George
Visit FIVE new Gulf Islands
☒ Did TWO: Thetis Island and Gabriola Island
Read 15 Books
☑ Did 28!
Coach Minor Hockey
☑ Yes, currently coaching Midget
Something New Every Month
☒ 8/12 months: Acro Yoga, Ballroom Dancing, MEC Trail Run, Hula Dancing, Car Camping, Sculling, Pottery, and Curling
Year of Sobriety
☑ A lifestyle change (with the exception of best friend’s stag)
1. 365 Meditations (Daily)
2. 52 Yoga Sessions (Weekly)
3. 208 Serious Gym Sessions (4 x Week)
4. Meatless Monday (Weekly)
5. 27 Fasting Days (Bi-Weekly)
Wealthy (Saving & Spending)
1. $10,000 in TFSA
2. Pay off Car Loan
3. Trip to somewhere new with Carly
4. NY trip to visit Cam
5. Dallas trip to visit Magoo
Wise (Self Improvement)
1. Read 25 Books
2. Do a Spiritual Retreat
3. Take a Course (any course)
4. Write a Quarterly Blog Post (starting with this one!)
5. Partake in TWO new sports tournaments