Educate & Inspire Yourself

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." 
- Nelson Mandela

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." 
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below is a list of books, TED Talks, movies, etc. that I've read, listened to, or watched and found interesting and/or inspiring.  You might enjoy them too!  This section will be updated regularly so check back often to see what's new!

Watch these three short videos before you start your own urban farm:

The Good Carbon Story -Ichsani Wheeler (TEDx Talk)



A Palestinian and an Israeli, Face to Face - Aziz Abu Sarah and Maoz Inon (TED Talk)

Origin (Movie) - A beautiful, must watch, masterpiece of a movie.

"The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway

Unnur (Short Film) - Wonderful story about life that will leave you in tears and pondering the choices in your life.  Must Watch!!!

Rotten (Docuseries)

Forks Over Knives (Documentary)


    A well written and entertaining science book that is filled with descriptive stories that paints never ending portraits in your mind with details you likely have not heard before about how across the globe, us humans, always think we can control nature and eventually realize, down the road, that we cannot.

Into the Weeds (Documentary)

Invisible Landscapes  - Jennifer Brandel (Short Article)

Mansionz 2 (Album) – The pure genius of this album will likely go completely unnoticed by the majority of society for quite some time.  Most will listen to this and will hear nothing but offensive vulgarity that will cause them to hurl their phone against the wall to turn it off as fast as possible… 30 seconds in.  We live in a society that is hyper focused on only displaying perfection and the best parts of life while ignoring everything else.  Look at any Instagram feed for proof of this.  When someone publicly displays something that is real and not perfect, society as a whole penalizes them for it which only reinforces displaying perfection.  This perceived perfection is known to be harmful to the human psyche and spirit since everyone then starts comparing their messy, ordinary, unexceptional lives to the filtered lives of everybody on Instagram – which are only the absolute best parts of life with the negative parts omitted.  This album is the actual, real human experience, vocalized.  This album is not censored.  This album is real.  This album is not what you want… it is what you need.  This album is what you get when you take the internal thoughts and experiences of two human beings and put that out into the world… raw and unfiltered.  That’s the genius of this album.  Instead of playing into what is popular and what people like, this album is the medicine that society desperately needs.  This album shows it’s okay to not be okay.  This album is relatable.  This album shows it is okay to be vulnerable, speak your truth and to not play into toxic masculinity.  This album shows the ups and downs of life and fully displays the truth of not being able to see the light without the darkness.  Van Gogh only sold one painting during his life and was largely unrecognized while being alive.  Today those exact same pieces of art that once littered basements are considered masterpieces and sell for hundreds of millions.  Mansionz 2 will likely follow the same path, be largely ignored by society and perhaps a hundred years from now some random person will stumble across this album, blow the dust off, give it a listen, instantly see the genius of it and be completely dumbfounded how it was largely ignored when it was released seeing as it is exactly the medicine our society needs at this exact point in time.  This album has already won Album of the Year in my heart.  Just listen to the standout track of “Stay Alive” to find out why.

Mae Martin: SAP (Standup Comedy) - Must watch!  Quite a fantastic comedy special that's heartfelt, hilarious, makes you think and full of conversations that we don't have enough of in our society.  For those of us (like me) who misinterpret the title before watching and think it may have parts in Spanish or have hot takes on Secondary Audio Programing... it does not.  What it does have is a perfect ending!

In & Of Itself (Magical Video)

"Braiding Sweetgrass" by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Dear Rich (Short Video)

Becoming Super Human - Shi Heng Yi (Short Video)

Test Your Might!  Shaolin Spirit - Shi Heng Yi (TED Talk)

5 Hindrances to Self-Mastery - Shi Heng Yi (TED Talk)

     Quite a fantastic read!

How Black Queer Culture Shaped History - Channing Gerard Joseph (TED Talk)

"Happiness" by Thich Nhat Hanh


A New View of the Moon (Short Video)

From Devil's Breath (Documentary)

"The Way of Life According to Lao Tzu"  Translated by Witter Bynner
    Regardless of if Lao Tzu was a single person who was alive around 600 BC or a collection of people who over a period of time came up with The Way of Life.  This translation reads as if it was just written today and the wisdom of the 81 poems is inspiring.

Stutz (Documentary) - Contains lots of great therapy tools that you can use and apply to your own life.

"Daring Greatly" by Brené Brown

"Ask and It is Given" by Esther and Jerry Hicks

Free to Run (Short Film)

"The Fire Next Time" by James Baldwin - A very important read

The end of Roe v. Wade -- and what comes next - Kathryn Kolbert (TED Talk)

The Rescue (Documentary)

Summer of Soul (Documentary)

Green Book (Movie)

Michael Pollan - Anything written by Michael Pollan is great reading.

Lost World of the Maya (National Geographic Episode)

Letter from Birmingham Jail by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Selma (Movie)

The Need to Grow  (Documentary)

The Egg by Andy Weir  (Short Story)


Colin in Black and White (Autobiographical Series)

The Alpinist (Documentary)

Sleep is Your Superpower -Matt Walker (TED Talk)

     This is a must read, essential, book.  That's all there is to it, pick it up and read it.

The Legend of the Underground (Documentary) - Watch this NOW.

How Outdoor Companies Can Back Up Their DEI Pledges by Kai Lightner (Article) -  This is a MUST read article.

Fantastic Fungi (Documentary)

The Clues to a Great Story - Andrew Stanton (TED Talk)

Black Diamond Presents: Soul Deep (Short Documentary) - Malik tha Martian is an incredibly talented filmmaker whom will likely win an Oscar (or a few) at some point for future films.  The stories in Malik's films are told from the heart and each film deserves a lot more recognition and a lot more awards.

Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King (Standup Comedy) - The story telling in the standup comedy special is off the hook great.  Poignantly direct and personal stories that seem to be told from the heart with a lot of jokes thrown in there.  Hasan makes a lot of great points while tugging at your heart strings and making you laugh.

"Between Two Kingdoms" by Suleika Jaouad
     I heard this was a good book so I checked it out from the library without looking into it or what it was about.  I suggest you do the same, don't read what it's about, just read it with no set expectations.  It takes you on a wild ride showing how strong yet vulnerable the human spirit can be while forcing you to think and grow as a person.  It seems to be written from a perspective of, "I don't care what you think, I'm just going to write what I want and need to."  Which is basically how I write this blog so for me it was interesting reading a full on book (listening to it really) written like that on a subject that I know nothing about.

     If you've ever been intrigued by meditation but wasn't sure where to start or if you should and how it could potentially benefit you, then this is the book for you to read.  It's a great book about meditation along with a good glimpse into the ups and downs of a meditation practice both from the eye of a person but also from a neurosurgeon and what exactly meditation does to your brain.  The practice outlined in this book is basically Heart Centered Meditation which is quite interesting since it's a not so well known practice and just so happens to be the type of meditation that I've practiced since I was introduced to meditation in my mid-20's.  There are easy to follow instructions contained in this book that I wish I had way back when I was first starting to meditate, that would have been very helpful.  If you do start your own meditation practice, be sure to heed the main warning / lesson of this book.

     I've been wanting to read this book for a lllllooooonnnnggggg time and I'm glad I finally picked it up, I should have read it ages ago.  Now I have a small glimmer of understanding why people I've known throughout my life who have been in the chef world have absolutely despised it (but also loved it).  It's a raunchy and straight forward book which goes over what it's like to be a chef and work in a kitchen.  It also goes over his life and his experiences and all of the different jobs he's had in that world and how he got into it, etc.  For someone who knows next to nothing about the restaurant / chef world it is very eye opening and I every much enjoyed reading it.  It is very reminiscent of my own experiences in the aviation world and why I'm no longer in aviation, there are a lot of parallels, QUITE a lot.  Perhaps one day some fancy tv producer will be inclined to give me my own tv show where I can travel the world, do whatever I want and just talk to people.

Bo Burnham: Inside (Standup Comedy) - Probably the oddest, weirdest yet equally epic standup comedy special that I've ever seen but is very fitting with how the year 2020 was for everyone.  I've never been a fan of Bo's comedy, in the past he seems to have always gone for easy targets and cheap laughs.  This special is a lot different though and it appears as though he's finally putting his talent to good use and is trying to make the world a better place.  It follows a similar (yet totally different) style as the last 15 minutes of his previous special, which was equally epic to this new special in its own way.

Mike Posner (Interesting Person)- If you want an interesting story then look no further than this world famous pop star who ditched that lifestyle to live his life.  I used to listen to his songs when they were hits and think well his music is pretty catchy but as a person he just seems like a total douchebag.  Then I heard about his walk across America, which was very intriguing.  He successfully completed this walk (supported but impressive nonetheless) which was even more intriguing.  Then he started climbing mountains, lots of mountains in Colorado with Dr. Jon Kedrowski.  Then this spring (2021) he announced plans to attempt Mount Everest and was successful, led by Dr. Jon and a team of Sherpas.  He basically went from no mountain climbing experience to summiting Everest within two years, which is unheard of.  His life is a fascinating story and his newer albums are quite good along with the acoustic versions of his songs.  It appears as though he's now just being who he actually is, as a person, regardless of what people think, although it's hard to tell if that's actually the case or if that's what he wants you to think.  I think he's actually being himself though instead of it being a show along with telling his story via his songs and just trying to make this world a better place.  Perhaps one of these days I'll cross paths with him in the mountains and find out for myself.  He's a talented artist and musician and its refreshing to see someone actually just being themselves.  In his song "Stuck in the Middle" he has these lyrics that resonate with me about how I feel about my own journey currently in life, "Forgive me, I am building my ship as it sails.  How do I become who I wanna be while still remaining myself?"

"The Book of Joy" by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams
     Before reading this book I wasn't sure what to expect and I had my doubts for how much actual information would be provided.  I knew better then to doubt these three authors.  This book provides such a valuable and real insight straight into the minds of whom I consider to be the two greatest human beings to currently grace the surface of this planet.  It really makes you think and provides you ways of tweaking your thinking to live a more joyous life.  What more could you want out of a book?  I can't recommend reading this book enough!

"American Dirt" by Jeanine Cummins
     A novel that is well written has a very captivating story and shows you that each and every human being at their core just wants to live the best and safest life possible.

     I have a feeling that 20 years from now I'll look back and realize that this was the most beneficial and best book I could have ever possibly picked up and read.

"Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
     A very intriguing, interesting and thought provoking book that is fairly uncomfortable to read, in a good way.  It's hard to believe this book was originally published in 1932.

"Food Fix" by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD
     A well thought out book that references a whole lot of scientific research and goes over how the food system is setup in the U.S. and why it is the way that it is.  It also examines how this food system has basically spread like wildfire throughout the world (which is not good).  Along with educating and informing you it gives you actionable steps you can take to avoid this food system to keep yourself healthy.

Fed Up (Documentary)

Using Your Voice is a Political Choice -Amanda Gorman (TED-Ed Talk)

Soil Carbon Cowboys (Short Film)

Where Are All the Aliens?  -Stephen Webb (TED Talk)

Surviving a Lynching (Short Documentary) - Watch this NOW!

How to Gain Control of Your Free Time -Laura Vandderkam (TED Talk)

How to Make Stress Your Friend -Kelly McGonigal (TED Talk)

Knock Down the House (Documentary) - Can be watched for free Here!

Soul (Movie)

2020 and Prior:

Black Ice (Short Documentary) - Part of Reel Rock 15 (2020), this is a must watch movie that is a fantastic story that shows you how important climbing gyms and community centers are in ALL communities while exposing you to the inequalities that exist in the climbing world.  Watch it NOW!

Gather (Documentary) - Watch this documentary NOW!

The Ghosts Above (Short Film)

A Life on Our Planet (Documentary)

13th (Netflix) - Watch this documentary NOW!

Freak Power (Documentary)

My Octopus Teacher (Documentary)

The Danger of a Single Story -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Ted Talk)

Connected (DocuSeries on Netflix)

Coronavirus Is Our Future -Alanna Shaikh (TED Talk)

We Need to Talk About An Injustice -Bryan Stevenson (TED Talk)

     Everyone on this planet needs to read this book.  It should be given to each individual born in this world along with their birth certificate.  Here's your birth certificate and here's your copy of "Everyday Ubuntu" should be standard practice.  It doesn't matter what you believe in, what your political views are, or your stance on anything in life.  EVERYBODY can learn from this book on how we can all coexist on this planet despite our differences.  Read this book NOW!!!

     A fantastic collection of poems written during the pandemic of 2020 (ongoing pandemic at this point)!

"Neurofitness" by Rahul Jandial
     A very interesting book from a brain surgeon with no shortage of anecdotal operating room stories that will make you cringe.  More importantly it goes over facts of the brain and debunks myths and gives you a lot of actionable items you can do to not only understand your brain better but how to keep your brain functioning in tip top shape!

     Probably the only marketing book I'll ever recommend since its suggestions go against the grain of what is currently seen as normal and is backed by proven results.  Whether or not you can replicate those results is another thing entirely.  It has great ideas with a ton of actionable tips, you'll likely have to read this book quite a few times over a period of years for everything to sink in.

"Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future" by the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
     A collection of essays from prominent figures in the agriculture and farming world focusing on what they think is important and what they would pass along to the young farmer who is just starting out based on what they now know and what they've learned throughout their careers.
     A fantastic book that makes you laugh and cry at the same time while giving you a glimpse into the life of growing up during apartheid in South Africa from the eyes of someone who was literally a walking, breathing, living crime by no fault of his own.

     If I feel like contemplating random tidbits of knowledge, this is what I read.  It's also fun to read before going to bed, it has quite a calming effect to it and it seems to result in some pretty interesting dreams!

    Same as the 1491 book below but just after Columbus' arrival in America.

     The title is pretty self explanatory but this book goes over the Americas before Columbus' arrival to America.  Based on new facts and research that's constantly being done, it's very eye opening.  This is not an easy read by any means as it is just jam packed with information, this was a hard one for me to get through but was worth it.

     Follow the author on his unlikely yet true journey of going from an average person who can't remember much to... well you'll just have to read it to find out.  Along the way you'll learn tips and tricks on how YOU can improve your memory too!

     It's been quite a while since I've read this book (I need to read it again).  This book made and still has quite a lasting impression on me.  Among the many things I picked up from reading this book, the most important lesson I remember is to look at things from a different perspective.  It also gives you a glimpse into what happened during apartheid in South Africa.

"Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini

"Cat's Cradle" by Kurt Vonnegut

"Jitterbug Perfume" by Tom Robbins
     I alternate between this book, "The Alchemist" and "Shantaram" for being my favorite book  (currently anyways), it just depends on what is going on in my life at that time and how long it's been since I've read each of them.  This is a fun book with a surprising amount of relevance to our current world.

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho
     Another favorite.  If I'm out and about traveling, this is my book of choice to read if I haven't read it in a while.  It's a fun, easy, yet powerful read that's extremely well written that will leave you pondering life itself.

"Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts
     One of my favorite books if not my favorite book of all time (depends on the day).  Based on a true story from the author's life which will have you guessing what is true and what isn't (doesn't matter though).  The story of a person who escaped from a prison in Australia, fled to India and proceeded to live an incredible life that will have you questioning your own life choices.

Kirby Chambliss Epic Flight (Short Video) - Kirby is the best damn pilot you'll ever find, if you ever get a see to see his aerobatic performance live, do it, it is unbelievable.

Hannah Gadsby: Nanette (Standup Comedy) - The best standup comedy special of all time.  Watch this NOW.  You'll learn a lot while laughing a lot.

Playing with FIRE - Documentary - Documentary about Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE).  Goes right along with the Mr. Money Mustache Blog and Choose FI podcast.  If you've ever dreamed about retiring early and being free from work (or working when you want and doing whatever you want with your life) then this is the documentary to watch to boost you off the couch and straight into action to make that happen.

Choose FI - Podcast - Absolutely wonderful podcast about Financial Independence.  It's a wealth of information and ideas and is very fun to listen to.

Mr. Money Mustache - Blog - Fantastic blog that outlines how to save money and retire early.  The information is straight from the mouth (or fingers really) of someone who retired when he was 30 years old.

Mountain (Artsy Film)

Free Solo (Documentary)

The Dawn Wall (Documentary)

Meru (Documentary)

Radiolab - Podcast - Listen to this if you want a good and thought provoking podcast to listen to.

This American Life - Podcast - Listen to this if you want a good and thought provoking podcast to listen to.

Climbing Nevado Salkantay - (Short video that I'm in showing my first full on mountaineering adventure that I went on in 2013 in Peru climbing Salkantay)

Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce -Malcolm Gladwell (TED Talk)

Teach Every Child About Food -Jamie Oliver (TED Talk)

The Power of Introverts -Susan Cain (TED Talk)

The Power of Vulnerability -Brené Brown (TED Talk)

Your Elusive Creative Genius -Elizabeth Gilbert (TED Talk)

How Great Leaders Inspire Action -Simon Sinek (TED Talk)

Do Schools Kill Creativity? -Sir Ken Robinson (TED Talk)

9 - (Short Animation - 2005)

More (Short Animation)

Garden State (Movie)