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13 Books You Should Read In 2014

13 Books You Should Read In 2014

If you’re an avid reader and a proud a proud bookworm – which I sincerely hope you are – then you are no doubt wondering what the big books of 2014 are going to be. Over at Maptia, they have created a thorough list of the books you can look forward to delving into over the next twelve months. Happy reading!

Great books give our senses a workout. They make us laugh, cry and expand our emotional horizons, provide us with new perspectives, teach us about different realities, free us from feeling tranquillised with trivialities, and above all make us feel gloriously alive! Just in case your left-brain needs convincing—did you know that reading also keeps you mentally sharp, can chill you out and relieve stress, and can even increase your capacity for empathy

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

— Dr. Seuss

I already love books’, we hear you cry out. ‘But there are so many… I just don’t know where to start…’ —Ah ha! That is precisely why we have reached out to a few of our good friends with impeccable taste, and with their help, have compiled a short-list of thirteen somewhat under-appreciated but remarkable gems written in the last hundred years that deserve a place on your bookshelf for 2014.

1. The Ascent of Rum Doodle by W.E. Bowman

Suggested by Mike Sowden—Head Bloke at Fevered Mutterings

“A parody, a tragedy, a farce and a sheer delight from start to finish, The Ascent of Rum Doodle is a spoof novel that has become just as popular within mountaineering circles as the real-life adventures it lampoons. It’s the story of what happens if you assemble the wrong men in the wrong place at the wrong time, of the consequences of having an expedition leader with the social IQ of Mr Bean, a route-finder with no sense of direction, a physician who is always ill, and graduates of Oxford and Cambridge deliberately put in the same tent together because they’d ‘have a lot to talk about’. Bill Bryson writes the foreword in the latest edition; it’s one of his favourite books.”

—Mike Sowden (@mikeachim)

Find the Ascent of Rum Doodle here.

2. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Suggested by Tim Ferriss—Four Hour Renaissance Man

“Starting in 2004, I traveled the world for roughly 18 months. The lessons learned formed the basis for much of The 4-Hour Workweek. On my journey—from the back alleys of Berlin to the hidden lakes of Patagonia—I had next to nothing: one suitcase, one backpack, and only two books. One of those books was Walden by Henry David Thoreau (naturally), and the other was Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel. Vagabonding easily remains in my top-10 list for life-changing books. Why? Because one incredible trip, especially a long-term trip, can change your life forever.

Vagabonding teaches you how to travel (and think), not for one trip, but for the rest of your life. In my own dog-eared copy, I have notes, underlines, and highlights on practically every page, ranging from the tactical (how to pack intelligently, what to bring, what not to bring, where to go, etc.) to the philosophical (the Upanishads, how to slow down after a lifetime of rushing and caffeine, etc.) Using the Rolf’s tips, I was able to explore many of them for 2-3 months at a time at my own pace, unrushed and unworried. It was a dream come true.”

—Tim Ferriss (@tferriss)

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Check out the video trailer for Vagabonding below:

3. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee

Suggested by Alastair Humphreys—Explorer, author and passionate microadventurer.

“This is the adventure I have wanted to do all my life. To be so footloose and carefree, living by your wits (busking in this case), and walking slowly across a landscape. Not only is it a great journey, it is also beautifully told.”

—Al Humphreys (@Al_Humphreys)

Find As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning here.

4. Cold by Bill Streever

Suggested by Duncan Geere—Freelance journalist and Wired contributor

“It’s not easy to write poetically about science, but Bill Streever manages it wonderfully in Cold. The book is split into twelve chapters, named after the months of the year, and in each he explores a different facet of the world’s coldest places, peppered with personal anecdotes, historical references and scientific facts. The dark accounts of the deaths of early Arctic explorers are balanced out by the tales he tells of communities and wildlife that thrive in places you’d never expect to be able to support life. It’s a little Alaska-heavy, but highly recommended for anyone fascinated by the polar regions.”

—Duncan Geere (@duncangeere)

Find Cold here

5. Edgelands by Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley

Also suggested by Duncan Geere, as he couldn’t quite resist a double recommend!

“We’re very familiar with the concepts of cities and countryside, but what happens in between? The answer can be found in Edgelands, by poets Michael Symmons Roberts and Paul Farley. The pair journey into what they call “England’s true wilderness”—the forgotten places on the peripheries of cities that most people ignore as they whiz through in trains, buses and cars, where nature encroaches on the man-made. What’s particularly compelling about Edgelands is how the authors compile and rework other writers’ thoughts on the boundaries between humanity and the natural world, from Wordsworth to Mabey. It’s a well-researched, fascinating window on the places that your parents warned you not to go.”

—Duncan Geere (@duncangeere)

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Find Edgelands here.

6. Macroscope by Piers Anthony

Suggested by Alex Berger—Chief Virtual Wayfarer

“My dad introduced me to Macroscope when I was in my teens. The story, which revolves around the use of a space telescope similar to a super powerful version of the Hubble telescope, helped me view the world from above. The book paints a narrative where through the use of the Macroscope the researchers are able to watch and explore the social development of two alien races. Races not dissimilar from our own. This combined with my natural traveler’s curiosity and love of space to send my mind racing; exploring how our nations, religious structures, history, gender relations, and other quirks might be viewed by an alien race. In so doing, it gave me new insights and passion for exploring the subtle differences from person to person, region to region, and culture to culture. It also nurtured my intense curiosity about new cultures, new people, and then of course, what might be out there and as yet undiscovered on one of the countless planets located within the tens of billions of galaxies in the universe.  It is also fascinating to think about how much the world has changed since the text was originally written in 1969. We now have the Hubble Space Telescope, things like Google Earth, and other tools that, while far from the power of the Macroscope, offer similar opportunities to explore the universe around us.”

—Alex Berger (@alexberger)

Find Macroscope here.

7. How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization by Franklin Foer

Suggested by Audrey Scott—Chief Storyteller at Uncornered Market

“Who knew you could learn so much about globalization, economics and politics from soccer? Franklin Foer uses his love of soccer and journalism background to take the reader around the world examining soccer clubs and their culture and history from Argentina to Ukraine. The depth that he is able to go into to explain socioeconomic and geopolitical shifts connected to globalization through the lens of soccer is remarkable. And, it’s not always pretty—he shows how the soccer culture of a place has contributed to racism, corruption and even violence. Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, you’ll enjoy the stories and learn a lot in the process.”

—Audrey Scott (@umarket)

Find How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization here.

8. At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig by John Gimlette

Suggested by Jodi Ettenberg—Writer and Soup Expert at LegalNomads

“I love it because it’s a well-written and engaging take on a complicated country and its tragic historical turn, with personal details woven into the chapters.”

—Jodi Ettenberg (@legalnomads)

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Find At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig here.

9. How to be an Explorer of the World: A Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith

Suggested by Jonny Miller— cofounder here at Maptia

“Keri Smith is convinced that everything in the world is fascinating. She persuades you that even the most mundane objects and places are worthy of your attention, if you are willing to ask the right questions. From attaching places to fictitious stories, to giving seemingly mundane objects superpowers—Keri peppers the book with fresh perspectives that will restore your childlike sense of astonishment for the everyday and leave the wheels of your imagination spinning long after you put it down.”

—Jonny Miller (@jonnym1ller)

Find How to be an Explorer of the World: A Portable Life Museum here.

10. Wild: An Elemental Journey by Jay Griffiths

Suggested by Dean Fischer—cofounder here at Maptia

“Wild provides a completely unique and enthralling view of our world. Jay Griffiths takes us along on her external and internal journey over seven years to the edges of the ‘civilised’ world, where language is a tool for seeing and where land, water, wind and fire are the anchors to our cultural roots and abounding sources of knowledge. Jay paints our home planet with an unsurpassed eloquence that will awaken the wild side of anybody. Get ready to yearn for wide-open landscapes, for freedom from the ever-encroaching, tainted mindsets of the ‘civilised’ world. Get ready to stand firmly on the side of our fragile, dwindling wildernesses as they burn with what could be their final flame, and fight for their last breath. With unexpected emotional force, the tales of misplaced ideals, misspoken words, and misused knowledge shook me with sadness when contrasted with the complex and emotional depiction of these delicate corners of our planet.”

—Dean Fischer (@deanfischer_)

Find Wild here.

11. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

“There is no book—or should I say books—I have read which have captured my imagination, or my heart, more than the six adventurous and gripping tales in the Earth’s Children Series by Jean M. Auel. Set around 30,000 years before the present day, during the dawn of mankind, The Clan of the Cave Bear is the beginning of Ayla’s remarkable story. Set against the backdrop of a wildly beautiful but sparsely populated and treacherous continent, the vivid descriptions of the landscapes Ayla travels through will have you longing to explore the world around you, and to get closer to nature yourself. The scope and scale that the books encompass is almost impossible to comprehend, and for me, the themes and emotions explored in this ancient story offer an unusual and astoundingly thoughtful insight into the fabric of our society today and our cultural roots as the dominant species on planet Earth. No-one can fail to be moved by Ayla’s journey through life, as she travels across what will one day become Europe, experiencing the people and landscapes around her with curiosity, insight—and above all—courage.”

—Dorothy Sanders (@doro1hy)

Find The Clan of the Cave Bear here.

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What’s that? You’d like more? Oh alright then, here are a couple of absolutely visually stunning and remarkable books chosen by the Maptia Team…

12. Steve McCurry Untold: The Stories Behind the Photographs by Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry has spent more than three decades following his curiosity around the globe. You may have heard that during his various adventures he survived a plane crash in Slovenia, as well as armed robbers and bombings in Afghanistan, but what we feel shines through in his photography is his trademark unquenchable sense of wonder and curiosity for the world around him. Harking back to Al Humphreys sentiments on adventuring, Steve believes that compelling photography doesn’t require exotic travel, but that he simply needed to wander and explore. Talking to Art Space he wrote:

“It’s a joy to be alive, and maybe that’s what come through.

Steve’s photography is uplifting and affecting in equal measure, yet Untold Storiesis more than just a visual feast to perch on your coffee table—it is an insightful journey into the life of this remarkable human. To leaf through its pages is to peer behind his world famous lens and dive into the hand scribbled notes and scrapbook-esque momentos from his adventures in every corner of the globe. InUntold Stories you get a sense of the man behind the lens, delving into his philosophies, which we felt were aptly summed up with these timeless words of his:

“Nothing has dented my faith in the human spirit or in unexpected human kindness… the kindest were often those who lived in the harshest of conditions.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past 30 years and aren’t familiar with Steve’s photography, then his blog should already be loading in your next tab whilst you watch this video below:

13. Before They Pass Away by Jimmy Nelson

Jimmy Nelson traveled to the ends of the earth in the hope of immortalising the world’s least-touched tribes. The results are nothing less than spellbinding—Jimmy is like a modern Doctor Who, who makes inter-dimensional voyages possible via his 4×5 large-plate field camera instead of a TARDIS. There is a strong sense of human purpose behind his project, he writes:

“These tribes, although we don’t necessarily have to be personally interested in them, they represent for us an individuality, a balance that we’ve lost.

Even if this ethnographic balance can never be fully restored, we admire Jimmy’s resolve to document and witness tribal traditions that are threatened by the forces of globalisation and couldn’t tear our eyes away from his remarkable and compelling visual catalog.

To end on an entertaining note, check out Jimmy’s TEDx Talk and learn why yellow snow and reindeer make for a hilarious consequences at the edge of the world.

This post originally appeared over on the Maptia Blog; the team at Maptia have just launched their beautiful platform for telling stories about places. The book spine illustrations were done by Ella Frances Sanders, Illustrator in Residence at Maptia.

What’s On Your Bookshelf For 2014? | Maptia Blog

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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