Completing all 12 Programming Courses on Sololearn – [After-Thoughts]


The world we live in today is touched by technology like never before. And the trend does not seem to decelerate any time soon. Much of technology has to do with machines powered by codes and algorithms.

Literacy and skill in programming is, therefore, a pursuit that can prevent (or delay) one from becoming obsolete in this ongoing automation. Think of robots, automated factories, self-driving trucks and autonomous drone delivery.

There are way too many online places, courses, platforms and frameworks for absolute beginners to learn programming; and most of them are free.

In this post I focus on my experience with one of them, Sololearn.

What I’ve Been Reading Recently – My Bookshelf #9

What I've Been Reading Recently - My Bookshelf #9


I read 39 books in 2016 (as of April). I’m ahead of my last year’s count (this time, last year). I don’t do speed reading. I try to read slowly. I enjoy it. It’s not a hobby. It’s something I do everyday for a substantial amount of my time.

Most of the books I read this year are non-fiction. A few of them are audiobooks (fiction and self-development) and approximately 10-12 of them are programming books – which I had to go through even slower because they implied practicing with code.

What I’m currently mostly interested in is: genomics, bioinformatics, epigenetics and small-scale entrepreneurship. It’d be only reasonable to think that the books I read come from these fields.

Additionally, I read research studies, and, besides audiobooks, I listen to podcasts, interviews and watch lectures on these subjects. Coursera’s online courses also take a stretch of my time.

Myelin Thickness – The Unromantic Approach to Reaching Mastery [1,2,3]

Myelin Thickness - The Unromantic Approach to Reach Mastery [1,2,3] - myelin - 1


The summer of 2011 portrays weeks on end of agonizing urban heat. I can vividly remember it. Most afternoons, you would find me on the track, jogging for 40 minutes to an hour. I was enjoying it, even though it was like walking into an oven.

I seldom knew how time flew by. With my earplugs on, Brian Tracy was whispering motivational stories from his program The Power of Self-Confidence. His voice was pleasant, his language simple, his advice practical – a delight!

People inherently know the concepts and ideas pushed in such books and programs. Many folks read motivational books on an ongoing basis, yet never achieve anything in their lives. They barely move a finger. It took me some time to learn that achievement is about acting in a persistent, feedback-driven, and constantly-optimizing fashion.

Ever since my earlier exposure to self-development, I knew that there is something more to personal success than mere positive self-talk.

My curiosity got me to more solid grounds when I stumbled upon Joe Dispenza book, which presented a somewhat neuroscientific approach to human achievement. It got me hooked when I read how people can, in a systematic fashion, become better versions of themselves. I became more convinced that in self-growth there’s no magic, no overnight success, and no follow your passion bland advice. It’s more about pure, deep and systematic practice.

Self-Education and Insights from the 86 books I read in 2015

Self-Education and Insights from the 86 books I read in 2015


I read 86 books in 2015. Turning the final page on each one makes me realize how little I know. I shared some of my thoughts from these books: #here #here #here and #here

Today I’m about to do the same.

I do the bulk of my reading on my tablet. It’s a very enjoyable and convenient experience. I use a stylus to highlight passages that I consider insightful or relevant to me; passages that I would later (quite often) come back at to refresh my knowledge.

80+ and counting – What I’ve been Reading Recently – My Bookshelf #8

80+ and counting - What I've Been Reading Recently - My Bookshelf #8


I read little over 80 books in 2015. And I still have about 2 more weeks to add a few titles to the list.

Some background information for my 2015:

– traveled more than in 2014
– published 3 books (compared to 2 in 2014) and I’m in the processing of finishing another one by the end of the year
– in terms of books read, I’m ahead of my 2014 performance with 20+ titles.

The Myopics of Darwinism, Dawkinsism and Blind Faith – Enter Evolution 2.0

The Myopics of Darwinism, Dawkinsism and Blind Faith - Enter Evolution 2.0


When an electrical engineer decides to study the evidence for human evolution…

Being unsatisfied with the explanations from Christianity (his religion) and from the followers of Darwin’s theory on the origins of species, he feels that there’s much more to it than the information spoon-fed to the public…

In the era of genomic testing and ubiquitous availability of information, the only requirement that you need when seeking answers is time. The Internet provides access to the latest/historic research studies on any topic. However, you may need to train yourself to develop a critical mind to be able to appropriately interpret the data you gather.

What better way to view things than from an outsider’s perspective?!

Having a background in engineering, Perry Marshall was not only able to view the evidence with different eyes, but he was also able to integrate concepts from engineering and information technology when interpreting his findings.

I first saw his book Evolution 2.0 at the science branch of New York Public Library. I did a quick search on the author and, to be honest, I was somewhat skeptic to start reading it because I saw the author had no formal training in the field.

There are so many books on my reading list that I cannot waste time with low-grade ones.

No formal training, but self-training, as in Perry’s case is, contrary to popular belief, an advantage…

And I’m glad that I opened the book and read the first few pages before putting it back on the shelf and forgetting about it. That’s how I got absorbed.

300+ pages devoured in less than 3 days. A delight, to say the least. Evolution 2.0 has, by all means, cemented my faith in divinity.

Here I share a few take-away messages from Perry.

The level of depth of Perry’s self-education is nothing short of extraordinary. You do need to have some background/familiarity in/with the field of genomics (+ computer science, engineering, and evolutionary biology) to get a good grasp of this book.

What I’m about to share is only glimpse of what the book has to offer…

Five Videos with Gary Vee – Grind, Hustle, Persistence…

I follow Gary Vee. He cuts through the crap and he doesn’t refrain from using offensive language.

Taking things for what they are, staying away from romanticizing personal beliefs and being ruthlessly objective. This is what I like about Gary.

Oh, and one more thing. There’s this quality that I’d like to call super-practicality – being extremely action oriented.

I usually don’t do posts that are so short, but I thought I have to pack these 5 gem-like videos with Gary so that you could get the same (if not, more) value and motivation that I get when I watch them.

I usually watch them a couple of times every week.

  1. Monday Mornings – A Rant

Good for kick-starting every week.

ColorNote – Sneak Peak into One of My Productive Daily Habits



There is no single successful individual that I follow who does not keep a daily to-do list or a notebook to write things down. Whether it’s a small spiral pad in your back pocket or an app on your smart phone, use it daily and you’ll see how your reality changes overnight (caveat: there’s no such thing as overnight success).

All my mentors swear by this habit.

I adopted it almost three years ago. Back in early 2013, I had the most basic of it. I adapted it as I went along. With time, it became more complex.

Now I keep a daily list, a monthly list, a long-term to-do list, a travel to-do list, a list for anything.

How I do it and how it impacted my life and my productivity? This is what you’re about to find out.

22 Pieces of Wisdom I got from Marcus Aurelius – Stoic Power

22 Pieces of Wisdom I Got from Marcus Aurelius - Stoic Power


I often revisit the books I read in the past to reprocess the passages that I highlighted and to give a second look at the notes I made. It helps me consolidate the concepts that I took away from them.

I go over some of these titles more often, while others more seldom. It depends. Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations is one of my reference books. It brings me back to Earth. It is one of the purest forms of stoic motivation and it allows me to recalibrate whenever I feel distracted by reality.

Marcus wrote his meditations to serve as conduit to himself. He never thought they will be found and popularized.

That’s why I write this post to myself. Take it as an open journal. Should you take away something from it? I’ll be glad if you do.  

Water Chemistry, 4th Phase, Prof. Gerald Pollack and EZ – Ignored Discoveries

Water Chemistry, 4th Phase, Gerald Pollack and EZ - Ignored Discoveries


I just finished reviewing my notes of Prof. Gerald Pollack’s book The Fourth Phase of Water and I realized that it’s too important not to dedicate it a few words.

You may think there’s not much to say about the banal/ordinary water. On a closer look, you may be wrong.

Before getting into details, I need to say that this is one of the most coherent and intelligible books that I read so far. It is written in lay term and it is packed with hundreds of illustrations to make it even more graspable.

Dr. Gerald Pollack is Professor of Bioengineering at The University of Washington. I need to mention some of the awards and distinctions he received:

Excellence Award for the book Muscles and Molecules
Distinguished Award for the book Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life
2008 Annual Faculty Lecturer Award from The University of Washington
2009 NIH Transformative Award for his “Unexpectedly Profound Role of Water in Biology and Medicine”

This is a mouthful; and these are only a few of the honors (more here).

From a personal perspective, Prof. Pollack really knows his stuff. I admire him for his empirical approach to science. He goes from experiments and observations to building theories, which is the opposite to most modern science undertakings.

First, I want to thank Prof. Pollack for giving me the permission and opportunity to post captions of the book.

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