Bitcoin Hype – First Let’s Learn the Blockchain

Bitcoin, you might have heard of it recently in the news thanks to it’s explosive (and bubble’ish) growth in value from about March this year (000’s of %). It’s understandable that the $$$ value is what gets everyone’s attention but what most don’t understand is the technology behind it: Blockchain.

The thing is, it difficult to understand, hard to explain & that’s one of the biggest barriers to the mass market right now. I was aware of it at a high level but my interest was peaked after I listened to a podcast by Tim Ferris where he interviews Nick Szabo. It became glaringly apparent the potential of blockchain tech was massive and I needed to learn more. As momentous as the advent of the internet, some might even say.

So here’s a list of the best books, podcasts, videos and websites I’ve come across:

On the more academic side:

I have also found there is a lot of noise as speculators get excited about the value of tokens. There is quite a lot of tribalism between and within each cryptocurrency, as everyone has vested interests, which distract from the underlying potential of creating real world value. So keep that in mind if you venture into subreddits or other blockchain crypto forums. In saying that, I have gleaned some insights from various subreddits, so here’s my list:

Snowboard the Austrian Alps: Mayrhofen

Austria, where the hills are alive with the sound of music, homeland of Arnold and some very outstanding mountains. Combine that with great bier, schnapps, Austrian folk music and this non-pretentious country is an excellent option for a winter skiing excursion.  This post is about Mayrhofen in the Tyrol region, about an hour south-east drive from Innsbruck.

The Town

Prior to this trip (Feb ’17), I’d only known about Mayrhofen from friends who had been to Snowbombing, a festival combining skiing + raving. So I expected that it’d probably have a good Apres/night scene at other times of the year. This wasn’t exactly the case but we did manage to find a few good spots:

  • Ice Bar – classic Austrian Apres bar at the base of the main gondola. This place cranked from 330 to around 7 or 8pm. Song of the trip: Johnny Dapp – only took one chorus to have us singing our lungs out!
  • Harakiri Bar – the one post-Apres (10pm onwards) spot we found worth going with some tunes to get down to.
  • Mo’s – Restaurant bar, great place for a sit down meal and session. The staff were fantastic and it had a good buzz about it. Food was average but that’s besides the point really.
  • China Restaurant Singapore – Chinese (or Singapore?) restaurant that was perfect after a big day on the mountain.

Other bits about the town: There are buses that circle through the town but it’s small enough that we walked everywhere. Try book accom well in advance so you can get a spot in the town itself & save you the extra 5 min walk.

Should note, it’s still legal to smoke indoors in Austria, so watch out for cigarettes burning holes in your snow gear when dancing around in those Apres bars!

The Mountain

I was impressed, it’s a decent, snowboarder friendly ski area with a variety of terrain.

Featuring Joe

Some notable points:

  • Timed Slalom – on the far peak off run 27, there were a couple of timed slalom courses on which we had a solid bit of competition on among our group. Loads of fun.
  • Terrain Park – really tidy terrain park with clean M, L & XL kickers and a reasonable variety of jib action. Also has a ‘kiddie’ terrain park for those getting back into it or learning.
  • Harakiri – Steepest groomed trail in Europe. Can confirm, it’s bloody steep and a good challenge to try dominate even for those who chew up double blacks. I did it three times, it won twice. We saw a lady fall and a helicopter land to take her away, it’s not to be taken lightly.
  • Favourite run – #27, it was way out the back, less crowded and after a couple inches of overnight snow, provided something to play around with on the piste fringes.
  • Ahorn & the Igloo Bar – Worth the trip up the other side of valley (lift pass works across both). They carved a huge igloo and use it as a bar with fun little rooms. Also has what I thought was the longest run from peak to carpark – took 15mins.

  • Con – It’s not great of learner snowboarders – Run 14 was the only wide, gently sloped run but it was on the far side of the mountain only accessible but a long narrow cat track. Ahorn did have what looked like a good slope for beginners too, with better access, but that’s on the other side of the valley.


A solid rating of 4 snowballs out of 5. You’ll love the relaxed, jovial nature of the culture & variety of trails with plentiful facilities and bars/cafes/restaurants.  The Austrian alps are a stunning range of peaks and the Villertal valley provides some picturesque views.

P.S. The cover photo on homepage was actually taken in Mayrhofen by my good friend Rob (insta: @itskiwirob).


Blinkist App – Glorified Cliffnotes (In a Good Way)

Do you ever hear people talk about a particular book with enthusiasm and think to yourself ‘I could potentially like this book’. But then you never do for whatever reason. You could be missing out on something life-changing, but you’ll never know now. What if you could take in the key points by looking at your phone for your 15 minutes (instead of Facebook or Reddit) and discover that yeah, this is interesting and yeah, it would be worth buying the book and reading the whole thing!

Blinkist – 15min Text Taster

Blinkist is a mobile app that attempts to summarise the best non-fiction books into quick digestable 15 minute reads. Topics vary from business and entrepreneurship, to psychology, parenting and science.

You’ll find most of top books in these areas, such as ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’, ‘The 5 Love Languages’ and ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’. From what I can tell, new books are added almost everyday too.

The Extended Back Page

If you read a lot of non-fiction, you’ll definitely read a few that have one really good point. Which is interesting and mind-blowing but really only needs a couple chapters to fully grasp, not the 15-20 that the book has. Yet you read the whole book, waiting for the 2nd nugget of gold to rise to the top but it never does.

Blinkist highlights and summarise key points to make it super easy to determine whether or not it buying the book would be a good investment of your time & money. This means you can read dozens of blinks, sifting out the chaff, whilst still gleaning the best bits to wisdom apply in your life. There’s even a nifty highlight function to keep track such bits. It’s perfect for those risky picks which don’t come highly recommended but you suspect could be interesting.

The Good for Your Mind Alternative

We all spend far too much time mindlessly browsing the web. Which is fine, sometimes you need to turn off your brain or keep up with current events. But if you’re like me, you find yourself doing it way too much, addiction territory levels.

In order to change this habit (as I learnt from The Habit Loop), it’s easier to change a bad by simply replace the bad routine with something better. But it has to be simple, easy and also rewarding. Blinkist does this perfectly, the icon on my homescreen catches my eye & the information I gather makes it rewarding and gives me a feeling of growth. Unlike some other sites (ahem, Facebook, news media sites), which get me wound up, angry (righteously, of course) or just frustrated.

So, Why Not?

It is free!  You get 1 book a day but it’s pre-selected for you. There are two priced versions:

  • For $50 annually you get to select the books for yourself, read them offline and can listen to one pre-selected each day (see the trend…)! – this is what I’m on, they got me when I signed up to the free trial
  • Then for the $70 option you also get to select everything all on your own!

You might think $50 sounds like a lot, but compare it to the cost of a text book you bought from university, or 25 coffees. Then think about how much value you gain from it and really, it’s a pretty good deal.  For our lack of attention spans, it’s the ideal app to get you back into reading, learning, growing and basically becoming a better human being.

My favourite Blink: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (I bought the book)

Find out more about Blinkist & get the iOS & Android app here

Start Reading Now

I read a lot as a kid but stopped at high school. Started again in 2010 with the Steve Jobs biography because I loved tech and the man is a legend. I couldn’t put it down and really loved the whole experience. Since then, I’ve read (or listened to) at least a book a month and it is quite simply the best habit I have added to improve myself, ever.

Why read?

You learn. Become less ignorant, less naive, more tolerant and understanding. It helps you to empathise more & criticise less. You use your imagination (remember that thing?), expand your diction & become better at understanding concepts. Quite simply, you train your brain.

How to start?

Most convenient: buy a Kindle

Or, look around your house. It’s almost guaranteed you’ll find something, read that. Start now.

Great Read: Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

power of habit

Why did I read this?

To make improvements with how I spend my time. Frustrated with my lack of productivity in both work and personal lives. I wanted to know what I could learn about about habits in order to help my own life.

What’s the TL:DR?

To convey the concept of habit, Charles Duhigg clearly outlines the components of what makes a habit: cue, routine, reward. It uses interesting scientific examples and notable real world stories to help you understand.

Was it worth reading?

Yes – full of interesting facts, anecdotes and practical advice. I was surprised at the profoundly large impact habits have in our life and how little I really knew about it until this point.

It has completely changed my way of thinking and how I can go about cutting out bad habits and adding good ones. I’ve used it to wake up an hour earlier every day to meditate & journal (more to come about the benefits of this later!). And I was a hardened night owl, so it really proves the power of knowledge.

NB – I listened to this via Audible, but you can pick it up over on Amazon:
The Power Of Habit: How to Create Good Habits & Break Bad Habits