Issue 02 - December 31, 2019

I love deadlines. I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by. — Douglas Adams

Here it is, the end of another year. Count me among this who consider December 31, 2019 to also be the end of the decade. There are some who argue that the decade isn't over until the end of 2020. They may be right. But I love the symbolism of round numbers so I'm going with 2020 being a new decade.

It's a time for looking back and looking ahead. For me it was a year of deep learning. Among so many things, I finally lived up to last year's resolution to read more. I read a lot — 17 books in all. Here are a few that will linger with me into the new decade:

  • The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Survive When the World Overwhelms You, by Elaine N Aron. If you are, or know someone who is, an HSP, this book is for you.
  • 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari. I am not a fan of Yuval Harari — I find his views too closely aligned with neoliberalism — but this is an excellent and important book. He articulates beautifully how our biggest problems are bigger than any one country. We must work together, and across borders, to solve them.
  • The Secret of Our Success: How Culture is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating our Species, and Making Us Smarter, by Joseph Henrich. I have been arguing for a long time that success is contextual and communal. Heinrich, a social anthropologist, shows that it is interactive and cumulative as well.
  • Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, by Anand Giridharadas. If you only read one book in the coming year, make it this one. Giridharadas understands our economy and our culture like no one before him. His compelling arguments — and his mastery of Twitter — make him my new hero.
  • The Uninhabitable Earth, by David Wallace-Wells. The first half of this book objectively accounts what is happening around the world due to climate change. Although dismal, it is objective and realistic. Thankfully, Wallace ends with several chapters that provide reasons to hope.
  • Virgil Wander, by Leif Enger. A delightful novel set in a small town along the shores of Lake Superior.
  • The Overstory, Richard Powers. A moving and powerful novel about trees.
  • The Road to Unfreedom: Russia • Europe • America, by Timothy Snyder. A bit wonky at times (Snyder is a historian) but an excellent read if you want to understand what is happening politically in the world right now.
  • War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy. Thanks to Brian Denton, I actually read this 2,700 page tome. Denton realized that Tolstoy's masterpiece was comprised of 361 chapters, and put together a version of the book that mapped out reading one chapter a day for the entire year. Brilliant!
  • Mindsets: The New Psychology of Success, by Carol S. Dweck. This book has been on my reading list a long time. I finally understand what everyone means when they talk about fixed verses growth mindsets.

What did you read this year?

Items of Note


I had planned on putting out a series of articles on productivity for the end of the year. At first I was just going to update three old articles already on my website. I mean, how hard can it be, right?

But life got in the way and the articles needed a lot of work. I decided to just start over with three new articles. And then three articles became a series of five articles and, well, here it is, the end of the year. I'm with Douglas Adams on this one. I love deadlines.

I did, however, make some progress. The first article in the series is now live. And I posted a thoughtful exercise to help you plan strategically for the year ahead. It's a short set of questions that are perfect for clarifying where you are, where you want to go, and how you might get there. 


The Rhythms of Productivity – Part I: Overview

Productivity is hard. Most people overthink it, or worse, try to emulate what someone else does. It’s tempting to think what works for others will work for us. Oh, if that were only true. Productivity is a beast that everyone must tame in their own way.

Check it out: The Rhythms of Productivity – Part I: Overview


Annual Planning

Where are you today compared to where you were a year ago? Where would you like to be next year at this time?

I put together a simple, but powerful, set of questions that will lead you through a planing process for looking back over the last year and then looking forward to the next one.

Did you know that all copies of Helpful: A Guide to Life, Careers, and the Art of Networking purchased from my website include a free copy of the companion exercise workbook? Just purchase any format of Helpful — paperback, hardcover, or ePub — and you'll get a coupon code for a free copy of The Workbook of Helpful Exercises during checkout.

Shop now

What I'm Working On...

Did I mention that I'm working on a five-part series on productivity? Stay tuned for parts II-IV during the first few weeks in January.

After those articles go live, I'll start exploring a platform for online courses. Don't be surprised if the first course I develop is on, you guessed it, productivity. 😄

Let me know what you're working on. I'd love to hear what your goals and aspirations are for 2020. Will it be a big year? How's your networking going? Who are the people you aspire to meet this year?

As ever,


Copyright © 2019 Heather Hollick

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