More Than Book Learning - Five Novels that Shaped my Love for East Asia

While in recent years I mostly read nonfiction, I strongly believe that novels can be just as powerful when it comes to broadening the horizon and understanding the big picture. 

I think that to understand the world, our history, even contemporary and future developments, it takes both, reading history books for a factual framework and reading novels to get a feeling for the zeitgeist.

While the origin of my life-long interest in Asia will likely stay a mystery forever, I know for sure that there are a few brilliant books that shaped this interest. Among the many I want to highlight five that stood out in particular.

Man vs Sea Elephant - Unlocking the Secret of my Slowness Part III

The quest to understand the roots of my appalling running performance is an ongoing topic of this blog. In two previous Life-Sparring rounds I looked at possible reasons like age and weight and my running form. In this article I dive deeper, literally going more than just skin-deep, doing a professional athletic fitness assessment at the Institute of Human Performance of the University of Hong Kong. If you are a regular reader, you can imagine that it was a humbling experience with a lot of insights.

Angry Cards and Vocabulary Crush – Playing Games You Can’t Lose

About four years ago I started to show severe signs of getting addicted to a popular mobile phone game. After reaching a point where playing the game began to disrupt parts of my life, I made a rather radical decision: I deleted all games from my phone and decided to get my fix from something much more productive, a flashcard game to learn Chinese. Interested to hear how that worked out?

Going all Keto: Week One - Five Insights of a Keto Beginner

Tired of gaining weight despite a high level of physical activity, I decided to pull the nuclear option and go on a full-blown ketogenic diet. As there are a lot of useful resources on ketosis, but not many detailed jargon-free reports for beginners, I tried, to sum up the experience of my first week on the keto diet in this article. Enjoy!

Older, Fatter, Faster? – 50 km of Joy, Pain, and Mindfulness on the Hong Kong Trail

While I enjoy running in general, it constantly and painfully reminds me of my physical limits. Despite my almost life-long relationship with running, I am embarrassingly slow and technically bad.

As the stubborn and competitive person that I am, being slow and bad at running does not stop me from occasionally reaching for the sky. My recent participation in the Green Power Hike, a 50km trail running race over the full length of the Hong Kong trail, across the rocky backbone of the island was an example for me testing my limits. The 24th edition of the iconic trail running event was my fourth participation. How would my lack of training, five years of age, and five kilogram body weight since my personal best in 2012 affect my performance?

Aiming for the Streak – Three Apps to Track Your Habits

After chasing big and lofty goals in 2016, the focus in 2017 is on habit setting. Using a strategy called "Mini Habits", I try to set small but very regular tasks to establish healthy habits that bring me closer to my ambitious goals, with much less stress. To make sure that I am not forgetting my daily goals, I was experimenting finding the perfect mobile up to nudge me at the right time. Which of the contenders Irunurun, Nozbe or Strides proofs to be best suited to keep me on track over the year?

Big Goals and Mini Habits – A New Take on a New Year’s Resolution

Despite the bad reputation of New Year’s Resolutions in the scientific world and my mixed record with meeting my annual goals in the past, I continue to make resolutions year after year. New Year's Eve would just not feel the same without good intentions and lofty goals.

After going all S.M.A.R.T. in 2016, this year it's about going small, taking a page or two out of Stephen Guise's book Mini Habits.