Lee Child Novels: Is There A 100 Percent Club?

Another one of my favourite authors is Lee Child.

I am a proud member of the Lee Child 100 percent club.

The club doesn’t exist as far as I can tell, so I’ll be the only member to start with 🙂

He’s written 17 novels to date.

17 Novels Written by Lee Child:

  1. Killing Floor (1997)
  2. Die Trying (1998)
  3. Tripwire (1999)
  4. The Visitor (2000)
  5. Echo Burning (2001)
  6. Without Fail (2002)
  7. Persuader (2003)
  8. The Enemy (2004)
  9. One Shot (2005)
  10. The Hard Way (2006)
  11. Bad Luck and Trouble (2007)
  12. Nothing To Lose (2008)
  13. Gone Tomorrow (2009)
  14. 61 Hours (2010)
  15. Worth Dying For (2010)
  16. The Affair (2011)
  17. A Wanted Man (2012)

My Completion Percentage

17/17 = 100%.

Are you a fan? What’s your percentage?

I Got Knocked Out Cold By A Punk Hoody Kid

This one time… I was about 20 years old and at the  huge Bethlehem School Gala day in Tauranga.

A van load of us made the trip over from Rotorua (about an hour away).

I was just casually strolling through the crowds with a mate of mine and bumped shoulders with a guy coming in the opposite direction (as you do).

He spun around all huffed up “Do you want a fight??!!” he shouted.

The guy was tiny. About 4 years younger than me (about 16) and wearing a oversized hoody.

He was actually jumping around on the spot all wild and ready.

I had just purchased my favourite icecream of all time – the Fruju Tropical Snow, and had only taken a bite or 2 from orange, and hadn’t even started on banana or lemon yet, so obviously my reply to this punk was “OK, I’ll just finish my icecream”.

So I just stood there and took another bite of orange flavour and just looked around at the crowd. I wasn’t going to rush it, this thing was delicious.

And I’m not a fighter either. I thought the guy would just give up and leave.

Next thing I know, I’m walking back through the crowd in the opposite direction with a headache and no icecream.

“What happened Steve?” I asked the guy pulling me along by my jersey in an obvious hurry. “Where are we going?” I ask him.

“Just come with me” he says.

That’s all I remember of that day. About 2mins of footage.

It turned out the punk had knocked me out cold with one punch. The mild concussion had left huge holes in my memory of that day/night.

Steve told me later that I had asked “What happened Steve?” about 8 times on the way back to our van and each time had instantly forgotten his response and asked the same question again about 1 minute later.

I’m just annoyed that I lost my Tropical Snow. But actually I couldn’t eat them after that because they gave me a headache because they reminded me of that concussion.

Ken Follett Novels: Is There A 100 Percent Club?

Ken Follett is one of my favourite authors.

My mission is to get into the Ken Follett 100 percent club.

The club doesn’t exist as far as I can tell, so I’ll be the only member to start with 🙂

He’s written 31 novels to date, 21 of which he is proud of, 10 of which he is embarrassed by.

21 Novels Written by Ken Follett:

  1. Winter of the World (2012)
  2. Fall of Giants (2010)
  3. World Without End (2007)
  4. Whiteout (2004)
  5. Hornet Flight (2002)
  6. Jackdaws (2001)
  7. Code to Zero (2000)
  8. The Hammer of Eden (1998)
  9. The Third Twin (1996)
  10. A Place Called Freedom (1995)
  11. A Dangerous Fortune (1993)
  12. Night Over Water (1991)
  13. The Pillars of the Earth (1989)
  14. Lie Down with Lions (1986)
  15. On Wings of Eagles (1983)
  16. The Man from St. Petersburg (1982)
  17. The Key to Rebecca (1980)
  18. Triple (1979)
  19. Eye of the Needle (1978) (apa Storm Island) (Edgar Award, 1979, Best Novel)
  20. Paper Money (1977) (as Zachary Stone)
  21. The Modigliani Scandal (1976) (as Zachary Stone)

10 More Novels

In the 70’s when he was first starting out as an author, he wrote 10 others, but the funny thing is, Ken Follett seems quite embarrassed by them now. He goes as far as to say “don’t read these” on his official website!

  1. Heist of the Century (1978) (with Rene Louis Maurice, others) (apa The Gentleman of 16 July – U.S.) (apa Under the Streets of Nice) (apa Robbery Under the Streets of Nice)
  2. Capricorn One (1978) (as Bernard L. Ross) (based on screenplay by Peter Hyams)
  3. The Power Twins (1976) (as Martin Martinsen)
  4. The Mystery Hideout (1976) (as Martin Martinsen) (apa The Secret of Kellerman’s Studio)
  5. Amok: King of Legend (1976) (as Bernard L. Ross)
  6. The Bear Raid (1976)
  7. The Shakeout (1975)
  8. The Big Hit (1975) (as Simon Myles)
  9. The Big Black (1974) (as Simon Myles)
  10. The Big Needle (1974) (as Simon Myles) (apa The Big Apple – U.S.)

From this list, I could only get my hands on Capricorn One (1978), which was just “ok”. It was a movie first, and Ken Follett (using the name Bernard L. Ross) wrote the novel based on the screenplay.

My Completion Percentage

I have read all but his latest Winter of the World. So that’s 20/21 = 95.2%. Not bad.

I’m determined to get to 100% this year.

If I include the second list of novels, that’s 21/31 = 67.7% which isn’t nearly as impressive.

Are you a fan? What’s your percentage? Better than mine?

Confession: I Only Have 4 Skills

It’s true. My confession to you today is that I only have 4 skills.

Skill #1: I Can Read

Being able to read is my first skill.

I read a speed reading book 4 years ago and it changed my life: 10 Days to Faster Reading by Abby Marks Beale

It increased my comprehension from 60-70% to 80-90% and increased my reading speed from 300wpm (already quite good) to 600-900wpm.

I can consume a regular sized business book in 2 to 3 hours. And when I studying for my Masters over the last 2 years I read hefty text books in 4 – 6 hours.

The pay off for my reading skill is that I get to steal ideas from the best minds on the planet and rework those ideas into my own.

Skill #2: I Can Write

Being able to write is my second skill. And when I say “write” I really mean “touch type”.

Thanks to a short course at High School when I was 15 I got my fingers on the “home keys” and they’ve been there ever since.

My current rate is 70wpm-80wpm which is pretty good.

The pay off for my typing skill is that I can communicate fast: writing emails, writing blog articles, writing reports, and sometimes, writing code.

Writing is a communication tool that is one of the core parts of my business and life, and I get to make money from it.

Sidenote: I pity school kids these days on iPads. You can’t learn to touch type on one of those things (and Siri taking your dictation won’t be that helpful)

Skill #3: I Can Listen

Being able to listen is my third skill.

If you an I talk on the phone or in person you might notice that I take the following rule (written by Epictetus, a Greek philosopher 2000 years ago) pretty seriously:

“God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth so you can listen twice as much as you talk”

The pay off is that people think that I think that they are awesome and worth listening to. We all love being listened to because it makes us feel important.

If you make someone feel important by listening carefully to what they have to say, what is their impression of you? They think you are awesome too, and when you finally open your mouth to speak they really pay attention!

Skill #4: I Can Ask Questions

Being able to ask questions is my fourth and final skill.

If you an I talk on the phone or in person you might notice that I ask a lot of questions.

My son is almost three and he is in “why?” mode. If you’ve got kids, or if you’re around kids that will sound familiar to you.

Kids ask endless questions because they are curious and fascinated by the world and want to know how it all works.

I ask my clients lots of questions because I want to know how their business works and it’s my way of prompting them to think about things in a different way because that’s where new ideas come from.

The pay off is that the more work I do up front at the asking-questions stage, the better result I can deliver.

Einstein said it best: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the answer, I would spend the first 55 minutes figuring out the proper questions to ask. For if I knew the proper questions, I could solve the problem in less than 5 minutes.”

Sidenote: Asking questions is the key to dating if you didn’t know already 😉

So What?

The point I want to make is that I have created a successful business out of having just 4 simple skills.

The challenge for you is to imagine the pay off you might get if you were better at each of those 4 skills and then start working on them.

What skills do you have? Are they different from my list? Say so in the comments below.

What Exactly are you Dunkin Donuts?

Guest post written by my brother, Tim Nesdale

Dunkin Donuts has arrived in New Zealand but very recently, my home in Hamilton.  My wife asked me to dunk down (see what I did there?) on my lunch break and go get a menu so that she can browse all of their delicious treats.  Prior to doing this, I did the smart thing all Kiwi’s do and typed www.dunkindonuts.co.nz into the browser on my phone.


The site uses Flash.  Clearly their web team hasn’t caught up with the rest of the world yet and realised that most smart phones can’t play flash in their web browsers and that more than half of web traffic in the world is via mobile devices.

So I tried dunkindonuts.com – Great it’s not flash so I can ACTUALLY USE IT!  Unfortunately that was the only highlight of this entire experience. Now surely, being a global multinational company I’ll be able to get a menu with at least their flagship best selling products right?


The first two items in the navigation menu are ‘Coffee’ followed by ‘Menu’.  So I click ‘Menu’.  Then I’m presented with…. their ‘Drinks’ menu. I’m seriously not kidding you here. Coffee, Coolatta, Espresso, this is all wonderful but I’m looking for DONUTS!  Have I come to the right place?  You guys sell Donuts right?  Oh look, the tab NEXT to ‘Drinks’ is ‘Food’.  NOW we are getting somewhere, should be plain sailing now right?

Wrong again.

Apparently they sell Bagel Twists, Bagels, Big N’ Toasted, Breakfast Sandwiches, Cookies, Danishes…. oh and Donuts.  That’s right people.  “Donuts” is not first, not second, not even third, but SEVENTH on the list of food items that took me 3 clicks to get to!  Right, so I’m on the Donuts page FINALLY.  Now Dunkin Donuts, show me glossy delicious photos of all of your tasty treats!


I’m presented with a drop down list of Donut names.  Can I just see a page where I can browse at least SOME of your Donuts?  Maybe just your top six in the world?  Your top 3? Maybe just the Big Mac or the Whopper of Dunkin Donuts?  No?  Okay then… I scan the drop down list of Donuts, and pick out one I like, “Bowtie Donut”, I wonder what THAT is, sounds interesting let’s check it out!


Was I expecting too much?  A nice little photo, some marketing spiel to entice me to buy this donut?  Maybe a short list of key ingredients? What I get is a table giving me the nutritional facts of the Donut. I’m buying Donuts! CLEARLY I DON’T CARE ABOUT HOW FAT THEY’LL MAKE ME!  Did I click on ‘Salads’?  The ingredients list is there but it begins: “Donut dough: Donut mix, Enriched flour, wheat, flour, malted barley flour, Niacin iron, Thiamin…..” okay I’m bored already!  Does it have caramel sauce? Does it have sprinkles?  Does it have crispy biscuit pieces?!!! Who knows, I’m not going to find out here.

So after wasting my precious 3 minutes I decide, stuff this, I’ll just walk down to the physical store and get a menu!

So I walk down to the store and walk in to see a dozen confused and despairing individuals who can’t make out the confusing ‘combo’ deals or understand which donuts qualify as ‘premium’ or ‘regular’.  I try to bypass the chaos of confusion and go straight to the counter and ask for a menu that I can take home with me.  “Sorry Sir, we don’t have menus”.

I don’t even have the energy to tell you that they failed that test.  This is just not funny anymore.  Maybe I could take a photo of the menu board?  Nope can’t do that either.  The Menu board has prices for different types of donuts or combinations of them but no actual donut names.  I glance at the half empty cabinet and see 4 different types of donuts, none of which look remotely appealing.

So to summarise.

The top 10 reasons why Dunkin Donuts sucks!:

  1. The logo for Dunkin Donuts is not a donut, it’s a cup of coffee! What?!
  2. The NZ site unnecessarily uses Flash so most of us can’t view it on our Smart Phones
  3. It takes me 3 clicks on their international website to see an actual Donut name they sell.
  4. I can’t browse any Donuts not even their top 3 or their ‘Flagship’ Donut
  5. There are images of Donuts on the site but no link at all between images and actual Donut names
  6. There are no descriptions of what is in any of their Donuts (unless you really want to know which Donuts have Niacin in them)
  7. They have no take home menus in their physical stores
  8. Their ‘Combo’s are hard to understand
  9. Sometimes they only have a few types of Donuts available to sell
  10. They cannot be found in the NZ business directory “Yellow” nor can they be found in Google Places, lucky they’re bright pink and big in America or no one here would even know they existed.


As You Age, Every Year You Need 5 Minutes Less Sleep At Night

Up to the end of my teenage years I needed 9 hours sleep every night just to function during the day.

In my mid twenty’s at university (yes, I went late) I noticed that I needed only 8.

And now, in my 30’s I need only 7.5 hours.

I’m sure you’ve heard that many active retired people only need a few hours per night?

Imagine how much we could all get done in our lives if that was the case for all of us!

I can’t wait!

I’ve calculated that as you age, every year I’ve needed 5 minutes less sleep at night.

That’s almost one second less sleep at night, every night, since my peak of 9 hours when I was 18.

Here’s the math:

  • 9 hours of sleep at 18 years old
  • 7.5 hours of sleep at 35 years old
  • 9 hours of sleep – 7.5 hours of sleep = 1.5 x 60 minutes in an hour = 90 minutes
  • 35 years old – 18 years old = 17 years
  • 90 minutes no longer required / 17 years = 5.29 minutes per year
  • 5.29 per year x 60 seconds in a minute = 317.6 seconds less sleep per year
  • 317.6 / 365 days in a year = 0.87 seconds per day
  • 0.87 seconds per day x 7 days per week = 6.09 seconds per week

By this reckoning, when I’m 120 years old I’ll be awake around the clock!

  • 7.5 hours x 60 minutes per hour = 450 minutes
  • 450 minutes / 5.29 minutes less per year = 85 years to go
  • 85 years to go + 35 years old currently = 120 years old when I’ll be awake around the clock

Have you had a similar experience?

Tell your story in the comments below.

What If You Could Control Cinema Session Times?

I go to the cinema about 3 or 4 times a year.

The primary reason is that the pre-set evening session times are annoyingly inconvenient.

Movies that start at 6pm is no good. It’s too early because I’m starving when the movie finishes at 8pm. 8pm is too late for dinner!

And cramming dinner down before 5.30pm to get to the movie in time for the 6pm session is just as bad.

And a movie starting at 8.30pm is too late because my wife and I can’t handle getting at home at 10.30pm like we used to.

So the solution would be a cinema that can play the movie when I choose.

My ideal time would be 7.24pm which is after dinner, after the kids are in bed, and will finish at 9.24pm. Perfect.

What’s your perfect movie starting time?

Is there a way that we can all go to the cinema but we all get to choose our movie start time? (And it would be handy to pause when we need to go to the toilet too).

Perhaps the answer is to install aeroplane seats into cinemas!

6″ screens aren’t going to cut it of course so we’ll need nice 22″ inch HD screens in the back of the seat in front of you (3D capable of course).

We’ll need headphones too. Nice padded, high quality ones with a volume setting that you control.

One more thing – you’ll be able to order snacks right from where you sit, and they get delivered to you by chicks on roller skates!

To make this awesomeness happen I’ll need investment.

10,000 people investing $1,000 each should do it for starters. Are you in?

If so, make a deposit in my bank account right now, and I’ll start enquiries to buy old 737 seats.

Piz Buin SPF30 Allergy 200ml Sunscreen Back In New Zealand?

This summer I ran out of favourite sunscreen, Piz Buin, and to my dismay I found out that it is not sold in New Zealand anymore!

I even contacted SC Johnson (the importer) and asked why.

They sent me an email saying “sorry, we weren’t selling enough so we cancelled the product line”.

I couldn’t find a single bottle of Piz Buin in any NZ shops online or offline after a week of searching so I bought a few bottles from a UK website and they just arrived!

It’s my favourite sunscreen for 4 reasons:

  1. I trust it to keep me from being burnt. I’ve never been sunburnt using it (whereas I’ve been burnt using other sunscreen brands)
  2. It doesn’t smell terrible (like most sunscreens do), nor is it too perfumed
  3. It doesn’t turn your skin grey when you put it on (like some other sunscreens do)
  4. It really is waterproof (I spend the whole day in the sun and reapply only once)

Is it your favourite too?

Well this is your chance because I purchased a few extra bottles (to spread the cost of shipping) and now I’m selling them on TradeMe:


This sun screen is awesome. And I’m the only person in New Zealand that is selling it. So be quick, because I’m sure to sell out soon.

What’s Your Favourite Way To Drink Coca Cola?

Here’s a list of my 3 favourite ways to drink Coca Cola

  1. Coca Cola 250ml Glass Bottle Crown Cap
    • My #1 favourite because:
    • Glass keeps the coke super cold
    • The contour of the bottle not only looks elegant and sexy but is functional too because it pours the coke pleasantly down your throat
    • You need a bottle opener to get it open, and I like that because it restricts access to an elite club of people with an opener
    • They are expensive, about $3 each (=$15/litre). And rare, you can only get them from Cafe’s. Psychologically these factors make having one more of an experience
    • But: 200ml’s is just not enough. I need at least 2 of these
  2. Coca Cola 330ml Glass Bottle Twist Top
    • My #2 favourite because:
    • Glass keeps the coke super cold
    • Again, the contour bottle is great
    • But: 330ml’s is only barely enough, it doesn’t quench my thirst. Available from the supermarket in 4 packs which actually is a bad thing because it reduces it’s exclusivity
  3. Coca Cola 355ml Can
    • My #3 favourite because:
    • Cans are cheap: only $0.70 per can in NZ when you buy them in packs of 18 from the supermarket
    • I’ve had one a day for almost 20 years (that’s about 7,000 cans)
    • Because the serving size is quite small you can drink it within a few minutes so it’s fresh and cold and fizzy throughout the experience
    • The Can is reasonable at keeping the coke cold, but not as good as glass
    • On a side note; have you noticed that cans commonly have “Not for Individual Sale” printed on them and yet most retailers happily do so? Funny.

The 3 worst ways to drink Coca Cola:

  1. Coca Cola 600ml Plastic Bottle
    • My #3 worst choice because:
    • Probably the most widely distributed, available in every dairy on the planet. That’s why I hate it
    • The same contour as the glass bottle just doesn’t work when it’s plastic. It feels cheap in my hand. Yuck.
    • But to be honest, when faced with zero alternatives, I have purchased one a few times
  2. Coca Cola 2.25lt or 1.5lt Plastic Bottle
    • My #2 worst choice because:
    • Plastic is nasty to drink from
    • If the 3 options above are not available, the only way I could possibly tolerate coke from a big bottle is poored very slowly over a tall glass filled to the brim with ice. But of course most of the fizz has gone by the time you’ve finished this process.
  3. Coca Cola Post-Mix
    • My #1 worst choice because:
    • A huge revenue generator for Fast Food restaurants all over the world
    • It is pure evil. Who is the sick genius who created this abomination? Did you know it costs about 4 cents to fill a paper cup? One squirt of syrup, add water, squeeze in some Carbon Dioxide. Yuck.

I’ve heard about these 700ml glass bottles with Crown Caps in Brazil. Ohhhh yummy. I hope to visit in a few years!

Do you have different ideas for the order of the list? In what ways do you most like to drink Coca Cola?  Which ways do you loathe it?