2010 Favorites


I know. It’s way past time to post a list of my favorites of 2010. I just didn’t get it done until now. With all the changes in my work life and recovering from hip surgery, I completely forgot I wanted to do this until a recent trip to Colorado.  So, here it is: a few of my favorite things from last year. Thanks to Karen for being my scribe while driving across the great Plains with mountains in the rearview.

Websites/Blogs/Email Newsletters

1. By far my favorite new site is www.tv.winelibrary.com. If you’ve not checked it out, do it now. You may or may not be a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, but you could learn a lot from him. Related: get his book Crush It. I expect that his new book, The Thank You Economy, will be on my 2011 list next year. (HT to Tim Bonnell)

2. You’ve Cott Mail is a great clipping service for nonprofit news. I find lots of useful stuff almost every day. You can follow Thomas Cott on Twitter: @youvecottmail

3. Chris Guillebeau – The Art of Nonconformity (chrisguillebeau.com) is a great website for people who like to travel and are a little bit progressive. I’ve been inspired many times. (@chrisguillebeau)

4. TED Talks/Ken Robinson/The Element. I first heard about Sir Robinson when it was announced he would speak at K-State. I got his book and read it. Then I found his presentation on the TED Talks website. What a great resource for new and creative thinking.  (www.ted.com/talks)

5. Sean Stannard-Stockton and Tactical Philanthropy. What’s not to like: great thinking about how nonprofits can be better, cutting edge ideas and a hyphenated name. (@tactphil)

Favorite new apps (at least new to me)

1. Evernote: keeping all my notes, agendas, recipes, web clips, quotes, and other content synced between four computers, a Windows smart phone, and my iPod.

2. Dropbox: keeping all my files synced, in one place and available on all my devices. So nice.

3. Pandora: I splurged on a Pandora One subscription and love it. I’m still not sure how they do it, but I dig the progression of songs and trying to figure out how they relate to each other.

4. Hootsuite: I’m starting to manage more than one Twitter account and can send status updates to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn with one click.

Favorite Twitterers

There’s a lot to ignore on Twitter. But I pay attention to these four on a regular basis.

1. @kendavenport : I have a secret dream to be a Broadway producer some day. Ken gives me hope that it might happen.

2. @Heifer : one of my very favorite charities and one I’ve support nearly my whole life. A favorite family story is that the founder, Dan West, used to change my diaper in the nursery during the worship service at the church we attended.

3. @johnhaydon : one great thinker and planner.

4. @charitywater : another fabulous nonprofit that’s changing the world.

Favorite Books

I read (and listen) to a lot of books. My favorites are usually a combination of historical fiction and science fiction. Though the first and last on the list are neither.

1. Dream Manager, by Matthew Kelly: this one will change the course and future of your organization if you let it. (HT to Tim Bonnell)

2. Outlander Series, by Diana Gabaldon: after the first book, I’m hooked. The bonus is that they are great value buys on Audible.com. You get over 40 hours of audio with one credit. It’s a fantastic romance and historical fiction. My favorite quote so far? Jamie to Claire: “If the last words out of my mouth aren’t ‘I love you’ it’s because I didn’t have time.”

3. The Passage by Justin Cronin: I was wary of this one because I didn’t know much about it. But it’s great. Wonderful characters and very interesting plot.

4. Travels in Siberia by Ian Frazier: I love learning about the culture and people of other countries. Ian narrates his own journey across Siberia with intricate descriptions of the people and places he finds.

Favorite trips

Over the past two years I’ve traveled a lot. Not as much as some road warriors, but enough to qualify for several Gold level clubs. In total, since the beginning of 2009, I’ve been away from Manhattan 272 days on 120 trips, traveling over 62,200 miles. That’s going to change dramatically this year, but I’ll always have the urge to see some place new.

1. Denver, Colorado : It’s my new favorite city. What’s not to love: Kirkland Museum, David Cook Galleries, LoDo, 16th Street Mall,  fabulous hotels and restaurants and on and on.

2. Berlin : I was fortunate to get to spend two days with our first exchange student /son touring Berlin. I still look at those pictures almost every day!

3. Vancouver, B.C.: three days after I got back from my trip to Sweden and Germany, I left for a long weekend with Karen in Vancouver and Seattle. It was a fantastic trip that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.

Live Theater that made me cry

Here’s a short list of the best live theatre I experienced last year. It’s all over the map, but generally I love honest and authentic portrayals with significant emotions or relationships. All five of these were all that and more.

1. Eventide at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts: based on a book written by Kent Haruf, it had me from the opening dialog. It was also where I met Kent’s sister-in-law and started me on my movie production career.

2. 1984 at Manchester College: My son Daniel starred in this adaptation of the Orwell classic. Intense and disturbing, it touched us deeply. So much so that I’m considering producing it here in Manhattan.

3. Our Town at K-State University: I admitted to several people that I never really liked this play. I saw it done by several high schools in the 80’s and it was never good. However, with Charlotte at the helm and Kyle and Gil in the cast, it was a tear-jerker.

4. Broke-ology at Kansas City Rep. Theatre: I’d read the play ahead of time and knew what was coming. Yet, as the action unfolded and the characters came to life, I was blown away. It was written by Nathan Jackson, someone I’ve known for ten years or so, and is starting to be performed across the country. Look for it, or better yet, suggest it to your local theatre company.

5. Willy Wonka at Manhattan High School: Don’t get me wrong, this production could have been a lot better, but for some reason, both times I heard Charlie (played by our dear friend Mindi DePaola) singing “I’ve got a golden ticket” I started crying. Who knows.

That’s it for now. If you’ve got suggestions or think I’ve missed something, let me know.