My best of 2013


Here are the best things I’ve discovered, learned, read, wrote, made, and accomplished in 2013. There’s no particular order and not everything on the list was conceived this year, even if they were a part of my life this year. Want to see how I stacked up to last year? Check out my 2012 year in review!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a commission if you choose to purchase any listed item, at no extra cost to you. The small commission I make off a purchase had zero influence on whether an item was included in this post — I personally read and enjoyed everything on this list. Please don’t purchase anything unless you feel like it would be of value to you as well.

My favorite blog posts by others

  • The Bad-Boy Brand: The Vice Guide to the World by Lizzie Widdicombe
    There are two companies successfully executing “new media”: Vice and Vox. This New Yorker piece is a fantastic profile of the former.
  • Marcus London Ain’t Someone U Fuck With by Leigh Cowart
    An enthralling and extraordinarily well-written profile of porn star and entrepreneur Marcus London. London doesn’t quite share my positive feelings about the piece, however, threatening the publication with violence when it was published in their magazine. NSFWCORP, in turn, published the full piece online for free.
  • The Mega-Details Behind the New Design of The Smart Passive Income Blog by Pat Flynn
    I love reading detailed accounts of people building awesome products, and Pat Flynn is easily one of the best writers in this category.
  • Everything you need to know about PRISM by Verge Staff
    More information has come to light since — and will continue to be revealed in due time — but this is a fantastic look at this horrifying government program.
  • The Economics of Infomercials by Jon Nathanson
    A close look at the numbers behind those late-night shows that no one watches but everyone knows about. Spoiler: they’re surprisingly lucrative.

Most viewed blog posts by me

Total number of blog posts written

Nineteen – this doesn’t count the pieces I wrote for The Verge and LAPTOP Magazine, which accounted for the majority of my writing in 2013

Number of books read

Twelve – I usually like this number to be higher, but I substituted much of my reading time with online video courses this year

Favorite fiction books

  • Wizard and Glass by Stephen King
    You may recognize this book from last year’s list — and that’s because I read it again this year. It was even better than I remembered it.
  • A Supposedly Fun Things I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
    Although Wallace has a collection of stories by the same name, I just read the single essay. I read it while actually on a cruise, which only enhanced the sheer enjoyment.
  • The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
    A group of kids must walk, with no breaks, until only one remains. Incredibly well written, with a surprise appearance from a character that King fans know all too well.

Favorite non-fiction books

  • Authority by Nathan Barry
    Authority reads as part instruction manual, part memoir. Nathan has had great success selling products online, and shares many valuable insights in Authority.
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini
    I had seen this book recommended by a few of my favorite writers, but never picked it up until this year. I’m so glad I did.
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
    This book isn’t exactly what I was expecting (I feel kinda meh about creative non-fiction in general) but it has some extremely valuable insights on human behavior.
  • SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham
    I haven’t read many books on the topic of selling, but I can’t imagine any other book being better than SPIN Selling.

Gadgets of choice

  • 13-inch 2011 Macbook Air
    For a brief time, a 13-inch 2013 Haswell Air was my baby, but I had to give it up when I left The Verge. Although I miss it dearly, my 2011 Air is still holding strong.
  • iPhone 5S
    Yes, I woke up at 3am to order the gold iPhone 5S. No, I haven’t regretted it a moment. Although the fingerprint scanner seems to be getting slightly worse over time…
  • $69 Kindle with Special Offers
    I won’t be getting rid of this at any time in the foreseeable future. This non-touchscreen ebook is pretty much perfect, IMO.
  • 2012 iPad mini
    Sometimes I want to upgrade to the new mini — like when I feel the urge to play Knights of the Old Republic without performance issues — but last year’s model is still pretty fantastic otherwise.

Number of books published


Number of books written

One and an eighth

Classes designed and taught


Favorite TV shows

Breaking Bad, Shark Tank, Undercover Boss (I have no shame), Real Time with Bill Maher

Favorite Gif

2012 plans for 2013

  • Finish writing my book – I’m no longer working on that project and have taken my writing in a new direction, so I don’t feel bad about not achieving this
  • Develop and teach two new Skillshare classes – brought one new class to life, and working on a massive online course (much more scalable). I’m happy with my progress here
  • Build and launch a functioning dynamic website with Ruby on Rails – My focus has shifted slightly away from coding, but in an exciting new direction (this website!)
  • Code and release updates for my two iOS apps – Fail — still in progress
  • Say ‘no’ more – I said ‘no’ to a job that was fantastic but wasn’t the right fit for me, so I’d consider this a success
  • Start consulting in the mobile app spaceSpent some time consulting in person and on Popexpert, so that’s all good
  • Meditate regularly – Man, I should really do this
  • Start doing yoga – Same with yoga, that did not happen in 2013

Plans for 2014

  • Finish The Non-Programmer’s Guide to Getting an App in the App Store online course
  • Complete my book on building apps
  • Post at least one new article a week on Novice No Longer
  • Start experimenting with Adwords for my upcoming online course
  • Create a powerful autoresponder series for new newsletter subscribers
  • Meditate regularly

Bring it on, 2014.

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