2017 has been a great year for me. Lisa and I got married in May, and we had our first child (a boy) in August. Add in extended visits from friends and family, work and the odd vacation, and it’s fair to say that the year has been also been a busy one.
## Favourite Books
I managed to stay close to my goal of reading one book per week, although there was a definite dip in the months following the birth of my son. Of the 40 or so books I finished I found the following noteworthy:
#### [Principles by Ray Dalio](http://amzn.to/2CufOnu)
Ray Dalio outlines the principles he’s used to help him build one of the most successful investment firms in history. Perhaps a bit longer than it needs to be but it contains a wealth of interesting ideas.
#### [The Three Body Problem series (incl. The Dark Forest, Death’s End) by Cixin Liu](http://amzn.to/2C0TroR)
This series was my first foray into Chinese science fiction and while I’ll admit I found some of the characters and dialog to be a bit weak, I enjoyed the story and it certainly made me think more about the potential dangers of contact with extraterrestrial life.
## Favourite Podcasts
As a huge mechanical watch nerd I’ve really enjoyed Seth Roberts and Dan Benjamin’s new wristwatch focused podcast. The episodes can be a little vintage Seiko heavy at times (and I’m saying this as someone who owns a couple of Seikos), but even watch fans who aren’t heavily in to Japanese watches should still find the episodes interesting.
#### [Very Bad Wizards](https://verybadwizards.fireside.fm/)
Very Bad Wizards is a podcast where “a philosopher and a psychologist ponder human morality”. The hosts are hilarious, which has resulted in quite a few times where I’ve burst out laughing like a crazy person while listening to the show.
## Favourite Tech Item <£100
#### [Trezor Bitcoin Hardware Wallet](http://amzn.to/2EkXf5T)
Cryptocurrencies have blown up in 2017, and while I didn’t buy a life-changing amount before the rise it’s still reassuring to know my limited holdings are kept safe and secure in a hardware wallet.
## Favourite iOS apps
#### [Oak Meditation (Free, iOS)](https://www.oakmeditation.com/)
A simple, well-designed mediation and breathing app from Kevin Rose (of Digg fame).
#### [SoundSleeper (Paid, iOS, Andoid)](http://www.parents2parentsapps.com/soundsleeper.html)
A very simple concept, this app contains a collection of soothing white-noise type sounds to help babies sleep. I was skeptical at first but it’s worked surprisingly well for us.
## Favourite Fitness Items
#### [Undivided Massage Ball](https://undividedfitness.com/products/undivided-massage-ball)
Now that I’m in my thirties I’ve noticed my body doesn’t recover as quickly from intense weight training (the joys of aging!), so I’ve been making a conscious effort to try to keep on top of muscle tightness issues before they develop into anything more serious. Undivided’s Massage Ball has been a great help with this – the small size means I can keep it in my gym bag, and I find the the round shape to be more effective at targeting specific pain points than the foam rollers I’ve previously used.
#### [Speed Skipping Rope](http://amzn.to/2ChDkYa)
I decided to try skipping as part of my winter interval training sessions this year and it quickly grew to become one of my favourite types of cardio exercise. I’ve been using a Speed Skipping Rope from Beast Gear, and find the ball-bearing mechanism gives a very smooth swing which helps to get the rope moving fast for double under variations.