2013 Resolutions


1. Write an article for Adventist Review. Been wanting to do this for 2 years! Time to make it happen.

2. Visit a new country. Need to make this happen in the next five months.

3. Visit HI and AK after graduation (which means I have to graduate first).

4. Write at least one book review per month.

5. Give it all to campus ministry. It’s my last semester as a student!

6. Run a half marathon (which means I need to run a 10k first).

7. Read through the Conflict of the Ages series. Since I’m always trying to make things more fun, I’ve dragged other people to do this with me, and there’s been a Facebook support group formed for this initiative. Join us!

2012: My Book List

Year in Review, part 2.

I did not quite hit the 50-book target in 2012, but I’m happy with 45. This is the filtered list of books I read, separated into four tiers, the first one being super-duper-highly recommended.books_stack

First tier

  • Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller
  • Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  • Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
  • The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit by R. A. Torrey
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

Second tier

  • The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller
  • Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas
  • Can Intervention Work? by Rory Stewart and Gerald Knaus
  • Lit!: A Christian Guide to Reading Books by Tony Reinke
  • The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons

Third tier

  • Graffiti in the Holy of Holies by Clifford Goldstein
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
  • Welfare Ministry by Ellen White
  • On Writing Well by William Zinsser
  • The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel

Fourth tier

  • The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House by Elizabeth Keckley
  • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
  • A Praying Life by Paul A. Miller
  • Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 10,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 17 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

2012: Fun Philosophy

Year in Review, part 1.

I don’t think I’ve lived a year more fun than 2012. It sure helps that, like Jen, my fun-meter too has a low threshold. I worked a lot and played a lot. It was a full and happy year, and the happiness was multiplied over and over again by the many good things that happened in the lives of my friends (jobs, green card status, weddings, engagements, babies, etc.). A year of good tidings, indeed!

My 12 highlights from the year are (in no particular order):

  1. Picked up running as a habit. Amazed at what an otherwise sedentary body can do.
  2. As a result, enjoyed many guilt-free eating! Awesome.
  3. Read so many good books that helped shape my understanding about human history and worldview. Had a lot of growth in this aspect.
  4. Blogged more than ever before. More importantly, wrote more pieces that were definitively me.
  5. Had fun with research. Got to experience some publicity, which actually gave me more work to do, but set off many interesting developments.
  6. Set foot on 5 countries outside of U.S., including the splendid France, Monaco, and of course, home country Indonesia.
  7. Had a fabulous birthday, in my favorite city – Washington D.C. – with my crazy siblings.
  8. Turned 27! And absolutely stoked about it.
  9. Got to reunite with friends from middle school, high school, and college times. Actually, even people who knew me since babyhood at my home church.
  10. Connected with some remarkable people this year. Enjoyed networking tremendously.
  11. Set goals and accomplished them (not all, but some that I’m proud of).
  12. Growth in the area of public speaking. More needed, but thankful for the progress.

It’d be hard to top 2012, but I can already see 2013 being an incredible year. There will be some wedding planning (not mine) in the first half of the year, exciting travels (a new country, HI, AK?), and GRADUATION!!!

Oy, what’s life if you’re not having fun?


The Nerd That I Am

So Goodreads is telling me I’m behind in my 2012 reading target – 16% behind, to be precise – and I don’t like it one bit. Plus, it’s December already!

Since I’m an engineer, I can’t help obsessing about numbers. My target for the year is to read 50 books. I finished 38 already and I’m now working on book #39 and #40. I’ve read more than 38, actually, but I exclude some from the list because they’re too light or short. That leaves me with 10 more books to go this month. Last year, I read the most books in December, so there’s still hope for me.

I think I can do it. No. I know I can.


I just have to alter my strategy a bit. Maybe I’ll target books that range between 150-300 pages, and leave those 500+ pages biographies for next year. But then again, biographies have a way of sucking me into their world, accelerating my reading speed. The biggest problem, though, is that I don’t have enough medium-sized books to make 50 yet. Right now, this is my list for the rest of the year:

Currently reading:

39. On Writing Well by William Zinsser

40. The Prophets by Abraham J. Heschel (which I may have to ditch and pick up next year since it’s like…700 pages long!)

To read:

41. Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller

42. The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

43. The Prince of the Marshes by Rory Stewart

I’m very excited about #41-43, so there should be no problem finishing them (#41 and #42 are arriving today via Amazon shipment. Woohoo!). But now it gets trickier, and the rest is still tentative.

44. A Governor’s Story by Jennifer Granholm

45. William Wilberforce’s book (long, old English)

46. John Newton’s biography (long)

47. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

And I still don’t have good candidates for #48-50. Need help. Any recommendations?