My first ebook has been published!

A little over half a year ago I got an email asking if I’d like to write a short ebook on a subject related to my field of work. Since writing an ebook was on my bucket list anyway, plus they told me I’d be paid to write, there was no way I was going to say no to the opportunity.

I’ve recorded my experiences in a blog post on my work-related blog, which you can read here. As for my bucket list adventures: the book has been published this week, so that’s finally another item done!

The cover of my ebook

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Sharing knowledge

About two months ago, I received an email from someone I have worked with quite often in the past couple of years, and who has become not only a valued colleague but also a personal friend over time. He was asked to teach a class closely related to the field we’re working in at his alma mater, something that he would love to do. However, his busy agenda didn’t allow him to do this on his own, so he asked me to join him. Even more so, he asked me to be in the lead as he was having a pretty full agenda but didn’t want to say ‘no’. As you can imagine I was honored and agreed to it almost immediately. As you might know, I have attended university myself, although it wasn’t the same as the one we were about to start teaching at. Still, I realized immediately that this could only become a great experience, as well as a wonderful way of reliving a bit of the university life.

We’re almost three weeks in now, and we’ve done quite a bit of work already freshening up the course, preparing lectures and slides and a practical assignment. We’ve delivered two lectures so far, which also adds to my public speaking experience. Even though it is a relatively small group of students we’re teaching (about 20 enrolled), there’s no better way to prove (not in the least to yourself) that you really know something about a particular subject than to explain it to others. The fact that we have to teach everything in English (of which I am not a native speaker) only adds to the challenge. So far, I think we’re doing pretty well, even though the theory we have to teach (there are some guidelines) is a bit dry in places.

It’s a paid job as well (and it doesn’t pay half bad either), plus the university told us that they weren’t looking for a one-off teacher, as they have had to look for suitable teachers every year for the past couple of years. They would like us to deliver the course in the years to come as well, which means that we get the chance to further improve on both the course contents and our delivery of it.

Still, just being asked to do this alone warrants me checking off the ‘being regarded as an expert in my field’ list item, I think. This won’t keep me from trying to get more exposure in the years to come, though! I haven’t been a speaker on any conference this year, but I am looking at re-entering the public speaking thing next year. I’ll focus on domestic conferences at first (if only because of the little one that’s coming up), but there are some very interesting conferences abroad that I would like to present at some day…

In the meantime, this teaching gig is a great way to practice the public speaking and a very fun thing to do too! Who knows what it will lead to in the future..

That's not me, by the way...

#2b – Restore a classic car

Note: this item replaces #2 (run a sub 1:30 marathon), which I feel is no longer in line with what I want to do and achieve in life

As you might have noticed from other items on my list, I am somewhat of a classic car fan, although I don’t feel I am nearly knowledgeable enough in this department to call myself an aficionado. I’d love to one day take a beaten down classic and restore it back to its original state. This will probably not happen in the coming years though, due to limited space around the house. We’re looking to move in the years to come though, and I hope to find a house with a space suitable for the task.

Classic car restoration

#91 – Complete a Coursera course

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school – Albert Einstein

In my profession (I’m in IT), constant learning is of vital importance if you want to stay at the top of your field. It so happens that I want to be, so I take a course or two every year to broaden my knowledge and – if possible – get a recognized certificate proving that I have successfully completed it.

With the rise of MOOCs (massive open online courses) provided by the world’s best universities, it’s even easier to learn something new or freshen up something you learned in the past but have forgotten over the years. And best of all, they’re free!

One of the best known MOOC platforms is Coursera. I’ve registered there for a course in the past (I think it had something to do with mathematics) but never actually followed through. Even if only for the experience I would like to sign up for one again and actually finish it this time, homework and exam and all that. I’m not sure on what subject, but probably something related to my field or a mathematical refreshener course.

Some of the universities providing their courses on Coursera

A visit to the museum

As I had some spare time left today and I wanted to get out of the house together with the little one, I decided to go to the museum to finally lay my eyes on some of the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. The museum I went to (the Kroller-Muller) has the second largest collection of Van Gogh paintings in the world, after the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam.

It was a rather short visit as my son preferred the outdoors over being in the museum, but I was nonetheless impressed by what I’ve seen. At last, I saw with my own eyes some of the paintings I’ve heard so much about! Here are some (low quality) shots of a couple of the most impressive paintings, including my favourite Van Gogh painting, ‘Cafe terrace at night’. Another item completed!

Cafe terrace at night

Cafe terrace at night

The potato eaters

The potato eaters

Interior of a restaurant

Interior of a restaurant

The next step in Italian

Yesterday, I received an email confirming that I passed my PLIDA A2 exam in Italian, meaning I am now officially a little more knowledgeable when it comes to the beautiful Italian language! It took over three months this time (I took the exam in May), but I’m very happy with this result nonetheless. And just in time for the start of another year of Italian classes, too.. I’m looking at doing the B1 exam in May next year, which will be even harder, but I’m looking forward to it already!

The PLIDA logo

#86 – Write and publish a book or an ebook

I am not a genuine storyteller, but I do like to teach and to share knowledge through speaking and writing. Therefore I would like to someday write and publish a book(let) or a ebook, probably on a topic related to my career. I’ve come up with what I think is a great subject already, but I need to invest the time needed to write, edit and publish the material.

I’ll probably put it up for sale on my other, career-related, website as a means of publishing it. I am looking forward to the creative process and, of course, to the millions I’ll make from selling it (yeah right…).

The art of writing