Simple Book cover for The Simple Path to Wealth, showing a drawing of a single path leading into the mountains.
Simple Book cover for The Simple Path to Wealth, showing a drawing of a single path leading into the mountains.

A pretty straightforward book for building financial health (and wealth) over time

In 2021 I aim to read more books than I did last year, maybe even a book a week. I wrote about that goal here. This is the first book I’ve read this year and so it is my first review as well — but if financial books are not your thing, don’t worry, I’ve got a mix of other kinds of books lined up for the rest of January.

Week 1: The Simple Path to Wealth

I began my first book of the year on vacation which gave me a healthy head start before the work week began. That first book was The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins, a Christmas gift from my big brother who is always looking out for me. “I’ve read a lot of financial books,” he said, “and this one is the clearest and the best.” I trust my brother’s financial sensibilities so I jumped right in, and like other recommendations he’s made for me over the years (like Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People and People Can’t Drive you Crazy if You Don’t Give Them the Keys, lol, I was having a tough year!) it was immediately applicable to my Real Life™. Perhaps because of this, despite some of the denser material which can be a challenge for someone like me who is not particularly obsessed with money things, it was a very easy and dare I say enjoyable read. …


Set of rectangles with abstract shapes in navy, peach and pink. Individually, they look like book covers. As a set, like 2021
Set of rectangles with abstract shapes in navy, peach and pink. Individually, they look like book covers. As a set, like 2021

Setting an ambitious, attainable reading goal for 2021

My 2021 resolutions are a small and ambitious, but attainable. That last part is key; after a year like 2020 I have no desire whatsoever to punish myself (which is also why this post is coming mid-January and not the cool, crisp, exacting 1st of the year).

At the top of my list is what a lot of nerds like me aim for which is to read more. And in the spirit of good goals I had to ask myself: How much more? And by when? Here it is: I’d like to read a book a week, or 52 books in a year.


Little girl in a Wonder Woman costume blowing out candles on cupcakes. Mom in a shiny red wig crouched beside her, looking on
Little girl in a Wonder Woman costume blowing out candles on cupcakes. Mom in a shiny red wig crouched beside her, looking on

A tale of turning four and the parents who managed a party.

The day is done. Our just-turned-four-year-old is asleep upstairs clutching an overstuffed, poorly-sewn orange woolen cat, a gift chosen by her sister from Etsy’s “handmade” and “under $20” filters. I stuff my Poison Ivy wig and my green velvet leotard, along with my husband’s plated abs (he was the Dark Knight for the day), into the costume chest. Big Sister wears her Cheetah costume (Wonder Woman’s nemesis) to bed. I shake the beach sand from the towels outside and add them to the wash. I pick up scraps of wrapping paper from the rugs. It was a happy day, despite the usual dips and swells that come from sugared up children and too much razzle dazzle. …


Misty golf course with dotted trees, mostly dark blue sky with orange coming up from the horizon
Misty golf course with dotted trees, mostly dark blue sky with orange coming up from the horizon
Running by a misty golf course at sunrise

A little something for me, a little something for everyone else

On September 30th (my birthday) I ran my 100th mile in 19 days. Didn’t think I could do it. I had said to myself with a bit of a jaunty scowl, “You probably can’t do this.” But here I am. I committed.

First I ran a mile. The next day I added another mile, and then another mile the next day and so on, until on the tenth day I ran ten miles. (Running these distances is not a thing that I do. Prior to this my absolute max on a great day was six miles, so this, for me, was a feat.) After hitting ten miles I worked my way back down again, running nine miles, then eight, seven, back down to one, to complete the circle on a day that marked my 37th birthday. Halfway through it all I realized that altogether it was a hundred miles. Mark, ever the proud husband said, “That’s 100 miles!” …


Illustration of two circles, one above water with an upturned smile, the other a reflection in waves with a down-turned smile
Illustration of two circles, one above water with an upturned smile, the other a reflection in waves with a down-turned smile

How managers can help in truly difficult times

At an early morning call for a Slack group I help admin, my friend Avery suggested we prompt the community for ways to help parents through their stress and isolation during this never-ending pandemic. I bat my eyes exactly two beats before they welled with tears and a lump lodged in my throat. I told myself it was fatigue, but this was in fact the first time after months of balancing everyone’s needs but my own that someone had said to my face: How can we help you endure? It didn’t matter what the ideas were and it didn’t matter how or if they even happened. In that moment, I felt seen, and that was what I didn’t know I needed. …


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Photo by ROOM on Unsplash

A few straightforward ways to improve hiring practices for a better applicant experience

I’ve recently re-entered the jobseeker’s market after six years on the lam and though I’m older and wiser and slightly less hire-able, I’ve managed to secure an amazing new position (more on that soon!). Before I forget the pain of the hiring process I wanted to capture a few obvious things that employers really should be doing as they look to hire the best of the best. As it turns out, a lot of businesses are terrible at hiring in 2019 and the obvious bears repeating! Here’s how to be better.


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Photo by Dylan McLeod on Unsplash

A final family day trip before our daughter starts school

we sit the four of us
on a bench in Port Colborne
facing the Welland Canal
eight feet off a four-legged bench
watching a ship come near

the bridge has already
lifted the road on its pulleys
a cyclist waits behind red and white
striped gates, his concrete path
well above his head now

the ship, a barge, looks miles away
a stalled moment of looking
reveals it moving closer, like clouds might
out of the haze
its colours brightening
its magnitude seizing

we recognize a Q
we place the ship in Québec
just passing through
on her way by the Welland…


On remembering the people you loved while letting go of what they left behind

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Photos courtesy of the author

First, begin by remembering the house in its heyday. Skip-Bo games prompting shouts of victory or loss, the front door clapping with entries and exits, onions and green peppers sizzling in cast-iron frying pans, and the comforting smells of buttermilk pie drifting from the still-warm oven.


As we find ourselves in dark times, it’s up to us to shine a light on the next phase of the internet

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Photo: Brian Caissie/Getty Images

I embraced social media early and indiscriminately. With ardent curiosity beginning with Twitter in 2007, I collected profile pages like trophies, staking my user name and avatar into every new social territory I could find.

I did this like it was my job. In a way it was: I figured I should know how other design teams were inventing novel ways to gather communities online. Only now do I see these platforms weren’t just building communities, they were establishing products on the backs of communities at the expense of privacy.

Now, in 2019, things have changed. Design ethics conversations are frequent. We have elevated the “product designer” job title as if everything we design is now a product. I’m complicit in that productization of the internet (aren’t we all?). Russian meddling and the rise of deepfakes have opened our eyes to how indiscriminate sharing can hurt society at large — in particular the vulnerable. There have been so many brilliant exposés on these topics that I’m embarrassed it took me this long to wake up. …

About

Cassie McDaniel

Words, design, community. Leading w/ kindness. Product Design manager @ Webflow. Prev. Glitch, Mozilla, Adobe, Women&&Tech, Jane & Jury. cassiemcdaniel.com

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