Money: Master the Game

Money: Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom – by Tony Robbins

Money Master the Game

ISBN: 1476757801
READ: 2015-06-14 to 2015-12-15
RATING: 8/10
Amazon page for details and reviews.
WorldCat page to look for it in a library near you.

Smart thoughts about investing and the use of money. A must-read for anyone who struggles with money or long term financial planning. Written in the verbose Tony Robbins style you know and love, this book stays on message and is packed with practical advice. Page numbers below correspond to the hardcover edition. Interjections from me personally are contained in [square brackets].

Book recommendations from within the book:

As a Man Thinketh – by James Allen
Think and Grow Rich – by Napoleon Hill
Happy Money – by Elizabeth Dunn

[reading subjects:]
“… psychology, time management, history, philosophy, physiology. I wanted to know about anything that could immediately change the quality of my life and anybody else’s.” P19

Biographies of leaders, thinkers, doers – Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, John F. Kennedy, and Viktor Frankl.

Link recommendations:

National Debt Deconstruction – 19:40 video
Ray Dalio’s 31 min video explaining the principles of economics

My notes

The book is laid out as “Seven Simple Steps to Financial Freedom,” which are outlined in the checklist at the book’s end. Here are the steps, which correlate to the 7 sections in the book:
1. Make the most important financial decision of your life
2. Know the rules before you get in the game
3. Make the game winnable
4. Make the most important investment decision of your life
5. Create a lifetime income plan
6. Invest like the .001%
7. Just do it, enjoy it, and share it

Step 1: “Make the most important financial decision of your life” [The decision to automate the transfer of a percentage of all income you ever receive into your freedom fund (retirement account)].

“Find a way to do more for others than anyone else does. Become more valuable. Do more. Give more. Be more. Serve more. And you will have the opportunity to earn more.” P6

“People who succeed at the highest levels are not lucky; they’re doing something differently than everybody else.” P9

“Money is simply a behavior for trying to meet our needs.” P74

“If we get underneath what you’re really after, it’s not money at  all. What you’re really after is what you think money is going to give you.” P75

The fastest way to fill base needs [thrive] is to “… find a way each day to appreciate more and expect less.” P79

Step 2: “Know the rules before you get in the game”

This section is an in-depth review of the technical concepts that shape the battlefield of modern investing. Definitely worth the read because it truly would be impossible to successfully navigate the field of play without knowledge of the pitfalls that await you.

“Never again will you tolerate the “herd” mentality in your own life.” P104

By law a broker is only required to provide “suitable” advice. P125

Fiduciary – registered financial advisor, legal fiduciary, registered investment advisors (RIA) – by law must remove or disclose conflict of interest.

Fiduciary selection criterion: P132
1. Make sure registered with state or SEC as registered investment advisor or is an investment advisor representative (IAR) of a (RIA)
2. Percentage fee is only fee
3. Make sure they are not compensated for trading stocks and bonds
4. No affiliation with broker-dealer
5. Hold money in reputable 3rd party such as Fidelity, Schwab, or TD Ameritrade

Directory of fee-based advisors P132


“You never know who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out.” – TR P161

“You get what you tolerate” Learned helplessness devours if it is tolerated

“Most people start out with high aspirations but settle for a life and lifestyle far beneath their true capabilities.” P199
Next time you come up with a reason why you can’t do something, call bullshit on yourself. “Change your state. Change your focus. Come back to the truth. Adjust your approach to go after what you want.” P199

Step 3: Make the game winnable

Anchor your dreams to to an actual number.

Do the math! [This section walks you through the calculations step by step.]

Ultimate truth: “Life is not about money, it’s about emotion.” P209

Money itself is not the goal.

Places money takes us, freedom, and time are what really after.

Take a moment to consider what you want your money to buy.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paulo Coelho

You are the creator of your life.

“Wherever focus goes, energy flows.” TR p227

“It’s not conditions but decisions that determine our lives.” P244

“It isn’t about money. It’s about choice; about freedom. It’s about being able to live life on your terms, not anybody else’s.” P245

“Find your gift and deliver it to as many people as possible.” P246

“What you get will never make you happy; who you become will make you very happy or very sad.” – Jim Rohn p246

Rule of 72

Section 4: Make the most important investment decision of your life

Asset allocation is the most important tool you have.

Division of investment:
A. Security bucket: sanctuary of safe investments; unshakable core; aversion to risk P300
B. Risk/growth bucket
C. Dream bucket

“Your dreams are not designed to give you a financial payoff, they are designed to give you a greater quality of life.”

“When you give your all, the rewards are infinite.” P343

“So much of what makes us wealthy is free” TR P347

“The secret to wealth is gratitude.”

Step 5: Create a lifetime income plan

This section includes an asset allocation presented as the All Seasons Strategy, which is crafted from Ray Dalio’s reply to: “What kind of investment portfolio would one [average investor] need to have to be absolutely certain that it would perform well in good times and in bad — across all economic environments?” There is a much more in depth backstory to Ray and his elite, ultra-successful fund the All Seasons Strategy is based on. In short it give you a recommendation on how to evenly balance the risk faced in each of the 4 economic “seasons.”

Develop a modus operandi to expect surprises P372
“Expect surprises” – Ray Dalio
Always be asking: “What don’t I know?” – Ray Dalio

Step 6: Invest like the .001%

This section includes interviews from 12 investing thought leaders with proven track records of peak performance. Many of their reccomendations had common themes.

Four obsessions of self made billionaire investors: P455
1. Don’t Lose.
Focus on protecting downside at all times; defense is 10x importance of offense.

2. Risk a Little to Make a Lot.
Asymmetric risk/reward.

3. Anticipate and Diversify.
Research till certain then still anticipate failure case & diversify against it.
Brilliant people are terrible investors if they are not prepared to make decisions with limited information.

4. You’re Never Done.
Earn, learn, grow, give.
Keep your hunger.
To whom much is given, much is expected.
Life is really about what you have to give.

Step 7: Just do it, enjoy it, and share it

“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Dali Lama XIV

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.” Henry David Thoreau

Our decisions control the quality of our lives. We make 3 key decisions every moment of our life. Most make these unconsciously. Make these decisions consciously and you can literally change your life in an instant: P577
Decision 1: What are you going to focus on
Decision 2: What does this mean
Decision 3: What am I going to do

“You can’t be fearful and grateful simultaneously.” – Tony Robbins, Money: Master the Game, P584

10 min daily exercise to prime for gratefulness: P585
3 minutes to feel gratitude for things big and small
3 min to [send love by] asking for health and blessings to all you know, love, and will meet
4 min on “Three to Thrive” – three things want to accomplish and visualize them as if completed (including the sense of celebration and gratitude for having completed them).

“Every day stand guard at the door of your mind, and you alone decide what thoughts and beliefs you let into your life.” P585 Tony Robbins paraphrasing Jim Rohn

“Give freely, openly, easily, and enjoyably. Give even when you think you have nothing to give, and you’ll discover there is an ocean of abundance inside of you and around you.” Tony Robbins, Money: Master the Game, P606

Each day “be a blessing in the lives of all those people I meet and have the privilege to connect with.” Tony Robbins, Money: Master the Game, P606

Alone on the Wall

Alone on the Wall – by Alex Honnold

Alone on the Wall

ISBN: 0393247627
READ: 2015-11-09 to 2015-11-13
RATING: 9/10
Amazon page for details and reviews.
WorldCat page to look for it in a library near you.

“There is no adrenaline rush. If I get an adrenaline rush, it means that something has gone horribly wrong.” -Alex Honnold

My notes:

Alone on the Wall is a phenomenal book from a phenomenal adventurer. I first learned of Alex Honnold’s feats of climbing through the short film by the same name as this book. This book provides a deeper look into the journey that brought him to the public spotlight and the epic feats of adventuring he has completed since.

It’s incredibly inspiring to read in detail these accounts of Alex’s ascents, link-ups, and expeditions. I was pumped every day that I was reading the book & got in lots of hiking and gym climbing.

The book worked well with two authors. The narration alternates between italicized sections where Alex accounts his climbs first hand and the general text written by David Roberts that provides a third party perspective to the full spectrum of Alex’s story. David tied in key snippets of information about Alex from his climbing films, historical context for the climbing accomplishments, and enough technical explanation to allow even non-climbers to enjoy the narrative. David did an excellent job covering the philosophical side of the high stakes environment that is the cutting edge of climbing.

FINAL TAKE: Highly recommended to all who want inspiration to elevate their dreams and continue pushing their personal adventures. 9 of 10 stars.

“I think of all the people who inspired me as a kid, and I sort of realize they were all normal people, too. I just do my normal life, and if people choose to be inspired by the things I’m doing, then I’m glad they’re getting something out of it.” – Alex Honnold

Appalachian Trail : Gear 2014

The gear you carry is close to irrelevant. It is unfortunately common for aspiring hikers to distract themselves with gear preparations rather than make the necessary physical and mental preparations.

I kindled the first genuine flame of interest for an Appalachian Trail thru hike on the 16th of May 2014. May 31st was my last day in the office. On June 4th, I got on a Greyhound bus. I began my hike North from Springer Mountain on June 5th, a mere 20 days after realizing I had an immediate interest in a thru hike.

This was possible ONLY because I had physically and mentally prepared prior to that. The logistics of gear were merely incidental.

Daily Average Pack Weight

While on the trail, I made a daily calculation to estimate my average pack weight. My base weight was known and, I recorded any gear changes that would change it. I knew both the weight of water and my water carrying capacity, which let me calculate water weight based on actual mileages & locations I refilled water or to estimate the average volume I had carried through the day. The last piece to calculate was food weight carried. In most cases, I was able to weigh my resupply or to calculate the resupply weight with the information from its retail packaging. Each day between resupplies, I would subtract off between 1 to 2.5 lbs of food weight depending on how much I had eaten. These estimates could be confirmed at my next resupply by the weight of what food remained, even if that weight was zero.

I graphed the average daily pack weights for all 110 days that I was on the trail:

2014 AT Daily Weight

July 4th, 5th, 20th are given a null value because I was off trail visiting family and hiked no trail miles.

The average value of my average daily total pack weight across the entire trail was 16.7 pounds with a standard deviation of 4.1 pounds.

Removing also the 4.5 pound pack weight day on 8/2/2014, which was a 10 mile hike with only 4 hours on the trail, the average value of my average daily total pack weight was 16.8 pounds with a standard deviation of 3.9 pounds.

There was considerable variation across my hike in the weight I was carrying. The downward stepping of weight between resupplies was one of the most substantial variations but water carrying habits and gear changes played a role too.

For another look at pack weight variation, see the histogram of my daily average weight:

2014 AT Daily Weight Histogram

For 21.5% of my hike, my total pack weight was between 9 and 14 lbs.
For 57.9% of my hike, my total pack weight was between 14 and 19 lbs.
For 14.9% of my hike, my total pack weight was between 19 and 24 lbs.

Just as it did in my hike, your pack weight will ebb and flow. Be open to changes. Regularly re-evaluate pieces of gear, your resupply strategies, and your water carrying habits.

My Gear: 2014 Appalachian Trail Hike

My base weight for the opening 341 miles from Springer to Erwin, TN was 15 lbs. In Erwin, I mailed home 2 lbs of gear (my 2oz ultrapod, the extra pair of gym shorts I had worn on bus down, a highlighter, other small unused items, and swapped out 3 Nalgenes for disposable plastic bottles, which was probably the largest part of the weight dropped). For the next 198 miles my base weight was 13 lbs.

That first 539 miles of the trail was hiked with my Go Lite Jam 50L pack. It costs ~$100 and weighs about 2 lbs. I already owned it from the year before.

Somewhere in TN, I learned about and ordered Matt Kirk’s pack kit. He designed this for his 2013 self-supported record breaking hike of the AT in less than 60 days. The pack has a 25L capacity and no padding at all. It’s basically a mesh bag with shoulder straps and hip pockets. It’s awesome.

Matt’s pack is $90 including shipping. Weights 8 or 10 ounces, depending on how you put it together. Assembly is required but no sewing is needed. I put together mine during my zero days at home on July 4th and 5th. The weight savings of this pack were much more than it’s difference in pack weight from my Go Lite. This pack forces you to carry very little. Matt says the comfortable max capacity of the pack 15 lbs. After using the pack for the last 1646 miles of the AT, I concur. This pack carried like a dream at with 14 lbs or less. It can technically carry up to 20 lbs but doing so was less than pleasant.

For shelter and rain gear, I used a Gatewood Cape from Six Moon Designs. It costs $146.55 including shipping. I did not use the net tent with it, which costs just as much again.

I carried 6 aluminum tent stakes and used a 5 mil piece of plastic for ground cloth.

For the ridge pole of the tarp-tent, I used my walking stick, which was an old ski pole from a second hand shop.

I carried one jacket and one wind breaker. I also had a pair of light sleep clothes but no extra walking clothes (except a second pair of walking socks). I wore a technical t-shirt from a second hand shop for the whole trip. I wore a pair of Race Ready brand long distance running shorts (with 5 pockets across the back and side) for the entire trip. I carried a bandanna too.

I used a sleeping back liner as my bag. For about 100 miles in PA, I hiked without any sleeping bag, and instead used a pair of lined windbreaker pants with my jacket.

My ground pad was normally a CCF pad. I hiked from the SNP to somewhere in PA without any ground pad, and instead sought out only soft places to bed down.

My camera was my iPhone in a lifeproof case.

From Springer to Hot Springs, NC, I carried no water treatment equipment. In Hot Springs, I bought some Aquamira. In Waynesboro, I swapped that for a sawyer inline mini filter. In the Whites, I left my water filter at an overlook and ordered Aquamira for the rest of the trip to arrive at my next mail drop.

I carried no stove. I had a 1 oz Victorinox Classic army knife.

I carried a few additional luxury items: a 4500 mAh batter to recharge my phone, a SPOT locator device to track my nightly stopping position and ease minds of family at home, and either a harmonica or 1 oz iPod Nano for some podcasts & audiobooks.

In summary, the specific items selected for your hike are of no importance. Carrying one pound less has cascading effects. Your weight will ebb and flow with your food and water carrying habits. Shed unnecessary: Never carry something that hinders your forward progress.


The transformative effects of reading are clear. Reading is education and enjoyment. There are so many resources available to let you do more of it.

Reading Resources

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes” – Erasmus, Letter to Jacob Batt (12 April 1500)

There are extensive resources available that allow you to read without cost and without acquiring every book you read as possession.

The most important tool people overlook in searching for books is WorldCat is a search engine that scans more than 10,000 libraries worldwide and helps you find items nearest to you. It allows you to filter search results by zip code so that you find the best source local to you to acquire the book for free. It is superior to a search at your regional library because it includes all the university libraries, which often allow any citizen a membership as well. A quick search on WorldCat should be a prerequisite for almost any book purchase.

Another library related tool is OverDrive, which allows you to download and borrow digital materials such as the newest releases of ebooks and audio books that are available from your library.

Additional tools for accessing fantastic books are Gutenberg and Librivox because they allow you to tap into the wealth of works contained in the public domain, which is where books “relocate” to when their term of copyright expires. Basically, you should never again pay for a book published more than 90 years ago. Not only will this type of book be available in almost every library around, they are given away free in digital format by communities working to make these classics available to all. Because Project Gutenburg has more than 45,000 ebooks available, a good place to start for many is their most downloaded books.

Librivox volunteers create audio recordings of public domain books and make them available for download but also as free podcasts in the iTunes Store. They sync great with an iPhone or iPod. Among many others listened to, I personally have enjoyed listening to Librivox recordings of John Muir’s My First Summer in the Sierra, Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Rudyard Kipling’s Kim.

Learn to Listen

Listening to audio books can be meditative. In graduate school, I eliminated television watching by listening to about a chapter a day of a Hemingway or Jack London story. It became part of my unwinding routine before bed. I listened on long drives out to trail heads, and I reclaimed time while cooking meals or cleaning dishes. Audio books give you a chance to rest your eyes from screen time bombardment. In my opinion, it is much easier to adjust to listening to fiction than it is to non-fiction. It took many months of familiarity with audio books before I really enjoyed the transition to non-fiction audio books.

How to Get Started

The key to awakening as an avid reader is finding a book that really excites you. In 2011, I picked up my first volitionally selected book in close to a decade. All it took was finding that right book that would spark a fire, and, before I knew it, I found myself reading 30 to 50 books each year with my sights set on many more.

Check out these reading lists for recommendations of books you might like. To see my full reading list, checkout my Goodreads profile.

Reading Lists

“If we encountered a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he read.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Letters and Social Aims (1876)

Reading lists can be a good way to find new and inspiring books.

I’ve gathered up a handful of the book lists posted around the web by successful people.

Send me a message if you have a good reading list to suggest be added.

Reading Lists:

Brett Anderson: Five of My Favorite Books

Derek Sivers: Book Reviews

Simon Black: Seven Books Every Sovereign Man Should Read

Bill Gates: Book Reviews

Tim Ferriss and Kevin Rose: Top 5 Must-Read Books

Ryan Holiday: Books to Base Your Life On

Sebastian Marshall: Ten Must-Read’s For Creative Builders

Mark Manson: Seven Books That Will Change How You See The World

Craig Ballantyne: Top 10 Business Books

Tucker Max: Most Influential Books

Fast Company: Six Must-Read Book Recommendations From Business Leaders

Connor Grooms: Road to Excellence Reading List

Appalachian Trail: 2014 Video Trail Journal

5 Book Recommendations

Each book below is included for slightly different reasons that I address in the first sentence after listing the book title and author.

1. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

This book is a favorite because it taught me at an early age that I can create my own happiness. I first read this work quite some time ago at the age of 13, and completed it again at age 17. I talked about this book in my college application essay and in my application video for the entrepreneurship program I attended in 2012. In both of these cases, I discussed the role of this book in my personal realization that no matter the circumstances around me I controlled my reaction, and that by adapting my reaction, I could literally create my own happiness in situations others would find miserable. If you are not familiar with the book, the entirety of the ~110 page book is set to a single day of a prisoner at a Soviet labor camp. The reader steps into the minute details of grueling labor, injustice, and the harshest of winter conditions. This was quite a moving day to relive vicariously knowing that it is but one day of a ten year sentence at the camp. My favorite part of the book comes in the concluding pages and is what ties the jarring conditions to my realization that happiness is rooted largely in one’s perception. Though it’s not a complete spoiler, you may wish to skip ahead from here to the next paragraph to avoid it. As the main character lays down to review his day, he finds that it was a day with ‘not a dark cloud in the sky’ and, that, despite all the abuse and suffering, which I as the reader had observed with shock, the day in the book had been ‘an almost happy day.’

Similar Books that I’ve Enjoyed: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

2. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

This book is a favorite because it is a beautiful compression of life and love to the 4-day timeline of the story. I consider it a favorite because the deep emotional response the writing elicited from me. Without getting much into plot specifics, I will simply say I recommend this story highly. I’ll also point out that I find it interesting that two of my favorite five books include stories told in great detail over a very short timeline. Previous reflection on this, lead me to read The Art of Time in Fiction by Joan Silber and Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman this past fall and to continue to evaluate why timelines of this slowed time nature appeal to me.

Similar that I’ve Enjoyed: The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, Islands in the Stream by Ernest Hemingway, Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

3. Trail Life: Ray Jardine’s Lightweight Backpacking by Ray Jardine

This book is a favorite because it’s the innovation from a life’s work explained in terms simple enough for novices to follow. The lightweight backpacking system presented is one the author developed from the ground up over decades that covered more than 25,000 miles of long distance backpacking. Jardine has a phenomenal repository of knowledge and he provides an incredible representation of this knowledge in Trail Life. This book expertly covers the fundamentals of long distance backpacking knowledge from A to Z for your planning, conditioning, and time on the trail.

Similar that I’ve Enjoyed: Walking the Entire Appalachian Trail: Fulfilling a Dream by Accomplishing the Task by Warren Doyle

4. Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

This book is a favorite because it helped me remember why I lived and breathed running during five of my teenage years. I devoured this book in three days and found myself at the end of the book with delusions that I’d be running an ultramarathon in the following month. This book taught me the value of prescribing the reading of running/high intensity books to a fixed amount per day or a fixed amount per number of runs completed so that I could translate the intensity of the story into intensity in my training. Born to Run discusses the forefoot running style associated with barefoot running and also introduces the basics of the evolutionary case for humans as runners (the ability to cool off while in motion by sweating, our Achilles tendon, our arched feet, etc.). My favorite single thing in the book was the account of a persistence hunt in which a group of bushmen in the Kalahari Desert chase an antelope and relentlessly run it to a death by overheating — talk about awakening a primal desire to run!

Similar that I’ve Enjoyed: Ultramarathon man by Dean Karnazes, Eat & Run by Scott Jurek, Once a Runner by John L. Parker Jr.

5. Currency Wars by James Rickards

This book is a favorite because it thoroughly explains the insanity that is present day international monetary policy. I’ve been reading for years in articles and newsletters about how crazy it is to allow a small handful of men to control the majority of the world’s monetary supply. This text takes a much deeper dive into how we arrived in the present situation, why the current situation is so fragile, and the extremely unlikely actions that would need to be taken to avoid further economic turmoil.

Similar that I’ve Enjoyed: Anatomy of the State by Murray Rothbard


Walk into the grass and remove your shoes. Feel the cool earth through the leaves of grass and the warmth of the sun on your face as you close your eyes to listen. Let go for 8-15 minutes. Repeat frequently.

Reconnecting with the natural world is simple. Make it a point to start today, right now even.

Stepping away from your busyness, even for just a few moments, can create powerful outcomes.

Roughly 3 years ago in March of 2011, I took an afternoon to reconnect on a short hike. This hike has led me to hundreds of miles on the trail since, including the opportunity to backpack the 290-mile Allegheny Trail last fall. Below is the most interesting 1-minute from my trip, which I share in hopes to engage your imagination about what is possible when you begin to reconnect with the natural world.

“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” – Paul Dudley White

One Minute Allegheny Trail Story

12 September 2013 12:21 PM
Mongahnela National Forest, WV

I stopped on the trail and listened as a military jet roared by overhead. In the past thirteen minutes, I had already heard nine such jets fly over. So looking up, I tried in vain to make out the tenth jet through the clouds.

Having just left my final resupply point on the Allegheny Trail and heading towards an area with uncertain water sources, my pack weighed in at its trip maximum – 38 pounds, 12 of which were food and 10 of which were water. Between the pack weight, the roar of a jet reverberating in my ear, and my neck craned upwards looking for planes, I was distracted.

Other than the jets far overhead, the hours since leaving town had been eerily quiet. I had observed only a single creature – a spike buck who offered a series of 12 snorts as he struggled to pinpoint my location from across the hollow. The wind was mostly calm. The stream I crossed moved at an imperceptibly slow pace, almost if it tried to disguise the fact that it flowed at all.

A dense understory growth of rhododendron thickets surrounded the trail where the sound of the tenth jet had brought me to a stop. I had just come around a turn before stopping and from here the trail continued straight ahead for 30 feet before twisting sharply to the left, where I could see roughly 25 more feet of the trail before the dark green rhododendron leaves fully obscured it from sight.

In an instant the forest’s stillness was shattered. Even though time seemed to enter slow motion, my brain raced to interpret and still felt like it was grasping for something just out of reach.

As my mind caught the realization something was approaching fast, I saw my first glimpse of a deer flying towards me down the trail. The young doe was approximately the same size as the spike buck I’d seen minutes before but something was clearly terribly wrong in her world at present.

Her legs were fully extended out in the front and in the back in a diving full-tilt sprint. When her hooves got to the ground, she was digging and pushing with absolutely everything she had. Her effort had her neck real low to the ground, eyes bulging from her face in a panic-stricken, full-alarm, desperation for survival.

Awestruck, I called out “OH! … DEER!” as my mind raced to catch up to reality.

My thoughts screamed, ‘Why are you running towards me??’

I was seriously baffled. ‘Shouldn’t she be running away from me if I frightened it? That’s what usually happens when you jump a deer… Why is it running straight at me?’

The deer was headed my direction on the trail but really she was headed straight down the trail from where the path had entered sight towards the trail’s sharp bend, which that lay only 30 feet from me. As she reached this point, in only an instant, I think she sort of saw me and opted to keep as far away as possible. Still digging and pulling for everything she had, rather than bank sharp to the right towards me, she just skidded a little and tilted off to the left onto a deer path or simply through a minor clearing of the rhododendrons.

Coming right up behind her came the explanation for it all.

In her slightest instant of hesitation at the bend, her pursuer had closed the gap on her to a matter of 8 or 9 feet.

The coyote on her trail had its ears perked up and was dialed in with laser precision on the deer. He had no panic in his face.

The coyote was lean and grey with white down his chest and underbody. He was 75-50% of the deer’s size but due to the different body shapes, it was hard to tell exactly. His movements seemed effortless even in the intensity of pursuit.

His demeanor was that of pure predatory focus. Nothing else in the forest existed. His only concern was about killing that deer and eating it.

When the deer had skidded and suddenly crashed into the woods, the coyote saw me and immediately eased to a stop. The chase was off. He turned and loped off the trail like you would expect a dog to lope across a yard, only slightly faster.

The coyote moved through woods to the top of the hill about 50 yards away and stopped. Crouching to peer better through the rhododendron cover, I saw the coyote atop the hill look around and at me surveying the scene for danger.

To this brief pause, I answered in my artificially-deepened, stern, animal-commanding voice, “Hey….Hey….Hey.”

I saw him dart out of sight down the back side of the hill and was left with the sound of my heart beat and silence in the forest.


“We see that everything in Nature called destruction must be creation, –a change from beauty to beauty.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra, August 21, 1869

Story by Brett Anderson, Originally published at

2013 October Quotes

2013 September Quotes

Six Inspiring Quotes:

UBQ Destruction
Photo: Allegheny Trail Footbridge over Anthony Creek, WV, USA, September 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “We see that everything in Nature called destruction must be creation, – a change from beauty to beauty.” – John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra
Quote Source: My First Summer in the Sierra by John Muir, Date: 21 August 1869

UBQ Lead
Photo: Mt. Hood, OR, USA, September 2012 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “You don’t lead by telling others what to do. You lead by dominating your own pain, working harder than everyone else and setting an example so high that others are inspired to follow.” – Sam Davies
Quoted Source:, What is Leadership Really?

UBQ Kindness
Photo: Virginia Bluebells in Bloom, VA, USA, March 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “‘Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs.” – Roger Ebert
Quoted Via:

UBQ Bukowski
Photo: Crescet Moon Pre-Dawn near the Northern Terminus of the Allegheny Trail, PA, USA, September 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “Find what you love and let it kill you.” – Charles Bukowski
Quoted Via:, Find What You Love

UBQ Sweetness
Photo: Apple Orchard Falls, VA, USA, June 2013 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” – Chuck Palahniuk, Diary
Quoted Via:, Quotes from Chuck Palahniuk

UBQ Gifts
Photo: Pre-Dawn from the Shoulder of Mt. Hood, OR, USA, September 2012 by Brett Anderson
Quote Text: “Don’t make stuff because you want to make money. It will never make you enough money. Don’t make stuff because you want to get famous, because you will never feel famous enough. Make gifts for people. And work hard on making those gifts in hope that those people will notice. Maybe they will notice how hard you worked and maybe they won’t. And if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But ultimately that doesn’t change anything because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for but to the gift itself.” – John Green
Quoted Via:


Source:, 2013 September Photo Quotes