Personal Canon

A page where I list things that have had profound impact on my life.


Into The Wild: The only book I read every single year. No matter what. For me, no book has better-provoked my own reflection on what the human experience can be than this one.

Start With Why: Discovering my WHY, HOW, and WHAT was an important milestone in my personal growth journey and this book was what took me down that path.

The Truman Show: A hauntingly valuable reminder of the dangers of in-authenticity and the importance of being true to ourselves. 

The Shawshank Redemption: A beautifully moving story that demonstrates how life can be unfair and cruel but having hope and a dream is a powerful weapon.

Harry Chapin: A musician and songwriter whose words and actions always inspire me to do a better job of loving the people in my life.

Dropout: Every show on Dropout earns laughs from me, but the antics from ‘Make Some Noise’ gets the loudest ones. Especially the episodes that feature Josh, Zac, and Brennan.

Conan O’Brien: My favorite comedian/late-night talk show host who I find most entertaining in his travel shows.

Nathan Fielder: Nathan Fielder is one of those people who makes me laugh even when he is doing mundane things. ‘Nathan For You’ and ‘The Rehearsal’ are ingenious pieces of comedy.

Stephen King: The author of many of my favorite books, but also a gifted instructor on how to write. If you want to discover your writing voice, I higher recommend you read ‘On Writing.’

Jon Krakauer: The author of my #1 favorite book: Into the Wild and one of the great adventurers of my era. 


Brendan Schlagel: Brendan is a writer and project doer who came up with this ‘personal canon’ page idea which in turn has helped me learn about myself and what influenced me.

Buster Benson: Buster Benson has written multiple things that have entirely impacted how I view intentional personal growth. ‘My Life in Weeks‘ and his ‘Codex Vitae‘ are great places to start.

Derek Sivers: A profoundly unique thinker and writer who has deeply contributed to how I view the world around me.

Everything is Amazing: A Substack newsletter from Mike Sowden that deep dives into the most fascinating topics around the theme of curiosity.

Marginal Revolution: I don’t know as much as I wish about economics, but everything I do is from this blog by Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok.


Coros Pace 2: I knew that if I was going to wear a watch every day it had to be lightweight and simple to use. The Coros Pace 2 is both these things and also packs a ton of awesome features that are perfect for helping me track of my health and fitness activities.

Eureka Ignite Stove: This camp stove has been a game changer. It heats evenly and efficiently every time. I’ve been able to get multiple weeks of camp meals out of this thing on a single 16oz propane tank.

Gazelle T4 Tent: Spacious and easy to set-up. We can set up and take down this tent in less than a minute. Plus, the materials, thoughtful add-ons, and general construction are all top notch.

Innotree Socks: Socks are the difference maker for me when it comes to getting or preventing blisters during long hikes. Innotree makes a product that is both durable and has never given me a single blister. 

Merrell Shoes: I’ve tried many hiking shoes over the years and Merrell is the winner when it comes to providing traction and comfort. My current pair are the Merrell Moab Speed.

Nemo Stargaze Chair: After dealing with many cheap camp chairs that left us uncomfortable and frustrated, we finally decided to go for it and get these from NEMO. Never going back.

prAna Zion Pants: At long last I have found my perfect hiking pants. The Zion series from prAna looks nice, has all the right features, and lasts forever. I’ve put hundreds of miles of hiking into pairs of these pants in tough conditions, and they don’t show any wear.

REI Trekking Poles: Simple to use, reliable, and at a not-so-unreasonable price that is easily justifiable if your long-term plan is to reduce impact on your knees.

Trek Verve 1: A great beginner bike for someone such as myself who is just getting into the world of biking.

Toyota 4Runner: The gas mileage leaves something to be desired, but outside that, this is the perfect road trip vehicle.


AllTrails: AllTrails is an app/website must for anyone who loves hiking. All hikes can be filtered by location, distance, altitude gained, popularity, etc. so chances are it can find your next favorite hike.

Gaia GPS: Anytime I go off the beaten path I rely on Gaia GPS for my map needs. It has the best collection of layers available to cover all my topographic, nautical, and historical needs.

Google Maps: My favorite and most used website/app. I can spend endless time navigating around, bookmarking places to go, and feeling the sense of awe that comes from realizing how vast the world is.

Strava: Strava is the app I use to track my runs and bike rides and compare fitness progress over time. It syncs beautifully across all my devices and has so much awesome data if you are like me and geek out over that kind of thing.


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