My 2017 in Review

Ruiyi Zhou

Annual review is a tradition for me. From 2009 to 2013, I was really into movies, so my annual reviews were mainly data-visualization analysis of the movies I watched each year. Since 2014, I also added books to my annual review. Starting 2015, travel became my new hobby so memories from trips replaced the traditional movie and book review. For 2017, there are three key words: reading, travel, and workshop.

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The Intelligent Investor
Benjamin Graham

My 2017 started with the great Intelligent Investor, probably the best book for beginners about value investing. After 4 years of self-taught in economics and finance, I figured it was time to learn the insights from the legendary Benjamin Graham. To better assist my learning, I started a learning group about value investing and invited four friends to join me in this learning journey. The amount of knowledge I learned throughout the whole process is far beyond my expectation and the learning group was proved to be very helpful. In 2018, more are coming.

Read My Reading Jorunal


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All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

I never thought language could be as beautiful as it appears in this novel. Anthony’s prose style created an immersive experience that absorbs all my attention. The story about two kids in the era of World War 2, as cruel as it sounds, is covered with a warm shimmer, that we cannot see.


Light Sight
A Podcast About Our Daily Life

The idea started with a discussion about art and its presence in millennial generation. I started this project with two very good friends. The goal is to discuss art and its meaning in our generation. This project adopted a standard UCD process. We started with user research and brainstorming. The current idea is to start a podcast to chat about our daily life and intriguing topics (includes but not confines to arts). This project is on-going, and after many months of work, we started the regular recording January 2018. Stay tuned for the very first episode.


Alaska in Summer
A Trip with Mom

Mom visited me in summer. This was the very first time we (physically) see each other in three years. We have weekly FaceTime but it feels absolutely different. This was also perhaps the very first trip I planned with my mom. It was fantastic. We went to Seattle and Alaska so I got the chance to show her my two favorite places. We saw Mt. Rainier’s reflection in mirror lake; hiked on Kenai Fjords; and witnessed the midnight sunlight at Fairbanks. Life is good, as it always has been. I’ve also made up my mind to plan getaway trip with my family every year.


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What Are You Looking At?
Will Gompertz

Modern art is so intriguing! For the past two years, I visited a dozen of cities, and of courses their museums. The only problem is, I don’t know much about art. For many times, I wished I could know more about art history and the stories of specific art pieces in order to better appreciate the masterpiece. So at the second half of 2017, I started the journey through art history with the book What Are You Looking At? It is such an interesting book that I spent hours reading carefully page-by-page, which searched every artwork mentioned in between the lines.


Now Write! Screenwriting
Sherry Ellis, Laurie Lamson

Learn screenwriting was a 10-week experimental workshop I started with a friend. We both have the interests in learning the basic techniques about screenwriting. So here we go! We used the book Now Write! Screenwriting as the textbook and finished it in 10 weeks, together with several short exercises. It was fun, yet we have much more to learn. The planned next step is to switch to a real textbook used in college to get more structured and detailed knowledge.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash


Autumn in Vermont

Every year at leaf peeping season, I go to New England. There is just no better place to experience the autumn. In October 2017, I went to Vermont, for the first time. The beauty of nature is irresistible.


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Chen Danqing

Chen Danqing is a Chinese-American artist, writer, and art critic. He recently created a 16-episode documentary about art (western and eastern) called 局部 (meaning “details”). This is such a great documentary that I could always learn something new every time I watched it.


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Watercolor, Yosemite Valley

The best way to experience art is to get fully involved, including creating art. One of the last things I finished in 2017 was the watercolor class. I believe it’s just the start.



The end is also the beginning.
Hope you are doing well in 2017 and have a great new year.