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Bill D'Alessandro

My Favorite Tools, Games, Books, Gear, and More!

Published 6 months ago • 5 min read

Hey Reader, this week I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite things, and the items I give as gifts.

That’s right - it’s Bill’s Favorite Things!

I have zero financial interest in any of these, I just think they’re awesome. If you hurry, you can still get them in time for Christmas (all links are to Amazon when possible, exercise that Prime membership, baby).

Let’s get to the list!

Personal Items and EDC

Gerber EAB Lite Folding Knife: The best knife is the one you have on you and aren’t afraid to use. This Gerber costs under $15, and uses disposable utility blades that cost just a few bucks each (check out the next recommendation for my favorite ones). So don’t worry about dulling it by cutting cardboard, or beating up the blade. Plus, if you’re traveling and get to security with your knife still in your pocket, just pop the blade in the trash before you get to TSA. Reload it when you get home. I keep one in almost every room of my house and often carry one in my pocket. A great stocking stuffer! Buy it on Amazon.

DeWalt Carbide Edge Utility Blades: Don’t settle for cheap hardware store blades. These DeWalt Carbide edge blades are the toughest I've found for my Gerber knife. They maintain their sharpness much longer than standard blades, making them perfect for frequent, heavy use. Combine them with the Gerber EAB Lite and you’ve got an inexpensive, durable pocket knife you won’t be afraid to use daily. Buy it on Amazon.

TGT Wallet: I really enjoy this minimalist wallet for its slim profile and practicality. It's great for holding a couple of cards and some cash, making it easy to slip in the front pocket. Basically, it’s a leather version of a Ridge wallet (hi Sean!). It’s been a part of my “everyday carry” for a long time. Check out their website.

Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket: I'm absolutely obsessed with this jacket. Maybe it's a basic thing to love, but I wear it all the time, especially this time of year. It's a perfect balance of lightweight and warmth for cooler weather. The price point is just right, considering its quality. I think it's the best jacket Patagonia (or anyone else) offers, and it's become a staple in my wardrobe. Here it is on REI's site.

Home & Outdoor

Champion 2500W Dual Fuel Generator: This is one of the most practical purchases I've made in a while. It's perfect for emergencies, running both on gasoline and propane. The ability to run on propane is a killer feature, since propane is more stable and safer to store for long periods, and burns cleaner than gasoline. I especially enjoy using it for tailgates at NFL games. It's quiet enough to use without being disruptive, effortlessly powering everything from TVs to refrigerators. Buy it on Amazon.

Amber LED Candles: I recently got several of these LED candles to help reduce my blue light exposure in the evenings, which has really helped improve my sleep. It gives off a deep amber light (1600 Kelvin) with almost no blue light. Great for both reading and setting the mood before bed. Buy them on Amazon.

MERV 13 HVAC Filters: I’ve been super-focused on indoor air quality lately. Standalone air filters are popular, but your house already has a massive air filtration system built in - the HVAC system. I replaced my home HVAC intake filters with MERV 13 filters from Nordic Pure - they’re just $15 each but make a massive difference.

MERV is a measure of filtration effectiveness, and 13 is the goldilocks rating - 12 will not filter viruses, and 14 is too dense for residential HVAC systems. These filters are similar to hospital-grade HEPA filters, and trap dust, pollen, bacteria, and even viruses. They also help reduce contagion when you have 2 kids coming home from school with every virus known to man. They have also significantly reduced the dust in my home, which means my allergies don’t flare up as often. I don’t even have to dust my house anymore. Just pick the dimensions that fit your home’s intake vents, and change your filters every 3 months. Buy them on Amazon.

Trek Light Gear Double Hammock: This thing is perfect for camping and chilling in my backyard. If you’ve only ever lounged in rope hammocks, this thing will change your life - it’s a totally different level of comfort (and not tippy!). It packs up to the size of those insulated water bottles everyone is carrying around, so you can throw it in a backpack or backseat without it taking up much space. Last fall I went on a 3 day backpacking trip with only this hammock to sleep in, and I was comfortable the whole time! Trek Light is a small business owned by my friend Seth Haber - so you’re supporting a great entrepreneur when you buy one. Buy it on Amazon.

Books and Entertainment

"Becoming a King" by Morgan Snyder: this was one of the most convicting and impactful books I've read in a while. The book offers insights into the true value of masculinity, particularly in raising boys, and how we as men can reach our highest potential. As a father, I found it incredibly relevant and enlightening. It's a book that will make you think and also give practical guidance on parenthood. Recommended by my friends Chris Powers and Brent Beshore. Buy it on Amazon.

Nintendo Switch and Zelda Breath of the Wild: I loved playing video games growing up, but games these days take up a lot of time - time I don’t have as a dad and CEO. Enter the Nintendo Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild - one of the best video games I’ve ever played. I cannot recommend it enough. Plus, you can pause and save at any point, so I can fit some gaming into those 20-30 minute windows you have as a dad, without needing to find hours and hours uninterrupted. Buy them on Amazon.

Work & Organization

Sony ZV-1 Camera: If you’re looking to upgrade your Zoom setup - start with your camera. This is a high-quality camera that is popular with streamers, without the hefty price tag of more expensive models. I got it for a great deal on eBay (~$400) - turns out a lot of people buy fancy cameras but don’t use them more than a couple of times. This model is a great balance between price and performance. Buy it on Amazon.

Fujitsu ScanSnap: If you want a paperless office, this is the gadget for you. It's a compact Wi-Fi connected document scanner that doesn’t need to connect to a computer. Any receipt, donation, or important document automatically uploads to Google Drive with the push of a button. We keep it in our kitchen to scan mail and documents on the way into our house - then we shred them. Boom, no paper! Buy it on Amazon.

That’s it for the 2023 favorite things list! I hope there was at least one thing on there you could buy for yourself or a friend. Write back and let me know a few of your own favorite things — I’ll feature the best replies in an upcoming email.

If you liked this newsletter, I have 4 places where I share more like it:

  1. 👔 The 1-1 coaching that I do with business owners (I only take on a few at a time).
  2. 🐦 I tweet (a lot) @BillDA.
  3. 🎙️ My bi-weekly podcast, Acquisitions Anonymous, where we break down real businesses that are for sale.
  4. 📬 This weekly newsletter!

Until next time,
Bill D'Alessandro

Bill D'Alessandro

I've been an entrepreneur my whole life - now I coach others.

Join my newsletter and I'll send you non-public stories, tales from the ecommerce trenches, and even opportunities to invest in private deals with me.

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