Friday, March 15th, 2019
Thursday, January 24th, 2019
Some good clear thoughts on decision-making in this review by Agnes Callard of Steven Berlin Johnson’s book on the topic.
Thursday, January 17th, 2019
Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019
Tuesday, January 1st, 2019
Chronicling from “below the API line”, as Venkatesh Rao calls it, are Austin Murphy with “I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon” in The Atlantic and Lauren Hough with “I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America” in The Huffington Post.
The depicted harshness of American work life for so many is terrible not just for those involved but for all. (Also these two share a prodigious unmet need to urinate on the job — is this the top new workplace tribulation?)
Tuesday, December 11th, 2018
A screed we need: “When Supplements Become Substitutes” by Joshua Mitchell in the redoubtable City Journal. This conceptual framework clarifies much of what Western societies are concerned about regarding themselves.
Monday, December 10th, 2018
The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success
This book seems like one for our times: a self-improvement topic given fresh life by being supported by social science data. There are sufficient surprising results — similar to say Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow — to warrant reading, despite, when stepping back and taking it on the whole, the thing feeling largely self-evident. But it is not, and probably deserves a reread.
Saturday, November 17th, 2018
“Respected journalist” Joel Golby has pulled off a rather spectacular series of mini-essays for Vice in Choose Your Own Adventure: Friday Night Edition!. More relevant perhaps for people say a quarter of a century younger than me, but one can appreciate.
Thursday, November 15th, 2018
The more you keep your mouth shut, the more fertile you become.
If you don’t give literature a decisive part to play in your existence, then you haven’t got anything but a show of culture.
Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
A savvy 69-year-old Dutchman who “identifies as 45” aims to legally reduce his age.
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
America and I, both exceptional, would together elude prediction and defy determinism.
Friday, October 12th, 2018
Try to do things that would make your friends say wow.
Paul Graham, “How to Do What You Love”
Thursday, September 20th, 2018
Million Dollar Consulting
This most renowned book by the engaging Alan Weiss has a tone of practical, optimistic advice. Its title however is unfortunate as the first part may come off as cheesy while the second part comes off as only applying to consultants. Its subtitle, “The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice”, is more accurate; I was talking with an old friend who now has his own one-man legal practice and realized that pretty much all the book’s advice applies to him.
Although famous for advocating value billing rather than hourly, perhaps the book’s dominant concept is that you should invest your marketing energy in becoming a thought leader — in speaking and writing.
Weiss is a bit of a minor national treasure (despite hovering sometimes on the edge of bad taste — and I believe he is way sophisticated enough to understand exactly what he’s doing) and despite becoming slightly cranky in his more recent musings (not that I disagree with where he’s coming from, but political musings may be off-putting to others). He is a gifted writer in that having read his book you feel he is your friend looking out for you.
Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
Why was he like this to her? Excerpt from Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ upcoming book about her father Steve.
Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
“Shouting ‘Peace, peace’ may actually push peace away,” argues game theorist and Nobel Economics laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann, New York-born head of the Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality at Hebrew University.
This is just about common sense — by that I mean it’s only a single twist of what Edward Luttwak calls the paradoxical logic of strategy. Yet perhaps there are further twists; I suggested one back in 2003 in “Allah Help the Jackals”:
Perhaps Israel is following a subconscious national strategy of the strong, in which it behaves too meekly for a decade or so, emboldens its vicious but feeble enemies until they go too far, then lashes out in a now-obviously-justifiable response and gains untold assets in the process.
Not to mention that the more time goes by, the more Israel strengthens and the Palestinians weaken.
This subconscious national strategy of delay by dint of wanting too hard, if it ever were effective, seems to have played itself out now, as demonstrated by Israel’s shift of focus towards undermining UNWRA, which plays such an underlying role in prolonging the conflict.
What with the Sunni warming to Israel and the supremely sympathetic Trump Administration, Israel it seems believes that allowing the conflict to fester for gradual gain has now become counterproductive, and so seeks a new path to end it.
All that notwithstanding, nothing ends until the Palestinians begin educating their children towards co-existence alongside Israel.
Wednesday, July 11th, 2018
Well, this an extravaganza of an article, practically a short book, on the American 9.9%.
Saturday, June 30th, 2018
Tuesday, June 19th, 2018
Tyler Cowen: Why read news?
If you follow the news, you will work at it every day, more or less. Better those compound returns than to do something else once every three months and a half.
Saturday, June 16th, 2018
First she called herself a Joycean, then she realized she’s more of a Joyceaholic. A great fun rueful erudite walk around the city that is James Joyce.
This is not the first time I’ve broken up with Joyce. A couple of years ago I decided we were in a co-dependent relationship. Except how could that be true if I was the only dependent one?
Thursday, May 31st, 2018
The Dawn of Day
This is a delicious book to pick up in spurts — BMW punchy as Emerson is Rolls-Royce bubbly — but I couldn’t say what it’s chiefly about, where it starts, where it ends, how it fits in with Nietzsche’s other books, nor whether I’ve even read it before (I do remember particular points but perhaps they’re also mentioned in the other books). As usual this 19th-century giant sounds as if he writes… this morning.
Thursday, May 24th, 2018
Michael Pollan’s everywhere-on-the-internet excursion into psychoactives is excerpted in The New York Times Magazine.
“I” now turned into a sheaf of little papers, no bigger than Post-its, and they were being scattered to the wind. But the “I” taking in this seeming catastrophe had no desire to chase after the slips and pile my old self back together.
Tuesday, May 8th, 2018
Even as the USA is troubled at the national level, it is often flourishing locally, argues James Fallows, who has spent five years criss-crossing the country with his wife.
“America is becoming more like itself again,” he writes. “More Americans are trying to make it so, in more places, than most Americans are aware.”
This is good, it seems to me; better than if the reverse were true.
Thursday, April 26th, 2018
I can’t go for a few moments without sliding back my chair and gazing with massive self-love at my library.
Geoff Dyer, on books, in Unpacking My Library
Friday, April 20th, 2018
Another nice ongoing Grauniad series, this one where authors and writers describe their typical writing day.
The Paris Review compiles interviews from its archives on writing while under an influence.
Friday, April 13th, 2018
Camels are surprising enough on the face of it, but so, really, is everything.
Paul J. Griffiths, “Letter to an Aspiring Intellectual”
Brian X. Chen, technology writer at The New York Times, checks what data Facebook and Google have on him and provides links to do your own. “Be warned,” he concludes. “Once you see the vast amount of data that has been collected about you, you won’t be able to unsee it.”
Google for instance, keeps a record of every time you open an app on an Android phone, Facebook of whom you unfriended when.
Saturday, April 7th, 2018
From 2014: The Economist introduces us to Sebastian de Grazia’s 1962 Of Time, Work and Leisure. Increasingly, leisure is not for the rich but for the poor.
Wednesday, April 4th, 2018
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018
Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn interviews Avi Gil, senior aide to Shimon Peres on his forthcoming book, The Peres Formula: Diary of a Confidant.
Gil: “Peres is a bitchonist. He sees first and foremost Israel’s interest, its existence, its survival. In terms of his life mission, to which he gave expression in no few conversations, he saw two mileposts: Dimona and Oslo.”
Sunday, March 25th, 2018
It’s Tim Ferriss’s most soulful interview yet: Jack Kornfield, a guru who talks the talk, walks the walk, sat the sit. With a great selection in the shownotes of links and people mentioned.
As these two leaders discuss morning practices, I’m struck by how many of the perspectives and attitudes they hope for are nicely handled by the Jewish morning prayers.
Craig Mod’s interview with Offscreen Magazine. “In my life, America is three locations: New York City, the Bay Area, and Asheville in North Carolina.” This writer/designer, who first impressed me with his review of the Apple Watch, lives in a small coastal town in Japan — some sort of digital-hipster James Bond. Things are very considered.
Saturday, March 24th, 2018
On artists with jobs. “That’s job jobs, the kind you hear about in stump speeches.” Speaking personally, I believe I knew a long time ago that this is a good path but I lacked the gumption to maybe be bored some of the day.
Thursday, March 15th, 2018
The Bloomsbury set thought about work and leisure, with ideas for today as we wrestle more universally with these issues.
Tuesday, March 6th, 2018
A review of the new disenchantment with our overly-enchanting digital lives by one Arianna Huffington of all people.
Monday, March 5th, 2018
Ladies and gentlemen, hidalgos and Iagos, may it please you to join Andrew Klavan on this sharp essay through racism and religion via Shakespeare.
Sunday, March 4th, 2018
Like latter-day cave painting, people are getting creative with their iPhone home screens. The main aesthetic beyond spacing seems to be color-coding, which may be admirable but also a bit precious. The tool to do it all is the very cool Makeovr.
Tuesday, February 13th, 2018
Tyler Cowen’s work habits while traveling. “Go somewhere — perhaps somewhere dangerous or disgusting — and simply plan to spend your full, normal work/writing day there.” Because: “By the end of the trip it will feel like a full vacation anyway, that’s how silly your memory is.”
Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
If you read one brief op-ed piece this year, surely it must be Of Crudeness and Truth by Andrew Klavan in City Journal. “For Nurse Ratched, read Hillary Clinton, CNN, The New York Times, Yale University, Twitter, and Google/YouTube —— all the tender ministers of polite silence and enforced dishonesty. If Donald Trump’s boorishness crashes like a bull through the crystal madhouse of their leftism — well, good. It’s about time.” Like other forms of tyranny, at first we found political correctness amusing. One consequence of it: this risky presidency.
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
Another Tim Ferriss Show link, this time a joyful 2-hour interview with Terry Crews, artist, athlete, movie actor, taboo-dispeller, celebrity, self-help book aficionado.
Wednesday, December 27th, 2017
When Google analysed their hiring, they were surprised to find that “among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last.” Instead, “The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills.” One smart commenter points out that since everyone will have the STEM skills anyway, these other things are the only differentiators.
Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
The guys at The Soul of Enterprise podcast interview George Gilder. I guarantee you he’ll bring you at least some new perspective. It’s about time.
Sunday, September 10th, 2017
In this adaptation from Esther Perel’s forthcoming book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity, the argument goes that extra-marital affairs are often about self-development.
Monday, September 4th, 2017
Great stuff: professional poker champion Phil Hellmuth on everything while Tim Ferriss tries to interview him for the podcast.
On the Y Combinator podcast (episode #29), Jack Dorsey reads from a couple of books he found important and imparts a daily practice.
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017
The key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships. This from an 80-year ongoing study of Harvard’s class of ’38.
Monday, July 17th, 2017
I appreciate this nicely laid out summary of wisdom reminders for the working life by Studio Lovelock, This Much We Know.