Wednesday, March 11th, 2020
Doug Tarr weighs in on learning to code. I didn’t know my old roommate could write so well. Doug, write more.
Monday, March 9th, 2020
Sunday, March 1st, 2020
Venkatesh Rao’s Into the Yakverse is just too disgustingly awesomely good. Think the tone of David Goldman’s visits to Cardinal Richelieu, along with the cynical wit of top Armando Iannucci satire, and the light momentum of an Eliyahu Goldratt business novel.
DesignBoom’s sauna page. This is just great work about great work about great living.
A call to arms for gigworld: Towards Gigwork as a Folkway by Venkatesh Rao.
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of an Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader
Brent Schlener and Rick Tetzell
Although the simple thesis gets repeated interminably, nonetheless it’s a nice one: that Steve Jobs’s greatness stems muchly from his constant becoming, constant learning, constant trying to overcome himself (hence the title, which can be read as descriptive).
It’s great to be in his company, which you feel you are, as one of the authors was himself repeatedly so for decades.
One thing new to me was Pixar’s role in maturing Jobs; we don’t often read about who and what shaped the shaper.
Saturday, February 29th, 2020
Suspending the need for meaningfulness is exhausting!
Venkatesh Rao, The Price of Freedom
Friday, February 28th, 2020
First one to get back to reality is the biggest sociopath in the room.
Venkatesh Rao, The Shtickbox Affair
Friday, February 21st, 2020
From Paul Graham’s essay “Having Kids”, December 2019:
I remember perfectly well what life was like before. Well enough to miss some things a lot, like the ability to take off for some other country at a moment’s notice. That was so great. Why did I never do that?
Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
Matt Layman’s handy Failed SaaS Postmortem — too much tech tinkering; I need to take heed. Plus it’s great he’s getting right back in the saddle.
Friday, December 6th, 2019
Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
Latitudinal psychology? “Like happiness, [individualism and creativity] trend higher as one moves away from the equator.”
Sunday, October 6th, 2019
Healthy in other respects, some adults have profoundly impaired autobiographical re-experiencing.
Saturday, October 5th, 2019
A conversation on Jewish concepts of sin ABA failure with David Bashevkin that could have gone on a lot longer. Very good stuff for those needing to augment their awareness that we are in the Days of Awe.
Tuesday, October 1st, 2019
The sweaters of Succession. By Vulture.
The future is real but the past is all made up.
Logan Roy in Succession, Series 2, Episode 8
Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
It’s good, I’ve had time to contemplate my Indecisiveness.
Sunday, September 22nd, 2019
In National Affairs, Ruth Wisse shows us Irving Kristol, “the common man’s uncommon philosopher”.
Tuesday, September 17th, 2019
“Please just leave me alone when I cross streets.” Richard Stallman’s terms of service for speaking engagements come to light [via The Register] surrounding his forced terminations. A couple of observations: for 66 his skin looks amazingly moist and smooth, like a healthy 25-year-old’s, which perhaps says something about his lifestyle and choices. And his exactingness regarding these terms is both ridiculous and admirable; few things are more important than knowing who we are and what we want and expressing these clearly.
Monday, August 5th, 2019
Saturday, August 3rd, 2019
How the rich differ, according to the currently-popupar Big Five psychological framework. More conscientious, less neurotic, less agreeable, more extravert, and more open to experience.
Thursday, June 13th, 2019
Saturday, June 8th, 2019
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