3 thoughts on a decade of publishing books
"In my work, problems of output are problems of input. If my work sucks, it’s usually because I’m not being a good enough fan. I need to read, and read voraciously, searching for that thing that’s going to get me back on track. Read books, write books, repeat. That’s the deal.

I remember sitting in the audience during readings and wanting so badly to be the person on stage. Now I find myself relishing any chance I get to be a fan again. I love pointing to people’s work and sharing the stuff that I love. I love linking to great books in my newsletter. I love sending my agent links to good writers looking for an agent. One of my far-out dreams is to have my own little publishing imprint."
from instapaper
14 hours ago
3 thoughts on a decade of publishing books
"On the one, extremely lucrative end is Edward Tufte. In 1983, after Harvard University Press wouldn’t let him have a hand in the design, he took out a second mortgage on his house to self-publish The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. This led to a stunning second career after retiring from 30 years of teaching at Yale. Tufte has grossed millions of dollars from his books, and every year, he goes on the road like the Grateful Dead, selling out hotel ballrooms in cities around the country, giving his lectures. He’s stayed independent and in control throughout. The amount business he’s done out of his garage is just mind-boggling.

One the other end of the commercial spectrum is cartoonist John Porcellino, who’s been publishing his zine King-Cat for the past 30 years. John has published collections with Drawn & Quarterly, but his constant output is the zine. (He also started Spit and a Half to distribute zines and books by other creators.) Some of Porcellino’s stories have documented his struggles to make a living over the years. Recently, he’s started a Patreon, which he says has allowed him to save for the first time in his career."
from instapaper
14 hours ago
The Most Successful People Are The Ones You’ve Never Heard Of (And Why They Want It That Way) – RyanHoliday.net
"So that’s the recalibration. There is a big difference between having enough that all your needs are met and being a billionaire. Between being Taylor Swift, the global superstar, and Sia. And those differences are not all good. In fact, many of them are objectively not good.

The next time you feel screwed that you haven’t gotten your big break, or watch as some potential life-changing opportunity to level up escapes your grasp, ask yourself if that’s really the case. Is it really bad luck? Or has Fortune done you a kindness?

On the contrary, the life just below that top, the middle class life, the just-enough-success-but-not-too-much? That’s the real blessing."
from instapaper
yesterday
The Finance To Value Framework – AVC
"The capital markets are efficient over the very long run but highly inefficient in the moment. So just because investors are willing to throw gobs of money at you and your company, it doesn’t mean that it is smart to take it. And, as I have written numerous times here before, having lots of capital does not derisk your business plan. In many cases, it amplifies the risk of your business plan.

So how do you stay in balance and avoid getting too far out over your skis?

I like this framework that I call “Finance To Value” which means you finance your business to regular valuation targets that are driven by fundamental value analysis.

The first thing you need to know is how your business will be valued by a buyer or the public markets when it is a scaled business. I like to use EBITDA and Revenue multiples for this work. And the best place to get them is from bankers who work in your sector and/or investors who are active in your sector. The key point is these multiples are what you are going to be valued at upon exit or IPO, not currently."
from instapaper
yesterday
what rituals are and do
"Even though at this point in the piece Samuel has already quoted a rabbi who questions the legitimacy of separating ritual from religion, she returns here to a framing of the whole endeavor that is simply a mismatch with the character of ritual. (It is of course the same framing that drives Ritual Design Lab.) The assumptions of this framing are:

rituals are designed;
I can either design my own rituals or let “experts” do it for me;
rituals are “solutions” to “problems”;
rituals implicitly endorse what a founder of Ritual Design Lab says explicitly: “the whole premise of design is human-centeredness. It can help people shape their spirituality based on their needs. Institutionalized religions somehow forget this — that at the center of any religion should be the person.”

But all of those notions may be questioned. One might argue, rather, that:

rituals are not designed but rather emerge from the life of a community;
there can be, therefore, no “experts” in ritual-making;
rituals do not solve problems but are rather a mode of communal expression;
the central focus of any genuine ritual is not the human being or even the community but rather the personage, god, or power that the ritual seeks to propitiate, plead with, or worship."
from instapaper
2 days ago
Money Talks: Yours, Mine, and Ours
"That's not to say that spouses shouldn't have money that they, and they alone, control. But you don't need separate accounts to achieve that. You need a budget, which contains a line item for what Dave Ramsey calls "blow money". Each spouse should get an equal amount--if there's some special expense that requires one spouse spend more on, say, recreation, then budget for that specially, and spend the money on that only. Allocate the spree money in cash, or as an accounting entry in an excel spreadsheet, and let both parties agree that they won't go over that. You should also set a limit on "big expenses"--things that cost more than $50, $100, or $500 (depending on your income); unless they can fund it out of their accumulated mad money, both spouses should agree that they will not spend more than that amount on a single item without checking with the other pers"
from instapaper
5 days ago
Want to Be Happy? Buy More Takeout and Hire a Maid, Study Suggests
"And it didn’t matter if they were rich or poor: People benefited from buying time regardless of where they fell on the income spectrum. (The authors note, though, that may not hold true for the poorest of the poor.)

“If there’s some task that just thinking about it fills you with dread, then it’s probably worth considering whether you can afford to buy your way out of it,” said Elizabeth Dunn, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia and an author of the paper."
from instapaper
5 days ago
MoviePass customers love its movie- a-day deal for under $10 a month. Some worry the company’s finances suggest the offer is too good to be true
Movie­Pass pays the­aters full price for every movie ticket its mem­bers or­der, mean­ing that its core busi­ness is de­signed to op­er­ate at a loss. The com­pa­ny’s plan, ex­ec­u-tives have said, is to take ad­van-tage of a user base that has grown nearly 150-fold in nine months to sell ad­ver­tise­ments and to per­suade the­aters to give them a cut of rev­enue.
Business  marketing  Strategy  bmc 
6 days ago
CHINA'S FUTURE
"Though China’s influence is undoubtedly growing, its engagement is not imperial but transactional, says Deborah Brautigam, of Johns Hopkins University. When a Japanese company bought the Rockefeller Centre in the 1980s, “Americans thought they were buying all of Manhattan,” says Ms Brautigam. “The same is true of China in Africa. It’s all about perception.” In a forthcoming book, she investigates 20 media reports of land acquisitions by Chinese firms in Africa, claimed to total 5.5m hectares. She found the real figure to be just 63,400 hectares."
from instapaper
9 days ago
CHINA'S FUTURE
"And now it is a nation that wants some things very much. In general, it knows what these things are. At home its people want continued growth, its leaders the stability that growth can buy. On the international stage people and Communist Party want a new deference and the influence that befits their nation’s stature. Thus China wants the current dispensation to stay the same—it wants the conditions that have helped it grow to endure—but at the same time it wants it turned into something else.

Finessing this need for things to change yet stay the same would be a tricky task in any circumstances. It is made harder by the fact that China’s Leninist leadership is already managing a huge contradiction between change and stasis at home as it tries to keep its grip on a society which has transformed itself socially almost as fast as it has grown economically. And it is made more dangerous by the fact that China is steeped in a belligerent form of nationalism and ruled over by men who respond to every perceived threat and slight with disproportionate self-assertion."
from instapaper
9 days ago
Opinion | Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person
"The person who is best suited to us is not the person who shares our every taste (he or she doesn’t exist), but the person who can negotiate differences in taste intelligently — the person who is good at disagreement. Rather than some notional idea of perfect complementarity, it is the capacity to tolerate differences with generosity that is the true marker of the “not overly wrong” person. Compatibility is an achievement of love; it must not be its precondition."
from instapaper
9 days ago
Opinion | Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person
"Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating."
from instapaper
9 days ago
Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too - Issue 46: Balance - Nautilus
"But there was something else that Ericsson and his colleagues noted in their study, something that almost everyone has subsequently overlooked. “Deliberate practice,” they observed, “is an effortful activity that can be sustained only for a limited time each day.” Practice too little and you never become world-class. Practice too much, though, and you increase the odds of being struck down by injury, draining yourself mentally, or burning out. To succeed, students must “avoid exhaustion” and “limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”"
from instapaper
11 days ago
Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too - Issue 46: Balance - Nautilus
"Poincaré wasn’t just famous among his fellow scientists: In 1895 he was, along with the novelist Émile Zola, sculptors Auguste Rodin and Jules Dalou, and composer Camille Saint-Saëns, the subject of a study by French psychiatrist Édouard Toulouse on the psychology of genius. Toulouse noted that Poincaré kept very regular hours. He did his hardest thinking between 10 a.m. and noon, and again between 5 and 7 in the afternoon. The 19th century’s most towering mathematical genius worked just enough to get his mind around a problem—about four hours a day."
from instapaper
11 days ago
Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too - Issue 46: Balance - Nautilus
"After his morning walk and breakfast, Darwin was in his study by 8 and worked a steady hour and a half. At 9:30 he would read the morning mail and write letters. At 10:30, Darwin returned to more serious work, sometimes moving to his aviary, greenhouse, or one of several other buildings where he conducted his experiments. By noon, he would declare, “I’ve done a good day’s work,” and set out on a long walk on the Sandwalk, a path he had laid out not long after buying Down House. (Part of the Sandwalk ran through land leased to Darwin by the Lubbock family.) When he returned after an hour or more, Darwin had lunch and answered more letters. At 3 he would retire for a nap; an hour later he would arise, take another walk around the Sandwalk, then return to his study until 5:30, when he would join his wife, Emma, and their family for dinner. On this schedule he wrote 19 books, including technical volumes on climbing plants, barnacles, and other subjects; the controversial Descent of Man; and The Origin of Species, probably the single most famous book in the history of science, and a book that still affects the way we think about nature and ourselves."
from instapaper
11 days ago
How Ryan Murphy Became the Most Powerful Man in TV
"Murphy turned his upbringing into an origin myth, as we all do—and, as only some do, into art. On “Glee,” he gave his story a happy ending: in one plotline, a working-class dad learns to love his Broadway-obsessed gay son. On “Pose,” there’s a less happy version of the conflict: a teen-age boy, a talented dancer, gets beaten by his father with a belt, and their break seems irreparable. In real life, when Murphy’s father died, in 2011, at the age of seventy-three, the two were still largely estranged, but Murphy made sure that he got excellent medical care. On his deathbed, his father sent Murphy a letter of apology. Murphy could read only half of it before stuffing it in a kitchen drawer."
from instapaper
11 days ago
How Ryan Murphy Became the Most Powerful Man in TV
"Both “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee” ran for multiple seasons, and had intense fan bases, but they also flew off the rails: “Nip/Tuck” became a Grand Guignol in its twists; “Glee” got preachy and self-indulgent. As Brad Falchuk told me, “We do such amazing Seasons 1 and 2. It’s Season 3 that terrifies me.”"
from instapaper
11 days ago
on the myth of disenchantment
"Jason Josephson-Storm’s The Myth of Disenchantment"
from instapaper
11 days ago
What Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” Can Teach the Modern Worker
"He became an expert on communication and management, even though he’d never been a manager. He had spent his career gigging, cobbling together an income between teaching, lecturing, and writing: he had no knowledge of what it was like to commute to the same office to do the same job day after day and year after year. And yet, he became a world-renowned expert in achieving corporate success."
from instapaper
11 days ago
Antonio Damasio, Feeling, and the Evolution of Consciousness: Siri Hustvedt on “The Strange Order of Things” - Los Angeles Review of Books
"Damasio takes his reader on an intellectual journey he has made himself, one of discovery, surprise, and insight. He explains his points thoroughly but does not simplify what is complicated. He is handy with a metaphor and avoids unnecessary jargon. In a world in which specialization has become so refined that the discourse of a given discipline often becomes wholly unintelligible to those outside it, Antonio Damasio conveys his thoughts with clarity and grace and summons the works of composers and writers and philosophers.

When I reached the end of The Strange Order of Things, I recalled the closing words of William James’s Psychology: The Briefer Course when he tells readers that “the darkness” is “great” and urges them not to “forget that the natural-science assumptions with which we started are provisional and revisable things.” After noting that there is no theory of everything, Damasio concludes his book this way: “This is a sobering reminder of how modest and tentative our efforts are and of how open we need to be as we confront what we do not know.” To which I can only add, Amen."
from instapaper
13 days ago
25 Ways To Kill The Toxic Ego That Will Ruin Your Life – RyanHoliday.net
"24. Stop playing the image game — focus on a higher purpose. One of the best strategists of the last century, John Boyd, would ask the promising young acolytes under him: “To be or to do? Which way will you go?” That is, will you choose to fall in love with the image of how success looks like or will you focus on a higher purpose? Will you pick obsessing over your title, number of fans, size of paycheck or on real, tangible accomplishment? You know which way ego wants to go."
from instapaper
13 days ago
25 Ways To Kill The Toxic Ego That Will Ruin Your Life – RyanHoliday.net
"11. Choose alive time over dead time. According to author Robert Greene, there are two types of time in our lives: dead time, when people are passive and waiting, and alive time, when people are learning and acting and utilizing every second. During failure, ego picks dead time. It fights back: I don’t want this. I want ______. I want it my way. It indulges in being angry, aggrieved, heartbroken. Don’t let it — choose alive time instead."
from instapaper
13 days ago
25 Ways To Kill The Toxic Ego That Will Ruin Your Life – RyanHoliday.net
"4. Shun the comfort of talking and face the work. “Void,” Marlon Brando once said, “is terrifying to most people.” We talk endlessly on social media getting validation and attention with fake internet points avoiding the uncertainty of doing the difficult and frightening work required of any creative endeavour. As creatives we need to shut up and get to work. To face the void — despite the pain of doing so."
from instapaper
16 days ago
Opinion | AI will spell the end of capitalism
"If the state controls the market, instead of digital capitalism controlling the state, true communist aspirations will be achievable. And because AI increasingly enables the management of complex systems by processing massive amounts of information through intensive feedback loops, it presents, for the first time, a real alternative to the market signals that have long justified laissez-faire ideology — and all the ills that go with it.

Going forward, China’s socialist market economy, which aims to harness the fruits of production for the whole population and not just a sliver of elites operating in their own self-centered interests, can lead the way toward this new stage of human development."
from instapaper
16 days ago
These are the personality tests you take to get a job at the world's largest hedge fund
"SST, which is explained in Jacques' textbook "Requisite Organization," posits that employees in a workforce fit into one of seven "organizational strata" based on the level of work complexity they can handle and how that fits into a hierarchy.

Samantha Lee/Business Insider
These are the seven strata, taken from "Requisite Organization."

I— Shop and office floor. Overcome obstacles with practical judgment.
II— First line manager. Diagnostic accumulation.
III— Unit manager. Create alternative pathways.
IV— General manager. Parallel process [and take] multiple paths.
V— Business unit president. Judge downstream consequences.
VI— Executive vice president. Oversee complex systems.
VII— CEO and COO. Construct complex systems."
from instapaper
16 days ago
Opinion | The Redistribution of Sex
"All kinds of phenomena, starting as far back as the Iraq War and the crisis of the euro but accelerating in the age of populism, have made more sense in the light of analysis by reactionaries and radicals than as portrayed in the organs of establishment opinion."
from instapaper
20 days ago
Andrew Sullivan: Pope Francis Isn’t Catholicism’s Trump
But the “social justice” movement is about much more than that. It’s about replacing and subverting what it regards as “white male dominant” culture. And how does Google define “white male dominant culture”? According to a Google HR department handout, cited by Damore, some of the nefarious qualities “[v]alued by U.S. white/male dominant culture” include: perfectionism, individual achievement, objectivity, meritocracy, and a “colorblind racial frame.” And it is important to push back against all of them.

I’d note a couple of things:

First, the stereotyping. Google has listed a bunch of human traits — many of which are actually integral to any liberal society and could be adopted by anyone of any race and gender — and associated them entirely (and pejoratively) with one race and one gender. They may not mean to, but they’re implying that women, for example, are not “objective”; that African-Americans are not perfectionists; that Latinos have no place for meritocracy; that gay people could never be “front of the room, persuasive,” as opposed to “listening and raising up different voices.” If you heard those things on an alt-right website, you’d be appalled. At Google HR, they’re supposed to be liberating.

Google then provides qualities that are “invisibilized” by white male culture: collective achievement; sustainability; “holding systems accountable for equitable outcomes” (in contrast to meritocracy); being narrative-driven, rather than numbers-driven, and so on. This too implies that a white cis straight man is not, by virtue of his race and gender, given to valuing long-term or collective achievement, or “seeking connections between contexts,” or seeing the value of subjectivity at times. And notice that what was once called racial tolerance is now called an unacceptably white “colorblind racial frame.” What we have here are mass generalizations about races and genders, and a belief in resisting one set of dominant cultural norms in favor of another. This is an invitation to racial and gendered conflict, and when you read the accounts in the Damore suit, the bitterness and anger and resentment overfloweth.
justice  culture  woke  google 
4 weeks ago
How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why
"The whining octopus is a reminder of why pure elated happiness is never a reasonable goal. The times you feel pure happiness are temporary, drug-induced delusions—like the honeymoon phase of a new relationship or new job or the high following a long-awaited success. Those moments are the perfect golf shots of a mediocre golfer’s outing—they’re awesome, and you should enjoy the shit out of them—but they’re not the new normal, and they never will be.

A better goal is contentment: the satisfying feeling that you’re currently taking the best crack you can at a good life path; that what you’re working on might prove to be a piece of an eventual puzzle you can feel really proud of. Chasing happiness is an amateur move. Feeling contentment in those times when your choices and your circumstances have combined to pull it off, and knowing you have all that you could ever ask for, is for the wise.

People talk about being present in the moment, but there’s also the broader concept of macro-presence: feeling broadly present in your own life. If you’re on a career dot that, when you’re being really honest with yourself, feels right, you get to stop thinking and stop planning for a while and just dig in. You’ll come back to the big picture later—for now, you can put the macro picture aside, put your head down, and dedicate all of your energy to the present. For a while, you can just live."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why
"Steve Jobs compared life to connecting the dots, pointing out that while it’s easy to look at your past and see how the dots connected to lead you to where you are, it’s basically impossible in life to connect the dots forwards.

If you look at the biographies of your heroes, you’ll see that their paths look a lot more like a long series of connected dots than a straight and predictable tunnel. If you look at yourself and your friends, you’ll probably see the same trend—according to data, the median time a young person stays in a given job is only 3 years (older people spend a longer time on each dot, but not that much longer—10.4 years on average).

So seeing your career as a series of dots isn’t a mental trick to help you make decisions—it’s an accurate depiction of what’s actually happening. And seeing your career as a tunnel isn’t just unproductive—it’s delusional."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why
"With our pace-times-persistence equation in mind, let’s revisit the concept of strengths and weaknesses. It’s not that it’s a bad concept—it’s that we think about it all wrong. When we list our strengths, we tend to list our areas of existing skill more than anything else. Instead, strengths should be all about pace and persistence qualities. Originality or lack thereof should be a critical component of the discussion, making qualities like agility and humility (trademark chef traits) notable strengths, and qualities like stubbornness6 or intellectual laziness (classic cook traits) important weaknesses. The subtleties of work ethic, like a knack for deep focus or a propensity to procrastinate, should also be a major part of the discussion, as should natural abilities beyond talent, like savvy and likability. Qualities related to persistence, like resilience and determination and patience, should be thought of as promising strengths, while a social tentacle clamoring to appear successful as quickly as possible should be viewed as a bright red flag."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You) - Wait But Why
"The drop from naive over-confidence to wise, realistic humility never feels good, but pausing the roller coaster while it’s still on that first cliff and avoiding the pain—which turns out to be a lot of people’s move—isn’t a great strategy. Wisdom isn’t correlated with knowledge, it’s correlated with being in touch with reality—it’s not how far to the right you are on the graph, it’s how close you are to the orange line. Wisdom hurts at first, but it’s the only place where actual growth happens. The irony is that the cliff-pausers of the world like to make the wiser-braver valley-dwellers or continual-climbers feel bad about themselves—because they fundamentally don’t get how knowing yourself works. They haven’t reached that stage yet."
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hardest year, and what comes next
"But what happens then? What has this past year meant for Facebook’s future? In a 2017 manifesto, Zuckerberg argued that Facebook would help humanity takes its “next step” by becoming “the social infrastructure” for a truly global community.

Remarkably, Facebook’s scale makes this a plausible vision. But it comes with a dark side: Has Facebook become too big to manage, and too dangerous when it fails? Should the most important social infrastructure of the global community be managed by a single company headquartered in Northern California? And does Zuckerberg’s optimism about human nature and the benefits of a connected world make it harder for him to see the harm Facebook can cause?"
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
Getting serious about blockchain
"Changing the architecture of the corporation

In the book, Alex and I hypothesized about how far this could go. We developed this idea that you could have a company that would be a bunch of smart contracts and autonomous agents on a blockchain. And that this company would have no people—it wouldn’t need a CEO or management or people."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Q. and A.: Arthur R. Kroeber on ‘China’s Economy’
"The key thing is that all of economic history tells us that while state firms can be good at building stuff, when it comes to squeezing out efficiencies you need private companies. In China today, private industrial companies have a return on assets of 9 percent, compared to just 3 percent for state companies. Plus, state companies take on twice as much debt as private companies. So they are twice as indebted, but have a third of the performance. That’s a huge gap, but the government keeps channeling too much money to this inefficient part of the economy."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Research: Learning a Little About Something Makes Us Overconfident
"We found that people slowly and gradually learned how to perform this task, though they found it quite challenging. Their performance incrementally improved with each patient.

Confidence, however, took quite a different journey. In each study, participants started out well-calibrated about how accurate their diagnoses would prove to be. They began thinking they were right 50% of the time, when their actual accuracy rate was 55%. However, after just a few patients, their confidence began skyrocketing, far ahead of any accuracy they achieved. Soon, participants estimated their accuracy rate was 73% when it had not hit even 60%."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Quick Tips: Your Morning Routine Starts the Night Before
"The easiest way to reduce decision fatigue (a reduced ability to make positive decisions due to you being inundated with a large number of choices) in your morning is to set yourself up for success the night before.

If you’re home by a good hour in the evening, get everything in order by writing out a task list for the next day (though we ideally recommend writing this just before you finish work), checking your calendar, preparing lunch boxes, and laying out your clothes—workout or otherwise—for the next day."
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Xi Jinping’s Village | Dan Hitchens
"Let’s not be naive. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and if China’s money is going to fund infrastructure, education, and research, China will receive friendlier treatment. The same is true for any country’s diplomacy. Moreover, Western governments are hardly innocent of funding gruesome programs in faraway places. And countries that feel isolated—say, EU nations under pressure from Brussels—may see China as a useful counterbalance. Nevertheless, it is alarming how quickly, and how unreservedly, Beijing’s new friends abandon their solidarity with China’s oppressed millions and start flattering the regime instead.

All this is not to disparage China’s people, its civilization, its achievements in reducing hunger and destitution. It is to note one more way in which political force is quietly exercised today.

So if we are to live on the outskirts of Xi Jinping’s village, I hope we will not lose our dignity as well. Perhaps we can aspire, if not to full-blooded resistance, then at the very least to the irony of the Duke of Wellington, who is supposed to have signed off a letter: “I have the honour to be, sir, your humble and obedient servant (which you know damn well I am not).”"
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
The Meaning of the Boston Marathon
"The course was chosen to humble you. You start way off in Hopkinton, a town so far out on the Massachusetts Turnpike that it seems like it must be farmland. Then you run east. There are cheers at the beginning, and then it falls quiet for a spell. Families sit in lawn chairs clapping for the runners and listening to the Red Sox on the radio. At Wellesley College, at mile fourteen, the students come out en masse and cheer.

The course is slightly downhill for fifteen miles, then you blitz down what feels like a ski shoot. Suddenly you come to the bottom of the Newton hills. For the next four miles, just as your carbohydrates run out, you feel like you’re in the Alps. Four hills rise in front of you, but it’s hard to keep track when you’re spent. It can feel like five hills, or six. The course makes your mind falter right when your body does the same. And you’re still going east. Most marathons are run in some kind of a loop, which means that sometimes the wind is in your face and sometimes it’s at your back. In Boston, it’s all or none. In 2007, the race was run into gale-force winds. That year, the winner finished in 2:14. A few years later, with the wind blowing the other direction, the winner came in at 2:03. No one has ever run a faster marathon."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Google Increased New Employee Productivity by 25 Percent With 1 Email. Here's What You Need to Know
"3. Don't be afraid to drop some hints.

All it takes is a simple reminder. Google found that by "nudging" its managers and employees, they saw a noticeable increase in participation and completion rates.

These subtle "suggestions" did a couple of different things. They reinforced positive behaviors without imposing upon free-will and left room for managers and employees to make it their own."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
How to Turn Airmail Into the Ultimate Email App for iPhone
"Tap the menu icon, tap Settings, then tap one of your email accounts.
Scroll down to Account Notifications.
For a schedule, tap Do Not Disturb, then select the days and times you do not want notifications to appear. For location, tap Location, the add the locations you want notifications to appear. For example, add your work address, but not your home address to receive notifications only at work.
Location-based and scheduled notification are most useful for when you have a very clear work/life balance, and you don’t get super important emails (or rather, any emails you need to see after work) when you’re away from the office."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
How to Turn Airmail Into the Ultimate Email App for iPhone
"Use Smart Notifications If You Don’t Want to Spend Time on Setup

If you don’t want to spend time setting up VIP contacts, you can enable a “Smart Notification” system where Airmail only notifies you of emails from people you contact often.

Tap the menu icon, tap Settings, then tap one of your email accounts.
Scroll down to Account Notifications.
Set the “Smart Notifications” toggle to on.
Smart notifications are best for getting a ping for replies to emails you’ve sent out, or from people you contact often. Airmail takes a little while to learn exactly what is worth sending a notification for, so you might need to train it a while before it works well."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Study reveals number of hours it takes to make a friend
"In a new report published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Associate Professor of Communication Studies Jeffrey Hall found that it takes roughly 50 hours of time together to move from mere acquaintance to casual friend, 90 hours to go from that stage to simple "friend" status and more than 200 hours before you can consider someone your close friend.

This means time spent hanging out, joking around, playing video games and the like. Hours spent working together just don't count as much, Hall's study found.

"We have to put that time in," Hall said. "You can't snap your fingers and make a friend. Maintaining close relationships is the most important work we do in our lives—most people on their deathbeds agree.""
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Retweets Are Trash
"But social-media platforms don’t have to be organized around shareability. Instagram, for instance, doesn’t allow links, except a single one in each user’s profile. This dampens self-promotion and slows down the spread of information from the rest of the internet on the platform. It doesn’t have native reposting tools, either. And it is, by pretty much all accounts, a nicer place to spend time online."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
How to keep going
"Every day is Groundhog Day
Build a bliss station
Forget the noun, do the verb
Make gifts
The ordinary + extra attention = the extraordinary
Art is for life (not the other way around)
You are allowed to change your mind
When in doubt, tidy up
The demons hate fresh air
Spend time on something that will outlast them"
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking (Even When It’s Silent and Facedown)
"In two lab experiments, nearly 800 people completed tasks designed to measure their cognitive capacity. Before completing these tasks, the researchers asked participants to either: place their phones in front of them (face-down on their desks); keep them in their pockets or bags; or leave them in another room. The results were striking: the closer the phone to the participant, the worse she fared on the task. The mere presence of our smartphones is like the sound of our names or a crying baby — something that automatically exerts a gravitational pull on our attention. Resisting that pull takes a cognitive toll."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Does Having a Day Job Mean Making Better Art?
"ONCE UPON A time, artists had jobs. And not “advising the Library of Congress on its newest Verdi acquisition” jobs, but job jobs, the kind you hear about in stump speeches. Think of T.S. Eliot, conjuring “The Waste Land” (1922) by night and overseeing foreign accounts at Lloyds Bank during the day, or Wallace Stevens, scribbling lines of poetry on his two-mile walk to work, then handing them over to his secretary to transcribe at the insurance agency where he supervised real estate claims. The avant-garde composer Philip Glass shocked at least one music lover when he materialized, smock-clad and brandishing plumber’s tools, in a home with a malfunctioning appliance."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
Tim Grahl, Bestselling Author and Book Marketing Expert, On How to Invest Your Time (and Money) Into Writing - Writing Routines
"If you write an hour a day and just average 600 words an hour, you’ll write well over 200,000 words a year. Do that for ten years, and you’ve got well over 2 million words.

So let’s cut that down. If you write only three days a week and complete 1000 words in each writing session, that’s still 156,000 words a year. That’s a long novel including rewrites. Every year. Spending just three to four hours a week.

I wrote my first book while running a consulting business as the sole income in my household, volunteering in my local community, and homeschooling my kids.

Don’t give me this bullshit that you don’t have time. And using your kids as an excuse is a real asshole move.

You must be ruthlessly honest with yourself about how you spend your time.

There is no balance. There are things you think are worth your time and things that aren’t.

The things you actually think are important get done. Period."
from instapaper
7 weeks ago
overcast.fm
Sour patch kids and Facebook
8 weeks ago
This Google executive says he has discovered the secret to happiness
"Despite acknowledging your happy list, the reason we are then often unhappy is because we are trained to look at the events of our life in a way that is not truthful leading Gawdat to determine the '675 model'.

The model states that there are six illusions that blur our view of the real world: thought (believing you are your thoughts), self (believing you are your body, emotions, beliefs, name, achievements, family or possessions), knowledge, time (thinking too much about the past or future), control and fear.

Next, there are seven blind spots that make us miss the truth when we look at life: filtering, assuming, hunting, memories, labels, emotion and exaggerating. When we factor this into the equation, this is often how we see life events therefore blurring what those events actually mean.

“Fixing the six and the seven gets you to remove the reasons for your unhappiness,” he explains. “When you do that long enough, you start to realise it is silly because life mostly meets our expectations.”

Finally, there are five truths which we must accept: that now , change, love and death are all real as is the last truth: grand design, the belief that nothing is random and life generally follows patterns, laws, rules or science."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
The #1 reason Facebook won’t ever change
"A few years ago, I wrote that companies have a core genetic profile and it is tough for them to deviate from it. That DNA defines every action, reaction, and a strategic move made by a company. The DNA represents a company’s ethos — and to a large extent, its ethics. Microsoft was and will always be a desktop software company, albeit one that is doing its best to adapt to the cloud and data-centric world. It has turned its desktop offerings into smart revenue streams on the cloud.

Google’s core DNA is search and engineering, though some would say engineering that is driven by the economics of search, which makes it hard for the company to see the world through any other lens. Apple’s lens is that of product, design, and experience. This allows it to make great phones and to put emphasis on privacy, but makes it hard for them to build data-informed services."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
The #1 reason Facebook won’t ever change
"Facebook’s DNA is that of a social platform addicted to growth and engagement. At its very core, every policy, every decision, every strategy is based on growth (at any cost) and engagement (at any cost). More growth and more engagement means more data — which means the company can make more advertising dollars, which gives it a nosebleed valuation on the stock market, which in turn allows it to remain competitive and stay ahead of its rivals."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
The Key to Being More Productive Isn't What You Think It Is
"I've gotten comfortable with a couple of shortcuts that I use to try to navigate this problem. I try to start every week with three things that I want to accomplish that I care about. And then three ways that I want to help other people. And that's the compass for the week. I'll plan my whole schedule around those things. Sometimes I find that I overshot dramatically. I could only accomplish one thing and be helpful in one way. But I try to have the three and three front and center, so I evaluate everything else that comes in through the lens of, "Is this going to stand in the way of the major things that I'm trying to get done this week, and the major ways that I want to show up for others this week?" And if the answer is yes, I'm either not going to do whatever comes in or I'm going to schedule it for the next week, or the following week."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
The Key to Being More Productive Isn't What You Think It Is
"So I would love to see every individual, every group try at least one experiment every week. Whether that's shifting the structure of your meetings, or rotating around the leader for that decision—you can make a long list of what kind of experiments might be relevant. But to me, that's kind of the big lesson of organizational psychology: the people who are willing to try new things beat the ones who don't."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
Tending the Digital Commons: A Small Ethics toward the Future
"I think every young person who regularly uses a computer should learn the following:

how to choose a domain name
how to buy a domain
how to choose a good domain name provider
how to choose a good website-hosting service
how to find a good free text editor
how to transfer files to and from a server
how to write basic HTML, including links to CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) files
how to find free CSS templates
how to fiddle around in those templates to adjust them to your satisfaction
how to do basic photograph editing
how to cite your sources and link to the originals
how to use social media to share what you’ve created on your own turf rather than create within a walled factory

One could add considerably to this list, but these, I believe, are the rudimentary skills that should be possessed by anyone who wants to be a responsible citizen of the open Web—and not to be confined to living on the bounty of the digital headmasters."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
Mind Map: The best apps for mind mapping — The Sweet Setup
"On the larger screen of an iPad, MindNode 5 for iOS really shines. In fact, mind mapping on an iPad is sometimes even easier than on the Mac because you can just drag nodes around with your finger on screen. David Sparks and Katie Floyd talked about mind mapping in Episode 82 of Mac Power Users, and David talked for quite a while about how mind mapping on an iPad just “feels right” (and in our experience, we tend to agree with him)."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
Andrew Sullivan: The World Is Better Than Ever. Why Are We Miserable?
"But, as Deneen understands, we are where we are. There is no going back. For our civilization, God is dead. Meaning is meaningless outside the satisfaction of our material wants and can become, at its very best, merely a form of awe at meaninglessness. We have no common concept of human flourishing apart from materialism, and therefore we stand alone. Maybe we will muddle through this way indefinitely, and I sure hope we do, numbed or placated by continuous material improvement. But it is perfectly possible that this strange diversion in human history — a few centuries at most, compared with 200 millennia — is a massive error that will at some point be mercilessly corrected; that our planet, on present trends, will become close to uninhabitable for most of its creatures thanks to the reason and materialism Pinker celebrates; that our technology will render us unnecessary for the tasks our species has always defined itself by; and that our era of remarkable peace could end with one catastrophic event, as it did in 1914. We have, after all, imperfectly controlled weapons of mass destruction, and humans have never invented a weapon we haven’t used (including nukes, of course). It is also true that humans have never lived before without a faith or cult or set of practices designed to reconcile us to death and suffering."
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
12 Things Everyone Should Understand About Tech | LinkedIn
"3. Most people in tech sincerely want to do good.

We can be thoughtfully skeptical and critical of modern tech products and companies without having to believe that most people who create tech are “bad”. Having met tens of thousands of people around the world who create hardware and software, I can attest that the cliché that they want to change the world for the better is a sincere one. Tech creators are very earnest about wanting to have a positive impact. At the same time, it’s important for those who make tech to understand that good intentions don’t absolve them from being responsible for the negative consequences of their work, no matter how well-intentioned.

It’s useful to acknowledge the good intentions of most people in tech because it lets us follow through on those intentions and reduce the influence of those who don’t have good intentions, and to make sure the stereotype of the thoughtless tech bro doesn’t overshadow the impact that the majority of thoughtful, conscientious people can have. It’s also essential to believe that there is good intention underlying most tech efforts if we’re going to effectively hold everyone accountable for the tech they create."
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
The New Military-Industrial Complex of Big Data Psy-Ops
"In the academic world, it should entail a refusal to apply the perspective of propaganda research more generally to social problems. From social media we should demand, at a minimum, much greater protection of our data. Over time, we might also see a lower tolerance for platforms whose business model relies on the collection and commercial exploitation of that data. As for politics, rather than elected officials’ perfecting technologies that give them access to personal information about the electorate, their focus should be on informing voters about their policies and actions, and making themselves accountable."
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
The New Military-Industrial Complex of Big Data Psy-Ops
"The aim of these programs is not simply to analyze our subjective states of mind but to discover means by which we can be “nudged” in the direction of our true well-being as positive psychologists understand it, which includes attributes like resilience and optimism. Seligman’s projects are almost all funded by the Templeton Foundation and may have been employed for entirely civilian purposes. But in bringing together the personality research and the behavioral technologies that social psychologists had for decades been refining with the new tool of big data (via the astonishing resources provided by social media), it has created an important template for what is now the cutting-edge work of America’s intelligence community."
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Own your turf
"Carving out a space for yourself online, somewhere where you can express yourself and share your work, is still one of the best possible investments you can make with your time. It’s why, after ten years, my first response to anyone just getting started online is to start, and maintain, a blog."
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
How Exercise Can Keep Aging Muscles and Immune Systems ‘Young’ - The New York Times
The researchers theorize that the results of the two studies are interrelated. Muscles are one of the sources of the hormone that protects the thymus.

“So more muscle means more of that hormone,” says Janet Lord, the director of the Institute of Inflammation and Aging at the University of Birmingham, who was a co-author of both studies.

The older cyclists’ immune systems were not impervious to aging, of course. Many of their existing T cells showed signs of senescence, which means that they had grown feeble and were unlikely to fight infections well anymore.

The results also are limited to recreational British cyclists. They cannot tell us if other types and amounts of physical activity would necessarily have the same effects or whether someone could begin exercising at, say, age 60 and expect to benefit to the same extent as someone who has exercised lifelong.

But even with those caveats, Dr. Lord says, “the message of these studies is that much of what we previously thought of as inevitable in aging is in fact preventable.”
aging  health 
9 weeks ago
Opinion | Is the Business World All About Greed? - The New York Times
"I don’t think they are, for businesses can be a hugely important force for progress. Can be, but usually aren’t. Swirling in the air here in Davos at the World Economic Forum, along with snowflakes, is an important discussion of how companies must do far more to benefit the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent. Enriching shareholders is not enough.

We interrupt this column for a paragraph of cynicism. Tycoons always claim to cherish ordinary people’s best interests even as they rip them off. American tobacco executives have killed more people than Stalin managed to, and pharma executives recklessly peddling opioids may have killed as many people as Colombian drug lords, yet these business leaders sometimes seem to get moist-eyed describing the work they do.

But the business toolbox is too important to give up on. To me, the most interesting people in Davos aren’t the presidents or celebrities, but the social entrepreneurs — those using business tools to address social problems — and their work offers an inspiring window into what can be accomplished."
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
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