Who was Victor Hugo?

Part Jean Valjean, part Thénardier. “I want to destroy human inevitability; I condemn slavery, I chase out poverty, I instruct ignorance, I treat illness, I light up the night, I hate hatred. That is what I am and that is why I have written The Wretched. As I see it, The Wretched is nothing other than a book having fraternity…

Castles on Clouds

I’m a couple of chapters away from finishing Les Miserables,* thanks to the enthusiasm of a friend** and to Nick Senger’s excellent chapter-a-day read-along schedule.*** It’s a fantastic read – hard going at times, but deserving of its reputation. Beside the story itself (forgiving its long string of ridiculous coincidences), I most enjoy the little**** insights into life in another…

What’s News? And other stories

Questions for self: Why do you read the news more than once a day? Will things really have changed since the last time you had an empty moment? Same again but for sports scores, election results, the price of Bitcoin and even… the number of visits to your blog. Substitute activities: Mull over whatever it is that you’re taking a…

Story, not premise: 2000AD writing guidelines

These are great writing tips, applicable – with a bit of adaptation- to any medium. Future Shocks are self-contained, four page science-fiction short stories with a twist ending. That means you only have four pages to establish your situation and protagonist, develop the situation through dramatic conflict, and then resolve it with an unexpected twist ending. “Dramatic conflict” doesn’t just mean…

To do lists (1)

I have still never found a to-do list format and medium that works consistently for me. I’ve been a Filofax user, tried GTD, experimented with various flavours of Kanban and tried Asana and a few other apps, but nothing’s quite stuck. I’m hoping to fix this in the coming weeks, so I’ve been thinking about what makes a good to…

Seth Godin: “This might not work.”

“This might not work,” is at the heart of all of our most important work, but often we let the possibility of failure put us off, or we make the equal-and-opposite error of not making a proper go of something so that we have an excuse if it falls flat. Risk is part of the game. Interesting and important problems…

Strategy (5): Strategy is about plans (part 1)

This is the fifth post in a series – start here. Definition of Strategy (as a skill or activity): Strategy is the practice of making, implementing and reviewing big-picture plans (strategies) with the intention of increasing the chances or speed at which you’ll achieve your major goals. The most important things The main purpose of strategy is to help you…

Responsive: faster feedback

Are there times, in your line of work, when faster feedback is more effective than thorough feedback? Little bits of feedback, fast and often, are often best. Where could you follow up and reply to things more quickly? Which things demand closer, more thorough attention? How good are you at differentiating between the two?

“A meaningful jump”: McKinley Valentine on better ways to share your blog or newsletter on twitter

This looks like a fantastic set of tips from McKinley Valentine of The Whippet.* I say “looks like” because I haven’t tried the tips yet, but I’ll use them soon and write a followup about how it goes. Main takeaways: Problem: “Twitter hates links to external content.” (E.g. links you share to your blog) Solution 1/?: A non-linky way to…