Tim Ferriss on negotiation, using writing to think, specialisation and some other stuff

These brief videos are worth watching: On negotiation On using writing to help you think On “vanity metrics” and creating worthwhile content On specialisation vs being a generalist

Ben Dreyer on Good Writing and the Nonrules of English

Here’s rather a long extract – one I heartily agree with – to wet your whistle. Then go and get the book. I have nothing against rules. They’re indispensable when playing Monopoly or gin rummy, and their observance can go a long way toward improving a ride on the subway. The rule of law? Big fan. The English language, though,…

Recommendation: Dreyer’s English

I could spend a long time typing out great lines from this book: it’s helpful, funny, and contains just the right amount of snark.* If you like books on writing and style or – especially – if you’ve never read one, you should read this. *As you’ll see tomorrow.

Network theory: Matthew O. Jackson on four types of connectedness

Recommended – link below. 1. The most basic [type of connectedness] that we all think of is just popularity: how many people you connect with. And that’s very natural – we count how many friends we have on Facebook or how many followers you have on Twitter. And that gives a some idea of the reach of a person… and…

Seth Godin on difficult conversations

I highly recommend this week’s excellent episode of Akimbo about Difficult Conversations. Here’s my summary: There are lots of conversations that we think of as “difficult”: telling someone you manage that you’re not happy with their performance; complaining about customer service; asking a friend to change their behaviour. We often find having these conversations hard and even avoid having them…

The water we swim in: Robert Pondiscio on culture and school performance

This extract is from is a great Econtalk discussion of How the Other Half Learns. Recommend. Robert Pondiscio: They [Success Academy Charter Schools] require an extraordinary level of parent commitment both in time and responsiveness. And it just seems pointless to deny that for some number of parents, this is simply too much. I want to be clear here that…

Neil Gaiman on reading fiction, empathy and changing the world

“Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn…

The onion strikes back: Maggie Koerth on the nested problems of Covid-19 testing

Covid-19 testing has been a mixed bag: Singapore and Korea seem to have been able to get on top of things quickly, while the UK and US (to pick too) have – at least in comparison – seemed barely able to get their act together at all. Maggie Koerth‘s discussion of the issue with Kevin Kelly and Mark Frauenfelder points…

David Krakauer on Claude Shannon’s definition of information

[Claude] Shannon said “Look, here’s what information is. Let’s say I want to navigate from one part of the city to another, from A to B, in a car. I could just drive around randomly. It would take an awful long time to get there, but I might eventually get there. Alternatively, I could give you a map or driving…

Clifford Ashley on folk art and reading as rivals

This long extract from the (fascinating) Ashley Book of Knots (1944) is an excellent of example of the variety of influences and incentives (economic, technological, social) at play in the development (or loss) of particular skills or art-forms. Ashley’s describes changes in literacy and the culture of knot-making in response to shifts in the wider ecosystem. It’s a reminder of…