Extending books: Andy Matuschak and Michael Nielsen on Timeful Texts

Picking up Tuesday’s post about transactional reading and contemplation, here’s something interesting that goes a little further in thinking about how we might immerse ourselves in books or other texts. Today’s gem comes from Andy Matuschak (former leader of the R&D group at Khan Academy and all-round interesting fellow), who’s working on developing more effective tools for thought and learning.…

One million copies sold

One million copies is a lot of anything, but should it influence your decision to buy a book? First thought: No it shouldn’t. Judging from the things that other people wear and watch and the ways they spend their time, a million people doing something should have no influence on whether I do it too. At best, they have totally…

Broker books

There are network effects between books / knowledge gained from books; Not all network connections are created equal; New books within your areas of experience and specialism will strengthen that part of your network but are subject to the law of diminishing returns: once you’ve read the classics, the remaining books are likely to be less good; The best books…

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.

Bo Burlingham on Small Giants (3): special places to work

Fifth, the companies also had what struck me as unusually intimate workplaces. They were, in effect, functional little societies that strove to address a broad range of their employees’ needs as human beings – creative, emotional, spiritual and social needs as well as economic ones. … They were places where employees felt cared for in the totality of their lives,…

Bo Burlingham on Small Giants (2): key relationships

Third, each company had an extraordinarily intimate relationship with the local city, town or county in which it did business – a relationship that went well beyond the usual concept of “giving back”. That was part of it, to be sure, and all of these companies were model corporate citizens, but the relationship was very much a two-way street. The…

Bo Burlingham on Small Giants (1): defining success, choosing a path

First, I could see that, unlike most entrepreneurs, their founders and leaders had recognized the full range of choices they had about the type of company they could create. They hadn’t accepted the standard menu of options as a given. They had allowed themselves to question the usual definitions of success in business and to imagine possibilities other than the…

Tom Peters: “What Diversity Problem?”

This is Tom Peters on Diversity in 1994’s The Pursuit of Wow!: Diversity problem? Hurdle? Diversity creates one and only one thing: opportunity. Business, in the mad global marketplace [1994!], needs a rush of serious creativity. Creativity is, invariably, a byproduct of sparks, new views, juxtaposed interests etc. How does a company acquire those assets? Diversity! … It seems obvious…

On Jean Valjean’s carriage, technological progress and interchangeable parts

Jean Valjean – in a desperate hurry to save an innocent man from being condemned – has stopped to rest his horse and discovered that his carriage has a broken wheel: This excellent beast had covered twelve and a half miles in two hours and had not a drop of sweat on its rump. … “Can you repair the wheel…

Reading List: 2020 and beyond?

*Asterisk indicates previously read (to re-read) read or partially read. I’m not promising to finish in 2020, but I’d like to. Needs more fiction. Getting things done (4) 12 Week Year – Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington* (read 2020/01/09) Atomic Habits – James Clear* Make Time – Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky (added 2020/01/05) Start Finishing – Charlie Gilkey (added…