Category: Books

Arts Books

How jumping reveals the real person

Iconic Latvian photographer Philippe Halsman shot some of the most famous portraits of all-time for every major American magazine, including credits for more than 100 Life Magazine covers. He shot the Albert Einstein photo for Time Magazine.

But he's also renowned for one of his side projects in taking black and white images of popular faces in mid-air “jumpology.”

During a six-year period in the 1950s, he'd request an off the cuff photo of a celebrity artist, author, scientist, or film star jumping into the air. He captured nearly 200 portraits of celebrities including the Marylin Monroe, Salvador Dalí, and Aldous Huxley and published them in a book aptly titled Philippe Halsman's Jump Book.

“When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.”

Philippe Halsman
Arts Books

Begin with a bookshelf

Book dam by Jacek Yerka

Build a board of long-distance advocates. These can be authors, leaders or personal heroes of yours you might never meet. You’ll never share coffee, perhaps, but their books and ideas can impact your career. I’ve never met him, but author Steven Pressfield greatly impacted the hustle investment of my Career Savings Account. I never would have been able to finish my first book without the encouragement of his book The War of Art. If advocates or a table of strangers feels like too big of a stretch, begin with a bookshelf.

Jon Acuff, Do Over

Reading not only creates a theater inside your head — it can also inspire you to do the work you've always wanted.

Books Business Culture Life & Philosophy Quotes

“Stare at the world, not at your model.”

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Photo by José Martín

Continually learning, constantly changing. The human mind is as fickle as the seasons. It is not mathematical models that predict the future but the law of nature.

Writes Richard Bookstaber in his book The End of Theory“The world could be changing right now in ways that will blindside you down the road.”

Nothing is linear and predictable; rather, everything emerges from its highest, heuristic probability — the upshot of the freedom of trial and error.

“Humans are not ergodic, however. We move through the world along a single path, and we get only that one path. Where we are on that path, our experiences, our interactions, the view we have of the world at that moment all determine the context for our actions. That path is not repeatable; we are not taking draws from a distribution.”

Richard Bookstaber, The End of Theory

Even the rare anomaly becomes the impetus for our actions. People try stuff on a whim to check their pulse.

It is futile to aggregate behavior so we can algorithmicize systems. The world is unpredictable, especially the economic one.

“Chaos is the law of nature; order is the dream of man.”

Henry Adams

Read The Practitioner's Challenge

Books History

The word salt ‘was the origin of the world salary’ 💰

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“The first of the great Roman roads, the Via Salaria, Salt Road, was built to bring this salt not only to Rome but across the interior of the peninsula. This worked well in the Roman part of the Italian peninsula. But as Rome expanded, transporting salt longer distances by road became too costly. Not only did Rome want salt to be affordable for the people, but, more importantly as the Romans became ambitious empire builders, they needed it to be available for the army. The Roman army required salt for its soldiers and for its horses and livestock. At times soldiers were even paid in salt, which was the origin of the word salary and the expression “worth his salt” or “earning his salt.” In fact, the Latin word sal became the French word solde, meaning pay, which is the origin of the word, soldier.”

Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Books Productivity & Work Tech

What do we read next?

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We suffer from the infinity of choice, to what type of books we're interested in, all the way down to the format we want to read them in.

Amazon's recommended book algorithms allay the frustration of making decisions by taking into account your past reads and what others have read to suggest what to consume next.

Algorithms (or recipes) therefore resolve two things: Indecision fatigue caused by the avalanche of choice and the wisdom of crowds.

Spotify Discover Weekly works the same way — after it gets to understand your habits and preferences it recommends prebuilt playlists to appease your taste.

Algorithms free up our brain space to do rather than toggle between the options. They are the antidote to the chaotic linear 21st-century feed.

The more time we spend consuming rather than selecting what's next is time well spent. By outsourcing our digging, we create more time to learn.

Even the proactive tastemaker must yield to the occasional “if and then” statement to build on top of the symphony of algorithms. A remix is not always artistically lesser than its origins.

In an increasingly algorithmic world, there can still be an element of human touch to prove we're not headed toward complete thoughtlessness after all.

Books Psychology

‘Negative visualisation generates a vastly more dependable calm’

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Confronting the worst-case scenario saps it of much of its anxiety-inducing power. Happiness reached via positive thinking can be fleeting and brittle; negative visualisation generates a vastly more dependable calm.

OLIVER BURKEMANTHE ANTIDOTE: HAPPINESS FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN'T STAND POSITIVE THINKING