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Productivity & Work

Are coffee shops better work places than libraries?

This may be hard to believe but libraries actually stymie creativity. Libraries are too quiet. Studies show that we need a little ambient noise to keep us inspired and working. JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series in coffee shops, not a library. Sometimes excess silence is enough to silence the mind.

Libraries also feel a bit like study jail. There are books and free wifi but there’s also the smell of dust and cubicles that preempt collaboration. Meanwhile, coffee shops feel more open. As Tom Standage points out, coffee shops were the original social networks, a place where people exchanged ideas and networked. More than 80% of Americans live 20 miles within a Starbucks. There’s home, there’s the office, and then there’s Starbucks where you can work and play with ideas and see what sticks.

Work and coffee go hand in hand. Caffeine is scientifically proven to speed up the neurotransmitter dopamine, increasing the connectivity between thoughts. And who can resist that smell of coffee beans, even if you’re not a coffee drinker.

The ideal place to work might be Barnes and Noble because it combines the inspiration of books with the sound of coffee machines and people. But I’ve got a feeling this loved environment is on its way out of business.

Do you prefer to work in a library or coffee shop? Send me a tweet and let me know.

@bombtune

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).

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Another Brick in the Wall

First record stores. Now, book stores.

Digitization and Internet delivery is obviating the need for brick and mortar. Why waste gas to drive to the store to buy something that can be delivered instantly to the palm of your hand?

And don’t think books and music are the only thing to be replaced. Anything that can be digitized will be. 3D printing will enable people to download instructions for clothing and furniture to create things from home.

Nevertheless, the store experience is still irreplaceable. Browsing through the record shop and book store is different than browsing online. You get to touch produce and sample it with all your senses.

One of the Barnes & Noble’s wiser moves was integrating Starbucks in-store. The combination of coffee, books, and a little bit of noise are stimulating, quite the opposite of a quiet and dull library.

There’s a huge opportunity for books and coffee. People want to hang out and be inspired. They want to be surrounded by works of art so they can get the energy to create their own.

Starbucks solves the social part of a quasi-work environment. People still want the emotional work environment too. Starbucks won’t be making more space for books and music any time soon.

Where to go and create when book stores completely disappear?

If you're an artist, photographer, writer, etc., I highly recommend creating your own blog and publishing something new every day (read my post on how to set up a FREE blog on Wordpress).