Categories
Music Productivity & Work Writing

Want to focus? Seek ambient sound

One of the greatest myths of our time is that silence is golden. But complete silence will keep you from working effectively. It may even put you to sleep.

J. K. Rowling left the solitude of her own home to write the Harry Potter series in a coffee shop amid the cacophony of people chatting over grinding espresso machines.

The noisy environment inspired her to get to work. Studies show that just enough sound creates an ambient environment conducive to working by drowning out any other unpredictable racket in the background.

The power of music

Studies also show that learning to play an instrument makes it easier for children to learn how to read. Additionally, the “Mozart Effect” is said to improve concentration and study habits. Surgeons often use popular music during operations to relax both the patient and themselves. Muzak takes the awkward silence out of the elevator.

The right type of noise is critical to working effectively. In fact, many CEOs expect disruptions in the form of email and calls to ensure the business is actively operating. Silence is the antithesis of productivity.

In order to stay motivated and remain productive, we need perpetual sound rather than peace and quiet. Sound is productive. Rather, it is the silence between the notes that can be the most disruptive.

Categories
Books Culture Writing

Literary Coffee

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On the rocks, of course. Write drunk, edit sober.

Subtle reminder:

“The first draft of anything is sh*t.” 

Ernest Hemingway
Categories
Culture News Video

The world’s most expensive coffee is 💩☕

The world’s most expensive coffee (aka brown gold) is shit, literally.

In other strange coffee news, scientists made a broccoli powder you can dump into your coffee. A broccoli latte sounds nutritious.

Categories
Culture

London’s first coffee ad (1652) ☕️

In 1652, London’s St. Michael’s Alley became the first cafe in London to sell coffee.

As author Tom Standage points out in his book [easyazon_link identifier=”1620402858″ locale=”US” tag=”wells01-20″]Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years[/easyazon_link], coffee houses were the original social networks and MOOCS where people mingled, studied, and exchanged ideas.

Learn more at Open Culture.

Categories
Arts Life & Philosophy

Design creates function

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First, we design, then we deduce.

Starbucks built cafes with the intent to recreate the romance of Italian coffee shops to convince you to buy a mediocre cup of coffee. Apple makes computers to empower its users to create stuff, whether it’s movie animations, apps, or spreadsheets.

Design creates function. As Austrian architect, Hermann Czech writes, “The ‘function’ does not precede the design, but is always only mediated in the design.” We don’t need to spin our own narrative into knowing why a design works, just that it does, “as music must be perceivable by the ears.” It’s undeniably felt.

In other words, a good piece of work needs no further explanation. Trying to make sense of it compounds the inherent nature in which it exists.

Categories
Productivity & Work

Moleskine opens up a coffee shop in Milan


Moleskine opened up its first official store in Milan, Italy. I’m looking forward to the day it comes stateside. Ever since Barnes and Noble downsized and closed a bunch of stores, Starbucks and Peet’s have been the only consistent go-to coffee houses for getting work done. 

While coffee shops were the original social networks, Tom Standage points out, coffee shops today represent a ‘third place,’ between work and home. They provide just the right frequency of sound to inspire creativity and focus without having to the extremes– the bar for socializing or the library to work in silence. 

America needs more cafes. And not the trendy ones that prohibit wifi and computer outlets. People want think and get shit done, even if it’s a mindless activity like checking email.