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Books photoJournal Productivity & Work

One page at a time

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Reading a book, preferably a physical one, is a good way to get your attention back.

The problem in reading on smartphones is distractibility. You’re a notification away from checking Instagram, email, or a text.

If you’re going to read on a digital device, make it a Kindle. Its lack of functionality — just try web browsing on it — is its best feature.

Reading is an escape from the endless buzz of the digital world. It builds focus. In today’s world, single-tasking is more important than ever.

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Books Life & Philosophy Psychology

Reading into book statistics 

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Back in the 1830s, ten thousand people bought Harriet Martineau’s book Illustrations of Political Economy. It’s a remarkable statistic that one hundred and forty thousand read it. Each family owned a copy and passed it around.

Each of those one hundred forty thousand readers in 1950 went on to own their own copy. Fast-forward to today and one copy of the book can sell that many times over.

But despite infinite shelf-space, fewer people are reading novels. Our attention clings to news with little substance. As a result, we fatten our minds with misinformation that has no utility. Instead, its serves as fodder for banter within our worlds of influence.

Technology eases distribution, yet it doesn’t guarantee people will read in depth.

“We’re spending ten times as much time with a device, and one-tenth as much time reading a book.” — Seth Godin

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Apps Music News Social Media Tech

How the Kindle teaches you to avoid distractions

There are only two ways to read a book: own a hard copy or read books on Kindle. Reading in the Kindle app on the iPhone is not the same as reading on a standalone Kindle device. On the phone, you are a click away from checking the dopamine-hitting social media feeds, email, and text/push message disturbances.

Reading requires focus, which is why the Kindle works. The Kindle is intentionally minimalist–its magic lies within its subtraction of features rather than extra bells and whistles of a smartphone. It constrains what you do, associating the task with the device.

When Seth Godin goes to write his blog posts, he does it within Typepad. When business people want to hold important meetings, they go to the office. When athletes train, they hit the gym. People use devices or places as triggers for experiences. 

The mobile phone brings everything to your fingertips, a computer that also acts as a camera, a wallet, music player and recorder. It is one of the most innovative inventions of our time because of its convergence and ‘always on’ Internet-connectedness. But with the Kindle device, you can only do one thing well: Read.

Browsing the Internet on Kindle is a frustrating experience, on purpose. On the other hand, playing music or using credit cards at the grocery are more convenient living as consolidations in the phone. They are better for multitasking with other activities than living as single standalone devices.

Kindle means to read just as Google is synonymous with search. These tools excel at doing one thing. As more technology gets integrates into our devices, some activities like reading will be best served on a designated screen.

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Get Unstuck: 10 Tips to Unlocking Creativity

I published a new book that I think you’ll like, Get Unstuck: 10 Tips to Unlocking Creativity.

The book is an aggregation of the thoughts you typically see on this blog. Below are the 10 chapters (tips) to unlocking creativity:

  1. Believe That You’re Creative
  2. Do the Opposite
  3. Break Routines
  4. Copy Someone or Something
  5. Combine Ideas
  6. Curate Instead of Create
  7. Go for a Walk
  8. Take Time to Dream
  9. Do It “Now”
  10. Embrace Your Flaws

I hope you’ll support me in downloading this book. I’m happy to send you a PDF version of the book for free if you’ll provide an honest review on the Amazon product page. You can also send me an email or leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

Thanks for your support.

Wells Baum, aka Bombtune

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A Few Digital Habits

  • Twitter is the entertainment. Some of us don’t even watch TV; instead, we watch our Twitter streams and still get the download. Twitter is the new Cliff Notes.

  • The Kindle is still a great way to read digital books. It lacks the full functionality of a Smartphone on purpose; less distractions enable more focused reading.

  • Keep Reminders digital and To-dos optional. Set automatic reminders on the phone or on the computer. Write to-dos in whatever screen works best. I typically keep a log of things I need to do in one document and scribe priorities on a sticky note. There’s something about writing out a to-do that makes it more actionable.

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The Fear of Bad Reviews

There’s an erroneous comment on my book page on Amazon which is negatively impacting my sales.

The person obviously misread the book, if even opened it up at all.  

I originally ignored the rating.  And then I responded to the feedback with some comments.  And after it itched me some more, I researched the Internet to see if it was possible to get rid of a false review.  

Apparently you can’t delete false reviews, nor will Amazon take them down upon request.  

But at least I stumbled upon some practical reminders about creating and publishing art.

If you fear negative reviews, you shouldn’t publish.

And this one:  

Anyone that creates a piece of art, in any medium (painting, sculpture, music, film, the written word), and decides to put their art out on display for all the world to see, has to take the good with the bad. Some people might love it, some people might hate it, some people might feel indifferent toward it, but they are all entitled to their opinions.

Everyone has their own perspective, their own bias, their own attention, and is responsible for their own actions.  

I refuse to let the fear of criticism prevent me from publishing again.  My second book will be out next month.  Bring it. 

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Like many Americans, I get my news on just about everything online, primarily through RSS feeds and social networks on my mobile.   Kindles, iPads, and iPhones are killing off print.  TV will simply morph into an Internet-connected entertainment center.  Internet ready cars will create a new radio.   Print, TV, and radio aren’t dying; the old formats that support them are.   
Like many Americans, I get my news on just about everything online, primarily through RSS feeds and social networks on my mobile.   Kindles, iPads, and iPhones are killing off print.  TV will simply morph into an Internet-connected entertainment center.  Internet ready cars will create a new radio.   Print, TV, and radio aren’t dying; the old formats that support them are.   

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New Kindle is Good For Readers

The best part about the basic, non-tablet Kindle is the constricted reading environment.

Reading on the Kindle is pure joy simply because there’s no other feasible distractions. The Internet browsing experience on the Internet is purposely bad. There’s also no apps.

It’s no mistake Amazon wants you to focus on reading and buy more books. That’s why the Kindle is only $119.

Apple may own the hyper-connected tablet and smartphone market but Amazon built a device dedicated to reading. As long as Amazon keeps the Kindle simple and distraction free, it’s got a continued breadwinner.

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Returned Kindle Fire

After a bad experience with the Amazon Kindle Fire (returned after 3 days), there’s no way I’m buying generation #1 of Amazon’s Smartphone.

The key to the Kindle’s first success was simplicity; a thin handheld wifi connected black and white eReader with access to tons of books and publications.

The Kindle Fire is the exact opposite debut; a heavy and slow wifi connected color “tablet” that’s frustrating to touch with access to a plethora of unformatted publications.

Clearly, Amazon is not a technology company.

Amazon is a grocery store of media building hardware to remain vertically aligned.  

Also part of the frustration is my own early adoption.  Years of iPhone experience set my expectations high.

Amazon’s first tablet is a failure.  But at least it fell forward.