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You Idiot

Below are 7 articles that got me thinking differently about the world this week. Enjoy.

Obits

Margalit Fox writes obituaries for the New York Times. Instead of writing with melancholy her objective is to celebrate the life of the recently desist. Obituaries are the “jolliest department in the paper.”

+ Side note: Write your own obituary. It’s a good way to get your shit straight.

Leave Me a Message at the Beep

If you’re like me, you get a little irritated when someone leaves you a voicemail. Why don’t they just send you a text or an email instead? But Leslie Horn is making me reconsider. She explains why she keeps certain voicemails and even shares them on SoundCloud.

Moan-a-Lisa

We pass by pieces of art like they’re books at the library. But “you can’t really see a painting as you’re walking by it.” This article suggests that we slow down and spend upwards of 30 minutes in front of painting. 30 minutes is 3 hours in the Instagram era.

You Idiot

If you’re going to self-talk, do it in the third-person to gain some extra perspective. Using “I” is way too critical. Amazing how a little shift in focus can make you feel more positive.

+ Brainpickings: Frustrated? Be like water. Water is the embodiment of letting go and being one with the power of nature. Bruce Lee discovered this detachment by merely punching water, which didn’t fight back. Echoing Lao Tzu, “what is soft is strong.”

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop breaks down the current music industry, railing the birth of piracy against his quest to make music for free: “So we are exchanging the corporate rip off for the public one. Aided by power nerds. Kind of computer Putins.” This in turn forces musicians to jack up ticket prices, which is unfair to fans. The conundrum between art, the Internet, and commerce goes on.

Walking and Talking

““The Queen of England once said, ‘There’s nothing that can’t be figured out on a good walk.’”” This walking and talking couple came up with the idea of Bluemercury on one of their nightly walks. Apparently walking every night is date night, a chance to catch up and let go of steam. And maybe even talk some business.

The City That Never Sleeps

“Find your beach in the middle of the city. Find your beach no matter what else is happening.” Zadie Smith explains why New Yorkers are obsessed with finding solitary happiness in a sea (city) of limitless opportunity and people. Maybe a little constriction of the countryside isn’t too bad after all.

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Break the Rules

Every week I share 7 of my favorite recent articles highlighting matters of creativity, technology, and productivity.

Break the Rules

The cycle of creativity restarts when someone intentionally breaks the rules. For instance, abstract art once fought the accurate representation of reality in images. Apple decided to fit all music into an iPod. Instagram decided to deduce the status update to one picture at a time. Deviation is wrongness going right.

+ Inc: Malcolm Gladwell denotes the one character trait that makes people disruptive: be disagreeable.

White Space

Less is more. Less design, less marketing, and less meetings leave more time and space for the imagination. Magic thrives in these empty spaces. Here’s why you shouldn’t give everything away.

News Diet

Too much of anything is bad for you, especially the news. It’s the body’s version of sugar. People who watch the news are more anxious, less focused, and less creative. That beind said, you could argue that social media is the most pernicious form of news.

News Diet For What!

Millennials read the news, just not the news published by traditional newspapers like The New York Times. Instead, millennials get their news from the mobile-social friendly sites likes Vice and Buzzfeed. But there’s no reason legacy companies can’t make a comeback, especially with hip shows like CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

“Personal Video Industrial Complex”

Every sports game and school play is a content opportunity for the mobile-obsessed. With a Go-Pro, one could live in the moment and still record it. Meanwhile, teenagers want to record everything as well except they want their shares to disappear.

+ Inc: if you own an iPhone, you’re never going to give it up according to investor Carl Icahn.

Journaling the Ordinary

Everyone remembers the extraordinary days. Those don’t need to be written down. But you’d be surprised that chronicling the ‘ordinary days’ is actually more interesting to look back at.

+ Stevie Nicks: “You want your journals written by hand in a book.”

FYI – if you’re into journaling and have a smartphone the best app is Day One.

Blogging Lessons

I’ve been blogging consistently for about 5 years. Dave Winer, the blogging pioneer, has been blogging for 20. Naturally, he’s got a few lessons for bloggers out there, most notably that you blog because “you enjoy being creative.” Indeed, the blog is simply a palette for working out ideas.

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7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles I stumbled upon this week.

The Perfect Nap: Sleeping Is a Mix of Art and Science: Neither nap too long nor too short. And you’re definitely not getting enough sleep if you start dreaming in a 20-minute nap!

Cognitive Science Meets Pre-Algebra. Holistic, connective learning beats out learning in blocks. Either way, we’re still trying to learn why the brain is always moving.

Please Stop Complaining About How Busy You Are. I know you’re busy. So am I. But I still find time to take care of the most important things and try to have a life. Let’s not complain to each other about how busy we are and make it worse.

Jonathon Fletcher: forgotten father of the search engine. Fletcher created web search in 1993, 5 years before Google. He called it the “Jumpstation.”

What It Means to Be Popular (When Everything Is Popular). Thank goodness the masses are dividing into a mass of niches and confusing what it means to be “popular”. Conformity sucks anyway. Again, be this guy.

Turns Out Your Kids Really Did Love That Music You Played. Apparently we love our parent’s music more than we love the music we grew up with. Pink Floyd, Joy Division, and Depeche Mode are indeed extraordinary. Music is also timeless.

Dizzee Rascal mashes up Vine and Cinemagram for new video. I suspect we’ll see more long-form videos in the ever-snackable GIF format.

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7 articles to read this week

What’s in your reader?  These are some interesting articles I saved this week:

Writers should take a year off, and give us all a break. Apparently, 81% of Americans feel that they have a book in them. The Internet age has inspired people to write books. And so they have. But the increase in e-books is countered by the decrease in reading. People want to consume sound bytes and lists, not long-form content. If everyone is reading less, than why not write less? “The Year of Not Writing” sounds about right.  

On Thinking Caps. Venkatesh Guru Rao explains why thinkers tend to get more interrupted than workers. There’s a misconception that doing nothing means staring off into space. Quite the contrary:  Where’s my thinking cap?

The (Mis)branding of Meditation. The author argues against many of the marketing ploys about meditation. You can’t forcibly control your mind and stop all thoughts.  Proper meditation acknowledges thoughts and moves on. 

How Screens, Speed and Networks are Changing the Future of Online Video.  Om Malik makes a great point:  that screen size (TV, iPhone, iPad) ultimately sets the expectation for the content to be consumed and that all social networks are different.  Vine and Instagram are video video powered social networks but each has its own consumption expectation and quality:  6 seconds versus 15.  

Real science lies behind the fad for standing up at work.  Some of the greats worked standing up.  They also were saving their health.  It doesn’t take a lot of studies to tell you that sitting too much is bad.  If you do prefer to sit, make an effort to get up and move around more often. 

The End of Advertising As We Know It – And What To Do Now.  A lot of marketing is just absolute noise, no matter how well the 360 degrees marketing story gets told.  With mobile phones and apps, you can create a 365 day relationship with your customers.  Now that’s a real return on relationship. 

How To Train Your Brain To See What Others Don’t.  In order to think differently, you need to be more aware of your surroundings, ask questions, and let the mind daydream.  Duh.    

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7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles that I caught this week:

A Novelist Who Made Crime an Art, and His Bad Guys ‘Fun.’  Elmore Leonard passed away but left us with some great writing tips along with his books, most notably, “Try to leave out the parts that readers tend to skip.”

The War on Wordsmiths.  Author Ali Eteraz explains why we still need words in the age of photographs.   

How You Can Conquer Any Deadline.Designer George Lois breaks down how to get shit done.  It turns out it’s pretty simple:  Do it now and if you can’t figure it out, you’ve probably got a problem.  

Enough with the ROI. Just follow your curiosity.  Ian Sanders explains why you should just do something for the sake of interest.  Curiosity is also a currency; fiat money isn’t everything.  It’s all about learning and driving new experiences. 

How the Coffee Cup Sleeve Was Invented.  It turns out that the coffee sleeve was originally known as the “Java Jacket.”  Here’s also some best practices for working from the coffee shop

When Apps Modify Behavior.  MG Siegler examines how apps like FrontBack and Instagram make us think more creatively about our surroundings.  

Now it’s ruined.  Seth Godin blogs about the impact of technology in equalizing creativity.  Everyone is an amafessional with a computer palette in their pocket.  But the best stills stand out. You might want to work on your attitude as well.      

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7 articles to read this week

Below are some interesting articles that inspired me to think differently this week. 

In praise of laziness: Workers should be doing less, not more.  We need more free-thinking breaks, what Jack Welch called “looking at the window time.”  All of this comes with the announcement this week that Google is cutting its “20% time,” which led to some of its great inventions like Gmail and Adsense.   

Do you know what made Apple great?  Thomas Brand argues that what made Apple great was Steve Job’s restraint.  Simplify.  Simplify.  Simplify.  

Orhan Pamuk talks to Simon Schama.  Turkey’s famous author comes to explain how the many paradoxes of modern Turkey influenced his writing. 

Why We Need Nomads?  Self-proclaimed nomad Jessica Runner explains why nomads are society’s true connectors. Move.  

Crosswords don’t make you clever.  I never had the patience for crosswords but I love to get outside.  Neuroscience professor Nicholas Spitzer argues that hiking creates more neurons than doing repetitive crossword puzzles. 

The Tragedy of the Sunset Photo.  There are a plethora of sunset images on Instagram yet too few good ones.  Lighting is hard to get right.  Plus, dark and moody photos feel more creative.  But you can sell both image types on Pinterest.  

Can what you do *before* you write improve your actual writing?  Interesting article exploring how rituals shape enjoyment in any process, like writing, which by the way, everyone should do. FYI – Seth Godin has been blogging for ten plus years and, surprise, he wasn’t always great at it.