21 December 2018

Friday Night Review - 12.21.2018

It’s the return of the Friday Night Review… except this one got written in a hotel room in the early morning hours. Because business travel is so much fun.

Reading - Online

What we lost in this shift from the hyperlink to The Stream was the ability to encounter diverse ideas, radical insight, and transformative new perspectives. What we got instead was more of what we already know, delivered like a pre-masticated paste, easy to digest and sure to please…

— Cal Newport, From The Hyperlink to the Stream: Hossein Derakshan’s Critique of the Internet in the Age of Social Media

Newport does it yet again. He sums up exactly what happened in the six short years from 2008 to 2014. When I encounter those who rail against media behemoths that need to be regulated, I often hear about Sinclair or Fox or Comcast. I rarely hear them mention Facebook or other social media companies. This causes me to laugh. But there’s a darkness inside of that laughter.

Do not be excited by the tick on the to-do’ list…

— Nicholas Bate, The Simplest of Productivity Boosters 1-50: 10

I made a lot of progress in 2018 in focusing on the vital few. I’ve still got a lot of work to do in 2019 on focusing on the vital few.

I’ve started playing defense with my task list. If a request comes flying toward it, I’m doing my best to swat it away and keep only that which is necessary. A massively long task list is, for me, a sign that something is wrong. That something is usually me.

The Future Book is here and continues to evolve. You’re holding it. It’s exciting. It’s boring. It’s more important than it has ever been.

— Craig Mod, The Future Book’ Is Here, but It’s Not What We Expected

Mod reviews the changes to publishing over the past decade or so. I work in digital printing and have been an up close witness to many of these changes.

We don’t need exciting” books in the sense that the form brings us virtual reality or video interviews with the authors or… whatever. What we need are well-written works (of which there are plenty) and time and space to focus upon them (which is entirely our choice).

Which leads to…

Reading - In Print

The past few weeks have been busy and I’ve failed miserably in my endeavors to spend more time with a book in my hands.

That will change starting… today. I’m on an extended break from the day job and suspect there might be a tome or two (or thirty) under the Christmas tree for me. It will be a very Penguin Random House Christmas… for reasons that will become clear soon.

Your Week

I hope you’re managing to wind down the week with a sense of accomplishment. This is the time of year for me when I look forward to copious cups of coffee, stacks of index cards, pens, books and time away from the world. I’ll probably squeeze in a Memphis Grizzlies basketball game and a long bike ride or two.

For this holiday season… I hope you find peace, joy and tranquility.


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House of Salt and Sorrows A little over two years ago, I was headed out the door to go to work. It was early August. My wife was sitting on the couch cradling our newborn