What I’ve Read

In this section, I share some of my favourite articles, blog posts, and other short essays I have read on the world wide web that have resonated with me profoundly, with a short excerpt.

  • A man and his hobbies: If you want to be a better person, find something to do outside of work
    “Our hobbies should be a form of dissent, a radical expression of our individuality, a celebration of doing things that we’re ‘not obliged to do.’ In a world in which our work lives and non-work lives are Venn diagrams with ever-growing areas of intersection–part of me dies every time I read a Twitter profile that states that the user’s views are not a reflection of those of his or her institution–hobbies should celebrate their independence from labor.”
  • What are the most valuable things everyone should know?
    If you only read one list for the rest of your life, let this be it.”Tell the truth. Do not do things that you hate.  Act so that you can tell the truth about how you act. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedientSet your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.”
  • The Man Who Knew Too Little
    “Right after the election, Erik Hagerman decided he’d take a break from reading about the hoopla of politics. Donald Trump’s victory shook him. Badly. And so Mr. Hagerman developed his own eccentric experiment, one that was part silent protest, part coping mechanism, part extreme self-care plan.”
  • Charisma, controversy & cocaine: a look at the strange world of gurus
    “My question is, what is this doing to us? If everyone can find supporters, does that mean everyone can find verification that their ideas are true? Are we all moving towards a point where our beliefs become increasingly divorced from reality? What’s the price we pay for escaping uncertainty and doubt? What are we losing when we outsource our thinking to other people, purely because they sound convincing?”
  • Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed
    “The 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work.”
  • People aren’t disposable (or, why apps can’t cure loneliness)
    “We live in a time where relationships — all types, not just romantic — are all too often seen as disposable.  If it takes more than the bare minimum effort to stay in touch, we melt out of each other’s lives. If it’s not convenient, we give up on ever spending time together. If letting go is easier than holding on, we let go. And it usually is. Letting go has become so easy. We’re all drunk on options. People become static. They become the noise we try to drown out. We’re swamped with little rows of profile pictures, reducing people to still images.”
  • Identity Politics in Overdrive
    Identity-politics tribalism denies the role of reason and ideas in forming individuals’ worldviews; instead, gonads and melanin reign supreme.”
  • How a Month without Computers Changed Me
    “It doesn’t take us much time to get used to a way of living and start doing things on autopilot. Our brain likes to save energy, so it turns our extremely voracious conscience as soon as it understands that everyday life can be done without it. As a result, our perception gets dull and replaced by thoughtless habits. Not letting it happen requires leaving the comfort zone, requires entering a new world, where you don’t know anything and have to start from scratch. You could take up a new hobby each month. Or travel from one city to another. Or do without things you are so used to, like having conversations or using computers—just for a little while.”
  • The Case for Working with Your Hands
    The escalating demand for academic credentials in the job market gives the impression of an ever-more-knowledgeable society, whose members perform cognitive feats their unschooled parents could scarcely conceive of. On paper, my abstracting job, multiplied a millionfold, is precisely what puts the futurologist in a rapture: we are getting to be so smart! Yet my M.A. obscures a more real stupidification of the work I secured with that credential, and a wage to match. When I first got the degree, I felt as if I had been inducted to a certain order of society. But despite the beautiful ties I wore, it turned out to be a more proletarian existence than I had known as an electrician. In that job I had made quite a bit more money. I also felt free and active, rather than confined and stultified.”