What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#101)

Quote I was thinking about:

It is not a bad thing in a tale that you understand only half of it.

Isak Dinesen

Book excerpt that made me think:

“So it came as a surprise relatively late in life, in fact only in the past year, that if you want to change the world, you have to enroll others in your plans and vision. Not only that, but the immense pleasures and satisfactions that can be derived from focusing on others, and the surprising discovery that the more I gave to others—which I’d always done—the more the universe gave me back in return.” (Adam Robinson in Tribe of Mentors)

What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#100)

Quote I was thinking about:

The patterns of our lives reveal us. Our habits measure us.

Mary Oliver

Book excerpt that I enjoyed:

“Sometimes I think I became a better teacher and critic because I had to be detailed and systematic in my own learning. Someone once pointed out to me that the best NBA coaches—people such as Phil Jackson, Pat Riley, Gregg Popovich—weren’t the most gifted players. When I was a youngster, I saw both Riley and Jackson play, and I can attest that they spent most of the game on the bench. But the very fact that they had to fight for playing time, and work more tenaciously than their colleagues, gave them hard-earned insights that the natural-born geniuses never have to worry about. I feel the same about my own development as a musician. I learned slowly and carefully, and when (as I will often do in this book) I call attention to the ways an amateurish musician falls short, rest assured that I make this comparison with sympathy and a dose of self-recognition.” (Ted Gioia, How to Listen to Jazz)

Moving to Scotland

The year of the dog

We now own a dog. We are now “dog owners”. Our house now has a distinct dog owner smell that we cannot detect but others certainly can. We are out first thing in the morning and in the evening with the other dog owners and are now recognized as “one of us” instead of “one of them”. Our step counts are through the roof. Our shoes and socks are under constant threat. We are now aware of a universe of dog training YouTube channels. We have a clicker (unused) and stashes of treat jars around the house (very much used). We are clearly working on too much “skill training” at once. We have more meat in our fridge and freezer than we have had for several years. We are keeping an eye on the consistency of our dog’s daily poo. We have preferences and stong opinions on leash styles.

Life is certainly busier.


Little, Big

Only in the most unusual cases is it useful to determine whether a book is good or bad. It is usually both.

Robert Musil

I certainly wouldn’t consider Little, Big by John Crowley one of the best novels I’ve ever read, or would I? It’s certainly one of the most interestingly strange and effecting fiction books I’ve read. I definitely remember many moments after reading where it stuck with me over the course of a morning or evening in a way not many books have ever done. Similar to what Tim Ferriss describes in a glowing review from one of his 5 Bullet Friday’s:

Little, Big is simply one of the best novels I’ve ever read, and even that doesn’t do it justice. It is, as one reviewer put it, “mysteriously affecting.”…On top of that, I feel like it put me in an altered state of consciousness that often lasted for 6–12 hours, best described as a deep feeling of serenity.

What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#99)

Quote I was thinking about:

If the going is easy, maybe you are going downhill.

Max Frisch

Book excerpt I enjoyed:

“I have learned over the years that the most important thing to deal with is whatever is most on your mind. The fact that you think it shouldn’t be on your mind is irrelevant.” (David Allen, Getting Things Done)

How big is space:

I’ve been big into space lately and we’ve been talking to the kids a lot about the planets, moons and stars as well. This is a cool little piece of magic.