What I learned last week (#74)

Quick outdoor watercolor painting

Book excerpt I enjoyed:

“Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” (Steven Pressfield, The War of Art)

A commencement address delivered remotely:

I’m not so worried about the dangers of mental junk food. That’s because I’ve found that many of the true intellectuals I’ve met take pleasure in mental junk food too. Having a taste for trashy rom-coms hasn’t rotted their brain or made them incapable of writing great history or doing deep physics.

No, my worry is that, especially now that you’re out of college, you won’t put enough really excellent stuff into your brain

In college, you get assigned hard things. You’re taught to look at paintings and think about science in challenging ways. After college, most of us resolve to keep doing this kind of thing, but we’re busy and our brains are tired at the end of the day. Months and years go by. We get caught up in stuff, settle for consuming Twitter and, frankly, journalism. Our maximum taste shrinks. Have you ever noticed that 70 percent of the people you know are more boring at 30 than they were at 20?

This really made me think. Do you think you are more interesting now than you were 10 years ago?


What is Zettelkasten and DEVONthink:

This is the first I’ve heard of this method of organization. Interesting and self-motivating.

A lot of people avoid taking notes and search on the Internet instead. This is a grave error because it looks convenient to have all knowledge at the tips of my fingers. And worse, it produces the Illusion of Competence1 in a person. I don’t need to know this, I can always look it up is a common sentence you hear today. I can ask Siri or Alexa.

But knowledge-building doesn’t work that way. And saving content into some archive doesn’t either. I’m guilty of this myself. Having used Evernote for a decade I was used to saving everything I wanted to remember into the tool. I sorted and curated, tagged and sometimes even highlighted content. But I fell victim to the Collectors Fallacy2. Because you collected something doesn’t mean you learned it or are able to explain it.


The origins of the near-mythical logo of the Chicago Bulls:

Once Klein had a name, he needed a logo. And according to a 2004 obituary in the Chicago Tribune, he turned to commercial designer Dean Wessel, a fellow Little League coach and neighbor in Kenilworth, just north of Chicago. In this telling, Wessel designed the now-famous frowning red bull as a favor to his friend in exchange for some free tickets. “Right after I first submitted it to Klein . . . Dick looked it over and sent it back to me, saying, ‘I want blood on the horns. Blood!’” Wessel told the Tribune in 1993. “I, of course, obliged him.”


What Muhammad Ali understood about taking a picture:

Ali knew how to show up for the camera and show up in a way he wanted to be seen. “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be,” he notably said. “I’m free to be what I want.”

What I’m grateful for:

My daughter turned seven last week amongst the lockdown and despite that and some horrendously bad weather, we had a blast being all couped up together watching movies, playing games and having a campout (complete with tent) in the kids room.

Quote that made me think:

I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do.

Winston Churchill

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One response

  1. Cigar Phil Avatar
    Cigar Phil

    Great thought provoking reads!!! The Winston Churchill quote just really struck a chord with me!

Comments welcome!

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