Here is the weekly summary of what I read this week. I think this week shows I try for a pretty wide range of subjects. The butterfly effect of reading always guides me.
- Scientist: E. O. Wilson, A Life in Nature by Richard Rhodes. This was a short, but interesting biography of the naturalist, E. O. Wilson, who passed away recently. I’ve enjoyed Wilson’s writing over the years, but I really love Richard Rhodes writing. His book The Making of the Atomic Bomb is phenomenal, and not just as science history, but as a practical lesson in large-scale project management. His biography of Wilson was enjoyable, but there wasn’t much new to learn in this biography that Wilson hadn’t already written about in his memoir, Naturalist.
- On Human Nature by Edward O. Wilson. Clearly an example of the butterfly effect of reading. This is one of two Pulitzer prize-winning books by Wilson and one of his books that I hadn’t already read. Because it plays such a big part in his scientific life, I figured I should read it and now I have. I prefer his books that are more specific, like his books on ants and insects. This one was more like his book Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, which was a difficult conceptual read for me, and more abstract than his books on observations in nature.
- We Are the Nerds: The Birth and Tumultuous Life of Reddit, the Internet’s Culture Laboratory by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin. This week, I started to really use reddit this week for the first time in years (Here is one example). I like to know what I am doing, so I thought a history of the service would be a good place to start.
Gave up on
- Cloud Cockoo Land by Anthony Doerr. This came highly recommended by a friend, and while I’ll likely go back and give it another try in the future, it just wasn’t what I was looking for at the moment. I made it maybe a quarter of the way into the book before giving up. I’ve learned that I can’t spend time on a book that isn’t work for me. There’s too much else out there to read. Maybe another time.
- “Read Better with Craft and Readwise” by Robert Breen (blog) #productivity
- “What Is Joe Biden Thinking?)” by Ross Douthat (NY Times, 1/15/22) #politics
- The Sublime Beauty of My Friend Bob Saget’s Filthy Comedy” by Penn Jillette (NY Times, 1/15/22) #opinion
- Glenn Youngkin’s Hidden Advantage: Virginia Democrats” by James Hohmann (Washington Post, 1/15/22) #politics
- The Library the Internet Can’t Get Enough Of” by Kate Dwyer (NY Times, 1/15/22) #libraries. Hat tip to reader, Bill, for calling this one to my attention.
- “What Happens We We Die?” by Maria Papova (Marginalian)
- “Routine Maintenance” by Meghan O’Gieblyn (Harper’s, December 2021) #habits. This is a long, thoughtful piece on the role of habits in our life.
- “The Old Man and the Tree” by Jonny Diamond (Smithsonian, Jan/Feb 22) #trees #ecology
- “Why We’re Freaking Out About Substack” by Ben Smith (NY Times, Apr 2021) #blogs. As a paid subscriber to several Substack newsletters, I’m fascinated by their model. I’ll have more to say about this in a post later this week.
- “The Veterinarian Brings His Healing Presence to Pets of the Unhoused” by Carol Mithers (Smithsonian, Jan/Feb 2022) #pets #homeless
- “Glenn Youngkin Triggers a Mask Meltdown in Virginia” by Jim Geraghty (National Review, Jan 17, 2022) #covid
- “What If We Just Stopped Being So Available” by Jon Pinsker (The Atlantic, Jan 14, 2022) #productivity
- “Staying Put For 60 Years” by Wendy Goodman (New York Magazine) #design #lifestyle
- “Biden Can Still Rescue His Presidency” by Bret Stephens (NT Times, Jan 18, 2022) #politics #opinion
- “What I Talk About When I Talk About Favourites” on What’s That Mark’s Reading (1/19/2022) #books
- “Communicate as if ‘one one foot’” by Mike Dariano (The Waiter’s Pad, 1/19/22) #communication
- “Cimarron (1931): Taming No-Man’s Land” by Melanie Novak (melanienovak.com). #film #criticism This is part of Melanie’s fantastic Golden Age of Hollywood series where she dives deep into films from the Golden Age.
- “Something Has to Give in the Housing Market. Or Does It?” by Emily Badger (NY Times, Jan 20, 2022) #economics
- “Why AI Writing Assistants are a Good Thing for Content Creation” by Yakup Özkardes-Cheung (Entrepreneur, 1/16/22) #AI #writing
- “Unanimous” by Joe Posnanski (Substack, 1/20/22) #baseball An interesting look at those players who got unanimous or nearly unanimous votes for MVP.
- “Amanda Gorman: Why I Almost Didn’t Read My Poem at the Inauguration” by Amanda Gorman (NY Times, 1/20/22)
- “The 5G Controversy: What’s It All About” by James Fallows (Substack, 1/20/22) #aviation In addition to being an excellent journalist, Fallows is a pilot and as a former pilot, I still enjoy reading about aviation now and then (although it often makes me wish I still flew). This is a great summary of the issues being debated about 5G signals near airports.
- “After Omicron, we could use a break. We may just get it” by Helen Branswell (Stat, 1/18/22)
- “Have We Forgotten How to Read Critically?” by Kate Harding (Dame Magazine) #reading #longform
- “The Silent, Vaccinated, Impatient Majority” by Yasmeen Serhan (The Atlantic, 1/17/22) #covid #politics
- “Zettelkasten — How One German Scholar Was So Freakishly Productive” by David B. Clear (Medium, 12/31/2019) #notes #longform
- “Obsidian Roundup for 1/22/22” by Eleanor Konik (Obsidian Roundup) #tech
Any recommendations for books, articles or posts I should read? Let me know in the comments?
Written on January 21-22, 2022.
Did you enjoy this post?
If so, consider subscribing to the blog using the form below or clicking on the button below to follow the blog. And consider telling a friend about it. Already a reader or subscriber to the blog? Thanks for reading!