There's a longing, a craving to know more than we get to know. [Y]ou want a lot of interesting things to occur before you die; and it strikes you that rather than wait around for them to occur, you're going to have to arrange most of them.
—Jim Harrison, The Paris Review
The problem with ideas is that you can't decide to have them. Certain kinds of nonfiction can be made to happen. The writer who is diligent, observant, and inquisitive enough can always find a story: you read the paper, you watch the world, you ask enough questions, and sooner or later, there it is. You have to write it, of course, but it exists with or without you. There are decisions to be made—how best to unfurl the information, what to prioritize, whose perspective to privilege. But you do not have to invent the story, you just have to tell it. I'm not saying it's easy. I'm just saying it can be done.
—Ariel Levy, The Best American Essays 2015
How do you find interesting things on the web?
If you are old enough to remember the web before Google, you may remember how people used to run their own websites. They might publish interesting articles themselves, but they’d also include links to things they found and often would keep a blogroll. The good stuff would bubble to the top.
Three things have happened in the meanwhile:
- Google weponized links.
- Content farms have been busy filling the web with spam.
- Big Social and everything that comes with that.
In light of this, I’d like to propose three things. First, create a blogroll and/or a canon on your personal site. Next, delete your social profiles. Don’t worry, you won’t become friendless and estranged from your family. Then, to fill the void, setup a feed reader with sites you actually like. If you are unfamiliar with feed readers, checkout youneedfeeds.com for more information.
The secret of theft, which is also called "creativity," is you have to steal a bit from a lot of different places. You can't go to the same 7/11 every time because they’ll catch you. So you go to the photo shop, and you go to the gas station, and you go to that little hot dog stand that nobody goes to and by the end you've stolen enough stuff from enough places that people think its yours.
If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.
I’ve just stumbled on a book that made $64,000 on Kickstarter. How is this even possible? I’m not suggesting that it is not a fine book. I’m more curious if it’s something repeatable.
Frank Abagnale, the “Catch Me If You Can” guy, talks at Google:
Working ten hour days allows you to fall behind twice as fast as you could working five hour days.
Early automobiles caused as much controversy as driverless cars do today.
The American Dream is alive and well—in Northern Europe.
I don’t think Americans have any idea how much they really pay in taxes, how that compares to other countries, or what we get versus what they get for those taxes.
Joe Rogan on getting stuck in life:
If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.
Building something interesting requires a surplus of time and money. Salaried jobs provide neither.
“I’ll Fight You For The Library” by Taylor Mali:
Remember, Mondays are fine. It's your life that sucks.
If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
93-year-old man lives in a cabin he built by himself, 5 miles from the nearest road.
Solar Freakin’ Roadways!
The richest people in the world look for and build networks, everyone else looks for work.
Asking questions is embarrassing for a moment, but not asking is embarrassing for a lifetime.
Neil Gaiman addresses the University of the Arts class of 2012.