- How to Do What You Love, by Paul Graham. Simply full of gold. Favourite quote:
Prestige is especially dangerous to the ambitious. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. That’s the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. It might be a good rule simply to avoid any prestigious task. If it didn’t suck, they wouldn’t have had to make it prestigious.
- Narcissists Suck, the blog. The collected observations of somebody who has dealt extensively with a narcissist. Choice quotes:
It is terribly annoying to me when someone pretends to know my mind better than I do.
You want to shake up the world of the narcissist? Live outside his control; live outside his false reality.
Emotionally healthy people are realists. They are people who want to see reality, accept reality and live in reality.
- Tricky People, a book by Australian psychologist Andrew Fuller. In it he describes many varieties of tricky behaviour (the Controllers, the Bullies and Tyrants, the Poor Communicators, etc), the impacts of these behaviours on you, and ways to deal. Contains loads of great advice, includes a chapter for if the tricky person is yourself, and is even worth reading cover-to-cover.
Back-stabbers and White-anters live by several rules:
- Rule 1: look good.
- Rule 2: avoid looking bad.
- Rule 3: if you can look good and have others look bad, even better.
- How To Stay Sane, from the School of Life series, by Philippa Perry. Short, and describes four key ideas. It’s received some interesting and critical reviews, but that was after I bought it. One thing though, this is the book that convinced me to start writing a private diary.
- Day One, the app I’m using as my diary. It has iOS and Mac versions that sync with one another. Much better than a plain text file, you can attach images, links, geotag, hashtags, do all the usual text formatting (with Markdown syntax ). It’s really well made and that’s probably why it got awarded App Store Best of 2012.
Those of you I have talked to recently will know I have been ditching nearly all of my paper.
I’ve been a terrible, terrible hoarder of loose paper over the years. Uni notes, bank statements, school reports, bills, receipts, meeting minutes, society reports, business cards, conference guides, concert programs, newspapers, medical reports, programming competition practice problem sets… you name it, if it was paper based and I was given a copy, there was a really good chance I had kept it and put it in a pile or binder folder somewhere. Eventually the pile was put in a box, and moved to my next place of residence, and a new pile came to life.
Why would I throw out paper, when I might just possibly maybe want to keep the information for future reference, and it’s easier to put it in a pile than anything else? And some paper you have to keep, so it’s not like it’d be fair to the rest of the paper if I only kept that, right? Paper is an Object, and Objects Have Souls. I can’t just go around killing harmless, innocent paper! It’s simply not done. Somebody printed the paper and the paper and ink cost money. The paper was produced from trees, lovingly grown just for your perverse paper pleasures. Paper chemists treated the paper with their magic bleach to make it nice and bright. You can even write notes on the paper after it’s been printed, adding to its value. You can just give paper to another person, exactly as it exists, and it’s practically guaranteed to be compatible with them.
And let’s not forget, it’s convenient to have a lot of paper around in case you need to save the world with your 紙使う人 super-abilities.
Plus I’d like to see you fold an iPad into a “paper” crane.
So what changed?
To misquote a few emails I’ve seen recently: “This email is about being honest and keeping things in the open. If you don’t care about emails in which the writer is being totally candid, then you can stop reading now.”
So, on to the being totally candid thing. 10 out of 10 points to me if I go through with hitting “send” on this, though my curiosity about any response is about to overpower my irrational fears any moment now.
I really like you, you’re an amazing and wonderful person. A talented mix of intellect, sensibility, adventurousness, good looks, cromulent taste in beers, and loads of other exquisite qualities I probably haven’t even observed yet. Your hair probably smells unbelievably good. Yes, I admit I’m pretty smitten, and I don’t mind it at all I can’t help but spontaneously look about and hope to see you there, smiling, nor can I help writing an odd-sounding email immediately before bedtime. Please let’s do more of the you & me thing.
Don’t worry, I’m not about to start constructing a secret shrine in your honour, put you on a pedestal, or start stalking you around the building, as hilarious as all that would be. No, the point of this email is, simply, to void all awkwardness, to provide a relief from reasonable business-related emails, and to get some satisfaction out of exercising a little penmanship. Plus, I think you deserve a good ego stroke what with all the stress recently. Relax!
I don’t know if any of these feelings of admiration are reciprocated, but it doesn’t matter. There shall be zero awkwardness on my part no matter what happens. Is that…clear? At minimum, let’s continue to be good friends
I spent too much time writing this to not blog it. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing.