That quote is from Amanda Palmer’s book, The Art of Asking. Reading it at the same time I was asking people to download my new book and donate to a blog I run was enlightening. For the book I reached out to people I had a strong relationship with, people who I was comfortable asking, for the latter it’s mostly made up of strangers and there was a difference in how both groups reacted. If you’re reading this, thank you for being someone I can ask, because as Palmer writes, asking is hard.
What I’ve been reading
The Palmer book was good, and very helpful as I transition to being an artist. One thing she notes in the book that stuck with me is that anyone that creates something is an artist, and if you are an artist you have to ask people to judge your art. Any job requires some level of artistry.
I’ve put away The Making of The Atomic Bomb and my younger self would have been blushed. But after becoming a serious reader, I see that I wasn’t in the right mood, frame of mind, and maybe level of understanding for that book. To say “maybe I’ll read this another day” is a satisfactory answer. It took me two years of learning other things before I could just grasp Taleb’s Antifragile. Making will be much the same. In fact, I’ve got a Napoleon biography and some of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast that will perfectly lead into it.
Instead I’m reading Master the Money Game by Tony Robbins. This is a year where “money matters” in what I read. I decided that I should have a better understanding about financial fundamentals and this is part of it. The book is in true Robbins fashion, full of extra words and exclamation marks. The advice seems good, but I’m not knowledgeable enough yet to judge.
What I’ve been listening to
The Freakonomics podcast about the flu vaccine was very good and included a story about how they tried to find Osama bin Laden which led to an increase in polio. Talk about unintended consequences of complex systems.
You Are Not So Smart has another good episode, this one about how we view things based on our frame of reference.
James Altucher talked to Matt Kepnes about traveling the world on $50 a day. He also talked with Amanda Palmer about her book I mentioned above. Both were good.
Planet Money had another good episode about software flaws and the black market available to those who find them.
What I’ve been working on
What I found in writing by book was that working on my biggest project each day really moved things forward. One of my favorite bloggers, MMM writes about this after a major housing addition. “While standing with the two friends who built this thing alongside me, basking in the moment’s success, we looked up and were amazed. How could this massive, hulking structure come from just the three little dudes who now stand in its shadow?”
The answer is in small movements each day.
I’ve got a lot of ideas for e-books, but none are as fleshed out as what I know about stoicism. It took a long time just for the direct study of stoic thinking and my reading list was an integral part of pulling other stories into mine. My goal for the remainder of January is to focus on The Waiter’s Pad and catching up with the interviews.
A book review of Switch went up at Productivityist – check it out if you are looking at making any changes this new year.