Snippets from A Gentleman in Moscow

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From A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles Tiptoeing down the stairs of reason “Whatever the endeavour, if the setting is glorious and the tenor grandiose, it will have its adherents. In fact, as the locations for duels became more picturesque and the pistols more finely manufactured, the best-bred men proved willing to defend their honour over lesser offenses. So … Read More

Snippets from The Science of Story

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The cure for the horror is story We know how this ends. You’re going to die and so will everyone you love. And then there will be heat. All the change in the universe will cease, the stars will die. And there will be nothing left of anything but infinite dead freezing void. Human life, in all its noise and … Read More

Being “nobody-but-yourself”

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In the face of “a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else” and to make you a “consumer”, it feels very easy to follow the crowd and feel like you are “losing yourself”

Jaron Lanier, BUMMERs and Being Human

Piers YoungLife, Notes7 Comments

I’ve just finished reading Jaron Lanier’s 10 arguments for deleting your social media accounts. Some are more persuasive than others, but they’ve made me decide to delete my Facebook account for 2020. The arguments are all linked and as follows: You are losing your free will thanks to the addictive nature of much of it and the behaviourist focus of … Read More

Trust and Whole Selves

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This video is worth a watch, I think. John Mackey, founder of Whole Foods, makes some great points about people in organisations. At its simplest, viewing people as โ€Human Resourcesโ€ gets it wrong because it limits. It ignores the idea that people come to the workplace wanting to bring their whole selves. It ties in well, I think, with Matthew … Read More

Facts, Stories & Brain Scans

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โ€œWe tend to use the word story casually, as if stories and narratives were ephemeral decorations for some unchanging underlying reality. The deeper neurological truth is that stories do not cloak reality but create it, triggering cascades of perception and motivation. The proof is in brain scans: When we hear a fact, a few isolated areas of our brain light … Read More

Modern Library’s 100 Best Non-Fiction Reads (with links)

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I’ve been on the hunt for some good non-fiction reads for 2019 and realised in the rush with everyone else to read Sapiens or Sleep, I’m probably missing out on some classics. The Modern Library has made a pretty good, if very American, list of its 100 best non-fiction titles. Some of them I’ve read for pleasure, some for studies, … Read More

Seneca On Saving Time

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Not a bad thing to think about at this time of year. (From Seneca’s Letters to Lucilius. 1. Continue to act thus, my dear Lucilius โ€“ set yourself free for your own sake; gather and save your time, which till lately has been forced from you, or filched away, or has merely slipped from your hands. Make yourself believe the … Read More

Life Lessons from Bergson

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My dogears from Michael Foley’s excellent “Life Lessons from Bergson” Time “Time” is now the most-used noun in English, whereas many primitive peoples, for instance the Amondawa tribe of the Amazon and the Australian Aborigines do not have a word for it. (p.24) Chance The corollary of predictability as comfort is randomness as threat … We would almost rather accept … Read More

Mohini The White Tiger and Learned Helplessness

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I’ve been watching a lot of TED talks recently (part of a NY’s resolution), and have been struck by the number that say something along the lines of “school is broken” and “how do we make children like school?”. There’s a sad story about a tiger called Mohini that Tara Brach tells as follows. Mohini was a regal white tiger … Read More