How to Become an Artist in 0 Minutes

Maybe you wrote short stories in college, or you took poetry classes, or you learned how to fire clay, or blow glass, or make beaded bracelets or collages, or you got way into Cubism.

But for most of us, it didn’t work. We got rejected one too many times, or someone told us to get a “real” degree, or we made the sensible choice to start a career that could actually pay off those obscene student loans.

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How to make reading a habit, in 6 easy steps

This is a classic Catch-22: since the system is so powerful (which is great!), making a change to it requires serious effort (which is hard!).

That’s why the celebration is the most important step. You have to give yourself recognition for this work you’re doing. Anything that increases your well-being and makes you feel you’ve accomplished something. Because you have–even after one time.

Think about the people you see every day. How many of them are incorporating new skills into their lives, actively finding ways to increase their joy and productivity? And how many are content going through the same stale routine, never growing or improving themselves?

If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

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The birth of the modern world

There was a time when men could travel only as fast as a horse could run. A time when most grew up, lived, and died within a few miles of their birthplace. When they made a living strictly by use of their own hands. A time when every town kept its own local time, by the position of the sun. When the American West was a vast natural expanse, its features held sacred by its native inhabitants. A time when the concept of capturing and freezing an image, a hint of the past, was an incomprehensible phenomenon.

This time, one forgets, is shockingly recent.

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10 Great Books I Read in 2014

This was a tough exercise, but it was also a nice gift to myself for reading a lot this year!┬áPlus it will give me a reference for what to re-read in the new year.┬áPresented in no particular order. The World According to Garp by John Irving This was my first Irving novel, and I liked […]

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Why you aren’t reading more books

Books help you with planning and strategy. They help you think in new ways and teach you concepts that are time-tested. They help you see the big picture of your business and how all the pieces fit together.

This makes you money.

People write books when they have big ideas to communicate. Valuable ideas. A book takes years or even decades of an author’s thinking and experience and distills it into a package you can read in a few hours. Talk about value. You’re getting a Big Bang for a few bucks.

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What’s better than reading? Re-reading

I’d like to re-read a book every month or two, but right now that rarely happens. I get distracted by New Book Sexiness.

Sex is actually a nice metaphor. A lot of people talk about how great it is to read around, sampling a different book every time. But anyone who’s stuck with one book for the long haul knows that this leads to a richer life.

New books are always going to be sexier — it feels almost like an instinct. And if you have a long list of stuff you want to get to, there’s a certain pressure to pick something different off the shelf, in the name of “progress”.

But the re-read always rewards your selection.

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On the shortness of life

Preoccupations look seductive, but only until you possess them and find them more trouble than they’re worth. We’re quick to toss away years of toil for the promise of some future pension, but when we’re threatened with terminal illness, suddenly every day becomes important. It’s the illusion of the unknown: we discard our time like it’s nothing when we’re not sure how much of it we have left, even acting like it’s infinite, but we value it supremely as soon as our days are numbered.

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Discoverability for books is not enough — a case for better reading list tools

What’s the common thread? These are ways to help you organize the books you already know about. Whereas most book-related services only care about discoverability.

Here’s the problem with that. Any serious reader has plenty of books to last them a lifetime. Yes, it’s always good to discover new books, and there are always new books coming out that I want to know about. But in a world of information overload that pain pales in comparison to the difficulty of making sense out of the hundreds of books I have on my list.

Which of these books will I enjoy the most? Which are most relevant to me right now? Which are highly regarded by the people I respect? There are no easy answers to these questions. But existing offerings don’t even try.

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7 Great Places to Read

I’ve taken books to the synagogue, to the DMV, and to the gym. I took one to my colonoscopy.

But I mostly read in the same few places. They lack distractions. They’re comforting, familiar, and full of positive associations and memories.

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