What I Read This Week - 18th March

Setting and missing self-imposed deadlines is hard work, but someone's gotta do it. Amazingly I also found time to read some stuff this week whilst missing said deadlines. Now that's multitasking! - A Routine Matter (Andrew Palmer at the Paris Review)

I recently turned thirty, the age by which, according to William James, “the character has set like plaster, and will never soften again.” But he wrote that in 1890, before mobile devices and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and Lana Del Rey and the fragmentation of the self, and I’m happy to report that my character is as soft as unhandled Play-Doh.

- Deeper Into the Twungle (Margaret Atwood at the New York Review of Books)

For the e-forest is not a street, nor is it a meadow. It is not yet tame. It’s still the merry wild greenwood, where—as in the plays of Shakespeare—enchantments may happen. True, there are sometimes trolls: that’s what makes the woods wild. And every sword has two edges, the one you cut with and the one that can cut you: no-holds I-spy cyber wars are raging up there in the Clouds. But cages for all would surely be worse.

- Paper Con Man Ravages the Internet (Alexis Madrigal at the Atlantic)

People's lives aren't divided into "offline life" and "online life," even if we'd like to pretend that's the case. People on Capitol Hill use the Internet. People on Main Street use the Internet. People on Wall Street use the Internet. The Internet is where the action is: it's where all the elegant, dirty, pretty, lowbrow, brilliant ideas come together to commingle and evolve.

- What it means that urban hipsters like staring at pictures of cabins (Finn Arne Jørgensen at the Atlantic)

In longing for a simpler, more authentic life in a cabin, we keep reinventing happier pasts, pasts that never were

- The Economic Roots of Your Life Crisis (Umair Haque at the Harvard Business Review)

I think we have to invest differently. If the future looks uncertain or desolate, perhaps that has as much to with what we don't consider part of "the economy" — love, trust, purpose, passion, human growth — as what we do: money, machines, and shiny stuff lining the beige exurban aisles. Maybe it's time to invest in the soft stuff — people, experiences, ideas, your own human, social, and intellectual capital — instead.

- The Acoustics of Place (Michael Sacasas)

We speak of gaining or losing time; but we speak of being in place.