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Tag: Books

Fortress of Habit

The death of reading is threatening the soul

“Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.”

When asked about his secret to success, Warren Buffett pointed to a stack of books and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will…”

Modern culture presents formidable obstacles to the nurture of both spirituality and creativity. As a writer of faith in the age of social media, I host a Facebook page and a website and write an occasional blog. Thirty years ago I got a lot of letters from readers, and they did not expect an answer for a week or more. Now I get emails, and if they don’t hear back in two days they write again, “Did you get my email?” The tyranny of the urgent crowds in around me.

I’m still working on that fortress of habit, trying to resurrect the rich nourishment that reading has long provided for me. If only I can resist clicking on the link 30 Amish Facts That’ll Make Your Skin Crawl…

Fortress of Habit is a wonderful turn of phrase.

Dispatch from the Trenches #3

I advise clients who are frustrated that they can’t get a domain that they had in mind to pick another, something short, easy to spell.
Something evocative. Anything, really, as long as it ends in dot com. We can build a brand and message for a new, sensible domain. But if you pick something other than .com your consumers will still end up at whatever site does end in .com.

Modern Marketing 101: There Are No Domains But .Com — First Today, Then Tomorrow

The number of new top-level domains are nauseating. The top-level domain is the last part of a domain name. For this site, it’s .com. For schools, it would be .edu and government is .gov. There are now many, many more.

I get confused by the new TLDs, like .ninja, or .social imagine how other people who are not web natives feel.

If you’re appealing to everyone then stick to .com. Since like Randy says, that’s where they’re going to end up anyway.

Read a book instead

Reading books makes me happy. Being on my phone makes me miserable. So, I made a wallpaper for my iPhone’s lock screen to remind me that I have a choice. You can download a copy for yourself right here.

Read a book instead

It’s easy to get stuck into the loop of lock phone. Open Twitter. Close Twitter. Lock phone. Repeat.

I like books. I enjoy reading but my reading has tapered off. Even listening to Audio-books has slowed down. This is a good reminder to break the loop of phone staring.

With all those photos being taken, chances are you and I have at one point accidentally wandered into someone else’s frame. It’s likely, however, that you’ll never really know you’ve photo-bombed someones shot. That’s why I was surprised by a Twitter message that I received
out of the blue from a photographer I’ve never met.

I Was Hidden on This Guy’s Hard Drive for Over 6 Years

I often think about this working in Washington DC a block from the Capitol. On my lunch breaks, I often walk around the Capitol Building or the Capitol Reflecting Pool.

Even in poor weather, there are always people there. Tourists. Government workers. DC Residents showing their out-of-town friends and family the city. And they are all taking pictures.

They snap pictures of the building. Of themselves in front of it, or “holding” the Washington Monument. They snap photos of friends, family and themselves. The ducks are also a big hit with the new batch of baby ducklings furiously swimming along behind mama duck.

On my walks, I often wonder just how many people’s photo albums and Facebook posts I end up in. How many times have I been captured as I walk around on my lunch break?

Recently Listened: April 2014 Audiobooks

I love reading, but lately I’ve not been able to sit down and put eyes to words. So instead I’ve listened to a few audiobooks this month and have really enjoyed them.

Ready Player One By Ernest Cline

Ready Player One is a wonderful book. It was recommended to me by a few friends who said I would love it. They were right. I listened to Wil Wheaton read it.

It’s an 80’s Geek Love Fest. The story is filled with 80s computer games, music, video games, movies and everything else 80s you can think of. A great story of misfits hunting across a virtual universe for a secret treasure it did not disappoint.

Predictable in places and unexpected in others. I listened to every word with eager anticipation of what was going to come next. The worst part of Ready Player One is that it ends.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath was an interesting look at re-examining common situations and looking at them a different way. Read by the author, Gladwell talked often of how stories we’ve come to know by heart can actually be seen very differently.

And how the David in stories can triumph over Goliaths by changing the game and playing to their strengths. I didn’t learn and great truths or insights, but it was interesting to look at things differently.

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

Happiness. It’s something we all seek to find and maintain. Rubin took on a challenge each month to try to become happier. In the course of being happier, she also tried to make the people around her happier.

In examining her behaviors, she tries to act better. To quit nagging. To be more positive. To be a good example for her children.

She shares her Secrets of Adulthood. Many of which I found myself nodding my head to. Those were things I could do better at. Or at least things to strive for.

Reading her own book, she never preaches her way is The One True Way™. But instead shares her experiences and experiments and reports what worked for her and what she found after trying out different things each month.

Searching for Dave Chappelle by Jason Zinoman

Dave Chappelle is an interesting figure. At the height of his success, he vanishes out of the public eye for reasons unknown. The kindle short doesn’t have any definitive answers. It does paint a fuller picture of Dave Chappelle, the man and the comic.

It was a short, enjoyable story. I really enjoyed his television show and stand-up comedy. And while I didn’t learn anything new about the why he left the show. I did learn more about him as a person. And that was worth the listen.

Got a suggestion of what I should read or listen to next? Curious what else I’ve enjoyed? Check out my Books page.


Why are we so fascinated by Zombies? This morning io9 posed this question and it got me thinking about why I love zombie fiction.

Zombies are so fascinating because they’re a blank slate. Because they have no personalities or characteristics other than undead. They can be anything.

They can slowly shamble towards you. They can run, hopped up on viral powers. They can morph into hideous beasts. They can overwhelm you simply by their relentless pursuit. They never tire. They never stop.

They can be anything that fits the tale to be told. I enjoy zombie fiction and have read numerous books about them. What keeps me coming back is how different they are.

Often times it’s not the difference in zombie, but how the surviving humans relate and interact with them. How much is known about them? How are they viewed? Is it a noble profession to quiet the undead because they too were people once? Are the zombies hideous creatures unleashed from hell as punishment?

Are they walkers? Biters? Zom-Zoms? Z? Zed?

They’re one beast with many names. And because they’re a blank slate they can morph to be anything. That’s what makes them so appealing.

There are tales of zombie love stories. Zombies as pets. Zombies capture the imagination because they are us. They’re relentless molds we fill with our fears, hopes and emotions.