This is page is part of my almanac.
- Lists of Best Magazine Articles. While it’s easy to get sucked up into the most recent news articles, it’s useful to take a longer view of the more important articles of the year. David Brooks does a good retrospective in his annual Sidney Awards. Longform.org also has a good annual list. You can get many of these articles (and others) in audio via the Audm app. If you want an even longer view of the best magazine articles, take a look at Kevin Kelley’s Best Magazine Articles Ever. Here’s my list of the best tech articles ever written.
- There’s a great story of how the Citibank building was built incorrectly and was in danger of falling down. The story broke in The New Yorker and there is also a great story of it on the podcast 99% Invisible. If you’re interested in Citi’s double-decker elevators, here’s a surprisingly detailed blog.
- John Hughes (of Brat Pack Fame) wrote the short story “Vacation 58: If Dad hadn’t shot Walt Disney in the leg, it would have been our best vacation ever” which became the basis of his movie National Lampoon’s Vacation
- The toy fad of 2017 was fidget spinners. The Economist has a great overview of the fidget spinner craze
- Here’s a really interesting image of how people distribute themselves in a park. It’s called a Voronoi diagram and it shows how each person tries to maximize their own space
- There has been a light bulb that’s been on since 1901 in a firehouse in Livermore California. The reason light bulbs burn out isn’t a technical problem but an economic one.
- Lewis Menand’s review of Smart, Faster, Better, I learned that all self help books have the same goal — to get us to be the people we know we should be. These books don’t have have any new solutions — they just reiterate common sense through the current cultural or businesses lenses. Menand points out that Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People (which I love) could be summed up in the sentence “If you are nice to people, they will like you.” But, he continues, the purpose of these books is not “What would Jesus do? but How, exactly, would He do it?” Carnegie’s book has some great tips on how to be nice to people like, “Be a good listener and focus on what the other person is interested in.” To me, it’s a fundamental point that none of these books, as much as they try, have the answer — we already know the answer. But they do have some good tips and tricks on how help us anyway.
- A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again — David Foster Wallace on taking a ride on a cruise ship.
- There goes (VAROOM! VAROOM!) that Kandy Kolored (THPHHHHHH!) tangerine-flake streamline baby (RAHGHHHH!) around the bend (BRUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM…) — Tom Wolfe