I wanted a place to put all the stuff I think is awesome. Growing up, I always wanted to have a great library in my house. I remembered the excitement when I learned that I could buy the entire collection of The New Yorker in bound volumes and put them on a shelf. I’d imagined that I would collect great encyclopedias from the past to peruse whenever I pleased. They would live in mahogany bookcases that looked like they’d belonged to JP Morgan. Then I realized that a New York City apartment doesn’t have space for a physical library. So I did the next best thing. I created a virtual library that includes lots of the things I enjoy, like my favorite books, words, and tools.
I’ve broken the library into a number of sections. For me, the sections aren’t hard lines but themes to peruse. Rather than looking at them as Dewey Decimal numbers, think of them as different rooms and exhibitions as you move through the library.
- Happiness and Inspiration. Over the years, I’ve found that more than anything people want tips on being happy. I have a number of fun tips that can help make you happy. If you’re looking for one link, take a look at my post on Yale’s happiness class.
- On Humor. The best humor goes beyond amusement. It can help people see the world from a new point of view and help people change the way they think. The humorist is a gadfly in the best sense of the word, one who annoys the powerful but provokes positive action. Even when kings wielded absolute power, they had the licensed fool or court jester to provide them with the truth in a humorous way.
- My Published Writing. Looking through my files, I found the magazine articles I published around 2000. Back before blogging and self-publishing, we used to have these things called magazines. They were like bits but heavier. I was lucky enough to be a contributing editor at The Abercrombie and Fitch Quarterly. Some of my favorite articles are when I visited ILM when they worked on Star Wars: Episode 1, wrote a guide to Great American Movie Theaters, and met the world’s most interesting calculus professor (played an amazing prank on his students). I also captured some of my thoughts on writing the articles and pictures of me on an A&F photo shoot.
- My Speeches. In 2020 I joined Toastmasters. Here’s the text of some of the speeches I’ve made.
- Other Media. Here’s a list of videos, podcasts, and other media.
- Tips on Living.
- Living a Good Life. Here’s a set of things about how to be a better person and live a good life. My favorites are Randy Pausch and Brene Brown but there’s a healthy helping of David Allen and Stephen Covey in there too.
- Tips and Tricks. Things to start doing, stop doing, and “How-To” items like “Start getting your friends to put down their phones,” “Stop refrigerating your butter,” and “How to Have More Fun on Roller Coasters.”
- Fun Mental Models. Any good Almanac needs some clever ideas to help its readers get through their lives. I’ve realized that many of my favorite ideas are all named after people. Some are are useful, others are just fun.
- Lessons from My Grandparents. My grandparents taught me so many lessons. This is my homage to them.
- Things I Like.
- Kid Stuff. With two young boys, I’ve found a lot of fun stuff for us. Here’s a collection of general parenting, science & math, media, and toys that I like.
- Favorite Words. I love words. I wrote about how looking at various different words, I can see the contours of our common human experience. It’s amazing to find a word in Japanese or Russian that totally describes something that I’ve always been looking for. There’s something magical when you finally have a name for it! Here are some of my favorite foreign words, British/Irish Words, old words, words with an “s” sound, high falulin words, weird names of real people, the Allusionist Podcast, and some other words.
- Website History and Reviews. Here’s a list of some of the updates I’ve made over the years. It also includes some of the reviews I’ve gotten from readers that I’ve particularly enjoyed.