Hobbyist Academia #12
I think Joyful by Ingrid Fetell Lee is my most frequently gifted book. I bought it for another friend this week; I was happy to be able to buy it in person at a local, independent bookstore. I spent some extra time browsing books near it on the shelf and found some new ones to add to my To Read list.
[As a side note- all of my book links are through Bookshop, an excellent Amazon-alternative that allows you to support independent bookstores with your online book purchases.]
The premise of Joyful is how to build joy into our lives, based on Fetell Lee’s global research into what brings humans joy. I heard her speak at an event and also received the book as part of a box from The Next Big Idea Club. I always pay extra attention when the same book starts popping up from more than one source in my life.
Engage and Interact
The Conference is taking place August 23-24 in the Malmö, Sweden. Malmö is in the south of Sweden, not far from the Copenhagen airport in Denmark. Event organizers have very specifically chosen it as the host location- I’ve never been, but it sounds like you have to go experience it to understand it.
To state the obvious, the event’s name does little to hint at the content. The Conference explores complexity in a digital world across multiple disciplines. It draws in curious humans who want to understand systems, the relationship between humans and machines, and digital culture. These are broad categories that I have attempted to use to describe the breadth of topics covered by the programming, but there is so much more to it.
Even if you don’t go in person, poke around the website and the video archive from past years’ events.
New_ Public is a really interesting project that offers community, collaboration, and inspiration for anyone designing digital public spaces. The premise is to think like digital urban planners as we reimagine the online spaces we inhabit. Check out the digital magazine, and the links to topical news articles.
The Marginalian (formerly known as Brain Pickings) is a labor of love by Maria Popova that includes email newsletters and an extensive archive of content. Popova shares her journey of becoming as she explores “what it means to live a tender, thoughtful life of purpose and gladness, wonder-smitten by reality.” She draws upon science, art, philosophy, poetry, and anywhere else her search for meaning takes her.
The newsletter edition from May 29th talks through her thoughts and commentary on The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy, a tale about fear, kindness, beauty, love, and ultimately about fulfillment. It’s a beautifully illustrated storybook about a group of friends and their journey through life’s big questions.
Paul Millerd’s weekly newsletter Boundless is about alternative possibilities for building a life that work is woven into in a healthier way than our collective obsession with work as the only thing that matters. He covers topics including the future of work, the digital creator economy, and his own personal experiences living the life he philosophizes about building. I recently mentioned his book in the Save This For Later section of Hobbyist Academia #10.
Boundless #183 from May 29th chronicles his 10-year business school reunion. Compared to his 5-year reunion, he is at peace with the path he’s taken. He observes that his friends are all reasonably satisfied with their lives regardless of their path, but their highlights are all things that are not related to work.
I’ve talked about Lauren Martin’s Words of Women before. It remains an excellent read on Mondays. Her newsletter from May 30th was about a Chinese proverb/story. The story is about a farmer who responds to each apparent turn of luck in his life (whether good or bad) with “maybe yes, maybe no.”
Something happens that seems good, his neighbors congratulate his good luck. The next development seems bad, his neighbors lament his bad luck. As his life plays out, we see the sources of good luck turn bad and the sources of bad luck turn good. Something that seemed bad ends up being for the best, and so on. Each time his neighbors proclaim that his luck is either good or bad, he always responds, “maybe yes, maybe no.” It’s a worldview that can offer ease, calm, and stability.
Finally, I’ll share Design Lobster. This newsletter comes out every other Monday and brings the reader into the world of design via questions, objects, and quotes.
Save This For Later
I’ve added 9 books to the To Read list- some of which came from browsing actual bookshelves with no real agenda!
Don't Trust Your Gut: Using Data to Get What You Really Want in Life by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us about Who We Really Are also by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz
How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine . . . for Now by Stanislas Dehaene
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin
Silence: In the Age of Noise by Erling Kagge
You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters by Kate Murphy
Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke
The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: How to Build Big Relationships with Small Gatherings by Nick Gray
What We Owe the Future by William Macaskill
I’m working on getting these out a bit more frequently so that maybe they’re not quite so long. If you enjoyed this, check out The Collection on my website.