The Little (Big) Things: July & August

Thanks to a terrifically travel-filled July, ‘The Little (Big) Things’ for that month is embarrassingly overdue. We’re now two days shy of August’s end so I reckon it’s best to go for a double-edition digest at this juncture.

So, here’s a quick round-up of what commanded my attention and got me thinking/laughing/feeling the most over the past two months.

Hope you find something in there that works for you.

Podcasts: Revisionist History | The Tim Ferriss Show

July brought a new candidate for all-time favourite podcast series into my world: Malcolm Gladwell’s ‘Revisionist History’.

In each episode, Gladwell tells a tale from times past and cleverly uses it as an aid to explain a broader theory about human behaviour. Every episode has something to offer, but my favourite is ‘The Big Man Can’t Shoot’.

It’s about why basketball players don’t shoot free-throws underarm, despite it yielding a much better success rate. Actually, it’s about way more than that. Just listen.

Tim Ferriss’ podcast series definitely has plenty of gems in it, but they usually take a whole lot of time and effort to uncover. Not so this month.

The episode entitled ‘What’s Important to You?’ is a simple reading from Ryan Holiday’s book, ‘Ego is the Enemy’ and, well, it kinda stuck a chord. A loud one.

It’s about how we humans have an awfully self-destructive habit of chasing ego-driven goals to the detriment of our happiness, even after achieving everything we’ve ever sought. I’ve listened three times already.

Music: Blond

Last month, my favourite artist in the world followed-up my favourite album of the past five years with one of the most anticipated album in years.

Needless to say, Frank Ocean’s ‘Blond’ is a pretty big moment for me.

Despite expectations being ridiculously high, the album has somehow managed to meet them by being so wildly different from what anyone expected.

It’s tender, sad, wild, dark, defiant, powerful and oh so very deep. Nobody does 21st century sadness quite like Frank.

The album is an Apple Music exclusive, but you can get a free trial for three-months. ‘Ivy’ is an early favourite of mine.

Articles: The Hidden Costs of Happiness | Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All

Mark Manson is one of the few pop-psychology/self-help writers I consistently enjoy. Very easy to read and surprisingly full of wisdom.

I re-read ‘The Hidden Costs of Happiness’ this month and it hit home. It’s a very welcome down-to-earth challenge to the ‘you can/should/better have it all’ messaging that’s so prevalent these days.

It’s hard to find an article about Donald Trump that isn’t boringly thin on insight these days, but The New Yorker’s ‘Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All’ is a noteworthy exception.

It details the experience of Trump’s co-writer on ‘The Art of the Deal’ and explains a lot about the conflicts that journalists/human beings often face when offered a big cheque.

It also give an interesting first-hand insight into what makes Mr. Trump tick and challenges the often-quoted theory that there are two Trumps; a public and a private version.

Spoiler alert! There’s just the one.

Documentary: Weiner | 66 Days

There are two very different political documentaries doing the rounds these days, each of which are thought-provoking in their own ways.

‘Weiner’ documents New York politician, Anthony Weiner’s disastrous attempt at returning to public life after being forced to resign from office in 2011 following a few dodgy tweets.

It‘s highly entertaining stuff, but has a number of dark undercurrents, particularly the widespread expectation of women to stand by moronic men in the public eye.

PS — Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, announced that the couple was separating yesterday.

’66 Days’ is different in every possible way.

The story of Bobby Sands’ death while on hunger strike is as sobering, harrowing and devastating as you would expect. But it feels important to recall the utter hopelessness felt by so many people on this island less than 40 years ago.

To do: La Creperie Pierre Grise

One of my favourite Dublin day trips has always been the classic Bray to Greystones stroll. Great views and even better lunchtime dining options.

Not in the mood for the Saturday afternoon queues at The Happy Pear on a recent visit, my fiancée and I gave Le Creperie Pierre Grise a try.

They do proper, Brittany-style crepes. The real deal. One of Dublin’s best days out just got better.

If you made it all the way to here and end up checking out any of the links, please let me know! And if you feel like it, please send on some recommendations of your own.

I think it’d be really cool if we got an open group together, sharing music, films and other good stuff with eachother every month.