Excellent Things: 07

Nick Crocker
Dec 28, 2017 · 5 min read
Sunrise Over The Pacific Ocean

The person who wills the good in truth is the only free person.

Personal History, the remarkable autobiography of Katherine Graham was the best book I read this year. It’s part business strategy, part modern American history, part painfully candid memoir. Long, and worthy of the time. David Remnick’s review from 1997 does it some justice.

There is no good way to know except to try.

The Meyerowitz Stories was my favourite movie of the year. Here’s a good description of why:

With the internet, everyone’s so knowledgeable, everyone knows so much about music, everybody got a top five. But a lot of people don’t really digest the music and just be personal with it.” — Vince Staples

Paul Kelly’s live show in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens was a stunning memory. The highlight was the a capella ‘Meet Me In The Middle of the Air’.

I recommend listening to my summer holiday playlist:

Burial’s epic ‘Untrue’ turned 10 this year.

Tom Petty died. ‘Damn The Torpedoes’ was the first album I fell in love with.

After first discovering him through ‘White Iverson’ I dove right in to the Post Malone album ‘Stoney’. He’s a bizarro mix of rock, rap and country. His hero is Bob Dylan and when Dylan’s grandson played him Malone’s music for the first time, Dylan apparently said he liked the music but thought Malone needed help with the lyrics. Which is about as perfect a summary of Post Malone as you could get.

My albums of the year — Fourtet’s ‘New Energy’, War on Drugs’ ‘A Deeper Understanding’, and Julien Baker’s ‘Turn Out The Lights’.

A part of good science is to see what everyone else can see but think what no one else has thought.

As a sports fan, you can’t ask for better than overhearing Cam Newton in this clip: “You’ve been watching film too huh? That’s cool. Watch this.”

NFL Turning Point is my favourite YouTube series.

The Orangutan Theory: If a smart person goes into a room with an orangutan and explains whatever his or her idea is, the orangutan just sits there eating his banana, and at the end of the conversation, the person explaining comes out smarter.

The podcast that helped me the most practically was Ezra Klein’s deep dive with Cal Newport on deep work and maximising focus and attention.

As a group we all shared our heroes, our greatest hardship and our life’s greatest highlight. It was profound.

A wise old owl lived in an oak, The more he saw the less he spoke, The less he spoke, the more he heard, Why aren’t we all like that old bird?

Australia (finally) became the 25th country to recognise same-sex marriage.

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

Australian Storm

This summer, I can’t stop wearing: Patagonia Baggies, and Uniqlo’s Supima Cotton Tees.

I bought a 1000-piece puzzle for our beach holiday. What a way to 1/ get to know a painting and 2/ disconnect.

Brett Whiteley’s ‘Self Portrait In The Studio’

Portrait Mode on the iPhone X is my new favourite product.

The Park

There is no greater wealth than health.

I started Crossfit in the latter part of 2017. What’s not good about Crossfit: insanely high-reps of technical lifts done by people not capable of them (me). What’s good about it: constantly learning new movements, never boring, easy to see progress, a sense of competition and community that’s hard to find anywhere else in the realm of amateur exercise.

Melbourne’s Ramblr was the best meal we had this year.

I discovered a new favourite food: pancakes with real maple syrup, cream and passionfruit.

The best articles I read recently:

Sea Ranch

In a year that took just slightly more than it gave, I loved getting back to the beach.

Beach holidays when you have little kids are the most extraordinary thing.

22 years since we first started going there, this little fibro house by the sea hasn’t changed.

Diggers Camp

For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments.

The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses.

A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.

Descending into Sydney

Nick Crocker

Written by

General Partner @BlackbirdVC. Supporting Australian startups @Startmate. Sequencing the journey to build strength along the way.