The Sunday Five — Five #goodreads to Start Your Week

Volume #48 — December 3rd, 2017

#1 Robots: Great essay from blogger Downtown Josh Brown on the challenges of the technological revolution underway titled Just Own The Damn Robots:

“For the last fifty years, we’ve invested for retirement. For the last two or three years, we might be investing or a whole other reason. What price is too high to pay for a company’s stock if the company spends every waking minute trying to replace you?”

#2 On Writing: Fantastic interview with Viet Than Nguyen on his evolution as a writer and the twenty years of hard work before he “made it.” Some of my favorite parts:

On writing less, not more:

One, I did change my approach to writing. I realized that I can’t write eight hours a day, which is what I was trying to do. The next time I had a long stretch of time to write, I only gave myself four hours a day. That was the right amount of time.

On coming up with his opening sentence:

It took all summer, but when I finally got that opening sentence, I wrote to a friend — who, besides my partner, was the only person I was talking to about the novel. “I’ve got it,” I said. “I’ve got this opening line.” And I was right. The voice and rhythm of that line drove the entire book.

…and the drive to write:

“ If you don’t find it necessary to write, you shouldn’t do it. This is not something that you want to voluntarily embark on because you think it’s going to be fun, or cool, or anything like that. It has to come out of some deep need.”

#3 Purity Politics: Interview with Alexis Shotwell, who wrote a book on the limits of of the idea of personal or political purity: “if we want a world with less suffering and more flourishing, it would be useful to perceive complexity and complicity as the constitutive situation of our lives, rather than as things we should avoid”

#4 Virtue: Advice from Nassim Nicholas Taleb on virtue signaling: “It is even more, much more immoral to claim virtue without fully living with its direct consequences” and:

1) never engage in virtue signaling;
2) never engage in rent seeking;
3) you must start a business. Take risks, start a business.

#5 Wait But Why: Great podcast interview of Tim Urban— the creator of Wait, But Why? — on writing, the future, technology and our current place in history.


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