book reviews

The worst kind of book review is not the one that says, “this book will change your life” for that review is simply stated and courteous.

The worst kind of book review is the one that says, “the worst kind of book review is the one that says “this book will change your life“… but for this book, it’s true”, preceding to write its own worst book review.

Too meta?

climb

When you sit down for work everyday, you can’t accomplish your annual goals.

No matter how much you desire to finish the project you’ve set out to do or achieve the lifestyle you’ve wanted to create, you can’t finish within a day.

Annual goals are made up of weekly objectives are made up of daily tasks.

While it’s solid advice to focus solely on the tasks of the day, we also need to be able to see the carrot from closer than 365 days. The carrot becomes closer and more tangible when we set the intention to review our goals at the beginning of our workday and update them at the end.

So, as with everything, there is a yin and a yang- balance.

Creatures of habit are prone to be short-minded.

The long-term is made tangible when we are reminded of what it will take to get there. Everyday our task list can be a game- how much further along towards the mountaintop will we climb…


What did you notice today? ///

it’s not your story

You might assume your food comes from the sky before it arrives at Walmart because it’s in-store every morning.

You might assume the right to speech online because we’ve all been given a mega(i)Phone.

We believe ourselves the center of some grand story because we’ve never read another’s. This is a spiritual pitfall in a digital age.


With agrarian society’s end, we lost touch with food’s source.

Processed food, GMO’s, additives and substitutes. These rob nature of her privilege of provision. Favor Delivery, DoorDash, and online shopping further divorce us from the origins of our daily sustenance.

Regardless of creator’s intent or context, we’re adamant “freedom of speech” is a built-in feature to our identity and we ignore its misuse and abuse in online spaces (…and in offline spaces: the sale of “F— Biden” flags in parts of the south should cause deep sadness for all at the state of our political polarization and gross mistreatment of the privilege to speak our minds).

Only in May of 2021 did Twitter add a prompt to users to reconsider “potentially harmful or offensive language” in tweets or comments (I won’t even criticize the fact that this prompt only appears for explicit language and not more subtly crafted disinformation or slander, and ask, why did this take so long? 15 years of hate-speech and cruelty too late).

Twitter’s lead, “what’s happening“, fails to advise you of your tweet’s public immortality. It reinforces a solitary and selfish story-telling paradigm.

This (among a devolution of too many of our cognitive abilities thanks to social media) is a reason for the slow dying of books and reading in America. We no longer believe someone else’s story to be relevant to us. Now, it’s paramount that my story/post/tweet is heard by my followers (a term historically attributed to followers of religious figures who truly are central to a people’s story).

An intriguing trend in our cultural moment is the ‘everyman’ as a frequent protagonist. Filmmakers in the mainstream desire to create a hero the viewer can relate to or see in themselves.

This is not the purpose of a story.

A story (especially, an origin) tells another human’s struggles. No clichés.
It doesn’t put you in their shoes- it reminds you their feet are a different size. No hand-holding. It gives you the raw, unfiltered version.

We need to be constantly reminded that our story is not whole.

Plant a garden. Engage history to learn the origin of free speech. Read someone else’s story (not on Instagram Stories… because it has to be said).


What did you notice today? ///

Twitter virtues

Social media is void of opportunity for integrity and full of depravity, training our virtues in the wrong direction.

The proliferation of twitter-wars and online harassment have left us unaccountable. The most platforms will do to reprimand users is shut down their (typically anonymous) accounts- hardly a slap on the wrist.

Interacting in perceived isolation, an internet user will callously or consciously act. What dictates a person’s actions when they live in a digital-forrest disguised as a physical echo chamber?

Prolific conservationist and author, Aldo Leopold writes of the solitary sport of hunting in the same light:

Whatever the hunter’s acts, they are dictated by his own conscience, rather than by a mob of onlookers…
Voluntary adherence to an ethical code elevates the self-respect of the sportsmen, but it should not be forgotten that voluntary disregard of the code degenerate and depraves him.

A Sand County Almanac

What if there was accountability in our networks for slander and cruelty? Could we remake social media like a true society with checks and balances?

What if we could have a mental health department devoted to checking public digital spaces to identify users at risk before the damaging effects of social media go to far?

We are behind the curve. The UK holds an appointed office for a political Minister of Loneliness devoted to bringing cross-community services together around those experiencing isolation (created pre-COVID; now especially vital).

Before this, we still must ask how we are training ethics through digital platforms. We’re setting users up for profound failure or neutral complacency about the existence of these choices.

Such deer-hunting is not only without social value, but constitutes actual training for ethical depravity elsewhere.


What did you notice today? ///

what’s costly

Why is manipulative design cheap while permissive design is costly?

We know the tricks- the limbic hijacks to take over a person’s attention circuitry, notifications to evoke curiosity, “Hot Deals” to soothe buyer’s remorse, a smattering of fake-not-fake testimonials to increase authenticity.

These are a dime-a-dozen and effortless to cram onto our site.

What’s hard is not taking shortcuts to build loyalty. Not using clickbait to gain viewers. Not advertising half-truths (or blatant lies, because sadly it needs to be said).

When we give our whole pitch from a place of respect for human attention and dignity, it looks different- and it’s much harder…

But not really. Because long-term trust is built. More opportunities for a strong customer base appear. More opportunities to resist the race to the bottom mentality means elevating our collective ethical restraint and integrity.

You put in the premium for trust, and the work pays for itself.

The best shortcut, in this case, is no shortcut at all.

Seth Godin on Permission Marketting

What did you notice today? ///