I’ve started collating a series of articles, essays and blogs that I have enjoyed reading.

How do these authors do it? The language, the ideas. Where do they come from? How do you get this talent?

My Best Friend Died From Loneliness

By Jeff Bloodworth

One of the most insightful pieces of writing I have ever read that shows how the North American Empire is collapsing.

“Just as the working class is succumbing to our increasingly digitized, globalized, automated, post-industrial era, the working stiffs—the assembly-line workers, welders, mechanics, miners, and their kin, the people who once made up the working class—are tacitly acknowledging they have no role anymore…

By now, this is an old story. We’ve been hearing about “deaths of despair” since 2020, and really, since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016, which zapped our nation’s somnolent elites into taking notice of working-class America’s crisis…

…those elites have learned approximately nothing.”

This next but is exactly how I feel at the moment about political parties, left and right. The left is no longer about the workers, the people who need them most. It’s about elites wanting to virtue signal. But the left has become authoritarian and conservative and is made up of wealthy people who have no idea what it means to live in the world.

Who cares if we can’t have abortions if nobody is living long enough anyway?

“Democrats, who used to be our party, who remain my party, are our last, best hope, if they can only find their way back to the class-based political space they once inhabited.”

This is probably the deepest moment in the essay:

“That was when the paradigm started to shift from a class-based politics to a politics of race and sex.”

The science of curiosity

By Anne-Laure Le Cunff

Ask questions. Ask why? How?

I am a very very curious person. I get it from my dad. I don’t know if it’s a super power.

If only I practiced more of this:

“Practice saying less: this is linked to the previous one. Try to talk less and to listen more.”

Introspection retrospective

This is a good article. Read it. But actually, the reason for nothing this is because I’m reading it and thing, “oh yeah, I should totally change the way I do/say/feel about that.” But actually, is there anything wrong with how I do that thing? Am I already doing it that way, but I’ve decided there is a problem to solve when I’m reading these sorts of articles, which is almost everything I’m reading these days, now that I no longer read the news.

Why self control is overrated (my title)

by Samantha Lapka & Franki Kung

I have very little self control, add intoxicants and I’m done. I answer almost every whim. But even sober, I’m not great.

And in this article, I have never feel more understood!

“High self-control can also backfire socially in another way, leading a person to be seen as having less power and status. This is because when people act impulsively, such as speaking their mind or indulging themselves, it can be interpreted as a signal of social power in the sense that the person is not concerned with censoring themselves or with conforming to social expectations. In contrast, when a person with high self-control consistently inhibits their impulsive responses, they’re seen as more predictable and keen to play by the rules, which can lead others to see them as weaker…

Research has shown that, when people reflect on their more distant past, they tend to regret having too much self-control rather than not having enough.

Well this explains a lot.

“Research shows that people with high self-control tend to experience less spontaneous emotion in their daily lives, and a more limited range and reduced intensity of emotions, compared with people who have lower trait self-control.”

Why Write?

By Elisa Gabbert

On reading this piece in the Paris Review, I realised the reason why I write is to see my thoughts come to life it actually thrills me that I can come up with completely made up stuff.

“Beyond the pleasure in itself, the fun for fun’s sake, writing for fun wards off ego and blinding vanity.”

Do words really matter?

By Lawrence M. Krauss

PS. Just had a flick through the magazine I link to here and it’s not one that would bring me joy. But this article is good.

A brilliant essay that reminds us that words don’t actually have any power other than what we attribute to them. If someone say “bitch” I flinch. But that’s because through society, culture and experience, I’ve decided that the word has power of me and is a personal attack. To there people it may not have this effect.

So it’s up to the listener to work on their response to words, not the speaker, who cannot possibly know what will offend whom. It would necessitate extreme self editing.

“I don’t know that there was a “Eureka!” moment or anything like that … It’s just impossible to say “this is a blanket rule.” You’ll see some newspapers print “f blank blank k.” Some print “f asterisk asterisk k.” Some put “f blank blank blank.” Some put the word “bleep.” Some put “expletive deleted.” So there’s no real consistent standard. It’s not a science. It’s a notion that they have and it’s superstitious. These words have no power. We give them this power by refusing to be free and easy with them. We give them great power over us. They really, in themselves, have no power. It’s the thrust of the sentence that makes them either good or bad.”

And this!

“The next time someone says “words matter,” ask them why. If they say it is because words can cause them harm or offense, suggest they consider growing up. That, too, may offend, but maybe those words, and a subsequent discussion, can also do some good.”

And this final suggestion:

“In a world governed by hate and irrationality, it may be true that in the aftermath of violence, words may be the only victors. But in a world where words are treated as if they are both weapons and attackers, and where we shield ourselves from them for fear that they might induce feelings in us that we don’t like, we don’t become the victors—we only further victimize ourselves.”

Ultimately, words don’t have any value, until we give them a value. If they are naughty, sexist, nationalist, ultimately it’s action that determines a person’s value, not the lip service they give.

At The Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell

I appreciate a lot about this book, At The Existentialist Cafe by Sarah Bakewell. And one little thing that I appreciate the most is that she uses so many examples of women as well, which is sadly lacking in most historical writing. I didn’t know I needed to see this so much. I got my copy fromAmazon because I am cheap and impatient.

On keeping notecards

By Billie Oppenheimer

I was reading a few of Billie Oppenheimer’s essays tonight when I came across his idea for notecards.

He says:

  • Always be open to possibilities because ideas are everywhere
  • Don’t worry about creating categories first. You’ll start seeing connectiins after a while, and the categories will create themelves.
  • When writing notes always write them as though someone would be reading it in the future and needed to understand why you notated the information. “Write for a stranger”, he says.
  • Reviewing is the most important part of note taking. Without reviewing, you can’t learn and have it available to you to use.
  • Don’t copy and paste ideas. Actually rewrite them in your own words (literally doing that right now… I copy and paste a lot, though).
  • For this system to work, you have to be discerning. Or as Billie puts it “wide funnel, right filter.”

Dall-e’s interpretation of my post on 2/3/23 about AI.

How AI can prompt your inner artist

By Jim Davies at Nautilus


I have been enjoying Dall-e, the image making AI. As a writer it has been so fun to see little visual representations of my words. It’s really so cool. And I know it will get old eventually but, right now it’s just a blast.

I particulalrly liked Davies’ simple explanation that made me lose the guilt to felt at using it.

” I’ve formed hundreds of images, almost entirely for the pleasure of simply looking at them. Once, I made a series of paintings based on Pac-Man that I was pretty proud of. I e”

Availability Bias

By Dr Hannah Rose at Nesslabs

My understanding of availability bias is that we make decisions based on the most readily available information that comes to mind as we decide. It could be the most recent thing or the most memorable. But it’s not necessarily the most frequent outcomes that come to mind. Just the most memorable.

“…at it’s not possible for humans to consider every piece of relevant information. Instead, we focus on the data within our minds that’s easily available and thus seems to be the most pertinent…

… the natural human tendency to assume that examples we can readily think of are more relevant than they truly are. For example, if you’re looking for a new note-taking app, you might go for a particular tool because you recall that a friend recently raved about it. Or, if you read about a plane crash in the news a week before you are due to fly for work, you may overestimate the likelihood of your own plane crashing…

…When evaluating colleagues, managers may remember the one incident in which a team member accidentally caused a major delay to a project, without recalling the many other days in which the colleague worked without issue.”

The thing is, availability bias can adversely affect or decisions. For example, I’ve had a Dyson vacuum for more than 20 years. It’s been wonderful. If I suddenly started having problems with it, I would judge all future decisions about Dysons based on this most recent judgement.

“To make it easier and quicker to make decisions, our mind applies shortcuts.

But there are a few strategies to manage it. One that stood oit is to practice being devil’s advocate with yourself. This means challenging the ideas that come easily. This is called “red teaming”.

Also, take time to make the decision use the age old “sleeping on it” strategy. It’s like shopping online, chucking things in your basket, then going to another site and doing the same. You say you’ll review tomorrow. Most of the time you forget all about it. It could take a day maybe more, depending on the decision.

Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files

What a brilliant response to a 14 year old kid who asks him how to be more engaged with the creative world and how to enrich his life. This response is for all of us, at any age. It should be our mantra forever.

The master thinker, no mess.

I have been reading a bit of philosophy and personal improvement stuff lately.

Where does it come from? I was never taught to be curious. Is that it? Did I decide “when I’m older, I’m going to ask a lot of questions as if my life depends on it (because it does)?

“Granted, not everyone is an analyst. But once developed, the five habits of the master thinker can improve everyone’s ability to reason more instinctively and make better decisions. Here’s how we can upgrade our minds.”

Well I question this mastery. Once we have mastered ourselves, what then? How are we different from AI? Without the mess, the emotions, the destruction and the joy, then we can be easily replaced by chatGPT.

It’s okay to comment about Madonna’s face. And yes, you’re still a feminist if you do.

This makes me feel the same way I did after I saw Kiss unmasked.

Madonna was fine. I was more a Cyndi Lauper girl. We’ve been told that commenting on a woman’s appearance is misogyny but I disagree. Madonna is a public figure who revels in this shit, and she’s revolting. What she says and does, the proginy she’s shit into the world, these affect the rest of us.

“Madonna is propping up the very systems she claims to be standing up against (ageism, misogyny) by refusing to let her aging female body age visibly…

Unfortunately, the fluffy form of pop feminism that dominates today’s media landscape tells us that when we call out women who perpetuate misogynistic beauty beliefs — like the idea that the unmodified, aging female face is unsightly and should be avoided at all costs — we’re the ones Doing A Misogyny™. This is a tactic employed by people who would like to preserve the aspects of the patriarchy that benefit them…

imagine if women retained the money, time, energy, effort, and brain space they dedicate to physical “beauty”? The force of that power would topple the sexist structures Western society is built upon. That is the political point of beauty culture — to keep women (primarily) consuming and consumed — and on that point, Madonna and the misogynists are in alignment.”

Freddy DeBoer on why things are no longer just that thing.

Like, for example, music reviews used to be about the music and the making of the album and the instruments and the lyrics and melody and the band members. Now it’s about what it represents. And, in my opinion, because current popular music does not involve actual musicians, uteans the performers are simply influencers who sing. That means they must stand for something. They are the great god of something.

6 strategies that will make you a better reader and person

Well this is just brilliant. In his Ted Talk, Ryan Holiday gives some sound advice. Like asking someone you admire for a book recommendation. And getting out of a reading slump by rereading something that you’ve loved in the past. And rereading the classics, especially if you were much younger when you first read them.

“Keep a commonplace book
In his book Old School, Tobias Wolff’s semi-autobiographical character takes the time to type out quotes and passages from great books to feel great writing come through him. I do this almost every weekend in what I call a “commonplace book” — a collection of quotes, ideas, stories and facts that I want to keep for later. It’s made me a much better writer and a wiser person.”

Being in awe, by great music, design, ideas, whatever, makes us feel insignificant. And why is that good?

From Shahram Heshmat PhD Psychology Today

“The experience of awe can have a profound impact on our mental health, by allowing us to put our anxieties into perspective. When we are in the presence of something vast and indescribable, we feel insignificant, and so do our worries. The experience of awe lifts us out of the ordinary practical thoughts that dominate our daily lives. And it allows us to have inner peace.”


Mark Manson teaches us how to read more books.

I am a completely for the most part. Actually I’ve changed most recently, in the last few years. I always felt I absolutely had to finish a book once I started it, no matter how much I didn’t like it. Well fuck that. I skipped so much of the middle of The Goldfinch when we were in Vegas. Fuck that. I love that book but it needed a serious edit. Or am I just not understanding a new form of fiction writing?

Karl Marx: Sicily and the Sicilians

This is a most interesting take:

Give up on your hopes and dreams

Okay now this one is seriously blowing my mind.

What I think this means is that we should stop planning so rigedly. Like if your family expects you to go to uni, become a lawyer, get married to the right person, belong to the right groups. It becomes so forced and narrow that you may not see the other wild opportunities around you.

“At one point in the documentary, she talks with director Patrick Nation about how we use hopes, dreams and utopias to cope with our lives. In our society, dreams and hopes are celebrated as something one should never give up on and are upheld as almost absolute values. Thaemlitz dismantles this assumption in a few sentences by affirming that life can only be engaged if we give up on those hopes and dreams. She uses the metaphor of the tool kit, with hope and dreams being the tools we forcefully use in everyday life that work most of the time but, in reality, blind us from seeing there might be other, more suitable tools we could use instead.”

Maybe the only utopia I could imagine for myself was already there, just in a different form from what I had imagined or someone else had induced me to picture in my mind.”

Why curiosity trumps smartness.


“Curious people become smart by accident.

Their curiosity simply pushes them into various rabbit holes.

Guided by a childish desire to understand why something is the way it is, they end up exploring webs full of strange to them, initially, things.

The relentless desire to explore the world we live in. To understand why people behave the way they do. To investigate what caused something to work makes them read articles, books, even old newspapers and look for solutions outside their field of work.

It’s harder for them to get things, but their uncommon hunger to figure out how exactly things work helps them overcome their lack of intellect.”

Omg. Life lessons by Frederico Fellini.


“I’ve learned that there are people who are such a pain in the ass that they are a real ornament to the testicles.

I’ve learned that there is nothing more intoxicating than sticking to your choice. And then getting it wrong.I’ve learned that nostalgia tastes like hot chocolateBut most of all, I’ve learned that the really important days in a person’s life are five or six in all.

All the others just make volume.

So sixty years from now, you won’t remember the day you graduated from college or the day you won an Oscar.

You’ll remember that night when you and your friends, the real ones, smoked 10 cigarettes each and inebriated, sang your hearts out in the rain-soaked streets.”

How to travel like and Italian woman.

We should all aspire to this, on any budget.


Jennifer Coolidge

Terrific long-form article and interview with Jennifer Coolidge. She is so perfectly described.


4 Ways I’ve Changed My Mind in the Past 10 Years by Mark Manson

“When you come to the conclusion that trust matters more than anything else, it calls upon you to do two things:

Trust others, even when you are entirely aware that you may be punished for it. Trust can only be built if people are willing to trust and be hurt as a result. Be that person.
Maintain the utmost integrity. Do not lie, cheat, or steal from others. Do not take advantage of others. Do not manipulate others. Become the person who deserves other people’s trust.”

On genetics:

Genetics are like the gravity of our personality. Sure, you can train yourself to be more social, to feel less anxious, to be more charismatic, but the degree to which you can change these things will always be limited by your genetics.

This subject gets particularly touchy when it comes to childhood and trauma. If you accept the premise that you are capable of changing anything about yourself, then the most logical explanation for why you’re not the way you want to be is that your parents/childhood fucked you up. As a result, a lot of self-help and cheap therapy will spend a lot of time going over every upsetting experience you ever had as a child, as if that solves anything.

But the science doesn’t really back this up. You don’t have anger issues because your parents never respected your feelings growing up. You most likely have anger issues because your parents have anger issues, and their parents had anger issues, and so on.

On becoming a (not very radical) capitalist:

Look, I get why so many millennials identify with socialism. The two biggest industries that have dominated our lifetimes — tech and finance — have produced innovations that have arguably not made society any better, and potentially made things much worse. As Peter Thiel once said, “We asked for flying cars and instead all we got was Twitter…

In theory, government regulation is great. Humans have a tendency to be selfish and greedy and we need some centralized system to check businesses and industries when they get out of line.”

Most regulations are not regulations as much as they are unnecessary headaches for business owners and free money for corporate lawyers who help you navigate the bullshit. They put a drag on commerce and in most cases, fail to deter the bad behavior they are meant to.”

100 Tips for a Better Life by Ideopunk

95. Some types of sophistication won’t make you enjoy the object more, they’ll make you enjoy it less. For example, wine snobs don’t enjoy wine twice as much as you, they’re more keenly aware of how most wine isn’t good enough. Avoid sophistication that diminishes your enjoyment.

98. People don’t realize how much they hate commuting. A nice house farther from work is not worth the fraction of your life you are giving to boredom and fatigue.

On trust:

Trust others, even when you are entirely aware that you may be punished for it. Trust can only be built if people are willing to trust and be hurt as a result. Be that person.
Maintain the utmost integrity. Do not lie, cheat, or steal from others. Do not take advantage of others. Do not manipulate others. Become the person who deserves other people’s trust.

Contrarians FTW

I think I’m just a contrarian. It’s an apt description. Or maybe just a lowly provocateur.

“Herding also comes with an intoxicating sense of power: as members of a crowd, we feel much stronger and braver than we are in fact. And sometimes we act accordingly…

Once caught up in the maelstrom, it is extremely difficult to hold back: you see it as your duty to participate. Any act of lynching, ancient or modern, literal or on social media, displays this feature…

André Gide observed once that:

the real value of an author consists in his revolutionary force, or more exactly … in his quality of opposition. A great artist is of necessity a ‘nonconformist’ and he must swim against the current of his day.

What Gide says about the ‘great artist’ applies to the great philosopher, too. The ability to ‘swim against the current’ should be seen as an absolute prerequisite for the thinking profession…

This usually means an open confrontation with the priestly caste in charge of preserving the established knowledge, followed by the thinker’s marginalisation, excommunication and ostracisation…

For all their panache, courage and occasional success, contrarians are never winners. They may win a battle or two, but they can’t win the war.”

No News is great news:


I am currently rereading this article because no news is a goal for me in 2023 and this is me, to a T.

“So what is the news anyway? In its simplest and most universal definition news is information about recent events or happenings. That’s it…

Newspaper magnates and journalists soon realised that for them to win out in this newly formed attention economy their newspapers would have to be sensational…

Think of the prestige drama series showing Sunday broadsheets and French Press coffee and witty repartee at the breakfast island within the characters’ minimalist yet vast penthouse apartment with its expensive furniture and panoramic views of the metropolis outside. Such images go into our minds and we begin to model them mimetically- and if we can’t have the whole high flying lifestyle we can at least emulate the newspaper toting or smartphone swiping aspect of the vision quite easily…

News-following, then, can be a signifier of a certain aspiration, of a desire to be seen as intelligent, worldly, caring, in-the-know. It strikes me as an adolescent’s attempt to appear to be an adult by wearing their parent’s much larger shoes and suit jacket…

The democracy and society improving aspects of news-following are its foundational doctrine, as we have hinted at above, but they do not hold up to the light of reason. Think about it. As the Swiss writer and former news junkie turned anti-news advocate Rolf Dobelli has observed “[The average person] has devoured 20,000 news items in the past 12 months- 60 per day at a conservative estimate. Did a single one help you make a better decision about your life, family, career, well-being or business?”

The Sister Wound:


“There was a time we weren’t afraid of each other’s powers because we knew that each and every one of us are powerful in our own right. There was a time where women were leaders and we understood that it truly takes a village.

Then came patriarchy.

Patriarchs were aware and afraid of a female’s power to command peace and harmony among all living beings, and this didn’t really fly with their agenda of owning and controlling their reality. In order to gain control, a carefully crafted cocktail of patriarchal religions, brute force, and fearmongering (sound familiar) was used to split apart these peaceful societies and divide women from each other.”

Another one: https://www.reflectivehealing.com/blog/fortcollins/therapy/reflectivehealing/the-sister-wound-and-womens-circles

There used to be times when we were gathering together, when we weren’t putting each other down, where there wasn’t a need to undermine one another. Women would gather at the well, eat together at tables, or gather in nature together and create magical healing experiences where they would listen to one another and learn from their wisdom. Women started to become more powerful, more vocal. They started to make changes in their town and communities. ..

When we spend time and energy fighting each other, we are not spending any energy fighting a system of oppression that hurts us all. When we put down other women, we simultaneously hold up this system, and we put down a part of ourselves.