TAoN No. 113: A slew of useful tips and ideas. Plus: Color Code update, and more.
Hi, hello, how are you?
Have you fallen behind on reading this newsletter? I forgive you! I spent a good chunk of the weekend catching up on reading — and that very much included a bunch of my favorite newsletters that I’d fallen behind on. So much good stuff!
In fact, I was inspired to put together a roundup of highlights from some of those newsletters. (As I have done before.) Here goes:
A dozen books worth reading, from the indispensable Austin Kleon.
A particularly charming edition of the wonderful Subtle Maneuvers explains why the artist Charles Ray walks to Burger King all the time: “Ray, an inveterate walker, has described a daily routine that informs his thinking: ‘I go to Burger King every day, not to eat but to think. I went to one in Madrid at four in the morning; it’s just like the one in LA, identical. Who is there, and what are they being promised?’”
“Ask nothing more of yourself than to be 1% better than you were yesterday.” TAoN fave Rubi McGrory’s Iridescent Ordinary has had a recent cycle of posts related to Kaizen, described as “the art of creating continuous improvement in your life.” This post is public, but if you want to immerse further she has related subscriber-only posts here, here, and here. All good stuff. (Yes I am a paid subscriber.)
Of potential use to any of you who are with me on my recent aspiration to learn more about nature: “Monumental Trees, a website where people all over the world can submit their tree photos that you can filter by species and country.” Also Recommendo!
Love (20% of) what you do. I find this argument fascinating: “‘Find what you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life’ [sounds good, but] there's no data backing that up at all. What you do find though, is that the most successful people in any role that you would care to study find certain aspects of what they do that they love. They don't love everything, but every day they find certain moments, situations, or people, where they find the love in what they do. That is a much more achievable and realistic aim … Research from the Mayo Clinic suggests that 20% is a really good threshold. … A little love every day goes an awfully long way.” That’s Marcus Buckingham in the (friend of TAoN) Dorie Clark Newsletter.
Related, and also from The Dorie Clark Newsletter, Nataly Kogan says: “There's a saying … ‘find work you love and you'll never work a day in your life.’ What a bunch of nonsense. … [C]aring about your work so much that you never disconnect … is a huge cause of burnout. I didn't burn out because I hated my job. I burned out because I love my work so much.” Interesting.
All about those cool new tech product features you will never use: Another smart issue of Shira Ovide’s On Tech newsletter for the NYT.
I always look forward to The Underthink, a monthly newsletter from friend of TAoN Lucian James. Lately I’ve been thinking again about this issue from earlier this year: “Fudō Myōō shows that anger has a power you can use, but a power that needs to be respected. Anger doesn’t need to end up in fighting or violence, but it does need to find an expression.”
So, that’s a lot! I hope you find some of it useful – and that you’ll feel free to share your newsletter tips.
The Art of Noticing is Rob Walker’s newsletter about attention, creativity, and staying human. Your support makes it possible.
Color Code Update
A few weeks back I shared a prompt from TAoN friend and collaborator Joshua Glenn, to “look at color in a deeper way”:
The goal is to pay close attention to various specific material manifestations of color in everyday life — a splash of red from the label of an old tomato sauce can that you use to store loose change, say, or the blue handles on a trusty pair of scissors that you use every day.
Want to join in? Post a photo of a meaningful (to you) color manifestation to Instagram, explaining the back story, with the hashtag #colorcodestory. Or leave your thoughts in the comments here or on HILO.
As I mentioned in the recent Annual Report issue for paid subscribers, the free Monday edition of TAoN is going back to its old every-other-week cadence. So the next free issue will be in two weeks — and will include a new icebreaker!
In this coming Thursday’s subscriber-only edition (which remains weekly) I’ll be writing about my admiration of a Hero of Noticing known for his innovative response to … potholes.
Last Thursday I wrote about The Rule of Five (by Five) in the second post in an occasional series on coping with social media.
For access to past and future Thursday posts, discussion threads, and other surprises, become a paid subscriber.
In Other News
I had a fun time answering Debbie Millman’s questions for her series “What Matters,” for Print.
Speaking of COLOR CODE and of excellent newsletters, the great Mark Frauenfelder responded to Josh’s prompt in this (subscriber-only) issue of The Magnet, which is always full of pleasing surprises. (I’m a paid subscriber.)
Design During Wartime (continued): “Straw Dolls That Look Like Putin Keep Appearing in Japanese Shrines.” Not really clear why.
E and I ended up watching the entire fictionalized Sex Pistols series (Pistol) on Hulu, even though it wasn’t so great. But the Sex Pistols are endlessly fascinating, and after it ended E found this enjoyable one-hour doc from BBC, on YouTube. There’s a point where the sound goes out for a couple of minutes, but it returns. There are better docs, for sure, but it’s got some fun stuff!
RIP Julee Cruise. I did not know she did a stint with the B-52’s, filling in for Cindy Wilson on tour in 1992. Here she is with the band on an Argentine TV show, and Cruise looks like she’s having the time of her life.
And finally, this (I can’t actually read the lengthy caption but I assume it’s nice?):
Okay that’s it!
As always, I value your feedback (suggestions, critiques, positive reinforcement, constructive insults, etc.), as well as your tips or stories or personal noticing rituals, things we need a word for, and of course your icebreakers: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or use the comments.
—> Or just click the heart symbol. That always makes my day.
And thanks for reading …
All this by Rob Walker PO Box 171, 748 Mehle St., Arabi LA 70032
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