Book Club,Thoughts — December 31, 2011

My apologies for not sharing any books these past few months. I’ve been reading on a Kindle. And Amazon, it seems, doesn’t agree that second hand books are worth handing down to the digital age.

There is a tip I’d like to share. Something that has worked very well for me is to identify a writer I love. Read everything they have written. Read what they read. And continue ad infinitum.

For the last five years I’ve pretty much exclusively read fiction. Dostoyevsky to Kafta to Kundera to Cervantas and now Vargas Llosa. But I could not resist reading Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs (I highly recommend it!).

Since then I continued with Einstein. And currently Benjamin Franklin. But back to the first two…

Einstein and Jobs are connected in more ways than dying and being born (respectively) in the same year.  I’ve wanted to write about my favorite connection for some time. Since today is the last day of 2011, it probably explains my sense of urgency.

I remember watching Jonathan Ive’s speech at “Celebrating Steve” and being moved to tears by what he said:

Now while hopefully the work appeared inevitable. Appeared simple, and easy, it really cost. It cost us all, didn’t it?

But you know what? It cost him most. He cared the most. He worried the most deeply. He constantly questioned, ‘Is this good enough? Is this right?’

And despite all his successes, all his achievements, he never presumed, he never assumed, that we would get there in the end. And when the ideas didn’t come, and when the prototypes failed, it was with great intent, with faith, he decided to believe we would eventually make something great.

But it wasn’t until Einstein’s biography that I started thinking about caring in the large scope of life. Physicist Lee Smolin described Einstein as, “a gardener weeding a flower bed.” He wrote:

I believe what allowed Einstein to achieve so much was primarily a moral quality. He simply cared far more than most of his colleagues that the laws of physics have to explain everything in nature coherently and consistently.

Care about what you do. Sweat the small stuff. Charles Eames once said, “The details are not the details. They are the product”. I believe this to my core. My New Year’s Resolution is simple: To care even more.

Happy New Year!

Hero vs Coward.

Thoughts — December 7, 2011

“I tell my kids, what is the difference between a hero and a coward? What is the difference between being yellow and being brave? No difference. Only what you do. They both feel the same. They both fear dying and getting hurt. The man who is yellow refuses to face up to what he’s got to face. The hero is more disciplined and he fights those feelings off and he does what he has to do. But they both feel the same, the hero and the coward. People who watch you judge you on what you do, not how you feel.”

—Cus D’amato, legendary boxing trainer

The Secret of Life

Thoughts — December 4, 2011

I find it hard to believe I have never seen these 46 seconds before:

“When you grow up you, tend to get told that the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world, try not to bash into the walls too much, try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life. Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.” – Steve Jobs

So true.

(found via

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