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!


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