This isn’t me. Also, that’s a newspaper. But hey, close enough. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash.

Some Random Dude’s Top 10 Reads of 2017

This year, like other years, I read stuff.

And some of it was pretty good. So I figured I’d share my favorite books of 2017 along with my strongly biased summaries of them. The goal is to give you another data point to consider when choosing what to read next, based on the opinion of either a stranger on the internet or, if I know you (hi!), based on how much you like me (or, more likely, don’t).

  • Language doesn’t always have to wear a tie and lace up shoes. The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader feel welcome and then tell a story
  • Locals and texture are more important than physical description… a few well chosen details that will stand for everything else… Fresh images, simple vocab
  • Perceived progress: feeling like you’re getting better and can see the improvement curve. He mentions a cool study that found that three small promotions felt more satisfying for employees than one large promotion (with the sum of the benefits of the 3 being equal to the 1)
  • Connectedness: the social network around you. For employees, for example, the number of friends at work is a strong predictor of how engaged an employee is with their work
  • Vision/Meaning: feeling like you’re involved in something bigger than yourself — beyond money/profits/being the best
  • The routine: your brain executing some sort of physical, mental or emotional behavior, like going out for a drink with colleagues after a long day’s work
  • The reward: a positive result (broadly defined) which reinforces the loop, like socializing or the relaxing effect of alcohol
A long day’s work, defined in this illustration as starting from the morning and going all the way to 3:30 pm, after which you go get drunk and binge on bagels in the cafeteria.
  • This, I say, is the highest duty and the highest proof of wisdom: that deed and word should be in accord, that a man should be equal to himself under all conditions.
  • You say ‘but the troubles are serious’. What? Is it for this purpose that we are strong, that we may have light burdens to bear?

A Damn Optimist | Newslettering @ damnoptimist.substack.com

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