Summary of “Umberto Eco: The Productivity Patterns of a Polymath”

An interviewer once asked Umberto Eco, “Do you ever not work?”.
Let us look to an essay from Umberto Eco’s How to Travel with a Salmon & Other Essays, titled How to Spend Time.
“In a normal year there are 8,760 hours. Reckon eight hours’ sleep per night, one hour a day to get up, shave, and dress, add a half hour for undressing and setting the glass of water on the commode, and no more than two hours for meals, and we reach a total of 4,197.5 hours.”The calculations continue, running through teaching duties, academic papers, advising, email, writing, travel, conferences, until.
“Okay,” you say, “That’s not so bad. A lot of people work for eight hours a day.”
Second, these numbers Eco mentions are “Assuming I do not write a book”.
Eco also mentions he has “Not calculated the time spent reading printed matter”.
Pretty impressive, no? Eco easily worked four times as much as the average American.
Plenty of academics, creatives and entrepreneurs work just as hard.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What does it mean for a journalist today to be a Serious Reader?”

Love of reading was, if not innate, second nature: his mother, a linguistics professor; father, an English professor; brother, an art critic; and four sisters, all Ph.Ds. The labor of writing, as he’s put it, “Is, if not uniquely hard work, then uniquely draining.” Reading afterward is emotionally and intellectually replenishing.
Journalists would seem to have a professional responsibility, maybe even a public duty, to self-educate with greater strategy and intensity-to be Serious Readers.
My reporting was bound to overlook brilliant, worthy readers, but to help identify which journalists exemplify lifestyles of Serious Reading, it was useful to follow chains of admiration.
As he once explained, “I spend half my day writing about television, and the other half writing about books, and I read instead of sleep.” One way or another, Serious Readers must overcome a basic problem: There are only so many hours in a day.
There may not be an entrance exam for journalists, but is there a threshold of reading necessary to earn credibility covering a topic-some quantity of books read, or some familiarity with seminal works? On a basic level, sure, but that also misses the lesson of Traister’s childhood.
Her work reading aligns almost perfectly with what she’d read for pleasure.
As a teen, Christopher Hitchens was a voracious but directionless reader, later recalling, “I was too brittle to decide among so many possible treats.” If only he had a Serious Reading Pyramid, right?
“To be a good reader, paradoxically, doesn’t mean being a discriminating reader, it means being an omnivorous reader,” he explains.

The orginal article.

Summary of “If you can’t explain something in simple terms, you don’t understand it”

In the early 1960s, Richard Feynman gave a series of undergraduate lectures that were collected into a book called the Feynman Lectures on Physics.
Absent from the book was a lecture Feynman gave on planetary motion, but a later finding of the notes enabled David Goodstein, a colleague of Feynman’s, to write a book about it: Feynman’s Lost Lecture.
He prided himself on being able to devise ways to explain even the most profound ideas to beginning students.
Once, I said to him, “Dick, explain to me, so that I can understand it, why spin one-half particles obey Fermi-Dirac statistics.” Sizing up his audience perfectly, Feynman said, “I’ll prepare a freshman lecture on it.” But he came back a few days later to say, “I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t reduce it to the freshman level. That means we don’t really understand it.”
Engineers are expected to be able to explain a complex technology or product in simple, easily-understood terms not because the executive needs it explained simply to understand it, but as proof that the engineer understands it completely.
Feynman was well known for simple explanations of scientific concepts that result a in deeper understanding of the subject matter: e.g. see Feynman explaining how fire is stored sunshine, rubber bands, how trains go around curves, and magnets.
Critically, he’s also not shy about admitting when he doesn’t understand somethingor, alternately, when scientists as a group don’t understand something.
I really can’t do a good job, any job, of explaining magnetic force in terms of something else you’re more familiar with, because I don’t understand it in terms of anything else you’re more familiar with.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Retain More From The Books You Read In 5 Simple Steps”

Here’s the thing: It’s not about how many books you read, it’s about how much you retain from what you read. Most people I talk to don’t have a reading strategy.
I’m often asked: “How do you remember information you read in books?” In this post, I’ll explain my system.
Have A Purpose Before I even think about which books I’m going to read, I think about what I’m trying to achieve.
That’s why you need a purpose to read. What’s going on in your life? Are you building a business? Going through a divorce? Looking for a job? Trying to take the next step in your career? Do you want to get more things done?
Only read books that teach you how to overcome your current challenges.
If you think books are sacred and shouldn’t be highlighted and written on, you will never retain a lot from books.
If you read digitally, you only need your finger-just don’t forget to highlight interesting passages.
I remember vividly when I read How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie for the first time.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Buying houses in cash and selling millions: meet self-publishing’s ‘hidden’ authors”

In a world in which traditionally published authors struggle to make £7,000 a year from their work, it is no wonder Houghton says: “I feel like I have won the lottery.”
A handful of writers who top the Kindle charts, including LJ Ross and Rachel Abbott, have also defied rejections from publishers and agents to knock out seven-figure sales for their brand of crime and thriller writing.
“As a writer, I feel uninhibited about what I write,” she explains.
Agent Lizzy Kremer says the freedom to write outside genre norms was why agents and publishers once kept a close eye on self-published authors, as digital downloads were effective tests for readers’ appetites.
Amazon had identified the “Gap in the market for authors writing books that publishers didn’t feel able to publish”, explains Kremer, whose clients include The Girl on the Train writer Paula Hawkins.
Even Abbott has not kept it up: in the US she has published two of her books with one of Amazon’s traditional publishing divisions, Thomas & Mercer – a crime and thriller imprint that now handles all the extra tasks Abbott handled herself, from jacket design to editing.
As Hollywood once co-opted the independent cinema boom, conglomerate publishers have rushed into a digital book market that was once ruled by individual writers armed with no more than a PC and an idea.
For an industry that is supposedly the playground for risk takers, it is a sad thought that self-publishing may in the future be dictated by the same thinking that drives the traditional publishers: prioritising risk avoidance over experimental and unique writing, always scrambling to keep up with rivals by pumping out imitations of every “Surprise” success: Gone Girl, Fifty Shades, The Da Vinci Code and The Girl on the Train.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The new class markers of the American elite: In “The Theory of the Leisure Class,” Elizabeth Currid-Halkett updates our ideas of conspicuous consumption”

Being wealthy has become so passé that rich people are increasingly choosing not to display that wealth-that’s the theory behind a new book exploring the changing consumption habits of rich people in the West.
In 1899, the American economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen published the classic polemic The Theory of the Leisure Class.
In her new book, The Sum of Small Things: A Theory of the Aspirational Class, Currid-Halkett takes aim at “Aspirationals”-the group that she sees as the new elite.
Conspicuous consumption is decreasing among the rich now that everybody can do it.
Currid-Halkett says this led to the “Democratization of conspicuous consumption,” which has made consumer products a less appealing way for the wealthy to show their class.
Rather, acts of conspicuous consumption are now focused on limited edition versions of goods that are difficult to imitate, like $20,000 Birkin bags and rare vintage wines.
Currid-Halkett demonstrates this recent decline of conspicuous consumption among wealthy Americans through an original analysis of US household consumption data.
Inconspicuous consumption is the new conspicuous consumption.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Carson Wentz on Year 2; Peter King’s Father’s Day Books”

Every year I urge those with dads or significant male others to buy those of the fatherly persuasion a book for Father’s Day instead of struggling to find something that he’ll use but is it really imaginative or does it speak to him? I’m a little nutty about this.
“The thing is, I never pressed last year,” Wentz said.
“Did anything last year, making that jump from North Dakota to the NFL, bug you?” I wondered.
In the Eagles’ OTAs-important not just for Wentz, but also for his chemistry with new receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith-he said he feels faster and more comfortable in his second year under offensive coordinator Frank Reich.
On the topic of hunting, Wentz, who turns 25 this year, did a lot of it with American League MVP and Eagles season-ticket holder Mike Trout, 26.
Last year Executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman dealt two starting defenders, plus first-, second-, third- and fourth-round picks to move from 15 to eight, then eight to two, in the draft to pick Wentz.
Used books, new books, staff-recommendation books, an area of people reading to kids Spent 90 minutes there, and could have spent days.
Melvin Ingram, who signed a four-year, $66-million deal over the weekend, according to Adam Schefter, plays the year at 28.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Rambling Glory of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Speech”

As you’ll recall, Bob Dylan won the prize in Literature last October to officially collect the title-plus the roughly nine-hundred-thousand-dollar bundle of cash that comes with it-winners must deliver a lecture within six months of the Swedish Academy’s official awards ceremony in December, which Dylan skipped.
Dylan was grateful for the Nobel; he said as much in the brief remarks that he submitted to be read in absentia at the December ceremony.
Dylan submitted his lecture, four thousand and eight words long, to the Swedes on June 5th. You can read it here, and listen, too; Dylan made a recording of his text, speaking for twenty-seven minutes over a smoky, meditative jazz-piano arrangement.
If Dylan got all that from listening to music, Robert Zimmerman had got it first, from reading books: ” ‘Don Quixote,’ ‘Ivanhoe,’ ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ ‘Tale of Two Cities,’ all the rest-typical grammar-school reading that gave you a way of looking at life, an understanding of human nature, and a standard to measure things by,” he says.
The language is almost entirely descriptive, mind-bogglingly so; it is as if Dylan is writing for an audience that has never heard of the books he names.
Don’t tell me Dylan can’t write like the best of them.
We feel their work in our brains and in our guts, in the blood coursing in our veins and the adrenaline swelling our necks, in the way our hearts contract with pain or swell with joy as we read. That is clearly what great literature has done for Dylan, and he makes us feel it, too, in the way that he writes about the books he loves, with a passion stripped of any pretense.
“That’s what songs are, too. Our songs are alive in the land of the living.” Dylan never needed to make that trade.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Happened When I Woke Up at 4:30 for 30 Days”

I’m always excited to get up and get going on the first day of an assignment, even this one, so waking up wasn’t too bad. In fact, I woke up on my own at 4:14.
So does the daunting prospect of writing one magazine story at a time for the rest of my life.
I set them down when it’s time to start my “Real” day and pick them up again the next day.
So far I’ve stayed up beyond 9 p.m. exactly three times, and even with those early bedtimes, I often feel like a frazzled pile of goo.
This reinforces a thought I have been tinkering with since Day 4 or so, an idea that has been on the margins of my consciousness but I haven’t been able to put into words: I don’t need to get up at 4:30 a.m. to find time to do something that I always wanted to do but never had time for.
In order to be able to get up at 4:30 and be a functioning human, I’ve gone to bed at 8:30 p.m. almost every night, which means my wife and I haven’t spent as much time alone together as I’d like, by which I mean exactly what you think I mean.
I don’t need to get up at 4:30 a.m. to find time to do something that I always wanted to do but never had time for.
My 4:30 a.m. time still feels fresh.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How ‘The Jordan Rules’ Created the Era of NBA Gossip”

How to understand how much mind-blowing, Woj-like reporting is stuffed into The Jordan Rules? Let’s turn to page 95.It’s November 1990.
With only a touch of irony, Playboy called Jordan “The quintessential gentleman, consummate sportsman, clean-living family man and modest, down-to-earth levitating demigod.” Jordan’s image was so tied to his affability that he once told reporters he had a frequent dream: He had made an off-the-court mistake, and his Q score had dropped, and all his doubters said, “I told you so.” “It’s like they’ve been waiting for it and now it’s here,” Jordan said.
Cartwright told Jordan that if he heard of a similar ukase, Jordan would “never play basketball again.
Midway through the season, Jordan meets Jerry Reinsdorf alone at Reinsdorf’s house, and the owner gently explains that Jordan would never have the GM powers that LeBron James would acquire a generation later.
Do the elderly Lakers really beat the Bulls if Jordan doesn’t pass off? How many titles does Jordan win if he keeps hogging the ball - only four or five? But in 1991, the idea that Jordan was an exciting but somehow deficient basketball player was every bit as powerful as the idea that Russell Westbrook is one today.
Jordan talked about The Jordan Rules for days, weeks, and even years, giving it the same side eye he had given Gary Payton.
Another golf buddy came out with a book detailing Jordan’s gambling, which rated less as a Woj bomb than a Woj IED. By 1994, Jordan was playing minor league baseball, a decision that owed something to his father’s murder and how little fun he was having off the court.
First, Smith created an image of Jordan that was as indelible as - even while it was at odds with - the image in Jordan’s TV ads.

The orginal article.