Summary of “So you want to read classic books during the coronavirus pandemic”

If you are the kind of person who likes to embark upon a project in times of stress, there are worse choices during quarantine than trying to read your way through a bunch of the classic great books.
If your only plan is to read books you vaguely understand to be classics, the idea of starting can be overwhelming.
Books for when you want something familiar and accessible If you want a classic that you can probably finish in about a day and still be able to get plenty out of, turn to the high school reading list staples: They won’t be very long or very dense, and plenty of them are damn good books.
If you want to read back in time, to ease your way into the transition, start with Jane Austen.
You might feel intimidated by the number of pages, but I promise you that if you can read other 19th-century literature, these books are all well within your capabilities as a reader.
Now is the time for The Waves! Now is the time for Ulysses! Now is the time for formal prose experiments that you’re not totally sure you’ll ever fully grasp but want to read anyway, just to see if you can!
Read the Zora Canon, a list of the 100 greatest books by African American women writers.
There are so many books out there waiting for you to read them, and so many of them are good.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why You Should Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time”

A workplace study found an average working professional experiences 87 interruptions per day, making it difficult to remain productive and focused for a full day.
Knowing something had to give, Congdon began to adjust her approach to work and restructured her day to achieve the same amount of output, without working around the clock.
The key to maintaining focus and energy in shorter bursts was to apply flexibility to those segments – she could use some for exercise, some for meditation, some for work.
Getting rest within her workday helped lower stress levels and therefore achieve better results within the allotted time for working, Congdon found.
While our culture may be pushing us towards working 24/7, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silcon Valley consultant and author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, believes this is not helping us to be more productive or to come up with creative solutions.
There are a number of approaches to mastering the art of deep work – be it lengthy retreats dedicated to a specific task; developing a daily ritual; or taking a ‘journalistic’ approach to seizing moments of deep work when you can throughout the day.
In the past, Justin Gignac, co-founder of freelance network Working Not Working, left little room in his routine to be lazy.
Now, he believes it is important to build time to kick back and let his brain think by itself, and is one of many successful people debunking the myth that working more equals working best.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 10 Weirdest Paths to Superstardom”

The pint-size dancer won a coveted spot as a Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader while in college, shooting to the role of head choreographer by the time she was 19.
In no time Abdul was Janet Jackson’s right-hand lady, creating signature moves like the snakey one in “Pleasure Principle” before scoring her own record deal.
Twice rejected for a spot as a fly girl on the sketch comedy show In Living Color, Jennifer Lopez finally took the stage in 1990, dancing alongside future Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba.
Justin found a girlfriend and a future bandmate in Britney and JC Chasez respectively, and Britney and Christina went on to score solo record deals during a time of boy-and-girl-band mania.
Sean “Puffy” Combs honed his managerial instincts by dropping out of Howard University for an unpaid internship at the now-defunct hip hop label Uptown Records.
In real life, the girl who played Sally on TV grew up to become the lead singer of a band that performs to sold-out stadiums and disappointed Superbowl-goers.
Before Diana Ross signed to Motown Records, she worked as a secretary for Motown CEO Berry Gordy.
At the time, Gordy considered Ross too young to represent, so he paid her to file papers in the Motown offices until she turned 17, at which point he relented.

The orginal article.

Summary of “There’s No Way To Prepare For Grief”

Time is of the essence, he said in September of 2004 as he sat with his siblings in my aunt’s condo in Connecticut, trying to understand why my mother’s body had been giving way.
Time is of the essence, my uncle told me, when just a week and half later, my mother unexpectedly fell into cardiac and respiratory arrest, and was intubated and put on a ventilator in the ICU. I wasn’t sure what my uncle meant then – was he still hopeful? But I understood that this was his way of preparing for his sister’s inevitable death.
My extended family could not speak to one another in our grief.
Without my mother, we fell into our own pockets of Connecticut, where there were no neighbors who looked like us; no restaurants in which we could convene that served the Cantonese food my parents grew up eating in Hong Kong and Guangzhou; no places where we could dependably hear Chinese dialects.
How could we attempt to steel ourselves for all the ways these American systems have failed us – were never meant for some of us – and have left our loved ones and the most vulnerable to die? It’s the time it takes to learn the answers to questions like this that feel so excruciating; it’s seeing tragedies unfold in slow motion; it’s the plodding approach of an inevitable grief.
Despite his timing, my uncle’s mantra was ultimately one of hope, which is a useful emotion to channel in times of uncertainty.
You can’t prepare for everything; you can’t ready yourself for the way loss shocks and stuns and debilitates.
Look after all of us, okay? I hoped that now, in death, wherever he was, that he no longer felt so pressed for time.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Being James Brown: Inside the Private World of the Baddest Man Who Ever Lived”

The statue’s back is to what was in 1993 renamed James Brown Boulevard, which cuts from Broad Street for a mile, deep into the neighborhood where James Brown was raised from age six, by his aunts, in a Twiggs Street house that was a den of what James Brown himself calls “Gambling, moonshine liquor and prostitution.” The neighborhood around Twiggs is still devastatingly sunk in poverty’s ruin.
“Sounds good,” James Brown says, “But it sounds canned. We got to get some James Brown in there.” Here it is, the crux of the matter: He wasn’t in the room; ipso facto, it isn’t James Brown music.
Suddenly, James Brown is possessed by an instant of Kabuki insecurity: “I’m recording myself out of a group.” This brings a spontaneous response from several players, a collective murmur of sympathy and allegiance, most audibly saxophonist Jeff’s “We’re not going anywhere, sir.” Reassured, James Brown paradoxically regales the band with another example of his imperious command, telling the story of a drummer, a man named Nat Kendrick, who left the room to go to the bathroom during the recording of “Night Train.” James Brown, too impatient to wait, played the drum part himself, and the recording was completed by the time Nat Kendrick returned.
For my part as a witness, if I could convey only one thing about James Brown it would be this: James Brown is, like Billy Pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, a man unstuck in time.
James Brown then tells of playing craps on the road. “I won enough from the Moonglows to buy myself a Cadillac. Them cats was so mad they stole my shoes. Wilson Pickett, all these guys, I look so clean, they don’t think I can play. I was a street man even though I had a suit on.” But his stake in being thought of as the luckiest man alive is compromised by an eagerness to divulge his secret: “Shaved dice,” which always came up the way he wanted them to.
It is the nature of traveling with James Brown that everyone treats him like a god: “The people that show up in every city, they all fall back into their old jobs, like they never stopped. The doormen stand by the door, the hairdressers start dressing his hair.” R.J. is being modest, since his responsibilities have grown to a performing role, as the second voice in a variety of James Brown’s call-and-response numbers, replacing the legendary founding member of the Famous Flames – James Brown’s first band – Bobby Byrd.
Also on the scene is another son, whose name I don’t catch, a shy man who appears to be in his early fifties, and with two sons of his own in attendance – James Brown’s grandsons, older than James Brown II. These different versions of “Family,” with all their tangible contradictions, mingle politely, deferentially with one another in the overcrowded playback room, where James Brown and Fred Wesley are seated together in the leather chairs.
Damon, while not critical of the previous week’s shows, says, “He needs to warm up on tour, too. Think of all the bits he has to remember. If he screws up, you notice.” Damon recalls for me a night when the floor was slick and James Brown missed his first move, and as a result “Lost confidence.” Lost confidence? I try not to say, “But he’s James Brown!” It is somehow true that despite my days in his presence, my tabulation of his foibles, nothing has eroded my certainty that James Brown should be beyond ordinary mortal deficits of confidence.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can we escape from information overload?”

One day in December 2016 a 37-year-old British artist named Sam Winston equipped himself with a step-ladder, a pair of scissors, several rolls of black-out cloth and a huge supply of duct tape, and set about a project he had been considering for some time.
As an artist, Sam Winston was often on the lookout for topsy-turvy projects – weird, sidelong ways to unmoor familiar habits or nudge his work in new directions.
Winston’s older brother had died, suddenly, the year before, and bereavement was another prompt for him to hole away in the dark.
Instead a very different figure stalked the darkened landscape of Winston’s mind – one who was suited, lardy and omnipresent in the news after his recent election as president of the United States.
Winston considered himself only a moderate news junkie, bombarded but not an addict.
Winston emerged from the blacked-out studio before his food stocks ran out, around lunchtime on a Saturday.
For a long time Winston watched train after train go by on the tracks outside his studio, relishing the everyday sights he’d been starved of, and at the same time trying to settle his insides.
The next time he retreated into the dark, Winston resolved, he would try to come out after sunset for a gentler transition.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Advice Do You Wish You’d Gotten When You Graduated From College? 25 Ted Speakers Answer”

“If you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, you’re not a failure. Give yourself time and get yourself experience to figure things out.” – Angela Duckworth.
“It’s okay to quit your first job – even if it was really hard to get it, it paid well, and everyone seemed to admire you for getting it. If you hate your job, you’ll be wasting your life acquiring skills, contacts and a reputation that you don’t want to use. The sooner you find something you love, the better.” – Tim Harford.
“The advice that I wish I’d gotten when I graduated from college is: Pay attention to the difference between the quick hits of excitement that come from that first kiss of a new relationship or job and those feelings you get when you think about your strong connections with family or friends. Don’t get fooled by shiny things – that shine fades over time, while the gold of strong relationships never tarnishes. Remember the differences between these feelings to help you make decisions as you go forward.” – Judson Brewer.
“Never stop learning. When we graduate college and start our careers, we often understand that we have a lot to learn, so we approach our jobs with a learning orientation. We ask questions; we observe others; we know we may be wrong; and we realize we’re works in progress. But once we gain competence in our jobs, too many of us stop learning and growing. The most successful people – in work and in life – never stop deliberately continuing to learn and improve.” – Eduardo BriceƱo.
“Give yourself more time. So many college graduates immediately start wanting to make all their dreams come true at once – this can go wrong in many ways. The first is the frustration that you’re not ‘there’ yet. It’s going to take time to find your dream career. The second is burnout. If you find your career early, you can find yourself setting all sorts of unrealistic goals with arbitrary deadlines and chase them until you drop from fatigue. You can have it all – but not all at once.” – David Burkus.
“Whenever possible, get as uncomfortable as possible. Challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone regularly – spend time with people you deeply disagree with, read books about experiences you will never have, travel to places where you don’t speak the language, and take jobs in industries you’ve never worked in before. And if you feel yourself resisting, try again. Those experiences will help you build deep empathy, and we could all use more of that.” – Anjali Kumar.
“You don’t have to pursue what you studied. I followed my heart, and now I’m happier and more satisfied with life than I could have ever envisioned. We kill ourselves looking for jobs in our fields of study, while there are a million other things we are able to do. I also wish somebody had told me money doesn’t equate to happiness. When you get a job and start working, don’t forget to live.” – Kasiva Mutua.
“When you finish college and begin your first job or internship, you’ll be keen to learn all you can and impress your employer so you can start on the path to promotions and raises. But the important thing that you might not see amidst all this excitement is the great idea that could someday become a great business or entrepreneurial venture. I’ve found the most interesting employment that life offers is often something of your own creation that you do full time or in addition to your main job. So, after you graduate from college, take the time to identify a venture that you’d like to do by yourself or with friends, and start building it. One day, you’ll be glad you started early.” – Washington Wachira.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Working from home surveillance software for your boss”

In the weeks since social distancing lockdowns abruptly scattered the American workforce, businesses across the country have scrambled to find ways to keep their employees in line, packing their social calendars and tracking their productivity to ensure they’re telling the truth about working from home.
Thousands of companies now use monitoring software to record employees’ Web browsing and active work hours, dispatching the kinds of tools built for corporate offices into workers’ phones, computers and homes.
Many employees are probably working longer and more sporadic hours than ever before: NordVPN Teams, which runs virtual private networks for businesses, said in March it had seen working time in the United States climb from eight to 11 hours a day since the stay-at-home orders began.
Several companies allow managers to regularly capture images of workers’ screens and list employees by who is actively working and their hours worked over the previous seven days.
One system, InterGuard, can be installed in a hidden way on workers’ computers and creates a minute-by-minute timeline of every app and website they view, categorizing each as “Productive” or “Unproductive” and ranking workers by their “Productivity score.” The system alerts managers if workers do or say something suspicious: In a demo of the software shown to The Post, the words “Job,” “Client” and “File” were all flagged, just in case employees were looking elsewhere for work.
Pragli executives argue that emails and Slack messages, the traditional lifeblood of office communication, are socially unfulfilling: efficient but soulless, and powerless to combat the distractions and loneliness of working from home.
Pragli’s system measures employees’ keyboard and mouse usage to assess whether they’re actively working – any more than 15 seconds can shift a worker from ‘active’ to ‘idle’ – and allows anyone to instantly start a video conversation by clicking on another person’s face, similar to swinging by their desk in a real-world office.
At the High Plains Journal, one woman working from home with four kids gave her Pragli avatar a shock of white hair.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This 3-Minute Habit Changed My Life”

Tracking my time has changed how I think about my time.
My time logs showed me that even in a full life there can still be space.
Knowing where the time goes allows you to redeploy time from the mundane to the meaningful, and from the forgettable to the memorable.
Everyone knows working moms don’t have time to read, right?
The result is that since I started tracking time, I have read War and Peace.
Since I mostly work out of a home office and don’t have a regular commute, I wasn’t building “Time in the car” into my mental model of life.
Time Tracking Helped Ease Working Parent Guilt I’d recommend time tracking to anyone prone to parental guilt.
With the time logs recording those sunsets, I simply cannot claim that I have no time.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What to Do on 15-, 30-, and 60-Minute Breaks to Boost Productivity”

If you’re not seeing the benefits of a break, perhaps you’re not using them correctly, says Carson Tate, author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style.
Used properly, taking a break is like hitting a reset button.
“We’re not as prone to self interrupt, such as taking Facebook or email breaks. We’re more passionate and connected to work.”
“It doesn’t matter, anything to physically get the blood moving. A five-minute break can be more effective than a 30-minute break if you incorporate movement.”
“You can do these activities in two minutes or 20. Little breaks like this keep your mind energized, and they can lead to those ‘aha!’ moments of creative insight.”
A study published in Harvard Business Review found that “Green micro breaks” improve attention span and performance.
Decluttering your workspace can be a good break, says Thomas.
Breaks are also impactful if there’s a connection with another human being, says Tate.

The orginal article.