Every now and again I’ll dash off a few quick highlights from things I’ve stumbled across in the big wide internet world. Without further ado, here we go:
Do you occasionally have books piling up a bit faster than you can read them? I have a bit of a problem with this myself (understatement). It turns out that the Japanese have a word for this: Tsundoku . From the Wikipedia site (h/t to Tim Ferriss):
Tsundoku (積ん読) is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them. The term originated in the Meiji era (1868–1912) as Japanese slang. It combines elements of tsunde-oku (積んでおく, to pile things up ready for later and leave) and dokusho (読書, reading books). It is also used to refer to books ready for reading later when they are on a bookshelf. As currently written, the word combines the characters for “pile up” (積) and the character for “read” (読).
I’ve always loved finding words in other languages that capture something we all understand but for which there is no English equivalent. Another good example of this is the fabulous German word schadenfreude, which refers to the feeling of self-satisfaction or pleasure we experience when we see somebody else fail.
Speaking of words, I ran across two new words this week. This doesn’t happen often to me and usually sends me immediately to the dictionary in the sky to ascertain their meaning. Here they are, as used in the sentences in which I read them:
“…the typological difference: English can create a new word through agglutination by putting two existing words together…”
Agglutination typically refers the biologic process of clumping/joining of particles, but can also mean “the formation of derivational or inflectional words by putting together constituents of which each expresses a single definite meaning”.
The second word was used as follows:
“….The manifesto concisely summarizes … in a lapidary paragraph.”
Lapidary refers to the cutting, engraving or polishing of stone, but can also be used to refer to writing that is elegant and concise.
One of the quirks in the human psyche is that if you were to read one hundred great reviews of your work and one really bad review, you’ll remember the bad one. You may even stew over it as you toss and turn in bed at night. It’s ridiculous really. So I enjoyed this quote from the great poet John Berryman in an interview he did in 1971 (h/t to Maria Popova). The quote was about writers but you can cross out the last two words in his advice and apply it to yourself:
“I would recommend the cultivation of extreme indifference to both praise and blame because praise will lead you to vanity, and blame will lead you to self-pity, and both are bad for writers.”
Sure, this isn’t the most elegant story, but let’s face it: drunk shopping is a thing. The smart people over at The Hustle did a survey among their readers on drunk shopping. Some highlights:
- 79% of alcohol consumers have made at least one drunk purchase
- $444: Average annual spend per drunk shopper
- Clothing and shoes are the most common drunk purchase
- Amazon is the drunk shopping platform of choice
Since I can’t end a post with the topic of “drunk shopping”, here are links to smart writing on various topics:
I keep this blog mostly free of public policy debates – and will continue to – but I thought this piece on the current immigration debates was informative.
A story about a woman escaping North Korea, and the Underground Railroad that helps North Koreans travel the circuitous route to South Korea, here. Perhaps this article will help all of us be grateful for being born outside of places like North Korea. For a previous post I did on North Korea, go here.
Speaking of being grateful, I recommend this A.J. Jacobs podcast (subbing for Tim Ferriss) where he talks about what he learned while writing his latest book on gratitude and it’s link to happiness. Here’s an excerpt:
“By the way, two other studies on gratitude that might be useful: one was a study, I believe it was Wharton, that says if you use the phrase ‘Thank you,’ it is not as effective as using the phrase ‘I am grateful,’ because ‘Thank you’ has just become so robotic. So if you can mix it up and try to get out of the rote ‘Thank you’ and try another phrase, that apparently has more impact. I tried this with my wife. I said to her, “I’m deeply grateful that you took our kids to the orthodontist.” And she looked at me like “Are you in a cult? What’s going on here?” So don’t use ‘deeply,’ in my experience, but mixing up the phrases is a good idea.”
I’m going to ignore A.J.’s advice and use the word anyway. I’m deeply grateful that you spent some time to visit this blog. Sorry if this post wasn’t lapidary.
Have a great week, and good luck!