Congratulations! The job you used to do at this company is no longer available. However, you have been transferred to a new job in the company. Actually, it’s not the same company anymore, even though it has the same name and many of the same people. And although the job has the same title, too, and you used to be good at your old job, you’re already failing at the new one. This transfer is effective six months ago…
From The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
My whole “career” approach has been oriented around the fundamental fear of finding myself in a position like that (late Gen-X / proto-Millennial thing I think).
The faith in timeless, universal laws of nature is part of the great appeal of the scientific enterprise. It is a vision of transcendence akin to the belief in eternity that draws people to religion. This view of science claims that the explanations for our world lie in a different place altogether, the world of shadows, or heaven: “another, more perfect world standing apart from everything that we perceive.” But for Smolin this is a dodge, no better than theology or mysticism. Instead, he wants us to consider the possibility that timeless laws of nature are no more real than perfect equilateral triangles. They exist, but only in our minds.
I’m looking forward to picking this book up to compare notes (on the metaphysics — not that I know much physics).
And I always reread James Wright, and R. H. Blyth’s haiku books, as well as Hafez and Ghalib. All my favorites I read again and again.
Who are your favorite poets of all time?
W. B. Yeats, Rumi, Kabir, Robert Frost, Mirabai, Mary Oliver, Naomi Shihab Nye, Galway Kinnell, Sharon Olds, Antonio Machado, James Wright, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Pablo Neruda, Tomas Tran-strömer, William Stafford, and then there’s Goethe and Rainer Maria Rilke and Tu Fu. I’m also fond of Coleman Barks’s poems and some of Li-Young Lee’s books. Wallace Stevens should be among the first on the list.
(Mainly posting this to share with my near- to mid-future self.)
But to talk about Jobs as though he were an architect — already a dubious proposition — is to talk as well about advanced capitalism, about global systems, the counterculture, Zen Buddhism, and all manner of phenomena apparently inimical to the critical tradition, to monumentality and the public sphere. This threatens to liquefy my discipline through a Golden State looking-glass. Maybe I should emulate the resolve of the philosophers Adorno and Horkheimer, both of whom, stranded in sunny Los Angeles during the war, refused to succumb to California languor. And yet; my faculty appointment is here, expectant students are assembled, and to be frank I think that architectural-historical methodology can benefit from this modest test, and prevail. So here I offers no scoops or intrigues into the Zen Master Jobs. This is one of those experiments in method encouraged — forced — by the study of California: here subject and method evolve symbiotically, as befits scholarship in a region enamored with holistic thought…
This is an essay: Steve Jobs versus Rem Koolhaas: Places: Design Observer
This is a beautiful expression in Swedish—we often say “the childhood of the car” etc., it gives an atmosphere of tenderness to these technical things. I have never heard the expression “the childhood of the atomic bomb” but it could be possible. In Swedish.Tomas Tranströmer to Robert Bly
Why Amazon Hired a Car Mechanic to Run Its Cloud Empire | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com
About four years ago, James and Jennifer Hamilton sold their house and their car and most of their worldly possessions, and they moved onto the Dirona. Now, when he’s berthed in Seattle, Hamilton bikes to Amazon headquarters, does his shopping via Amazon Prime, and picks up his mail at the local UPS store. But he’s untethered. Sometimes, he takes the boat to Hawaii — and works from there.
In short, he hacked his life. He rethought it and turned it into something new. He’s the sort of person who’s willing to hack anything, and that’s why Amazon wants him.
The problem is that the topics that are most painful also tend to be the topics that are most important for us: they’re the projects we most want to do, the relationships we care most about, the decisions that have the biggest consequences for our future, the most dangerous risks that we run. We’re scared of them because we know the stakes are so high. But if we never think about them, then we can never do anything about them.
Hit me alongside so many moving tributes to Aaron today.
Found this when I was doing my Weird Christmas playlist.
Snøhetta Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion, 2011
I blogged on the weekend. Here’s an excerpt:
Barzun cautions against pedantry and over-reliance on formal rules and conventions; instead he urges us to become better critics and editors of our own work, learn to rationalize our choices rather than making them automatically or letting them be made for us. He admits that language is constantly changing but that doesn’t liberate writers from the need to exercise care; consciousness is required “both to simplify their task and out of courtesy to their readers,” as he argues in the introduction to Simple & Direct:
At every point there is a choice to be made… and behind the decision there must be a reason. For to acquire self-consciousness also means finding reasons for what you do with each word and being able to state them. Granted that after a while most of the choices are made by reflex action on seeing what the trouble is, that desirable speed and sureness come only with practice. And practice gets under way only when one has learned to see a choice wherever there is one.^
The knowledge and technique I’ve learned from Jacques Barzun has been invaluable, but as a role model he taught me two great lessons: the “life of mind” is worth living, and it’s truly a lifelong effort — even if you live to be 104. As he wrote of his own hero in A Stroll with William James,
He is for me the most inclusive mind I can listen to, the most concrete and least hampered by trifles… he knows better than anyone else the material and spiritual country I am traveling through.