Good Reads, Back to Text Edition

The bridal bouquetI haven’t been writing much lately. Instead, I have been spending quite a bit of time with photography. Most importantly, I worked on my photographic bucket list, also known as Bokehlist. While I’m still tinkering with the first public release of that list, I’m happy to have checked off one of its items during the last week: Photograph a wedding.

Thankfully, only a few scenes were needed, so I also got to enjoy the (excellent) party that was going on. In a bit more than a week, then, the second wedding is on the list. This time, my role will be a bit larger, and I’m really looking forward to it. Let’s see where I can take this!…

I was busy in other areas, too. First of all, I have been traveling at a much quicker pace than usual. Normally, I get to a travel hub where I can leave my stuff. I’ll then live and work there and take plenty of time to explore the surroundings over a couple of months. Recently, though, I have been moving a lot more quickly, even though it was mostly within Germany.

This, in turn, made my financial resources drain quicker, so I had to take up a writing gig to finance life in (expensive) Europe. Thankfully, a few dear people have been hosting me, so I could save on rent. This left me with enough time to work on the TFA redesign (which is ready by now, only waiting for the final iteration of the logo design – which might take a few more weeks, due to my travels).

Ultimately, though, all this “stuff” kidnapped my writing time and energy. Which didn’t make me happy.

Maybe it’s time to settle down a bit again, finding a nice room and actually staying at one place for more than a week. (Let me know if you have a nice and inexpensive place to rent in Hamburg.)

But before I get to that, a few other trips are scheduled. The first one already led me to my favorite island in the North Sea.  And the next one will take me to Cologne, and from there by bike to Bruxelles. It will be the 2012 edition of our “huge ass bike trip”, and we will try to do the impossible – once again – and ride more than 200km in one day – on a city bike and without any training. I’ll keep you up on how that goes! After that, I’ll get back back to Cologne, followed by Frankfurt and some smaller towns nearby.

Let me know if you’d like to meet up somewhere!

But now, let’s look at some of the good reads I encountered over the last few weeks.


So much of our lives consists of conditions we’ve fallen into. We gravitate unwittingly to what works in the short term, in terms of what to do for work and what crowd to run with. There’s nothing wrong with living from defaults, necessarily, but think about it: what are the odds that the defaults delivered to you by happenstance are anywhere close to what’s really optimal for you?

In other words, we seldom consciously decide how we’re going to live our lives. We just end up living certain ways.

David D. Cain, so true and smart as always. Also read about his experiment in self-arousal. Looking forward to the results!


Ever wonder how some people accomplish so much? They run marathons, write novels, start companies… without making it seem like a big deal?
Well, it is a big deal. And in spite of how effortless these accomplishments may appear, people work harder than you likely realize to make these things happen. There is, however, one thing they know—at least in practice—that you don’t.

What if the missing part of the puzzle is not a lack of willpower, but instead a lack of love?

This article from Deliberatism doesn’t exist anymore. I’m not sure what kind of thing they’re going to build on that site. But I’m still happy I got this quote. (Btw., a lack of willpower could still be a problem!)


When I quit my modestly paid day job, I felt very proud to have acted according to my will and to no other. But I was secretly scared of what would happen next. Would I end up destitute? Would I have to do things even worse than clerical work in order to avoid destitution?

Three years later, I’m still living on the money I saved from that job, supplemented by an income so small that most people (including those people who work at the tax office) consider negligible. They consider it negligible because they are addicted to a consumer lifestyle – the mild and dim lifestyle shown to us in magazines and on the television.

Excellent piece on fearlessness concerning job-quitting by Robert Wringham. I just love it when Rob writes this stuff, because he basically lines out the same experience I’ve made so far: Become more consicous of your spendings, save up a few thousand bucks, quit that job, move somewhere nice, and do what your heart demands. Life will be 2 billion times better ever after.


In short, the lack of beauty in one’s life has consequences: the coarsening of one’s sensibility, the shrinking of imagination and the loss of feeling for what might be possible in the world. That is why, at bottom, one studies the humanities.

I’m biased because I studied the humanties myself. (And the social sciences.) A nice call for the importance of that stuff, even when you cannot measure it in dollars.


There are rules for engineering bridges, and flying airplanes. There are laws about how you drive a car and file your taxes. There are no rules or laws in art. Art is a beautiful anarchy.



You can see the emerging photography topic from the links I’m posting here. I’d still bet they are interesting reads for pretty much anyone of you who’s looking for beauty in life. This one is about art as time travel:

Art is like time travel, which is why people continue to make it, and have since we were standing upright. I figured this out while living in New York, and visiting the Metropolitan Museum on a regular basis. Take Rembrandt, for instance. Four hundred years or so ago, he made some paintings. True. But he also imbued those objects with his psychic energy. It’s in there still. When you feel your guts get all churny while standing in front of one of his self-portraits, you’re responding to the man himself. Like I said, time travel.