È finita l’estate ma le mie vacanze iniziano adesso: finita la stagione dei matrimoni, più o meno, sono in partenza per la Sardegna dove mi ospiterà una mia amica.

Sarà la mia prima volta nell’isola, e dato che voglio che sia una settimana di relax totale porterò solo la macchina analogica, un po’ di Portra 400, e qualche libro. Niente computer, tablet, fotocamere digitali, stress.

Nel frattempo, le solite letture.


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Tutte le letture del mese.

I miei libri preferiti.


Once
Wim Wenders

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To take pictures
(rather: to have the incredible privilege of taking pictures)
is “too good to be true”.
But just as well it is
too true to be good.
Taking pictures is always an act of presumption
and rebellion.
Taking pictures thus quickly instils greed
and so much less often modesty.
Within every photograph
there is also the beginning of a story
starting with “Once upon a time…”.
Every photograph is the first frame of a movie.
I firmly believe
in the story-building power
of landscapes.
There are landscapes,
be them cities, deserts, mountains or coasts,
that liiterally cry out for “their stories” to be told.
They evoke them, even make them happen.
Landscapes can be leading characters themselves
and the people in it the extras.

Mentre passeggiavo per Bologna per fotografare le riprese del video dei Nitehawks, (a proposito, ieri è uscito il loro disco Vendetta), preeso dalla nostalgia di quando studiavo lì mi sono messo a visitare tutti i posti in cui facevo tappa fissa, tra cui la Feltrinelli (in cui non entravo da secoli).

Mi è capitato tra le mani Once, ed è stato il classico acquisto impulsivo. Di cui, per una volta, non mi sono pentito.


The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason
Sam Harris

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Our situation is this: most of the people in this world believe that the Creator of the universe has written a book. We have the misfortune of having many such books on hand, each making an exclusive claim as to its infallibility.

 

As long as a Christian believes that only his baptized brethren will be saved on the Day of Judgment, he cannot possibly “respect” the beliefs of others,

 

Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.

 

The Dutch philosopher Spinoza thought that belief and comprehension were identical, while disbelief required a subsequent act of rejection.

 

Ignorance is the true coinage of this realm-“Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed” (John 20:29)

 

The men who committed the atrocities of September 11 were certainly not “cowards,” as they were repeatedly described in the Western media, nor were they lunatics in any ordinary sense. They were men of faith- perfect faith, as it turns out-and this, it must finally be acknowledged, is a terrible thing to be.

 

Where ethics are concerned, intentions are everything.

 

The fact that people are being prosecuted and imprisoned for using marijuana, while alcohol remains a staple commodity, is surely the reductio ad absurdum of any notion that our drug laws are designed to keep people from harming themselves or others.24 Alcohol is by any measure the more dangerous substance. It has no approved medical use, and its lethal dose is rather easily achieved. Its role in causing automobile accidents is beyond dispute. The manner in which alcohol relieves people of their inhibitions contributes to human violence, personal injury, unplanned pregnancy, and the spread of sexual disease. Alcohol is also well known to be addictive. When consumed in large quantities over many years, it can lead to devastating neurological impairments, to cirrhosis of the liver, and to death. In the United States alone, more than 100,000 people annually die from its use. It is also more toxic to a developing fetus than any other drug of abuse. (…)  None of these charges can be leveled at marijuana. As a drug, marijuana is nearly unique in having several medical applications and no known lethal dosage. While adverse reactions to drugs; like aspirin and ibuprofen account for an estimated 7,600 deaths (and 76,000 hospitalizations) each year in the United States alone, marijuana kills no one.
(…)
Under our current laws, it is safe to say, if a drug were invented that posed no risk of physical harm or addiction to its users but produced a brief feeling of spiritual bliss and epiphany in 100 percent of those who tried it, this drug would be illegal, and people would be punished mercilessly for its use.

 

Credit goes to Christopher Hitchens for distilling, in a single phrase, a principle of discourse that could well arrest our slide toward the abyss: “what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

 

It should be enough to note that a single sociopath, armed with nothing more than a knife, could exterminate a city full of pacifists.

Tantissimi spunti da questo libro, che parla della religione e del suo senso (?), dell’influenza nel mondo, poi di pacifismo e del suo senso (?), con molte provocazioni ma tutte argomentate bene. Da leggere.


Growth Hacker Marketing
Ryan Holiday
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 … the most effective method is simply the Socratic method. We must simply and repeatedly question every assumption. Who is this product for? Why would they use it? Why do I use it?
Ask your customers questions, too: What is it that brought you to this product? What is holding you back from referring other people to it? What’s missing? What’s golden? Don’t ask random people or your friends—be scientific about it.
Referrals versus paid advertising is the kind of A/B test whose results are obvious to everyone. Referrals win. And today, 35 percent of Dropbox’s customers come to it via referral.
All of which is to say a simple truth that we try to deny too often: If you want to go viral, it must be baked into your product. There must be a reason to share it and the means to do so.
Yes, it’s more seductive to chase new marketing initiatives. Yes, it would be more fun to get some press. But it’s better for business to retain and optimize what we already have.
A differenza di Trust Me, I’m Lying dello stesso autore, questo non mi ha esaltato. Un centinaio di pagine ridondanti e il cui succo è tutto nelle tre citazioni qui sopra.

Friedlander
The Museum of Modern Art

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To accompany the self-reliance that had been forced upon him, he acquired as a teenager a stubborn single-minded-ness that saved him from wasting time on anything but what he loved: photography, jazz, family, and a circle of friends that has never ceased to widen. Only his addiction to reading came later

As Friedlander the freelance professional produced job after reliable job, Friedlander the independent artist recaptured the antic vitality of Moholy’s discovery

Part of Friedlander’s abiding pleasure in photography is ceaselessly trying out unfamiliar pieces of gear

“I learned a great lesson here: when evaluating press sheets, the worst thing to do is to compare one to another. Each must be viewed as a thing in itself, and a judgement made by the impressions it leaves in the mind rather than those on paper. I think this lesson applies to many more things than pictures in ink.”

Libro magnifico che mi ha prestato un’amica. Costa tanto perché vale tanto, prima o poi me lo comprerò.


The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich
Tim Ferris

Timothy-Ferriss-4-Hour-Week
“Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and cons lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually”, just do it and correct course along the way.
… or my personal favorite, “Is that reasonable?” It’s hard for people to label things unreasonable.
Most people aren’t lucky enough to get fired and die a slow spiritual death over 30-40 years of tolerating the mediocre.
What is the one goal, if completed, that could change everything?

Uno dei miei libri preferiti. L’ho letto la prima volta nel 2013 a Bruxelles, e tante cose sono successe da allora. È uno dei pochi libri che vale la pena rileggere di tanto in tanto.


Matteo Pezzi