Prima dei libri, una bella notizia per tutti i possessori di e-reader Kobo come me.
Antifragile: things that gain from disorder
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
If you want to become antifragile, put yourself in the situation “loves mistakes”—to the right of “hates mistakes”—by making these numerous and small in harm.
It’s much easier to sell “Look what I did for you” than “Look what I avoided for you.”
I ran to the podium and told the audience that the next time someone in a suit and tie gave them projections for some dates in the future, they should ask him to show what he had projected in the past
To sum him up, Nero believed in erudition, aesthetics, and risk taking—little else.
As a child of civil war, I disbelieve in structured learning—actually I believe that one can be an intellectual without being a nerd, provided one has a private library instead of a classroom, and spends time as an aimless (but rational) flâneur benefiting from what randomness can give us inside and outside the library. Provided we have the right type of rigor, we need randomness, mess, adventures, uncertainty, self-discovery, near-traumatic episodes, all these things that make life worth living, compared to the structured, fake, and ineffective life of an empty-suit CEO with a preset schedule and an alarm clock.
But there is something central in following one’s own direction in the selection of readings: what I was given to study in school I have forgotten; what I decided to read on my own, I still remember.
Now consider companies like Coke or Pepsi, which I assume are, as the reader is poring over these lines, still in existence—which is unfortunate. What business are they in? Selling you sugary water or substitutes for sugar, putting into your body stuff that messes up your biological signaling system, causing diabetes and making diabetes vendors rich thanks to their compensatory drugs. (…) I fail to see why the arguments we’ve used against tobacco firms don’t apply—to some extent—to all other large companies that try to sell us things that may make us ill.
The life-changing magic of tidying up: The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
Radical chic & mau-mauing the flak-catchers
Shadow box. An amateur in the ring
“So there you are. You will never forget this, young man. The reason I could hit you was because you lost your temper. Never lose your temper.”
Before I went I called Dr. Pacheco.
“You’re going to be surprised out there,” he told me. “Everyone is brainwashed. They assume a loudmouth like Ali is going to react to being beaten by wincing and moaning and carrying on like a child. But they forget that over the past three years he’s had to go through a number of very severe confrontations— socially, religiously, politically, monetarily—in each of which he’s been raked over the coals. Socially, he’s learned what it is to be despised by his countrymen for refusing to join the army. He was tossed out of a religious organization he feels very strongly about. His politics got him into such trouble that jail continues to be a possibility. His money-making potential was taken away by the boxing commissions. Well, all this hurting must help when it comes to facing losing a fight.”
The guy in the car following us plays tapes, so we have music to listen to when we run. Al Green’s group—’I’m Still in Love with You,’ ‘Pretty Woman,’ ‘Love and Happiness.’ ”
I thought of the pack of hooded men running along the street, and the gentle music accompanying them under the trees. I said, “They don’t sound like the kind of titles to pump up a fighter.”
“It’s the beat,” he said. “You know what I mean? They got a good beat.”)
George, Being George: George Plimpton’s Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals
Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. (edited by)
PETER DUCHIN I was really fond of George, and I was in awe of some of his qualities—his energy and cheerfulness and his support of the Review all those years—but I never thought of him as being really serious about women. I thought that he was far more curious than serious about women. And the women I admired in the world couldn’t take him seriously, either. They would joke about the idea of even sleeping with him, not to mention marrying him. They found him to be a sort of remote, slightly shy, but charming curiosity. And there was something awfully comical about George. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was a power thing, personal power, or his lack of it.
STEPHEN GAGHAN In Kentucky, where I came from, nobody read. I mean, I was known as the kid who read books. It’s kind of threatening, you know. Adults who don’t read don’t like young people who read. But it’s through books that you feel this connection to the wider world.
Of course, most people require premapped avenues of apprehension to arrive at judgments, but George’s were peculiar: They were differentiated by skills, by what you were good at, preferably really good at. Because only in this way could you answer to what I always thought was a deep need of his, which was to admire.
Un libro tira l’altro, perciò dopo aver finito Shadow Box sono passato a questa biografia corale di Plimpton. Amici, colleghi, mogli, parenti… Una piccola parte delle migliaia di persone che hanno avuto a che fare con lui in vita lo ricordano con aneddoti e istantanee.
C’è tutto — la Paris Review, le donne, la famiglia altolocata, i soldi, i soldi che mancano, gli scrittori, il fascino — o perlomeno, c’è tutto quello che ci si aspetta. Ed è già tanto.
Fear and loathing in Las Vegas. A savage journey to the heart of the American Dream
Hunter S. Thompson
Let me explain it to you, let me run it down just briefly if I can. We’re looking for the American Dream, and we were told it was somewhere in this area.…
Da tempo volevo leggere qualcosa di Thompson, ma mi sono deciso dopo aver letto questa frase in Shadow Box (Plimpton che parla di Thompson):
I wished him luck. I envied him, really—thinking up these strange approaches. His Rolling Stone readership required very little of the event he was sent to cover, except, perhaps, that everything go wrong … to the degree that the original purpose of his assignment was finally submerged by personal misfortune and misadventure. His superb Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas started as an assignment (indeed, from my own magazine, Sports Illustrated) to cover the Mint-500 off-road dune-buggy race in Las Vegas. But there is only the most fleeting reference to the event in the copy. He was like a man stepping onto the wrong train, or boat, without a dime to bring him back, or even to communicate from where he was delivered, and not too anxious about it either—as if wishing to feast on the excitement of chance and ruin.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas è esattamente come lo descrive Plimpton, ma è impossibile trasmettere a parole quanto scriva bene Hunter S. Thompson.
Fear and loathing on the campaign trail ’72
Hunter S. Thompson
Tim Crouse noted that while other writers had to tell their wives what the Trail was really like when they got home, Thompson’s wife didn’t have to ask, because she’d read his articles. That’s because he’d put his whole self into the pages of his adventure. He didn’t hold anything back to whisper to his wife back home. He did it exactly the way it should be done.
I won steadily—until November 7, when I made the invariably fatal mistake of betting my emotions instead of my instinct.
So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here—not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.
I’d been locked into the idea that the Redskins would win easily—but when Nixon came out for them and George Allen began televising his prayer meetings I decided that any team with both God and Nixon on their side was fucked from the start.
(…) you people are lucky I’m a sane, responsible journalist; otherwise I might have hurled my flaming Zippo into the fuel tank.”
“Not you,” he said. “Egomaniacs don’t do that kind of thing.” He smiled. “You wouldn’t do anything you couldn’t live to write about, would you?”
“You’re probably right,” I said. “Kamikaze is not my style. I much prefer subtleties, the low-key approach—because I am, after all, a professional.”