Issue № 52

Issue 52

First, thank you for reading. 🙂

A year ago, when I set out to reimagine what my email (this thing you’re likely reading in email, which is based on some of the stuff I post to my blog) should be, my first thought was: “What do I like to get in my email?” What I like is when the entire email is actually in the email; no bait-and-switch, here’s-a-taste, but now you have to come to the web site to actually read it. I like when images are special; when they are just rare enough to be surprising and interesting. I like to take my time reading. I like when the font and colors are easy on the eyes. So that’s what I tried to create.

I wasn’t sure whether I should write this celebratory item to be in issue 52 or 53. (Or maybe I should celebrate on round numbers like 50 and 100?) Thinking about this reminded me that most of you (I imagine) don’t know these weekly 7 for Sunday emails have issue numbers.

You see, for obtuse technical reasons there are three features that are only available if you go to the web site to read 7 for Sunday. First, the issue number is in the header at the very top. Second, each issue starts with a reading-time estimate. I really like that feature; I love when what’s inside is clearly labeled on the can. Third, at the bottom of each issue are buttons to navigate through all of the issues. If you’ve never seen the web page version of 7 for Sunday, now would be a fun time to take a look (and it would take you about 4 hours to read through all 52 issues.)

This modular way to consider goals removes so much trepidation. A major win in your life is no longer at the end of “a journey of a thousand steps.” It’s a journey of nine or fourteen or fifty-five Blocks. It’s a staircase, not an ocean to be crossed.

~ David Cain from,

A year ago, when I set out to reimagine what my email should be, I was looking forward to seeing how it turned out after 52 issues. I think it turned out pretty well, and I hope you agree. Again, thanks for reading. I appreciate your time and attention, and I don’t take it for granted.

Just kidding

Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments.

~ Isaac Asimov

Tough acts!

How I assemble 7 for Sunday varies. This week, I had the three quotes selected, and three of the other pieces chosen and written… and I was left staring at this spot between a quote from Asimov and a quote from Kelly; Tough acts to follow or precede. I racked my brains over this. I felt I should be able to find a joke a la Asimov, which also illuminated a shortcoming of my own… this is the best I could come up with:

Four years ago, when I left for college, I thought my father was the dumbest ape to ever walk the planet. Upon my return I couldn’t believe how much he’d learned!

Why slow learning? We live in an age of information overload, ever-accelerating technologies, and split-second learning. Citizens, learners, and workers today are required to continuously reskill, upskill, and newskill to keep up with this new pace. 

~ Tom Hodgkinson et al from,

Granted, the joke is weak. As a consolation prize, I’ve included that wonderful project for your consideration.


A great way to understand yourself is to seriously reflect on everything you find irritating in others.

~ Kevin Kelly

Protocols and platforms

Love ’em or hate ’em, big platforms with big collections of people and information about said people are currently ever-present. This deep dive from Masnick has a bias—one which I wholeheartedly endorse—but it is also an excellent description of what does “protocols versus platforms” really mean? What’s a protocol, and what’s a platform? How are they different, and why do they seem to have such different effects on the late-game situation? If you’ve so far avoided this topic, this is a good place to try spending a half an hour to see if it makes more sense.

After a decade or so of the general sentiment being in favor of the internet and social media as a way to enable more speech and improve the marketplace of ideas, in the last few years the view has shifted dramatically—now it seems that almost no one is happy. Some feel that these platforms have become cesspools of trolling, bigotry, and hatred. Meanwhile, others feel that these platforms have become too aggressive in policing language and are systematically silencing or censoring certain viewpoints. And that’s not even touching on the question of privacy and what these platforms are doing (or not doing) with all of the data they collect.

~ Mike Masnick from,

On creativity

A writer—and, I believe, generally all persons—must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All this happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may sharpen our art.

~ Jorge Luis Borges

I am not a runner

I’m lately fascinated by the distinction between when I’m using an activity as a part of my identity (“I am a runner”) versus pointing out that I do an activity (“I run”). This sort of nit matters to me, because the nature of self-identity matters to me. If I am a runner, but then for whatever reason I don’t run… what then am I? What fascinates me isn’t the specific verbs, but rather: What actually am I? This locks me up thinking for long periods. I write. I run. I climb. I jump. Yes, but, what am I?

I look up at the sky, wondering if I’ll catch a glimpse of kindness there, but I don’t. All I see are indifferent summer clouds drifting over the Pacific. And they have nothing to say to me. Clouds are always taciturn. I probably shouldn’t be looking up at them. What I should be looking at is inside of me. Like staring down into a deep well. Can I see kindness there? No, all I see is my own nature.

~ Haruki Murakami from, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

I enjoyed reading Murakami’s essays. Particularly because I run poorly, I wanted to know what he talks about when he talks about running. In fact, he does talk a great deal about literally running, in addition to the larger perspectives on his life for which everyone loves the book.

But one thing is for sure: I run. But I am not a runner.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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