Issue № 71

Access, for the win

The Whole Earth Catalog. Now there’s someone who poured their time, energy, money and personal brand of sanity into a project, and it succeeded. Then the Internet came along and supplanted the entire project.

Yet for years, access to the Whole Earth Catalog itself has been difficult. 55 years on from the first publication of the Catalog, it mostly lives on in the interstices — as a symbol of a vibrant countercultural history and an inspiration for writers, designers, and technologists, but less so as an actual set of catalogs that you can read. The Catalog is not lost media per se — copies can be found in libraries, archives, and personal collections across the world — but accessing its trove of information is no longer as easy as it was in its heyday.

That is, until now.

~ Jacob Kuppermann from,

…and then, that original project rose from the ashes to be something even better.

Sometimes, I find something that warms my dark, frozen, disenchanted, bitter, burnt-out heart. I don’t subscribe to notions like “information wants to be free” but when I see things like this… well, I get a little warm–fuzzy inside.


The law of the pleasure in having done anything for another is, that the one almost immediately forgets having given, and the other remembers eternally having received.

~ Seneca

Small but mighty

There’re countless decisions one makes and simply put, the smallest decisions are just as important as the biggest ones. Few are biggest. Innumerable are the smallest. Plus, there’s huge variation in the amount of time I have to consider—or to over-think as the case may be—each choice. Some say choose sooner; Some say delay choosing. Even when we choose to not decide, that’s still a choice.

Every event has two handles, Epictetus said: “one by which it can be carried, and one by which it can’t. If your brother does you wrong, don’t grab it by his wronging, because this is the handle incapable of lifting it. Instead, use the other—that he is your brother, that you were raised together, and then you will have hold of the handle that carries.” Another way to say that is that there are multiple ways to look at every situation, multiple ways to determine how you’re going to react. Some of them are sturdy and some of them are not. Some are kind and resilient, some are not. Which will you choose? Which handle will you grab?

~ Ryan Holiday from,

There are a handful of small but mighty ideas that have the ability to often get me off the floor, or out of bed, when all seems pointless. This particular one works quite often. Pick that article apart. Keep what you find useful. Discard the rest.


If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friends, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country.

~ E.M. Forster

Try it

I’ve described a problem as being the ability to explain the current state (of something, anything you care to imagine) and a desired state. The problem is that those states are different. Unfortunately, the word “problem” comes packed with negative connotation. That’s not what I’m suggesting here. The “problem(s)” I’m talking about are anything you desire to change.

A critical feature of intelligence is the ability to describe those two states; that’s literally how you do all the intentional things that you do. Current state, desired state… and then working to get from the current state to the desire state is being a problem solver.

In his book, PrinciplesRay Dalio describes leadership as something very similar: having the ability to a) visualize a future state be it physical, spiritual, emotional, or all three and b) find the people and the resources needed to make it happen.

~ Cierra Martin from,

Any time anything makes me think, I label it “good”. This is a good little article from Martin.

But Dalio’s description in the quoted bit above—I’ve not read the book, perhaps this gets covered therein—skips over the actual hard part. It’s giving a nice step 1, then step 3 map. When one tries to solve a problem (“problem” as I described above) which involves other people, there is also a step 2: Getting other people to understand you. And you’ve probably noticed that turns out to be really difficult.


We’re driving faster and faster into the future, trying to steer by using only the rear-view mirror.

~ Marshall McLuhan

The trick

The only thing better than well-thought-out articles, with a nice water–color image, that refer to a good book, that tie together some thoughts I was already having, published on the open web making the Internet a better place? When it’s written by someone I know personally. Here, have this…

The good news is that, according to Csikszentmihalyi, it is totally in my power to maintain flow, or at least maximize the amount of time spent in the flow state. After all, the attention split between the conflicting objectives happens entirely in my head. The trick, for the lack of a better word, is to convince myself to take interest in what needs to be done and to apply mental energy in order to increase the complexity of the activity at hand.

~ Peter Oshkai from,

For me, that attention split—my perception that there actually exist conflicting objectives—is the source of struggle. When I simply don’t invent the need for anything I enjoy doing to be a successful business… Boop. It’s all pleasant creation, heavy lifting and flow state.

Until next time, thanks for reading.



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