Social media: Bringing us together or pulling us apart?

One of the great promises of social media is that it connects us with our friends and those closest to us. Using it, we can broadcast important events that take place in our lives, we can tell others what we’re doing at any and all times of the day, we can share pictures, we can re-establish friendships with those we’ve lost touch with, and we can stay in touch with those where distance separates us.

On the surface, it sounds great. By doing these things, social media should be bringing us together. It should be making us closer with our good friends, keeping us in touch with those far away, and reconnecting us with those we’ve lost touch with.

I would contend that the promise is not translating into reality. I would argue that social media isn’t having the effect of bringing us together but instead is pulling us apart.

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Book review: The Road

Book cover for The Road by Cormac McCarthy

I’ve read a few Ryan Holiday books including Stillness Is the Key, Ego Is the Enemy, and Trust Me I’m Lying, which is one of my personal favorites. I also read The Daily Stoic, which inspired me to sign-up to both of his daily newsletters – Daily Stoic and Daily Dad.

It was through Daily Dad that I learned about The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Holiday has made numerous references to the book in the newsletter, so I figured it would be worth adding to my reading list.

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Putting Your Own Mask On First

If you’ve ever paid attention to the safety demonstration on an airplane, there is the part where they talk about what to do in case of a loss of cabin pressure. You are instructed to reach for the oxygen masks, to pull to extend the tubing, and to secure the mask over your nose and mouth. Then they give you a very important piece of advice, which is to put your own mask on first, BEFORE helping others.

That last piece of advice is important not only in case of an airline emergency. It is an important piece of advice that we can apply in our everyday lives. If we’re not taking care of and looking after ourselves, how can we expect to care for and help others?


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Book review: The Midnight Library

Book cover for The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Are you living the life you want? If you could make different choices in your life, would you? If you could see how your choices turned out, would you want to experience your ‘alternate’ life to see if it was everything you thought it would be?

That’s the premise of The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Here’s the summary as written on his website:

Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?

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Ruthless efficiency

Efficiency, for lack of a better word, is good. Efficiency allows a business to optimize resources. Optimizing resources leads to lower costs and higher profits, which are the foundations of a market economy. Therefore, pursuing efficiency should be a goal of business.

Pursuing efficiency is all well and good until the drive to optimize crosses a line. That line where the benefits of efficiency are no longer distributed equally, resulting in higher levels of inequality between the have’s and have-not’s. At that point, we’ve entered the realm of ‘ruthless efficiency.’ The point where there is a lack of empathy and compassion regarding the effects optimizing has on others.

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Book review: Afterparty

Book cover for Afterparty by Daryl Gregory

My reading list suffers from shiny object syndrome. I get bombarded with recommendations from friends, as well as my arch nemesis – Amazon. If it looks good, I’ll let it jump the queue. So one of my reading goals this year was being more disciplined and reading through some titles that had been on my list for a long time, in some cases two years, three years, or more.

So far, I’ve done a pretty good sticking to plan. Fat Chance, Lexicon, The God’s Eye View, Permutation City, Luna, and (R)evolution were all books that were added to my reading list in 2018, or earlier. The latest book I can check off this list is Afterparty by Daryl Gregory.

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On Diet: 8 Lessons I’ve Learned

After recently reading Tim Spector’s The Diet Myth, it occurred to me that I’ve read a number of informative books on diet and nutrition. They include such books as Wheat Belly, Grain Brain, and The Complete Guide to Fasting. I’ve experimented with the suggestions and advice in these books with varying degrees of success, and failure.

Based on what I’ve read and my personal experiences, I’m going to share 8 lessons I’ve learned about diet and nutrition. Bear in mind that these are general guidelines. This is not a set of diet rules or a list of what to eat, or what not to eat. These are the common diet and nutrition themes that appear in just about everything I read. They are also the themes that I’ve had the most success with in my personal diet experiments.

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Book review: The Diet Myth

Book cover for The Diet Myth by Tim Spector

One of my primary reading genres is books about health and nutrition. I feel it’s vitally important that we’re aware of what we’re feeding our bodies. I typically make it a point to read at least one book from this group every year, although I wouldn’t mind reading more. Unfortunately, I’d gotten away from reading in this area over the last year or two with the last good book I read about nutrition being The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung back in in 2019 (which I would highly recommend, by the way).

One of the challenges with reading health and nutrition books is identifying books based on solid science. There are so many books on the subject that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Depending on the quality of the book, suggestions can be life changing for the better, or, if not researched properly and supported by quality data, they can have negative effects on one’s health, potentially even hazardous outcomes in the extreme.

Fortunately, one of my favorite blogs, A Learning a Day, made a strong recommendation for a nutrition book, The Diet Myth by Tim Spector. Given the good experiences I’ve had with previous recommendations from the blog, I added it to my (lengthy) reading list and finally got around to reading it.

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Book review: (R)evolution

Book cover for (R)evolution by PJ Manney

I’ve been doing a little better this year sticking to my reading list. I’ve also been doing a better job of reading books that have been languishing on my reading list for some time. The latest example was (R)evolution by PJ Manney.

I’m not exactly sure when I first discovered the book, but it first showed up on my 2019 reading list at #35. Since I usually read about 25-30 books a year, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll read any books below #20. So it took a couple of years to get to this one.

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