Welcome to The Skim. I skim the news for things I want to read and things you may want to know about. (Get it? The skim…I amuse myself.)
The quotation of the week goes to Jane Austen: “The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” Right on, Jane.
I’m still recovering from the split decision on winter vs. spring that came earlier this week. That Yankee groundhog said more snow. General Beauregard Lee of Georgia said spring is coming. I wish the weather and groundhogs could decide so I can decide if I need to bundle up or start exfoliating.
Saturday’s Google Doodle features Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of The Little House on the Prairie. Saturday marks her 148th birthday. Her work has been hotly contested recently here, here, and here, but the stories about the plains, Ma, Papa, and the family inspired my love of the West.
This read (at least the Twitter headline) made me feel much better about myself and my life. Most people who look productive aren’t.
In truth, most of these “hard workers” are just inefficient. Look closely and you’ll see they use these methods to produce the same results as everybody else. And while it can be argued that these people are disciplined because of their work ethic, more of a focus should be put on productivity. And to produce more results, you don’t have to work longer, just smarter.
Wave your hands in the air if you work smart, not hard!
Fifty Shades of Grey is popping up everywhere. Christian activists want to trade with you: your book copy for a copy of the Bible. Domestic violence advocates want you to donate the price of the movie ticket to a local shelter. Haters just want you to not go because the actors have no chemistry. I’m going to go watch Body Heat again and lust after online photos of Jamie Dornan. (He is dreamy with facial hair and in The Fall. Get into it.)
Harper Lee is coming out with a new book, Go Set a Watchman. Well, it’s not so new. The book was written before To Kill a Mockingbird, and it sat in a safety deposit box for years. (There may be hopes for the manuscripts under your bed and in your old files.) Roy Peter Clark from the Poynter Institute (a great place in a wonderful location) wrote a piece on Harper Lee as a storyteller, discussing her use of suspense through her descriptions of time passing:
In “Mockingbird” we are awaiting a verdict. Jury deliberations, especially in the Jim Crow South, could be over in a few minutes. Or they can take days and days. Or the jury can be hung. What will happen? That’s what all the characters in the novel, and all its readers, want to find out.
Amtrak started offering writer residencies. Authors would ride the rails and write about their experiences and whatever else they wanted. Now a hotel is getting into the act per Fast Company. Evan Peterson summed it up best: “A free night’s stay that forces you to write is not a bad deal.”
Harvard Business Review is my go-to source for all things business and management. One article worth sharing this week is this one on staying motivated after a big win or accomplishment.
Many of us have experienced some of the same feelings after completing a major project, or winning a big sale, or making a crucial presentation to the board. For months or weeks you were ruthlessly focused on a single, herculean undertaking. And then inevitably, that assignment is done.
When we think about achieving a major goal, we picture the exhilaration of reaching new heights. What we often fail to anticipate, however, is that once we’ve scaled that mountain, it can be surprisingly chilly on the other side. After a period of massive productivity we have to revert back to life as usual and settle back into an established workplace routine.
It’s a lot harder than it looks.
Now reading and pondering over this Thought Catalog piece on dating in the social media age: “We are told we can’t show vulnerability so we never admit our true feelings. We get out before we get hurt. We then move on to our next “match” as if the fairy tale will fall into our laps. We’ll find the perfect person, who will be better than anyone else you see, whom you can be vulnerable with and won’t hurt you, it’ll be an instant, effortless happily ever after.” How does the social media age and dating in this era factor into romance novel writing? Are authors talking earnestly about the grind and game playing of modern-day romance?
Enough about me, enough of my skimming. What are you reading, watching and listening to this week?