The Creative Monopoly – New York Times

Interesting opinion piece by David Brooks over at the New York Times, using the entrepreneurial success of Peter Thiel as a way of positioning creativity as more important than competitiveness:

[Thiel's] lecture points to a provocative possibility: that the competitive spirit capitalism engenders can sometimes inhibit the creativity it requires.

Think about the traits that creative people possess. Creative people don’t follow the crowds; they seek out the blank spots on the map. Creative people wander through faraway and forgotten traditions and then integrate marginal perspectives back to the mainstream. Instead of being fastest around the tracks everybody knows, creative people move adaptively through wildernesses nobody knows.

May you all create your own “competitive monopolies.”

In March, read the books you’ve always meant to read

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I’ve been meaning to give a nod to one of my favorite new (to me, anyways) blogs, Brain Pickings, for months now. Brain Pickings is a wonderfully curated art and culture blog with consistently high quality content. They definitely deserve an add to your rss reader (alternatively, you can subscribe to a weekly email digest as well). This week, Brain Pickings found some very nice vintage literacy project posters, the top-most of which suggests “read[ing] the books you’ve always meant to read” in March.

It got me a touch inspired to go for a monster novel this month, so off I went to Project Gutenberg for a free download of “Moby Dick.” Odds are very high that this book will not be finished in March, but I’m committed to getting started. I’ll also be on a boat for a week at the end of the month on vacation, so it seemed appropriate to have a seafaring read.

What about you? Any of you have a book you’ve always meant to get to? Why not start in March?

Bentley. Creativity and craftsmanship in cars built for “taste.”

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I love it when you find successful companies that have chosen to do business differently. Bentley has created a brand that is all about building highly customized cars for people who want to drive a unique and gorgeous piece of craft and technology. The obsession with detail raises these cars to art and you can see the pride in the employees who build them.

“Every vehicle you see within the factory is sold. We don’t make vehicles for stock. Every vehicle is sold and built to a specific customer order.”

Incidentally, coolhunting.com has been one of the most consistently rewarding sites I have followed throughout the years. I’d highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t before. You could lose a day or two just cherry-picking shows that pique your interest.

“All this leads us to the unavoidable conclusion that after over 30 years and countless pages…”

“All this leads us to the unavoidable conclusion that after over 30 years and countless pages Murakami has very little left to say. If the mediocre books of the 2000s didn’t evidence it enough, this book does; in 1Q84 there is simply nothing that Murakami hasn’t said better elsewhere. I write this with a great sadness, as a reader who has loved Murakami’s novels and who feels a sense of shame at having to warn off other lovers of Murakami’s work. But there is no other verdict to register. 1Q84 is a great disappointment to the reputation Murakami has built as a writer, and it will not be remembered very favorably when assessing his legacy. It raises a serious doubt as to whether Murakami has anything left to tell us.”

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami | Quarterly Conversation

I finished 1Q84 myself this weekend and found this quote, indeed this entire review, reflected my opinion of the experience. I still recommend “Wind Up Bird,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” – steer clear of this one, the payoff and ingenuity are sadly nowhere to be found.

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