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Analytical Book Summaries for Creative Professionals

Here I publish concise summaries and analysis of books that focus on optimizing your life and living more intentionally. Written by Matt C Reynolds.

 

Analytical Book Summaries for Creative Professionals

Here I publish concise summaries and analysis of books that focus on optimizing your life and living more intentionally.

Browse by category: Art & Architecture, Creativity & Habits, Design & Typography, Fiction & Literature, Landscape & Memory, Technology & Society or View All

 
 
Posts in Technology & Society
Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris

In the era of smartphones and pocket-sized screens, we post and comment to feel less alone and reassure ourselves that we are quantifiable. A culture of self-tracking has emerged and turned formerly solitary moments into an online commentary. While algorithmically defined notions of your own taste might feel personal, you need to be exposed to challenging new ideas and content to grow.

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On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor

There are infinite ways to cross a landscape and the function of a path is to reduce this teeming chaos into an intelligible line. Our many forms of understanding of the world resemble nothing so much as the trail-wise problem-solving of ants: we test multiple theories against the complexity of the world, and then pursue those that work. The better routes last, the worse ones erode, and little by little those that work improve.

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Smoke Proofs by Andrew Steeves

Andrew Steeves argues we should demand more of the books we purchase. The quality of a book can be a difficult thing to define in quantitative terms because most books are constructed from the same materials and principles. A page layout that soars in one instance may just as easily sour in another; what separates good design from bad is that it cannot be achieved by the simple means of prescription.

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Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew B. Crawford

Self-realization and freedom always entail buying something new, never conserving something old. Fixing things is very different from building things from scratch; the mechanical arts have a special significance for our time because they cultivate the virtue of attentiveness over creativity. The experience of failure tempers the concept of mastery.

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Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture by Neil Postman

Technological change is ecological, one significant change generates total change (new technology does not add or subtract, it changes everything). Nostalgia reminds us of what can be done without computers, but it is essential to consider what is lost when we do use them. As Postman states, “Our youth must be shown that not all worthwhile things are instantly accessible and that there are levels of sensibility unknown to them.”

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