Culture and shit

I’m here! I swear.

The last week has been kind of crazy, a flurry of long-awaited vacation days, GOP debates and the restarting of approximately 647 of my favorite shows. I do have a book review to pen at some pointโ€”my humble opinions of an amazing little novel called Geek Loveโ€”but in the meantime thought I’d hold all four of you over with a fun fact. Because who doesn’t like fun?

Amid all the lowbrow distractions this week (one might even say in spite of them), I also managed to do something vaguely intellectual. And it’s only Wednesday! Last night, Walter Isaacson, whose biography of Steve Jobs I link to or praise at least once a day, spoke at the 92nd Street Y, which, if you’re a non-New Yorker, does not mean signing books next to a pilates class. For whatever reason, YMCAs here are sometimes gyms, residences and cultural institutions all in one, and I decided last night that it’d be in my best interest to figure out how to live in one.

In any case, the sessionโ€”a casual conversation between Isaacson and Time magazine’s managing editor, Rick Stengelโ€”ended with questions from the audience. It’s worth noting that this was an eclectic group, lots of older people who I might have otherwise (perhaps unfairly….definitely unfairly) judged as unlikely to be interested in technology.

Anywho, brown-nosing lecture-goer that I am, I submitted a question to Isaacson about what he personally had taken away from Jobs’s life, or, more specifically, from his interactions with the Apple CEO. I’ve written, somewhat facetiously, that one of the book’s perhaps unintentional lessons is on the benefit of pursuing perfection. I even suggested that I might begin approaching my own professional life a bit more asshole-ishly, so that I could one day invent the next iPod and transform a half dozen industries. …I am still waiting for that to pan out. 

Continue reading “Culture and shit”

If you give a mouse a book…

…he totally won’t understand because mice can’t read (with the exception of Ratatouille, Fievel and possibly Stuart Little.) But if you give a person a book, well, that makes way more sense.

I will be the first to admit: Gifting books can be something of a stressful task. A book is a large time investment (relative to movies and music); plus, what if you’re wrong about what someone might like? What if they ultimately hate something you loved? What if they already own the book, or don’t like reading hardcovers or have been secretly illiterate for 20+ years and survive only by memorizing restaurant menus and pretending to hate the Internet? These are the things I worry about.

Now, I have yet to read every book in the known universe, but I’m obviously getting pretty close and it’s time I put my knowledge to use. So here are Sorry Television’s recommendations for this year’s book gifting. Because if your friends are secretly illiterate, you should at least give them something good to not understand.

Continue reading “If you give a mouse a book…”

A Lesson From Steve Jobs

Amid all the fun of this past weekendโ€”seeing Breaking Dawn in an empty suburban theater, going bar-hopping with my newishly legal younger sister, consuming what probably amounted to an entire pieโ€”I managed to make my way through the final pages of Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs, about which I remained so fervently excited that my family has now heard more than their fair share of Steve Jobs fun facts. (I’ve become pretty adept at inserting such facts into otherwise unrelated conversations.)

I’ve already spent enough time on the various degrees of love that I have for this book, my inaugural biography and probably one of the best I’ll ever read. So in the interest of sparing everyone another 1,000 words of adulation, I just wanted to close out my two weeks with Steve Jobs by sharing one last not-quite-as-fun-fact, one that ultimately shaped my perception of Jobs more than his family life, business dealings or tempestuous personality: Jobs always suspected he would die young. Continue reading “A Lesson From Steve Jobs”

Barefoot, fruitarian, genius

For weeks now, I’ve been mad at the Internet. Not for its usual folliesโ€”I’m all about animals riding skateboardsโ€”but for making it nearly impossible to avoid at least a dozen or more spoilers from the new Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson.

I suppose it’s weird to consider tidbits from one of the most widely anticipated books of the year “spoilers,” but as someone who knew very little about the Apple founder outside of his job title and health status, I had been looking forward to the Isaacson book as a way to learn everything about the man in one fell (500-page) swoop. So you can imagine my frustration when every fifth Tweet (actual proportion exaggerated) for the last three weeks has contained some unanticipated factoid, some “aha” moment from the book that I might have otherwise savored for the first time when I cracked its spine last week.

…Alright, that’s kind of a lie. The truth is I started reading the Jobs book not because I found myself so truly interested in the world’s most interesting man, but because all the cool kids were reading it. (While we’re being honest, I don’t really like biographies. There are very few people about whom I care enough to read their life story, especially when a Wikipedia entry and a few well-researched magazine articles will suffice.) When a book attains a level of commercial success that makes it unavoidable, I simply feel compelled to jump on the bandwagon, slave that I am to pop culture. 

Continue reading “Barefoot, fruitarian, genius”