Sunday 10.19.2014 New York Times Digest


1. Real Men Flee Avalanches

“While vacationing in Colombia, a friend of his was shopping with his girlfriend when a gunman burst into a store. Mr. Ostlund’s friend deserted his companion to throw himself behind a counter, a reaction that she kept rehashing long after they returned home. When she asked why he didn’t stay with her, he replied that he was no action hero. ‘The thing was, they really had a hard time getting over it,’ Mr. Ostlund said. ‘We are living in an honor culture. We say we don’t have expectations of a man’s role, but it’s obvious what was expected of him.’”

2. Ballet Dancer Has a Day Off, but She Still Moves

“It’s so weird for a ballet dancer to get this much attention. I try to remind everyone that my career comes first. I try to take it one day at a time. We are never given a voice as dancers. We accept our art form in a very quiet way. My goal was to highlight the ballet world; we use so much more than just our bodies. It’s physical, like sports, but also intellectual. You need an understanding of music and choreography but also you need to know how to perform the character.”

3. Trying to Live in the Moment (and Not on the Phone)

“The first step in understanding our relationship to technology is to become aware of it.”

4. Why Doctors Need Stories

“Beyond its roles as illustration, affirmation, hypothesis-builder and low-level guidance for practice, storytelling can act as a modest counterbalance to a straitened understanding of evidence.”

5. A Paradox of Integration

“How can it be that minority students seem unhappier when they have a larger presence within institutions that once excluded them?”

6. When Uber and Airbnb Meet the Real World

“The law protects online speech, not actions people take in the offline world. Yet its ethos has permeated Silicon Valley so deeply that people invoke it even for things that happen offline.”

7. The Boys in the Clubhouse

“On the playing field, every single mistake a player makes is pointed out and criticized until corrected. By design, on the field of real life, the athlete rarely faces similar accountability. Issues that most of us deal with every day, whether it’s making a living or worrying about Ebola, have no place in the athletic realm, except when a public-relations staffer thinks it would be a good idea for a player to speak out about it. If it doesn’t have to do with the sport the athlete plays, then it does not matter.”

8. Are Women Better Decision Makers?

“Neuroscientists have uncovered evidence suggesting that, when the pressure is on, women bring unique strengths to decision making.”

9. Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

“This tendency to see meaning in life events seems to reflect a more general aspect of human nature: our powerful drive to reason in psychological terms, to make sense of events and situations by appealing to goals, desires and intentions. This drive serves us well when we think about the actions of other people, who actually possess these psychological states, because it helps us figure out why people behave as they do and to respond appropriately. But it can lead us into error when we overextend it, causing us to infer psychological states even when none exist. This fosters the illusion that the world itself is full of purpose and design.”

10. To Siri, With Love

“For most of us, Siri is merely a momentary diversion. But for some, it’s more.”

11. Flirting With the Dark Side

“Bereavement and its handmaiden, melancholy, seem to be sharing a moment of late, taking center stage or hovering in the wings of several current museum exhibitions, on television shows and in films, and in fine art and music, lending a whiff of glamour to a topic most people would prefer to ignore.”

12. Prized Souvenirs, Found for Free

“Sprigs of lavender, maps, matchbooks: They’re ordinary. Yet acquiring them in faraway places seems to infuse them with mystery. Suddenly that 2-cent coin was some cosmic affirmation that I was on the right path. Even if I wasn’t, plucking a coin from a sidewalk in heels necessitates slowing down — which is precisely what one must do to savor a spring night in Paris that’s fleeting even as it unfolds.”

13. Steven Pinker’s ‘The Sense of Style’

“The cause of most bad writing, Pinker thinks, is not laziness or sloppiness or overexposure to the Internet and video games, but what he calls the curse of knowledge: the writer’s inability to put himself in the reader’s shoes or to imagine that the reader might not know all that the writer knows — the jargon, the shorthand, the slang, the received wisdom.”

14. Why Are Americans So Fascinated With Extreme Fitness?

“CrossFitters represent just one wave of a fitness sea change, in which well-to-do Americans abandon easy, convenient forms of exercise in favor of workouts grueling enough to resemble a kind of physical atonement. For the most privileged among us, freedom seems to feel oppressive, and oppression feels like freedom.”

15. Why Tell Koko About Robin Williams’s Death?

“The moral question might not be ‘Is it wrong to tell Koko about a human’s suicide if that information will make her sad?’ The moral question might be ‘If we tell Koko about a human’s suicide and her sadness is rational and authentic, what else are we obligated to tell her?’”

16. Streaming Music Has Left Me Adrift

“The digital age has given everyone in America a better music collection than the one I put together over the last 20 years, and in so doing it has leveled us.”

17. When Women Become Men at Wellesley

“Like every other matriculating student at Wellesley, which is just west of Boston, Timothy was raised a girl and checked ‘female’ when he applied. Though he had told his high-school friends that he was transgender, he did not reveal that on his application, in part because his mother helped him with it, and he didn’t want her to know. Besides, he told me, ‘it seemed awkward to write an application essay for a women’s college on why you were not a woman.’ Like many trans students, he chose a women’s college because it seemed safer physically and psychologically.”

18. Nakedness in a Digital Age

“What we call Silicon Valley is a collection of suburbs connected by El Camino Real, the old Spanish highway of the California Mission era. The logic and the allure of the Valley’s digital ‘superhighway’ belong to the postwar American suburban impulse, against the congestion and contest of the city. The loneliness social media aspires to repair is the loneliness of empty streets, Dairy Queens, the loneliness of high school, the loneliness of Mexican gardeners, the loneliness of lawns. The advantage of shopping online, Silicon Valley encourages us to believe, is that one need not contend with bodies, with business hours, with complete sentences. The loneliness social media aspires to repair becomes the loneliness social media creates and exports to the world as ‘connection.’”

19. The Year 2004

Things that didn’t exist:

  • Smartphones
  • Gmail
  • Ben Affleck, film director
  • Locavorism
  • The countries of Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo and South Sudan
  • YouTube
  • The cloud
  • Honey Boo Boo

20. A Dual Review of What’s New, Starring André 3000 and Fran Lebowitz

“I was vastly entertained that the Internet, which is killing newspapers, now gives you something where you can print out a little newspaper. It’s like a hunting rifle that makes little deer.”

21. Berluti, the Shoemaker’s Shoes

“His job has turned him into a student of masculine insecurity. He has given a boost to short guys who want to be taller, and a little extra toe for tall guys who think their feet look comparatively puny. He knows the lining fetishists: the Japanese clients who want a little flash when they de-shoe at a restaurant in Ginza, the Arabs who need their wingtips to stand out from the pile at the mosque. He has studied the foot bones — metatarsals, phalanges, etc. — and can tell if you play soccer or tennis, if you spend most of your days standing or sitting, if you’re a frequent long-haul flier and will need to account for swelling.”

22. Sisters of the Moon: Stevie Nicks and Haim

“In Stevie Nicks: Visions, Dreams and Rumors, one of two biographies to be released in the United States next year, the author Zoë Howe recounts a conversation between Nicks and Prince in which he tried to get her to write more directly about sex in her lyrics. She retorts, ‘You have to write about sex, so you must not be intrinsically sexy. I don’t have to write about sex because I am intrinsically sexy.’”

23. The Meaning of Life

“Over the last decade, without much fanfare, the core tenets of Buddhism have migrated from the spiritual fringe to become widely accepted techniques for dealing with the challenges of daily life. Feeling overwhelmed? ‘Watch your breath,’ ‘stay present’ and focus on ‘mindful action.’ Grappling with difficult emotions? ‘Seek awareness’ and ‘acceptance.’ Dissatisfied with life? Surely you’ve heard the idea that dissatisfaction is endemic to the human condition. While not always labeled as such, these are, in fact, the key principles of Buddhist teachings. And they couldn’t have come at a better time, when so many Americans are overscheduled, overstimulated and generally in need of anything that might cultivate a sense of internal calm.”

Sunday 10.12.2014 New York Times Digest


1. The Art of Slowing Down in a Museum

“There is no right way to experience a museum, of course. Some travelers enjoy touring at a clip or snapping photos of timeless masterpieces. But psychologists and philosophers such as Professor Pawelski say that if you do choose to slow down — to find a piece of art that speaks to you and observe it for minutes rather than seconds — you are more likely to connect with the art, the person with whom you’re touring the galleries, maybe even yourself, he said. Why, you just might emerge feeling refreshed and inspired rather than depleted.”

2. At Florida State, Football Clouds Justice

“Police on numerous occasions have soft-pedaled allegations of wrongdoing by Seminoles football players. From criminal mischief and motor-vehicle theft to domestic violence, arrests have been avoided, investigations have stalled and players have escaped serious consequences.”

3. At Forlorn Urban Churches, Mass Gets Crowded in a Flash

“Named after flash mobs — spontaneous gatherings of crowds, often in a public place, to make an artistic or political statement — Mass mobs are spreading around the nation and taking church leaders by surprise.”

4. Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?

“For years, child development experts have advised parents to read to their children early and often, citing studies showing its linguistic, verbal and social benefits. In June, the American Academy of Pediatrics advised doctors to remind parents at every visit that they should read to their children from birth, prescribing books as enthusiastically as vaccines and vegetables. On the other hand, the academy strongly recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than two hours a day for older children. At a time when reading increasingly means swiping pages on a device, and app stores are bursting with reading programs and learning games aimed at infants and preschoolers, which bit of guidance should parents heed?”

5. Inside League of Legends, E-Sports’s Main Event

“If you are not a male between the ages of 15 and 25, a group that Riot says accounts for 90 percent of all LoL players, the odds are good that you have never heard of e-sports, a catchall term for games that resemble conventional sports insofar as they have superstars, playoffs, fans, uniforms, comebacks and upsets. But all the action in e-sports occurs online, and the contestants hardly move.”

6. The Concept Car That Became a Star

“The car’s huge size (19 feet long) and limited passenger space (accommodating only two people) were a flamboyant advertisement for America’s post-World War II affluence.”

7. Heavier Babies Do Better in School

“All else equal, a 10-pound baby will score an average of 80 points higher on the 1,600-point SAT than a six-pound baby.”

8. Why Germans Are Afraid of Google

“On one hand, we’d love to be more like that: more daring, more aggressive. On the other hand, the force of anarchy makes Germans (and many other Europeans) shudder, and rightfully so. It’s a challenge to our deeply ingrained faith in the state.”

9. Can Celiac Disease Affect the Brain?

“Treating an autoimmune disease of the gut (by avoiding gluten) resolved what looked like a debilitating disorder of the brain. The broader takeaway was that, in some subset of patients, apparent neurological symptoms could signal undiagnosed celiac disease.”

10. Lady Psychopaths Welcome

“The idea that every portrait of a woman should be an ideal woman, meant to stand for all of womanhood, is an enemy of art — not to mention wickedly delicious Joan Crawford and Bette Davis movies. Art is meant to explore all the unattractive inner realities as well as to recommend glittering ideals. It is not meant to provide uplift or confirm people’s prior ideological assumptions. Art says ‘Think,’ not ‘You’re right.’”

11. Gender Genre

“In 1988, at the age of 20, I stopped reading men and read only women for a period that lasted almost three years.”

12. The Worth of Black Men, From Slavery to Ferguson

“A path can be traced from slavery to the killing of Michael Brown. The sociologist Loïc Wacquant asserts that racialized slavery was only the first in a series of ‘peculiar institutions’ (as went the 19th-century euphemism gilding the nation’s founding contradiction) to enforce caste and class in the United States. The most recent is the ‘hyperghetto’ and ‘hyperincarceration’ that presides today, wherein there’s little hope of mobility and uniformly dire possibilities. Instead of being at the center of the national economy — as were 20-year-olds in slave traders’ value scale — those who are young and black have become a distortion of the ‘extra man’: They are now surplus labor, discarded in advance as uneducable, unredeemable criminals or potential criminals.”

13. What’s the N.F.L.’s Incentive to Change?

“Despite all its current problems, pro football is positioned to not only weather its current storm, but also to sail through it toward greater prosperity.”

14. Getting Your Kids to Eat (or at Least Try) Everything

“Parents should purge their cabinets and shopping lists of junk, and they should set and enforce rules on what their children are allowed to eat. I can be even more specific: Teach your kids to snack on carrots and celery and fruit and hummus and guacamole — things made from fruits and vegetables and beans and grains. Offer these things all the time. Make sure breakfast and lunch are made up of items you would eat when you’re feeling good about your diet. Make a real dinner from scratch as often as you can. Worry less about labels like ‘G.M.O.’ and ‘organic’ and ‘local’ and more about whether the food you’re giving your children is real.”

15. What if You Just Hate Making Dinner?

“Why is food such a big part of rearing children? Why me? And why can’t I just crack open a half-dozen Clif bars and keep playing with my children?”

16. What Happens When Second Graders Are Treated to a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal

“One Saturday afternoon last month, six second graders from P.S. 295 in Brooklyn got a head start on the fine-dining life when they visited the acclaimed French restaurant Daniel. There, five waiters presented them with a seven-course tasting menu (after the trio of canapés and an amuse-bouche, naturellement).”

All You Got Is Your Rep

“It’s better to not have a reputation than a bad one.”

Nic Pizzolatto

Sunday 10.5.2014 New York Times Digest


1. Forty Portraits in Forty Years

“Throughout this series, we watch these women age, undergoing life’s most humbling experience. While many of us can, when pressed, name things we are grateful to Time for bestowing upon us, the lines bracketing our mouths and the loosening of our skin are not among them. So while a part of the spirit sinks at the slow appearance of these women’s jowls, another part is lifted: They are not undone by it. We detect more sorrow, perhaps, in the eyes, more weight in the once-fresh brows. But the more we study the images, the more we see that aging does not define these women. Even as the images tell us, in no uncertain terms, that this is what it looks like to grow old, this is the irrefutable truth, we also learn: This is what endurance looks like.”

2. In Washington State, Political Stand Puts Schools in a Bind

“Test scores soared. Yet just before school resumed for this fall, Lakeridge learned that it had been declared a failing school under federal education law.”

3. Community College Students Face a Very Long Road to Graduation

“The majority of community college students come from low-income families, and many arrive at school, as he did, with competing obligations (29 percent of community college students in the United States are parents), as well as the need for extensive remediation.”

4. Aboard a Cargo Colossus

“Until the late 1990s, the largest container ships could carry about 5,000 steel shipping containers, each about 20 feet long. Today, such ships are little more than chum … The Triple-E’s can carry more than 18,000 containers, piled 20 high, with 10 above deck and 10 below.”

5. Who Are ‘We the People’?

“Who is a person? How do you qualify for basic human rights? What is required for you to be able to speak or worship freely or to be free from torture? Throughout American history, the Supreme Court has considered and reconsidered the criteria for membership in the club of rights, oscillating between a vision limiting rights to preferred groups and another granting rights to all who require protection. These competing visions have led to some strange results.”

6. Download: Naomichi Yasuda

“Next year maybe I’m going to attempt the Mr. Tokyo bodybuilding contest in my age and weight category. No kidding! I attempted the Mr. Tokyo Jr. contest two times when I was 23 and 24 years old. It wasn’t good. My muscles were pretty much small. Now I’m 55. I just want to attempt growing the muscle and see how much my body can get in shape. Last year I went to the gym a total of 352 days. Every time I train for 2 hours and 15 minutes.”

7. We Want Privacy, but Can’t Stop Sharing

“Information about yourself is like currency. The amount you spend on a person signifies how much you value the relationship. And that person compensates you in kind. That’s why it feels like theft when someone tells your secrets or data miners piece together your personal history — using your browsing habits, online purchases and social networks — and sell it. And it’s also why if you’re profligate with information about yourself, you have precious little to offer someone really special.”

8. Smelling Liberal, Thinking Conservative

“Researchers found evidence that people are instinctively attracted to the smell emitted by those with similar ideologies. In one memorable instance, a female participant asked the scholars if she could take one of the samples home, describing it as ‘the best perfume I ever smelled.’ The scent came from a man who shared her political views. Just before, a different woman with the opposite views had smelled the exact same sample, declared it ‘rancid,’ and urged the researchers to throw it out.”

9. A Debt Collector’s Day

“On average, bill and account collectors in the United States make $16.66 an hour. Many are in debt themselves. The owner of one agency told me that, quite by chance, he occasionally bought debts that belonged to his own employees.”

10. I Love Lena

“The thing that makes Dunham’s show so interesting, the reason it inspired a certain unsettlement among some of its early fans, is that it often portrays young-liberal-urbanite life the way, well, many reactionaries see it: as a collision of narcissists educated mostly in self-love, a sexual landscape distinguished by serial humiliations — a realm at once manic and medicated, privileged and bereft of higher purpose.”

11. Antiquities Lost, Casualties of War

“The list of destroyed, damaged or looted works has only grown longer as the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, which seeks to create a caliphate, has pushed into northern Iraq. Sunni extremists like the Islamic State and others are deliberately wrecking shrines, statues, mosques, tombs and churches — anything they regard as idolatry.”

12. Resurrecting a Disgraced Reporter

“Sometimes, when David takes on Goliath, David is the one who ends up getting defeated.”

13. In Colorado, a Rebranding of Pot Inc.

“How can the pot industry shed its stoner stigma?”

14. An Imported Soda That Comes With Buzz

“Among subcultures that pride themselves on early adoption — techies, foodies, Brooklyn baristas — Mexican Coke is the new black. MexiCoke, as it is also called, is imported from Mexico and is sweetened by pure cane sugar, rather than the corn syrup found in the American version. Devotees say it delivers a sugar-infused, caffeine-amplified buzz, which is a particular draw for stay-up-all-night coders, writers and musicians. For hard-core fans, it’s Mexican Coke or none at all.”

15. Geek Squad

“Isaacson identifies several other virtues that were essential to his geeky heroes’ success, none of which will surprise those familiar with Silicon Valley’s canon of self-help literature: The digital pioneers all loathed authority, embraced collaboration and prized art as much as science.”

16. The Elements of Style

“Watching other women, seeing how they’re dressed and how they pull it off, is the way most of us learn to become ourselves.”

17. In Their Fashion

“Whether we know it or not, we are all now wearing Chanel’s distillation of European history.”

18. Market-Driven Behavior

“If you look on society as a product of human energy that has become a second nature to us, the environment we have to care for includes society itself, as well as the natural world of mountains, lakes and forests.”

19. A Brutal Process

“Slavery was essential to American development and, indeed, to the violent construction of the capitalist world in which we live.”

20. Elevating Dinner for One

“It is impossible to eat well in groups if you cannot eat well alone. I think this is true of anything — if it’s not what you do when no one’s looking, it will never be truly what you do. An hour spent tasting, watching, hearing only the rustle of your own observation, allows for a certain perceptiveness to arise, for the I to be sharpened.”

21. The Revelations of Marilynne Robinson

“I hate to say it, but I think a default posture of human beings is fear.”

22. The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever

“The sea is rising along the southeast coast of Louisiana faster than it is anywhere else in the world.”

The Lookout


Sunday 9.28.2014 New York Times Digest


1. How to Stop Time

“Are we imposing standards on ourselves that make us mad?”

2. Today’s Police Put On a Gun and a Camera

“The rising use of cameras has put the police in a complex and uncertain landscape of public records law.”

3. For Muslims, Social Media Debate on Extremism Is Reflected in Dueling Hashtags

“The group … began a campaign this month built around the Twitter hashtag #notinmyname, which has denounced the beheading of the British aid worker David Haines and other brutal acts committed by the radical group Islamic State. The hashtag has been tweeted tens of thousands of times, and a YouTube video promoting the campaign has more than 200,000 views. But the campaign has spawned a satirical reaction from Muslims who say it presumes that they are somehow collectively responsible for Islamic extremism.”

4. Colleges Make It Easier for Students to Show, Not Tell, in Their Applications

“A prospective student may apply by submitting two pieces of work (at least one of them a graded high school writing assignment) and a two-minute video, rather than a high school transcript.”

5. Sunday Routine: Vincent Piazza

“I have this thing that I’ve been doing for the last few years where I make it my business, no matter what, to read 30 pages of a book a day.”

6. With His Words and Deeds, Derek Jeter Never Entered Foul Territory

“In 20 years of living onstage in New York City, the so-called media capital of the world, Derek Jeter has never played ball. He has never been caught in a compromising position. He has never embarrassed himself. After a long shift at the ballpark, he has never been known to ooze into one of those establishments that tabloids call jiggle joints, or to stumble out of some meatpacking-district hot spot after too much Veuve Clicquot.”

7. The Unrepentant Bootlegger

“Ms. Beshara … still can’t accept that what she was doing deserved the heavy hammer of the law. She served 16 months in prison for conspiracy and criminal copyright infringement, but she still talks about NinjaVideo as something grand. It was a portal that spirited her away from the doldrums of her regular life as a receptionist living with her parents to an online community that regarded her as its queen. Sure, she showed movies that were still playing in theaters, but it seemed like harmless, small-stakes fun.”

8. Turning Programming Into Child’s Play

“When we teach children how to read and write, we don’t expect everyone to become a journalist or a novelist. But we believe they’ll be able to think in new ways because it opens the doors to thinking. We believe the same thing for the skills of programming and engineering.”

9. Looking at Productivity as a State of Mind

“A modern version of the spirit of Taylorism is sorely needed. It’s time to identify and optimize the specific psychologies that constitute the mental alchemy of productivity.”

10. Pearls of Career Wisdom, Found in the Trash

“Before I was an E.V.P., S.V.P. or V.P., I worked as a janitor. For two summers I cleaned toilets, mopped floors and smelled like garbage. It had nothing to do with my chosen profession. And yet nothing was better for preparing me for work and life as an adult.”

11. The Wilds of Education

“Isn’t education supposed to provoke, disrupt, challenge the paradigms that young people have consciously embraced and attack the prejudices that they have unconsciously absorbed?”

12. Why We Sit Back and Let Apps Do Our Chores

“How do we judge whether technology is making us more productive, or just lazy and impatient?”

13. Building an Ark for the Anthropocene

“By 2100, researchers say, one-third to one-half of all Earth’s species could be wiped out. As a result, efforts to protect species are ramping up as governments, scientists and nonprofit organizations try to build a modern version of Noah’s Ark.”

14. Learning to Love Criticism

“If a woman wants to do substantive work of any kind, she’s going to be criticized — with comments not just about her work but also about herself.”

15. Object Lessons in History

“Objects seem to be emerging as history’s lingua franca.”

16. So You’re Not a Physicist…

“Nothing is intrinsically wrong with applying scientific language metaphorically to human experience. Metaphors are valuable when our experiences are enigmatic or difficult to capture, when existing words don’t fit the situation at hand. Even the incorrect use of technical terms can meaningfully express what we intuit but cannot otherwise say.”

17. Kicking the Facebook Habit

“In our age of so-called social media, my act is inexcusably antisocial. I don’t tumble, tweet or Instagram. I am not linked in, nor have I pinned a pin on Pinterest. But no Facebook? Even in our most secluded moments, Facebook puts the spite in respite; we are expected to brag-post our feet on a lounge chair on some Greek isle, or our wet baby moments after its birth. It’s an orgy of insistent intimacy. I ached to abstain.”

18. The Cult Deficit

“The decline of cults, while good news for anxious parents of potential devotees, might actually be a worrying sign for Western culture, an indicator not only of religious stagnation but of declining creativity writ large.”

19. Pynchon’s Cameo, and Other Surrealities

I know that they talked a lot. Sometimes, he’d say, ‘Oh, I talked to Pynchon last night, and we were talking, he thought maybe it could be like this or like that.’ It was pretty amazing, because it seemed like he was very active in the process through Paul. It seemed like they talked often and he would make suggestions or talk about how to condense three scenes into one.”

20. For Arianna Huffington and Kobe Bryant: First, Success. Then Sleep.

“When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?”

21. A Defining Question in an iPhone Age: Live for the Moment or Record It?

“To live the moment or record the moment? It’s become a defining dilemma of the iPhone age.”


22. As Blondie Turns 40, a Look Back Through Chris Stein’s Lens

“Though the photographs in the book span the band’s four decades, they’re rooted mostly in the punk scene that emerged in the ’70s and ’80s, paralleling Blondie’s rise. Their star subject is the astonishingly photogenic Deborah Harry, who, in an essay in the book, calls Stein’s casually intimate pictures ‘the most real and unguarded and ultimately revealing’ of the era’s images of her.”

23. A Night Out With Stephin Merritt, the Singer for Magnetic Fields

“I’m amazed that everyone else is willing to put in a part-time job worth of work in order to manage their social media accounts. I’m too busy playing Scrabble and Words With Friends.”

24. A Recipe for Air Rage

“I find myself thinking of John B. Calhoun’s seminal overpopulation research, published in Scientific American in the 1960s, which found that as rats were increasingly crowded together they became ever more aggressive and exhibited ‘behavior disturbances’ from ‘frenetic overactivity’ to ‘pathological withdrawal.’”

25. Disquiet on the Set

“‘I neither loved nor hated him.’ But he admits: ‘At one point I did seriously plan to firebomb him in his home.’”

26. No Pain, No Game

“At any given instant thousands of people suffer and die, in vain, unjustly, and we are not affected: Our existence is possible only at this price. Sade’s merit is not only that he cried aloud that which each person shamefully admits to himself, but that he did not reconcile himself to it. He chose cruelty over indifference.”

27. Attention Must Be Paid

“As an instructive social parable, Richtel’s densely reported, at times forced yet compassionate and persuasive book deserves a spot next to Fast Food Nation and To Kill a Mockingbird in America’s high school curriculums.”

28. All Atwitter

“The book seems to desublimate itself for you: No sooner does the reader think, ‘This is like the case of Louis Althusser’s murder of his wife,’ than some character makes the comparison for you. The result is provocatively comic, and surreal in the manner of a Max Ernst collage.”

29. The Woman Who Walked 10,000 Miles (No Exaggeration) in Three Years

“Her body changed, and her mind changed, too. Her senses sharpened to the point that she could smell shampoo on a tourist’s hair from a mile away. ‘One day you walk 12 hours, and you don’t feel pain,’ Marquis said. The past and present telescope down to an all-consuming now. ‘There is no before or after. The intellect doesn’t drive you anymore. It doesn’t exist anymore. You become what nature needs you to be: this wild thing.’”

30. Just Say No

“If part of being a happy person is having the ability to say yes — to new people, ideas and experiences — part of being a stylish one seems to be the ability to say no. Mastery of the art of refusal is something every person of great style I’ve ever come across shares: the confidence to reject trends or conventions — whether of living, dressing or decorating — that don’t feel uplifting or authentic.”

31. A Golden Age of Design

“The golden age of design has been heralded many times over the past couple of decades — four, by my count. Now, this previous momentum paired with technology, community and big business has fueled something new: an unprecedented belief in the power of design to not only elevate an idea, but be the idea.”

32. Fringe Benefits

“Bangs are not for seeing; they’re for being seen. On the runway this fall, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent had them choppy, showing a little skin. Short bangs are severe, just a bit aggressive — they don’t hesitate. These long bangs are more mysterious. Black-ringed eyes peer out, spooky and sheltered, the forehead hidden. The rest of the hair hangs loose and straight. Big hair, little face: The look is Anna Karina, Jane Birkin, Juliet Berto, Nico. Geniuses of style, all those women used their bangs to hold something back.”

33. The Brains and Braun of Dieter Rams

“Good design is honest.”

34. In Praise of the Humble Knot

“Knot enthusiasts like to say that civilization is held together by knots. It sounds like a wisecrack — but if you take a look around, you may begin to see the truth behind the quip.”

Don’t Be Late

“Show up on time. I learned this from the mentor who I call Bigfoot in Kitchen Confidential. If you didn’t show up 15 minutes exactly before your shift — if you were 13 minutes early — you lost the shift, you were sent home. The second time you were fired. It is the basis of everything. I make all my major decisions on other people based on that. Give the people you work with or deal with or have relationships with the respect to show up at the time you said you were going to. And by that I mean, every day, always and forever. Always be on time. It is a simple demonstration of discipline, good work habits, and most importantly respect for other people.”

—Anthony Bourdain