Taking Notes

Thinking out loud in my corner of the internets.

Best Of

I’ve been writing here for over a decade now. In hindsight, only a handful of those posts are still worth reading.

Colophon

The tools that go into making this website.

Latest Posts

Deep Reading as Secular Spirituality

Deep Reading as Secular Spirituality

“Intellectual stimulation is an emotional experience for me," remarked the mathematician and polymath Eugenia Cheng. Her words have stayed with me. Around 7 this morning I was sipping my favorite brew of coffee in the living room, listening to the ambient background...

A few thoughts on beginning the second half of life, part 1

A few thoughts on beginning the second half of life, part 1

The Internet is so saturated with unsolicited life advice; why would I ever share my midlife self-absorption publicly? In case it serves someone else, as Steven Johnson’s birthday reflection from 12 years ago served me then, and served me again today.

A review of Cool Gray City of Love

A review of Cool Gray City of Love

Call it historical schadenfreude: I’ve been greatly comforted over the past couple of months by reading historical accounts of just how much worse things used to be a hundred years ago.

Highly Recommended: Audiobook of Trevor Noah’s Memoir

Highly Recommended: Audiobook of Trevor Noah’s Memoir

I was one of those overly ironic Gen Xers who stopped watching the Daily Show after Jon Stewart retired and a millennial took over. So I didn't know much about Trevor Noah other than the occasional YouTube clip that made its way across my social media feeds. But what...

Why is Karl Ove Knausgaard Afraid of Therapy?

Why is Karl Ove Knausgaard Afraid of Therapy?

How were these writers able to endow their characters with such sentimentality while totally cutting themselves off from the emotional lives of their loved ones in real life? Or is it the inverse? Perhaps the well-adjusted person, who shares his vulnerabilities honestly in the social world, lacks the burning impulse to produce great writing.

Bringing a Little Wild to the City

Bringing a Little Wild to the City

Why not experience this elevated attentiveness to the beauty of nature every day instead of the constant hustle to get ahead in the city, to get more money, more followers, more fame, more power?

Travels

The world is big. The world is small.