Caffeine zero day came so quickly. Herbal tea instead. Here's to hoping the day runs smoothly without withdrawal.
"Our Endless Numbered Days" was an enjoyable read, although I found the "twist" ending completely gratuitous and clumsy. Ultimately, the main plot mechanic fell flat and fizzled, where it looks like many readers have a "Keyser Söze moment" that I just didn't get to enjoy.
Had the ending been left more artfully ambiguous, I would have enjoyed it much more.
Well it's not "trainspotting bad." I'm still on plan, down to a single 12 oz. coffee a day (yesterday and today, planning on maintaining that level through the weekend). Unfortunately, I've had a low-grade headache all day. Perhaps a slightly stronger 12oz. tomorrow would not be considered cheating?
This book is positively chockablock with insights regarding Apple's unique Industrial Design and Product Development process, making it a worthwhile read for people in the industry trying to get a better sense of how Apple keeps managing to churn out hit after hit. What makes Apple unique and how did it come to place Industrial Design at the core of it all?
- Don't create a product just because you can be competitive. Build a product where you believe you will own the category.
- Focus. Kill products that do not meet the bar to focus on successes. Printers and the Newton were both killed off.
- Don't expect customers to tell you what they want. You have to think about this harder than they do so that it fulfills a primal need when they experience it. Jony's team didn't ask customers what they wanted in a phone or in a music player.
- It's more important to be right than first.
- Double down on things that prove to be competitive advantage. When Apple launched unibody enclosures milled from aluminum, they literally bought every milling machine being produced until they could hit their scaling needs. Nobody else could copy it.
- Design is not just how something looks, it's how it works and feels.
The reason this book only gets three stars from me, however, is that it's the biographical parts about Jony Ive that fail to resonate, given that they lack his own voice as a contributor. This is a great look at a company that is built from the ground up to do things differently, but I suspect this will not be definitive on Jony Ive or his legacy.
I can't say I'm loving this book yet, but this passage really jumped out. A young girl has been taking on a "camping trip" by her father, essentially kidnapped while her mother was away on travels. This observation is from the girl after multiple days of hiking and working their way towards the heart of the wilderness. It feels foreboding and creepy in a way that nothing else has yet.
Today is the first day of caffeine weaning, so if I seem snappy or belligerent, then GIVE ME SOME FUCKING SPACE!
Actually, so far no problem. I had a half cup less coffee than normal. Instead of two mugs (it's a 12oz. mug), it was 1.5. Tomorrow will remain at 1.5 and then I'll move to 1 cup alone for Thursday and Friday. I plan on maintaining the 1 cup a day thing through the weekend (because who wants to wean on the weekend) and then go to a half cup next Monday and Tuesday, and 0 cups by next Wednesday. I'll stay off the sauce for a week and then reintroduce.
Why the weaning?
I used to wean off coffee fairly regularly, in preparation for big climbs, so that caffeine would actually be a tool when I needed to stay awake, rather than a crutch just to get going. I love caffeine and I generally keep the urge to drink it under control, but it's good to clear things out once in a while so that's what I'm going to do.
“The Remains of the Day” is written with a singular voice, perfectly inhabiting the main character’s view while simultaneously calling attention to things just outside of his immediate awareness. The story itself is a bildungsroman, the road trip of a middle-aged Mr. Stevens, a butler with a couple weeks away from his job, access to his employer’s Ford, and a goal of possibly returning to the house with a former housekeeper who had left the house many years previous. She had left to become married but written recent letters to indicate unhappiness.
The further the butler presses away from the house into the countryside of England, the more he reminisces about the life he has spent in service - what it means to embody a dignity which facilitates the great ambitions of noteworthy people, while suppressing any of his own ambitions and desires. As these memories are relived, the reader has a chance to interpret them outside of the butler’s skewed representation, and the image it starts to form is nuanced, poignant, and tragic. Easily the best thing I have read in a long time.
It is possible to enjoy a book's central conceit while simultaneously finding displeasure during the actual reading experience; such was the case for me here. The speculative core of the novel is inventive - the goddess Athene creates a city based on Plato's "Republic" and populates it with children salvaged from slave markets throughout time. These children are brought to a beautiful, largely uninhabited city at the foot of a volcano (Atlantis), and instructed in how to be their best selves by Greek elders.
Into this grand experiment, several chaos monkeys are thrown: Apollo (Athene's brother) relinquishes his powers and enters the city as an anonymous mortal child and Sokrates is brought in to teach the children rhetoric and question the validity of the entire experiment. Intriguing elements to be certain.
The ideas are worthy and the Socratic dialogs setting the stage for the book's action are interesting, but the book proceeds with all the subtlety of an Ayn Rand novel. This is philosophy as blunt force trauma - philosophy for people who have never studied philosophy. It felt like my brain was being prodded by a 19th century doctor using chopsticks as surgical tools.