An Exchange I Found Especially Humorous: Excerpts from Middling
I write an occasional newsletter (quarterly when I don't forget) to friends and family about my life: music, books, work, and getting older. I'd love to send it to you. Sign up for Middling here. What follows is an excerpt from the spring 2019 issue, a compare-and-contrast of two visionary books.
I've recently read two books that are authors reflecting on and advocating for their particular vision of their particular vocation. One you've likely heard of: Marie Kondo has made a worldwide business of helping people get rid of stuff, taking her most recently to Netflix. The book that made her a phenom is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. In it she unpacks her KonMari method, which involves (among other things) holding everything you own in your hands and asking yourself whether it sparks joy. If it doesn't, thank it for its service and send it on its way; if it does, find its proper place in your home. I borrowed this book from a coworker. (I loaned her in exchange the book Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives, by Tom Harford, a book I very much enjoy, and an exchange I found especially humorous.) I found myself largely skeptical about Kondo's book for a couple of key reasons:
The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity. This book is a curated collection of his previously published work, organized in a way that maps and mines the creative process. He's insightful and soulful, and his art hits far more than it misses. You can read this book quickly, but you can reread this book often. I'm not sure it would make the cut if I limited myself to thirty books, but I haven't put it away since I finished reading it.
Speaking of reading, thanks for reading this post! If you'd like to get Middling in your in-box, give me a shout and I'll set you up.