The anti-library

From Why You Should Surround Yourself With More Books Than You'll Ever Have Time to Read :

Taleb kicks off his musings with an anecdote about the legendary library of Italian writer Umberto Eco, which contained a jaw-dropping 30,000 volumes.

Did Eco actually read all those books? Of course not, but that wasn't the point of surrounding himself with so much potential but as-yet-unrealized knowledge. By providing a constant reminder of all the things he didn't know, Eco's library kept him intellectually hungry and perpetually curious.

... An antilibrary is a powerful reminder of your limitations - the vast quantity of things you don't know, half know, or will one day realize you're wrong about.

A few of the books I've currently got on order: Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, A Culinary Journey of South African Indigenous Foods (inspired by reading this history of African cuisine), Lysenko's Ghost: Epigenetics and Russia, China Marches West: The Qing Conquest of Central Eurasia, and Finite and Infinite Games. That said I do intend to read these ... something of course said of any book I acquire but which unfortunately the scarcity of time sometimes forbids.

Random links

The boy who cried crisis
A 2011 post on what leads to negative stereotypes of Africa: "Kenny portrays this as a classic tragedy of the commons situation: optimism is kind of a global commons, one that is depleted every time an NGO focuses on the horror, the horror of it all. The aid/charity community would probably be better off if everyone stopped doing this, but the private incentives to continue are just too great."
Does Work Make Mothers Happy?
"Analyzing multiple measures of subjective well-being, the paper shows that homemakers are generally happier than full-time workers. No significant differences between homemakers and part-time workers were found. Contrary to our expectations, homemaking was positively associated with happiness particularly among mothers who left higher quality employment for childcare. Though some variation across countries exists, it is not linked to the provision of formal childcare, duration of parental leave, or tax system."
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober and A Short History of Drunkenness - Reviews
"Apparently 43% of British women and 84% of British men want to drink less ... Only 3% of millennials say that drinking is “an essential part of socialising”, and there has been a “40% rise in millennials choosing to be teetotal”."

Studying history

Random links

Walter Scheidel on what really reduces inequality: Violent shocks
Interview with author of / summary of perhaps the most depressing of the books I read while on vacation.
Yet another year in which you haven’t won a Nobel Prize!
"I want to remind those of you who work in obscure research areas, produce unpopular artworks, or face ridicule for untimely writing, that history will be your final judge, not your contemporaries."
Victim entitlement to behave selfishly.
"Three experiments demonstrated that feeling wronged leads to a sense of entitlement and to selfish behavior."


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