Monday, January 30, 2006

are we refusing to grow up? what does this mean?

In perpetually liminal, Danah Boyd ponders delayed adolescence, rites of passage, and changing expectations for young people:
"When the idea of teenagers was created during the depression, schooling became mandatory. In some senses, this was ideal because it meant that a larger portion of the population was prepared for the future. But over time, a high school diploma no longer served as a ticket to a better life. And then it was college. And then it was graduate school. What next? And what about the fact that we no longer have a construct of "success" for working class kids? By removing unions and life-long well-paying factory gigs and government jobs with pensions, we've turned "success" into a game that can only be acquired through pre-existing privilege or a lottery (becoming a 'star'). This really marginalizes a huge chunk of today's youth culture. What if you aren't really meant to be college bound? What then?"
Very solid comments on the post as well -- worth reading.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Why I Quit Entrepreneurship and Got a Real Job

BusinessPundit: Why I Quit Entrepreneurship and Got a Real Job is mostly focused on what the author learned from his entrepreneurial experience -- solid stuff. Via Without Prejudice.

Radical Humility

Jory's been on a full-on writing binge lately. I keep saving her posts in Bloglines and then feeling like I can't even do them justice with a link, a quote and a throwaway comment...but since that's all I seem to have time for, here it is: More on Flow and "Radical Humility":
"Let's be clear: I want to make A LOT OF MONEY. But I don't need more than I want to live a life of meaning and enjoyment. I want enough to do the work I love, not just work that pays; to afford a comfortable home for my family and friends, to wear clothes that fit my sense of style and character. To travel and learn about new cultures and experience how others live. To cultivate the person I am."

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Quality of Life Indicators

I haven't dug into it yet, but this list of Quality of Life Indicators looks to contain lots of good food for thought. What constitutes a life of quality?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Work vs. Life Balance in the Extreme

Work vs. Life Balance in the Extreme (by Jeremy Zawodny):
"With all the "work vs. life balance" talk one hears from the executives and HR folks in large Silicon Valley corporations these days (thou shalt not burn out), it should (on the surface, at least) be surprising when folks leave with the intent of not working again for quite a while. I have three recent cases in mind."

How to Do What You Love

There's something so simple and wise and accessible about Paul Graham's writing. I don't really know why he writes about this stuff, but I'm glad he does. How to Do What You Love:
"Although doing great work takes less discipline than people think-- because the way to do great work is to find something you like so much that you don't have to force yourself to do it-- finding work you love does usually require discipline. Some people are lucky enough to know what they want to do when they're twelve, and just glide along as if they were on railroad tracks. But this seems the exception. More often people who do great things have careers with the trajectory of a ping-pong ball. They go to school to study A, drop out and get a job doing B, and then become famous for C after taking it up on the side."
Update: Interesting analysis from Life 2.0: "Alas, although the piece is well thought out and researched, the advice is complex and discouraging."

Monday, January 16, 2006

If Your First Life Isn't Very Interesting

Second Life is an immersive online role-playing environment. Although I've never got into these games (like The Sims franchise, I presume), I do find them fascinating as a way to try on different lives in a safe place.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Business of Life

The Business of Life blog has been cranking out fascinating stuff again after the holiday break. A few highlights I wanted to keep handy:
  • The Power of Making Choices, where Jill quotes from Gruntled Center about old married guys like me: "Married men are the most productive economic group in society because they have given up the life of many options, and are living the life of their one great choice."
  • Bathtub, bed and bus -- bouncing off of an article in Time about creativity and hard work: "Most of all, forget those romantic myths that creativity is all about being artsy and gifted and not about hard work. They discourage us because we're waiting for that one full-blown moment of inspiration. And while we're waiting, we may never start working on what we might someday create."
  • In Overcome Frazzing, Jill's thinking about another Time article called How to Tune Up Your Brain and writing about how we set priorities: "Millions of people don't prioritize and do what is most important, and so feel distracted, guilty and inadequate because they'll never get it all done."

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Shared Values and Homes

Crazed by House Prices? Try Co-Housing
My wife Tannis has been looking into alternative housing options over the past year or so, and she's been interested in co-housing options. We have friends here who are willing to go for it and they've identified a potential property near the lake. But I'm posting this here as a personal account.

The way our economic system is set up makes these kinds of purchases very difficult. If your values include building personal communities and sharing resources, you're running counter to most societal trends toward privacy, property rights and competitive individuality...but people still do it. Seems to me this is a great example of lifestylism -- aligning values with lifestyle choices -- and better yet, it's shared actions to act on shared values.

Update: Frequent Lifestylism commentor and old classmate (from 1979-1991!) Garth has been musing along similar lines this week as he explores ideas of community.

Monday, January 09, 2006


This is a classic Robert Paterson post; the kind that got me reading blogs three years ago: Indulgences - The Reformation - Our Time.
Rob often sees big-picture issues in terms of history, and finds ways to weave many of them together into trends with common causes. Here he's exploring our dependence on institutions instead of taking personal responsibility for our lives:
"Health is seen to be the issue of more money and better access and not about self esteem, skills, family and community. Education is all about a credential and not about knowledge and experience. Work is a paycheck and not about creating value. The environment is a thing to be exploited and is not what supports us."

Friday, January 06, 2006

Informal Learning Blog

Jay Cross's Informal Learning Blog looks promising. In treat me like a human being, Jay looks at engagement at work:
The statistics on workforce engagement are shocking. According to the Gallup Management Journal’s semi-annual Employee Engagement Index [in 2001]:
  • 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs
  • 54% are not-engaged
  • 17% are actively disengaged

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Goal-Free Living

Is "goal" really a four-letter word? Goal-Free Living is a new book that seems to think so:
"We are taught from a young age that in order to achieve great success we must set and achieve our goals. However in doing so, we become focused on where we are going rather than enjoying where we are right now. We sacrifice today in the hope that a better future will emerge, only to discover that achievement rarely leads to true joy."
The premise of the book seems really muddled to me -- so having a direction and pursuing experiences you're passionate about is a better recipe for happiness, but goals will lead you astray? The different types of goals are nearly infinite, with some of them being very focused and measurable and others quite nebulous or general. I haven't read the book yet, so I won't quibble, but Tom Peters seemed a bit confused too when he interviewed the author.