Below the Surface

by Peter Saint-Andre


This week, while America was losing its mind over the elections, I decided to unplug even further from the emotionally and mentally frenzied approach to life that is becoming more and more the norm. Among other things, I stopped using Twitter. More important, I finally dove into Nicholas Carr's book The Shallows, which describes the damaging effects of how we typically interact with computers and the Internet. As a result, I've started reforming my work habits: engaging in more "deep work" (I highly recommend Cal Newport's book by that name), shutting down all apps but the one or two I'm using to complete my current task, refraining from constant checks of email or chatrooms (Twitter isn't even on that list anymore!), and in general focusing on one thing at a time instead of fooling myself about my nonexistent ability to multitask.

I'm also recommitting myself to a low-information diet, to reading more books, and to writing in this online journal more often. While looking up some old blog entries for a friend a few days ago, I realized that I used to read and write a lot more than I do today. And this was not fluff, but deep historical, scientific, and philosophical research (at the time I was struggling to understand the origins of the Industrial Revolution and the modern world).

John Hussman, one of my favorite observers on finance and investing, posts a weekly market comment every Sunday evening. I really enjoy that cadence, and I always look forward to reading his latest post. Thus I'm going to try the same thing here, and post once a week with thoughts and observations on what I've been reading, what I'm working on (mostly technology, music, and philosophy), what I'm excited about, and so on.

See you next week. :-)


Nicholas Carr points out that hyperlinks distract the reader from absorbing the main body of the page, so I'll start putting them at the bottom of my journal entries...

P.S. Twenty years ago today, I was considering anarchism. Hmm.

Peter Saint-Andre > Journal