As these months provide us with some time to read more than Tweets and bullet-points, here are a few books, websites, and videos that you might find inspirational or at least thought provoking:
- I've long found the accomplishments, creativity, and speaking style of inventor Danny Hillis inspirational. (1) Danny shares two anecdotes about Richard Feynman in this brief video [YouTube]. (2) For you computer geeks, here's a promotional video about the first Connection Machine supercomputer [YouTube].
- Science fiction author Neal Stephenson's very brief PSA to get out there and make stuff with atoms instead of bits [YouTube].
- Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget is not your average "Web 2.0 is bad for you" book. It's also a book about the brilliance of cephalopods, self-expression, and how to stay human in a world of broad but fleeting interconnectedness. [Amazon]
- Have you ever heard of the Jasons, a real-life cluster of top scientists that advise the government? The Jasons: the Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite. [Amazon]
- Staying positive, following the beat of your own drummer: some of Seth Godin's brief blog postings still get it right. [Seth's Blog]
- In early 2010 I did some self-help / happiness / be-a-better-leader reading. My favorite: Zander and Zander's The Art of Possibility. My least favorite: The Happiness Project, from which I only learned that you really will feel a lot better if you get a good night's sleep. Otherwise, a pass.
- Alan Lightman's The Discoveries: Great Breakthroughs in 20th-Century Science, Including the Original Papers, is awesome. For each of 25 breakthroughs, Lightman tells the story-behind-the-story, and then, yes, really does provide the original journal article in which the discovery was announced. That is so cool.
- My kids are 2 and 5, and evidently they like making stuff. Isn't is wonderful that there's also a reawakening of hobbyist / "maker" culture? An example of this around Boston is Parts and Crafts. Or, Make magazine. Etc. Here are some ideas on easy projects to do with your kids.
- Are you an entrepreneur? Consider actually attending a networking event. My pre-event reluctance to get my butt out to a meet-and-greet is 100% of the time rewarded with reinvigoration about entrepreneurship. Around Cambridge, MA, the best resource is Greenhorn Connect.
- Got a Kindle? Try Science News and PhysOrg.com. Totally worth it.
- Go check out the annual Edge question. This year, 159 intellectuals indicate useful modes of thought gathered from doing science, which everyone ought to add to their "mental toolkit." [Edge.org]
- Stop reading this stuff, buy a decent notebook, and go create something.
Also two blog posts from Joost Bonsen that have stuck with me:
Have a wonderful and productive June!