Notes on Man Made by Joel Stein
I don't remember how I heard about this book, but it was hilarious. Joel Stein, a writer for Time Magazine, wrote a book called Man Made, chronicling his quest to find masculinity when his son was born. The self-effacing, brutally honest stories in the book made laugh as much as they made me think.
It's been interesting to compare and contrast some of the books I've read recently on the topic, like Iron John. In Joel's book, I found myself finding many parallels and similarities between my own life and his, so a lot of what he described resonated with me. There were many times though where I was shocked at just how scared and dainty Joel seemed; in that sense, just reading the book makes you feel manly (compared to Joel). But in other senses, you definitely feel respect for him (like fighting for 5 minutes with a UFC champ).
I've made some of my own steps towards doing "manly" things, and I've done them in my own way, which I'm proud of -- like scuba diving, learning to fly, and martial arts. His take-home message -- that you learn by doing and push your comfort zone -- made a lot of sense to me.
I'm curious if others out there have gone on similar quests and what they experienced.
Below are my notes and takeaways from the book (sorry for any name misspellings).
Ch 1: surviving outdoors
Boy scout weekend
Ch 2: helping the helpless
Ch 3: engaging in competition
Goes to friends to watch football
Ch 4: bonding with men
Ch 5: making money
Ch 6: using machines
Ch 7: taming animals
Ch 8: building shelter
Ch 9: providing food
Ch 10: defending my country
Ch 11: protecting my family
Two friends of mine almost simultaneously recommended the new book Trust me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday to me, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. It turns out that the book focuses on the modern media and journalism landscape and how it can be effortlessly manipulated by individuals and companies to put out fake news or further their interests. The author is a very well-connected journalist and social media expert who has worked in marketing at a number of companies, including American Apparel, and he has written his book to confess his own media manipulation "sins" to expose the broken system to the world and cry for change.
I had heard about how various news aggregators and blogs can be manipulated, and how there is a lot of spam out there that aims to manipulate various advertising markets (for arbitrage), mostly through SEO techniques. But I always thought that the "credible" news sources were still more or less trustworthy; this book totally debunks that idea.
I enjoyed the tidbits of journalism history thrown in, as well as all the quotes from other authors and journalists. I felt like the book rambled a bit with SO many examples of blatant manipulation, but that did serve its purpose, I guess.
The biggest surprise for me was how easily fake news and fake controversy can be implanted in a blog, then "traded up the chain" to larger blogs and then eventually the national news sources, and then have such devastating effects on REAL LIFE that the fake becomes real. That's definitely scary.
This is obviously one author's viewpoint. I'm curious to hear what others have to say (and I'm scared for the author's life...).
Book 1: feeding the monster: how blogs work
Ch 2 how to turn nothing into something in 3 steps
Ch 3 the blog con: how media companies make money online
Ch 4 tactic 1: bloggers are poor, help bloggers pay their bills
Ch 5 tactic 2; tell them what they want to hear
Ch 6 tactic 3: give them what spreads, not what's good
Ch 7 tactic 4; help them trick their readers
Ch 8 tactic 5: sell them something they can sell, one off effect
Ch 9 tactic 6: make it all about the headline
Ch 10 tactic 7 kill them with page view kindness
Ch 11 tactic 8 use the tech against itself
Ch 12 tactic 9 just make stuff up
Book 2 the monster attacks: what blogs mean
Ch 13 toxic blood
Ch 14 manipulator hall of fame
Ch 15 cupid evil: online tactics that drug u and me
Ch 16 link economy, delusion of sourcing
Ch 17 extortion via the web
Ch 18 online journalism bogus philosophy
Ch 19 myth of corrections
Ch 20 cheering on our own deception
Ch 21 dark side of snark
Ch 22 21st century degradation ceremony
Ch 23 welcome to unreality
Ch 24 how to read a blog
I've been getting deep into design thinking and heard the book Change by Design by Tim Brown mentioned repeatedly, so I figured I'd check it out. Tim Brown is the CEO of the design firm IDEO, which, along with the Stanford d.school, really spearheaded a lot of the design thinking movement.
I found the book to be a great overview of DT and recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with the subject. I personally would've wished for the book to spend more time on specific techniques and less on the broader trends and high-level concepts since most of those are already familiar. I suppose there wasn't a lot of depth on the techniques because this stuff is much better learned by doing rather than reading. I did find the copious number of real-world examples where DT made a difference to be interesting.
Below are my main takeaways from the book that go beyond what I learned before or present the material from a different perspective.
Part 1 what is design thinking
Ch 1 dt is about more than style
3 spaces of innovation
Creative culture and environment
Ch 2 converting needs into demand or putting ppl first
Consumers as part of design team
Ch 3 a mental matrix or these ppl have no process
Convergent and divergent thinking
Ch 4 building to think or the power of prototyping
Quick and dirty
Prototyping in the wild
DT for company reorg
Ch 5 returning to the surface or the design of experiences
Ch 6 spreading the message or the power of storytelling
Designing in fourth dimension
Stories as product
Part 2 where do we go from here
Ch 7 design thinking meets the corporation or teaching to fish
Ch 8 new social contract or we're all In this together
Blurring between products and services
Ch 9 design activism or inspiring solutions with great potential
Ch 10 designing tomorrow today