These days, Internet in general, and specifically social media, is taking a lashing worse than an offender in a boarding school. Thanks to the free for all nature of the social web, anyone can say, do, or fabricate anything and get away it. You don’t even need to have a hand on the nuclear button. A lot of these troubles often distract us from what is good about the Internet – the ability to communicate, establish relationships and learn from each other.
Most of us often fear what we can’t see, understand or contextualize. The unknown is the biggest devil of them all. Throughout history we have had to contend with this — solar eclipses, epileptic fits and falling asteroids — they all became part of the fictional fear factor, that has plagued humanity. And perhaps that explains why it became fashionable to pontificate about our dystopian future. Rapid and whiplash-inducing changes in technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence and bio-engineering have got dystopia on our minds.
I hope you had a nice year-end break and are getting ready for the new year. All I want for the new year is all of us to do one positive thing every day — a positive email, an encouraging text message, a tweet of optimism or just a smile. It is not that hard to do, and make our crazy world a lot easier to deal with. Wishing you all a grand and fantastic 2018. May you be enriched by happiness, joy, and learning.
January 1, 2018, San Francisco
These are my picks for the year, which admittedly was light on reading on my part. I spent way too much time wandering around with my camera and didn’t pick up the books often enough. I bought about 27 books and I finished sixteen. Rest were pretty average and some were plain rubbish. I was fooled into buying them because of internet recommendations and magazine reviews. The top five, however were amazing and are worth re-reading sometime in the future. They were all a recommendation from a friend or a friend of a friend.
- American Kingpin by Nick Bilton
- IQ by Joe Ide
- The Fate of Rome by Kyle Harper
- If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? by Alan Alda
- Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process by John McPhee
These are fun reads as well, it is just that they didn’t make the top five.
- Black Edge: Inside Information, Dirty Money, and the Quest to Bring Down the Most Wanted Man on Wall Street by Sheelah Kolhatkar
- The Pigeon Tunnel: Stories from My Life by John le Carré
- Men Without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami
- The True History of Tea by Eling Hoh.
A decade ago, an event happened that changed my life. Some of you old friends and readershave followed the progressreports. But, honestly, it would take a full ten years for me to understand the impact and outcome of that one event. Life in many ways is like a paint by numbers book, where you can color, one tiny bit at a time but within invisible lines. The whole picture emerges much later. Perhaps Steve Jobs said it best: