Notes & Conversations

The Notebook: Issue 25

Welcome to the February 2020 issue of ‘The Notebook’.

This is a list of books, movies, blog posts, interviews, video clips and other stuff I find interesting and worth sharing.

I hope you’ll like some of the stuff I am sharing.

If you have any feedback, please drop me a line.

Here it goes…

 

A Book Worth Sharing:

Stillness is the Key: An Ancient Strategy for Modern Life” by Ryan Holiday

I love Ryan Holiday and read almost all his books. It’s another unputdownable book from him. And I finished it in one go…

Ryan is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and writers on ancient philosophy and its place in everyday life. 

You can follow him @ryanholiday.

Read an excerpt from the book here

 

A Movie Worth Sharing:

Confront” by Abhijit Mazumdar

This six minutes films made by my friend Abhijit Mazumdar as playback exercise in FTII.

It’s about ‘A musician grapples with his loss when his band breaks up’.

It’s beautifully edited by Shan Mohammed and features another great filmmaker and friend Amit Dutta as main protagonist.

Don’t miss this little gem of a film

Abhijit has made many films like “Plot”, “Chlorophyll”, “Vanishing Point”, “Yeti”, “Bhabaa Paagla”.

His films got selected in many International Film Festivals including Karlovy Vary Fresh Film Festival, Torino Film Festival, Glasgow International Film Festival, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Durban International Film Festival, International Film Festival of India, International Documentary Short Film Festival of Kerala. 

You can watch all of Abhijit Mazumdar’s films here

An Idea Worth Sharing:

The Social Media Trap” by David Perell

Eugene Wei, the former director of video for Oculus VR at Facebook, says that posting on social media makes people feel like a public company.

“Most celebrities learn this lesson very early on, most companies put their public-facing executives through PR training, but most humans never grew up under the watchful gaze of hundreds of millions of eyes of Sauron…

Public companies are restricted in what they can say publicly. The same is true for people who take themselves public. 

The markets punish companies that stumble, and the judgment of the masses is no less harsh for individuals who do their thinking out loud on social media.”

Public companies and people on social media are always being watched. 

For public companies, the evaluation happens in the real-time movement of the stock market ticker. 

Meanwhile, people on social media are judged in likes, comments, and social status. 

Like the stock market, your social status fluctuates every time you post online. 

Post a photo of your six-pack abs on the beach in Tulum and your status will rise. 

Tell your friends that you’re leaving Goldman Sachs to join a growing and profitable company in rural Wyoming, and the backroom gossip will begin.

As Jia Tolentino writes in Trick Mirror:

“Where we had once been free to be ourselves online, we were now chained to ourselves online, and this made us self-conscious.”

24/7 access to social media has over-socialized us. 

Every action is criticized, every sentence is scrutinized, until soon, we get stuck in a prison of fear and risk-aversion. 

Plus, the Internet has a perfect memory. It only takes one tweet to end your career and permanently tarnish your Google search results. 

Like public relations professionals, we’ve become hyper-aware of how the masses will respond to everything we say and do.

By creating an audience of critics, all those eyes have changed how we act. 

Psychologists call this the Hawthorne Effect, and it states that people change their behavior when they know they’re being watched. 

It was originally discovered in 1958 when researchers tried to study the effect of bright lighting on working hours and break times. Once the study began, worker productivity improved, but it slumped again after it ended. 

Researchers concluded that people worked harder not because of changing light conditions in the factory, but because they were being watched.

Thus, surveillance is a tradeoff. 

Under the critical eye of the social media panopticon, people are more likely to follow the rules but also take fewer risks — which creates a stagnant society.

Read the complete article here

 

A Quote Worth Sharing:

“Be present… That’s the nice thing about present. It keeps showing up to give you a second chance.” – Ryan Holiday

 

Random Stuff: 

No one will admit it, but thank god for our corporate overlords” by Mark Manson

It’s not popular to applaud corporations these days. But in an age of political gridlock, bureaucratic indecision, crumbling infrastructure, and emerging authoritarian tendencies across the planet, Amazon, Apple, et al. may be the only thing holding the world together right now.

Amazon’s logistical efficiency puts every other human entity to shame. 

Apple’s global supply chain is likely one of the few things that has prevented some sort of aggression with China. 

Nobody likes oil companies, but if it weren’t for them, we’d all probably be puppet states of Saudi Arabia. 

Tech companies like Samsung, Facebook, and Google are the ones spearheading internet infrastructure throughout the third world. 

And the greatest innovations in renewable energies are coming from the private sector.

Yes, the size of these corporations and their power and outsized influence cause problems. But then again, there are associated problems with any organization wielding lots of power. 

My point is simply that it’s just as easy to overlook the benefits of these behemoths as it is to criticize their faults. 

But these companies run the planet more than any international governmental organization. And in some ways, that might be a good thing.

Read the complete blog post “10 Important Lessons We have Learned From The 2010shere

 

Thanks for reading…

The Notebook: Issue 24

Welcome to the year 2020…

This is a list of books, movies, blog posts, interviews, video clips and other stuff I find interesting and worth sharing. I hope you’ll like some of the stuff I am sharing.

If you have any feedback, please drop me a line.

Here it goes…

A Book Worth Sharing:

Number9Dream” by David Mitchell

This is my second David Mitchell book. First one was “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet”. Now I have become a fan. Planning to read all his books.

 A Movie Worth Sharing:

Happy Together” by Wong Kar-wai

Wong Kar-wai reached Argentina with crew of 30 people to shoot this film. And he didn’t have a script (he works without a script) or synopsis (he had one page synopsis which he discarded) or story. He improvised the whole thing while shooting.

The film won the best director award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival.

One of my favorite Wong Kar-wai films…

(You can read my blog post “Wong Kar-wai on Literature” here…)

An Idea Worth Sharing:

Time is personal. Your year changes when your life changes” by Derek Sivers

“A new day begins when I wake up, not at midnight. Midnight means nothing to me. It’s not a turning point. Nothing changes at that moment.

A new year begins when there’s a memorable change in my life. Not January 1st. Nothing changes on January 1st.

I can understand using moments like midnight and January 1st as coordinators, so cultures and computers can agree on how to reference time. But shouldn’t our personal markers and celebrations happen at personally meaningful times?

Your year really begins when you move to a new home, start school, quit a job, have a big breakup, have a baby, quit a bad habit, start a new project, or whatever else. Those are the real memorable turning points — where one day is very different than the day before. Those are the meaningful markers of time. Those are your real new years.

This isn’t just selfish. You know your friends and family well enough to acknowledge these special days for them, too. The day that I most want to celebrate someone’s life has nothing to do with the calendar day that they were born.

The fourth Thursday in November is not when I feel most thankful. The 14th of February is not when I celebrate my romantic relationship. To force these celebrations on universal dates disconnects them from the meaning they’re supposed to celebrate. It’s thoughtless.

Celebrate personally meaningful markers. Ignore arbitrary calendar dates.”

(Source: Derek Sivers)

A Quote Worth Sharing:

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs most is more people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman

Random Stuff: 

Karma – The Sculpture Stretches to Infinity” by Korean artist Do Ho Suh

(Source: Tim Ferriss)

Thanks for reading…

 

 

The Notebook: Issue 23

Welcome to the 2019 November issue of ‘The Notebook’.

This is a list of books, movies, blog posts, interviews, video clips and other stuff I found interesting and feel worth sharing. I hope you’ll like some of the stuff I am sharing.

If you have any feedback, please drop me a line…

Here it goes…

 

A Book Worth Sharing:

The Art of Creative Thinking” by Rod Judkins

Do you know Jørn Utzon’s iconic design for the Sydney Opera House was inspired by a cut-up orange he had for lunch? And Japan’s Shinkansen bullet train is modelled on the kingfisher’s aerodynamic beak?

This little book is a gem. And I am rereading it.

 

A Movie Worth Sharing:

Gerry” by Gus Van Sant

Have you ever watched a film where two people just walk, walk and walk? Well, here it is…

“A movie like this doesn’t come along every day. I am glad I saw it. I saw it at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, where a fair number of people walked out. I would say half. I was reminded of advice once given me by the veteran Chicago movie exhibitor Oscar Brotman: “Roger, if nothing has happened by the end of the first reel, nothing is going to happen.” If I were to advise you to see “Gerry,” you might have a good case on your hands for a class-action suit.

And yet, and yet–the movie is so gloriously bloody-minded, so perverse in its obstinacy, that it rises to a kind of mad purity. The longer the movie ran, the less I liked it and the more I admired it.”

Read Roger Ebert’s complete review here

 

An Idea Worth Sharing:

Am I Fooling Myself?” by Peter Attia“This story serves to remind me that we are not wired to think scientifically. Full stop. It is the quintessential human flaw. But scientific thinking is a skill to be practised and improved upon.”

 

A Quote Worth Sharing:

You have to spend the time to sort through the junk to find the treasure. There is no shortcut…. I like to try to apply this spirit of crate-digging to everyday life. The only way to find the good stuff, the special stuff, the genuine moments and the true inspiration, is to first engage with the everyday, the mundane, the seemingly useless, the things nobody else seems to care about. So engage. There is no shortcut; there is no algorithm. If all you do is track what’s trending, then all you’ll ever know is exactly what everyone else already knew. To discover, you have to dig.

(Source: Digging and Scratching – Austin Kleon)

 

Random Stuff: 

Plastic Hazard From Teabags

A team of Canadian researchers has warned that tea drinkers are swallowing microplastics shed from the new teabags and cautioned that the health effects of these plastics on humans isn’t yet known. To look into the amount of plastic released from the new teabags, the team removed the tea leaves from four different commercially available teas and washed the plastic bags. They then heated the teabags in water to simulate brewing conditions. Using electron microscopy, the researchers found that a single plastic teabag heated this way released about 11.6 billion microplastic and 3.1 billion nanoplastic particles into the water, amounts they reported are thousands of times higher than those found earlier in other foods. They also tested the teabags in water containing water fleas and found that while the animals survived, they exhibited anatomical and behavioral abnormalities. The investigators called for more research to help determine if the plastics emitted from teabags could have deleterious effects on human health.

 Thanks for reading.

The Notebook: Issue 22

Hi

Welcome to the 2019 October issue of ‘The Notebook’.

This is a list of books, movies, blog posts, 

interviews, video clips and other stuff

I found interesting and feel worth sharing.

I hope you’ll like some of the stuff I am sharing.

If you have any feedback, please drop me a line…

Here it goes…

A Book Worth Sharing:

Newcomer” by Keigo Higashino

I love Keigo Higashino. And this one is an absolute delight. I would say this is his best book I have read and much better than his most popular book “The Devotion of Suspect X”.

A Movie Worth Sharing:

Nainsukh” by Amit Dutta

“Nainsukh” is made in 2010 and I watched it recently.

It’s mind-blowingly beautiful and an exquisite work of art.

A few review quotes as appeared in the trailer…

“… creates a hypnotic fusion of imagery and sound that conjures up a lost age” – Museum of Modern Art, New York

“Amit Dutta is one of those exceptional filmmakers for whom every shot is an event” – Jonathan Rosenbaum

“In Dutta’s films, we literally breathe the air of the shot” – Cinema Du Reel – Centre Pompidou, Paris

“Its beauty can often take the viewer’s breath away” – Huffington Post, US

Don’t miss the masterpiece.

An Idea Worth Sharing:

“Over 107 billion people have lived throughout history. (There are roughly 7.7 billion people alive right now.)

Over the centuries, these billions of people have tried things, failed, learned, and tried differently. Sometimes, they found new solutions. And when you are born, you get to inherit the insights they learned by trial and error.

The cumulative lessons of those 107 billion people have been passed down to you. It is the greatest gift you will ever receive. We are smart not because of our individual genius, but because of our collective knowledge.

As the historian Niall Ferguson noted, “The dead outnumber the living fourteen to one, and we ignore the accumulated experience of such a huge majority of mankind at our peril.” – Via James Clear

A Quote Worth Sharing:

“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” – Albert Einstein

Random Stuff: 

Venkatachalam Saravanan by Amit Dutta

An international chess master and a filmmaker play a match while discussing the art of the game and its history in India.

Thank you, Amit Dutta.

 

Thanks for reading.

Take care and have a nice month… 


 

Wong Kar Wai on Literature

I am reading “Wong Kar Wai Interviews” edited by Silver Wai Ming Lee and Micky Lee.

There is this interview by Lin Yao-teh. First published in United Literature no 120 of Taiwan in 1994.

There is this fascinating discussion on literature.

I found it worth writing down because I am interested in knowing what influences Wong Kar Wai and, as I love reading.

The following books and authors influenced him…

Albert Camus.  According to him Camus’ ‘The Stranger” resonates with him immensely. In fact in real life he feels like living through many scenes in the book (I have not read Camus).

Honore de Balzac influenced him a lot (I have not read anything by him).

His favorite America Novelist John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway (I have not read either Steinbeck or Hemingway. I have not read Hemingway!!! It’s shameful).

His favorite Japanese writer is Yasunari Kawabata. Especially “Snow Country” and “The House of Sleeping Beauties”(I want to read Kawabata).

He is a big fan of Osamu Dazai and Riichi Yokomitsu (I have not read them too).

Kawabata, Dazai and Yokomitsu from Japan.

And Marquez from South America.

But it was another South American author… who influenced Wong Kar Wai in a very profound way… especially in his film-making style (His narrative divided into a series of fragments and shunned chronology).

Manuel Puig.

Two books…  “Kiss of the Spider woman” and “Heartbreak Tango”

I read somewhere that WKW has taken elements from Puig’s book in “Happy Together”.

(Well, I have not read him too)

Among Chinese writers, his favorites are, Lu Xun, Zhou Zuoren and especially Mu Shiying. He wants to adapt Mu Shiying’s novel.

And Wuxia novelist, Louis Cha and Gu Long.

(I have not even heard these names)

And we all know that initial story idea and some dialogues in “In the Mood for Love” came from Liu Yichang’s novels “Intersection” and “ The Alcoholic”.

So, Wong Kar Wai is a voracious reader of world literature.

And now I feel like a complete illiterate.

The Notebook: Issue 21

Hi

Welcome to the 2019 August issue of ‘The Notebook’.

This is a list of books, movies, blog posts, 

interviews, video clips and other stuff

I found interesting and feel worth sharing.

I hope you’ll like some of the stuff I am sharing.

If you’d prefer not to hear from me any more,

you can unsubscribe completely using the link

at the bottom.

If you have any feedback, please drop me a line…

Here it goes…

A Book Worth Sharing:

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few” 

I got to know of this book from a very unusual source – Michael Kahn.

A longtime editor of Steven Spielberg’s films talks about  this book in an interview. 

Michael Kahn reads this book, again and again, every time he starts editing a new film. 

A Movie Worth Sharing:

“Before” Trilogy by Richard Linklater

Well, this time I am sharing three films instead of one. Three of my most favourite romantic films of all time.

An Idea Worth Sharing:

“Get Drunk!” 

One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters;

That’s our one imperative need. So as not to feel Time’s

Horrible burden that breaks your shoulders and bows

You own, you must get drunk without ceasing.

But what with? With wine, with poetry, or with

Virtue, as you choose. But get drunk.

And if, at some time, on the steps of a palace, in the

Green grass of a ditch, in the bleak solitude of your

Room, you are waking up when the drunkenness has already

Abated, ask the wind, the wave, a star, the clock, all that

Which flees, all that which groans, all that which rolls,

All that which sings, all that which speaks, ask them

What time it is; and the wind the wave, the star, the

Bird, the clock will reply: ‘It is time to get drunk! So that

You may not be the martyred slaves of Time, get drunk;

Get drunk and never pause for rest! With wine, with

Poetry, or with virtue, as you choose!


A Quote Worth Sharing:

“I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.” – Emo Philips



Random Stuff: 

The Effects of Caffeine

In the 1980s, NASA scientists exposed spiders to different drugs and observe the webs they constructed. 

The drugs included LSD, speed, marijuana, and caffeine. 

Researchers noted how strikingly incapable the spiders were in constructing anything resembling a normal or logical web that would be of functional use when given caffeine, even relative to the other potent drugs tested. 

Source: Why We Sleep

 

Thanks for reading.

Take care and have a nice month… 











The Notebook: Issue 20

Hi

Welcome to the 2019 July issue of ‘The Notebook’.

This is a list of books, movies, blog posts, 

interviews, video clips and other stuff

I found interesting and feel worth sharing.

I hope you’ll like some of the stuff I am sharing.

If you have any feedback, please drop me a line…

Here it goes…

A Book Worth Sharing:

Absolutely on Music” by Haruki Murakami

This book comprised of six conversations between the acclaimed conductor Seiji Ozawa and the novelist Haruki Murakami 

I don’t listen to western classical music. Yet I was completely captivated by the book. 

As one “The Guardian” review wrote…

“Absolutely on Music is an unprecedented treasure, valuable if for no other reason than that these conversations mark the first time that Ozawa has reflected at length on his 50-plus years of conducting. “Come to think of it,” he says, “I’ve never really talked about music like this before, in such a focused, organised way.” Talking about music is like dancing about architecture, it’s often said, but what joy to watch these two friends dance.” 

Read the complete review here

A Movie Worth Sharing:

Burning” by Lee Chang-dong

I love Haruki Murakami. And I love Lee Chang-dong.

When these two geniuses come together, magic happens.

Read Lee Chang-dong’s interview here

An Idea Worth Sharing:

My favorite fable: Derek Sivers:

A farmer had only one horse. One day, his horse ran away.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A few days later, his horse came back with twenty wild horses following. The man and his son corralled all twenty-one horses.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

One of the wild horses kicked the man’s only son, breaking both his legs.

His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

The country went to war, and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared, since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted.

His neighbors said, “Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”

The man just said, “We’ll see.”

A Quote Worth Sharing:

“I’m quite convinced that cooking is the only alternative to film making. Maybe there’s also another alternative — that’s walking on foot.” – Werner Herzog ( via Ridgeline )

Random Stuff: 

Photographer Jun Yamamoto Captures The Magic Of Japan Streets At Night ( Via Tim Ferriss Newsletter )

Thanks for reading.

Take care and have a nice month…