Category: creativity

John Berger

As noted in an earlier post, one of the most influential books I’ve read is John Berger’s Ways of Seeing. It should be mandatory for artists, and recommended for anyone wanting to lead and live a richer life. Berger passed away on 02-Jan, sad news so early in the new year. For the uninitiated, The Guardian as a number of articles they’ve run on Berger that are some fine first steps into understanding the man and his work. Although I am not necessarily a fan of his politics, his philosophy is both thoughtful and timeless. Rest in peace, Mr Berger.

John Berger, art critic and author, dies aged 90
Booker-prize-winning author of titles including Ways of Seeing, G and A Painter of our Time had been living in Paris

British Library harvests archive of novelist John Berger
Writer’s papers come at a price – helping with haymaking on the farm

John Berger: ‘If I’m a storyteller it’s because I listen’
On the eve of his 90th birthday, one of the most influential writers of his generation talks about migration, Brexit, growing old – and his fondness for texting

John Berger: ‘Writing is an off-shoot of something deeper’
Language can’t be reduced to a stock of words. Most political discourse is inert and ruthlessly complacent

2016 favorites

I’m usually not one to make lists of things I like and such, but there were a few outstanding TV shows, books and music that came out in 2016 that are not only worth mentioning but also had an impact on me.

Favorite book: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
I wore those blue nylon Nikes with the gold swoosh back when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, and have bought dozens of pairs since then. Although I get away from Nike every once in awhile, I always seem to find my way back. So I was very interested in Knight’s account of founding the company, warts and all. I’ve about given up on most books in the business section of the bookstore because I’ve found that I learn a lot more from entrepreneurs and founders of companies telling their stories versus ghostwriters and editors cobbling together quips and tricks that worked for them. This is a great read that not only fired my imagination and has given me the courage to step out on my own, but it has also kept me knocking out my daily miles in Nike Zoom Elites.

Favorite record in 2016: Car Seat Headrest “Teens Of Denial”
Very primal and powerful. In a world of overproduced records, this one made me love rock music even more.

Favorite documentary: SoundBreaking
Every episode of this miniseries got better and better. Even the show about disco was fantastic. I intentionally did not watch back to back, so that I could savor each show. I’m mad at myself for erasing them from the DVR, because I’d love to go back and watch the whole thing over again. Having zero musical ability, one of the things I love is watching how music is made. An endless source of wonder.

Best thing on TV this year: The Night Manager
The first episode of this AMC miniseries was a little slow, but so worth getting through to get to the rest of the story. I have not been that riveted by anything on TV since Mad Men ended. The story was phenomenal, and much more fun to watch than read, which says a lot since I love John le Carré.

Best documentary of 2016: The Patriots Day Bombing
This was an extraordinarily important documentary that every American should watch. Rather than focusing on the hunt for the Tsarnaev brothers, it tells the stories of the survivors of the bombings, and is one of the most gut wrenching programs you can witness. The program made me proud to be an American, and if you watch it without shedding a tear, you obviously have no heart.

Album I listened to most on Amazon Prime: “Let it Bleed” by The Rolling Stones
I cannot get enough of this record. Every song on it is not just good, but great. The Stones at the height of their powers.

Most used app: Pocket from Google or Evernote
Evernote is the handiest, and I have found all kinds of crazy things to do with it to help keep me on track and moving forward with my life. But Pocket is just the best. The premise of it is exactly like a piece of software The ForeFront Group, a company I used to work for, released back in 1996. It lets you download articles from the web to read later. I have found that I can troll the Twitterverse, find new things to read and download them to read later when I have the time. I could not even begin to tell you how much stuff I have squirrelled away in my Pocket.