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Worthwhile: Loving Attention + Superrich Happiness

A weekly compendium of good links and other fare.

Jason S. Canon
Jason S. Canon
2 min read
Worthwhile: Loving Attention + Superrich Happiness

Worth Reading

Martin Aylward offers a unique approach to attention:

You could equally describe the whole process as love. You could say, “I’m giving attention to my breath,” or “I’m giving attention to painting the windows.” But it’s equally, “I’m learning how to love this in breath, learning how to love this brushstroke.” The spareness drops away.

Stephen Pressfield with the hard truth of writing:

When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer, must give him something worthy of his gift to you.

When you, the student writer, understand that nobody wants to read your shit, you develop empathy. You acquire that skill which is indispensable to all artists and entrepreneurs: the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as writer/painter/seller to the point of view of your imagined reader/gallery-goer/customer. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this interesting? Is this fun or challenging or inventive? Am I giving the reader enough? Is she bored? Is she following where I want to lead her?

Yale cognitive scientist Laurie Santos, interviewed by David Marchese for the Times, on the decreasing marginal value of wealth for the superrich:

My fast read of the evidence is that money only makes you happier if you live below the poverty line and you can’t put food on your table and then you can afford to. Whether getting superrich actually affects different aspects of your well-being? There’s a lot of evidence it doesn’t affect your positive emotion too much. There was a recent paper by Matt Killingsworth where he was trying to make the claim that happiness continues as you get to higher incomes. And yeah, he’s right, but if you plot it, it’s like if you change your income from $100,000 to $600,000 your happiness goes up from, like, a 64 out of 100 to a 65. For the amount of work you have to put in to sextuple your income, you could instead just write in a gratitude journal, you could sleep an extra hour. Yeah, the money thing is one that students fight me on. It hits at a lot of the worldview they’ve grown up with.

Worth Hearing

This old Longform interview with Gay Talese is just a delight. Here’s the annotated copy of “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold”.

Worth Trying

Regrid will tell you just about everything you want to know about any plot of land in the U.S.—owner, tax value, even latitude and longitude. I’ve used a few apps with similar features, but Regrid seems to offer the most for free. Very helpful for those looking at buying property.