Work, Joan Didion, Sexism, Meetings, Damien Hirst, Opera

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When Does Work Get Done?

Data Studio | Priceonomics | 5th December 2017

“If we’re going to be precise, work gets done at 11AM on a Monday in October. At all other times of day, we’re slacking from our most productive. Sustaining focus year-round is more of a Herculean pipe-dream than a reality of the modern workplace. We come into the office with resolve and determination, pump out a few tasks, eat lunch, then gradually deteriorate into a potpourri of Reddit posts and cat videos. But there are certain times where we’re more likely to get our work done” (916 words)

The World Is Finally Ready For Joan Didon

Lisa Rosman | Signature | 5th December 2017

In praise of a writer distinguished but also limited by her self-control. “St Joan has always alluded to great feelings, even great passions, but never in a way that threatens to disrupt her prose. No hysteria draws undue attention to individual paragraphs; no menstrual blood stains her ‘action verb, action verb’ diction, as she refers to her literary style. With its newly found appreciation for female self-possession, cinema finally may be ready to embrace this woman’s novels and essays” (900 words)

Laurie Penny | Longreads | 5th December 2017

“We watch a bunch of badly-fitted suits frogmarch our nations down the road to economic calamity and climate destruction, and we tell ourselves that we chose this, that we have some sort of control, that there is a thing called democracy that is working more or less as it was designed to. We want to believe that some of this is our fault, because if it isn’t, then maybe we can’t do anything to stop it. This is the experience of being a citizen of a notionally liberal, notionally democratic country” (3,881 words)

How To Run A Meeting

Ray Dalio | TED | 5th December 2017

“Reconciling different points of view can be difficult and time-consuming. It is up to the meeting leader to balance conflicting perspectives. A common question I get is: What happens when someone inexperienced offers an opinion? If you’re running the conversation, you should be weighing the potential cost in the time that it takes to explore their opinion versus the potential gain in being able to assess their thinking and gain a better understanding of what they’re like” (912 words)

Damien Hirst Will Take The Hate

David Colman | Vulture | 1st December 2017

Whether you consider it a new low in cynicism, or just refreshing honesty, Damien Hirst could scarcely be plainer than he is here about the relationship between his art and other people’s money. “Money is a really good way to get people’s attention. In the Western world, people like the old van Gogh thing — they don’t like artists making money. But money is a massively important thing in the world, so I want to take it on, too. I don’t think you can make art without considering it” (2,270 words)

Opera In A Post-Weinstein World

Daniel Foster | Paris Review | 5th December 2017

How do you reply when your three-year-old daughter asks, “If Don Jose loves Carmen so much, why does he kill her?”. There is no good answer, except that opera is written by men and for men. “I have to ask myself: How can I justify raising my daughter to love an art form that seems to delight in the pain it causes women while all too often letting their abusers go scot-free? In its most brutally brief definition, opera is posh snuff porn where women die at the height of climax” (1,230 words)

Video of the day Humanity 3.0

What to expect:

The game of humanity. Play your part (1’15”)

Thought for the day

The surest way to keep a secret is to make someone think they already know the answer
Frank Herbert

Podcast of the day Putin’s Web | Guardian

Andrew McGregor reads Luke Harding’s account of the Kremlin’s scheme to compromise Donald Trump

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