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Stewart Brand’s Summaries of the Seminars About Long-term Thinking

It takes me too long to get into San Francisco to see the seminars hosted by Stewart Brand, but I really enjoy Stewart’s succinct summaries. (Back in the Whole Earth days I was surprised that no one ever commented on the quality of Stewart’s pithy, concise, often witty reviews.) 

On the “Learning to Learn Fast” seminar by Timothy Ferriss last week:

“To acquire ‘the meta-skill of acquiring skills,’ Ferriss recommends approaching any subject with some contrarian analysis: ‘What if I try the opposite of best practices?’  Some conventional wisdom—‘children learn languages faster than adults’ (no they don’t)—can be discarded.  Some conventional techniques can be accelerated radically.  For instance, don’t study Italian in class for a year before your big Italy trip; just book your flight a week early and spend that week cramming the language where it’s spoken.  You can be fluent in any language with mastery of just 1,200 words.…”

Here are 100 of his pared-down summaries of the SALT seminars for three bucks on the Kindle:

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Video of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Together 2003

I’d never seen Jobs in action. Wow! Go to the link below and scroll down to 3rd video, which is of him and Gates. At the end, when asked by the moderator about the conflicts between the two of them, Jobs said: “I think of most things in life as either a Bob Dylan or Beatles song. There’s one line in a Beatles song that goes, ‘You and I have memories longer than the road that lies ahead…'” You could hear this collective gasp from the audience.

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Steve Jobs Biography Set for November Release

Excerpted from article in today’s NYTimes by Nick Bolton:

“…Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years — as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues — Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.

Simon & Schuster also said that Mr. Jobs cooperated with the book, but ‘asked for no control over what was written nor even the right to read it before it was published.’”

“’He put nothing off limits. He encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly,” Simon & Schuster said in its book synopsis, saying that “his friends, foes, and colleagues provide an unvarnished view.…’”

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What Technology Wants, new book by Kevin Kelly

Just published a few days ago, this new book by Wired mag “Senior Maverick” and CoolTools founder Kevin Kelly is,  as I speak  this morning,  #56 on Amazon’s bestseller list (!). Reviewer Thomas King writes:

What Technology Wants offers a highly readable investigation into the mechanisms by which technology advances over time. The central thesis of the book is that technology grows and evolves in much the same way as an autonomous, living organism.

The book draws many parallels between technical progress and biology, labeling technology as “evolution accelerated.” Kelly goes further and argues that neither evolution nor technological advance result from a random drift but instead have an inherent direction that makes some outcomes virtually inevitable. Examples of this inevitability include the eye, which evolved independently at least six times in different branches of the animal kingdom, and numerous instances of technical innovations or scientific discoveries being made almost simultaneously.…”

Check out Kevin’s writeup on getting his first hard copy (hard cover) of the book, and ruminations on hold-in-hand books vs. eBooks:

I ordered a copy yesterday. Lets see what Kevin thinks is going on tech-wise on the planet these days.

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New – iPad Stretches Available Free

Our (free) stretching reminder for iPad users is now available. It’s in the “books” category on your iPad. When you click on one of the images shown here, it opens to a page with the instructions for that stretch — a reminder to take a stretching break during your digital day. iPad users, see:

We made it free in hopes of generating interest in our program StretchWare, (“The software that reminds you to stretch”). You can download StretchWare free for 30 days at: Works great on Mac and Windows.

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Communication – Economics of publishing

Communication 2010

The heart of my work will always be the physical book, but I’m loving the blogging (and tweeting) process. Starting with a high school journalism class, I’ve been trying to communicate what I see going on out in the world. I’m some kind of combination naif, Pollyanna, and communicator, and can’t wait to tell people what’s out there. I don’t need to tell you this is a golden age for communicators. As soon as I post this on my blog, it’s out worldwide — it’s staggering — especially for someone who started out in the world of hot lead type.

I’ve got revolutionary avenues and tools of communication available now: The WEB — hoo! And tools: big Mac Pro desktop honker in office, scanner, great Epson pro 4800 printer, plus Road Gear: MacBook Pro laptop, 3G iPad, iPhone, 4 different cameras, not to mention GPS in truck and satellite radio. An “…embarrassment of riches.” I better do something with all this!

Economics of publishing: 40 years of tightrope walking

For 4 decades it’s been nip and tuck. We sure ain’t in it for the money. In years past we had to borrow to pay printing bills. When Random House was our distributor, they handled reprints of our most popular books. They’d pay the printers and eventually deduct it from our quarterly check — 6 months after the bill was due. It was a great deal. When things got tight, they’d give us an advance on sales. When Random House got conglomerate-ized, we switched distribution to Publishers Group West, and it was a match made in heaven. As years went by, we got slightly ahead of printing bills. We even had a nest egg of about $130,000 3 years ago and bingo, bankruptcy by parent company Advanced Marketing Services wiped that out. Now we’re rolling with PGW again, but still tightrope walking. We need to sell enough books in the next 6 months to stay afloat, until we get the tiny houses book out there, which I suspect is going to be successful. Keeps us on our toes.

Foreign Editions

We’ve sold rights to the new edition of Stretching in Spain, Brazil, Korea, China (complex and simple Chinese), Viet Nam and have offers from Germany and interest from Japan. (Stretching is our flagship, the only reason we’re still afloat.; the new edition has sold 18,000 copies in the US and Canada in 5 months.)

SolFest back on

The event got so big it couldn’t be accommodated in Hopland, so it’s moved to the Ukiah fairgrounds, September 25-26 this year. My favorite fair. We have a booth and always sell tons of books. Info:

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iPad vs. Kindle/Nook/Sony Reader

At the book convention I tried out the above 3 reading devices. There’s just no comparison with the iPad. As someone said earlier in the week, they seem like stone age compared to the iPad, which I’m writing this on now at the airport. It’s just phenomenal, the more I use it.

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At the Apple Store on Park Ave.

It’s an elegant store and it was mobbed (Monday afternoon). Throngs of people at the iPad tables. This pic is looking up at the bottom of the glass spiral staircase, shadows of people’s shoes. The 2nd shadows down from top right are high heels.

I bought a v. cool tiny set of speakers to run off the MacBook and iPad: iHome Model iHM79 Portable Rechargeable Speakers:

Right now listening to BB King’s Bluesville station on the internet through Sirius satellite radio. Am I tech savvy or what?

These little speakers put out big sound. Unique!

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