Recomendo

5 life-changing books/There/Shtisel

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Recomendo: issue no. 197

5 life-changing books
I  am a very happy user of You Need a Budget (YNAB), a personal finances subscription service (get a free month when you sign up with this link). They also have a good YouTube channel and I particularly enjoyed this episode where the host recommended five books that changed her life. Those books are: The 5 Second Rule, You Need a Budget, Daring Greatly, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind, and Getting Things Done. — MF

Other people’s time zone
Like almost everyone else, I now need to interact with others working in different time zones. Determining their current time is the chore of this neat menu applet for the Mac called There. Unlike a world clock, the There applet tracks the time per person. I can instantly look up a friend/colleague and it gives me their current time; if they do travel and are a There user as well, I see their time at their new location. Ditto if I travel. You can import a whole Slack team and get their local times. It is currently free and will soon be available on Windows and phones. — KK

Quiet masterpiece
Do yourself a favor and watch Shtisel, a two-season (24 episode) series on Netflix. It’s an incredibly written Isreali drama that is now a world-wide hit. It just happens to take place in an ultra-orthodox Jewish family. Ironically, it is a big hit in many conservative Muslim countries because these two traditional cultures overlap so much. Part of Shtisel’s charm is the full immersion into a world that is alien as Mars to most moderns, but the main attraction in this global gem is its universal humanism and real people characters. (Shtisel should not be confused with Unorthodox, another recent good Netflix series taking place in the same orthodox Jewish community, but with a very different ambiance and different artistic mission.) Shtisel is not loud or flashy; it is a quiet, low-budget masterpiece that leaves you feeling you encountered something remarkable. — KK

Feel connected to the Universe
This helped me get out of my headspace for a bit: NASA’s What Did Hubble See on Your Birthday? I entered all the important dates I could think of and went down a Wikipedia wormhole to learn more about the Sombrero Galaxy and light echos. Every image is awesome and uplifting and teleports me out of my mental space to somewhere else. Which reminds me of a quote I’ve always treasured by Lao Tzu: “Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and look at the stars. This practice should answer the question.” — CD

Stay-sharp mechanical pencil
I like mechanical pencils, and my favorite is the Uni Kuru Toga with a lead-rotation mechanism (Model No. M54521P.24). Every time you touch the tip to the paper, the mechanism inside the pen ratchets the lead a few degrees. The result is the point stays rounded instead of taking on a chiseled profile as often happens with mechanical pencils. It’s inexpensive but very well-made. Mine has lasted for years. — MF

Productivity tip
Lately, I’ve been marking each task on my to-do list as a high attention task or a low attention task, and through out the day, I will alternate and work only on the things that match my energy level. I’ve noticed that these “energy audits” have enabled me to power through bunches of tasks that I tend to avoid because they seem tedious or time-consuming. (Source: 6 tools that are more powerful than to-do lists for productivity). — CD

-- Kevin Kelly. Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 04/26/20