Totem Word/Life Magnified stamps/Go Hang It!

Recomendo - issue #375

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Find a daily Totem Word 

This digital word game called Totem Word is a quick and fun way to find a single word that resonates with you in the present moment. You start off with 10 words, narrow them down to 5, and ultimately choose one that defines you. I’ve been focusing on  words related to my passions, personality traits, and aspirations. The final word I select serves as a guiding principle throughout my day. So far, my daily words have included artful, restful, inquisitive, and avant-garde. — CD 

Framable postage stamps

A recent set of forever stamps released by the US Postal Service is so beautiful they could be framed. These stamps depict “Life Magnified” in stunning micro-photographs. In fact this sheet is so lovely that you can buy the sheet without the usual perforations (which means they can’t easily be mailed), but perfect for framing. If you need a stamp, they look great on envelopes as well and are valid “forever.” — KK

Picture hanging tool

We recently moved and needed to mount a couple of dozen pieces of wall art. I bought a picture hanging kit called the Go Hang It! that simplified and sped up the process. The plastic gadget makes it easy to position a picture precisely where you want it and mark the wall for mounting hardware. — MF

Best outdoor blanket

For 30 years we’ve permanently packed a blanket in our car, which we use for picnics, sitting on the beach, as a seat at rest stops, etc. For the past few years we keep the Scuddles Outdoor Blanket ($28, and 15,000 reviews on Amazon), which is the best. One side is slippery and waterproofed which means it stays dry but also dirt and sand don’t stick to it. The other side is fuzzy but very durable and tidy. While it spreads out large, it easily folds up into a handy self-closing easy-to-store package with a handle. Very nice. — KK

Tips from the world’s best note takers

Noted is a weekly newsletter on the art of note-taking that focuses on the personal notebooks of creative and historical figures. I’m always amazed at the in-depth research and insights by English professor and literary historian Jillian Hess. Her passion and curiosity for note-taking are evident and very inspiring. Peeking inside personal notebooks offers an intimate glimpse into someone’s inner space and this newsletter has influenced the way I organize my own thoughts. Highly fascinating and highly recommended. — CD 

Rules for reading

Author and bookstore owner Ryan Holiday is a voracious reader. He’s compiled a list of 38 rules to make book-reading more rewarding. Excerpts:

  • In every book you read, try to find your next one in its footnotes or bibliography. This is how you build a knowledge base in a subject — it’s how you trace a subject back to its core.
  • Don’t just read books, re-read books. There’s a great line the Stoics loved — that we never step in the same river twice. The books don’t change, but you do.
  • Ruin the ending. I almost always go straight to Wikipedia and figure out the plot — especially if I am reading something tough like Shakespeare or Aeschylus. Who cares about spoilers? Your aim as a reader is to understand WHY something happened, the what is secondary.

— MF

Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson


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