Links for May 22, 2022

What to Read

📚 I'm Put on the Spot—and Forced to Defend the Humanities in a Room Full of Medical Students — The Honest Broker

What do doctors and writers have in common? They both grapple with the human condition for a living. Ted Gioia reminds us that we often do our best work when we can reach across disciplines:

But the students at the medical school who had invited me shared my love of the humanities. They very much wanted me to defend it as an essential part of an education. They told me that when they hired me for the gig. And even if I would never force ‘culture’ on anyone—that very practice violates the spirit of Western culture, in my view—I do feel it’s completely fair to nurture a young person’s curiosity and potential enthusiasm for the humanities as something they might pursue on their own.

So here’s what I said.
I’m Put on the Spot—and Forced to Defend the Humanities in a Room Full of Medical Students
I didn’t ask for this gig—so why did I ever agree to it?

See also: My piece on Literature and Medicine.

⚪️ The Laws of Simplicity — Farnam Street

Simplicity is a common theme around here. I often talk about why it's better in the abstract, but how do we actually put it into practice? This summary of graphic designer and computer scientist John Maeda's book, The Laws of Simplicity, provides some answers.

His appreciation for complexity, and its relationship with simplicity, is particularly worth highlighting:

Concentrate on the deep beauty of a flower. Notice the many thin, delicate strands that emanate from the center and the sublime gradations of hue that occur even in the simplest white blossom. Complexity can be beautiful. At the same time, the beautiful simplicity of planting a seed and just adding water lies at even the most complex flower’s beginning.
The Laws of Simplicity - Farnam Street
John Maeda’s book, The Laws of Simplicity, proposes ten laws for simplifying complex systems in business and life. Think of it as simplicity 101.

What to Watch

🧑‍🎨 Watch Picasso Make a Masterpiece — Royal Academy of Arts

I can't say this is my favorite painting from Picasso, but watching him work is mesmerizing:

Tweets of the Week

Reframing is powerful:

And so is persistence:


Reflections on creating systems to sustainably grow your impact on the world.
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