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Productive Procrastination #4

Welcome back, I'm in Berlin again after spending Christmas with N. in the Frankfurt area where both o

Productive Procrastination

December 28 · Issue #4 · View online
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Welcome back,
I’m in Berlin again after spending Christmas with N. in the Frankfurt area where both our families live. Now it’s time to get off the sugar rush and back on the bike (more on that in a future issue). 
This issue is once again heavy on the reading recommendations, featuring my favorite articles from 2015, my Christmas magazine reading stack and a reflection of nine months reading the Economist. 
Enjoy the final days of 2015,

My favorite essays and articles of 2015
Justice for “Data Janitors”
Why I Am Not a Maker
Cloudy Logic
The Addiction Algorithm: An interview with Natasha Dow Schüll
At Home in the Liminal World
The Art of Gig
The future of loneliness
Honeywell, I’m Home! The Internet of Things and the New Domestic Landscape
Ghosts of the Future
The Darkness Before the Right
Big Data, No Thanks
My Christmas Stack
The time between Christmas and going back to work sometime in January has always been about reading as much as I can for me. For the last five years, I’ve been tracking my reading material to see if and how my media diet changes from year to year. Not that much, it looks like. 
Above is my magazine stack from this year featuring Makeshift, The Forecast, Delayed Gratification, Jacobin, The Outpost, The Economist’s World in 2016 and Monocle
The Economist
When I read this interview with the Economist’s Tom Standage in April, I was surprised. Here’s a deputy editor of a newspaper that is more than 170 years old. But his take on digital products and business models is fresher than almost anybody else’s in the industry. My reaction: I bought an Economist subscription. Nine months later it seems like a good time to reflect on that.
The Economist comes pretty close to my ideal news source. I’m trying to stay away from the daily news grind that holds little substance. The weekly issues keep me in the loop but provide enough perspective and actual insight. I always read the two pages of news bits from the week at the beginning of the issue. Then I browse through the issue to read the longer articles relevant to my interests.
I use the full subscription that allows me to access the magazine in every form. Most of the time, I read the print edition. But when I’m not near my mailbox on a Friday, I read the iPad version. I also download the podcast for train rides. Subscribers can create their individual podcast featuring only the sections they want. I rarely read their daily Espresso edition that has five smaller stories. They are just to random for my taste.
In general, I’m fond of the tone of the Economist. The dry humor and the clear standpoints make me enjoy the reading. Nine months of reading the Economist every week and I feel much more informed about the world. I appreciate the global perspective and think I now have a much better idea what’s currently going on in parts of Africa and Asia.
Even so, I’ve got two “problems” with the Economist that provide room for other news sources:
1. The liberal point of view that the Economist is famous for isn’t mine exactly, especially when it comes to markets. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I rarely see the liberal perspective argued so well. It challenges my own perspectives and forces me to come up with better answers.
2. As a London-based newspaper (their term, not mine), they naturally have an emphasis on UK politics. My ideal weekly would have the same global perspective but feature German politics a bit more.
Overall, I’m incredibly impressed with what the Economist is doing, in journalism as much as in business. And I will remain a happy subscriber. 
William Forsythe – The Fact of Matter
Even if you’re only remotely interested in dance – the art form, not the music genre – I’m sure you have heard of William Forsythe. He’s a dancer and choreographer and has done amazing work that stretches the boundaries of what you might consider classical ballet. I find his notation system for choreographies and his teachings on improvisation (pictured above) especially inspiring, even outside dancing. 
The Museum für Moderne Kunst (MMK) in Frankfurt has given him space for an exhibition to further explore his interaction with rooms and movements. N. and I went there last week and can highly recommend a visit. 
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