Well, here we are. The end of another year. I love this period right before Christmas and New Years—you get to look forward to time with family and friends, work slows to a crawl, and there’s no pressure to get anything done. And so it is that I turn away from creative advice and dive fully into recommendation/list mode.
So without further ado, here are a few things from 2018 that I thought were worth sharing.
A Few Books
The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles Mann
A masterwork of history and journalism, this book frames our current environmental crisis as a choice between two competing worldviews—prophets, who believe in cutting back, and wizards who believe science is the solution. The story profiles two men, prophet William Vogt and wizard Norman Borlaug, as well as the future of four key issues—food, water, energy, and environment.
The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
David Deutsch, a physicist, makes the compelling case that human progress is limitless. Any problem we encounter will eventually be solved by human ingenuity, which unlocks a whole new world of problems to be solved. Thanks to newsletter reader and friend, Brian S., for recommending this one. He was right!
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer
A short (less than 200 pages) sci-fi/horror novel about an elite squad of women sent to investigate a mysterious environmental site in the U.S. South. I couldn’t read it when I was at home alone, but I couldn’t put it down (ps: skip the sequels).
Bonus for history nerds—The Three Lives of James Madison by Noah Feldman. One of my favorite presidential biographies to date.
A Few Things I Tried
Inspired by Austin Kleon, I kept a logbook this year, which is kind of like a diary but more boring. Before bed, I remember on everything I did during the day and then write it down. I think the ultimate goal was to notice patterns in how I was using my time, but I was generally satisfied with all that. I liked the idea of end-of-day reflection, but not this method.
Early this year, my wife and coworker staged a Twitter intervention. They told me I was addicted and needed to stop. Ultimately, I deleted my account and dramatically scaled back my news consumption—my life is much better for it. I believe it’s important to stay informed, but you can also do so in a way that also preserves your sanity. Personally, I check the headlines in the morning, and then around 5:00, I get two newsletters that round up the day’s top stories. I also listen to two podcasts during the week. That’s about it—and I don’t think I’m missing anything.
Tarot Header Images
Maybe you noticed (maybe you didn’t) that I used tarot cards as the header images for my posts this year. It was a fun little exercise to try to pair up cards with topics, but that is enough picture taking for now! I will probably go back to using unsplash photos—a great resource for any other bloggers out there.
- I got married.
- We went to Italy
- I won a Mid-America Emmy for some commercials I wrote
- I quit advertising and started graduate school
- I survived my first semester of graduate school
2018 Lights That Could Have Been Higher
- I could have finished/released my next book. It is 90% done, but I just haven’t made it happen.
- I have, to an extent, been avoiding performing improv. I hope to change that next year.
Overall 2018 was a very good year. I’m thankful to not have much to complain about!
And now it’s time to go curl up next to the fire with some hot chocolate. I’ll be taking the next two weeks off, but if you need something to read in the meantime—check out those books I suggested, go back into the I’m Making All This Up Archives (there are 47 posts from this year alone), or start following some of my favorite bloggers.
Also, if you need advice or help in the new year, if there’s a topic you’d like me to write more about, or if you’ve had success with something I’ve suggested, please please respond to this email and let me know. I will either respond directly or blog about it early in 2019.
As always, the best present you can give anyone is your attention, and I appreciate you sharing some with me. Thank you for reading my work each week. Have a great holiday break, and I’ll see you in your inbox on January 7th with the 2019 installment of my ever-popular Lighthouse Word series.
Each Monday, I share strategies to help you master your limited time, get started, and build creative habits that stick. Try it. You’ll like it.