These are James Vance’s good things.
Good things to read.
When Judy Dench quotes Ulysses in Skyfall, it’s a reminder that a sincere and humble 19th century British culture was the precursor to fabulous MI6. Ulysses insists that one’s struggle for greatness and adventure must never end, regardless of prior accomplishments. That’s an incredibly powerful lesson delivered in a three minute poem. It’s unfortunate that many Americans believe motivation costs thousands of dollars and a weekend with Tony Robbins.
How To Get Rich by Felix Dennis. Like every other business manual, it’s packed with parables of attracting talent, negotiating, making quality product, and keeping profit at the forefront. But uniqueness of this book comes when its billionaire author tries to convince you that unapologetic viciousness is essential for success. An excerpt: “The world is full of gazelles with diamonds in their guts. Look! There’s one over there, right now! Let’s go rip its throat out and take the diamond.”
Einstein, By Walter Isaacson. Einstein rationalized everything . He decided literature could teach him no useful lessons, and was unapologetic about his constant philandering, even before fame. Einstein’s character was so raw and bright that its pointless to contemplate for too long what would he would become if born today.
Good things to watch.
Coursera Video Lectures. We can access free courses given by elite professors. Lucky us.
The Pope of Greenwich Village. “They took my thumb Charlieeee!”
MMA. First, it’s televised violence. But second, it’s a never-ending study of the human ego. Legends grow. Heroes fall. No man is indestructible. No performance is permanent. Those who cannot become champion must find greatness wherever they can.
Good things to use.
Foresight. Donald Trump may be unlikable and obtuse, but he gives the future so much precedent it can’t help but work itself out for him.
Pencils. Physically forming words gives the brain rhythm and more time to form synapses.
Others. The funny thing about “lone geniuses” is how many brilliant friends came along to improve their work.