Jill Duffy, Writer, Columnist, and Product Reviewer for PC Magazine
Good Things to Read.
99 Percent Invisible. I consider a lot of my “reading” to be podcast-listening (although if you want to “read,” check out the show’s blog). 99 Percent Invisible with Roman Mars is a podcast and blog discusses the importance of design in everyday things, from the sound design of our smartphones to how living in a cul de sac shapes our social behaviors.
Freakonomics Radio. Another audio show (and blog) that uncovers the hidden side of things is Freakonomics Radio, which uses economic theory on unsuspecting matters of subject. Freakonomics started as a book (by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt), which I also recommend, but the podcasts provide continued analysis of different ideas through the lens of an economist.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. What the heck? I’ll toss in a book, too. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People one of the most read business books of all time published in 1989, has greatly informed my opinions about organization and productivity, two topics I write about in a weekly column on PCMag.com called Get Organized. Quite frankly, the first half of the book delivers an almost touching amount of introspection, while the latter half seems more like what the publisher demanded be in the book (the seven habits explained one by one, which is much less interesting). Being effective, productive, and organized is part of a lifestyle, which has become one of my mantras. It’s not about the single choice you make right now; it’s about the accumulation of small choices made week over week, month over month, year over year.
Good Things to Watch.
People. Many of us misconstrue the art of people-watching to mean voyeurism of some sort, but I can’t tell you how much I’ve learned from watching people around me. For example, I’ve picked up all kinds of neat tricks for how to tie plastic bags to make them stronger or more comfortable or so their contents won’t spill just by watching very savvy old ladies on the bus. Another example: I commute by bicycle in New York City, and if I didn’t pay close attention to how other riders handle different traffic situations, I probably would never have survived the road. If you pay attention and ask, “How did she do that?” and “What was the outcome?” you can learn so much about what to do and what not to do.
Man on Wire. My very favorite movie of all time is Man on Wire, the story of Philippe Petit, a tight-rope walker who plotted an elaborate stunt to break into the World Trade Center in 1974 and walk between the Twin Towers. What’s remarkable is not just the story itself, but how it unfolds through some really incredible documentary film-making techniques–theatrical reenactments intercut with interview footage of these selfless people put themselves in danger to help one man carry out this dream. The whole film just oozes passion.
Peep Show. This list needs something silly, so let me recommend the British comedy television series Peep Show. It’s a little raunchy, a little uncomfortable, but I swear, it’ll grow on you.
Good Things to Use.
Jill’s on Twitter between writing product reviews and