Here’s a Little Story I Got to Tell: The Beastie Boys Book is Essential Reading

This was the background on my work laptop for over three years. Customer demo? Didn’t care.

In 1999 I was in eighth grade. To get on the internet, I had to have my parents enter in the password before the modem dialed up our internet provider. Clever me, I tacitly installed NetZero and was able to get on the internet without their knowledge. Once online, I downloaded Napster, and the first song I downloaded is the Beastie Boys’ “Intergalactic.” 

Flash forward a couple of months. I’m on a week-long church confirmation trip. My parents give me $100 to spend on souvenirs and to use on the roller coaster at Mall of America. The first stop our coach bus made was at a Wal-Mart in Wisconsin, and I dropped $35 on the Beastie Boys’ The Sounds of Science compilation. When the trip was over, my parents asked for their remaining money back. I told them there was none and lied about how I spent the money. Then they found all the CDs I bought. They were not happy, but for reasons I don’t remember, my dad was really not happy I bought a Beastie Boys album.

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Hate Reading

Me reading this book.

I just finished a book I did not like, but I mainly finished it because I paid $2 for it and wanted to get my money’s worth.

I didn’t know much about the book going into it, but it was recommended to me a few years ago by my then counselor for reasons I’ve since forgotten. I hated this book.

The book is everything wrong with self-help books: easy chapters with easy answers. The premise of the book is about saying no and finding balance in your life. I believe that finding balance when you’re a self-employed author and professional pollyanna comes easier to you than 99% of the population.

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Working

Studs Terkel’s Working is possibly the most depressing book I’ve read. It was also one of the hardest books I’ve read too. The book is a collection of interviews Terkel did over the years talking to a variety of people across the country about their jobs. The difficulty in reading the book is not the prose, but it’s because the interview subjects in the book dislike their job with such fervent passion it was bleak to read. Working made me assess both my own employment situation and the 21st century’s.

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Let’s Get Visual! Visualization Best Practices

I make a lot of reports and I’m always looking for ways to make better and more efficient reports. I recently read The Visual Display of Quantitative Information by Edward Tufte and found it illuminating. Although the book is often heavy in theory, its use of clear prose and myriad of examples – both historic and present – made me more introspective about the reports I create. Anyone who uses visuals in their work could benefit from reading Tufte’s book. In this post I’ll talk about my takeaways from the book.

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