I’ve been writing for money

A couple readers have asked where I’ve been lately. The short answer is, “Writing for money.” So much writing-for-money that it crowds out other writing. I’m still reading—to me, reading and writing are always intimately connected—but all the excess words and attention have been going into proposals, and occasionally other projects, rather than to posts here. Hence the links posts: I’m still reading, something, and passing on the best stuff.

A friend and I have also been discussing the state of reading books in an age of distraction, and I’ve definitely noticed that a Kindle, Instapaper, and the many long-form sites out there are a killer confluence of technologies. At the margin I read much more long-form nonfiction than I used and fewer books than I used to. To be sure, I still read books and write them, but a book needs to be of higher quality than it once did if it’s to compete with the good, low-cost alternatives.

There are still many books that surpass this threshold. Insides Jokes and Seveneves come to mind.  There are numerous others. The best books still reward re-reading in a way few articles do. The best books bring a sensibility and depth to a topic in a way few articles do. The trick is finding those books, which seems as hard as it’s ever been.

Links: The lure of hatred, particle physics, bookstores, academic failures, and satisfaction

* “The Nazi-Era Papers My ‘Mexican’ Mother Kept: She preserved her German ID card, with its ‘J’ stamp, as a warning about the danger in societies driven by nativism and anger.” The most essential link in this list.

* “Is Particle Physics About to Crack Wide Open?

* Can On-Demand Printing Bolster Bookstores?

* “NYC Planners Propose Long Overdue Subway Line Just for the Boroughs.”

* “Is Libertarian Gary Johnson a factor in Clinton-Trump matchup?“, an underrated story.

* “Job-Seeking Ph.D. Holders Look to Life Outside School: New doctorate holders are grappling with dwindling employment prospects within the academy.” This should not surprise readers of this blog. This is me: “Ph.D.s still earn a significant premium over others in the labor market and their overall rate of unemployment remains low, though a growing number are taking jobs that don’t use their education.”

* “University lets rape accuser bring experienced lawyer, won’t let accused bring one,” in what is not likely to be the last of these sorts of bizarre cases.

* An Expensive Law Degree, and No Place to Use It, which should also be well-known to readers here. Yet when I tell students not to go law school, many of them look at me funny.

* “Sex, Income and Happiness.” This is congruent with my 2009 post on Stumbling on Happiness and my 2014 post on “The inequality that matters.”

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