The Next Big Thing

Me again. Reporting from Canyon, Texas, where wind farms are born and raised. I find it strange that there's a San Francisco-style morning layer here in land-locked western Texas. I'm sure there's a meteorological explanation, but I've got so many other things on my plate today (and the bell tower is pressuring me to get a move on) so western Texas fog is probably not going to get Googled. 

In other news, UPS stopped by yesterday afternoon to drop off my copy of the just released Sense of Style from Steven Pinker. I've only just cracked the spine but so far I'm finding it immeasurably more readable than his previous tomes, one of which I ended up ordering through iTunes so I could just infuse the knowledge directly into my brain rather than trudging through reading it. Oh, you verbose professors, you. 

And. I haven't even read the book yet but I'm already feeling happy about Shawn Achor's not so new Happiness Advantage, which I learned about from Michel Hogan, who learned about it from Merle Friedman, a psychologist based in South Africa with whom we are working on a double secret project that I can't wait to tell you about when it comes out. I'm not normally a bright-sided, silver lining proponent (that guy in college who told me to "Rejoice" when I told him I'd just tanked a test still irks me to this day) but this book/idea has some meat. The concept that happiness begets success, and that training yourself in very specific ways to practice happiness, has far-reaching implications in my mind and is definitely worth a try. Next, I'd like to see research covering how compassion begets peace, not vice versa. Now that's bestseller material if you ask me. Especially now.

Speaking of bestsellers, I read in the Huff Post this morning that @NYTimes is laying off a bunch of people. It was just a plain old gossipy HP article but I thought they'd missed a real opportunity to hire the whole lot of them and bring them over to Arianna's shop. Then it dawned on me that what the NYTimes should do is call everyone who's ever made the New York Times Bestseller list and ask them to fund a start up. Then put all those layoff-ees in a room and tell them to organize and come up with an idea for a new business, no constraints. Guarantee funding for a specified period of time, based on the bestsellers' generous response. The workers would all get new pay/benefits packages, exactly the same for everyone else in the room. This would be a hardship for some (but not as hard as losing your job) and a boon for others. Plus, what an opportunity! And the chatter would be magnificent. You could call it HardTimes or something spin-offy like that. Who knows, maybe they'd come up with the next big thing. And NYTimes could be an incubator as opposed to a terminator. Kind of a Richard Branson-y ideas but, hey, it could work. Might even make a few people happy.