In this perceptive, and humorous, peek into the current landscape of popular "self-help" literature, Alexandra Schwartz demonstrates how "self-help advice [reflects] the beliefs and priorities of the era that spawns it." From the data-and-metric-driven aspirational narcissism of the Optimization Movement, to the don't-give-a-fig-newton stance of anti-guru Sarah Knight, the sad irony is that the constant pressure to improve oneself may be killing us-both figuratively and literally.
Richard Sennett's work describes a basic cultural shift in capitalism: we have moved from the "social capitalism" of a generation or two ago to the "flexible capitalism" of today. The new flexible capitalism has its benefits, particularly for the highly skilled individuals of the knowledge-economy. But it also has many downsides: acute inequality, instability and insecurity, a focus on short-term results, automative technologies that reconfigure the workforce, the decline of craftsmanship, and many more. Sennett, in a shrewd diagnosis, helps us perceive the peculiar pressures and norms of our new economic moment.
For the past few months, cryptocurrencies have seemed like that amazing band from Portland you've been hearing about: they haven't produced any albums yet but your friends are certain they're gonna be huge. And there you sit: believe the hype or stick with what you know? This piece from the New York Times takes a clear-eyed look at each side - both crypto-utopia and what blockchain developments may, in time, amount to.