Lyse Links: Con men, curses, and cavemen

Buckle up. Today’s line-up is a RIDE.
Toronto’s Classiest Con Man — Con men (and women) manipulate social norms to their benefit. It’s good to know how they work, because there’s always a chance you’ll be on the receiving end of a con.
There’s No Money in Internet Culture — some websites present a unique problem. They’re extremely popular, but they don’t make money. Can they survive?
Are you a self-interrupter? — I definitely am, but I’m trying to break myself. Also, I’m not fully convinced that self-interruption is *always* bad.
Curse of the second-born is real — I’m a third child and while I do think we’re more likely to get in trouble, we have some redeeming qualities. Like, um….crippling depression, infinite procrastination, perpetual existential crises?
Professor Caveman — This professor gets paid to teach university students about primal skills. I’m not against that, but I do think this quote is telling:
“She grounds me in the realities of modern life,” Schindler says. “If there is a glitch with my computer, I break down. I mean I literally mentally cannot handle it. Christina saves me.”
If you have to choose between functioning in “caveman” times or now, pick the times you actually live in.
My Year at GitHub — There’s a lot going on in this essay that I won’t begin to address. But the author’s descriptions of feedback on her communication stuck with me. As a woman who has been repeatedly reprimanded for too forceful or seemingly rude communication, I understand the author’s confusion and dismay. Here’s my plea to managers: understand that your employees/coworkers will have different communications styles. That doesn’t necessarily mean something’s wrong with them. Please make genuine attempts to facilitate communication. Communication DOES NOT mean confining everyone to the same communication style. People can be taught to interpret someone’s style as easily as that person can be taught to change style.
Crusade to Save Children Lands Hacker in Prison — should hackers be punished when their work results in good? I’m not an expert on the laws discussed in this article, but I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of sanctioning hacking. That’s extremely close to vigilante justice.
Designer’s Guide to Selecting Colors — this includes really helpful tips and resources for color-picking. It’s always good to know a little more about design.
So this one time at a journalism conference — this article is primarily about insulation and representation in journalism. The writer, a female journalist, is married to a man who drives garbage trucks for a living. As the professional writer married to a college dropout construction worker/factory manager, I’m keenly aware of class issues that transcend money.
The Importance of Wasting Time — Maybe your circles don’t idolize productivity as much as mine, but I wish I could make everyone read this. I’m trying to work more intentional “wasted time” into my life.
Leave a thought about one article in the comments. Thanks for sharing your weekend with me.

Lyse Links: Talking cats, secret lives, and extreme athletes

Long weekend! More time for reading! Wait, what? That’s not what you do with your long weekends? Strange. (To be fair, it’s not the only thing I do either. I went to a dog beach last night, I’m cycling a preserve tonight, and I’m hopeful for kayaking on Monday! Readers can love outdoor activities too. )

This Week’s Gems

Munchausen Proxy or Con Artist? This story is worthy of a novel. (Actually, it’s similar to elements of Everything, Everything, which just released as a movie, but started as a YA novel. But I don’t think EE is an appropriate treatment of this idea.)

The Dutch King’s Secret Double Life: This is absolutely my favorite piece of news to release in ages. If you’re as tired as I am of conspiracies and mud-slinging and corrupt politicians, you’ll enjoy this.

Why did a Chinese peroxide company pay 1 billion for a talking cat (app)? Look, it’s not an actual talking cat. 1 billion for a talking cat would make sense. But if you’re a businessperson, this one’s for you. If you’re normal, like the rest of us [normal, I say!], read this to be freaked out about the deals and associations and global business games you don’t know about. Or don’t read it. I personally enjoy not thinking about global conspiracies I can’t control.

College dean in hot water over Yelp reviews: Yes, over Yelp reviews. How many times do people (teachers, especially!) need to be reminded that the Internet affects real life?

Why do you think about the future?

The barbarians are at Etsy’s hand-hewn, responsibly-sourced gates: I sometimes edit the headlines of these stories, but that one was perfect. I don’t use Etsy and I’ve never been much of a fan, but the company is a fascinating study in balancing values with practical (sometimes pragmatic) business sense.

Dug Up from the Treasure Chest

For this long weekend, I trawled through the articles I’ve saved from the last few years, picking out some of my favorites. I believe these are all new to Lyse Links, but a few may be reposts.

The Shadow Side of Greatness: This is an old one, but led to one of the most important questions in my life: What kind of pain do you want? If you strive for greatness or push yourself to master something, read this.

Jesus’s Wife, The Harvard Professor, and the Florida Pornographer: Truth may be stranger than fiction, but only if you can separate the two. This story of tracking down an ancient manuscript is a trip from beginning to end.

The Reluctant Memoirist: A beautiful essay on the power of words and the complicated ethics of undercover journalism. (Some strong language in reprinted comments/criticism.)

Live, for the moment: The complex relationship between extreme athletes and their audiences. Articles that discuss and analyze internet trends, rather than dismissing them as youthful foolishness, are vital. Internet creators are a new brand of entrepreneur and broader culture doesn’t give them enough critical attention.


Which article is your favorite?


Lyse Links: conspiracy theories, overachievers, and Confucius

Do I say I have great articles for you every time I post these? Because I really love these. I even eliminated a few that were interesting, but not quite up to snuff. Categorized for easier skimming, but they’re ALL worth reading, I promise.
(Oh, and there’s a quick question at the end. Could you do me a favor and pop down to answer it? Thanks :D)


Conspiracy Theorists Use Twitter to Yell at Mars Rover — this will make you shake your head. But it’s good to be reminded how people outside our circles think. And I’m guessing hoping none of you are in that circle.
My Fully Optimized Life — McSweeney’s piece on living an optimized life. 😀
How to Survive Hard Times as a Copywriter — also McSweeney’s. This one hits home…

Living Your Best Life

Incrementalism is OK — for overachievers especially, it’s hard to remember that small gains are ok, even good. This interview with Robb Wolf was a good reminder for me.
How I Got a Second Degree in 2 Years While Working Fulltime — really, I couldn’t not read this. While I have an ambivalent relationship with this kind of extreme achievement, this guy seems pretty balanced and he has lots of good advice. (If you want my less-polished version, drawn from personal experience doing extreme things, check this out.)
I Gave Up TV, Then Qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials, and Got My PhD — Again, I have very mixed feelings. I’ve suffered some psychological backlash from pushing myself hard and I also don’t like the way we (as a culture) have started fetishizing streamlined lives and accumulated accomplishments. But I do support people testing these ideas in their own lives.
Can a Harvard Professor and Confucius Change Your Life? — I think this article is most interesting for the way that you can watch non-religious people hungering for many of the principles of a religious life. If you’re interested in self-improvement, this is an important read.


Because I’m a Girl — I have nothing to say about this. Read it.

Trusting Your Fat Friend — You should read this whole piece, but the major takeaway for me was Continue reading

Lyse Links: AI, Political Correctness, and GIFs

Readers, I think about you a lot. When I have time to write and publish these collections of stories, I sort through myriad links that I have saved during my weekly reading. When I finish a good article, I think, “I need to share that with the people who read my blog!” The longer I’ve written these compilations, the more I find myself making connections and trying to offer different points of view on topics I’ve previously posted about.

But something’s missing. Because you know what I love best about reading these stories? Talking about them. And right now this feels like a bit of a one-sided conversation. So if you enjoy this post or read any of the articles, could you drop down to the comments and leave me a line about it? I’d really love to know which articles you enjoy, what you want to see more of, and what you could do without. I’d even enjoy some disagreement. Let’s turn this into a conversation.

Now, the articles!

Let’s start fun: The NBA’s Secret Addiction. This is the kind of journalism that makes me want to be a journalist. Just read it. You’ll be glad you did. Continue reading

Lyse Links: Night owls, bias, and more sports

In defense of being a night owl: If you’re a night owl, you’ll want to save some of this essay for ammunition. If you’re not a night owl, this is a good way to see a different perspective. I’m not a night owl, but I tested it enough in high school/college to see the draw.
Bias in the ER: This is an excerpt from Michael Lewis’s excellent The Undoing Project. I’m partway through the full book, which is every bit as good as the excerpts teased. Applicable for everyone, but especially interesting if you like psychology and understanding how people make decisions.
Physical Therapists for E-Sports: As e-sports become more and more popular, the surrounding jobs will expand. Some physical therapists are proactively reaching this new market.
The Grey Area of Performance Enhancement: What counts as performance enhancement in shoes? Continue reading

Lyse Links

This week’s batch of reads is heavy on sports and I did a little thinking to figure out why. First, I have always been partial to a good sports article. The best authors manage to weave enough psychology and human story into the sports to make their pieces worth reading even if you know nothing about sports. But secondly, I think I’m gravitating toward sports right now because everything else seems to be about politics. And while I like to be well-informed about events, sometimes I’d like a break. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I encourage you to peruse a few of these articles that I handpicked for you.

What is the “Esquire Man” Now?: I don’t really read Esquire, but it’s interesting to see how publications change to fit the times.

How Jokes Won the Election: This story asks “How do fight an enemy who’s just kidding?” As little as I like to talk about the election or current state of politics, it certainly does provide plenty of fodder for analysis.

The Man Who Cleans Up After Plane Crashes: This profile is morbid and at times almost grisly, but a good look into the mundane elements of tragedy–like picking up all the pieces.

I Created the Milo Trolling Playbook: As someone who despises the Milo playbook, I find this a depressing read. But as a marketer, I can’t help but respect the undeniable success of the despicable playbook.

Dropped: This is a story about the man who is probably the best juggler alive right now and possibly the best juggler of all time. With no fanfare, he quit juggling to open a construction business. Why?

How the Haters Made Trump: I’ve seen lots of pieces about the psychology of Donald Trump and this is one of the better ones. It’s quite long and unapologetically crude in places (lots of strong language), but very insightful. I came upon it while looking for information about the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner–a dinner where both Obama and keynote comedian Seth Myers spent unprecedented amounts of time making jokes about Trump, who was sitting front and center. In light of President Trump’s refusal to attend this year’s WHCD, this article is especially timely.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on La La Land: This article is interesting for 2 reasons. 1. It’s by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is best known as a basketball player (not a movie critic). [see my last Lyse Links for a great long-form profile of him.] 2. While I loved La La Land, this is actually a very good critique of troublesome issues in the film.

A Racing Mind: I’m not really a NASCAR fan, but this is a good profile of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is a great racecar driver, but maybe not a great man. (Although that seems to be changing.)

The Misunderstood Genius of Russell Westbrook: Even with the plethora of fascinating characters in the NBA right now, Westbrook stands out. I thoroughly enjoyed this profile of him.

A 15-year-old basketball prodigy: What does life look like for a teenager who is being scouted and courted by big name schools? On a writing note, I especially appreciated how the author managed to convey the unique attitudes and language of a teenage boy without sounding either too close or condescending.

LeBron James: The Second Chapter: After a crazy successful career as a basketball star, LeBron James appears to be gunning for a second career, this time as an entertainment icon.

Basketball at Orr and the Bleeding of a City: In a high school in the middle of violent Chicago, a coach and team struggle with the fear and death around them. This 5-part series is less polished than I often like in long-form journalism, but it’s a good look at the reality of being a student-athlete in the more violent parts of Chicago.

World championship ski competitor see snow for first time: The title of the article calls this athlete the “World’s Worst Skier,” but that seems extraordinarily unfair. He’s just the worst at this world championship. But his story is fascinating.

What was your favorite story? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!