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)

Humor

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.

Thought-Provoking

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!

 

 

 

Lyse Links: A Roundup of Great Reads


Settle in for some great reading, guys. I have collected a myriad of interesting stories for you. From human interest stories to deep dives on politics and issues, we’ve got it all this week.

Politics

Something About This Russia Story Stinks: By this point, the Russia leaks story has been buried under many new scandals. But this piece from Rolling Stone is a great cautionary response.

Jared Kushner Will Take Over the World: Trump’s favorite son-in-law has surprised many in his support of and sway over the president. It will be interesting to see where he goes.

Living in Andy Cohen’s America: If you don’t know, as I didn’t, Andy Cohen is the mastermind behind the “Real Housewives” franchise. But he’s also a late-night show host and an author and a very clever man. And he saw Donald Trump coming. Why? Because of “Real Housewives,” of course.

Is Trump Stronger Than He Seems?: Everyone has seen the record-breaking bad approval ratings, but this article takes a more nuanced view of the numbers.

Hamilton

Graphing Hamilton: If you’re a Hamilton nerd, you’ll go nuts over this interactive visualization of every line of the musical. If you’re not a Hamilton nerd, take a look and see if you can begin to understand the genius of Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Stories

When the Debutante Met the Tribe: A high-society woman left Toronto to spend 50 years with a remote Amazon tribe as a missionary. But along the way she also became an anthropologist and a surprisingly influential figure in a little-known corner of the world. I’m fascinated by our degrees of celebrity and influence, which could have rendered this accomplished woman unknown in history.

Sobriety

A Sober Utopia: Fort Lyon is Colorado’s radical attempt to rehabilitate the drug-addicted homeless population. This piece about it is part interview with the residents and part record of this pioneer attempt and its place in government.

Iceland Knows How to Stop Teen Substance Abuse, But Nobody is Listening: If that title isn’t enough to make you click, I can’t say anything that will. It’s honestly not clickbait–Iceland has drastically reduced teen substance abuse, but other countries and communities are still skeptical.

Sports

Meet the Bag Man: The bag man is the shadowy benefactor for high school and college athletes. He isn’t technically affiliated with a school and what he does is definitely not openly acknowledged, but it’s happening all the time.

What the World Got Wrong About Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The guys in my office all laughed when I asked about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as if they might not know who he was. But I previously didn’t and found this profile fascinating. If you’re a Myers-Briggs enthusiast like I am, I would love to entertain your theories about his type in the comments. (I have a definite theory.)

The QUEEN

The Education of a Queen: Interesting look into how the current Queen of England was educated. Very different from today!

Has the Queen Become Frightfully Common?: The Queen’s diction has changed dramatically over the years and it’s a fascinating look at the fluid nature of language.

Issues

What do you know about college unemployment?: Neat little test of assumptions about college unemployment.

How a TV Sitcom Triggered the Downfall of Western Civilization: This piece is a touch tongue-in-cheek, but surprisingly believable. [Note: some strong language.]

That Time I Turned a Routine Traffic Ticket into the Constitutional Trial of the Century: Traffic cams are extremely controversial and this law professor decided to subject his ticket to some serious legal analysis.

Who Decides Who Counts As Native American?: Some tribes have been dramatically cutting their membership lists and creating chaos.

Dave Barry’s 2016: Funny, as everything from Dave Barry is.

Days of Rage: This…well, honestly, this might one of the stranger and more controversial things I’ve ever posted, but it’s a fascinating read. This was initially a series of tweets as David Hines read Days of Rage, an account of the revolutionary violence of the 1970’s and 80’s. He then expands into drawing comparisons to the current political climate, which is when things get fuzzier, but make for great discussion fodder. Long read, but well worth it. [Because of the length and original form (tweets), this is somewhat less polished a piece than I usually share. Worth it, I promise.]

Why the war on poverty failed: Again, if this title doesn’t entice you, I have no useful commentary.

Can You Turn Terrorists Back Into Good Citizens?: Answer: maybe.

British Rebellion Against High Heels: The fact that heels are still required in any dress code is barbaric. They are literally a health hazard. Good grief.

 

Whew. That was a lot. Let me know which was your favorite in the comments!

 

 

Lyse Links: The Political Edition


At this point, I think most Americans are thoroughly sick of this election. I know I am. I’m avoiding most political news or discussions.

So I wasn’t sure this was a good choice of blog topic. But throughout the election, I’ve read some pieces that were exceptionally well-balanced or took a unique approach. And those articles were bright spots in a very dark election. So here are the most interesting election articles I’ve read.

The Heart of Trump Country — Trump supports have been almost universaly caricatured. This article offers a real look at some of the people supporting Trump. Whether you agree with their positions or not, it’s easier to see the humanity in this widely-villified group.

Hillary Clinton vs. Young Voters — a take on why Hillary doesn’t understand young voters, especially the Bernie supporters.

Sociology of Emotion — a sociologist who’s been studying in Louisiana describes the Trump supporters in her area.

How Russia Pulled Off the Biggest Election Hack in U.S. History — If you’re interested in espionage or international relations, this is a great look at the back-and-forth cyber-warfare between the US and Russia.

Hope Hicks: The Mystifying Triumph of Donald Trump’s Right-Hand Woman — Trump’s Press Secretary is a 27 year-old woman. Her position is especially interesting in light of Trump’s troubling opinions on women.

Understanding Hillary — Best for last–this is actually my favorite of the list. Several journalists have noted a gap between the Clinton that the world sees and the one that people close to her describe. This article does the best job of explaining it and identifying how she excels and struggles as a leader.