#WhatIRead: August 14-17, 2016


I wrote previously that I already installed Pocket to save writings I read. I love reading. No doubt about it. But since there’re only-god-knows reading materials in Internet, I try to focus only on selected topics.

It is also important to make it clear that, most of the time, I wrote based on what I read before. Creativity is stealing and mixing other peoples’ works. Therefore I plan to post regularly about writings that inspired me.

These are my current top 5 reading materials:

The Lost Hope of Self-Help

With metronomic regularity, new books about both the strange and the mundane things human beings do with metronomic regularity become bestsellers. The American ‘habit’ industry produces a huge popular literature examining how habits are formed and how they are broken, how they enable and how they hinder, and how they are a function of heroic self-discipline or a confession of its absence.

They maintain that people can cultivate not just a ‘learning habit’ but even an ‘achievement habit’. They suggest that ‘Jesus habits’ and ‘joy habits’ are liberating, but that the ‘worry habit’ is shackling. ‘Habits not diets’ are the best way to free the self from the siren call of the refrigerator. Read more..

Get Rich or Die Vlogging: The Sad Economics of Internet Fame

It was all so painfully awkward. That night, Brittany Ashley, a lesbian stoner in red lipstick, was at Eveleigh, a popular farm-to-table spot in West Hollywood. The restaurant was hosting Buzzfeed’s Golden Globes party. For the past two years, Ashley has been one of the most visible actresses on the company’s four YouTube channels, which altogether have about 17 million subscribers. She stars in bawdy videos with titles like “How To Win The Breakup” or “Masturbation: Guys Vs. Girls,” many of which rack up millions of views.

The awkward part was that Ashley wasn’t there to celebrate with Buzzfeed. She was there to serve them. Not realizing that her handful of weekly waitressing shifts at Eveleigh paid most of her bills, a coworker from the video production site asked Ashley if her serving tray was “a bit.” It was not. Read more..

How to Get Lucky

How To Attract Luck

There are at least two overarching mental models for looking at the world: One could be called the bell curve and the other, the 80/20 curve.

When I was marketing my book, The End of Jobs, I spent a week sending personal emails (in Gmail, one by one, not in bulk) to two hundred people who I thought could potentially be in the top 1% of my readers, the people most excited about the book.

In total, I spent about 50% of my marketing resources on 1% of readers.

One of the two hundred people happened to have a friend who had a large community of people interested in business books.

He introduced us and his friend ended up emailing his community about my the book, which drove it to #1 in Amazon’s business and money section.

Another of those two hundred people forwarded the book to a much larger “influencer” in my space, who ended up reading the book, inviting me on his podcast, and giving me a blurb.

Those two emails probably accounted for over half of my book’s sales.

You’re probably thinking “wow, great for you, you got lucky.”

It does sound like I know how to attract luck, doesn’t it?

What I want to argue is that if you see the world through the 80/20 curve, what happened to me was not lucky, but statistically probable. I’m suggesting that seemingly trite phrases like “luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity” are supported by math.

Read More..

No Man’s Pie in the Sky: How Hello Games Failed to Manage Player Expectations

Gamers are constantly at odds with the publicity generated by the medium. A long history of Molyneuxian backtracking, inaccurate advertisements, and games which have failed to live up to their industriously cultivated pre-release hype has turned plenty of players into shrewd content consumers.

When we see screenshots on a game’s Steam store page, we know that they are probably bullshots. When we watch “gameplay footage” at an E3 stage show, we understand that there’s a chance its just a vertical slice. We even accept that what we’re seeing is probably rendered by a beefy computer hidden back-stage, and isn’t at all representative of how the experience plays out on whichever platform the game is supposedly running on.

In short, we accept the caveat that until we hold a game in our hands, or our digital libraries, much of what we see in its marketing material is likely to be a work in progress — representative of the game’s direction and tone, but by no means a firm marker of the product’s ultimate quality. Read more..

What’s Wrong With the DC Comics Movie Franchise?

When a studio is launching a franchise, one bad movie is an anomaly, two is a problem, and three in a row spells possible disaster. This is the issue facing Warner Bros., which on Friday is releasing its third and newest entry in the universe of films based on DC Comics. Early reviews for Suicide Squad have been largely unkind. Fan outrage is already reaching fever pitch: A petition calling for the shutdown of the review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes has 13,000 signatures from viewers upset with Suicide Squad’s poor ratings. Rumors of massive studio interference with the film are already beginning to leak out. As a narrative of damage control takes hold, it’s becoming clearer what mistakes the studio has made in trying to roll out an entire cinematic universe—and how it can turn things around for the future. Read more..



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