Brain Fodder: The In-activism Of Weak Ties, Tips & Hipsters


There is strength in weak ties. Our acquaintances—not our friends—are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvelous efficiency. It’s terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism.

— Malcolm Gladwell, Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted

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The common problem of all tip fixations traces back to a misunderstanding of how anybody ever got great at doing anything. We can’t get good at something solely by reading about it. And we’ll never make giant leaps in any endeavor by treating it like a snack food that we munch on whenever we’re getting bored. You get good at something by doing it repeatedly. And by listening to specific criticism from people who are already good at what you do. And by a dedication to getting better, even when it’s inconvenient and may not involve a handy bulleted list.

— Merlin Mann, Real Advice Hurts

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We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

— Douglas Haddow, Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization

(About the image: East Village)

Brain Fodder is a weekly roundup of all the random, interesting things I find on the web. It is not at all a lame attempt at posting more than once a month.

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“Good writing does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. … It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head — even if in the end you conclude that someone else’s head is not a place you’d really like to be.”

— Malcolm Gladwell, “What the Dog Saw”