Friday Links 09-03-06

From the Web

How to Build a Career as an Artist – Hint: Don’t starve yourself. Penelope Trunk offers a hard-nosed look at what it actually takes to earn a living as an artist, writer or independent creator.

Why Nerds are Unpopular – A fantastic analysis into high-school politics. The reason smart people are often unpopular, Paul Graham suggests, is that they don’t care enough about the social politics to be popular. That the very things rewarded in adult life are punished in the artificial environment of high school.

The Economic Theory of Free – Should musicians be giving away their digital tracks for free? Probably, according to this article which suggests that the unlimited nature of digital technology should make organizations consider changing how they run their business

From the Archives

The Myth of Confidence – The subject of confidence is something I’ve taken several stabs at in my career on this website. I’m still trying to perfect my thoughts on the topic, so your comments are always appreciated. Here’s an earlier entry.

From the Shelf

Outliers – The thesis of Malcolm Gladwell’s third book is that there are no self-made successes. Each success, he argues, is a by-product of the opportunities and environment available to each person who passes through it. The book is both humbling and uplifting, as it encourages us that, talent is the product of hard work, but also that success is never a solo endeavor.

This book reminds me of a quote from Warren Buffet, which I’ll have to paraphrase:

I’ve worked hard for my successes. But had I been born in the slums of Bangladesh, it would have been a different story.

Success depends on personal characteristics by necessity. But it also depends on the opportunities you have already been provided. I know for myself, I am grateful.

  • Basu

    Outliers is an amazing book. I think everyone who plans to have children should read it and plan accordingly. But it’s also worth remembering that ultimately you do have to take responsibility for your own fate. Fortune favors the bold.

  • Joan

    Re: Why Nerds Are Unpopular
    Popularity continues to be an issue well into adulthood. New moms are usually shocked to find themselves facing mom cliques at the playground…they thought having a baby alone was the price of admission to a new group of friends. Wrong.
    Social dynamics is so very complicated and so dependent on the context of the situation (high school, workplace, etc.)
    It’s no wonder many people of all ages are struggling to find their place. It’s not simple stuff. Many are giving up and retreating, pulling away from something they just don’t understand or have become completely frustrated with.

  • Marshall | bond Christian

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. “Why Nerds are Unpopular” was one of the best articles I’ve read this month. Thank you for pointing me to it.

    Marshall Jones Jr.