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Showing posts from March, 2019

A life well lived

What makes you content and fulfilled?

What stops you from doing more of that?

These are important questions, and you should take time to ask them every now and then and deliberate on your answers.

But let's dissect these questions first. The words "content" and "fulfilled" both imply "a state of satisfaction." The word fulfilled actually means a bit more; it is satisfaction that comes from fully developing one's abilities or character.

Being content and fulfilled are different from being happy or pleased. The latter imply a feeling of satisfaction (which is often fleeting), and not a state of satisfaction. Many things can give you an initial jolt of pleasure but leave you without any contentment. Watching mindless TV makes you feel good while doing it, but then you don't feel content or satisfied. Surfing the Internet for "tech news", memes, and political news feel good, because it gives you a dopamine hit, but then it leaves you unsa…

Book review Draft No. 4 by John McPhee

This book is a collection/compilation of many essays McPhee wrote over his career as a prominent writer for the New Yorker. Here is one of those essays, which forms the basis for one of the chapters in the book and gives the book its title.

The book is about the craft of writing, with its many aspects. But the book is stamped with McPhee's unmistakable take on writing, which puts a big emphasis on the structure/composition of the piece:
You can build a strong, sound, and artful structure. You can build a structure in such a way that it causes people to want to keep turning pages. A compelling structure in nonfiction can have an attracting effect analogous to a story line in fiction. 
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. To tell the truth, I was prejudiced going into this. I imagined McPhee would be a boring high-brow NewYorker writer, who would use fancy words I don't understand. Quite the contrary, he is a very colorful figure, a great observer, and insightful and sincere c…

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