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It is increasingly becoming a pet peeve of mine to read a book that is clearly written with the goal of being optioned for a TV series.
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Having finished the book I was reading in Libby early, I figured I would be a good citizen and return it before it was due. Then I accidentally clicked Return Early on the next book on my shelf—Amor Towles’ The Lincoln Highway, a hold I had been waiting on for at least six weeks—and now I’ve got nothing to read.

Ebooks suck.

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I just paid eighty cents to park for three hours on the street right in the middle of downtown, in a parking spot I had no trouble finding. I don’t have much time for all the people in this town who complain about how there needs to be free parking.
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Groundskeeping by Lee Cole is pretty good so far.

After a weeks-long wait, Lee Cole’s Groundskeeping finally came in for me at the library earlier this week. I started reading it last night.

While I am only about a hundred pages in, I can say already that it violates several of my rules for reading novels:

  1. Don’t read novels by white guys in their late twenties and early thirties, especially if they live in Brooklyn.
  2. Don’t read novels in which the main character is a struggling author.
  3. Don’t read novels in which the author does not use quotation marks for the dialogue.

Cole is a white guy who looks to be in his late twenties or early thirties and the book jacket says he lives in Brooklyn. The main character that narrates the book is an aspiring author who moves in to his elderly grandfather’s basement after loosing his job, and there is nary a quotation mark to be found, despite long passages that are nothing but several characters talking to one another.

That all sounds bad and is normally the sort of thing that would completely put me off a book. Life is, after all, too short to waste time with bad fiction.

What’s crazy is that—so far, at least—I am really liking Groundskeeping. Cole puts words together quite well, and characters with whom I feel like I should be annoyed are interesting and engaging.

Given the I am skeptical that he will be able to keep me engaged for the entire book, but I am already past the point when I have usually decided whether to abandon or stick with a novel and I remain cautiously optimistic.

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Tools are not solutions.

Questions for a new technology. | Kellan Elliott-McCrea:

Given that coordination and communication swamp all other costs in modern software development it is a pressing area to invest in, especially as your team scales.

I use a framework of a Small Number of Well Known Tools to build shared understanding in our complex systems over time. When we want to do something other than use the Small Number of Well Known Tools (in the small number of well known patterns), that’s a Departure.

This advice and the questions that follow (go read the full post!) are great, and everyone would do well to keep them in mind.

The intended audience would seem to be technology teams and organizations, but I’m also thinking of the internal dialogue I have whenever I read about some new note-taking app or productivity workflow. Am I interested in this thing because it will actually help me, or because it is new and different? Is it really going to solve any problems or make things better for me, or would it be change for its own sake?

These days, I find that the conclusion I come to is that the tools and processes I’ve got work pretty well for me.

More broadly, tools and technology are not solutions to problems. Maybe a particular tool will help you get to the solution, but maybe it won’t. Maybe it will make the problem worse, or distract you from the solution you’re trying to find.

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