Category Archives: Reference

The Return Of The Jungle

Jurgis could see all the truth now — could see himself, through the whole long course of events, the victim of ravenous vultures that had torn into his vitals and devoured him; of fiends that had racked and tortured him, mocking him, meantime, jeering in his face. Ah, God, the horror of it, the monstrous, hideous, demoniacal wickedness of it! He and his family, helpless women and children, struggling to live, ignorant and defenceless and forlorn as they were — and the enemies that had been lurking for them, crouching upon their trail and thirsting for their blood! That first lying circular, that smooth-tongued slippery agent! That trap of the extra payments, the interest, and all the other charges that they had not the means to pay, and would never have attempted to pay! And then all the tricks of the packers, their masters, the tyrants who ruled them, —the shutdowns and the scarcity of work, the irregular hours and the cruel speeding-up, the lowering of wages, the raising of prices! The mercilessness of nature about them, of heat and cold, rain and snow; the mercilessness of the city, of the country in which they lived, of its laws and customs that they did not understand! All of these things had worked together for the company that had marked them for its prey and was waiting for its chance. And now, with this last hideous injustice, its time had come, and it had turned them out bag and baggage, and taken their house and sold it again! And they could do nothing, they were tied hand and foot — the law was against them, the whole machinery of society was at their oppressors’ command! If Jurgis so much as raised a hand against them, back he would go into that wild-beast pen from which he had just escaped!

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair

Available free at Google Books (download as PDF under the gear icon).

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China: eBooks, Writers, And Writing

Something’s happening over there. I’m just not sure what or how right now. So these links for later.

Report: Qidian Founder Arrested, Ugly Rumors May Implicate Shanda, Tencent

iFanr/Google English: Network literature changes: pattern, channels and author are in the innovation eco-

Google English: Biography founder Lolli start commercial bribery detainees suspected war grand Tencent

Shanda Interactive Entertainment Limited

Shanda Snags Success

Shanda Literature: Making Money from Copyright

Wikipedia: Shanda and Guo Jingming

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Filed under Digital Overthrow, eBooks: General, Reference

Everyone Is No One

Oh my god, don’t make things for “Everyone.”

“Everyone” isn’t an audience. “Everyone” is a byproduct of an incredibly successful thing that was made for a far more specific bunch of people. Don’t ever make something for “Everyone” make it for someone. And make that person love it.

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Playing Hide And Seek With Yes

The One Word That Shouldn’t Exist in an Entrepreneur’s Vocabulary

You don’t ask. You don’t get.

And here’s the thing about “no.”

I know first hand just how chicken people are about hearing it. I’ve sat through so many meetings where sales reps didn’t ask for the order. I’ve been pitched by hundreds of entrepreneurs who never actually asked me whether I would invest. Very few people do.

I was searching for a story I encountered a while back about a woman who got a job with a prominent person. People marveled over her luck, wondering why others didn’t get the job. The bottom line was, she was the only person to ever ask for the job.

I expected to find a blog post I had done, but I came across someone asking that was even more outrageous: You Decide: Greed Or Stupidity? –

an 18-year-old single mother living on state benefits was handed £5,000 for cosmetic surgery by one of the biggest high street banks

How many others in her position would have had the guts to even ask?

Previously here:

The Universe Is Made Of No
He Knew What The Universe Is Made Of
The Universe Is Stingy And Lazy


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The Wrong Number

Slaves to the algorithm

One day in the near future — perhaps this has already happened — an innocent crime novelist researching bloody techniques for his latest fictional serial killer will find armed men banging on his door in the middle of the night, because he left a data trail that caused lights to flash red in some preventive-policing algorithm. Perhaps a few distressed writers is a price we are willing to pay to prevent more murders. But predictive crime prevention is an area that leads rapidly to a dystopian sci-fi vision like that of the film Minority Report (2002).

What happens then?

Research licenses?

And how do you get the license?

Who gets to decide if you can earn your living as a writer?

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Samsung, Haier, Apple — And Writers — Know How To Do It. Do You?

Things don’t always work out.

Having problems is inevitable.

Taking a wrong turn, making a wrong move, happens even to the brightest of people.

Then what do you do?

It depends on what your goal is.

As a company or as an artist, is your goal to please and delight customers?

Or are you just out to make things so you can extract money from buyers?

Those are opposite attitudes.

Here are lessons on how to be great from three companies and — as proxy for all of them — one writer.

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Joe Weider And The Bullshit

An unconventional R.I.P. post because I need to focus on one aspect of the story.

Joe Weider, legendary bodybuilding and fitness icon, dies at 93

He created the Mr. Olympia event in 1965. Two years later, Weider discovered Schwarzenegger at a body-building contest in Europe.

He soon invited Schwarzenegger to move to California and funded the young bodybuilder’s first apartment in Santa Monica, giving him enough money to make ends meet. Weider also orchestrated Schwarzenegger’s first acting role in a TV movie.

Asked by the producers of “Hercules Goes Bananas” for “a muscleman who could act a little,” Weider pointed them to Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger told The Times in 1989 that Weider pumped up his resume to get him the job, telling the producers that Schwarzenegger had done Shakespearean plays in Germany.

“It was all bull,” Schwarzenegger admitted. “I didn’t speak much English at all. We went to meet these guys and Joe said, ‘Don’t say anything. I’ll do the talking.’ “

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

Producers: “How could you have ever done Shakespeare, Arnold?”

Arnold: “It was all in German.”

Balls. Of. Steel.


Stupidity Can Lead To Extraordinary Things

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That Madness Called Love

Don’t Hate Her Because She’s Successful

…but how on earth could I choose whom I fell in love with? The heart wants what it wants, even when what it wants is on Prozac.

The Last Psychiatrist is on a royal tear with this post. But I highlighted that because, damn, The Electric Ant.

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The Greatest Advice That Should Be A Book

6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person

If you want to know why society seems to shun you, or why you seem to get no respect, it’s because society is full of people who need things. They need houses built, they need food to eat, they need entertainment, they need fulfilling sexual relationships.

That was published on December 17, 2012 and has so far gotten 7,824,172 views.

I didn’t come across it until today (hello, Long Tail?).

The trouble with a lot of self-help stuff is that it’s genteel. Soothing stuff made for bunny rabbits who really don’t want to be other than cute and fluffy and liked.

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A Billion Dollars Isn’t Cool

Peter Thiel Talks About the Day Mark Zuckerberg Turned Down Yahoo’s $1 Billion

The most successful businesses have an idea for the future that’s very different from the present–and that’s not fully valued.

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Filed under Digital Overthrow, Pricing, Reference