Yesterday was "back to school" day for both my daughter — entering year one at the local primary — and myself. I've worked very little over August, as I've picked up the majority of the summer holidays childcare. So, I get my own "back to work" feeling, and I'm busy catching up. And one of the things I'm catching up on is this e-mail.
For those who are new here, Commonplace Reading is a irregular digest of interesting things I've found on the internet – these are the ideas that are informing my thinking right now. It's basically a recommended reading digest, with some commentary, a bit like an old-fashioned link blog, but delivered via e-mail.
I'm hoping to get back on a weekly schedule – and if I do, you'll see an evolution of the newsletter. I'm trying to restructure the way I work so I write more in the mornings, and read and do admin in the afternoons and evenings, and that seems to be making me more productive.
Amazing how a little perspective — a month of minimal work — can give you insights into what you're doing wrong.
Anyway, on with the linkage.
If you read nothing else…
Dave Mattin's piece for Next Conference (which happens later this month in Hamburg) is a superb and provoking read on how we lost control of the tools of the internet, and were sold a false utopianism by a handful of tech oligarchs.
But it's not too late.
The business of news
A fascinating long read about Assange, that tallies well with many of the things I started hearing from those close(ish) to him a decade back. It makes it clear how big a mistake not taking the internet seriously as a geopolitical tool has been.
This is a depressing but eye-opening read about how a site was built on a set of formulas, and how a set of staff were tricked into believing they were doing campaigning journalism, when they were just producing political clickbait. Sobering.
A slightly paywalled piece from me on, ironically, Medium's paywall/membership model…
Given how publicly Trump has lived much of his life, I'm continually surprised by how little effort has gone into poking at it journalistically. The news industry's obsession with "now" can sometimes work against us.
When employees are treated as short-term assets, they reinvent themselves as marketable goods, always ready to quit. Too many companies try to have it both ways - try tom promote loyalty from their staff, while having none to them.
A great tool
This is a great source of really excellent free photos you can use in your work. I'm trying to contribute one can for every one I use from it. Well worth checking out.
I love these sorts of spaces. There's something both comporting and inspiring about a "den".
A history of how Covent Garden survived both the closing of the old marker, and the threats of developers to redevelop the whole area. Some great photography, too.
This video has been doing the rounds over the summer, but I only just got around to watching it. A fascinating look into a very different side of a celebrity.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.
If you fancy working with me - drop me a line.