Public notebook

This week’s reading list

This post is a little experiment – a personal review of the electronic tracks left my my reading – Diigo bookmarks, Kindle highlights and notes, tweets and maybe some posts (variously on Brilliant Noise and here)….

Back to work this week, and my reading switched from lots of books and a mix of topics about fiction to more business and marketing related topics. Here’s a selection of things that held my attention (and continue to do so)…

Reading’s online evolution: Flipboard 2.0: With Google Reader’s scheduled end, the new version of the hugely popular reading app Flipboard seems to take on even more significance. I’m taken with the idea of creating little “magazines” of content and being able to publish them. Really looking forward to playing with that some more…

Ecommerce – the next generation: A post from Jeff Jordan at venture capitalists Andreesen Horowitz gives a valuable summary of how “eccommerce 2.0” is taking shape, due to “a renaissance in innovation among e-commerce players”. Jordan talks us through some of the trends he sees and gives a load of links to examples.

Banned words – the good: My colleague Todd Jordan pointed me to the Washington Post Outlook’s list of things they should avoid in their copy. “Critics say” and “observers” are two I would like banned from all news organisations. I really enjoyed the brief explanations for why some words were banned, e.g. “Little-noticed (that just means the writer hadn’t noticed it)” and “Paradigm shift (in journalism, all paradigms are shifting)”.

Banned words – the bad?: Slightly uncomfortable to read about Google’s lobbying the Swedish Council of Langauge to have the word “ogooglebar” (translation: un-Googleable) removed from its list of new words. Shame – it’s a useful word, and removing it from a list somewhere is pointless, since it merely reflects that people are using that word in common language. A micro-gramme of weight added to the side of the argument that Google is becoming a corporate that throws its weight around in unattractive ways, perhaps? In other news, the killing of Google Reader seems to have created a lot of negativity toward the company among bloggers – I’m feeling pretty sulky about it myself.

Mullet media: I’m going through a phase of miled obsession with the strategy and the mechanics behind the attention black hole that is Buzzfeed. Reporting on its founder Jonah Perretti’s visit the to the UK, Press Gazette reminded me of its “mullet strategy”, named for the haircut that was “business at the front, party roudn the back”. If that nugget of strategy doesn’t stick in your memory, this slide from Perretti’s presentation couple of years ago will:



Big data – top book recommendation: I already mentioned on my blog this week, but I’ve been reading Big Data: A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think. It’s a practical, nonsense-repellant work that is really helping me get my head around the idea of big data. I continue to recommend it highly…

Tells Lies for Fun and Profit: I’ve returned to Lawrence Block’s book again after mentioning it recently on this blog. It’s a great work about writing – helpful to the aspirant fiction author in me, but also just to the everyday writer that I am by trade. One line – typically Block – that I highlighted this time round appealed to my protestant cultural DNA:

Mencken defined Puritanism as the haunting fear that someone somewhere may be happy, and I don’t think he’d mind our amending the definition to include the fear that someone somewhere may be doing what comes naturally.

Puritanism isn’t limited to religious sects – the same kill-joy spirit still finds its way into our culture in all sorts of ways. Fight it! Especially when you notice it in yourself…

Gaimanism: Lastly, fiction. Taking a break from my fiction diet of detective thrillers, I decided to try and understand what all the fuss about Neil Gaiman is for a second or third time – I’ve not managed to stick with it before. Gaiman’s amazingly popular and I really love what he has to say about writing, but I’ve had a blind spot about his books. So, I’ve settled into reading one of his novels, American Gods. It’s early days, but it’s pulling me into its weirdness nicely…

A note on affiliate links: I’m being more consistent about linking to Amazon using my affiliate links for books these days. Traffic to this blog is modest, but I thought I’d go on the record to let you know that any pennies I make from people clicking through them will just go on more books and I will generally tell you all about them here once I have read them…




By Antony Mayfield

I'm Antony Mayfield - to find out more about me take a look at my LinkedIn profile (see the button on the home page). You can contact me by email at antony [dot] mayfield [at] gmail [dot] com.