Taylor Pearson’s illegible margin

Taylor Pearson wrote a great article on the limits and dangers of rationalizing complex phenomena, and the opportunities of illegible ‘fat tail’ margins.

Some other gold nuggets in the article:

  • The joy of reading (and logic of preferring) old books.
  • Follow fingerspitzelgefühl – grandmother’s wisdom, Nassim Taleb, would say instead of modernist rationalizations.
  • A tinkering budget (low downside, high upside) for the things we are exploring that are hard to see.

Internet besties

I love these places on the internet. In no particular order, for now.

Austin Kleon – Drawing writer with a great blog.

Brain Pickings – Maria Popova’s labour of love on books and other beautiful things.

Mr Motley – Great Dutch site about art.

Beeple-crap – Wonderful artist, became known for selling digital works as art with NFT’s. I think his daily work is immensely inspiring.

Boing Boing – Despite being somewhat North-America oriented, a beautiful site by my favorite internet person Mark Frauenfelder. (You will have to accept too many too disgusting ads, that are apparently needed to keep the site alive.)

booooooom – A beautiful art platform. Scrolling around cheers up your mind.

Swissmiss – A design blog it says, but it is much more. Run by Tina Roth Eisenberg. I would say it is her personal “thing that delight me on the web” log.

https://www.dirtyharrry.com – For a visual orgasm.

Seth Godin – Well, guess it needs no elaboration – Seth Godin’s blog. All about making a ruckus.

The Correspondent – Probably the most refreshing journalistic platform in the world, focusing on “unbreaking news”. Here the original (even better) Dutch De Correspondent.

Derek Sivers – Slow thinker comes to unique points of view. Now redirecting to https://sive.rs/. Hope he will re-start posting.

kk.org – A wealth of Kevin Kelly interesting initiatives, thoughts, articles, stuff.

elsadorfman.com – The website of Elsa Dorfman, 20×24 Polaroid portait photographer. An relatively old website I found recently after she passed away. This site keeps engaging me.

B – Blake Andrews’s long running blog. On (street) photography, and other interests from Blake.

Recomendo – another site/newsletter by Mark Frauenfelder.


Reminder to self. Push this one thing, every day. At least once every day. Do this year after year. Long form, short form, that does not matter. It is the consistency that builds the thing.

Derek Sivers’ Hell Yeah or No: a collection of counterpoints

Get on on Derek Sivers‘ great mailing list. Last week through this list he offered me the opportunity to buy his accidentally published book

Derek Sivers

Hell Yeah or No“. I took the bait.

The saying “Hell Yeah or No” has become one of Derek’s more famous expressions, originating from the book Anything You Want.

The book Hell Yeah or No is a collection and rework of a number of Derek’s blog posts.One chapter in the book describes best what Derek is about.

My public writing is a counterpoint meant to complement the popular point.

Many articles in the book make you think “Mmm… yeah – that’s a good point of view too”.

A couple of week ago I purchased his other new book Your Music and People. Did not find room to read it yet. But expectations are up. 

Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

The world was too big, even for the huge talents of Leonardo Da Vinco Walter Isaacson wrote a biography of one of the world’s biggest geniuses. 

Da Vinci was a strange guy. He was extremely curious. So curious, that he hard a hard time finishing things. Always on the way to the next thing, and many other things at the same time. 

He didn’t make things easy for himself. He was interested in so many things: painting, drawing, sculpture, engineering, science, urban design, biology, anatomy, physics. The list goes on. 

What also did not help him was his perfectionism. If it couldn’t be perfect, he lost interest, or kept on improving forever. The Mona Lisa was a life-time’s work. He carried it around for decades, constantly improving it. A huge wall fresco in Florence, The Battle of Anghiari, he abandoned because he could not produce it the way he wanted. The invention was more important to him than the execution, improving more important than delivering. He had many book ideas, but finished none. 

But this immense breadth of interests and his doggedness is also the core of his genius. He invented things that others could not see. He combined knowledge that was not combined before. He approached art with a scientific approach. He made anatomic drawings with artistic quality. He wanted to know everything about anything. Isaacsons calls him the personification of the universal mind.

In the last chapter Isaacson lists the lesson we can learn from Da Vinci’s life. (Da Vinci was a keen list-maker himself.)

Be curious, relentlessly curious.

Seek knowledge for its own sake.

Retain a childlike sense of wonder.


Start with the details.

See things unseen.

Go down rabbit holes.

Get distracted.

Respect facts.


Let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Think visually.

Avoid silos.

Let your reach exceed your grasp.

Indulge fantasy.

Create for yourself, not just for patrons.


Make lists.

Take notes, on paper.

Be open to mystery.

A good article that summarizes the lessons, is this: https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2018/05/20-life-lessons-leonardo-da-vinci/

Some of these lessons, when applied undisciplined (like Da Vinci), can lead to the perfectionism and chronic inability to ship we have seen in Leonardo’s life. Despite his extreme talents, the world was too big, even for Leonardo Da Vinci.