I'm down in Baltimore, MD for work for a couple of days; I'll be in our distribution center, mostly doing a series of Q & A sessions with staff to highlight how things are going in our business and in our area (operations & technology). Taking the train down this morning gave me the chance to catch up on some reading, and I came across some things I wanted to share with you.
For fans of American Idol, this New York Times article is full of great trivia. While I've watched the odd episode of the show over the years, I've never watched a full season until this year. I'm really enjoying the show and especially connecting with other people who are fans (you know who you are!). Tonight's show will feature the final six contestants doing the music of my close friend (!) Andrew Lloyd Webber; that should be interesting. I'm mostly in agreement with this reporter's take on the remaining contestants, though I'd move Jason Castro down to the bottom of the list.
For fans of being happy..... (!), this New York Times interview with the author of Stumbling on Happiness is a fun read. This passage in particular resonated for me:
Q. AS THE AUTHOR OF A BEST SELLER ABOUT HAPPINESS, DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE ON HOW PEOPLE CAN ACHIEVE IT?
A. I’m not Dr. Phil.
We know that the best predictor of human happiness is human relationships and the amount of time that people spend with family and friends.
We know that it’s significantly more important than money and somewhat more important than health. That’s what the data shows. The interesting thing is that people will sacrifice social relationships to get other things that won’t make them as happy — money. That’s what I mean when I say people should do “wise shopping” for happiness.
Another thing we know from studies is that people tend to take more pleasure in experiences than in things. So if you have “x” amount of dollars to spend on a vacation or a good meal or movies, it will get you more happiness than a durable good or an object. One reason for this is that experiences tend to be shared with other people and objects usually aren’t.
The Times had an article on the same topic last week which was also quite interesting: Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All.
I read Stumbling on Happiness when it was published a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it; while it doesn't unlock the secret to being happy, it is full of funny anecdotes and thoughtful reporting on happiness research.
Finally: I had time on the train to look at a new camera guide I bought from a website called By Thom. While mostly about Nikon gear, the site has some great general photography articles, like this one on taking sharp pictures. Thom Hogan publishes detailed user guides for each Nikon body that go far beyond what the manufacturer manual tells you; I own two of them and recommend them for anyone who wants to get the most out of their Nikon camera.