I just started reading The 4-Hour Work Week. I admit, in the beginning, I didn’t want to like it. Part of me wanted Tim Ferriss to be some shallow, cocky blowhard with a couple hundred pages of motivational fluff. But… he won me over by page 11 with a passing reference to J.B. Say, and it’s been all good ever since. This book has me fired up.

Anil Dash noticed the recent popularity of pixel graphs, citing an awful example in the New York Times and a not-as-bad one in Wired Magazine. I also recall this one from Business Week a while back, and another commenter mentioned one at Curbed today. It’ll take some time and trial & error to figure out what kind of data sets works best with the technique. I can appreciate the trend, but the only example I really like is the one from Business Week. Looks like a happy marriage of table and graph.

The Thing Quarterly: “Each year four artists, writers, filmmakers or musicians are invited to create a household object that somehow incorporates text. Every three months a new object will be hand wrapped in brown paper and string by the editors and mailed to subscribers.”[via jb]

Doc Searls talks about how to save newspapers. Nice tips there. The sad part is that readers (i.e. customers) have been complaining about many of these features for years [e.g. archive paywalls, complicated websites, lack of linking, etc.]

The Starfish & the Spider (review: 3/5)

The Starfish & the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations is another book along the lines of Wikinomics. This book has the typical anecdotes punctuated with bullet points that you’ll see in other business books. It’s breezy and well-paced. It covers the principles of decentralization (e.g. “when attached, a decentralized organization tends to become even more open and decentralized,” or “it’s easy to mistake starfish for spiders,” and “an open system doesn’t have central intelligence; the intelligence is spread throughout the system.”), and their implications for the business world. While this one isn’t nearly as tedious as Wikinomics, it’s also not as wide-ranging or historical. In this case, I think that’s a good thing.