If I may be forgiven a heuristic of my own, it is a very bad sign when authors start to look down on the books that connected them to their audience: it means they are now irredeemably up themselves.
I have a theory that Stallone films, like Bond films, are excellent indicators of what film style looks like in popular cinema at any particular moment – they tend to be competent, and to show off whatever is thought to be “stylish” in current mainstream filmmaking, but they rarely break new ground.
I have a theory that burnout is about resentment. And you beat it by knowing what it is you’re giving up that makes you resentful.
That’s so incisive. It’s not about the work, it’s about what you’re giving up that you’d rather not. I love when I find ideas that take things up one level of thinking, like a psychological heuristic. Burnout is about resentment, boredom indicates a gap between your interests and your current environment; unrealistic expecations have their roots in denial; when you talk to someone, you’re talking to their agent, etc.
One guy’s rules of thumb for books, movies, etc.
4. Long descriptive passages very rarely work.
8. It is wonderful to think you’re watching story X and then discover you’re watching story Q.
17. Enough with the Christ imagery!
18. Don’t speak the subtext!
Taking a moment to hunt for an interpretation that makes an argument good — before you denounce it as a bad argument — is a nice heuristic that forestalls the tempting leap from “There exists an interpretation that makes this a bad argument, but it may not be what he had in mind,” to “This is a bad argument!”
When I really feel like dogging it at spinning class, I engage in some self-talk that goes something like this: This is 45 minutes out of the entire day, and 45 minutes is all you get. In an hour you will be at your desk, where you’ll stay for most of your waking hours. You’ll be envious of the joggers outside in the middle of the day. It’s very unlikely that you’ll get more gym time once this 45-minute opportunity has ended, so treat it like gold.
“The heuristics on this list are easily memorable and implementable life problem-solving strategies — "quick and dirty” ones, if you like — that I’ve drawn from experience which, even if they prove shaky in border cases, still work most of the time.“