In case you missed it, here’s the first-ever State of the Word… designed completely in Gutenberg:
WordCamp US was a fantastic experience, as always. Thank you again to the hundreds of organizers and volunteers who made it happen, to the thousands who attended, and to the city of St. Louis for hosting us. We’ll be back there again next year.
And special thanks to this next generation of WordPress contributors. So exciting to see KidsCamps continue to expand and thrive:
Thank you @photomatt for stopping by KidsCamp today. The kids loved your visit! #WordPress #KidsCamp #WCUS pic.twitter.com/cq65sHkjsI— Sandy Edwards (@sunsanddesign) November 3, 2019
As you can see, my site is now featuring the new WordPress Twenty Twenty theme. And for more coverage from my State of the Word, check out the recaps from WP Tavern and Post Status. Here’s my full audience Q&A below:
You can see my previous State of the Word keynotes here.
Fitbit has discontinued their Fitbit One step trackers, which seems like a good opportunity to step back and reflect on wearing one for the last decade or so. I’ve enjoyed using Fitbit trackers, but the One devices seemed like they broke down way too often.
I’m pretty proud that I ended up earning all the activity-related Fitbit badges though:
100,000 steps and 800 floors in one day
In 2013, I ran a 50 mile race and I took 110,472 steps that day. I think I did some extra steps late that night just in case Fitbit ever increased their top step badge from 100K to 105K or 110K steps. The lifetime miles badge took care of itself as long as I wore my Fitbit. The same applied for the lifetime floor badge: I’ve climbed 73,383 floors in the last few years, and that badge tops out at 35,000 floors.
But the Rainbow badge was a little harder: 700 floors in one day. Climbing up Half Dome in Yosemite only got me 500 floors or so. At some point, I found myself in Washington, DC missing only a couple badges: Mountain (600 floors) and Rainbow (700 floors).
DC isn’t known for its high buildings. I researched the Washington Monument (897 steps) and the National Cathedral (about 333 steps), but access was tricky and I’d need to climb either many times. Ultimately I decided on the New Executive Office Building, which I have access to because of my job at the US Digital Service.
That’s how I found myself on a Sunday morning in July 2018. I started a podcast as I walked up the steps to the 10th floor of the NEOB (pronounced like “knee-ob”). Then I took the elevator down, and started walking up the steps again. And again. Every so often I took a bathroom break or ate a snack, but mostly I walked while listening to podcasts. I ended up climbing 818 floors, which is basically walking up to the 10th floor about 82 times. Fitbit claimed I burned 4000+ calories that day.
Wait a second–the badge is only for 700 floors, so why did I climb 800+ floors? It took me about four hours and forty-five minutes to climb all those steps that day. Just in case Fitbit added a badge for 800 floors, I didn’t want the temptation to do re-do several hours of climbing.
Overall, Fitbit’s badges have probably pushed me to walk more, along with a goal to get 10,000 steps a day. As my current Fitbit One gets more and more creaky and unreliable, I might explore a less quantified self though. I’m finding myself posting less on social media. Maybe not every single thing needs to be observed and tallied.
As Venturebeat has picked up, Mark Davies will be leaving Vivint and joining the merry band. Automattic is creating the operating system for the web, from websites to ecommerce to social networks. As we zoom past 1,100 employees in over 70 countries, we wanted a financial leader with experience taking businesses from hundreds of millions in revenue to billions (Vivint) and even tens of billions (Alcoa and Dell), as Mark has. I’m excited about working alongside such an experienced leader day-to-day to build what I hope will become one of the defining technology companies of the open web era.
The other week I ended up going back and forth in tweets with David Heinemeier Hansson, it wasn’t going anywhere but he graciously invited me to their podcast and we were able to expand the discussion in a way I found really refreshing and mind-opening.
DHH and I have philosophies around work and open source that I believe overlap 95% or more, so that makes where we have differences all that more interesting to mine. Although we would see each other logged into the same server 15 years ago, we haven’t actually spoken directly until this podcast started, but the conversation flowed so naturally you’d think we have been talking since then.
Check out the episode on Open Source and Power on the Rework Podcast, hopefully you enjoy listening as much as we enjoyed recording it.
Today Automattic announced it has closed a new $300 million Series D, with Salesforce Ventures taking the entire round. This puts us at a post-round valuation of $3 billion, three times what it was after our last fundraising round in 2014. It’s a tremendous vote of confidence for Automattic and for the open web.
I met Marc Benioff earlier this year, and it became obvious to both of us that Salesforce and Automattic shared a lot of principles and philosophies. Marc is a mindful leader and his sensibilities and sense of purpose feel well aligned with our own mission to make the web a better place. He also helped open my eyes to the incredible traction WordPress and WP VIP has seen in the enterprise market, and how much potential there still is there. I’ve also loved re-connecting with Bret Taylor who is now Salesforce’s President and Chief Product Officer. Bret’s experience across Google Maps, Friendfeed, Facebook, Quip, and now transforming Salesforce makes him one of the singular product thinkers out there and our discussion of Automattic’s portfolio of services have been very helpful already.
For Automattic, the funding will allow us to accelerate our roadmap (perhaps by double) and scale up our existing products—including WordPress.com, WordPress VIP, WooCommerce, Jetpack, and (in a few days when it closes) Tumblr. It will also allow us to increase investing our time and energy into the future of the open source WordPress and Gutenberg.
The Salesforce funding is also a vote of confidence for the future of work. Automattic has grown to more than 950 employees working from 71 countries, with no central office for several years now. Distributed work is going to reshape how we spread opportunity more equitably around the world. There continue to be new heights shown of what can be achieved in a distributed fashion, with Gitlab announcing a round at $2.75B earlier this week.
Next year Automattic celebrates 15 years as a company! The timing is fortuitous as we’ve all just returned from Automattic’s annual Grand Meetup, where more than 800 of us got together in person to share our experiences, explore new ideas, and have some fun. I am giddy to work alongside these wonderful people for another 15 years and beyond.
If you’re curious my previous posts on our fundraising, here’s our 2006 Series A, 2008 Series B, 2013 secondary, and 2014 Series C. As before, happy to answer questions in the comments here. I also did an exclusive interview with Romain Dillet on (WP-powered) Techcrunch.
If you’d like some more background and context on Tumblr and Automattic coming together I had a chance to have a short but nuanced conversation with Nilay Patel and Julia Alexander on The Verge’s podcast, Vergecast. I love how great journalists are able to really dive into the heart of issues, and I really enjoyed the conversation.
It is not surprising that the news about Automattic buying Tumblr has picked up a lot of coverage. I especially appreciated the notes of support from Tumblr founder David Karp, former CTO Marco Arment, and investor Bijan Sabet. I am beyond excited to see what the Tumblr team creates next, and I will definitely be connecting with alumni to hear their perspective.
Just wanted to add my congratulations and thank you to everyone at WordPress and Tumblr.Matt is a visionary, and the team at WordPress has built something absolutely foundational to the Internet. What an amazing home and opportunity for Tumblr.https://t.co/6AVXBVuUr1— David Karp (@davidkarp) August 13, 2019
There has also been a lot of speculation on the purchase price, which I think is missing the real story. I would like to take this opportunity to express my respect for Verizon and how they approached this entire process. They inherited Tumblr through an acquisition of a merger, a few steps removed from its initial sale; it’s probably not a company they would have bought on its own, but they nonetheless recognized that there is a very special community and team behind the product. It’s also worth noting at this point that Verizon is a company that will do over $130B in revenue this year and has over 139,000 employees.
First, they chose to find a new home for Tumblr instead of shutting it down. Second, they considered not just how much cash they would get on day one, but also — and especially — what would happen to the team afterward, and how the product and the team would be invested in going forward. Third, they thought about the sort of steward of the community the new owner would be. They didn’t have to do any of that, and I commend them for making all three points a priority.
Automattic is still a startup — I’m sure there are deep-pocketed private equity firms that could have outbid us, but the most likely outcome then would have been an “asset” getting chopped up and sold for parts. (This is a caricature and there are PE firms I like, but it’s not a terrible stretch of the imagination.) Instead, Tumblr has a new chance to redefine itself in 2019 and beyond. Its community is joining with WordPress’ 16-year commitment to open source and the open web.
I didn’t realize this, but apparently macOS has a built-in ability to show really stunning animated wallpapers, like this one created by Folletto that subtly changes colors throughout the day in an incredibly engaging well:
Check out Folletto’s blog for another dynamic wallpaper and some of process behind creating it. This would be awesome to have for iPhones as well.
I had an interesting conversation with David Perell on his North Star Podcast that I recommend checking out. He’s also leading a really interesting program called Write of Passage which is an online course which helps people grow their career by writing and sharing online, which I think is brilliant and a big source of my career growth over the years. I’ve heard he has another coming soon around information organization. David is someone to watch and follow.
Writing novels is hard, and requires vast, unbroken slabs of time. Four quiet hours is a resource that I can put to good use. Two slabs of time, each two hours long, might add up to the same four hours, but are not nearly as productive as an unbroken four.Neil Stephenson on Why I’m a Bad Correspondent
WordPress is about democratizing publishing, removing barriers to getting your words on the web. There’s a cool effort underway right now to remove some barriers that people from groups underrepresented in tech might face when becoming a WordCamp speaker. Automattic is supporting this by sponsoring Jill Binder’s work on the WordPress Diverse Speakers Training Group.
I would love to see the WordPress contributor base become more diverse, and training people from marginalized communities to speak at WordCamps is a great way to help that along. Check out that effort if you’d like to get involved.
Every year for my Mom’s birthday lunch she has a Doberge cake from Gambino’s in New Orleans, but this year there was a Fedex snafu and it arrived spoiled. We found a last-minute replacement, but it piqued my curiosity as to better alternatives and I commissioned this survey of eight bakeries to answer the question: What’s the best Doberge cake in Houston or New Orleans? The article and pictures that follow are from food critic, travel journalist, and medical science writer Alice Levitt. I hope you enjoy the history, reviews, and surprise winner.
1885, Budapest. Franz Josef I and his wife, Elizabeth, rulers of Austro-Hungary, are attending the National General Exhibition of Budapest. There is much to see, but the emperor’s sweet tooth is pulling him toward one particular display. He simply must taste this new cake he’s been hearing about. He must find the Dobos torte.
It isn’t just any cake. With increased ease in shipping products across the continent thanks to better rail links, Jozsef Dobos had set a goal of getting his cakes into homes across Europe. But while trains were fast they weren’t refrigerated, and fluffy whipped cream-layered fancies would quickly become rancid mush in a hot railway carriage. Innovative delicatessen owner Dobos created the solution: a five-layer cake that took a cue from France with a filling of stable chocolate buttercream, a trend that hadn’t yet hit central Europe. Each layer of vanilla sponge worked with its spackling of buttercream like a well-designed piece of modern architecture, keeping itself cool and dry (but not too dry). For a final flourish — and still more shelf-stability — the whole cake got a crisp caramel jacket.
Dobos, a proponent of open source before it had a name, gave his recipe to the Budapest Confectioner’s and Gingerbread Maker’s Chamber of Industry in 1906 with the stipulation that it must be shared with anyone who wanted it. The cake traveled widely. Now with seven layers, it made its way to America through Jewish delis that sold it as Seven-Layer Cake. Upscale shops like the St. Moritz Bakery in Greenwich, Connecticut, enrobed it in dark chocolate instead of caramel. For its final bit of Americanization, it turned from a round cake into a rectangle.
1933, New Orleans. It was never this hot in Hungary. Beulah Ledner, with her Eastern European blood, was not made for it. Neither were certain cakes, it turned out. During the Great Depression, she earned extra money for her family crafting the German confections her mother had taught her to make.
One favorite was Dobos torte. But despite its Hungarian hardiness, it was not created with sticky Louisiana summers in mind. The wintry pastry needed to lighten up.
Some bakers had ballooned their cakes to 11 layers. Ledner stuck with a more modest eight. But her stroke of genius was replacing the rich buttercream between the layers with airier custard. Buttercream still made an appearance surrounding the cake, which was then covered in a layer of fondant.
“She knew no one in New Orleans would take to an Eastern European cake,” her son Albert Ledner told Country Roads magazine. “So she Frenchified the name and called it ‘Doberge.’” With that, the pastry’s fate as a New Orleans classic, alongside King Cake and beignets, was sealed. Her Lowerline Street bakery flooded with customers who called her “the Doberge Queen of New Orleans,” perhaps not realizing that she had invented both the cake and the name. Her business grew into a new spot on South Claiborne Avenue and a new name — the Mrs. Charles Ledner Bakery. The torte options grew, too. Chocolate was the standard flavor, but there were lemon, caramel, and strawberry versions. The half-and-half cake, which allowed customers the option to taste chocolate and lemon in a single go, became the most beloved version.
Despite her success, Ledner sold the business and all its recipes in 1946, blaming health issues and World War II sugar rations. The purchaser, Joe Gambino, adhered strictly to her recipes. He opened his shop, Joe Gambino’s Bakery, in 1949 and has served the cakes to New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana, ever since.
As for Ledner, part of her deal with Gambino included a five-year embargo on opening a new bakery in New Orleans. But she could only sit still for two, and debuted the Beulah Ledner Bakery in nearby Jefferson Parish in 1948. Demand forced her to change locations yet again and she expanded to Metairie, this time with a bakery designed and built by her architect son. Ledner ran that last bakery until 1981, when she retired at the age of 87. She ate a slice of Doberge for her birthday every year, including at her 94th and final celebration.
Unsurprisingly, the Doberge’s sugary tendrils also made their way into nearby Houston. There are six businesses in Space City that sell either Doberge or the more classic Jewish-deli-style Seven-Layer Cake. But how to know which to buy for your next birthday? I sampled all six, as well as the best of New Orleans, to figure out which should be avoided and which are worthy centerpieces for a special occasion. They are listed here from worst to best.
The DisappointmentThe Dobasche, Rao’s Bakery
Cake: White and double fudgeLayers: Menu says six, but I only got fourFilling: Vanilla and chocolate pudding, purportedlyExterior: Fudge icing, ganache top, and walnuts on the sidesDecorations: Just the walnutsPickup experience: Quick and easy, even on EasterFlavors: Chocolate or lemonSizes: 6”, 8”, quarter, half, or full sheets
Johnny Rao opened the original location of his bakery in Beaumont on 1941, almost matching the vintage of Ledner’s cakes. The Champions-area bakery, at the top of North Houston’s internationally varied Veterans Memorial Drive, opened in 2006. Things seemed promising despite the strange spelling, “Dobasche.”
It’s a cheerful place, full of families on a Sunday morning, but the cake didn’t live up to the pleasant experience of the bakery. What made this a Doberge? Nothing, really. The four fat layers of cake alternated between too-light chocolate and white. Though the description on the menu said there were both vanilla and chocolate pudding fillings, I could only find a meager swipe of vanilla buttercream holding the layers together. The exterior fudge icing tasted suspiciously like it had been made by Duncan Hines.
Runners UpChocolate Daubache, French Gourmet Bakery
Cake: VanillaLayers: Six — four thin, two thickFilling: Fudge icingExterior: More of the same fudge icingDecorations: A few swirls on topPickup experience: Exceptional. The counter staffer even offered to carry the cake to the car.Flavors: Chocolate or strawberrySizes: 8”
The Ramain family has been running this ladies-who-lunch destination since 1973. Yes, the raison d’être is French-inspired mousse cakes, macarons, and eclairs, but there’s a menu of “American Cakes,” too. The Daubache is served with strawberry filling by default, but is available in a chocolate version as well.
The six layers here were the most uneven, with two thick ones in the middle resembling buck teeth in a sea of average-sized chompers. There was nothing truly wrong with this cake, but it was really just an acceptable, if slightly oversweet, layer cake with nothing to distinguish it.
Seven-Layer Chocolate Cake, Three Brothers Bakery
Cake: Fluffy, vanilla-scentedLayers: SevenFilling: Chocolate buttercreamExterior: Fudge icingDecorations: Icing swirls and chocolate sprinkles with a cherry on top.Pick up experience: Placed the order online, and pick-up was friendly and easy.Flavors: Chocolate or mochaSizes: One size, which feeds about 10-12
This is a cake with history. Why not go to a comparably storied bakery? The Three Brothers saga began in 1825 with the opening of Morris Jucker’s bakery in Chrzanow, Poland. The family continued to run the business there until they were rounded up and sent to a concentration camp in 1941. Brothers Sigmund, Sol, and Max Jucker all survived to open their first Houston bakery in 1949.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the brothers adapted to American tastes by raising the amount of sugar in their recipes. The buttercream in their Seven Layer Cake made my teeth hurt. But the fudge icing on the outside was less sweet and deeply chocolaty, enhanced with a layer of chocolate sprinkles. I ended up focusing on the perimeter of the large slice.
The ClassicDoberge Cake, Gambino’s
Cake: Fluffy but sturdy and moist vanilla buttermilk cakeLayers: SixFilling: Coffee-infused chocolate custardExterior: Chocolate buttercream and fondantDecorations: Pretty buttercream flowersPick up experience: Was able to pick up from case without pre-ordering.Flavors: Chocolate, lemon, caramel, or a mixSizes: 8”
So this is history. Gambino’s takes great care in crafting every cake, including baking each of its layers separately, rather than cutting one big cake into pieces. Custard is made from scratch for each specimen. And the half-and-half cakes are still one of the Metairie bakery’s best-sellers. I snapped up a chocolate cake straight from the case.
Ledner’s attempt at Americanizing her cake by adding more sugar is clear. The buttercream crunched with crystals of it. Combined with the fondant, it was unpleasantly sweet, though I liked the earthiness of the coffee in the chocolate custard.
The OriginalSeven-Layer Dobash Torte, Village Bakery
Cake: WhiteLayers: SevenFilling: Chocolate buttercreamExterior: Chocolate buttercream, topped with a layer of lady fingers and caramelDecorations: NopePick up experience: Very pleasant.Flavors: Almost endless.Sizes: Up to you. Cakes are entirely custom.
The name Dobash is misleading; this is no New Orleans delicacy. Of all the cakes I tried, this is closest to Dobos’ original, down to the crunchy coating of caramel, now a rarity. The rectangular shape, however, may owe to Jewish owner Richard Jucker. (I also picked up a day-old bag of his varied, not-too-sweet Hamantaschen while I was there.)
Any resemblance to the Three Brothers cake is no coincidence. Jucker’s father was one of the founders of that bakery and the younger baker worked there from 1981 to 1999. But just as he broke away, this cake is very much its own torte. Fluffy, vanilla-scented layers are surrounded by buttercream that verges on too sweet, especially with the addition of the caramel, but never overwhelms as some of the others do. This is a Dobos torte for the traditionalist — and the client interested in enhancing their cake with flavors like pistachio or almond buttercream.
The UpgradeSeven-Layer Cake, Kenny & Ziggy’s
Cake: YellowLayers: SevenFilling: Chocolate mousseExterior: Chocolate ganacheDecorations: Toasted almonds on the sidesPick up experience: N/AFlavors: Just chocolateSizes: Only one, a whopping two feet, eight inches. Catering director Jeanne Magenheim estimates that each one feeds up to 28 people.
It’s hard to believe that Houston is home to one of the world’s best remaining Jewish delis, but thanks to living piece of culinary history Ziggy Gruber — whose family came to the U.S. from Hungary in the early 20th century and opened New York’s famous Rialto Deli — it has been since 1999. The Deli Man himself designed his Seven-Layer cake to be a cut above the classic.
Instead of buttercream, he ups the ante with intense chocolate mousse. A thick layer of ganache surrounds the outsized square slices of almond-bedecked layer cake. This would be my favorite if not for the too-light cake itself. Just a hint more substance, and this would be close to perfection.
The SpecialistChocolate Doberge, Debbie Does Doberge
Cake: White, sturdy but moistLayers: SevenFilling: CustardExterior: Poured fondantDecorations: You can request buttercream roses or fleurs de lis.Pick up experience: N/AFlavors: Endless, including pistachio, fig/white chocolate/goat cheese, and rum-spiked Bananas Foster.Sizes: 6” through 16”
A designer friend described the cakes here, crafted by Charlotte McGehee and Charles Mary IV, as having the concise beauty of a sports car. Each slice is simply perfect. The balance of each precisely even layer of cake to complementary custard filling feels like eating cake in Plato’s cave. The care taken in each detail is evident, down to the soft, uncommonly edible fondant coating on each slice, whether it covers a well-spiced carrot cake or indulgently minty chocolate one.
Is it the best Doberge being produced in the world today? Almost certainly. But right now, the New Orleans company doesn’t ship. (They hope to start again soon.) When it does, this should be the option (smeared) on everyone’s lips. But until then, I’ll fly to New Orleans just to grab a slice of rainbow-striped cake with almond custard and sigh.
The StandoutNew Orleans Daubache, The Acadian Bakers
Cake: Fluffy vanillaLayers: Six Filling: Chocolate custardExterior: GanacheDecorations: Chocolate swirls and hearts, as well as two chocolate-covered strawberries.Pick up experience: Cake was more than an hour late, with little apology.Flavors: Just chocolateSizes: 9”
The Acadian Bakers has the best Doberge option for a Houston resident; pastry chef Sandra Bubbert has been turning out craveable cakes for more than 36 years. Luminaries from presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton to Reba McIntyre and Arnold Schwarzenegger have tasted her treats, earning her a reputation as “baker to the stars.”
I wasn’t treated like a star with the more than hour-long wait for my cake, despite having set a time for pick-up a week before, but once I tasted it, the frustration fell away. This cake is exactly what a Doberge should be. Sweet, but not overwhelming, decadently chocolaty, and sturdy enough to withstand a hot day on the Gulf Coast.
As you may have read on the WooCommerce blog, Prospress blog, WP Tavern, Post Status, or Techcrunch, the team at Prospress is joining forces with WooCommerce at Automattic to help accelerate the adoption and democratization of ecommerce across the web. Whew that’s a lot of links! Prospress was best known for their extension that allowed many types of Subscriptions on top of WooCommerce, but also has some cool marketing automation and automated testing tools as well. I love that Prospress was already a Five for the Future company, which aligns really well with Automattic’s long-term goals and contributions to the wider community.
I’ve been meeting with some brilliant people for Distributed, my new podcast dedicated to exploring the future of work. The first episode is a conversation with Stephane Kasriel, CEO of Upwork, about how they built a distributed culture, and how flexible work will shape the future of the global economy.
Unlike Automattic, Upwork does have an office in Silicon Valley (albeit one with a remote receptionist!). It was interesting to hear how Stephane’s teams balance in-person culture with inclusiveness for all employees, no matter where they live. Read more about Stephane’s work at Distributed.blog, and subscribe at Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Distributed work is becoming a reality for more companies. Automattic has been operating in a distributed-first fashion for more than 13 years now — we’re now up to more than 850 employees in 68 countries. But even in companies with physical offices, more employees are distributed around the globe and working together. Google just shared some fascinating stats about its work culture, with 100,000 employees working across 150 cities. Two out of five work groups have employees working from more than one location:
We’re a more connected world, so it makes sense that global business wouldn’t be confined to just one physical space. I often use Google as an example because I’ve been in meetings there where people were one building away from each other but still using video chat because of the time required to walk between meetings on their campus.
With that in mind, the team at Automattic has decided to start sharing our expertise and the technology that makes it all work. Introducing Happy Tools:
Our first product is Happy Schedule, which helps teams manage flexible schedules across time zones. Right now we’re rolling it out in a consultative way with just a few early customers to make sure the team can be totally responsive to their needs. We’re excited about this and other upcoming tools, because we believe that this is the future of work. We’re excited to have other companies give it a try.
Keep an eye on this space: There’s an entire suite of tools that make up the operating system of what has helped Automattic scale so effectively over the years. I’ve always believed it’s important to invest in your internal tools, and I’m excited to release more of them. If there’s something better in the market, we won’t release a tool for it—I’d rather use something external than have to build things ourselves—but where the industry still has a gap after such a long time, we’ll throw our hat into the ring.
In 2003, @WordPress was created to democratize publishing on the open web. #Web30 #ForTheWeb pic.twitter.com/1Xny14pqu4— Matt Mullenweg (@photomatt) March 12, 2019
“Vague, but exciting.” Thirty years ago yesterday, Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitted his original proposal for an information management system to his boss at CERN — what would later become the World Wide Web (and, it turns out, a huge influence on my life and career).
To help celebrate, I tweeted WordPress’s contribution to the web’s grand timeline (above), and I got to participate in The Economist’s Babbage podcast looking back at the pioneers of the early web. Listen to the whole episode below:
Here’s what I read in 2018, in chronological order of when I finished it, as promised in my birthday post. I’ve highlighted a few in bold but in general I was pretty satisfied with almost all of my book choices this year. I’ve put a lot more time into the “deciding what to read” phase of things, and have also had some great help from friends there, and have been trying to balance and alternate titles that have stood the test of time and newer au courant books.
Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook by Dan ShapiroThe Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (audio)A Higher Standard by Ann E. DunwoodyExtreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin (audio)The Boat by Nam LeCharlotte’s Web by E. B. WhiteNonviolent Communication by Marshall B. RosenbergHow to Say Goodbye by Wendy MacnaughtonWhen Things Fall Apart by Pema ChödrönSoul of an Octopus by Sy MontgomeryPoor Charlie’s Almanack by Charlie Munger and Peter KaufmanSam the Cat by Matthew KlamThe Prophet by Kahlil GibranThe Vegetarian by Han KangThe Paper Menagerie by Ken LiuAfter On: A Novel of Silicon Valley by Rob ReidThe Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand RussellHow to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander CheeFicciones by Jorge Luis BorgesBlack Box Thinking by Matthew SyedDarkness Visible by William StyronTin Man by Sarah WinmanSapiens by Yuval Noah HarariLet My People Go Surfing by Yvon ChouinardPachinko by Min Jin LeeHomo Deus by Yuval Noah HarariThe Lessons of History by Will & Ariel DurantStories of Your Life and Others by Ted ChiangSo You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma OluoThree Body Problem by Cixin LiuHow to Fix a Broken Heart by Guy WinchSum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives by David EaglemanExit West by Mohsin HamidTiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl StrayedFarsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most by Steven JohnsonSeverance: A Novel by Ling MaOn the Shortness of Life by SenecaIt Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier HanssonNotes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
Julie Sugar has a beautiful piece in Lilith Magazine about miscarriage and faith.
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.— Thich Nhat Hanh in The Miracle of Mindfulness