Archive: Random Observations Bin

Book review: “Ready Player One” (July 29, 2015)

I got the feeling reading Ready Player One that my memories were being used to sell me something that couldn’t sell itself

The cops won’t change until we start expecting them to (July 24, 2015)

That’s what we do when we make passive-voice statements like “things happen.” We’re making excuses. We’re justifying expecting less

Amazon: the screw begins to turn (July 23, 2015)

Amazon has spent twenty years now attracting shoppers with goodies like fast, free shipping. But businesses don’t give out goodies without expecting to make money off them at some point. So the screw, so motionless for so long, begins to turn.

Book review: “Swamplandia!” (July 11, 2015)

Swamplandia! is brilliant — a gorgeous fantasia that flirts with magical realism without ever letting its feet drift too far from the ground

Book review: “Telex from Cuba” (July 5, 2015)

Telex from Cuba is that rare novel with a true sense of place; it drips with atmosphere and period detail

Book review: “Old Man’s War” (July 2, 2015)

A fun, compulsively readable adventure story, but one that fails to shake free of the burdens of its genre

Book review: “The Circle” (June 26, 2015)

The question of where the boundary between the public and the private should be drawn deserves a great novel to help us work through it. The Circle is not that novel

Stalin’s minions: an experiment in virality (June 23, 2015)

Would images of Minions paired with words linked to one of history’s greatest monsters spread just as well as the banal, unchallenging ones? Let’s find out

Book review: “The Paying Guests” (June 22, 2015)

The Paying Guests is a very, very good book. In fact, it’s the best novel I’ve read in quite some time

Book review: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (June 16, 2015)

Sometimes all the reviews are wrong. This is one of those times

Book review: “The Bone Clocks” (June 9, 2015)

Not quite as good as Cloud Atlas, but still a great read

Book review: “Gone Girl” (June 8, 2015)

“Gone Girl” starts as a smart, insightful novel, but turns into an explosion at a paperback factory

Book review: “1Q84” (June 4, 2015)

Not as bad as you’ve heard, not as good as you’d like

Kids, ranked (February 26, 2015)

There’s more than you probably think

Go ahead: joke about killing Kim Jong-un all you want (December 17, 2014)

He’s earned it

Playing Machiavelli in the Middle East in “Conflict: Middle East Political Simulator” (November 17, 2014)

Conflict took the wrenching, intractable problems of the modern Middle East and turned them into a cracking little strategy game

I ♥ Steelcase (November 7, 2014)

Since 96% of the Internet is people bitching about companies that gave them poor customer service, here’s a company that’s done right by me

A recipe: Jason’s Ratatouille (October 11, 2014)

A recipe with some sentimental attachments

#TopicalHalloweenCostumes (October 6, 2014)

Share your newsy costume ideas for Halloween this year

No, Scott Adams isn’t right (July 30, 2014)

Data can tell you how fast you are going, and what direction you are going in, but it can’t by itself tell you if you are going forward or back

The Amazon endgame (July 16, 2014)

You have to stop thinking like everybody else and start thinking the way Amazon does. You have to start thinking long-term

The madness of gun culture (March 20, 2014)

I like guns. But the gun culture frightens me

Creation is a beautiful torture (February 2, 2014)

If you care about the work you find no matter how hard you try, the final result disappoints you. The only real questions are in what way and by how much

Against line-chart liberalism (January 24, 2014)

You have to reach out to people as they are, not as you would wish them to be. And framing your message with data alone does not accomplish that

Presenting the best of Just Well Mixed, 2013 Edition (January 16, 2014)

Oh look, it’s 2014, which means it’s time to round up the best posts made to this blog in 2013