Help: what to read?

David Cancel and I had an online exchange about what we read. I’d like to get others’ recommendations. What do you read that is helpful and inspirational?

To get things going, here’s what I read regularly (and how I read them):

  • Wall Street Journal (digital): Can be off the wall, such as this piece on beer/wine at White Castle

  • NYT (print & digital): They don’t offer a digital-only subscription. Weird

  • Magnificat (print & digital): A cool booklet of daily Scripture readings

  • Boston Herald (print): I get it for the sports section. Mobile app kinda sucks

  • Sports Illustrated (print): An icon

  • On the Water (print): I love to fish. I’d hunt, too, but my Better Half would freak out

  • The New Yorker (digital): Some issues are great, some are mediocre

  • Saveur (print): Amazing magazine for foodies like me

  • The Atlantic (print): Wish they published more often

  • The Economist (print & digital): You know, it isn’t all that great. Am I alone on this?

  • Dan Primack, Kyle Aspach, Scott Kirsner (digital): Their writing and tweets

So, what do you read? What should I start reading? Thanks!

6 thoughts on “Help: what to read?

  1. NYTimes does offer a digital-only subscription. It’s $35/month for “all-digital access” ( plus smartphone and tablet apps), with $.99/week for the first four weeks. (I live in a town without home delivery.) Here’s the link. Good list. I also like the tech journalism at Plus Cooking Light for its inspirational recipes (low-fat, low-salt, high appeal).

  2. I find myself using Twitter for local news (@idboston, @MassHighTech, @somervillepatch). It’s a shame the Herald isn’t even good for that anymore (though I still read a paper Globe).

    Also, Thomson Reuters’s PEHubwire and

    Conceptually, I read the Economist every month, but in reality, I just have a pile of thumbed-through back issues.

  3. Jo –

    enjoying your blog, thanks. On what to read, 3 ideas…

    1. I think Fred Wilson’s blog is amazingly helpful and consistently so. I read it nearly every day, and when my inbox is over-full and I have to delete those AVC notifications without reading them, I actually worry a little about what I’ll miss.

    2. I find I need some longer form stuff, especially stuff not directly about startups. Sometimes that fiction, but lately it’s been non-fiction. Biographies. Just read David McCullough’s book “1776” about George Washington’s leadership through incredible adversity during the American Revolution. It’s an amazing story of the courage that leadership requires and also the role of a bit of luck, and how to play one card on top of another to create momentum. Also the one he wrote about the Brooklyn Bridge. The complex human dynamics that gathered support, allowed the bridge to be built, etc.

    Obviously, in the startup world we have wildly audacious goals. (And we’d have it no other way). I find there’s something really powerful about reading about people doing the undoable in very different cultural contexts, different eras, different locations. I think it provides a certain kind of perspective. Sometimes I worry about the navel-gazing that can happen in the startup circles. I believe that what I read is the best opportunity to prevent that, and to give me perspective that represents a competitive advantage. Not to mention a key ingredient to sanity and gratitude and generally enjoying the struggle while we’re in it.

    3. Finally, I really like to have a steady diet of some stuff – long and short form – by and about creative artists and creative expression. Not press junket crap about movie stars. I mean thoughtful, exploratory work. Art criticism. Essays. Interviews with unfamous musicians. Histories of whole movements. I believe deeply that creative expression is so related to technology entrepreneurship. I mean I think they’re virtually the same thing, underneath it all. So I guess I just find myself wanting to draw on the process of painters and musicians and designers etc. My favorite book here is If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. Subtitle = “A book about art, independence, and spirit.”

    I hope these are helpful ideas, if a bit wordy. Let me know if you tackle any of them. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts!

    1. Hi Dave, thanks for the pointers and thoughtful note. Agreed on McCullough. Have you read Laura Hillenbrand’s books on Seabiscuit and the one called “Unbroken,” which is an amazing story of a WW2 POW?

      Like you, I find that disconnecting from the start-up oriented media is a good thing.

      I actually turn off my phone on Sundays and try to focus more on the family. I also relish the Sunday NYT in print form, or doing something outside with my kids after church.

      Best wishes for a good holiday weekend, and it was great to hear from you.

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