Discover more from The Ruffian
The Social Media Cage Fight
A Rattle Bag of Goodies, Including Some Shameless Self-Promotion
Bob Dylan in Liverpool, 1966, taken by Barry Feinstein. I like how uncompromisingly, deliciously Bob Dylan he is, even when surrounded by kids. There’s a BBC documentary about what happened to the children when they grew up.
First up, an ad. For me. For me, speaking. Two things that make my writing possible: a) Paid subscriptions to The Ruffian (you know what to do), b) Speaking engagements. Just in the last year or so I’ve spoken to McKinsey, ITV, Lloyds Bank, Sage Publishing, the University of Akron in Ohio, Warwick Business School, and others. I’ve spoken about the power of curiosity, creating a culture of productive disagreement, the future of humanity and AI, and creative communication. I’m really good at it. There are testimonials on my website (please ignore the videos, they’re terrible) and more on request. If you’re interested in getting me to speak to your organisation or conference, get in touch either directly or via my agent.
A short one this week, I feel I’ve been slightly overloading you. If you’re craving a piece by me, and why wouldn’t you, you could always check out this weekend’s Financial Times, in which I have an op-ed on Threads and Twitter/X.
Two Creatures Inside Us - on one of the most fundamental tradeoffs we make in our lives.
Quote For The Week
I quite often return to the question of whether holding firm political or philosophical beliefs weighs you down, or galvanises you (see here and here). Of course, it’s both. The more you adhere to fixed principles or certainties the less cognitively supple you become, but those who dwell in uncertainties tend to get less done in the world. Anyway, here’s a quote from Tibor Fischer’s novel The Thought Gang (I haven’t read it - I found the quote via a review by John Updike) which puts it very nicely:
“Belief causes problems, it reduces your flexibility, but it’s a spiritual skeleton - difficult to move without one.”
Any Other Business
I wasn’t going to do any this week but there are a few things I can’t resist sharing:
I know relatively little about Robbie Robertson, who just passed away, but I’ve been enjoying reading the tributes, and catching up on the music. This is a terrific piece by Amanda Petrusich on The Last Waltz.
Robbie ii. There aren’t enough video/film clips of people simply listening to music, this is a beautiful one.
Robbie iii. In my post on “the struggle with the audience” I include an anecdote that Robertson told about Bob Dylan’s 1966 electric tour that I think is amazing.
I went to see Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City this week and enjoyed it - well, I certainly admired it; I always come out of a WA movie unsure whether I’ve enjoyed myself. Anyway, I loved this NYT piece about the man who makes all those pyrotechnical camera shots possible, Anderson’s key grip, Sanjay Sami.
This week’s edition is free - please share and recommend The Ruffian widely!
While working on the soundtrack for a Scorsese movie, Robbie Robertson had the crazy idea of combining Dinah Washington singing This Bitter Earth with Max Richter’s On the Nature of Daylight. It turned out to be an act of genius.