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This used to be a top-10 list of long-form reads, then a mixture of short-and-medium, then all three, then other media crept in, and then well, here we are. This year is a big grab bag of 41 items, divided into groups, with the customary bonus track. For some of the entries, I’m ditching the “needs to be published in 2020” requirement—for those, it’s more of “I found this in 2020 and wanted to share it.” Hope that’s okay.

Wishing everyone a great 2021 ahead! Let’s get to it.


Okay, let’s get the 4 absolute best end-of-the-world reads out of the way first. These are brutal, but I promise, extraordinary. Pour a major scotch and dig in. (Thanks to the indispensable for introducing me to Umair Haque and likely a few others below.) …

This could totally have gone bad. I chose another way for the holiday.

Maybe you’ve seen this ad. I saw it just last night, and honestly, it was hard not to imagine the conversation that might ensue after the cameras stopped rolling. (Just watch the first 5 seconds of the video below before moving on.)

Homeowner: Alexa, tell Roomba to vacuum in front of the couch.

Alexa: Roomba, vacuum in front of the couch.

Roomba: Alexa, I vacuumed in front of the couch on Thursday. It’s Saturday.

Alexa: Roomba, I understand that, but we need you to do it again. …

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Students are nervous, parents are nervous, schools are nervous.
Here’s a possible solution.

Let’s do this quick.

It’s no secret that everyone is getting very anxious about “canceling this year’s graduation ceremony.” It’s two or three months away for most schools in this part of the world, and things may not be looking so promising right now.

Please don’t cancel your event; instead, consider moving it online.

This is a quick-and-dirty guide to help you figure it out, with a couple “special effects” and a no-nonsense workflow.

I’m going to be very detailed in some of the following, but the ideal scenario here is to involve your own “creative team” at your school and to make this your own project. That said, most school’s leadership is overwhelmed with…well, with everything, so copying and pasting this plan for “how do we solve graduation?!” into an email, or just sending them this link might come as a bit of a relief. So, if the guidelines below make sense for you and your institution, please take ’em and run with ’em. (Well, walk with them, since the students will be “walking” at their upcoming virtual…

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For a handful of years, I’ve published a list of my favorite short/medium/and long reads of the year, but gradually other media have snuck in. So for the second year in a row, I’m including links, books, podcasts, videos, and some extras. Still just 10 items long, plus a few bonus tracks as usual.

Wishing everyone a great 2020 ahead! Let’s get to it.

1. The Library Book (again)

This was #6 on last year’s list, but this year it’s out in paperback. (Do I need to put it in the intro paragraph next year?) Completely amazing in every way; do not hesitate. Perfect gift too.

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For the last, few, years, I’ve published a short list of my favorite short/medium/and long reads of the year, but other media has snuck in. So this year I’m renaming it “favorites” and am including links, books, podcasts, videos, etc. Still just 10 items long, plus a couple bonus tracks as usual.

Wishing everyone a great 2019 ahead!

1. The End of the World Podcast

Don’t even read past this entry. Subscribe. Listen. Then drink.
October, November, December, 2018

2. Where Are All the Aliens?

And on that same note…
Steven Webb, TED, 2018

3. Lari Basilio, Guitar Player

Beautiful arpeggio at the half-way mark. Plus, I want that guitar.

4. The Magic Leap Con

Yikes. I was rooting for them. …

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For the last couple of years I’ve published a short list of my favorite short/medium/long reads of the year, so here I’m at it a third time. Just 10 items long (plus a couple bonus tracks), and predictably populated with apprehension, armageddon, and astronomy, but if you need something to chew on, maybe you’ll find a few worthwhile morsels below.

Wishing everyone a great 2018 ahead!

Don’t Buy Anyone an Echo

Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo, December 5, 2017

America is facing an epistemic crisis: What if Mueller proves his case and it doesn’t matter?

David Roberts, Vox, November 2, 2017

After Seeing These +15 Maps You’ll Never Look At The World The Same

Iveta, Bored Panda, ????

The First White President

Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic, September 7, 2017

The Best Way to Eat a Hard Shell Taco

Lifehacker, Aug 29, 2017

Why This Second Grade Handout Should Be Your New Creative Manifesto

Greg Hahn, Adweek, October 23, 2017

Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers

Damian Carrington, The Guardian, October 18…

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Last year I published a short list of my favorite long reads of 2015, and people seemed to find it useful for the holidays. So I’m back with another list for 2016—this time on the shorter-read side (and I suppose good for mobile reading, natch). Again 10 items in all, and please do share if you’re inspired.

Wishing everyone a great 2017 ahead!

The Problem With Slow Motion

Eugene M. Caruso, Zachary C. Burns, Benjamin A. Converse, The New York Times, August 5, 2016

The Two Minutes It Takes To Read This Will Improve Your Writing Forever

Josh Spector, Medium, July 22, 2016

Using a Dyson hand dryer is like setting off a viral bomb in a bathroom

Beth Mole, Ars Technica, April 15, 2016

The Case Against Reality: A professor of cognitive science argues that the world is nothing like the one we experience through our senses.

Amanda Gefter, The Atlantic, April 25, 2016

Flowstate is a writing app that will delete everything if you stop typing

Nick Statt, The Verge, January 28…

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For those looking for some big reading around big topics, these are some of the articles I’ve found most fascinating from 2015 (or that I read in 2015!). I’ve never done a list like this before—and by accident there are actually 10 items here—so I suppose that’s a new resolution for me. I’ve also grouped them ever so slightly. Please share away if you’re inspired.

Wishing everyone a great 2016 ahead!

The Doomsday Invention: Will artificial intelligence bring us utopia or destruction?
Raffi Khatchadourian, November 23, 2015

The Gene Hackers: A powerful new technology enables us to manipulate our DNA more easily than ever before
Michael Specter, The New Yorker, November 16…

One Man’s Journey Into the Craft of Tatted Lace

At six miles up

It’s fitting that the only time — and this is over three or four years now — that my hobby is ever recognized is on an airplane. Sometimes it will be a flight attendant (always female and of an accomplished age) who will stop in her tracks and ask me about it, or sometimes by a fellow passenger (ditto) sitting beside me or standing over me waiting for the bathroom. You’d think that this would make me a feel part of an exclusive club, and it sort of does. …


Allan Chochinov

Chair, MFA Products of Design at SVA. Partner, Core77

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