Some great nonfiction, walking (all) the streets of NYC, how Nixon almost enacted UBI, and a rad blog to follow.
The snow life continues here with bumpy roundabouts in town, ice dams on the roof, and great skiing in the mountains.
This week's fun and games:
My favorite nonfiction books from the past few months, a movie about a (very) long walk in NYC, the story of how President Nixon almost created a Universal Basic Income (say what?), and a blog that'll get your adventure gears whirring.
Getting up high on the backcountry skis with a view of the Sisters in Central Oregon.
So many great books, so little time. Gotta be choosy! If you're looking for some nonfiction to expand your world, these are some of my recent favorites:
The Right Stuff: Tom Wolfe writes like his head is on fire and only his words can douse the flames. This book defined a new genre of nonfiction called new journalism (e.g. Michael Lewis, Malcolm Gladwell). I was carried along in a torrent of language in this story about the pilots engaged in research with experimental rocket-powered aircraft and the Project Mercury astronauts selected for the NASA space program. SO good.
Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill: A biography revealing the scope of this courageous woman's contributions to Britain during pivotal moments in history. Never before or after has a UK prime minister's wife so deeply engaged in political events or had so much influence. In Winston's words, "victory in WWII would have been impossible without her."
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City: this Pulitzer-prize winning book blew my mind. Rather than dry stats about poverty and homelessness, the author lived in Milwaukee and documented stories from the private housing situation there as a lens into what other cities experience. The narrative is engaging, eye-opening and every affordable housing admin in the country needs to read it.
Infidel: The autobiography of a Somali-Dutch woman's journey from life as a downtrodden, second-class citizen in her Muslim upbringing to a member of the Dutch parliament. A powerful book about questioning conventional wisdom, religious dogmatism, and, well, being a badass!
The Push: I find most books by pro outdoor athletes dry ("we did hard things while suffering like a stoic"), but this one breaks that mold. Personal, well-written, and inspiring, Tommy Caldwell lays it all out there in a tale of kidnappings and pushing the limits of what is possible in big-wall rock climbing. For a bonus, watch The Dawn Wall, the film about his life.
Got any nonfiction to recommend? Please send it my way!
Walking Every.Single.Street in NYC
I admire people with dedication and single-minded focus on a goal, especially if it's not for money or fame. A journey just for the experience, curiosity for the sake of learning.
Enter the movie The World Before Your Feet: a civil engineer decides to shake up his "respectable" (but boring and uninspired) life and aims to walk all the streets and trails of New York City. 8,000+ miles! The simplicity of the goal, the uncovering of the city's history, and the way he bucks convention is refreshing and a reminder to follow passions just because we can.
Nixon's Plan for Universal Basic Income
Hold on. Surely the above is a typo? NOPE.
With all the talk these days from progressive candidates about Universal Basic Income, I did some deep digging to expand my rudimentary knowledge on the topic. Turns out that in 1969, President Richard Nixon (a conservative) almost established a UBI. This article from Jacobin Magazine tells the fascinating story!
For additional reading, check out the World After Capital. I've followed tech investor Albert Wenger's blog for years and his take on how technology is impacting jobs and how tech companies (and policy) need to change to accommodate that are paradigm-shifting.
Getting Your Mountain Flow On
My friend JT possesses a magic combination of deep introspection, humility and beat-your-ass-down athletic ability. During our trip on the Oregon Timber Trail, he journaled every night and morning before showing us what rocket-powered quads muscles were all about.
His website documents many outdoor pursuits, including skiing Mt. Rainier in a day, fast-packing the Sierra High Route, and adventure running in Nepal. For a dose of inspiration from a legit minimalist, explorer and all-around awesome guy, check it out!