I have read several books by Douglas Rushkoff. His observations are always smart, deep, inspiring. His latest work is called Team Human. I just started reading it.
“Survival of the fittest is a convenient way to justify the cutthroat ethos of a competitive marketplace, political landscape, and culture. But this perspective misconstrues the theories of Darwin as well as his successors. By viewing evolution though a strictly competitive lens, we miss the bigger story of our own social development and have trouble understanding humanity as one big, interconnected team.”
Excerpt From Team Human by Douglas Rushkoff
If you are still looking for presents… here is a good one. The book is only $13 and contains links to a wealth of video content in which Chris plays and explains a variety of rhythms. It’s the best book for anyone who wants to start playing the cajón or improve their cajón chops.
The Cajon Drummer
Applying Drumset Techniques and Grooves to the Cajón
• Perfect for anyone new to the cajón—from beginners to experienced drumset players
• Adapts essential, signature drumset grooves to the cajón
• Covers how to incorporate brush, shaker, and other accessory instruments
• Tips on how to play with singer/songwriters
You can also order Chris Steele’s signature cajón here. It’s the cajón you have heard him play when we are on tour and on my recent albums.
From Jaron Lanier’s latest book – read more on Wired. Here he writes about musicians, who no longer earn money from recordings and have to rely on performing:
It is one thing to sing for your supper occasionally, but to have to do so for every meal forces you into a peasant’s dilemma: The peasant’s dilemma is that there’s no buffer. A musician who is sick or old, or who has a sick kid, cannot perform and cannot earn. A few musicians, a very tiny number indeed, will do well, but even the most successful real-time-only careers can fall apart suddenly because of a spate of bad luck. Real life cannot avoid those spates, so eventually almost everyone living a real-time economic life falls on hard times.
Without the listener there is no music. The listener completes the musical circuit, and, even though I am not a musician, I feel as if I am a form of musician when I listen and believe that, by hearing the piece, by responding to it with my thoughts of what it is and what it is doing – what it means – I am actually helping to finish it off. As the listener I am the final element in the making of the music. I have made the music useful. I have put it into context: the context of my own life, and my own perception of what music is, and why it exists.
– Paul Morley, Words and Music: a history of pop in the shape of a city
I do not think that music has to have a listener aside from the person or persons making the music, and I don’t believe that music has to be useful, but I like the above description of the listener completing a circle.
We could say the same about a reader who, by imagining the people and the landscapes described in a book, makes words come to life and thus completes the circle.
See also this, which I wrote about twenty years ago for Musician magazine.
My 2012 reading list, in no particular order. Could not put “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” down and finished it yesterday, a little after midnight.
√ – simply means that I read the book. The unread titles are at the ready, mostly in the form of hardcovers and paperbacks, some bought used but most bought at Collected Works, which is a fantastic bookstore in Santa Fe.
Spiegel und Maske (1970-1983) – Jorge Luis Borges √
Momo – Michael Ende √
The Offensive Traveler – V. S. Pritchett √
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco √
Angelmaker – Nick Harkaway √
The Gone-Away World – Nick Harkaway √
Peter Høeg – Das Stille Mädchen √
A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway √
Alif the Unseen – G. Willow Wilson √
The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton √
Gods Without Men – Hari Kunzru √
1Q84 – Haruki Murakami √
Buddha in Blue Jeans -Tai Sheridan √
Distrust that Particular Flavor – William Gibson √
Lying – Sam Harris √
Years of Red Dust – Qui Xiaolong √
Ratking – Michael Dibdin √
Vendetta – Michael Dibdin √
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell √
Tribal Peoples – Stephen Corry √
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore – Robin Sloan √
Le Freak – Nile Rodgers √
How Music Works – David Byrne
Cabal – Michael Dibdin
Dead Lagoon – Michael Dibdin
Cosi Fan Tutti – Michael Dibdin
Some Remarks – Neal Stephenson
The Garden of Evening Mists – Tan Twan Eng
Ninja – 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warriors – John Man
The Quantum Universe – Brian Cox
[aiming a video camera] …at anything doesn’t collect what is meaningful to me. I need someone to gather it in with all their senses, mix it round in their head, and make it over into words.
Anathem by Neal Stephenson