43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.


David Brooks on his "Outsourced Brain"

The Outsourced Brain

NYT's David Brooks on outsourcing memory, reference, and decision-making to things that theoretically do it better:

I have relinquished control over my decisions to the universal mind. I have fused with the knowledge of the cybersphere, and entered the bliss of a higher metaphysic. As John Steinbeck nearly wrote, a fella ain’t got a mind of his own, just a little piece of the big mind — one mind that belongs to everybody. Then it don’t matter, Ma. I’ll be everywhere, around in the dark. Wherever there is a network, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a TiVo machine making a sitcom recommendation based on past preferences, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a Times reader selecting articles based on the most e-mailed list, I’ll be there.

And, ironically enough, if you didn't catch the Grapes of Wrath reference, it's easy enough to find it. Because, if you're like me, sometimes you also outsource your pop culture knowledge to Google, Wikipedia, and IMDB.

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The downside of the outboard brain

The fate of human memory

Clive Thompson writes on a phenomenon I think about constantly: if you really do start entrusting all your ephemeral memory work to external systems, might your wetware start to atrophy?

Apparently, yes:

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Tip of the Tongue Strategies

Even the most diligent among us can't always remember to pocket a pen and paper everywhere we go (or, shhh!, won't admit that sometimes we just don't want to), but of course that's always when our best ideas hit us. Last night when I was walking my dog, I'm convinced I came up with the answer to global warming, but before I got home to write it down, I had a conversation with a neighbor, checked my mail, and watered the plants, so I might as well have been thinking about the lyrics to "Sussudio" for all I could remember. And try as I might, I couldn't bring it back.

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An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »