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.


The Tu Lan Files: Interviewed by Brian Oberkirch

An Interview with Merlin Mann at Like It Matters

Wow, I completely forgot about this. One day, when my pal Brian was in town, we hit Tu Lan and hung out for an hour or so talking about all kinds of stuff related to 43F, productivity, and how to blow lots of time trying too hard to be productive.

Given the noise level at the restaurant, I'm amazed he could transcribe the conversation, but here you go. Considering I was high on vietnamese food, there's actually some pretty good bits in there:

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Tips on becoming a better listener

When we meet, you and I, you will see for yourself one of my most humiliating traits. No it's not my acromegaly, my plaid pants, nor my atrocious hairpiece.

No, friend, you will be deeply annoyed to hear me ask you to repeat your name at least twice, and possibly five times, during our inaugural conversation. And, in subsequent meetings, even though your face will be forever etched upon my brain (a skill at which I absolutely excel), I will probably call you "Champ," "Chief," or possibly "Tex." Because, yes, I will have completely forgotten your name. And it's not just a bad memory that's to blame here (although, of course, my memory sucks, too) -- I'm convinced it's because I am a terrible listener, and because I suffer intermittent encoding errors at the time data is written to disk, so to speak.

In working to improve this socially-crippling liability, in general -- to hear what people are really saying rather than just using the down time to formulate a pseudo-clever response -- I've begun skimming the web for advice. I have these sites and tips to share with you so far, so listen up!

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43F Podcast: It’s just a cup

The 43 Folders Podcast

It's Just a Cup

43folders.com - Are you enjoying your coffee or just obsessing about the cup you put it in? (3:25)

Grab the MP3, learn more at Odeo.com, or just listen from here:

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43F Podcast: The Perfect Apostrophe

The Perfect Apostrophe

O'Reilly and Associates logo, detail

In which I undertake writing a book on productivity. (10:50)

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Matthieu Ricard symposium at UCSF tomorrow

UCSF - Calendar of Events [Symposium on Happiness with Matthieu Ricard]

I’m looking forward to attending this symposium with the Mrs. tomorrow night on the campus of UCSF. Open to the public and maybe worth checking out if you share my interest in mindfulness and exploring Dharma practice.

Join us for a revolutionary look at happiness from one of the world’s most compelling voices on the subject. As a trained scientist and Buddhist monk, Matthieu Ricard, PhD is uniquely positioned in the dialogue between East and West. Drawing from works of fiction and poetry, contemporary western philosophy, Buddhist thought, current psychological and scientific research and personal experience, Ricard weaves an inspirational and forward looking account of how we can begin to rethink our realities in a fast-moving modern world.

[ More on Matthieu Ricard ]

Mindfulness, categories, and the 14 kinds of animals

List of animals (Borges) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I've been enjoying a wonderful book that a reader thoughtfully sent to me a couple weeks ago. It's called Mindfulness, and it presents some fascinating evidence on the ways that we process and parse our world, as well as the peculiarly human things that can happen when we unintentionally (natch) embrace mindlessness.

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ADT & the catch-and-release distraction program

Why can't you pay attention anymore? | CNET News.com

Ever wonder what all those electronic poking sticks might be doing to your attention span?

Psychiatrist Edward Hallowell has identified a late-onset cousin of ADD that he calls "Attention Deficit Trait," a "condition induced by modern life" and the endless "chatter" generated by our beepy devices and interrupt-driven lifestyles.

I don't know enough to evaluate the rigor of this theory in the eyes of a researcher or physician, but this CNET interview with Hallowell is filled with enough right-on quotes to have me nodding along all day.

(read through, after the cut, for our first Mindfulness Exercise)

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Mindfulness: The practice of being "here"

As I mentioned in a recent Lifehacker interview with Matt, I've been casting about for a good way to work in my newfound interest in mindfulness, or the ostensibly Buddhist practice of bringing your attention and focus back to the present moment, primarily through breathing and awareness.

Well, here you go: one rank Western novice's collection of blurbs and excerpts on an ancient (yet oddly timely) method for easing yourself back into this moment -- any day, at any time, and in anything you choose to do.

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Lifehacked by Matt Haughey; mindfulness, ho

Interview with a Lifehacker: Merlin Mann - Lifehacker

Last Friday, Lifehacker guest editor, Matt Haughey was kind enough to do an email interview with me. It's mostly about Getting Things Done, but I was pleased to be able to sneak in something I've been meant to call out more formally here on the site.

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Jack Kornfield on mindfulness

FINDING MY RELIGION / Buddhist teacher and author Jack Kornfield on mindfulness, happiness and his own spiritual journey

SF Gate interviews Bay Area meditation teacher Jack Kornfield:

What is mindfulness and why is it important?

Mindfulness is an innate human capacity to deliberately pay full attention to where we are, to our actual experience, and to learn from it.

Much of our day we spend on automatic pilot. People know the experience of driving somewhere, pulling up to the curb and all of a sudden realizing, "Wow, I was hardly aware I was even driving. How did I get here?" When we pay attention, it is gracious, which means that there is space for our joys and sorrows, our pain and losses, all to be held in a peaceful way...

For many people, happiness is about chasing after something -- a new car, a promotion, a trip to Bermuda. But when they get it they aren't satisfied. They want more. Why do you think that happens?

I'll tell you a story. A reporter was asking the Dalai Lama on his recent visit to Washington, "You have written this book, 'The Art of Happiness,' which was on the best-seller list for two years -- could you please tell me and my readers about the happiest moment of your life?" And the Dalai Lama smiled and said, "I think now!"

Happiness isn't about getting something in the future. Happiness is the capacity to open the heart and eyes and spirit and be where we are and find happiness in the midst of it. Even in the place of difficulty, there is a kind of happiness that comes if we've been compassionate, that can help us through it. So it's different than pleasure, and it's different than chasing after something.

Kornfield co-founded Spirit Rock and is the author of many books, including A Path with Heart -- I haven't read it yet, but it's been recommended to me by several people as a sensible introduction to meditation and a spiritual path.

[ via Ms. Stiness ]




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. »