Inspiring things my friends wrote on the internet in 2013

If there was ever a year when my usually placid internal seismograph needle went through an ill-advised thrash metal phase, 2013 was it. Indeed, if it were at all possible to extract the graph paper (flimsy) from my person, the series of recorded megathrusts might be mistaken for a Rorschach test inkblot.
Still, it would be a shame to let an annus nowyourejusttakingthepiss get in the way of a seasonal tradition around these parts. So with more than a nod to the previous four annual recaps, I’ve rounded up a few inspiring things my friends wrote on the internet in 2013. Thank you one and all.

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2012 in articles and blog entries

Apologies if you’ve only joined me under this canopy to shelter from the deluge of year/end of year rundowns, reviews, and lists, but I have something of a tradition to maintain. For the fourth year running I’ve chosen a selection of articles and blog entries penned over the last twelve months which have had the most impact on me personally and professionally.

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52 weeks 52 eBooks: the halfway mark

Speaking as someone who includes among the many joys of reading the opportunity to give the proverbial two fingers to the ticking clock, the prospect of surrendering myself to its wily charms, as I prepared to read 52 in as many weeks, was always likely to cause recurring bouts of unease.

Fast forward a full six months and I needn’t have worried myself so much. While I have had to adopt a more strict, regimented approach to my reading, I can say with much relief that it’s never once impeded on my enjoyment of the 26 books I’ve read up until now. I’ll go as far as to add that getting into a regular pattern has been good for me, and that, without it, I simply wouldn’t have been able to sustain the rate of books I’m reading right now without feeling thoroughly burnt-out.

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Tools for a Revolution

I’d like to bring to your attention an article I’ve written for Issue #3 of Contents Magazine, which tells part of an ongoing story of how millions of people across the world whose multiple grievances are not being heard by their respective leaders are using the tools they’ve grown up with to organise mass peaceful protests and to capture events–no matter how appalling–in real-time.

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The evolving system

While I’d consider myself a keen and committed dismantler and occasional repairer, I’m no natural builder of things. What I mean is that I often lack the skills and knowledge to build something beyond prefabrication. But I believe the assembly of a prefabricated system that works as intended is a more creative operation than pulling something to pieces. While the latter schooled me in the art of classification and labelling the former taught me an even greater lesson: that it’s not the separate component parts that matter, but the evolving system as a whole.

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Long live the online book club

When you’re engrossed in a good book nothing else matters. You could be chilled to the bone, within earshot of a cacophony of noise, or being tossed around like a rag doll in a train carriage, but it’s still not enough to disturb that bubble. That’s one of reading’s many beauties: the opportunity for escapism.

But what’s it going to take for you to pick up that book? You know, the one that might help you finish that essay, broaden your horizons, or increase your earning potential? The one we make elaborate excuses for not reading?

I believe this where an online book reading platform like Readmill has huge potential.

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52 weeks 52 eBooks

For about six months now, I’ve slowly made the transition to eBooks. I’d now go as far as to say that, faced with a straight choice, I would gladly hand over my money for an eBook over its undeniably more handsome and impressive physical counterpart. And so it was during this period of discovery when the death of Project Gutenberg’s founder Michael Hart was announced. The availability of thousands of out of copyright books in digital form from many of the world’s greatest authors still amazes me as much as when I first learned about the project’s existence about 10 years ago. It’s an incredible legacy to leave behind, and one I couldn’t help but feel should be celebrated in some way.

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