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Curiosity Cola #1
an inaugural roundup of what's interesting
Welcome to the first edition of Curiosity Cola. Alongside the more polished writings at, I will be sharing brief roundups of what’s been on my radar: books, essays, tools, music & people. In short, things that I wish more people knew about.
Two books I'm reading
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
An exploration of time management that ends up asking the deepest questions about what it means to "have time" and how we often buy into illusory ways of controlling our time to stay "on top of it all." Despite its routine topic, it ends up being very profound, as our time and our very being are, in the final analysis, inseparable. Burkeman is accessible but also capable of discussing the philosophy of Heidegger and the contemplative wisdom of Shinzen Young without losing the trail. Perhaps my favourite "productivity" book.
The End of Burnout by
A much-needed deep dive into the social and cultural aspects of burnout. I think Jonathan does an excellent job of traversing the changes in working conditions and the economic and cultural forces that have somehow led us to identify more as “workers” than human beings. Just what you need after reading 20 burnout advice pieces telling you to “practice gratitude” or “take a nap”. This book is part of my research on the upcoming burnout arc, so I will soon be talking a lot more about it.
Three Substack neighbours
Last week, I had a conversation withwho writes . We talked about the restorative potential of reading and off the back of that, Claire wrote about some of her burnout recovery milestones.
I discovered The Convivial Society, probably via. As author describes it: “no hot takes, only shamelessly deliberate considerations of the meaning of technology for human experience.” Each post comes with generous servings of quotes from our sharpest minds. The first post I read was Embrace Your Crookedness. I’m excited to return to thinkers like Ivan Illich and Jacques Ellul.
- shared his Give Up approach to meditation. Most wisdom traditions have some way of covertly shifting people into doing not-doing, and I thought this particular approach was succinct.
In case you missed it
Over the last couple of months, I've been writing about:
The life-changing magic of other people’s interruptions, which doubles as a 60-second introduction to the interests that have animated my life. (link)
The weird and wonderful activities that have helped me in burnout recovery. (link)
Discussing private matters with strangers for empathy and fulfilment. (link)
Some advice for sharing your own story. (link)
Some neat apps to help improve digital focus. (link)
If you're new here and curious, I also updated my About page on my personal website.
One song I have on repeat
Together, by Nine Inch Nails. An achingly beautiful ambient piece by an otherwise shouty band. Thanks, Ben!
Why Curiosity Cola?
Curiosity Cola is a real-life, delicious, botanical drink made by Fentimans. It’s similar to your standard Coke, but more rewarding in flavour and aesthetics.
Stretching the metaphor to breaking point, this newsletter is an alternative to the mindless red can: a roundup designed for the curious, those wanting some extra depth in their intellectual refreshment.
What’s been your best find of the month?