Sep 23, 2016

What's Good for September 2016: What We're Reading, Wearing, and Thinking About This Month

created at: 09/23/2016

Hey ... welcome back to What's Good. We're switching things up a little bit this month. I think you're going to like it (I know I did). In case you're new here, What's Good is our monthly series where we (the ManMade guys) get to talk about what we're currently into. This month, it's media, clothing, and wonderment. Yeah, you read that right. Wonderment is a thing too. Read on to get your monthly dose...

What I’m Reading/Listening/Watching


This week, I'm fascinated with the whole JT Leroy phenomenon, the world famous author who "didn't exist." There's a recent documentary that's starting to roll out, and so there's lots of discussion, now that we have more information. I remember when the novels came out, but I somehow missed all the revelations and discoveries of the mid 00s (I was in college).

I got fascinated after listening to the Laura Albert and Jeff Feuerzeig episode of the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, and I went back and read some of the New York Times articles, and just started reading the original novel, Sarah. Really interesting stuff. If you don't listen to WTF regularly, that's a good place to start. 



I've been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. I was about 28 before I got my first "paycheck". So I love the process, the hustle, and  the way that it all fits together. For some reason I'm on a business/hustle kick right now so I picked up two incredible books at once to dive into.

First, The Speed of Trust by Steven Covey. It was recommended by a friend and entrepreneur of mine, and so far I'm pretty hooked. It's all about how trust is the foundation of a relationship, and the faster you get to that the better it is for everything.

Next, is an inspirational book called Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. This bold and brash author talks about developing a culture of generosity, and how success comes from giving (jabs) much more than you sell (right hook). I'm seeing some amazing things already happening while I take the concepts and make them happen.

Last, I picked up the energy bus, a book dedicated to making the positive in life come to you through thinking and visualizing the positive side of things. My favorite part so far? "You are the driver of your own bus, you get to decide where it goes." If you don't like the way your life is heading, then take the time and make a turn.



I’m reading The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. And I know there must be something wrong with me, because everyone in the universe loves this book and, so far, I’m not that engrossed. Also, an update on last month’s book, A Brief History of Seven Killings (if you recall, Chris and I were both reading it last month): I finished it, but never came around to really loving it. Seriously; I’m concerned I’ve somehow lost the ability to enjoy novels. 

Watching: The Americans. I know I’m late this party, but wow … so great! The production values are a little weird, but the acting is really solid (Felicity!) and the story (a suburban mom-and-dad are really KGB spies) is just so intriguing. Or maybe it’s just that way to me because I literally remember wondering, when I was a kid, if my parents were secretly spies. Is that weird?

 created at: 09/23/2016

What I’m Wearing:


Fits socks! They're basically my favorite thing about fall. Sandal and boat shoe season is over, and I'm a-okay with that. My favorite are the medium hiker crews, but I have seven different styles and I love them all. Cost about $20 a pair, and completely worth it. They stand up to serious beatings, and last the test of time. Plus, they're wool, so they don't absorb odors. Excellent.  



Ahh, I'm such a huge fan of fall! I've been pulling out my thin windbreakers right now, and pretty soon I'll be grabbing my waterproof jackets. My favorite one is a Patagonia shell, and a softshell from Arc'Teryx. Both jackets have been in my collection for years and they still fend off the weather 100%. If you don't own a decent waterproof jacket, you need to fix that right away, because winter is coming!



I keep finding excuses to put on my brand-new Patagonia Torrentshell rain jacket, which I bought for a Boundary Waters trip in August. I don’t know why, but I’ve never really owned a solid, reliable, comfortable rain jacket before. And I love it. I can go outside, even if it’s pouring, and just walk around like a normal person! Because my jacket.

created at: 09/23/2016

What I’m Wondering About


I just got back from vacation, and when I was wandering up and down the sides of mountains, I found myself thinking about early human communities, and the first time people experienced different things ... like ever. Like, who was the first scout that discovered this amazing glacial lake in the middle of the mountain range, or who was first to sit in this hot springs and realize the temperature was perfect? 

And then that leads to, who was the first person to taste a wild blueberry and realize they weren't poisonous? Who was the first human who decided to open an oyster, and figured out how to get inside of it? Who realized lobsters look crazy and taste amazing? Who thought of eating perfectly spoiled and fermented and rotten foods, like cheese and fish and beer and wine, and discovered they were awesome?

I bet their minds were seriously blown.



I'm directly in the middle of raising some incredible kids. This has raised some interesting conversations and really had me re-evaluate my thoughts on who I am, and who I want my kids to be. Even that statement, what I want them to be, is strange. These three small people are already their own versions of me in such very different ways. I honestly feel so far out of my depth as I try to keep some whisper of order in my house but still encourage them to express themselves, discover things, and challenge the things that seem to limit them.

I also have realized that the comments I make and the ideas I have are shaping their lives in ways that will echo throughout their heads forever. That kind of opportunity is humbling, challenging, and downright terrifying. Do I love being a dad? Every moment, well almost every moment. They're still capable of some amazing destruction. 



I was wondering about suicide … no, no, I’m fine, don’t worry … but just, what are the origins of the social/cultural proscriptions against it? Do other animals commit suicide? What are the large scale cultural side-effects of elevated levels of suicide? 

Another thing I was wondering about: is texting and driving really a bad thing? Maybe it just seems that way right now, but actually we’re just at the beginning of a big species-wide period of adaptation where our brains learn to be even better at doing multiple things at once, while not getting ourselves killed.

I had a friend in high school whose parents wouldn’t let him drive with the radio on, because they worried the multi-tasking of changing stations would endanger him (endanger us all!). So … that’s obviously crazy, right? Either way, every time I drive on the highway during rush hour I become more and more firmly convinced of one thing: whether or not texting and drive is bad, everybody is doing it, and I don’t think it’s going to stop.


So, ManMade reader ... What's Good for you this month? What media (words/music/movies/tv) are you loving? What item of clothing makes you smile every time you put it on? What are you wondering about? Let us know in the comments.


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Andrew Taylor on Dec 13, 2017:

I have no way to certify it as accurate but it would seem to me that, because suicide is the ultimate way of taking control of our lives away from our Creator, that we're irrevocably calling the shots, maybe that's why it's always been poo-pooed.

bruno on Sep 26, 2016:

@alex - thanks! Actually I just got to the part where he leaves Las Vegas, and I can sense it starting to get more ... interesting (for lack of the right word). I just didn't feel a great affinity for his character int he first 200 or so pages. But I'm going to keep going!

Alex on Sep 26, 2016:

Bruno: Ever since high school my favorite novel was always Babbit. And after reading some 300 books, it remained number 1, a classic... that is until Goldfinch... best book ever. I will say though, if you aren't completely invested in Theo as a child, there is a good chance you will enjoy the second half, because it is practically a whole other book that reads like an action thriller. I couldn't breathe the last 100 pages.