The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins (2015)

“The genuinely innovative are led by their passion and not by rational ambitions. New ideas spring from personal interests, even if they seem irrelevant to the task at hand. Innovative people have to put practical considerations to one side because thinking about logistics leads to thinking logically, which ties down the leaps of the mind required to create something unique.”
(excerpt from be practically useless)

“Accidents reflect reality more accurately than does perfection. Perfection is the aberration. Think of accident as an answer in search of a different question. Work out what that different question is. It is probably more interesting than the one you were asking.”
(excerpt from plan to have more accidents)

(the notables from this book)
Georgia O’Keeffe (grow old without growing up)
Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao by Frank Gehry (bring chaos to order)
Henry Moore (feel inadequate)
Mark Rothko (be conservative revolutionary)
Jeff Koons (search high and low)
Chuck Close (take advantage of a disadvantage)

“Something badly done can be refreshing. Being prepared to be uncool or nerdy can be charming, It’s a way of showing that you don’t care what anyone else thinks. The world is full of people who dedicate their lives to seeking approval.”
(excerpt from if you can’t be really good, be really bad)

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami (2012)

“I feel pity for these batteries that worked so hard for my benefit, and I can’t throw them away. It seems a shame to get rid of them the moment they die, after these batteries have given me light and sound, and run my gadgets.”

“Indeed, it’s a shame that young people have such limited vocabularies nowadays.”

“Tsukiko, when you see a handsome man, even if you cannot understand what he says, you still think, Oh, that guy’s good-looking, don’t you? Handwriting is the same.”


Gohan no Kotobakari 100 wa to Chotto by Banana Yoshimoto (2011)




Nara Note by Yoshimoto Nara (2013)



–奈良美智 (2006/09/05)

Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia by Peter Pomerantsev (2014)

“London seemed so measured, so predictable; the America the rest of my émigré family lived in seemed so content; while the real Russians seemed truly alive, had the sense that anything was possible.”

The remarkables
Yana Yakovleva vs FDCS (Drug Enforcement Agency)
Gold Digger Academy
Vitaly Djomochka
Black Widows
Jambik Hatohov
Ruslana Korshunova vs Rose of the World
Anastasia Drozdova
Post-Soviet Sects
Ostankino Tower

“The English stack their sentimental junks and dirty secrets far away in the garden shed; the Germans have “Keller”, basements, deep underground to hide all their dark memories. But in Russia you just throw it on the balcony; just as long as it isn’t in the flat itself, who cares if the neighbours see? We’ll deal with all that rubbish some other time. It’s not even part of us.”

Book reviews
The Wall Street Journal
The Guardian
The New York Times

By The Book by Pamela Paul (2014)

David Sedaris suggested Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea / Harry Potter audiobooks read by Stephen Fry / Is There No Place on Earth for Me?

Dave Eggers mentioned Stories Not for the Nervous (a Hitchcock collection).

Scott Turow loved Adam Johnson’s The Orphan Master’s Son.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was reading Incognito by David Eagleman.

“I’m always close to tears reading Judith Kerr‘s delightful children’s story The Tiger Who Came to Tea. It tells of a tiger who turns up, quite unexpectedly, at teatime at the house of a girl called Sophie and her mother. You’d expect them to panic, but they take the appearance of this visitor entirely in their stride– and their reaction is a subtle invitation for us to approach life’s unexpected challenges with resilience and good humour.” –Alain de Botton

“The most pleasurable reading experience I’ve had recently was just last week– jogging on the beach with an audiobook of Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw. I was so engrossed in his essay “The Ketchup Conundrum” that I ran an extra mile just to find out how it ended.” –Dan Brown

Christopher Buckley is the author of Thank You for Smoking, Losing Mum and Pup, and But Enough About You, among other books.

(Interview with Sting)
If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?
Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius––Stoicism and the limitations of power.
“When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own– not of the same blood of birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.”

(Interview with Amy Tan)
What book has had the greatest impact on you?
Probably the Bible… …Many of my stories also relate to undoing handed-down beliefs, whether they come from religion, society, or mothers. And my writing sensibility was also warped by a steady dose of gothic imagery, often related to religious sins or virtue: David braining Goliath, Samson’s bloody head missing a lock of hair, a stinking corpse arising to be kissed by relatives.


jacket illustration by Jillian Tamaki

The Embassy of Cambodia by Zadie Smith (2013)

“There’s always somebody who wants to be the Big Man, and take everything for themselves, and tell everybody how to think and what to do. When, actually, it’s he who is weak. But if the Big Men see that you see that they are weak they have no choice but to destroy you. That is the real tragedy.”

“Next time, we should go to Paris. Next time, we should go to the moon. He was a dreamer. But there are worst things, than being a dreamer.”

About  Zadie Smith

Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik (2013)

“We may like to think ourselves as civilized, but that civilization is in a large part bestowed by material wealth. Without this stuff, we would quickly be confronted by the same basic struggle that animals are faced with.”

“Wrapping a present with paper gives it a crispness and pristineness that emphasize the newness and value of the present inside. …The unwrapping of a present is akin to the act of birth; a new life for the object begins.”

“People love books, more perhaps than they love the written word. They use them as a way to define who they are and to provide physical evidence of their values.”

“Silica aerogel, the lightest solid in the world, which is 99.8 percent air.”

“Aerogel were created out of pure curiosity, ingenuity and wonder.”

“…materials are a reflection of who we are, a multi-scale expression of our human needs and desires.”

Wind/Pinball (1979/1973) by Haruki Murakami

Hear The Wind Sing 風の歌を聴け (1979)

“Expression and communication are essential; without these, civilization ends.”

“Everyone who has something is afraid of losing it, and people with nothing are worried they’ll forever have nothing. Everyone is the same.”

Pinball 1973年のピンボール (1973)

“So many dreams, so many disappointments, so many promises. And in the end, they all just vanish.”

“Each of us had, to a greater or lesser degree, resolved to live according to his or her own system. If another person’s way of thinking was too different from mine, it made me mad; too close, and I got sad.”
The 10 Best Murakami Books – Publishers Weekly, Aug 8, 2014

Underground アンダーグラウンド (2000) by Haruki Murakami

“…I believe that what’s most important is what cannot be measured. I’m not denying your way of thinking, but the greater part of people’s lives consist of things that are unmeasurable, and trying to change all these to something measurable is realistically impossible.”

“Maybe they think about things a little too seriously. Perhaps there’s some pain they’re carrying around inside. They’re not good at making their feelings known to others and are somewhat troubled. They can’t find a suitable means to express themselves, and bounce back and forth between feelings of pride and inadequacy. That might very well be me. It might be you.”

Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts

(taken from

  1. Rejection – The emotional cuts and scrapes of daily life
    Rejections can inflict four distinct emotional wounds, each of which might require some from of emotional first aid: lingering visceral pain, anger and aggressive urges, harm to self-esteem, and damage to feeling that we belong. (p. 17)
    • Argue with self-criticism
    • Revive your self-worth
    • Replenish feelings of social connection
    • Desensitize yourself
  2. Loneliness – Relationship muscle weakens
    Loneliness makes us constantly on guard, prepared for the disappointment and rejection we are sure will come. As a result, we miss opportunities to make social connections and behave in ways that push others away. (p. 53)
    • Remove your negatively tinted glasses
    • Identify your self-defeating behaviors
    • Take on the other person’s perspective
    • Deepen your emotional bonds
    • Create opportunities for social connection
    • Adopt a best friend
  3. Loss and Trauma – Walking on broken bones
    Loss and trauma create four psychological wounds. They cause overwhelming emotional pain, they undermine our basic sense of identity and the roles we play in life, they destabilize our belief systems and our understanding of the world, and they challenge our ability to remain present and engaged in our most important relationships. (p. 85)
    • Soothe your emotional pain your way
    • Recover lost aspects of your self
    • Find meaning in tragedy
  4. Guilt – The poison in our system
    Guilt usually serves an important function by alerting us to when we might have harmed another person or when any actions we’re considering might do so. However, if our offense is serious or if we’ve already made significant efforts to apologize to a person we harmed or atone for our actions in other ways and our guilt remains excessive, or if we suffer from substantial survivor guilt, or separation and disloyalty guilt, emotional first aid is indeed necessary. (p. 119)
    • Learn the recipe for an effective apology
    • Forgive yourself
    • Reengage in life
  5. Rumination – Picking at emotional scabs
    In order to break the self-reinforcing nature of ruminative thoughts and allow our wounds to heal, we must interrupt the cycle of rumination once it gets triggered, and we should weaken the urge to ruminate at the source by diminishing the intensity of the feelings that fuel it. We must also make efforts to monitor our relationships and to ease the emotional burden we might be placing on loved ones. (p. 154)
    • Change your perspective
    • Reframe the anger
    • Go easy on your friends
  6. Failure – Emotional chest colds become psychological pneumonias
    When we fail repeatedly or when we respond to failures in ways that set back our confidence, our self-esteem, and our chances of future success, we run the risk of allowing our emotional chest cold to turn into psychological pneumonia. Because much of the anxiety associated with failures can build upon itself, it is best to be prudent and apply psychological first aid treatment as soon as possible after meaningful or bothersome failures occur. (p. 189)
    • Get support and get real
    • Focus on factors in your control
    • Take responsibility and own the fear
    • Distract yourself from performance pressure distractions
  7. Low Self-Esteem – Weak emotional immune systems
    Having low self-esteem weakens our emotional immune systems and inflicts three kinds of psychological wounds: it makes us more vulnerable to psychological injuries, it makes us dismissive of positive feedback and resistant to emotional nutrients, and it makes us feel unassertive and disempowered. (p. 232)
    • Adopt self-compassion and silence the critical voices in your head
    • Identify your strengths and affirm them
    • Increase your tolerance for compliments
    • Increase your personal empowerment
    • Improve your self-control

“The most frequent reasons we get turned down as romantic prospects (or as job applicants) are because of a lack of general chemistry, because we don’t match the person’s or company’s specific needs at that time, or because we don’t fit the narrow definition of who they’re looking for—not because of any critical missteps we might have made nor because we have any fatal character flaws.”

― Guy Winch, Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries