Sophisticated and Elegant Office in Vilnius, Capital of Lithuania Designed by Karchman Architech

Oleksii Karman, of the architectural firm Karchman Architech, designed this office, located in the historical area of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, close to the hustle and bustle of the city center. The sophisticated office covers a total ground area of 100 square feet, and was completed in 2017. The client wished to create spaces that felt upscale and modern, and so all the materials used in its construction needed to..

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How To Handle Rejection As A Business

Rejection is normal. Whether you’re an ordinary man, a student, a small business owner or a big-time CEO, you’ve surely experienced some sort of rejection in the past.

Did a girl reject your confession? Did your teacher reject your presentation? Or did a client reject your proposal? All of these scenarios spell one thing.

A big fat NO.

And it hurts.

For some people, learning to deal with rejection is very difficult. They wallow in the pit of misery and these failures cause them to fail all the way through life. Some people bounce back over a period of time while others don’t recover at all.

That’s how destructive rejection is. If not properly handled, it could lead to more failures.

But, as business owners, there’s no other way for us but to suck it all in and move on. There’s no room for wallowing in self-pity because a lot of people depend on your business. Strong minded individuals don’t get discouraged by rejection; they use it to their advantage instead.

Here are some tips on how to handle rejection in business.

Give yourself some time

how to deal with rejection

Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to mourn over your failure. Give yourself enough time to process your rejection, but don’t take too long. Pick yourself up after, gather your thoughts and plan your next step of action.

One step closer

Instead of treating rejections as failures, think of them as being one step closer to your goals. For example, if it takes 10 rejections before you get a positive answer for your proposition, then every No would serve as a step towards your much-desired Yes.

This way, you don’t get defeated by rejection. Instead, you use each rejection to your advantage and as a way to determine how near you are to your goals.

Rejection is inevitable, so get over it

There will always be people who will say Yes and there will be people who will say No. Rejection is a common thing in business. Don’t let a single “No” put you down and hinder your plans.

Although rejection may cause a temporary setback, remember that all these challenges will come to pass and you have so much future ahead of you.

See Also: How Not To Give Up When Your Head Tells You to Quit

Know why

dealing with rejection

When your boss rejects your draft, ask why. When your business partner rejects your business plan, ask why. When the university rejects your application, ask why.

Only by asking and listening to the answers would you be able to know what you’re doing wrong. If you know where you went wrong, then you can have an idea on how to fix it. And don’t forget to thank them for the insights.

Analyze the problem

Why do you keep being rejected? Which part are you doing wrong? Did you listen to other’s opinion? Does the problem lie with your business, with your people or with you?

If you analyze your mistakes, you’ll be able to have a deeper understanding of how things work. You’ll know where the error lies and you’ll have the opportunity to correct them.

Learn from it

They say that smart people learn from their mistakes while geniuses learn from others. I believe that it doesn’t matter who made the mistake, as long as you learn something from it. Know where you went wrong or what you did wrong, why it is wrong and what you can do when you’re faced with a similar dilemma in the future.

Be open to making changes

The most important thing to remember is to be flexible. Sometimes, a rejection is a blessing in disguise because it allows you to improve an idea or fine-tune your business pitch. Don’t attach yourself to the answer because it will only invite negative feelings. Focus your attention instead on how to get a positive answer.

See Also: 5 Women Entrepreneurs Who Failed Before Becoming Millionaires

Rejection hurts and it affects not only our emotional status but also our overall business atmosphere. Allow yourself (and your business) some time to let go. Process the pain but don’t wallow in it for too long. Dust yourself off, figure out what to do next and move on. This highlights one of the best ways on how to handle rejection in business.

 

The post How To Handle Rejection As A Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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6 Simple Tweaks To Live A Happy Life

You’re reading 6 Simple Tweaks To Live A Happy Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

What makes you happy? Have you ever thought of why some people are living a happy life, and why some are not? It really seems like a simple question, yet many people wake and sleep without feeling any sense of happiness in their life. According to a recent research by Harris Poll, only one out of three Americans says they are very happy.

While there are many factors that could be responsible for non-happiness, such as our day-to-day activities, relationship, depression etc.

Below therefore, are 6 simple tweaks to live a happy life:

1. Finish whatever you start

A write-up by Seth Borenstein on a study about  procrastination, he said after 10 years of research on a project that was supposed to take only 5 years, a Canadian industrial psychologist found in a giant study that not only is procrastination on the rise, it makes people poorer, fatter and unhappier.

In the same study Still also said, “People who procrastinate tend to be less healthy, less wealthy and less happy.” Achieving a task is a great way to self happiness. Do you have the habit of starting projects and not  finishing them? If so, it’ll  be very difficult to feel the vibes of achievement.

You know how it feels after completing a task or archiving a goal, you feel great and happy. A simple way to live a happy life is to finish whatever you start.

2. Exercise

Another simple but effective way to stay happy is by regular exercise.  Research  shows that, physical activities can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy; as well as reduce depression and stress.

The impact of exercise cannot be underrated and many successful individuals like J.K Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Nicholas Dutko; of Auto Transport Quote Services,  Benjamin Franklin, Bill Gates, amongst others, often cite regular exercise as one of the top secrets to their happy living.

Although daily exercise might seem stressful but if you can put it into regular practice, it’s one of the effective way to stay happy. It helps shapen the mind, body and soul — while we remain strong to carry out our daily activities.

3. Stay in good health

One of the effective ways to live a happy life is to be in good health, it is often said, “healthy people are happy people.” I tend to agree to this fact because happiness is one of the rules guiding good health, happy people live long while unhappy people have short life to live.

Depression and sadness affect the body system from performing at its best, which often lead to health issues. However, it is advisable to stay in good health to enjoy a happy life.  

4. Spend time with your family

Spending quality time with our loved ones; especially family, brings another feel of happiness.  We tend to feel loved and pleasant while with the kids, wife or relatives.

For example, work has deprived many of spending time with family. They go out very early in the morning and come back late at night. No time to gist and have fun with wife and children, always busy with work and appointments. This can seriously lead to an unhappy lifestyle. Schedule a time to stay with your family, it’s one of the ways to live a happy life.

5. Positive thinking

Feeding yourself with negative thought is a simple way to sad living. Negative thinking brings fear and doubt, while fear brings sadness. We are a product of our thoughts, so think positive. Positive thinkers are happy people.

6. Forgiveness

Forgiveness is yet another way to derive everlasting happiness.  Anytime you forgive someone, your mind is clear, you put on  smiling face and you’re happy around every body. Happy people never keeps grudges because they know it will keep on hurting them than expected. They find it easy to forgive and forget about wrong things people do towards them — which gives them the vibes to focus on something new.  

You’ve read 6 Simple Tweaks To Live A Happy Life, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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The Art of Wrath

The very first line of the Iliad forces any English-language translator to decide immediately and to declare conspicuously whether he would rather be caught betraying his poet or his own language. The opening word, mēnin, wrath, is the subject of the long poem that follows, but not of the long sentence it begins. This word order in the original creates a markedly stylized but not a strained effect. Poetic Greek can bring off putting the potent single thematic word first and then proceeding to other parts of the sentence, placed in an order that satisfies the demands of rhetoric and versification. Not English, where “man bites dog” means that man bites dog and not the other way around.

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Fall colors in Alaska are brilliant, but short lived. At Denali…

Fall colors in Alaska are brilliant, but short lived. At Denali National Park and Preserve, the tundra and forests shine in deep reds and vibrant yellows. Already, winter’s blanket of white snow is beginning to cover the landscape and only the most resilient wildlife will remain active. Photo by Michel Hersen (http://ift.tt/18oFfjl).

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and there’s no better…

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day, and there’s no better place to celebrate than on America’s public lands like the Molalla River Recreation Area pictured here. Located in Oregon, the Molalla River is a great place for fishing, picnicking, swimming, camping and whitewater boating. Photo by Bob Wick, Bureau of Land Management, @mypubliclands

How To Make A Great First Impression

You’re reading How To Make A Great First Impression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

First impressions are very important in forming a strong relationship with the different people we meet and interact with in our lives. Though it happens for a very short time, the first impression can last for a very long time, for better or worse. People make judgments about the people they meet based on their appearance and presentation and once the impression is created, it hardly changes. Simply put, a great or good impression will give you a strong kick off in any situation in life; from interviews to the workplace.  It is never a bad think to stand out from the crowd!

Tips on How To Make A Great First Impression

Prepare talking points

Before you go for a meeting with a new person or company, it is advisable to do some background research. Brace yourself with particulars about that individual, the things he loves and what he might be expecting from you. These preparations will help you to convince the other person that are informed about the problem he is trying to solve and that your skills come in handy. Come up with a number of issues that you feel raising them up during your discussion will exhibit your expertise, strategic planning skills, and a deep understanding of the subject.

Dress for the occasion

To create the right first impression, you should appear for the meeting or interview in the right attire and properly groomed. For a lasting good impression, your appearance should be based on an analysis of expectations. Research the company, its culture and the attire worn by its employees. This will guide you unto choosing the most appropriate dress for the meeting. Dressing to match a corporate culture will establish a common ground for the rest of the meeting. Also, the attire you choose will define the level of professionalism, seriousness and potential impact you will have on the company. Ensure that your grooming, your hair style, and general personal appearance depicts a powerful, influential and a productive person. Above all, dress to show your respect of those you are meeting.

Be aware of your body language

Creating a positive impression during the first meeting entails demonstrating confidence through your body language. Though many people might be nervous when meeting a new person such as an employer, you should not show any signs of anxiety. Express comfort and confidence in your body language by walking with the chest held high, taking long strides and sitting up straight during the meeting. If you find assuming these poses challenging, you can adopt simple postures that will boost your confidence. When attending high-stakes meetings, you should prepare by videotaping yourself in advance to have an idea of how you will appear to the other party. Observing yourself ahead of time is the best way of knowing your shortcomings and finding better ways to present yourself.

Engage and be engaging

To make a good first impression, it is advisable to engage the other party in the conversation. Try to draw the other person into the conversation and listen attentively to his views. Given that people love to speak about themselves, you should ask thoughtful and open-ended questions that will make them feel at ease to share their reasoning with you. Engaging the other party in the conversation makes them feel good about themselves and their ideas appreciated. This environment helps them to develop a positive impression of you.

Maintain a direct and warm eye contact

A key point to creating a great first impression is making the other party see you as a trustworthy person. This will come firstly from your eye contact. Eye contact is probably the most valuable component of a good communication. Eyes tell a lot about one’s feelings, attitude and thoughts. Eye contact can easily reveal your interests, level of self-confidence, and involvement in a conversation. From one’s eye contact, you can gauge the likelihood of the information being true or false, how likable or not likable the other person is and a lot more. Maintain a direct and warm eye contact that appears natural but not too intense to make the other person uncomfortable.

Follow-up

After the first meeting, you should follow-up with the other person to ensure that the good impression you created is cemented. Send him a note highlighting what you learned and how it is of great help to you. Also, try to connect with the person on social media platforms and show interest in his work or blogs. It creates an impression of helpfulness that helps to create a positive second impression.

You’ve read How To Make A Great First Impression, originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.

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The B&N Podcast: Frank Miller

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

If you’ve read a comic book in the last 30 years—or even if you’ve only been to the movies—you’ve felt the impact of Frank Miller’s work. One of the most influential comics creators of his era, Miller’s work for DC and Marvel comics in the 1980s helped redefine superheroes, bringing a dark, often dystopian sensibility to beloved characters.  Nowhere was that more earthshaking than in 1986’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Miller’s story of an aging Batman battling not just the Joker  but his failing body, a corrupt government and a collapsing social order.  In this episode of the podcast, Miller talks with Joel Cunningham about his astonishing career —  and his return to that grimly exciting Gotham with Batman: The Dark Night: Master Race.

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It’s been three years since the Batman defeated Lex Luthor and saved the world from tyranny. Three years since anyone has seen Gotham City’s guardian alive. Wonder Woman, Queen of the Amazons…Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern…Superman, the Man of Steel…all of the Dark Knight’s allies have retreated from the front lines of the war against injustice.

But now a new war is beginning. An army of unimaginable power led by Superman’s own daughter is preparing to claim Earth as their new world.

The only force that can stop this master race—Batman—is dead.

Long live the new Batman…

Click here to see all books by Frank Miller.

Like this podcast? Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher to discover intriguing new conversations every week.

The post The B&N Podcast: Frank Miller appeared first on The Barnes & Noble Review.

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A Novel on the Rise: Robin Sloan and Kevin Nguyen Talk “Sourdough”

Robin Sloan’s acclaimed debut novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, boasted a glow-in-the-dark cover, giving readers even more incentive to purchase his compelling adventure story about an unemployed digital designer turned bookstore employee, his Google programmer love interest, their mutual encounter with a secret society, and their mutual quest to unlock a code and solve a puzzle. Himself a onetime Current TV strategist, Twitter media manager, app developer, and self-described “media inventor,” Sloan, thirty-seven, draws on his experiences on the cutting edge of digital culture in Sourdough, his equally inventive follow-up exploration of modern Bay Area lifeways, this time via the startup culture. It’s a love letter to food in the same way Penumbra is a love letter to books, but with even more heart and charm, as well as a larger sense of and focus on community. The protagonist, Lois Clary, a just-transplanted Michigan-born software engineer at a company that manufactures robotic arms, inherits a magical sourdough starter from a pair of mysterious brothers and becomes so good at baking bread that she is invited to take part in a wild new farmers’ market on a decommissioned munitions base in the San Francisco Bay.

Joining Sloan in conversation at Barnes & Noble’s Upper West Side store on September 12, 2017 was Kevin Nguyen,  digital deputy editor of GQ magazine.  The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Kevin Nguyen: Even before you became a novelist, it seemed you were always exploring this intersection between technology and the humanities. We see that clearly in Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Do you feel that same extension is happening in Sourdough?

Robin Sloan: I do think it is. One thing I’ve realized, though, about that tension, or that lineup of the old and the new, or one world and the other, is that I’ve tended to focus on the new stuff and tried to convince people that it wasn’t so strange. Digital books are just part of a continuing story. Or maybe new ways of making food are part of this continuing story.

But particularly with this book, I think it got flipped around, and I found myself more interested in trying to convince people almost of the opposite, that the things we think of as old or familiar, traditional or boring, are in fact super weird — and of course, they are all forms of technology. So I’m trying to convince people to look at this traditional stuff with new eyes.

Kevin Nguyen: Why baking? It seems it wants to be a food book, and baking is very specific.

RS: The actual seed of the book came from the world of wine. I had heard some stories about wine grapes being snipped from their vines in old vineyards in France and smuggled to California, and that whole vibe seemed delicious to me, full of story and totally with potential for a novel. As I started learning more about that world and building these possibilities. I realized that, one, I wasn’t that into wine, or at least not enough to write a whole novel about it; and two, that the tempo, like the clock of wine and wine grapes, was too slow. Almost by definition, you’re going to learn more about the grapes and the wine and the secrets that they hold, presumably, year by year, vintage by vintage. It was like: OK, you could write that story, but it would have to be this, like, generational tale. It would happen very slowly, and characters would age, and the seasons would change, and all that. It wasn’t the kind of book that I wanted to write, and it wasn’t the kind of book that I thought I would be good at writing. So I set myself the challenge of finding something else that, one, had some of those same characteristics, some of the same qualities; two, that I knew about; and three, that worked on a faster clock. It came to me almost like a vision. It was, like, “Oh yeah. Sourdough starter.”

KN: Do you bake bread?

RS: I do bake bread. I have to confess that I am not a great baker. In fact, I have remained a pretty poor baker. But I had a sourdough starter, and I was baking sourdough bread before I ever thought that I would write this novel. The problem is, I never actually formed that accord with the starter that the great bakers have. It was and still remains mysterious and temperamental to me.

KN: I think actually not a lot of people know what a starter is. Or they don’t even realize the weird chemistry involved with baking bread specifically. Because I think a lot of our impression of baking is it’s like cookie mix — you just put it in. Bread is not like that.

RS: I didn’t know this before I got this well-known baking book called Tartine Bread. There’s a sequence where my protagonist is learning how to bake, and she buys my fictionalized, somewhat satirized version of that book, and as she is sort of pecking in the name of the scale in a search in a general e-commerce site, it says, “Customers who bought this also bought . . . ” — all these other things it recommended, and then finally, the bread book itself. She’s like, “Oh, OK. I see what’s happening here.”

So I did that. I bought all that stuff. And my bread never looked like the bread in the pictures. It was always a little flatter, a little denser . . .

KN: Though you’re obviously crossing a lot of genres, there are science fiction elements here. Now, I’ve read a decent amount of science fiction, and food rarely comes up. It’s such a base thing, the survival of humans. Why did you want to make something that was kind of sci-fi about it?

RS: Actually, I had a plan. I am hoping to collect evidence, one way or the other, about whether my plan came to fruition. The intention is to lure people into reading this book who think it’s one of those books about how wonderful and warm baking is. Oh, so nice, like South of France stories. Then, as you know, having read it, about halfway through, you’re like, “This is not what I thought it was going to be.”

KN: It gets kind of dark.

RS: It gets weird. I don’t want to give anything away, but it gets kind of blobby and alien. So my hope is that I basically tricked those people into reading this book, and at the end they’re not mad about it — they actually think it was pretty cool.

KN: I work at what is historically considered a men’s magazine, so we still have a little bit of that audience. So whenever we do something smart, we always call it “Hiding the vegetables.” This is kind of what you’re doing here.

RS: Yeah, I’m hiding the sci-fi.

KN: I want to talk to you about the tone of the book. Some people have asked me if it’s like Penumbra, and I tell them it’s like Penumbra but a lot darker.” It sounds like that was deliberate. What changed? Is it just a different story? Or is it a different time?

RS: All those things. To write about the San Francisco Bay Area today and not have it be a little darker — or at least more fraught — than Penumbra, would be naive, or you didn’t bother to pay attention to what was happening around you. The place has changed, and the way that people talk about it and the way that people live there has changed. The other thing that gave it that shade, particularly in the beginning, is an autobiographical experience. When Penumbra opens, you’re perched on the shoulder of a mind that stands toward the world as, like, “What’s next? All right, cool, let’s see what’s around this corner.” In this case, the protagonist is pretty stressed out in the beginning, and her stress has a lot to do with this basic question of feeding herself. Not that she doesn’t like food, but she has this job and she’s young and she’s from Michigan, and so she just doesn’t know what people eat. She doesn’t have that literacy. That was me for many years.

KN: What was your diet like?

RS: It was super beige. It was a struggle. It was never “Oh . . . what should I eat for lunch?” It was more like, “If I don’t put something in my body, then things will start to shut down, so I guess I have to figure this out.” The answer was usually humus or cheese pizza…

KN: That’s the entire pyramid.

RS: It was dark. That’s not unheard of, particularly for young Americans, I think, because we don’t have that backstop of some cuisine. Our cuisine is freezers and cars. You can really find yourself at sea when you’re becoming an adult and suddenly have to feed yourself for the first time.

KN: In subtle ways, the book is thematically a lot about work and labor. People in Silicon Valley suffer from this, and so do I, especially when I work from home. Lunchtime rolls around, and it seems like so much effort to figure out what the hell I’m going to eat. That anxiety is captured in this book.

RS: Yes. The connection to work is right on. I’m glad that was clear to you. I’m happy to have it marketed as a book about food and have a loaf of bread, a little bâtard, on the cover. But I think it actually is a book about work.

KN: It is easier to sell a book about food than a book about labor.

RS: Yeah. The politics of automation and . . .

KN: Hide those vegetables.

RS: Exactly. Baking bread — it’s so delicious, so warm.

KN: I want to talk about slurry.

RS: People know it as soylent. It’s like a liquid meal replacement. Which, of course, has existed for a long time; what’s different now is that it’s being marketed to young males who are working in tech, particularly through this prism of psychology: “I know this stresses you out, so here, take this.” They claim that they’ve done some work engineering it to be more nutritious. I don’t know if that’s credible or not.

KN: Have you had soylent?

RS: I tried it. It definitely was not repulsive. It just was not anything else.

KN: If you ever want a good time, there’s a Soylent Reddit with pages upon pages of people being, like, “I can’t stop farting.”

RS: But then, at the end, the answers are so blasé. They’re like, “Oh, dude, upgrade to version 2.7, Beta 9.”

KN: Patch your body.

RS: Yeah. In retrospect, there would have been space for precisely that in this book — thinking about your food, your cuisine as software that you’re systematically and deliberately upgrading over time.

KN: There’s a cool parallel with the sourdough and the starter, like it’s an evolving piece of technology or software. Do you think that’s the strongest connection between coding and baking?

RS: I think the strongest connection is actually not a resonance but a tension. Lois feels it, and it actually becomes an important choice, a moment of choosing a path. That’s something that I stress about a lot. Baking and coding involve using the same parts of your brain and a lot of the same skills, like being able to follow directions or create directions in a very systematic way. Fundamentally, you do all this work, you bake a loaf of bread, and you give it to someone and they eat it, and it’s awesome — and it’s gone. So if you want someone else to be able to enjoy it or appreciate it, you have to bake more — every morning, day-by-day-by-day. Whereas of course, the beauty of code and “Let software eat the world” is that you only have to do it once, and it works everywhere for everyone. That is unresolved in my mind. In some ways, books are much closer to that regime of software than they are to baking bread. Like, you write this once, and it’s not consumed . . . I assume. On the other hand, bread is awesome, and the things we eat are awesome.

KN: Was this book always called “Sourdough”?

RS: No That’s actually an important difference from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, where a lot of things changed, but it had its title from the start. “The Starter” was the first name of the document, which I thought had a cool, a very kind of punchy American energy to it, but was just not clear. The starter? Of what? Starting what? A football game or something? I won’t tell you what all the titles were. But it was actually a somewhat fraught process, until, in fact, my editor did that trick of slicing the Gordian Knot and said, “What if you just called it ‘Sourdough’?” And that was immediately, obviously, the title of this book.

KN: Do you feel science fiction is inherently cynical?

RS: I definitely don’t. I think that some of the archetypes and works of science fiction that have pierced pop culture and stayed there are the darker ones and the dystopias. But there is a whole tradition of science fiction that I wouldn’t want to call “utopian” because that sounds naive and sort of Pollyannaish. Some of these books are complicated, and they present futures — far futures — that are fraught. But they are optimistic, I would say, and I think ultimately suggest good things about human nature. Iain Banks wrote a series called The Culture Novels. These are not boring stories of people just eating snacks in, like, star-domes: “Oh, life sure is good in the twenty-ninth century, isn’t it?” “It sure is.” End of book. They are complicated. There’s adventures and murders and mysteries. But they are definitely not cynical views of the future. That happens to be the science fiction that I find most inspiring. That’s my lodestone.

KN: A lot of the science fiction I’ve read is pretty cynical, which I like. I like things that are cynical. But I love your work, because what you imagine as San Francisco doesn’t seem that far out, if we’re not close to that already, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel judgmental. How do you avoid writing something that looks into the future that doesn’t feel judgmental?

RS: That’s a good question. I’m not sure that I know the answer or that I apply it in any kind of systematic way. I think of something like The Circle, Dave Eggers’s book, which I only read in excerpt, but I know by reputation. I think it’s telling and important that Dave Eggers, by his own admission, did not spend a lot of time in or around the world of computers or the Internet, and there’s no real evidence that he has any deep personal curiosity about how that all works. I do. Why, I don’t know. I was always a computer kid, and I grew up with the Internet and always found it fascinating. That’s one of the things that drew me forward into the world. If you have that kind of native curiosity and, I guess, affection, that becomes your bulwark against, “Man, the future sucks, just the thought.”

KN: I’ve been calling your work “science fiction” all night, but it definitely hews more literary, and everything I’ve found at that intersection, books like The Circle, to some degree some Gary Shteyngart, you feel like those authors went to the mall, saw, like, teens on their phone, and went home and wrote a mad novel about it. But I feel like you go to the mall, and you’re just curious about the teens. “What are they going to grow up to do?”

RS: That’s right. Totally. You want to be like, “Hey! Hey, what’s that app? That’s disturbing. Show me more.”

I have a question for you. Since we’ve entered this slightly more sort of broadly critical mood here: For several years you ran Oyster Review, which is still one of the best online literary reviews. It’s carried my books for many, many years. I think you’re the best capsule reviewer in the game. I’ve been thinking about this, because in the past few years I’ve been asked to write a few book reviews myself, and of course now I’m contending with book reviews of Sourdough. My question for you is: In the year 2017, and in the sort of media milieu that we exist in, what is a book review even?

KN: I used to have strong delineations between what is a book review and what is book criticism. Some hold one higher than the other. I think they are both of value. I think that a book review explicitly should tell you whether you should read a book or not. With criticism it’s more to put something in a broader cultural context, which is I think why people revere it more. I think you just want to find the nugget of it that makes it different from anything else. Whether that thing is good or bad kind of doesn’t matter, though hopefully you’ll get to that in the review, if you’re doing a good job. A book review is a form of service journalism. It’s not this hoity-toity thing. We’re weirdly reverential about writing around books, probably because we’re reverential of books. This thing has happened in the past few years, where we’re, like, Books must be protected at all costs. Which is true. But now you don’t see negative reviews in a lot of major publications.

RS: Very notably, actually. I read this amazing review, a gem of great writing about a recent novel called Less by Andrew Sean Greer, another San Francisco novelist. I had not heard about it, I had not read any of his books, but on the strength of this person’s enthusiasm I picked it up, and it turned out to be one of the great San Francisco books of the twenty-first century. It’s awesome, and I’m so glad that I read it. And I would not have if not for this service, actually.

KN: It’s also interesting that we’re seeing fewer negative reviews. I kind of get that. There’s this thing that you don’t want to run a negative review of, say, a debut novelist, and unnecessarily destroy their career. At the same time, when everything is good, the service function of it dissipates. If a publication is recommending everything, then what value does it really have?

RS: In my own personal, casual reviewing, both on Twitter or my email list, or even to friends, I’ve come up with a mental model that I personally like a lot — to preserve that dynamic range. The problem is that if everything is just great, then everything is actually not great. Everything is sort of meh. So to sort of preserve the option to super-recommend things, I think about it like those old arcade games, where you’d be flying your own ship around and you’d be able to shoot your blaster infinitely, but you only get like three super-bombs that clear the whole screen. I think of those as my super-reviews, and I usually label them as “This one of three I will deploy this year. Please. Heed my words. Buy this book.”

KN: That actually ties back thematically to Sourdough. Again — fear of a post-scarcity world. I think the digital landscape has not just changed, like, the mediums, but now we could hypothetically publish infinite numbers of reviews, and that actually would be a bad thing.

RS: This has been a particularly weird time for publishers of all kinds, as it’s been a weird time for everyone living in this country. One realizes that in this post-scarcity world where there’s basically an infinite number of really good books to read, there’s also all these other competitive draws on your time and your energy. There needs to be some sort of reorganization of the way we talk and think about books — and movies and everything else. It’s not like it was. When a president or a hurricane that happens somewhere else can change what people feel like reading, or change whether they feel like reading or not, that’s actually really interesting.

The post A Novel on the Rise: Robin Sloan and Kevin Nguyen Talk “Sourdough” appeared first on The Barnes & Noble Review.

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Nuclear Apocalypse Now?

The most telling aspect of Trump’s UN speech was, after threatening to “totally destroy North Korea,” his calling the possibility of nuclear conflict “unthinkable.” On the contrary, we must think about it. And crucial to any understanding of the moral import of the possible use of nuclear weapons is to go back to the foundational moment of this nuclear age and ask again: Were Hiroshima and Nagasaki war crimes?

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