Why Your Brain Loves Good Storytelling (Paul J. Zak for Harvard Business Review): “I advise business people to begin every presentation with a compelling, human-scale story. Why should customers or a person on the street care about the project you are proposing? How does it change the world or improve lives? How will people feel when it is complete? These are the components that make information persuasive and memorable.” This article is fascinating, and it explains the science behind a lot of what editors and agents know intuitively–that stories and a promise of transformation pull people in. And that’s exactly why I always tell authors to begin their blog posts, book proposals, and book introductions with a story. It’s the surest way to make people care.
Video: Michael Pollan on Cooking (The RSA): This little short is the most fun you’ll have in 2 minutes and 28 seconds all week! In it, Michael Pollan explains how corporations cook (hint: badly) and why there’s just one simple rule to eating healthy, without relying on fad diets or any deprivation at all (hint: a cookbook would help you with it!). I love this rule, and think it’s so true: no matter what you order at a restaurant, it will never be as healthy as the same thing cooked at home. That’s why cookbooks matter–they’re powerful tools to help people get in the kitchen and start living healthier lives.
20 Must-Read Books for Bloggers (Krystal from Bloggers Get Social): You can learn so much from books, and this list is a great start for bloggers who want to learn how to do everything better. Too many of the bloggers I see who are struggling are mostly just suffering from a lack of information–they’ve got their heads down, creating content day in and day out, and they’re not investing enough time in training and experimentation. So, even if it means you take a blog vacation for a week, set aside some time to do deep research. In the end, it’s much easier than trying to figure it all out yourself!
Worried About What You’re Not Doing (Leo Babuata of Zen Habits): “In any given moment, many of us are thinking about what we’re not doing. We feel guilty that we’re not doing more. Worried that we’re not as productive as we could be. Guilty that we procrastinate. We feel guilty that we don’t exercise more, eat right, have better bodies. We worry that we should be doing something better, something more amazing, doing what the amazing people we see online are doing. We worry about what we have to do later, what’s next, where we’re going.” A great contemplative practice to help creatives (and anyone!) combat comparison and anxiety.
As the summer months wind along, it’s easy to get bored of drinking Gin & Tonics all the time. G&Ts may be the summer cocktail of choice for many Americans, but by August I find myself pining for some diversity. So, it was with extreme excitement that I discovered this Wall Street Journal feature on 5 change-of-pace Gin & Tonics. While we haven’t gotten the chance to try all 5 yet (“For the Birdie” also looks awesome), we did try our hand at the Sumac-Infused G&T.
Anytime you hear the word “infused,” it immediately sounds complicated and time-consuming. In this case, it’s not. To make the sumac-infused gin, you just throw an ounce of dried powdered sumac into 10 ounces of gin and let it steep for 10 minutes. Next, strain out the sumac with a coffee filter or a layer of paper towel. Then you just use the infused gin to make a Gin & Tonic like you normally would.
As we’ve talked about before around these parts, there are tons of fancy new tonics out there from companies like Jack Rudy. These new-age tonics make for a much, much better G&T than your garden-variety Schweppes tonic. To spice up the WSJ recipe, we came up with the following:
Sumac Gin and Tonic Recipe
Makes 1 drink
- 2 oz. of sumac-infused gin
- .75 oz. of Jack Rudy Co. tonic (or other similar tonic)
- 4 oz. of soda water
- A slice of lime
- A lemon peel
- A brandied (or bourbon-soaked) cherry (We use these, also from Jack Rudy.)
Just combine the sumac-infused gin, the tonic, and the soda water into an ice-filled mixing glass. Squeeze in the juice from the lime slice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a Collins glass filled with large ice cubes. Add the lemon peel and cherry as garnish.
The sumac gives the drink a nice kick of tartness that complexifies (this should be a word, right?) your G&T. It’s perfect for that mid-summer change of pace . . . no more boring G&Ts for you.