Your job might be killing you

There are 120,000 excess deaths per year attributed to ten workplace conditions and they cause approximately $190 billion in incremental health care costs. That makes the workplace the fifth leading cause of death in the U.S. — higher than Alzheimer’s, higher than kidney disease.

  1. Being unemployed sometimes as a result of a layoff.
  2. Not having health insurance.
  3. Working shifts and also working longer periods, e.g., ten or twelve-hours shifts.
  4. Working long hours in a week (e.g., more than 40 hours per week).
  5. Job insecurity (resulting from colleagues being laid off or fired).
  6. Facing family-to-work and work-to-family spillover or conflict.
  7. Having relatively low control over one’s job e.g., workload.
  8. Facing high work demands such as pressure to increase productivity and to work quickly.
  9. Being in a work environment that offers low levels of social support (e.g., not having close relationships with co-workers.
  10. Working in a setting in which job- and employment-related decisions seem unfair.

Both articles report the findings published by Jeffrey Pfeffer in Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance—and What We Can Do About It.

I have not read the book yet, but I definitely will.

Want to improve your writing? Read a lot. And slowly.

Learning to write sound, interesting, sometimes elegant prose is the work of a lifetime. The only way I know to do it is to read a vast deal of the best writing available, prose and poetry, with keen attention, and find a way to make use of this reading in one’s own writing.

The first step is to become a slow reader. No good writer is a fast reader, at least not of work with the standing of literature.

Writers perforce read differently from everyone else. Most people ask three questions of what they read: (1) What is being said? (2) Does it interest me? (3) Is it well constructed?

Writers also ask these questions, but two others along with them: (4) How did the author achieve the effects he has? And (5) What can I steal, properly camouflaged of course, from the best of what I am reading for my own writing? This can slow things down a good bit.

More here.

Ernest Hemingway’s suggested readings

These are readings Hemingway recommended to a young person aspiring to be a writer. The whole story here.

Links for the book will take you to Project Gutenberg.

the IKEA catalog at the cutting edge of technology: the bookbook

Information and parody. Well done!

Un libro no sirve sólo para leer

Mucho se equivocan (…) quienes afirman que una tableta electrónica borrará el libro de papel de las necesidades humanas. Porque un libro no sirve sólo para leer.

Sirve también para que su peso tranquilice las manos lectoras, para subrayar y ajar sus páginas con el uso, para regalar el ejemplar leído a personas a las que quieres. Para ver amarillear sus páginas con los años sobre los viejos subrayados que hiciste cuando eras distinto a quien ahora eres. Para decorar -no hay cuadro ni objeto comparable en belleza- una habitación o una casa. Para amueblar una vida.

Bien dicho, Arturo.

Tablets are responsible for the rebirth of reading

A presentation by Andrew Rashbass, CEO of The Economist Group, calls the old publishing models of web and print “irredeemably broken,” with publishers requiring “urgent re-examination of everything that constitutes a media business.”

The concept of Lean Back 2.0 is relatively simple — the use of tablets and e-readers is growing at the expense of print and web use, with The Economist‘s iPad readers spending on average around 90 minutes with the app each week.

Unlike the desktop and laptop web experience, these devices are allowing users to read at their leisure.

Some key facts from the presentation:

  • 42 percent of tablet users regularly read in-depth articles, with another 40 percent reading them occasionally
  • Tablet users are three times more likely to read an article than watch a news video
  • A user’s eye activity is far more focused on an iPad app than on a website
  • Some users believe the content received in an app is even worth more than content received elsewhere, with a large majority saying they find it easier to learn new things and enjoy the news more when using apps
  • The Economist projects a fall of over 50 percent in the preference for paper over other formats in the next 2 years, with tablet preference growing to over 20 percent.

Asimov: a library is a spaceship, a time machine and a gateway

Dear Boys and Girls,

Congratulations on the new library, because it isn’t just a library.

It is a space ship that will take you to the farthest reaches of the Universe, a time machine that will take you to the far past and the far future, a teacher that knows more than any human being, a friend that will amuse you and console you—and most of all, a gateway, to a better and happier and more useful life.

Signed, Isaac Asimov

via Letters of Note.