Portrait of the Artist as a New Media Mogul

I had no idea. 20 years ago I came out of university and moved into a job. I spent the next ten years as an employee. Earned my wage. Spent my wage. Simple.

About ten years ago I got myself out of that world and set myself up in my own little business. As a self-employed management consultant, there have been financial ups and downs but by and large I reckon we've come out on top. And certainly the benefits of working for myself have outweighed being 'tied to The Man'.

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Hurry Up and ... Slow Down

Over forty years is a long time to work on a single task. Yet that has been the lot of the four editors of the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary. The massive 3,952 page double volume will be released this month, the culmination of the editors’ entire careers. In our world of fast, it is a timely reminder that, sometimes, good things need time. This new thesaurus has been pulled together almost entirely by hand. Words from past and present editions of the full dictionary were studiously transcribed onto slips of paper, then sorted, stacked and re-sorted into categories, sub-categories and sub-sub-categories, and finally put into historical context. Nearly a million words were sorted this way into quarter of a million categories. And, as I said, it took over 40 years.

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Our Life at Work Stripped Bare

Most of us spend a healthy slice of our lives working. We spend additional time thinking about work, but these thoughts are generally focused on the job at hand. We think through an upcoming meeting, worry about a deadline or scheme about our next job change. Much less often do we think about the wider connection of our work to our community. Rarely, if ever, do we think about the extent to which others’ work impacts on, and is essential to, our way of life. In 'The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work', Alain de Botton does this for us in a thoughtful and entertaining way.

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