This Week’s Selected Media, July 7, 2024: Not Just Bikes and Strong Towns course, Stolen Focus

July 7, 2024 by Joshua
in Tips

This week I finished:

The joint course in urban planning between the video series Not Just Bikes (hosted by podcast guest Jason Slaughter) and Strong Towns: I can’t recommend Not Just Bikes or Strong Towns enough. If you live in an American city, know and act on these resources.

The course comprised nine videos (I think I counted right) plus dozens of articles. They repeated a fair amount, but you’ll never look at cars, highways, stroads, suburbs, congestion, growth, or many parts of American history and culture again.

Stolen Focus: Why You Can’t Pay Attention–and How to Think Deeply Again: by Johann Hari: Hari writes well and covers many reasons why we can’t pay attention, or rather why corporations and greedy businesspeople steal our focus for profit. He researched the topic well and tells great stories humanizing the people suffering and researching the problem.

Several guests from my podcast appear in the book: Jonathan Haidt, Peter Gray, and Nir Eyal (whom he throws under the bus for what he praises in others, unless I misunderstood, which I considered unfair).

He says he goes upstream to find out what’s causing everything, but I don’t think he researched far enough, since I cover it in my upcoming book, Sustainability Simplified. Sorry to make you wait to read it, but it explains how humanity went from egalitarian for over 250,000 years to polluting, depleting, addictive, and imperialist. He doesn’t explain how that transformation happened. He makes it sound like some people are just greedy or evil.

I don’t mean to take away from the book, it just overlapped with my research and work.

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