A brief plug for a brief book:

Pico Iyer is one of my favorite essayists on travel and so I was delighted to see him release ‘The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere’.

Despite what the title might lead you to believe, it’s not an anti-travel tract as much as a pitch for how inner-travel can restore value and balance to your life.

Tell me if this description of modern life rings a bell for you, too:

With machines coming to seem part of our nervous systems, while increasing their speed every season, we’ve lost our Sundays, our weekends, our nights off—our holy days, as some would have it; our bosses, junk mailers, our parents can find us wherever we are, at any time of day or night. More and more of us feel like emergency-room physicians, permanently on call, required to heal ourselves but unable to find the prescription for all the clutter on our desk

Iyer later goes on to to explain his inverted reframing of that modern dilemma:

In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.

It is fitting that ‘The Art of Stillness’ is more about the reader taking a journey with Iyer rather than his attempt to reach any particular ideological destination.

I enjoyed the trip and think you might as well.

Accessibility is often treated as an afterthought when making apps and websites.

Part of the reason why, I think, is that many of us don’t really understand the design considerations we should be thinking about to open up our content to people with disabilities and the elderly. And, as Jeffrey Zeldman says, “Accessibility is like the weather: everyone talks about it, but not enough of us do anything about it.”

So I was happy to see this Kickstarter from the people at Knowbility to develop training materials for people who want to be more inclusive – and I’ve just backed it because I know I could use some help figuring out how to make my sites better in this regard.

Watch the video, chip in, and help spread the word before the end of October.

Few writers receive the strong emotional reactions to their work that Alain de Botton gets: Many readers enjoy his efforts which connect philosophy with the practices of everyday life; Other readers, well… not so much.

You can put me in the camp that generally likes his work. Just as I have never expected a TED talk to replace deep study, I’ve never mistaken de Botton’s essays for the philosophical works that they reference. Generalists shouldn’t be mistaken for specialists or academics. However, that doesn’t mean that they can’t offer a valuable perspective or provide a good introduction to the ideas that they discuss. Not everything he’s done has resonated with me, but I’ve enjoyed books like ‘The Art of Travel’ and ‘Status Anxiety’ for what they are – One writer’s reflections on aspects of the human experience.

To that end, another de Botton venture called The School of Life just announced a YouTube channel. The London-based school is, like de Botton, devoted to encouraging a ‘philosophy of everyday life’. Though their collection looks a little bare at the moment, I think it’s worth keeping an eye on the page and checking back occasionally to see what gets published there. Given the school’s existing portfolio of courses, I think it may end up being a good resource of stimulating clips on topics like careers, relationships, politics, travels, and families.