in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: January 26, 2024

Pumping Iron. A classic docudrama about a subculture — bodybuilding — then in its early and golden era. Pumping Iron, released in 1977, focuses on the 1975 IFBB Mr. Universe and 1975 Mr. Olympia competitions, with a particular emphasis on the showdown between future movie stars Lou Ferrigno and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who’s got charisma and quips to spare). You don’t have to appreciate bodybuilding to appreciate what is really a showcase of the elements of sport and excellence (training, discipline, preparation) and the dynamics of male competition: the mixture of camaraderie and rivalry, physical and psychological warfare, the desire to beat opponents and the ability to admire them, the status-boosting rush of victory and the esteem-crushing agony of defeat.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. I first read The Seven Habits of Highly of Effective People back in high school and was blown away by Covey’s ability to create fresh, compelling angles on common sense principles — put first things first; begin with the end in mind — and show how they can be implemented to create a flourishing life. Since then, I’ve re-read The Seven Habits every few years to remind myself of these important fundamentals that I already know but are so easy to lose sight of. My son enjoyed The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, written by Sean Covey. It takes the seven habits and makes them approachable for teenagers. Listen to our podcast about The Seven Habits with Covey’s son, Stephen M.R. Covey, and read our series about each of the habits.

Books and Biceps. Jon Finkel is an author who wrote some guest pieces for AoM over a decade ago. He’s got a newsletter I subscribe to and enjoy called Books & Biceps, where he recommends books that dudes might enjoy, along with some workout motivation. Thanks to Jon’s newsletter, I’ve added a few books to my to-read list. 

Blackwing 602 Pencils. You might never have thought that there was a difference between pencils, or that there could ever be one that justified paying more than $2 for each. But you thought wrong, and have evidently not tried Blackwings. I was first introduced to the Blackwing 602 by this weirdly interesting guest article all about pencils that we ran several years ago, and was immediately hooked. Made in Japan, the Blackwing 602 features a soft dark core of graphite encased in fragrant juniper wood. It’s a pleasure to write with and glides across the page (the tagline for the 602 is “half the pressure, twice the speed”). It’ll change your opinion of pencils, and maybe even get you to switch out your pens for them. 

Quote of the Week

False happiness is like false money; it passes for a time as well as the true, and serves some ordinary occasions; but when it is brought to the touch, we find the lightness and alloy, and feel the loss.

—Alexander Pope

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