Michael's Monthly Recommendations (April 2018)

Michael Fairley

30 Apr 2018

I’m constantly reading, watching, listening to, playing, and using a million different things, and I recommend some of my favorites on a monthly basis.

Minit  @kittycalis @jwaaaap @jukiokallio @zerstoerer
Old-school Zelda meets Groundhog Day. Every 60 seconds, you die and start over from the beginning (but you get to keep the items you’ve found, and some of the changes you make to the world are permanent.) A clever and cute adventure that doesn’t waste your time.

The Orphan Master’s Son  Adam Johnson
Modern day fiction set in North Korea. The story is itself really good, but the depiction of life in North Korea is what makes this book great. The author apparently did a tonnn of research about NK (including going there himself) in order to show as much of the good, the bad, the wild, and the mundane about it as possible, rather than the one-dimensional caricature of it that I tend to see in most media.

(It’s also discounted down to $1.99 on Kindle right now, so get it while it’s hot.)

Jerry Muller on the Tyranny of Metrics  EconTalk
Interesting discussion about how using metrics to determine reward and punishment (rather than purely for diagnostic purposes) tends to result in bad outcomes in the long term. They point out numerous examples of people implicitly and explicitly changing their behavior to optimize for the metrics, rather than the higher level goal they probably actually wanted to accomplish. (Messy, one of my favorite books from last year, had a chapter on this phenomenon as well.)

Things that surprised/amazed me about Japan, an ongoing thread  @mwichary
Dude goes to Japan and tweets about every interesting/surprising/amazing thing he sees. 300 tweets later, there’s a tremendous amount of fascinating stuff! Japan’s at the top of my places-I-want-to-travel-to list, and these all make me want to go that much more.

Icons by Icon Solid and Andrey Vasiliev.