Weekend Reading: The Secret Life of Passwords


Not to be missed weekend reading: Ian Urbina’s fantastic piece in The New York Times Magazine (and available online now). Urbina reports that passwords do much more than protect data. They “protect dreams, secrets, fears and even clues to troubled pasts, and for some, they serve as an everyday reminder of what matters most.” The piece reveals our tendencies to imbue our passwords with nostalgia, use them to create habits, or even to move on from loss.


Monica McInerney‘s newest novel (her eleventh!), HELLO FROM THE GILLESPIES (NAL/Penguin) is out now!

Hello from

Booklist gave a great review:

When Angela Gillespie moved to Australia with her new husband, she started writing an annual Christmas
letter to keep in touch with her family and friends still in England. Over the years, her letters highlighted
the best of her life, even in difficult times. Thirty-three years later, though, Angela is tired of putting a
sunny spin on things, and when she starts the newest letter, she begins by airing all her grievances in a first
draft: her oldest children struggling with adult life, her youngest floundering in school, the family ranch
faltering, and her marriage on the rocks. But then the draft letter accidentally gets sent to everyone on her
list. Shocked and humiliated, Angela’s family is furious with her, and they must all face the many people
who now have new insight into their most personal battles. But their humiliation pales when, shortly after
the Christmas holiday, tragedy forces them to face the possibility of losing Angela forever. McInerney’s
knack for characterization and the beautiful Australian setting make this heartwarming family story an
enjoyable read.   — Cortney Ophoff

And the Sydney Morning Herald said, “[McInerney] brings Maeve Binchy readily to mind.”

Psst…added bonus: McInerney also has an e-book single out now. You can buy ODD ONE OUT here.

Publication Day for HOOKED by Nir Eyal

“If you’ve never watched a YouTube video of a baby’s first encounter with a dog, it’s worth doing.”

(Here, just in case…. http://mashable.com/2012/08/18/babies-laughing-dogs/)

“Not only are these videos incredibly cute, but they help demonstrate something important about our mental wiring….When something breaks the cause-and-effect pattern we’ve come to expect — when we encounter something outside the norm — we suddenly become aware of it again. Novelty sparks our interest, makes us pay attention, and — like babies encountering friendly dogs for the first time — we seem to love it.”

That’s Nir Eyal on “Your Brain Loves Rewards — Whether You Like It Or Not“. He explains why we insist on “just one more level” and many more secrets of how products capture our attention (and money) in HOOKED: How to Build Habit-Forming Products, out today from Portfolio.  Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, says, “Hooked gives you the blueprint for the next generation of products. Read Hooked or the company that replaces you will.”

Startup Grind is hosting Nir in NYC tonight for the launch of the book- you can catch him at 6:30 PM for a fireside chat.

The book is already up for a reader’s choice award at Goodreads. Nir blogs at Nirandfar.com, where you can find updates on his book tour as well as more articles–and reasons to watch babies and dogs on Youtube. What more could you want?


Goodreads Choice Awards 2014

HOOKED: How to Build Habit Forming Products by Nir Eyal (Portfolio) and CREATIVITY, INC. by Ed Catmull (Random House) are both up for a reader’s choice award over at Goodreads. You can vote now! We love these awards because the list of nominees doubles as a great recommended reading list- check out all the categories here.

Also, psssst… speaking of voting, don’t forget to vote tomorrow. Find your polling place here.

Vote pin

The Ultimate Playlist

Here’s some fun reading–and listening. The Guardian has a piece out on great songs in great books. We especially like this list because it features a great song, Riders in the Storm by The Doors (Into this world we’re thrown /Like a dog without a bone), that is featured in BORN CONFUSED by Tanuja Desai Hidier. Also very cool: The Guardian picked several songs from books by David Levithan, who doubles as Tanuja’s editor at Scholastic.

BORN CONFUSED follows music-loving Dimple Lala, who “was born upside down to an Indian family in America, and she has been confused ever since. As Dimple attempts to mediate the world of high school, “suitable boys”, heritage, and art, her gorgeous all-American best friend Gwyn only makes it more confusing. This song is played during a pivotal moment for Dimple, in an anxiety provoking but hilarious scene. Tanuja Desai Hidier includes mention of many songs in the book, but she also wrote a soundtrack for it herself, which you can listen to here.”

The sequel, BOMBAY BLUES (Scholastic) was published this August, so for fans of The Doors, and Dimple, there is more to be had. Check out Tanuja’s site here, where you can also find tracks on the album she wrote for the new book.


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