(1) Timeline — Points of Pride
For me to remember who I am and recall my moments of triumph.
First mural.
Instead of getting upset at me for covering the walls with crayon, my mom covered the wall with newsprint. I covered the newsprint.
Instead of getting upset at me for covering the walls with crayon, my mom covered the wall with newsprint. I covered the newsprint.
Red Notebook.
I filled it with drawings of animals, real and imaginary.
Gurkey Turkey.
I wrote a poem about a turkey in a turkey farm that won some youth poetry contest.
Lego Snake.
With a bunch of Bionicle limbs and Bohrok neck hinges, I made a snake that I could wrap around things, complete with an elastic snapping jaw.
Pencil Wars.
I drew and wrote a comic strip of pencils fighting each other. Lots of visual puns.
Second mural.
On the side of a school this time.
Became starting QB.
I quit crew in the middle of freshman year (2011) because some part of me fell in love with football. This was definitely something nobody expected of me.
Best-In-Show at high school art show.
Rookie-of-the-Year, Yale Rugby.
Until then I’d only sang and played guitar to myself. I was so nervous at the audition that I couldn’t play the guitar part.
Read poetry for a Yale Student Poets event.
One of 6 students picked by the faculty. Really trippy because that event in part made me choose Yale.
Art show in my residential college.
I didn’t tell anyone about it, but Gabi found out and organized an opening.
Great evaluation from a professor I respect (Shifra Sharlin):
“Miles’s passion and talent for writing are obvious. His creativity and talent are worthy of professional writers. His final essay was exceptional and among the best I have received.”
Great evaluation from a professor I respect (Louise Glück):
“Miles had an amazing period — his poems have a scale and beauty and originality rarely seen.”
Failed to start a startup.
I taught myself to code using React and a bit of GraphQL. I feel ready to take on anything now.
(2) Designers I’ve learned from
Because I never went to school for design, I wouldn’t have made much progress without their work and philosophies. Grateful to the greats.
Heinz Bienefeld
(architecture) All design, even the most modern in spirit, needs a firm link to tradition. Conventions allow you to sculpt meaning.
Le Corbusier
(architecture) The plan is an illusion. Design is about finding and establishing visible axes. The gravity of a unified intention is experienced from ground level, not birds-eye-view.
Naoto Fukasawa
(products) If you want to bring people to experience joy, you need a sense of humor. Not necessarily funniness — just a light touch.
Dieter Rams
(products) “Good design is the least design possible.”
Sagi Haviv
(logos) Visual identity design is closer to business than art. Logos are periods, not sentences.
Massimo Vignelli
(everything) Design is the simple act of sifting “vulgarity” (roll the r) and “intellectual pollution,” which applies to every domain. Simple doesn’t mean weak.
(3) Artists I come back to
Endlessly deep work.
Richard Diebenkorn
(painting) Good things happen both spontaneously and with immense patience — be ready for both. Diebenkorn’s “Notes to myself on beginning a painting” are rules for overcoming life’s inertia. I wrote a piece about it.
David Park
Robert Motherwell
Robert Rauschenburg
Anne Carson
George Oppen
Cesare Pavese
Anne Carson
George Oppen
Cesare Pavese
Bill Watterson
George Oppen
Cesare Pavese
(4) Books that changed me
Engaging the Movement of Life
(Bonnie Gintis) Description. First read in 2021.
Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior
(Chogyam Trungpa) Description. First read in 2021.
Toward an Architecture
(Le Corbusier) Description. First read in 2021.
Grid Systems
(Josef Müller-Brockmann) Doesn’t sound exciting, but it really opened my eyes to the way hidden grids stave off chaos. First read in 2020.
(Emil Ruder) First read in 2020.
Total Freedom
(J. Krishnamurti) All structures and ideas are brittle fragments of reality. To live well, be whole. First read in 2020.
Steve Jobs
(Walter Isaacson) A testament to what you can do with vision and energy. First read in 2019.
(Nassim Nicholas Taleb) Description. First read in 2019.
Modern Man in Search of a Soul
(Carl Jung) Restored magic to my thinking. First read in 2018
Hard Labor
(Cesare Pavese) First read in 2018.
Glass, Irony, and God
(Anne Carson) First read in 2017.
Selected Poems
(George Oppen) I bring this with me everywhere and am still discovering new insights from it. First read in 2017.
Human Chain
(Seamus Heaney) First collection of poems I ever loved. First read in 2014.
(Roald Dahl) First book I loved. First read in kindergarten.
(5) Podcasters
A great interviewer is both authentic and able to embody their audience as they explore. I’m not sure which way the causality runs, but it seems like I'm a different person when I gravitate toward different podcasters.
Joe Rogan
The enthusiast. When I’m adventurous, high on life, untouchable.
Tim Ferriss
The grinder. When I’m ambitious with a chip on my shoulder.
Naval Ravikant
The savant. When I’m confident and self-motivated.
Lex Fridman
Love is all. When I’m a nerd with a heart.
Eric Weinstein
The fearless intellectual. When I’m brash and outspoken.
Bret Weinstein
The informed citizen. When I’m incisive and righteous.
Dan Carlin
When I’m not a historian.
Reid Hoffman
When I’ve got to be starting something.
Russ Roberts
When I tap into my inner sweet old man.