April recommendations

Avicii: True Stories
Documentary, 1h37m

If the name Tim Bergling doesn’t ring any bells, his DJ alias “Avicii” might. The Swedish phenom, responsible for bringing dance music to the mainstream, died this month at 28 of an apparent suicide. Bergling’s exponential rise to fame and grueling tour schedule are both subject and suspect in “True Stories”, a documentary released this Fall. The film provides an inside -- and now eerily disturbing -- look at the physical and emotional distress that Bergling faced as he performed over 800 shows in four yearsbefore “retiring” in 2016. 

That this could’ve been avoided -- that he seemed to be in a healthier place -- is a particular sting for those of us who first experienced his signature melodic sound almost a decade ago. The name “Avicii” was a novelty and dance music was written off as "noise," but we knew we were in on the secret early. 

The Outline
Website / Independent Media

Recommended by Ryan Vinnicombe of Allston, MA. Ryan is a digital and social strategist at ArnoldWorldwide and the brains behind internetryan.com, where he publishes a highly enjoyable assortment of rants, recommendations, and reviews (including our favorite: What it has taken me 26 years to learn)

"The Outline has one of the strongest personalities on the web. Adorned with a bizarre, brutal, colorful, and clever design, the site is definitely not for everyone. Which is on purpose, as they operate under the tagline 'It's not for everyone. It's for you.'

One area where The Outline is most impressive is video. In May of last year they published a story titled "In Stevens Point, Wisconsin, The Questions Are Trivial" about an annual trivia contest that you have to see to believe. If seeing is believing with this contest, then The Outline's video team made me a believer because the video is as delightful and charming as it is interesting.

The stories that populate the site, which feels like Snapchat but reads like The Awl, focuses around three topics: power, culture, and the future. The Outline definitely isn't for everyone. It's for me, and might just be for you."

Amazon 2018 / 1997 Annual Shareholder Letter
By Jeff Bezos
15 minutes

No business major or understanding of complex financials required. Bezos’s 2018 letter is a discussion of high standards - whether such standards are intrinsic or teachable, universal or domain specific, how to recognize and scope them, etc. Bezos is interested in how individuals and companies improve - he even goes so far as to cite how his friend improved at handstands to make a point about scoping in creating standards (“Unrealistic beliefs on scope – often hidden and undiscussed – kill high standards.”) to then make a point about success in business (“The key point here is that you can improve results through the simple act of teaching scope – that a great memo probably should take a week or more.”). Jeff Bezos is writing a philosophy in this letter, and it’s well worth reading.

Wait But Why: How to Pick a Career (That Actually Fits You)
By Tim Urban
Essay, 55 minutes

In typical WBW fashion, Tim Urban throws convention out the window and uses first-principles thinking (and stick figure cartoons) to unpack the search for a meaningful career. Learn how to quiet your “yearning tentacles,” take a tour through “denial prison,” and identify your “reality box." What ensues is a hilarious and brutally honest exercise in finding fulfillment.

Ben Brostoff