What I’m working on:
I write mostly about psychology, and sometimes technology and other things. I usually have a few articles in the works and many more pitches in various stages of gestation. I’m also mulling over a couple of book ideas. In general, I’m interested in human weirdness, and why it’s not so weird—thoughts and behaviors that seem irrational can serve a purpose. I’m also interested in how we use machines to enhance our capabilities, as collaborators or extensions, robopocalypse be damned.
Where I work:
I work at home, in my apartment in the East Village of New York City. I spend most of my time at my desk in my bedroom, but sometimes I sit next to the window overlooking the street and read magazines.
I get up at 10:00 a.m., take my Ritalin and Wellbutrin, and watch an online episode of The Daily Show or Last Week Tonight to ease the offense of consciousness, then check the news. At 11:00 or 12:00 I’ll start working. I spend a lot of time gathering, reading, and taking notes on journal articles. Sometimes I write, but 90 percent of my time on a project is spent researching. Unless I go out, I’m pretty much at my computer from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 a.m., doing a mixture of work and procrastination. It’s hard to tell them apart, as my procrastination usually takes the form of reading, which informs my writing. My routine is pretty much the same seven days a week.
Most productive part of my day:
After midnight. It makes going to bed hard.
Most essential ritual or habit:
On Wednesday nights I go to a dance studio in Brooklyn and spin poi, and on Sunday nights I go to my friend Gerry’s place and play bridge. They’re not work, but they force me to step away and reflect.
15” MacBook Pro, with an additional external monitor for more screen area.
Essential software/apps/productivity tools:
Word, Safari, Mail. For phone interviews, Skype and Call Recorder (written by my two best friends). For reading on my phone, Pocket.
Favorite time waster/procrastination habit:
Playing bridge online. Reading magazines. Checking The New York Times or Gizmodo (RIP Gawker). About once a day I’ll check Facebook and Twitter.
My reading habits:
I spend most of my waking hours reading. When researching an article, I read a lot of scientific papers. And then there’s extracurricular/semi-curricular reading. Online: New York Times, Gizmodo, things suggested by Pocket or people I follow on Facebook or Twitter. Offline, I subscribe to a lot of magazines and try to keep up with them all. In addition to science magazines there are tech magazines (Wired, Technology Review, Popular Mechanics), business magazines (Businessweek, Fast Company, Harvard Business Review), and general interest magazines (The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, The New York Review of Books, New York, Vanity Fair) and a few others. I usually don’t read complete books unless I’m reviewing them; you can get most of the big idea in a fraction of the time by reading an excerpt or review. That doesn’t stop me from writing books, though. When I’m on the subway I read articles I’ve saved to Pocket. When walking, I turn on text-to-speech and hold the phone to my ear.
I go to bed around 2 a.m. and read until 3 a.m., then get up at 10 a.m. I’ve tried going to bed earlier and getting up earlier, with suboptimal results.