Posts in recommended reading
Five things #14

Here are the five things I thought were worth sharing this week: 

  1. A few weeks ago I started reading Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman about eccentric Nobel Prize-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman. I'm just over halfway through and can already tell I'll be recommending it to anyone who will listen!
  2. Attention musicians and concert goers, if you don't wear earplugs you might want to listen to/ read this and reconsider — "an unprotected human ear can spend 8 hours a day exposed to 85 decibels (freeway noise, crowded restaurant) without incurring damage. But if you go up to 115 decibels (chainsaw, loud rock concert) your safe exposure time is only half a minute before your hearing could be affected."
  3. I'm trying to build more time for reflection, creativity and free-thinking into my day. Detaching from social media and the distractions calling out from our smartphones is hard, but the cost of not doing so is probably higher than you realise. It might be time Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain.
  4. So far I've resisted the temptation to play Pokemon Go. The concept is great and I'd probably love it... but for now it's an unwelcome distraction. This video on how free mobile games are designed to make money is really worth watching.
  5. This last week I've made a conscious effort to listen to more unfamiliar/ new music. I love Spotify's Related Artists feature for this. Recent discoveries include Ludovico Einaudi, Chihei Hatakeyama, GoGo Penguin and Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra.

That's all for this week. If you liked this, check out my previous Five Things posts or sign up to receive future posts straight to your inbox. Enjoy!

"You only exist through all the beautiful music you’ve heard" Nils Frahm
Nils Frahm performing in Norwich — Photo by me

Nils Frahm performing in Norwich — Photo by me


Nils Frahm is one of my favourite musicians. I've seen him live four or five times now and each time he's blown me away.

I read this great interview with him this morning where he talks about creativity, composition and on being original. I highly recommend you give it a quick read. The video is great too.

This passage really stuck out to me:

With composition, I’m doing something I’ve learned from other musicians, I’ve learned from other artists, I’ve learned from life. Most of my musical ideas are coming from other people’s musical ideas. And so we are all connected. It would be silly to say that it’s all mine. Nothing really is mine. There are 12 notes in an octave. Was that my idea to use 12 notes in an octave? No, but I still use it. For me, it’s actually a comforting thought that I’m not doing something totally, totally unique. You only exist through all the beautiful music you’ve heard. All the boring experiences and all the beautiful experiences I’m having… Everything jumps in as a source of inspiration. If it sounds right, then I’m happy, no matter how I got there. I just want to make beautiful music.

Creativity and being original relies on exposing ourselves to as many ideas as possible. We are the summation of those influences. Taking one idea and placing it in the context of another — that's originality.

If you haven't heard any Nils Frahm's music this is a good place to start. Read the full interview with Nils here.