Also this week: Stephen Heard vs. Paul Erdős, your PhD vs. you, and more.
This “My writing day” piece by Jon McGregor is great. Here’s a brief part, but it’s hard to find just one quote that does the whole thing justice:
There are other sorts of time, besides the writing time. There is thinking time, reading time, research time and sketching out ideas time. There is working on the first page over and over again until you find the tone you’re looking for time. There is spending just five minutes catching up on email time. There is spending five minutes more on Twitter because, in a way, that is part of the research process time. There is writing time, somewhere in there. There is making the coffee and clearing away the coffee and thinking about lunch and making the lunch and clearing away the lunch time.
Not surprisingly, I also loved this part of the McGregor piece:
(Fun fact: I have never been asked how I juggle writing and fatherhood. I’m not complaining; it’s nobody’s business, and nothing to do with writing. But I wonder what assumptions lie behind the question of juggling writing and motherhood coming up so regularly?)
PsycGirl had a post on importance vs. sustainability, which notes:
Something can be really important to you, but not sustainable. Just because something is important does not mean you can sustain it on sheer wish alone.
I think I need to remind myself of that more!
Stephen Heard’s Erdős number is 3. Can anyone here beat that?
One reason why it is difficult to “rationally” decide whether to get a PhD: a PhD may totally change you.
Why is there a widespread perception that history is “declining” as an academic discipline in the US, but remains prestigious in the UK? I know nothing about this and so can’t evaluate it. I just find it interesting to read about how people view their own disciplines.
Economist Claudia Sahm on the proposed professional code of conduct for economists. Very good piece. (ht @noahpinion)
Pew has a big new report on experiences and perceptions of harassment, discrimination, and diversity in US STEM workplaces. (ht @noahpinion)
New proposed indices of citation counts. From economics, not sure how well it would translate to other disciplines. And of course, any quantitative metric is only going to be a crude measure of “influence”. But still, I thought these indices were kind of interesting.
Sadly, I think Kieran Healy’s read of the market for books about academia is correct.