Also in the news: The Lord of the Rings adaptation that almost was, and the social super powers hidden in etiquette books. It’s your Daily Blunt!
The Confidence Game author Maria Konnikova dove into the world of professional poker games as a total newbie, with the intention of writing a book about the adventure. What happened instead is that through training and then tournaments Konnikova discovered she had a flair for the game, promptly winning over $100K. As you might imagine, such a development has adjusted her priorities somewhat, and now the book project’s been delayed for a 2019 release due to the author’s rigorous poker schedule. Can you honestly say you wouldn’t do the same?
However you may feel about Peter Jackson’s take on the Lord of the Rings books, I’m sure we can all agree we’re better off with the existing films than we’d be with one long film directed by Quentin Tarantino. Believe it or not, at one time that was disgraced exec Harvey Weinstein’s plan for the franchise, and the resulting abomination “would have reportedly cut Helm’s Deep, excised the Balrog, and turned Eowyn into Boromir’s sister.” Perhaps our current timeline isn’t the darkest one after all.
This should surprise no one, but apparently it bears repeating: a new study has shown that proximity to books enhances kids’ learning abilities and school-readiness skills. And while, yes, any reading is better than nothing, experts have found that “the physical book that you can hold, handle and feel is important for kids.” The research was conducted via book-dispensing vending machines that were placed in underserved areas during the summer vacation months when kids’ access to books is at its lowest point. However, here’s why support from adults is also key: “The physical proximity of books did not convert non-readers into readers, and changes in the environment alone may not be enough to motivate those who do not enjoy reading.”
It Paul Ford’s story is to be believed, then it turns out that reading all those etiquette manuals can really pay off in the long run. In a new feature called How To Be Polite, Ford describes how his finely-honed sense of other people’s feelings and personal space functions almost like a super-power in social functions, or on dates, or really anytime you’re dealing with another human being. “A whole class of problems goes away from my life because I see people as having around them a two or three foot invisible buffer,” he writes. “If there is a stray hair on their jacket I ask them if I can pluck it from them. If they don’t want that, they’ll do it themselves. If their name is now Susan, it’s Susan. Whatever happens inside that buffer is entirely up to them. It has nothing to do with me.” Remember, it’s never too late to improve on your first impression.