Must be nice to be that good

I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I’d used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime. — Prof. D.E. Knuth

In the current hypertasking climate, people take excessive pride in the fact of being busy. To manage all that busy-ness, they grab the latest, hottest tool and immediately start adding to the job jar because, whaddya whaddya, the latest, hottest tool lets them do it. The results, unsurprisingly, are a bunch of hypertasked, ultraorganized goobers who can’t get anything of value done and whatever does get done isn’t worth looking at.

There are a few who manage to buck the trend. Stanford’s Donald Knuth is a transdisciplinary legend. He’s one of the founders of what we now call Computer Science. He creates tools to solve ostensibly academic problems and their impact defies measurement. For all that, he stopped using email in 1990. Stopped. Long before most people had even heard of it.

Here’s his lovely essay on why.

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