A photo of McNally Jackson Books

The Bookstore Project

I have liked books for a long time since I was a kid. I remember getting Jules Verne’s book Journey to the center of the earth when I was around 8 years old, and I loved it. My uncle Carlos had a small bookstore in Guadalajara, Mexico and my Dad used to bring me when he visited the bookstore to exchange his books and get a few magazines. And since then, I was always thrilled to go to this bookstore and look at all these book covers, magazines, etc. It was magical to me.

Verne’s book was a treasure for me, and while I don’t remember what happened to that book, it definitely was essential in awakening my interest in reading books. So as I am writing this, I did a quick search and found that the book is still in print, and I will definitely buy it – but not online. So instead, I will aim to get it at a small bookstore.

Like many people, I have many books around the house that I haven’t read yet. For me, it’s hard not to buy a book every time I go to a bookstore. While I don’t read all books immediately, I do read them. But the experience of visiting a bookstore, looking at all the books, decorations, and everything about them is very romantic.

A few years ago, I watched a video on YouTube where Max Joseph visited beautiful bookstores in Portugal and Argentina. In his video, he travels to Portugal to visit what’s considered the most beautiful bookstore in the world, while also talking about how to read books faster, and create a habit of reading. It’s a great video, and it’s very inspiring too.

I decided to watch the video again, and since my son had asked me to go with him to a Barnes and Noble near hour house, I was excited to go. While visiting the bookstore with my son, I found a book titled “Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores,” it is as if the universe had a plan, and was laying it in front of me. I bought the book.

With newly found inspiration and ideas from the YouTube video and the book about the world’s greatest bookstores, I decided to try a new project. The idea is to visit the most unique and beautiful bookstores worldwide and take some videos and photographs of these bookstores. This isn’t going to be a single trip around the world, but instead, I will try and visit at least one or two bookstores in every city I land. And since I travel often, this should be doable, and also very fun.

This summer, we are traveling to Europe, and one of the first places we’ll visit is Porto, Portugal. And guess what? Porto is home to what is considered one of the most beautiful bookstores in the world. Yes, the same one featured in that YouTube video. This bookstore is also where it is said that J.K Rowling got the inspiration for some of the Harry Potter decorations. This bookstore will mark the beginning of this project, and I am really excited about it.

I don’t know what this project will be like in the end. Maybe it will be a collection of photos, videos, or both. Perhaps it will be a collection of essays where I write about each one of these bookstores, their story, etc. I don’t know, but having a specific project like this to focus on is exciting to me. It also gives me yet another excuse to find and visit more bookstores everywhere I go.

Do you also like visiting bookstores? Do you have any recommendations? One of the coolest bookstores I visited recently was in downtown Brooklyn, NY. The bookstore’s name is McNally Jackson Books, and it is beautiful. They have a large collection of books, and the place is amazing. The photo featured in this blog post is from that bookstore which I visited in May of 2022.

man showing distress

Ya no te quejes

Mientras más tengo, mientras más me supero en la inalcanzable escalera del éxito suficiente, más me quejo. ¿Les pasa esto a ustedes también? La humildad es algo que se vuelve muy necesario cuando nos va bien, tenemos que evitar caer en la trampa de sentirnos importantes y prepotentes solo por tener más acceso que otras personas.

Las personas que trabajan en la industria del servicio no son bien pagadas en general, al menos no como deberían de ser. Y si además le agregas todas las interacciones con clientes diarias, muchas de estas negativas, la verdad que su trabajo se vuelve superdifícil.

Es fácil quejarse de algo cuando todo lo demás en tu vida va bien. Por ejemplo, me he dado cuenta de que hay una relación entre el aumento de mis experiencias de viaje, de comida, etc., con la cantidad de quejas que doy. Es como si mientras más tienes, más quieres. Y no está mal ser ambicioso, pero sí está mal quejarse, especialmente cuando tienes ya muchas ventajas sobre otras personas. Sé cordial, no seas mamón.

Hay quejas que son válidas, y debes de dejarle saber a la persona o empresa cuándo una queja es merecida. Pero creo que nos debemos quejar de manera amable y sin emociones. Para así poder explicar él porque de nuestra queja, y dar detalles para que esa persona o empresa ofreciendo el producto o servicio tenga oportunidad de mejorarlo.

Cuando nos quejamos de algo y lo hacemos de manera irracional y emocional, es posible decir cosas que no queremos decir, ofender sin querer ofender, y después sentirnos como basura. Esto me ha pasado varias veces, y es la razón por la que soy más consciente de mis acciones y de cómo interactuó con las personas que están ayudando a mi alrededor.

Además, quejarse es muy desgastador. Nos ponemos de malas, y también ponemos de malas a la gente que está con nosotros. ¿Y para qué? No vale la pena.

Si te vas a quejar, hazlo discretamente y sé amable. Menciona detalladamente tus razones por la queja y explica cuáles son tus expectativas. Y después da las gracias y sigue tu camino.

Las redes sociales son como los estadios de fútbol

Recuerdo cuando era niño y veía como la gente se apasionaba viendo juegos de fútbol, eras superamigo de todas las personas que le iban a tu equipo, y un enemigo de los que le iban a otro equipo. En los estadios, hasta peleas se formaban por esta misma razón. Dos equipos deportivos compitiendo para ganar, y todos sus fans peleando con los “otros” simplemente porque le van al otro equipo. No importa quién es el mejor, solo a quién le vas.

Hoy en día ya no sigo los deportes, pero sí veo el mismo comportamiento en donde la gente ve como enemigos a quien quiera que no piense como ellos, o a quien cree las cosas que ellos creen. Es la idea de que si no opinas y te comportas como las personas de un grupo, automáticamente te ignoran y te ven como el enemigo. Esta conducta de tribalismo es algo que se puede ver en casi todos los aspectos de nuestras vidas, no solamente en los deportes, ya no.

El tribalismo en la internet

La conducta de tribalismo está en las redes sociales, lo que facilita a personas que antes no tenían manera de enfrentarse, a pelear el uno con el otro en las redes sociales si suponen que eres del “otro” equipo. La internet ha generado muchas maneras de comunicación, y una de ellas es la facilidad de empujar un mensaje a personas, que antes, sin internet, hubiera sido imposible hacerlo. Esto puede ser bueno, pero como en los estadios de futbol, la gente prefiere pelear con los fans del otro equipo en lugar de disfrutar de un buen partido y apoyar al mejor equipo.

La gente ahora trata problemas sociales, partidos políticos, decisiones económicas, y hasta preferencias sobre cómo atendemos a nuestra salud, como si fueran equipos de fútbol. Todas las personas que le van a “tu equipo”, son amigables contigo, y todas las personas que le van a otros equipos, pues te ven como el enemigo, se burlan de ti y te atacan. Y muchos de nosotros hacemos lo mismo con personas que no piensan como nosotros.

La internet nos unira…

Nunca me imagine que algo así pasaría en la internet. Todos hablábamos de cómo nos conectaría con personas de todo el mundo, y de cómo democratizaría la publicación y el acceso de información. Y esas promesas se cumplieron, pero no con los resultados que esperábamos, al menos esto no es lo que yo esperaba. Los humanos tenemos la necesidad de ser parte de una tribu, de pertenecer a una comunidad que nos apoya y en la que podamos confiar. Antes de la internet, nuestras comunidades eran nuestros vecinos, amigos de la escuela, del trabajo, grupo religiosos, etc. Y por más grande que estas comunidades fueran, no existía una manera de enviar mensajes de manera masiva para que todos los miembros de estas comunidades reaccionaran a estos. Y mucho menos, miembros de otras comunidades ajenas a las nuestras.

Comunidades globales

Hoy en día, las comunidades en la internet atraen a personas de muchos partes del mundo, con ideas y creencias diferentes y muy variadas. Y como las interacciones son anónimas o casi anónimas, es fácil atacar a otros miembros de estas comunidades porque normalmente no son personas cerca de ti. No sé cuál es la solución, pero si sé que podemos poner nuestro granito de arena.

Sugiero que seamos más pacientes, que tratemos de escuchar a personas con ideas diferentes, aun cuando no estemos de acuerdo con estas ideas. Pero más importante, seamos cordiales y no tratemos de pelear con personas solo para ganar argumentos y recibir “likes” y el soporte de otras personas que piensan como nosotros. Y a los que solamente les gusta trolear, pues es fácil identificarlos e ignorarlos.

Amazon Seattle Spheres

Life Bubbles

People talk about parallel worlds, living in a simulation, etc. The interesting thing is that we all live in different bubbles all of the time, in a way. It’s almost like each of these life bubbles is a tiny world where we interact with other people and often have conversations about different things.

I was born in Mexico, and most of my family and childhood friends are still there. When I go to Mexico, I am in a different bubble. The streets, the people around me, the food, and the conversations are all part of that bubble. I often talk about other topics when I am in Mexico than at work or home in Seattle.

One of my passions is photography, so I follow this topic on the internet. In addition, I follow photographers on social media and often read books about the subject. This is my photography bubble. When I share my thoughts about photography with people from my other bubbles, the reaction is mild, very different from that of someone interested in photography.

My day job is programming. I code for a living, which is another type of writing. You type words on a screen, and these words then get translated into something a computer system understands, causing this system to perform the task described by the written code. This is a very different bubble than my family bubble, Mexico, or photography bubble. My technology bubble includes books, coworkers, conferences, blog posts, projects, etc., and it’s unique and very different from the rest of my life bubbles.

Why a bubble? I think of bubbles because that’s the easiest way for me to interpret the uniqueness and differences of these areas of my life. Each of these bubbles comes with its own characteristics, such as people, conversations, goals, etc.

My life bubbles aren’t entirely shielded from each other, and there are family members interested in photography, friends who work in technology, etc. However, for the most part, when I am at home, I react and behave slightly differently than when I am at work. Of course, this is nothing new, but once I started thinking of these interactions, work, home, hobbies, etc., as different bubbles, it somehow made sense to think of these experiences as bubbles.

My goal is to try and make these life bubbles blend; this can make things simpler and more enjoyable for me. I want to live my life as if everything is part of one big bubble, where everything blends and connects.

As I wrote the sentence above, I thought of Ben Stiller’s new TV series “Severance.” Trust me, I do not want to live separate lives as the fictional characters do in that show. It’s sad.

Listening vs. Talking

This is not new advice; we all know that listening more and talking less is an excellent way to improve communication and relationships. But listening is hard.

When I was a kid, I remember listening to adult conversations and thinking, they talk too much. I was always a quiet kid, and as an adult, I believe I am more on the quiet side than the talking one. However, I still don’t listen enough, and I think I talk too much. As a kid, I didn’t particularly appreciate how adults wanted to talk to me instead of hearing what I had to say, and now I probably do the same to kids.

We all want to know that people listen to us, that we matter, which might be why most of us are always trying to say or do something to get noticed. No one wants to be invisible. Listening should give us the same reward, but it doesn’t.

In my experience, when I am listening to someone, I can only do it for some time before I feel the need to say something too. So interrupting people or saying something when there is nothing to say can cause conflict and the opposite feeling of what we want in the end; for someone to listen to us.

Social media is another medium where we now go and try for people to notice us. We feel good when strangers say something to us or when someone demonstrates that they see you by liking your tweet, Instagram post, etc. But even knowing all of that, I think we listen less and try to talk more.

You know the saying, “everyone has an opinion,” right? It’s true, and I think the need to have an opinion comes from the need to be part of the conversation, for people to listen to what we have to say. We want people to care about us and our opinion.

I am trying to listen more and talk less. It’s hard. Whenever I am in a conversation where I have an opinion, I want to interrupt and say something. But in more instances than not, sharing my opinion or interrupting someone else when they are talking produces a negative output. It’s not what I am looking for, so I need to change that.

What are your thoughts about this? I care about what you have to say about this, so speak up if you have an opinion. I am here to listen/read.

Also, happy birthday Mau. Love you.

Cheers.