2 min read

13. Diaries

Sherry Turkle, design leadership, making decisions
pencil on opened notebook
Image by Jeshoots from Unsplash

Sherry Turkle’s work has come up over the course of my career - I remember reading her opening chapter of Evocative Objects in my early 20s and being stunned at the candour of her story—her object, a photograph, from which her unknown father was literally ripped. So I was thrilled to find that she has a memoir. The Empathy Diaries mixes life and vocation (which I think is kinda how things roll for most of us in the creative fields), talking about her lower-middle class Jewish life, escape to university and later work at the MIT Lab. It reminded me of how much history is about who you get to hang out with (she was married to artificial intelligence pioneer Seymour Papert, and the book includes their courtship, marriage, and eventual divorce). I also loved her recounting of a disastrous lecture tour with the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

This month in digital government and design


  • Anyone have a new year’s resolution to file what they read more efficiently? Here’s some filing inspiration. (I’ll be honest, I like the conceit of these but would never be able to do it in real life, partly as I move house far too much!)

  • Could you do with a ‘say no to things’ card?

  • Here’s how you can prioritise things.

  • Or make difficult decisions.

  • 100 overlooked films by women - glad to see the Kiwi An Angel At My Table in the list!

  • Through the collection A Poem for Every Day of the Year, I discovered the Fleur Adcock and “Immigrant”, her poem on moving from New Zealand to 1960s London. How many ex-colonial migrants can relate to ‘testing their accent’? I know that I can.

  • As someone learning about the genre of personal narrative, I picked up a recommendation to read Vivian Gornick’s The Situation and the Story. It’s a short but worthwhile read, as she unpicks and compares various essays from both the regular canon (Joan Didion, James Baldwin) to more obscure writers (Marguerite Duras, Edmund Gosse).

  • Finally, some thoughts on Twitter: