Recently, I’ve taken to introducing myself as a writer. Occasionally, I receive a response along the lines of: “But aren’t you the person teaching the TensorFlow class?” or “But didn’t I see you in that CS class?” and I was always confused: “Why should being a writer stop me from being interested in CS?”
This morning, I went for brunch with a bunch of people I didn’t know. A man in his fifties, after hearing that I’m a writer, asked: “How are you supporting yourself financially?” Continue reading “[Day 803] How do writers make money?” →
Sophia the robot visited Vietnam today and VnExpress asked me to write an op-ed about what it means to be human. In the article, I mentioned the program that Andrej Karpathy wrote that generated Shakespeare-sounding text.
I didn’t think much of it until my editor texted me: “Is Andrej Karpathy human?”
I was like: “I guess.”
She was disappointed and took that example out of my article.
Over the years, I’ve noticed three things about books about Vietnamese culture:
- They are all written by foreigners. A guidebook to a country written by a foreigner is like a cookbook written by someone who has only had experience in looking at the food. There needs to be a book about Vietnamese culture written by a real Vietnamese.
- They all start with the war. Come on, the war ended 4 decades ago! There are so many more cool things in Vietnam.
- They all read like textbooks at best and phonebooks at worst. I believe that books should be not only informative but also entertaining.
I’ve spent the last two years interviewing many people: foreigners who have traveled in Vietnam, foreigners who have lived in Vietnam, foreigners who have never been to Vietnam, Vietnamese who have lived overseas, Vietnamese who have never been outside the country, etc. I’ve combined their opinion into a book called “How to not get your ass kicked in Vietnam: The native’s guide”. But I still need more input to make the book as comprehensive as possible. So please help me through this short survey:
Survey for non-Vietnamese
Survey for Vietnamese
Thank you very much! The prologue to this book can be find below.
Continue reading “[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture” →
I have just finished reading Dan Ariel’s book “Predictably Irrational” and it haunts me. The ideas he presented in the book are not new, but it was fascinating in a way that he found a way to measure things so abstract such as distrust, honesty, and the effect of horniness on our decision making. One of the things that made me think about a lot in this book is the IKEA effect.
Continue reading “[Day 70] The IKEA effect and the writer’s disillusion” →
I’m taking a writing workshop with Professor Elizabeth Tallent–a fascinating writer and a great teacher. As is often the case with writing workshops, we get to talk about a lot of interesting topics and today we got around to our favorite/least favorite punctuations. Yep, you read it right: punctuations. How can you not get excited? And yep, some people do have very strong feelings for those tiny little things that most of us ignore while texting anyway. Continue reading “[Day 2] Exclamation marks in emails, yes or nah?” →