When Felix Baumgartner set out to make a living by stunt jumping—from cliffs, buildings, and bridges—the young Austrian had no idea where it would take him: to a pressurized capsule nearly 24 miles above New Mexico, last October 14, preparing to free-fall farther than any man in history, and at supersonic speed. Detailing Baumgartner’s quest, William Langewiesche explores what drove him to ever greater heights.
A T-shaped man has two characteristics. First, he has a depth of knowledge and a focused expertise in one skill or discipline. This characteristic is represented by the vertical stroke of the T. Second, he has an interest in and a willingness to use a broad range of skills and disciplines outside his area of expertise. This characteristic is represented by the horizontal stroke of the T. A T-shaped man is, in short, a jack-of-all-trades, but a master of one.
This is a story about two men who have enormous power over each other because they need each other. Doc has made two comeback albums since the accident, 1996’s Helter Skelter and 2003’s Deuce. Both of them have their moments, but neither featured Dre as producer, neither got his endorsement, and neither sold. And Dre has never finished a solo record without Doc’s help—whether Dre needs him as a lyricist, a sounding board or a good-luck charm is hard to say, but he needs Doc as much as Doc needs him.
The sense of not belonging is, of course, the essence of teen-age existence, and perhaps it is this enduring quality that Persson’s youth following responds to, as well as the example he presents of the nerd made good, of success in the face of a certain emotional vagrancy. It’s this innocence that has informed his games. Minecraft is at its most beguiling when experienced with a child’s ambition: to explore, to create, and to share those experiences with others.
On “Mad Men,” we perceive history as it passes in the background of the lives its characters, which is often how it is experienced in real life. (The assassination of JFK, for example, is seen as it interrupts an assignation and ruins a wedding.) It is worth repeating every season that we only see the Sixties from a single, limited perspective. But that vantage point is a particularly interesting one: it is the very job of an advertising agency to understand the currents of culture. The fact that those who lead Sterling Cooper so often fail fully to appreciate what is happening around them is itself an insight into a time of historic change.
A stable and safe home? Full of happy and prosperous subjects? It sounded like a worthy goal, not just for a prince but for a parent too. Maybe I could use Machiavelli’s rules to help me reclaim my own kingdom.