Are you receiving me?

This is the first line of a new blog. Sure enough, I’m going to write about my business and what we do: we help other businesses – maybe yours – to communicate.

But I hate corporate blogspeak. I’m going to try to write about what makes sense and what makes us feel fully alive. What do you think of this, by Franz Kafka?

‘I think we ought to read only books that bite and sting us. If the book we are reading doesn’t shake us awake like a blow on the skull, why bother reading it in the first place? So that it can make us happy, as you put it? Good God, we’d be just as happy if we had no books at all; books that make us happy we could, in a pinch, also write ourselves. What we need are books that hit us like a most painful misfortune, like the death of someone we loved more than we love ourselves, that make us feel as though we had been banished to the woods, far from any human presence, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is what I believe’ (Letter to friend and classmate Oskar Pollak, 27 January 1904, from Letters to Friends, Family and Editors, translated by Richard and Clara Winston [New York: Schocken Books, 1973]).

You’ll be relieved to know that I’m not trying to stave in the back of your skull with a blog. But I am going to try to say something interesting, meaningful and useful. I am, in short, trying to communicate. Are you receiving me? Over …

About Propagandum

I’ve been working in book publishing for over 30 years – an industry now in rapid transition. So I’m interested in foundational principles for media, writing and language – what lessons can we learn for how we can and should communicate? How can we make sense of media/technology? Can we transfer some skills from the old to the new? I hope to share (every week-ish) some things I think are wonderful, rich and important. I write longish posts because our complex and fascinating world cannot be reduced to soundbites. Please let me know what you think – contact me at
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1 Response to Are you receiving me?

  1. Anthony Haynes says:

    This blog promises to be creative, highly literate, and intriguing. Clearly I will have to subscribe.

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