Niklas Zennström on Second Life, the value of fiction, and Estonians

A post in Jaanus’s blog quotes an interview that Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström gave a while ago. He was asked whether he is on Second Life, and he said “not really — I’m having enough trouble as it is to keep up with my first (real) life”.

Niklas is right – Second Life must be, like golf, an addiction that swallows up a huge chunk of your time. I’m quite wary of addicitons. I tend to believe I’m glad Second Life wasn’t around when I was a teen, otherwise I’d have been sucked in there and never re-emerged to have a real life.

At the same time, I disagree with practically everything Jaanus says about reading fiction. It just seems to me that picking Dan Brown’s “Digital Fortress” is, to put it mildly, not picking the best specimen in the genre. He probably fell into the same delusion I fell into when I picked Paul Theroux’s “Blinding Light”, that is, picking a book from the cover – without reading the reviews first. (Update, in case you care: I made it through another three or four pages last night). From Dan Brown, Jaanus extrapolates to… well, all fiction. Which is unfair. Jaanus, try Maupassant or Flaubert next time. Try John Cheever. Try Annie Proulx. Try some of Paul Auster‘s early novels. Just don’t generalize. Saying “after reading this book, I’m kind of happy about my decision to not read too many fiction books” is like saying “after meeting one disagreeable Estonian, I’m kind of happy about my decision not to deal with too many Estonians”.

(Of course I’m not saying this. I’ve only met cool Estonians. :-))

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