Tag: Brave Old World

Brave Old World: Some Photos and a Video


Yesterday, my father — who’s thrilled that you’ve been helping make this project a reality — made a huge contribution to match your spirit of generosity. He bought me an iPhone.

Believe it or not, I’d been living without a one since I moved to France. My Turkish one couldn’t be unlocked here, and for a lot of reasons, I thought, “You know what? I’ll live without it.” It was nice. I didn’t miss it. But obviously, I can no longer be one of those eccentrics who doesn’t have a phone, because I have reporting to do and a book to write. So my father offered to buy me one, and I gratefully accepted.

Brave Old World: The Sausage Factory


Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 12.41.07I spent the morning working on the outline of the book. Let me run it past you. It isn’t cast in stone. In fact, you’re going to be seeing a lot of bad ideas and draft material in the coming months. That’s normal for book-writing. Back in the Old Publishing Days (hereinafter the OPD), readers never saw the lousy first drafts of the books they bought. They saw polished, glossy hardcovers, arrayed in shining rows in the bookstore, looking like they sprang fully-formed from the head of Zeus.

Now I will reveal the truth: They didn’t.

I share this secret with you, because now you have a need to know. My first, second, third, fourth, and fifth drafts are always lousy. By draft six maybe I’m getting somewhere.

Only in America


American-Flag-in-the-SunI’m overwhelmed by your support for my book proposal. And it’s not just personal gratitude. It’s also hope for my profession. I now really think reader-sponsorship and investment could  be the future of journalism. This model could work so well that we might even be on the verge of entering a new golden age of reporting.

And this has reminded me all over again that for all our (justified) concern, America is such a remarkable and exceptional country. My brother and I were watching the “amount raised” counter on GoFundMe go up and up. Our conversation on Skype says it all — he said just what I’ve been thinking:

Claire Berlinski: It means so much to me.
Mischa Berlinski: I think it’s so amazing.
Claire Berlinski: I hope I can write a book that lives up to everyone’s confidence.
Mischa Berlinski: You know, America is really generous. This wouldn’t happen anywhere else.
Claire Berlinski: I was just thinking that exactly. Exactly. This is really what makes America different from any other country.
Mischa Berlinski: Although … I have the Italian gofundme site up, and there are lots of well-funded Italian projects too.
Claire Berlinski: But Italians wouldn’t think to build a site like GoFundMe. Do you realize what a successful company they’ve become because they began with the assumption that it’s just human nature to be giving and generous? They built a whole company around it.
Mischa Berlinski: Every single person on this page has such an American happy smile.
Mischa Berlinski: They look as if they see the very best in people every day.
Claire Berlinski: They also answered my questions within five minutes, as promised. Great customer support.
Mischa Berlinski: They have twenty-five people whose job title is “Customer Happiness.” And someone whose job is entitled, “Happiness Lead.” As well as a VP of Customer Happiness …

Member Post


A Thank You Update: Sponsors of this book are now the proud owners of a new, cat-proof phone cord (25 Euros, or $28.51) and — probably, if I like the first free trial month — a subscription to Microsoft Office. If it’s a big improvement over Pages (which comes with the MacBook Air), I’ll probably pay the […]

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Report from the Brave Old World, and Another Thank You


FlagsI’m stunned by how much support you’ve given this project. I’m honestly astonished. Thank you. I don’t know if I can even explain how much it means to me and why. Suffice to say, it means a great deal.

Here’s the first thing I did with the money. I spent an experimental $7.49 on a Pressfolio site to see whether Pressfolio’s easy to use and whether it might be a good way to keep all of the coming year’s reporting in one place. Pressfolio gets an A+ from me for design and simplicity (putting that up took me all of an hour), but it fails “multimedia-friendly.” There’s no easy way to add video or audio unless you host it somewhere else. That might be okay, though: Having an easy-to-use, visually pleasing place to put for “finished essays” might be worth $7.49 a month. What do you think?

Now — to Europe. Thought I’d share a few items that caught my eye this morning.

Brave Old World: An Update and Thank You


new (1)Yesterday I posted an idea for a reader-funded project to write a sequel to the book I wrote about Europe ten years ago.

I just wanted to know if anyone here thought the idea could work. I figured Ricochet members would have useful suggestions, good business sense, and the honesty to tell me if they thought the project wasn’t feasible. I had no idea the responsive would be so positive. Last night, I said to the Yeti, “Wow. They’re really encouraging. They like this idea.” But I had no intention of asking for money right away. I planned to study your comments, think about them carefully, and come back to you with a serious and detailed business plan, worked out to the last penny. (And obviously, I’m still planning to do that.)

But first I need to thank you.