Kickoff For September 21, 2020

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday Kickoff, a collection of what I’ve found interesting, informative, and insightful on the web over the last seven days.

A quick note from the promote my own work department: I’ve just published Learning HTML: A Quick and Dirty Guide for Writers. Aimed at technical writers, bloggers, journalists, and content strategists, this ebook teaches the basics of formatting writing for the web. You can read a sample chapter and buy a copy of the ebook at Gumroad.

With that out of the way, let’s get this Monday started with these links:


How Four Americans Robbed the Bank of England, wherein we learn how a group of 19th century American con men used the laxness of English banks to try to defraud those banks of a pile of money, and how they almost got away with it.

The Master Thief, wherein we learn about how Sean Murphy became an accomplished thief, how he pulled off the biggest score of his career, and how that score caused his downfall.

A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite, wherein we hear the story of how a Hungarian refugee and former successful businessman roped his sons into a brilliant, but failed, extortion scheme involving a bomb that couldn’t be defused and a Lake Tahoe casino.


Death of the office, wherein Catherine Nixey explores that origins and rise of the modern office, why it became the symbol it became, and how its decline started.

Sleeping with Amazon, wherein David Gutowski recounts his time working for Amazon Books, and how that job was both a blessing and a curse.

How the World’s Most Venomous Fish Convinced Me to Stop Working Myself to Death, wherein Ali Francis looks back at her descent into the dangerous pit of the workaholic, and how almost dying on a surfing trip to Barbados made her reconsider her working life.

Odds and Ends

Last Pole, wherein Julian Chehirian recounts his attempts, as an employee of the state of New Jersey, to learn more about the former site of an AT&T transatlantic telephone receiver site.

The ingredients for a longer life, wherein David Robson explores why people in so-called Blue Zones live longer than folks residing elsewhere in the world.

What Do They Know of English, Who Only English Know?, wherein Colin Marshall ponders foreign languages, the people who speak more than one of them, and the reasons those people learn multiple languages.

And that’s it for this Monday. Come back in seven days for another set of links to start off your week.

Scott Nesbitt