Farnam Street helps you make better decisions, innovate, and avoid stupidity.

With over 400,000 monthly readers and more than 93,000 subscribers to our popular weekly digest, we've become an online intellectual hub.


A reader pointed me to this book a few weeks ago and I finally had a chance to read it!

Obsolete: An encyclopedia of once-common things passing us by is an attempt to take stock of things in our lives that are hanging on by threads: ideas, habits, and objects that are either obsolete or well on their way. It’s easy to confuse obsolescence with things just going out of style, but the book does a good job distinguishing between the two.

According to the book’s author, Anna Grossman, “fads come and go, but something begins to seem obsolete when it is no longer in use, either because it’s been supplanted by something that’s perceived as categorically better or faster or stronger or easier or because the purpose it served has exited stage right.”

A sampling of things that are either obsolete or well on their way: Anonymity, Blind Dates, Cash, Eating for Pleasure, Focus Groups, Late Fees, Mail, Meetings, Miss (and Mrs), Nuns, Pennies, Personals, Phone Sex, Smoking, Thesauruses, and Wristwatches.


If you have ideas for books you think I’ll like, send me an email!

Filed Under: