This is all in an ideal situation. How you communicate and play your cards with the CEO will matter a lot.
Ask the company's CFO or somebody if there's any way they can buy back some of your shares at or near market price. If they can do this, or if they can let you sell them to a third party, you can sell enough shares to raise the cash to cover your tax liability and hang on to the rest.
Or, maybe the company can grant you an exception to the "exercise it or lose it" rule that kicks in when you leave. You won't know unless you ask.
You have some leverage. With the number of shares you have, they'll probably need you to cooperate in any transaction they carry out.
ESOFund is a possibility. But your company has to be a participant. And, they grab some of the upside and a lot of the downside.
At any rate, you probably should get yourself a decent tax accountant (or maybe lawyer) to help you navigate this. It's worth paying for top-drawer advice. That person will know how to recommend an honest EOFund-like broker if that's the route you go.
(Congratulations in advance, by the way!)
The company will be motivated to do the right thing by you, to avoid litigation and spooking current and prospective employees. You might not get all the value you might have hoped for, but likely most.
This is generally pretty good, if verbose:
Talk to esofund and friends ahead of time, and see what their offers for your company's stock are, and make sure they're acceptable to you if you think you'll have to go that route.
Don't count on definitely being able to sell the stock to finance the taxes. I left after seven years in very good standing (I believed) but when I went to sell the deal was shut down . Luckily I had a backup plan and I was ok .
 Had a handshake deal with an investor in the company, then the investor went silent on me. When I followed up he said the deal was "just much too small." I reached out to the company for help, and they said they'd actually told him not to buy from me. I never would have known if they hadn't decided to tell me for some reason. The takeaway is that the markets for private company stock tend to be small, and the buyers care more about their relationships with the company than they do about having your shares. Even if the stock terms allow them to buy, and they might not.
 However I was trying to sell for roughly double the current (public market) price. The private/public valuation gap is real! Don't put too much stock (haha) in the value at the last tender offer. If you can sell privately at close to that price it's possibly smart.
I believe their mission statement is to take the risk for you, which includes AMT if necessary, in exchange for some percentage of your stock to be negotiated. There's no risk in reaching out.
As far as AMT, I believe (off-hand) it's 18% of all income if it would be greater than your existing tax burden. So if you make $100,000 and are currently taxed 30%, your current tax is $30,000. If you exercise stock (where the gain is difference between your equity plan and the value as of the latest 409A, multiplied by the number of options exercised), that counts against AMT.
In this case, $18,000 would be your normal income against AMT, and you could gain another $12,000 in AMT without paying any more. This means gaining approximately $66,000 in value from the exercise without paying additional taxes. You would pay 18% on the rest of the value gain. For another $1,000,000, you'd pay on the order of $180,000.
Note: talk to someone who does this professionally, perhaps a tax attorney, as my word is from memory based on my research from a while ago.
If you believe in your company, or at least believe the stock will be liquid, I absolutely recommend finding a way to exercise your stock. All the better if you don't take a tax burden.
I also found out there's some kind of tax thing where you can preemptively exercise options (at grant time?) which won't be taxed as a gain because the value hasn't changed, then you just get the options as they vest (though it's a little late for that now :P)
For some people, a lifetime of debt, no matter what the possible reward, is unbearable, whatever the odds of the outcome. For others, who feel this is their best shot at wealth, and who are comfortable with the risk, it's an easy choice to buy the options.
But yes, get a tax advisor who is familiar with this specific situation (exercising stock in whatever state/country you live in, e.g California) and find out what the various scenarios are.
Anecdote: I and co-workers of mine have been in this scenario. It worked out for some and was a burden for others. Good luck!
I also second the advice about at least waiting until January 1, so you have another year to let the stock mature.
And if ever there were a time to talk to a tax accountant, that time is now.
Second, I'd strongly consider doing some/all of this after Jan 1. That will put your ISO+AMT tax into 2016, which will push your tax bill on this transaction to April 2017. (It may make sense to do a smaller amount before year end, depending on your current AMT situation).
(And make sure you make estimated payments (plus withholding) for 2016 that exceed 110% of your 2015 bill -- that way, you can kick the final bill all the way to April 2017).
Finally, the penalty for paying late is not THAT bad: given the amount of money, it may make sense to file in April 2017, pay what you can, and work out a payment plan with the IRS. You are not the first to have this scenario happen.
You can possibly arrange with the IRS to pay your tax bill over time.
You can find a buyer that will allow you to sell right after exercise.
Having the CEO (and the board) in your corner on this will make the likliehood of a good outcome for you better.
E-mail me if you want, I'm happy to chat about the situation / introduce you to the brokers I worked with.
Calculate the expected gain in the best base to see if it's worth taking the risk. If there's a chance you become a millionnaire if the company does well, then maybe it's worth the risk. If at best you can do a x2, maybe not.
I've seen tons on company ending up on a low-ball exit (i.e. sold for less than what was invested) and see all common stocks nullified so the investors can recoup some of their loss.
"Valued" has no meaning unless the company is publicly traded or there is a qualified exit.
There must be a marketplace to "sell" tax bills for a chunk of options?
I can't speak for ESOFund, or similar companies, as I have never used them. My best recommendation would be to talk to a tax accountant and explore your options. You may also consider a secondary market sale now if you are allowed by your company.
Rust is interesting, but I think it will remain an interesting language outside the mainstream without any major commercial backers (Mozilla does not count). In addition, C++ is taking a lot of the ideas from Rust and incorporating them along with tooling that will provide 95+% of the value of Rust while still keeping the advantages of C++ (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEx5DNLWGgA)
What is interesting with C++ is that although a lot of vendors are pushing their own languages - Microsoft with C#, Apple with Swift, Google with Go, Facebook with Hack, Mozilla with Rust - they are all deeply involved with C++ because C++ powers their mission-critical code. Another way of putting it would be that despite all the promotion if all of Mozilla's Rust code were eliminated tomorrow nobody would notice, but if all of Mozilla's C++ code were eliminated, it would cease to exist.
Also, C++ is rapidly evolving and by learning Modern C++ 14 now, you can avoid a lot of the mistakes of C++ that were common in the past and write safe, elegant code. C++ is also experiencing a renaissance (see https://www.jetbrains.com/cpp/cpp-today-oreilly/). C++ is now the one high-level language that is natively supported by the system vendor across Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, XBox, and Playstation.
It is easier to learn C++ if you already know the distinction between value vs. pointer types, if you're already familiar with C syntax, if you already know how to manage memory manually, and if you already know how to use functions, function pointers, and opaque types to create an API. C will teach you all of those.
It is easier to learn Rust if you already know about RAII, ownership, generics, both run-time and compile-time polymorphism, and move semantics. C++ will teach you all of those (in its C++11 and C++14 variants, at least).
If you decide to learn Rust, the Book is, I think, the best way for you get started, seeing as you already have experience programming.
Just picking a low-level systems language for my own fun and edification, I'd still learn C because it is so ubiquitous, but I for one hope that something more like Rust is the future.
2. Word of mouth or chatting to people in person.
3. Fuck no. Faster for me to build a custom site than to wrangle with someone's theme that's been built for the lowest common denominator.
4. A good SEO setup is included in the cost, but I don't write the headlines, meta desc, etc. If I am, that's extra.
Agency for 2 years, Freelance for about 5 in total.
In Apple's case, this is well-documented in several public articles and books, such as the Jobs biographies and any of the "expose" articles that come out the week of a new iPhone release.
Make sure he gets to read that. Warms a lawyer's heart.
But my thought is what would a DUI have cost me, or worse, what damage could I have done to someone else or their family. $200 feels wrong until I say damn, I am home safe, no one got hurt and yea it might suck a little but way cheaper then a lawyer or living with hurting someone else. Just a thought.
You didn't mention 'why' you wrote this book. Was there a particular goal in mind? We're you trying to help a specific type of person?
You might find some useful take-aways from Tim Ferriss on the subject of publishing> http://fourhourworkweek.com/tag/self-publishing/
First, put the e-book up on Gumroad and/or Amazon or the like, or set up an e-commerce site to sell it yourself (better margins; more work). Also set up a mailing list through MailChimp or the like.
Set up a site about the book, with a blog. Publish a few articles in the blog on the same content that your book is about (but not articles directly from the book itself; you don't want people who buy the book to feel ripped off). In the site's sidebar and at the end of each article, prompt people for their email address to receive a sample chapter of the book and sign up for a mailing list to receive new articles about the topic directly to their inbox for free. Now, as you continue to add new blog posts to the site - twice every month or so - publish them to the mailing list as well.
Finally, end each blog post/mailing list article with a call to action to buy the book. The article will establish your expertise on the subject, and as they're added to your site, will build up your SEO and start driving traffic from search terms related to your topic.
Eventually, if people are interested in your book, write another one. Hey, now you've got a voluntary mailing list full of people interested in your topic to advertise your new book to - it should have much better sales initially than your first one.
Wash, rinse, repeat. I haven't actually done this myself, but it seems to work for a lot of people.
Only advice if you fear any backlash is to contribute Anonymously. Using Tor and a unique nickname.
however, i think, the most important thing about cracking challenges is your knowledge, you need to learn the paltforms, the architecture, possible vulnerabilities and exploitation of all. so you may benefit reading some vulnzines like phrack and valhalla, some vxforums or papers from exploit-db. also there are very nice books where you can learn basic exploitation techniques(shellcoders handbook, hacking the art of exploitation, etc...). these may be useful if you really have the basic aspects, if you aren't comfortable with shell(bash, sh, zsh, etc..) you should get comfortable with them at the begining.
also you need to learn some c and another scripting language(like python, perl, ruby, lua etc...) for effective cracking (in *nixes).
and don't use windows, it makes you lazy.
also you can take these courses, that would be a marvelous start http://www.opensecuritytraining.info/
<IMPORTANT!> before starting these please ask yourself, why do you do this to yourself? go and get a (girl|boy)friend instead of this. the security field is such a H! hole and endless.
TL;DR: go with radare, and crack this challenges first >> https://exploit-exercises.com/
nuff said. Hands on exercises through MSP430 hackmes. Only problem is that it won't hold your hand through it other than the first one, and you may need to read online solutions to kinda get the hang of it.
That's how I learned ASM RE, and I tried x86 hackme's in a hackathon and I came out first. I have completed less than 10 microcorruption challenges. So there's that.
I despise LinkedIn however it's still the largest database of professionals out there so I pay for a 'recruiter lite' account which is quite useful.
connectifier.com/search is great for saving time in trying to extract an individuals contact info.
Gild.com is insanely expensive but a decent investment if you're hiring a significant number of people.
gender-decoder.katmatfield.com is a wonderful (free) resource to help you ensure your job adverts are using universally appealing language.
charliehr.com is a great, lite-HR system that allows you to manage all of your documentation, holidays and payroll details in one place, and it's free.
twiangulate.com/search/ is quite useful for discovering potentially interesting people on twitter.
Perhaps Dropbox will open source the project and the community can keep developing features and maintaining it.
It doesn't matter how much you are going to pay, someone paid more (Dropbox) and now they want exclusivity on the garbage can they are going to put this in.
I would love to see more companies shutting down services open sourcing them, but it's a lot of work and once you decide to shut something down you want to also cut the losses.
That said I recommend Chade-Meng Tan's 'Search Inside Yourself'.
Chade-Meng Tan began his career at Google as software engineer and later transitioned to teach a course that this book describes on emotional intelligence, mindfulness, and self-awareness. Allegedly, the course was quite popular at Google. I highly recommend the book.
- Gives interesting insights in the healthy values at Google.
How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
- Interesting discussions about correct/incorrect interpretations of data/statistics.
Black Hat Python
- Gives short code examples of what can be possible to do.
Programming Collective Intelligence
- Outdated but very inspiring hands on examples of ML in Python
It has completely changed my thought process and helped me with self-realization.
Not CS relevant, however an interesting read.
1. Art of Computer Programming: Combinatorial Algorithms, Volume 4a. This stuff is hard. It's harder than I can imagine. [It's worth noting that this probably clarifies my definition of "read", since I've only read a little bit of it so far and only really grokked a little bit of what I read].
2. Programming Clojure made me make sense of the truth underlying the joke "Clojure is just a Java library".
3. The Art of Unix Programming  made me understand my experience living through the transition from MSDos to twenty years of Windows and think about what I had lost and missed and how my understanding of software and design had been shaped. It also helped gain better intuitions when using Linux. 
4. Starting Forth  because Forth is worth learning. It's worth learning because it changed the way I think about programming languages.
5. The Art and Science of Smalltalk  for the same reasons as Forth, only more so. After reading about Smalltalk, I felt I began to understand the "Why" of Ruby. Ruby became many times richer with the context.
6. The weird one is The RSpec Book: Behavior Driven Development with RSpec, Cucumber and Friends. It's also the one that changed my thinking the most [caveat: it's also the most recently read]. I saw someone's "port" of RSpec to Clojure  and had saw the Turing Tarpit swallow Lisp. Until then, my smug weeniness didn't allow for the possibility. But implementing an internal DSL for RSpec missed the beauty of RSpec's design. I saw Lisp through the eyes of it's detractors. It's a case where Lisp's parentheses make an elegant idea grotesque.
7. [Bonus] The C Standard Library. Trigonometric values are produced via the dark arts.
: Please note, I am not anti-Windows or anti-Microsoft. There are tradeoffs all around.
: Please don't get me wrong. I don't dislike Lisp. I'm not arguing that the repository is typical, or that anyone else should find RSpec's design attractive. What I saw was that as an internal DSL, RSpec's design baby goes out with the Ruby bathwater in the land of Clojure internal DSL's.
This does not mean being spammed by AMZN or GOOG or other recruiters.This means being approached by hiring manager or higher.
I didn't know I was being interviewed, we were just two people seated alongside one another at a wedding reception, having pleasant casual conversation. She made me feel totally at ease, complimented my suit, laughed at my jokes, and was really inquisitive about me. After an hour of answering her questions, I began to notice that she wasn't answering any of mine. She would subtly bring the conversation back around to me. In isolation, it never felt evasive, but the pattern of doing so did.
So, I casually commented that she must have been a middle child to be so adept in conversation. She smiled and indicated that, in fact, she had just one younger brother. To which I responded: "And now I know you have a younger brother, so why don't you tell me what this interview is all about."
After collecting her jaw from the floor, she offered me a job.
I guess you can file that under being approached by them first, but I thought y'all might enjoy the story.
I prefer the "meet and greet" approach to job hunting. If we have a good conversation about their needs and how I'd satisfy them, I'm inclined to feel a little insulted when a resume is asked for.
My first job: my high school CS teacher knew I was good with computers anecdotally. (He heard second-hand from another staff member that I had looked at another student's buggy code, written in a language I had never seen before, and identified and fixed the bug in a few minutes, before I had ever taken a formal CS class at the high school.) One of the teacher's former students had a small business that was hiring people to do some one-off data entry work over winter break and asked if I wanted to give it a go. (I said yes.)
Boss liked my work ethic, and offered to hire me back the following summer to work on their C#/ASP.NET code base (even though I'd never coded C# in my life).
Having spent a lot of time assessing my team's needs and trying to figure out a solution that works, I'd add that picking a tool is the easy part.
Since most of these tools are very flexible in how you use them, without enforcing incredibly strict workflows/process of their own, the really tough part is defining your own workflow/process. The even tougher part is getting people to actually follow that.
A task management tool is only as effective as it is religiously used by all involved. The moment a project conversation gets side-barred into an email thread, communication gets scattered and is no longer consolidated. Someone consistenly forgets to update their project status every time something changes? Suddenly others are out of the loop, and others stop updating project status because it that seems to be acceptable.
While you don't want to be a control freak about this stuff, it is critical to make sure any user is committed to using it religiously. It is also important to make sure the process is clearly defined in a simple, SHORT, and easy to find list somewhere. Expect lots of questions on edge cases for "how do we handle X," and think of good ways to give friendly reminders to those who forget to do something, and less-friendly reminders to those who are frequent offenders.
Great developers can be passionate about niche languages and in the short term it could be a recruiting tool for exceptional developers. But you have to balance that against the fact that if your chosen language is too far outside most other developers' experience you're greatly reducing the pool from which you can hire.
Let's say somehow you are able to find a team of five truly energetic self-managing Clojure developers. Yes, I would back that team if they were up against 25 average developers and associated managers.
But then how're you gonna scale? You can't just take normal developers, teach them Clojure, and expect them to get Clojure fever the same way your group of self-selected experts had. I mean, they are professionals and they will learn it, but you will end up with an ordinary development team simply using a uncommon language.
You cannot beat regression-to-the-mean simply by choosing a different development toolchain. You can only beat it by hiring the right people, often those who tend to fall through the cracks of traditional HR processes, and letting them recommend the tools.
But, as a non-engineer, I don't think it really affects you enough to factor into the equation.
1) Will Clojure provide a competitive advantage in terms of cost savings and productivity?
Maybe. If they're experienced at Clojure and are good engineers to begin with. But its not likely enough to base your decision on.
(I argue and hope that it does provide productivity advantages for a variety of reasons, but I wouldn't be confident enough of this to base your decision on)
2) Will Clojure provide a hiring advantage because engineers are excited to work with it?
Maybe. Are there excited Clojure enthusiasts in your area who want to work on it? In my own experience, this may very well be true - I interact with a lot of enthusiastic programmers hoping for a job using Clojure in the user group. But, again, I'm not sure this is proven enough to base your decision on. Again, in my experience, the global Clojure community is exceptionally skilled and talented and have good sensibilities about what makes good, understandable, solid code and all Clojure developers I have spoken to are very happy writing Clojure. So if you can tap into these people, then that is definitely a positive for the company, but I'm not sure it will make or break the company.
Bottom-line is that Clojure is unlikely to be a top 3 contributing cause for success or failure, so, as a non-engineer who doesn't get any personal satisfaction from the language, I don't think it should be a major factor in your decision.
Any average developer can probably write something in Ruby/Rails at least 2x faster(in developing time) than the best clojurist alive if the startup in question is a web app / mobile app. And this matters for a startup, time to market.
If the startup has a very complex business domain, needs some deep data science to be done, machine learning or some sort of thing, it might be a good indicative that they use clojure, but there's like 10.000 things that you should care before if they use clojure.
There's a lot of companies that are about raising money, picking a weird stack, hiring a bunch of hipsters and then running out of money and closing operation. I know people who are programmers that know that the company product sucks and just stick to the company because of the tech stack. As non-founding engineers don't get that much stock options it seems a good idea to work for a company with some fun stack that pays well enough even though you think the product is shit.
As you aren't a programmer, you should look for companies where you see that the business makes sense. Tech tools rarely end up as a big market advantage.
What makes all the difference is having great managers, board, C-level, culture... and of course, a decent business model. With a competent team, good business model the team will apply a tech stack that is good enough to solve the situations at hand a move the company forward. And this won't evolve just one programming language, just as you can't create a big company just doing advertising, or just having only finance people. You need all kind of skillsets and this also applies to tech.
Clojure? Last concern.
And I think you mean Clojure: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clojure
Depending on the application there is probably a productivity advantage and you're certain to find a small number of very talented engineers. After that you may have to train engineers. If its a more interesting / profitable project you can expand the hiring pool by looking globally. Famously, Jane Street uses OCaml and it works out well for them.
I'd say yes in two scenarios, if you want a smaller team (and dont need to scale up too much in number of engineers; although you can switch languages later if the company begins to succeed) or if you have a more specialized project that benefits from the language and probably needs more of an academic background.
I'd say the main argument against it, is that a decade ago the divide between LISPs and stacic languages (basically the mainstream at the time) was indeed huge. While today if you don't use a LISP you're probably going to go with a fairly dynamic and functional language anyways.
I'd only be wary if he has an absolutely religious conviction it's true. If it's an educated bet then it's fine in my book.
In some cases, choice of tech-stack can provide competitive advantage.
You could ask the CEO for specifics on competitive advantage Clojure provide and evaluate for yourself if it actually does.
Other unrelated questions:
Are they going to pay you at market rate? (Are they going to pay you??)
How much equity would you get? (My usual joke is that if it's more than 20% you are a cofounder and if it's less than 2% you are an employee.)
2) It will have some appealing for some developers yes, but the pool of talent will be smaller than a more mainstream language
Using Clojure will not prevent the CEO from turning out to be a maniac and hothead.
2.If salary offers are ridiculously low side, this usually indicates that there are problems with money in the company,or that company is offering something which will substitute for the low salary (really cool tech, everyone wants to work there, remote work, perks, etc.) Recently, it is mostly been the former.
3. Worldwide talent availability and competition from multinational corporations has made the engineering job market less lucrative in the US for engineers.
There is no desktop app, and the settings aren't as customizable but the bundling feature makes up for that.
The shortcuts are Gmail compliant so you can use whatever you are used for with motion/archive/delete and more.
I've used Postbox, MailPlane3, Mailbox, Mail and a lot of others, Airmail is the best one so far.
Too many different users from one IP
the VPN provider uses IP space from their hosting provider and normal users normally don't have IPs from a range where you'd expect servers
Someone ran bots from the same IP range (hosting provider)
Eventually we were able to pinpoint this to specific toolbar that was bombing Google with PageRank requests.
After removing this toolbar- all went back to normal, so perhaps some users that using the same VPN provider are using some sort of tool and abusing google.
God only knows how bad this is going to be for kids that are now growing up with youtube.
That nonsense aside, I was doing what you're doing until I learned an important lesson. I found that I will not gain anything of value by reading quickly and inattentively. If I am spending my time skimming articles, forum posts, stack overflow, without doing something like taking notes, I'm just teaching my brain that most information is useless to me. The sooner I learned that lesson, the sooner I was back to reading books.
You're probably used to extracting information you want in a very short period of time via sites like StackOverflow or Wikipedia or whatever. If you're like me, when you encounter something that isn't going to give you the gold quickly, you probably move on to something that will.
You're used to the quick turnaround, so when something takes longer it makes you feel like you're squeezed for time.
For example, I have plenty of physical programming books. A lot of the time I know that the answer I seek is in one of those books. Sometimes I even know which book and the location in that book. But guess what? I still go to StackOverflow first because it's quicker and someone will have already summarized the book. I'm so used to getting information quickly, that actually having to look for it is unthinkable. It _feels_ like I don't have enough time to read the book myself, but that's really not true at all.
I started reading again when it became a lot more convenient, thanks to the kindle.
I think I finished reading all the Wheel of Time books because of the convenience of the kindle (it gets boring around book eight, before a well deserved end).
Paper books are heavy and expensive.
It doesn't work for all books, as it is not a good PDF reader, but for anything that's more text than graphics or layout, it's a huge improvement.
That sort of hits on the other major reason for cyclic reading. My tastes and interests change. Sometimes the right book comes along at the wrong time...and sometimes the same right book comes along twice, by which I mean that one of the interesting things about getting older is that rereading books is not rereading the same book. The greater narrative of which it is a part has changed as I have changed.
One of the other features of getting older is that not finishing a book doesn't bother me anymore. I'm ok if a book doesn't speak to me or stops speaking to me. I enjoy finishing books, but don't see not doing so as quite the moral failing I once did. Maybe I'll come back. Maybe it wasn't that good. Maybe it's overdue. Reading for pleasure is supposed to be pleasurable and the suffering of a hard book or long book or a challenging book has to be worth it, and making it worth it is the author's responsibility, not mine.
Anyway, not having time is the biggest constraint, e.g. currently the time slot that I had been using to read is being used to journal. It's a tradeoff.
I think your comment about "squeezed for time" probably explains it. You're probably slightly stressed or burned out through working too long hours. All the evidence suggests that working too many hours is detrimental to productivity, and your inability to focus seems to be proof that your productivity is suffering.
Try relaxing more and reducing your working hours.
2) Try to use small moments of free time. As an example, if I have more than 30 minutes of free time, I read some pages of a book.
If you stop to think about it, you are probably going to remember recurring moments in which you had 30~ minutes of free time. Instead of using it to read Hacker News or browse Facebook, read something. Commuting is a great example.
I've enjoyed this article that was recently on HN http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/29/opinion/sunday/addicted-to...
In a nutshell, he argues that our brain gets better at things that we do a lot, and worse at things we used to do a lot but now do a lot less. Reading is not different from any other activity in that sense.
And many people nowadays don't read many long, hard books anymore, and instead quickly skim short articles and then switch to the next.
So we get better at quickly getting bits of information from short articles, and worse at staying focused for an hour on the same demanding text.
I find it hard to argue with.
What I find myself doing now with most long-form Web or mobile content, as well as printed magazines and newspapers, is skimming to get the basic facts or quotes and then moving on. I just don't have the time or attention to stay focused anymore.
As for books (fiction and nonfiction), I find myself skimming when I using the Kindle. The Kindle Fire is even worse because of the easy access to other distractions. For printed books I can focus but I have found my threshold for abandoning a book is much lower. I did this recently with a novel by an author I used to love; I just felt the characters in the new novel were wooden and I noticed some basic editing errors. I returned the book to the library after about 40 or 50 pages.
As for the reasons behind this: I am not a programmer so for me the issue is not related to dealing with short lines of code. I think it is a combination of information overload, easy access to screens, and training our minds (through exposure to text messages, tweets, online updates, short video clips, etc.) to prefer condensed communication.
The trend makes me uncomfortable, but on the other hand, I also see it as part of the evolution of media and society. If we look back through history, we can see how other new media had a similar impact. Newspapers, film, and television changed styles of writing and peoples' preferences for reading materials and storytelling. Then, as now, there was great discomfort in the way media and storytelling evolved. A 1961 speech by the then-chairman of the FCC called television a "vast wasteland." If you go further back, there was negative reaction to the introduction of radio, the use of photos in newspapers, and even opera, which was seen by 17th-century British intellectuals as "chromatic torture." There has been a lot of thoughtful expository writing about this; if you are interested (and can manage to read an entire book) I recommend checking out Mitchell Stephens "The Rise of the Image, the Fall of the Word" (1) and Walter Ong's "Orality and Literacy" (2). They are somewhat dated now, but I think they really documented important transitions from antiquity to the end of the 20th century.
I would suggest reading some books from 'A Very Short Introduction' series. Each topic is written by an expert in that field; and is about 130-150 pages. I have read books on Marx, Foucault, The History of Life. Next up is Metaphysics; followed by Logic, Planets and Fractals. I am enjoying reading these in a cafe!
You might look into taking a few supplements or improving the quality of your diet. We tend to become deficient in certain things as we get older and this can reduce our ability to focus. Reversing the deficiencies I suffered has helped me get my brain back, at least somewhat. It's not like I can calculate math problems faster than you can type them into a calculator these days like I once could, but I do function better than I did when I was really ill.
Walk more, eat better, consider switching to a kindle reader. Perhaps it is health related, as it largely was for me.
Best of luck.
I've concentrated more on slimming down my book shelves by getting to all of those books that I always wanted to. I'm finding them more illuminating and enjoyable than any short article. I find them more likely to change my viewpoint than any catchy article could because someone dedicated months, if not years, to put their work out there.
As far as finding time, unless you're busy from when you wake up into when your head is back on the pillow you can find time for what you feel is important enough. For me I've cut scrolling through articles and social media for something more substantial.
Jokes apart ; attention span going down is certainly a concern but do you think we all are getting way more lazier? Shortcuts, one line stack overflow answers, instant results and 2 min quick fix tutorials are not just killing attention spans but also making us lazy and bad developers.
It works the same for me with sleeping. Whenever I start being uncomfortable on my bed, I switch to sofa for a while.
If you want to read, read paper books or read on kindle. Don't read on your phone.
I have a hard time finishing articles and, even, comments.
It's a very bad situation.
Reading, assessing, and learning are massively important skills.