Feeding elephants in Bali . . . a highlight of my trip that has sadly come to an end—sigh! I am grateful to have had one of the most important, moving, transformative, rejuvenating, dare I say delightful! months I can remember in a very long time. There will be more to follow on the blog, though some lessons have been very subtle and are still sinking in, while others whacked me wonderfully upside the head.
Alas, it is time for me to re-enter the real world! Though I may still be frustratingly slow to reply to much of what comes my way . . . it is time for major book buckle-down mode! My editor and I both agree that it could use some major restructuring, which might mean cutting significant chunks of what's currently there (and using that content for related articles).
I'm totally on board — as one of my LAC book mentors Michael Larsen used to say to people when asking for feedback, "Don't spare me, spare the reader!" Clear, powerful and direct are definitely my aims here, and the book has a ways to go until it gets there. But like a piece of play-doh, the shape is slowly taking form.
Psst! Last plug to share a career pivot story if you have one! I'll still be working them into the next book draft over the next month.
Smart Business Revolution Podcast
If you’re in the mood to listen to a little somethin’ related to the book, I had a great time chatting with John Corcoran on how to change directions. Skip to 15:00 to start with present-day thoughts (if you've already heard me talk about my background) and how I approach networking:
- Eric Barker's The FBI’s Top Hostage Negotiator Teaches You How To Lower Your Bills, A Navy Seal Explains 8 Secrets to Grit and Resilience, and You can make moments in your life happier — even after they've already happened
- Shane Parrish on How Play Enhances our Creative Capacity
- Martha Beck: Conjuring Good Magic: How to Set Powerful Goals
- A viral Modern Love article in The New York Times says To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This
- While "falling," read this reminder from Dave Booda: The Peculiar Reason Men (and Women) are Afraid of Deep Relationships
- And on the subject of lasting relationships, forget about "Gray Divorce" — Here's How to Make Love Last — based on Karl Pillermer's new book, 30 Lessons for Loving: Advice From the Wisest Americans on Love, Relationships and Marriage
- Here's How Relationships Shape You . . . For Better or Worse (via Farnam Street) in four categories: self-expansion, self-adulteration (the "Sandy from Grease effect"), self-contraction, and self-pruning.
- If the tides have turned the other way, here's The Best Way to Get Over a Breakup
- Stop Checking Email So Often (NYT) — there's a significant reduction in stress when people check only up to three times per day (instead of incessantly)
- For many of us, email overwhelm is a large contributor to The Disease of Being Busy:
"What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?
How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?
Somewhere we read, “The unexamined life is not worth living… for a human.” How are we supposed to live, to examine, to be, to become, to be fully human when we are so busy?"
- Oliver Burkeman on three New Year's resolutions worth making: meditation, making a "stop doing" resolution, and resolving to "cut everyone a massive amount of slack."
"That’s the overarching conclusion of social psychology: we’re all staggeringly imperfect organisms, prone to making bad decisions when stress, busyness or poverty robs us of “cognitive bandwidth”. We habitually excuse our own bad behaviour as the result of special circumstances, while blaming others’ misdemeanours on deep-down nastiness. Or we torment ourselves with how much more accomplished everyone else is, when really it’s just that we lack access to their inner monologues of self-doubt. So: ease up. Except when it comes to these three resolutions, which you must now implement fully."
—Oliver Burkeman, New Year's Resolutions Worth Making
- Crazy . . . awesome! Watch Bill Gates Drink Water That Was Human Excrement Five Minutes Earlier
- Fascinating infographic from National Geographic on What the World Eats
- Business Insider says 95% of Americans Risk Eye Problems By Staring At Screens All Day
- Ashton Keefe on How to Organize Your Kitchen Like a Chef and The Art of One-Pot Meals
- Fast Company with a cool overview of the The NYT iPad Cooking App
- Tossing Out Food In The Trash? In Seattle, You'll Be Fined For That
- From Well+Good: 10 healthy books you’ve got to read this year
- Cold got you down? Here’s how to beat the winter blues.
- NPR's The Salt on Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups
- Turns out wild chimps talk about favorite fruits and the best trees to get them:
"Researchers eavesdropping on wild chimpanzees have determined that the primates communicate about at least two things: their favourite fruits and the trees where these fruits can be found.
Of particular interest to the chimps is the size of the trees bearing these fruits - the chimps yell out that information, according to a new study published in the journal Animal Behaviour.
The study is the first to find that information about tree size and available fruit amounts are included in chimp calls, in addition to assessments about food quality."
- Why working from home increases productivity and job satisfaction
- Cheating a bit with a round-up within a round-up . . . these are from one of my new favorite newsletters, Undercurrent (thanks Bob!):
- Zappos is bringing Uber-like surge pay to the workplace: LINK »
- What GE, a 130-year-old company, is learning from Silicon Valley: LINK »
- How to act like a start-up: LINK »
- Class: Business model innovation and lean startup tools: LINK »
- How-to: Run a design sprint just like Google: LINK »
- Tim Ferris interviews Alex Blumberg on How to Create a Blockbuster Podcast
- Here's a great interview with Tim Ferriss on 99designs: "Dominate a small niche first. Don’t try to boil the ocean from Day 1. I highly suggest reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel for more on this topic. You can’t think yourself out of most indecisions. You have to TEST in the real world. Make a lot of fast, recoverable mistakes and you’ll prevent most of the fatal ones."
- The Economist says we should stop romanticizing entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurs Anonymous
- Two fascinating articles on gentrification, via Dave Pell at Next Draft:
- Chocolate Factory in Brooklyn Asks: What, Us? Gentrifiers? (New York Times)
- SF Chronicle: To whom does San Francisco's oldest neighborhood belong? (SF Chronicle)
- Paul Graham's outstanding essay on How to be an Expert in a Changing World:
"The first step is to have an explicit belief in change. People who fall victim to a monotonically increasing confidence in their opinions are implicitly concluding the world is static. If you consciously remind yourself it isn't, you start to look for change.
. . . So I don't even try to predict it. When I get asked in interviews to predict the future, I always have to struggle to come up with something plausible-sounding on the fly, like a student who hasn't prepared for an exam. But it's not out of laziness that I haven't prepared. It seems to me that beliefs about the future are so rarely correct that they usually aren't worth the extra rigidity they impose, and that the best strategy is simply to be aggressively open-minded. Instead of trying to point yourself in the right direction, admit you have no idea what the right direction is, and try instead to be super sensitive to the winds of change.
. . . Another trick I've found to protect myself against obsolete beliefs is to focus initially on people rather than ideas. Though the nature of future discoveries is hard to predict, I've found I can predict quite well what sort of people will make them. Good new ideas come from earnest, energetic, independent-minded people.
. . . Surround yourself with the sort of people new ideas come from."
—Paul Graham, How to be an Expert in a Changing World
- I loved Charles Eisenstein's latest book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible. I had the great fortune of hearing him speak in Bali, and his ideas moved me in a very powerful way. One example: Eisenstein believes that major life change—the inner feeling of death and rebirth—is not a choice, but a gift. We are not fully initating it . . . often these changes "choose" us, from a greater intelligence, and we can accept them with gratitude even though the empty space between stories often feels quite disorienting and traumatic.
- The New Yorker on The Pleasure of Reading to Impress Yourself:
"There are pleasures to be had from books beyond being lightly entertained. There is the pleasure of being challenged; the pleasure of feeling one’s range and capacities expanding; the pleasure of entering into an unfamiliar world, and being led into empathy with a consciousness very different from one’s own; the pleasure of knowing what others have already thought it worth knowing, and entering a larger conversation."