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2 Pages with MBS

Author: Michael Bungay Stanier

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Discover the best bits of the best books read by people you admire. Michael Bungay Stanier hosts the podcast where brilliant people read the best two pages of a favourite book. Listen as authors, leaders, activists, academics, celebrities, and entrepreneurs dig in with MBS to explore the insights and ideas within. Whether it’s books that inspire leadership, change, self-development and growth, power, strategy, ambition, productivity, or creativity and innovation - this is hand-curated wisdom from people who know. These are the books that change minds, shape lives, and inspire great work and worthy goals.

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Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant W. David Ball. Get book links and resources at http://2pageswithmbs.com and subscribe to the 2 Pages newsletter at https://2pageswithmbs.substack.com. Where do you find your people? I think I’m still looking for mine, and perhaps you are, too. What often happens is there’s an initial rough sort where you get thrown in with others who have similar labels - but that’s just the start of it. It’s up to you to find your people amongst everyone. I realized that I keep looking for people who make me both think and laugh, meaning I need to seek them out to give them the opportunity to do so. Of course, sometimes your people don’t actually need to be found, they need to be rediscovered; they’re already there, waiting for you to reach out to them and say hello.  Today’s guest is a law professor with articles published in the Columbia Law Review, Yale Law & Policy Review, the American Journal of Criminal Law, and many more. His full name is W. David Ball, but I know him as my friend Dave, someone I met when we were newly minted Rhodes scholars at Oxford in the early 1990s. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/  Dave reads the poem, ‘Ulysses’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. [reading begins at 16:45]   Hear us discuss:  “I’d decided that I was going to be me, because there’s no way I could fake that.” [9:25] | How to keep your artistic spirit alive: “The essence of creativity is being in touch with who you are, what you want to say to others, and how other people have moved you.” [11:48] | The process of keeping an open heart in your closest relationships. [24:20] | Sitting with ambition (as a Rhodes scholar). [28:13] | Work in the criminal legal system: “I have calluses - not in the sense where I don’t feel, but where my skin isn’t being burnt off.” [33:01]
Vicki is the “Founding Activator” of Coralus, a venture capital company with a unique approach to reimagining the world of entrepreneurship. With a background in social entrepreneurship and a deep commitment to radical generosity, Vicki is a highly hopeful and optimistic individual who is dedicated to making a positive impact on the world. Get book links and resources at http://2pageswithmbs.com and subscribe to the 2 Pages newsletter at https://2pageswithmbs.substack.com. Vicki Saunders reads from "Astonishing the Gods" by Ben Okri. [reading begins at 18:40] Hear us discuss: “I can feel myself being pulled two ways because definitely things are atomizing. Content is coming in shorter and shorter clips. Even paragraphs are shrinking. Shrinking, just like my attention.” [00:00] | "I just don't understand why we… make money, and then give it away to make things better, to solve the crappy things that we did when we made money." [03:04] | “How much energy is this taking? Is it actually creating any impact? And so at some point in the last 30 years, I was like, you know, changing the system is not why I'm here. It's to build a new one.” [11:05] | “How do we want to be together and live together? How do we want to be with one another, to witness each other's gifts, and to share ours with others in this act of reciprocity?” [21:15] | "Dreaming is a muscle. Courage is a muscle. You need to work it, stress it, be kind to it. That's how muscle grows. That's how muscle stays healthy." [37:07]
Scott is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, a podcast host, computer programmer, and an avid reader. He’s also an autodidact, who spends his time teaching people how to learn. Scott is the author of “Ultralearning” and “Get Better at Anything,” and he has been featured in The New York Times, BBC, TEDx, Pocket, Business Insider and more. Get book links and resources at http://2pageswithmbs.com and subscribe to the 2 Pages newsletter at https://2pageswithmbs.substack.com. Scott reads two pages from “The Principles of Teaching Based on Psychology” by Edward Thorndike. [reading begins at 20:30] Hear us discuss: "Mastery is a journey that diverts and separates individuals, leading them towards their unique style, voice, and signature move." [01:58] | "The mind is made of specific building blocks, not broad faculties." [26:14] | "The road to improvement is long but sure." [30:26] | "The mysteriousness of talent is that when you get someone who is a real skilled practitioner, they often can't even articulate what the building blocks are." [43:27] | "I feel I'm hungry to find more gaps, not fewer." [44:56]
Kaya Thomas is an app builder and creator of the We Read Too app, a mobile directory of children and young adult books written by authors of color. With a background in working with well-known companies like Slack and Calm, Kaya's career has been a journey of blending her expertise in coding with her passion for promoting diversity in literature. Though the book is closing on the We Read Too app, her work has touched thousands of young lives. Get book links and resources at http://2pageswithmbs.com and subscribe to the 2 Pages newsletter at https://2pageswithmbs.substack.com. Kaya Thomas reads two pages from "Positive Obsession" by Octavia Butler. [reading begins at 15:51] Hear us discuss: "I think a good mentor listens and understands what the person that they're mentoring really needs, where they're trying to go in their journey and help them just guide them and help them shape their goals." [14:05] | "Positive obsession is about not being able to stop just because you're afraid and full of doubts. Positive obsession is dangerous. It's about not being able to stop at all." [16:16] | "I think for me, it doesn't always manifest in like one particular skill, because for me, I'm not trying to be the best programmer ever or the best software engineer. But I think for me, it's more project based, right?" [18:40] | "Success just looks like more young kids being exposed to these books, because it's important, I think, for all children, no matter their background, to read these types of stories and to realize that difference can be celebrated." [29:13] | "I think for me, WeReadToo is a resource, and it's a free resource. And I always intend to keep it as a free resource. It's not an income-generating thing for me, and that's not the purpose." [30:30]
Mark Brackett is a psychologist and professor at Yale University, known for his groundbreaking work in emotional intelligence and the impact of emotions on daily life. He is the founder and director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. Through his book, “Permission to Feel,” and his work at Yale, Marc helps others give themselves permission to feel, and teaches them to create a safe space for emotional exploration. Get book links and resources at http://2pageswithmbs.com and subscribe to the 2 Pages newsletter at https://2pageswithmbs.substack.com. Marc Brackett reads two pages from “7 ½ Lessons about the Brain” by Lisa Feldman Barrett. [reading begins at 11:57] Hear us discuss: "Emotions are signals to approach or avoid. People's facial expressions, body language, and tone all send signals. I wanna be with you, I don't wanna be with you. I like you, I don't like you, I respect you, I don't." [20:12] | "All emotions are information. The idea that there are good and bad emotions is a myth. Emotions are a product of things happening in our body and mind, based on our life experiences." [25:54] | "Just because you have a proclivity to experience strong emotions like anxiety or frustration doesn't mean you're not good at dealing with it or labeling it. It just means that you have a tendency to feel that way more." [26:47] | "We're endlessly making predictions based on what's going on inside of us and what we're observing in the world around us. That's our emotional life." [36:59] | "The core of this work is that concept that we have to give ourselves the permission to be our true, full, feeling selves, nonjudgmental, compassionate, self-scientists." [38:30]
Jay Papasan is the best-selling author of The One Thing, which has sold over 3 million copies and appeared on numerous bestseller lists. Jay's career trajectory has been a series of evolutions, from working in publishing at HarperCollins, to freelance writing, to finding a deep expression of his mission to create impact working in collaboration with Gary Keller. Jay's journey exemplifies the courage and (useful) restlessness to pursue a calling and make a difference in the world. Get book links and resources at http://2pageswithmbs.com and subscribe to the 2 Pages newsletter at https://2pageswithmbs.substack.com. Jay reads two pages from “Turning Pro” by Steven Pressfield. [reading begins at 27:25] Hear us discuss: “When we wrote The One Thing, what became really clear from the success stories is that the people that achieve the most, the businesses that achieve the most, the athletes, the artists, were driven by some inner drive.” [12:16] | “If I'm focused on impact, whatever I'm working on has to matter to me and others. And I don't define the scope of others, because that's a trap.” [21:28] | "Sometimes, when we're terrified of embracing our true calling, we pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career." [29:51] | “The first question we ask is, when someone finishes this book that we haven't written yet, what's the first thing they're going to say about it? And what's the first thing they're going to do differently?” [43:12] | “The things that come with maintaining success are not what got you there.” [52:24]
Amy Elizabeth Fox is a transformative figure in the realm of leadership development and personal growth. As the co-founder and CEO of Mobius Executive Leadership, she brings a unique perspective to the field, emphasizing the importance of inner transformation for effective leadership. Get book links and resources at http://2pageswithmbs.com/ Amy reads two pages from Attuned by Thomas Hübl. [reading begins at 23:03] Hear us discuss: "Trauma energy creates a filter over our perception. Where we are traumatized, our perception of the world is distorted and limited. Awareness is reduced and overshadowed." [26:51] | "Genuine healing has the power to restore distortions and bring about inner and outer coherence, including improved relationships." [27:24] | "In precision is love. Being precise about who you're talking to and present." [30:15] |"We need to get rid of the bifurcation of a leadership development path with the cultivation of spiritual, psychological, and spiritual intelligence. They can't be two separate things." [39:15] | "We naturally care about each other. We naturally care about the world we live in. It's only a traumatized society that doesn't take that as a premise." [40:47]
It's not just our tech-enabled world that runs by algorithm. We meat machines, we humans, we one and all have our own programming, our deeply embedded rules that determine the decisions we make, the paths we walk, and who and how we show up in the world. Often the first part of growth and development is figuring out what our rules are, finding language for our own programming. The second part of growth and development is often unbugging the program and rewriting the maxims, so you become the person you want to be rather than the person you once were. So, here are three rules, three algorithms, three maxims that I bet you haven't considered, at least not fully. Number one, don't wait until you know who you are to get started. Number two, learn to take a punch. And number three, the ordinary plus extra attention equals the extraordinary. Each one of these is taken from a different book written by our guest today, Austin Kleon. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/ Austin Kleon is a prolific writer and artist known for his innovative approach to creativity and self-expression. He is the author of several bestselling books, including "Steal Like an Artist," "Show Your Work," and "Keep Going." Austin reads two pages from “What It Is” by Lynda Barry. [reading begins at 49:24] Hear us discuss: The importance of finding inspiration and guidance from mentors and teachers in one's field."The great thing about dead masters is they can't refuse you as a student."  [36:18] | The significance of community and how it can shape one's creative journey. [21:25] | The impact of encountering individuals who open doors to new creative possibilities. [42:31] | The value of simplicity and restraint in creative work. "Creativity is subtraction." [49:12] | The power of self-reflection and questioning in the creative process. "Is this good? Does this suck?" [50:14] | The transformation from enjoying creative work to feeling pressure and self-doubt. [50:45] | The importance of maintaining a sense of play and joy in creative endeavors. [51:53]
With the new year, we’re doing something new with 2 Pages with MBS. Twice a month, you can listen in to the same excellent conversations, and we’ll also be dedicating a YouTube channel and newsletter to the show. With that said, I didn’t want to leave you without anything to tide you over until February. In this episode, I read from Seth Godin’s book, “Purple Cow,” and ask you the question: are you going to sit out the next round, or will you be a Purple Cow? [Reading begins at 05:25] Get access to full transcripts and past episodes at https://www.MBS.works/podcast
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages Do you have a posse of people with whom you create “good trouble?” A small group you can collaborate with to stir the pot, strengthen one another, and step to the edge of what you think is possible? I often wrestle with how to build that type of relationship, and what I should bring to the table as a member. In this interview, we not only get an inside look at relationship building but also, how to identify and overcome the stress that can make us less effective collaborators. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/  Modupe Akinola is a professor at Columbia Business School, host of the TED Business Podcast, and part of a trio of ladies who set the standard for creating “good trouble.” Modupe reads two pages from the Genesis, the first book of the Bible. [reading begins at 30:52] Hear us discuss: The elusive definition of stress, as given by a stress expert. [00:04:30] | The key factors that create stress in your life: "The demands of a stressful situation can exceed your resources to cope, leading to feelings of stress." [00:05:09] | The first step in addressing the stress: "Noticing your physical and mental state when faced with stress can help you better manage it." [00:06:16] | How to take control and shift your mindset to overcome current stressors. [00:07:02] | Why having stress matters: "Every stressful situation is an opportunity to build resources and overcome future challenges." [00:10:52]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Dave Stachowiak. A famous quote by Albert Schweitzer talks about how small and obscure deeds are far more powerful than public acts that receive acclaim. It goes: ‘[The public acts] were like the foam on the waves of the deep ocean.’ Applying this metaphor to the world of leadership, what’s just foam on the waves, and what’s the sinuous currents of the deep ocean?  A great podcast that I often listen to - and one that I have been a guest on four times - is Coaching for Leaders, hosted by Dave Stachowiak. This podcast is the portal for his Coaching for Leaders Academy, which helps managers and executives develop leadership excellence. Dave is someone who, I think, is a masterful surfer: he knows the foam and the waves, but he also knows the deep ocean. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/  Dave reads two pages from ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. [reading begins at 20:55]  Hear us discuss:  “Talk to the people listening.” [11:21] | ‘We all think we’re more polarised than we actually are.’ [26:29] | Staying present to discomfort. [30:24] | The structure of the Coaching for Leaders Academy: “We learn best when we’re struggling with something.” [37:50] | Finding struggle to keep learning: “Seeing your mistakes is one of the most important parts of the learning process.” [40:13]
Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Stephanie Harrison. Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages Christmastime in Australia is in mid-summer. The Northern hemisphere traditions of ugly sweaters, roasted meats, and roaring fires really just don’t vibe there. We’ve even got a Christmas carol about Santa’s sleigh being pulled along by kangaroos, rather than reindeer. Many years ago, on a hot Christmas day, my family packed a picnic and headed for Tidbinbilla, the nature reserve about an hour’s drive away. When we arrived, we laid out all the food, hung up some wind chimes, and set up a table and chairs in the middle of a river. Sitting there, eating my mum’s plum pudding with the water flowing by waist-deep, with my family - I knew I was happy.  Of course, happiness is elusive. The stories and expectations we’ve internalised about the requirements to achieve happiness are mostly illusions. Stephanie Harrison is a champion for a wiser path to happiness, or as she calls it, The New Happy. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/  Stephanie reads two pages from ‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’ by Śāntideva. [reading begins at 12:40] Hear us discuss: The reluctance to give back to others: “The path to experiencing fulfilment and well-being is the ways in which we relate to other people.”  [16:15] | The process of learning to serve. [20:06] | Transcending ‘The Eye.’ [24:48] | Is happiness always a spiritual practice?: “Spirituality is about helping us to be human.” [27:28] | Self-care and self-renewal. [34:35]
Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe. Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages What’s the language you go to when you think of resilience? Common answers include, ‘bouncing back,’ ‘bouncing forward,’ ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ or ‘a regathering of yourself.’ I truly believe that the words and metaphors we choose to use around resilience actually influence how accessible that resilience is, to us. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/  Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe has spent two decades researching, teaching, and advocating for simple and powerful language around resilience, and the way she puts it is beautiful; resilience is being okay.  Robyne reads two pages from ‘Man’s Search for Meaning,’ by Viktor Frankl. [reading begins at 20:35]  Hear us discuss:  “The weight of the world becomes heavy to carry with two hands.” [4:02] | Describing resilience: “Resiliency is a verb.” [6:44] | Unlearning what’s ‘normal.’ [24:49] | What to unlearn about resilience: “Stoicism is not resiliency.” [27:36] | Getting better at falling apart: “Mistakes are not characteristics.” [29:57]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages One of my favorite songs is Hole In The Bucket by Spearhead, the band fronted by Michael Franti. It’s the story of someone walking along and deciding whether or not to give to someone else asking for a dime, for a nickel, for a quarter. As we approach the holiday season, perhaps you’re wrestling with the same challenge as I am - what does it mean to be charitable? How altruistic are you willing to be? In this interview, there’s a twist on that; one that might change everything. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/  Charlie Bresler is the volunteer executive director of the nonprofit organization The Life You Can Save, and he’s truly been central to it becoming a force.   Charlie reads two pages from ‘The Life You Can Save’ by Peter Singer. [reading begins at 20:25]   Hear us discuss:  Keeping the connection to your values alive. [8:58] | The relationship between structural change and individual change. [15:11] | A combined view of humankind: “I look around the world and I despair, but I also look at human potential and I’m optimistic.” [27:13] | Overcoming your natural selfishness: “It is a missed opportunity to not see the incredible amount of pleasure you can get from saving lives and helping other people.” [28:21] | The challenges of running a nonprofit. [32:04] | Effective hedonism rather than effective altruism: “You don’t have to be an altruist.” [37:51] | The meaning of success. [40:38]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages I remember being in New Orleans some years ago where people were offering to read your palm and tell your future. I was interested – I’d like to know how the future pans out. So, I picked somebody, and she proceeded to provide an amazingly disappointing performance that was mostly a combination of boring, wrong, and clichéd. I didn’t get my $20 worth, but what if you could see the future? What would you want to know, and what would you not want to know? Jonathan Brill is an author and a speaker, but perhaps he’s also the oracle that I’ve been seeking. He is, according to his business card, a Futurist. For the first years of his career, his focus revolved around innovation and what products would shape the future. But then he accepted a new role in a new organization, which he assumed would be more of the same. Irony alert – turns out the future wasn’t as predictable as he thought. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/    Jonathan reads two pages from ‘The Medium Is the Massage’ by Marshall McLuhan. [reading begins at 17:05]   Hear us discuss:  Understanding the shape of a question. [8:13]| Three tips for community building. [11:19] | How to stay engaged, yet be removed. [23:13] | “There are three conversations to have about any situation with another person; What happened? How do we feel about it? And What Happens Next?” [28:15]  | System observation and pattern recognition: “If you have a process for looking at the future, you can know a whole lot more than you imagine.” [30:19]  | Jonathan’s book, Rogue Waves: “How do I increase my optionality and potential, no matter what happens?” [36:59]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages Are you living for 70 years, or are you living the same year 70 times? It’s one of the great existential questions that writers and creators face, too – Am I writing many books, or am I writing the same book many times? Sure, the “best” answer seems obvious, but I’m not sure the true answer is always clear-cut. Malcolm Galdwell made popular a study that showed the difference between two great artists, Picasso and Cezanne; there’s deep and there’s wide, and it’s an eternal rhythm. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/ Geoff Dyer is a real writer. He’s the award-winning author of four novels, as well as numerous non-fiction titles on D. H. Lawrence, understanding photography, yoga, and more.  Geoff reads two pages from ‘The Country and the City’ by Raymond Williams. [reading begins at 23:45]   Hear us discuss:  The relationship between photography and writing. [6:33] | “Write the book that only you can write.” [11:47] | Self-expression as a learnt practice: “I became a very original writer by being incredibly susceptible to influences.” [11:53] | “The writing life is full of surprises.” [35:06] | The most important lessons in writing. [36:53]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages So how are politics going in your country? ... No, no, don't tell me - you're just delighted with how your version of democracy is currently showing up. ... I am truly feeling the pain and the confusion. And the inadequacy, of course, not knowing what to do about it right now. But what if in the future the good guys win? And if you knew that you were one of the good guys - and I think you are - what would that call forth from you?  On Rob Hopkins’ website there is a photo of him holding a sign that says, ‘I've been to the future…’ Rob is a father, a husband, a speaker. He's an author, he's an artist. He's a gardener. And perhaps central to all of that. He is an activist. Rob co-founded Transition Network and also Transition Town.  Rob reads two pages from ‘We Do This ‘Til We Free Us’ by Mariame Kaba. [reading begins at 13:50]   Hear us discuss:  “We need to build what I like to think of as being an imagination infrastructure.” [3:32] | How to sustain energy as an activist. [6:09] | The power of ‘What if?’ [11:41] | “And the only reason we're going to do it is if we're able to talk about what the radical transformation of society would be like in a way that is so irresistible and delicious and magnificent that of course, we want to do that.” [18:50] | “What does it mean to be someone whose work unlocks different possibilities and different ways of thinking about the future?” [21:03] | The goal of enlightenment is to free others. [26:41] | “The kind of activist [anyone] can be is entirely something that they shape themselves and is a reflection of what they're passionate about and what they care about and what they grieve for and what delights them.” [39:40]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages ‘The map is not the territory.’ This is one of those obvious yet profound insights: the thing we use to try and understand reality, is not reality. It’s true for all charts in companies, for instance. While they tell you a lot, they don’t have all the answers. Your map of the world, what does it tell you and what does it not?  Tiziana Casciaro is Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, and co-author of the book Power, for All: How It Really Works and Why It’s Everyone’s Business.  Tiziana reads two pages from ‘The Heart is Noble’ by the 17th Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje. [reading begins at 26:25]   Hear us discuss:  The study of the nonobvious. [6:33] | “When you have a lot of power imbalance, in the long run, bad things tend to happen.” [13:46] | The challenges and consequences of power in organizational spaces. [15:11] | “The world would be infinitely better if we were all more aware of how interdependent we are.” [33:03] | Power for all: “Sharing power doesn’t mean giving up power, it means empowering others.” [37:00] | Moving from certainty to ambiguity: “Remind yourself of the good in you so that you will be able to appreciate the good in others without fearing they will take over.” [42:33] | How human behavior is influenced by context. [46:41]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages What was your first dream that felt big? The first time you set your eyes on something and thought, ‘I’d like to strive for that.’ Or, on the flip side, ‘I’m not accepting the status quo anymore, something needs to change.’ You were probably young, and though the motives may have not been entirely clear to you, it was a moment of stepping up and claiming your authority; of claiming the next best version of you.  Olatunde Sobomehin is the co-author of the book Creative Hustle, and the CEO at StreetCode Academy, a community-based tech ecosystem that’s preparing the next generation of underrepresented tech leaders with everything from basic computing to virtual reality.  Olatunde reads two pages from ‘The Life We’re Looking For’ by Andy Crouch. [reading begins at 17:45]   Hear us discuss:  “I grew up in an environment where you could believe in the impossible.” [2:13] | What to say ‘yes’ to. [5:43] | How to start betting on your gifts. [8:48] | Dealing with resistance: “Holding onto your principles in moments of resistance is what keeps you grounded.” [12:05] | The notion of being known: “We’re all looking to be known in life.” [22:18] | The power of a shift in mindset. [27:38] | What it takes to reach out and ask for help. [32:36]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: pod.link/2Pages I did a beginner’s class in ceramics earlier this year, and it was a pretty interesting experience to go up against a potter’s wheel and lose. Forget actually trying to create a pot, I found it nearly impossible just to get the lump of clay centered on the wheel. I did end up with a few lumpy, bumpy things to glaze - and glazing is its own adventure where you never really know how your project will turn out since every firing in the kiln is different. Do your best, create blindly, have your creation tempered by forces beyond your control, and end up with something unexpectedly gorgeous. Gosh, it’s a bit like life, really.   Susan Collett is someone I’ve shared a glass of wine with more than once on my balcony, as she lives just around the corner from me in Toronto. She also happens to be one of the pre-eminent artists who works in clay sculpture and printmaking, something she’s been doing successfully for 30 years.  Susan reads two pages from ‘The Creative Habit’ by Twyla Tharp. [reading begins at 14:15]   Hear us discuss:  What art does for the artist, and for the world: “Something good always comes forward out of chaos, difficulty, and struggle, and I want to remind people of their strength amidst fragile times.” [6:32] | How to engage with art. [8:52] | Planning helps the wheel go ‘round. [17:59] | Working through the doldrums as a creator. [20:01] | Our inner critics: “Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s real.” [21:52] | The importance of drawing. [25:55] | The next project: “Within one piece there are ten other pieces.” [27:31] | “The clay, itself, teaches you to let go into the materials.” [30:01] | How to find your audience. [33:49]
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