Discover2 Pages with MBS
2 Pages with MBS
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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.

180 Episodes
Recommend this show by sharing the link: 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 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: 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: ‘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: 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: 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]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: I often get asked how I sold more than a million copies of The Coaching Habit. I wish I had one, but, of course, there is no singular answer - just a combination of things going well and a healthy dose of magic fairy dust. One thing we got right, though, is the design of the book itself. So many books feel heavy - a wall of text - and I wanted a book that felt lighter, accessible, and non-intimidating. In whatever you’re working on, what experience are you creating?  Stefan Butcher is an acclaimed graphic designer and illustrator who likes designing books, and questions. When I found him through his wonderful book, 344 Questions: The Creative Person’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to Insight, Survival, and Artistic Fulfillment, I already knew we would get along. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌   Stefan reads two pages from ‘The Salmon of Doubt’ by Douglas Adams. [reading begins at 19:35]   Hear us discuss:  Disrupting the status quo: “I’m weird … but I’m not a threat to anybody, I’m just trying to make my thing happen and help others do the same.” [9:23] | Performative competence versus embodied competence. [13:29] | How to keep your heart open: “It’s not the pain that kills you, it’s the numbness.” [24:22] | The difficult choice of what to work on. [28:40] | The essence of collaboration: “We are each other’s keeper.” [33:31]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: As I’m recording this, I’m currently in Australia where we’re about two weeks out from a national referendum on whether or not to change the Australian Constitution to recognise the first peoples of Australia, by establishing a body called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. I’m embarrassed to say that it doesn’t look likely to pass, and by the time you’re hearing this we’ll know for sure. There’s a profoundly worrying general lack of energy and empathy among most Australians, and, to me, feels like a once-in-a-generation opportunity for reconciliation, empowerment, and healing is being missed. It’s confronting to recognise that so many of us live on unceded territories of First Nations, and it’s not easy to know what to do about it. That’s why I’m so grateful to the people doing the work to give the rest of us the chance to do the right things, and make the braver choices.  Bob Joseph has been steadily changing the world for decades. He’s the President and CEO of Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, a company focused on teaching others how to work effectively with those people who are native to Canadian land, and also the author of a perpetual best-seller in Canada, 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Bob reads two pages from ‘BE DiFFERENT or be dead’ by Roy Osing. [reading begins at 32:15]   Hear us discuss: What reconciliation looks like: “It took us 137 years to get into this mess, and I’m hoping it won’t take us 137 years to get out of it.” [14:54] | The three selves: self-determination, self-government, and self-reliance. [17:00] | “A lot of people doing a lot of little things adds up to a pretty big change.” [40:03] | Knowing when to take control, and when to let it be. [40:59] | How to stay patient: “Watch for the little victories and celebrate those.” [45:08]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: The very first hotel that I got quarantined into, I looked out over Darling Harbour in Sydney. I knew just over the rise was the Sydney Opera House. It was my only view for two weeks. It changed constantly. It was on fire, lit up by a sunset. It was looming with threat as a storm passed by. It became lit up at night. It was actually a Ferris wheel, a carnival, like an underworld at my feet. We're constantly searching for what's new. We're constantly distracted. And sometimes it's wonderful to be forced to look and look again at what's right there in front of you.  Miranda Keeling trained as an artist, initially with a degree in glass making, but has gone on to grace the big stage and to attack the tyranny of the blank page. Seeing small differences is Miranda’s thing; noticing the details of everyday life and elevating them with the various forms of art that she makes. And to be honest, this is something Miranda's done from the very start.  Miranda reads two pages from Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow. [reading begins at 14:54] Hear us discuss: What do you have to let go of to fully embrace the identity of being a writer? [8:36] | Writing and courage: “You're not swept along by somebody else's agenda in the same way you've got to set your own agenda, you've got to go into wherever you work and start and look at that blank page and it's a very different way of being.” [11:16] | “The simple things that you might not notice are the things that could be the most important.” [18:23] | How to ‘slow down’ and get in tune with your thoughts: “There's a meditation technique I did years ago, and I sometimes do still where you imagine that your mind is a blank theater and the curtains are open and you just wait to see what comes onto the stage. You try not to follow it or get too emotionally entangled, but you notice the players move across the stage.” [26:40] | Elevating the ordinary: “In the hot shop, there'd be lots of debris left over from [the glass blowers’] work, and I would take that glass debris from the floor and use it in my pieces… And my point being that's, again, me taking something pretty ordinary. … And I'm trying to get the best I can out of it and elevate it into something else.” [32:42]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: What does it take to be an ambassador, to be a diplomat? …If you had to list three core characteristics, what do you think they should be? Now, for me, part of me goes all espionage... You know, it's about blending in. It's about staying skeptical, perhaps wearing tweed. Part of me, of course, thinks of my brother Nigel, who actually works for the Department of Foreign Affairs in Australia and has actually played ambassadorial roles in Ankara, Turkey and in Berlin. Now, Nigel is the soul of discretion. He has a deep curiosity, also not that much tweed. But after this conversation, which you're about to listen to, a conversation where I realized that perhaps we all play the role of a diplomat and wondering if the key skills are actually empathy, rebellion, and a good left hook.  Tom Fletcher is the principal of Hartford College in Oxford University. …I invited Tom because in his lifetime, he's been a diplomat and also a writer and a campaigner. But along the way, there were several things he was not, or at least not successfully. “Having felt evangelical about the importance of diplomacy,” Tom says, “I left diplomacy to write a book about why diplomacy matters so much and looking particularly at the way that technology is changing statecraft. That was The Naked Diplomat [which] came out in 2016, and that did well. So I then got to write two more books. 10 Survival Skills for a World in Flux is about the future of learning… And then in August, I put out my first novel, which was called The Ambassador…” Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ Tom reads two pages from The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson. [reading starts at 17:25] Hear us discuss: “But I guess all that adds up to this conclusion that education is upstream diplomacy. And that basically, if I want to make a real influence on the future of the country and the planet, then actually being here, developing young people, head, hand and heart is where I should be.” [4:07] | “A great diplomat, it’s about the last 3 feet, as Edward Murray said. It's about that ability to really understand the person you're talking to, know what baggage they arrive in the room with, and to almost zoom out of a situation in a room and use that empathy to understand what's going on.” [6:32] | Modern-day trends, including the rise of distrust, which makes it harder to govern. [24:05] | Ten skills for the future, including taking control of your life and becoming an active participant in shaping the future. [27:03] | “And here, because of the way the power structures work, it's much more important to lead from behind. Much more of it is about setting the tone, the sense of the overall direction and letting then the strategy emerge, rather than trying to dictate some sort of top down.” [32:40] | “There is space for hope.” [37:35]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: My great grandparents feel fictional to me. Sure, I’ve seen pictures and I know their names, but do I feel their touch and influence? No, not really. My grandparents, however, are four presences I definitely notice. What have you learnt from your ancestors? And how might they be present in you, today?  Sarah Lewis is an art and cultural historian, author of The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery, founder of the Vision & Justice initiative, and a professor at Harvard. She’s much more than that, though, and as she reminds us, we are all more than our pedigrees. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Sarah reads two pages from the speech-turned-essay, ‘The Artist’s Struggle for Integrity’ by James Baldwin. [reading begins at 16:30]   Hear us discuss:  “The narrative you construct about who you are, and who the world should be to accommodate you, is foundational for your life.” [8:50] | Success ≠ safety: “Your achievements don’t accompany you when you have to produce all over again.” [24:43] | Prioritizing projects and saying no to distractions. [26:50] | The diverse perspectives and approaches to tradition. [28:59] | Unlikely teachers: “I take lessons now from greater sources than I did in the past.” [33:21] | Filling the role of the elder as you age. [36:02] | “The seeming accident oftentimes never is.” [43:20]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: The idea at the heart of my book, How to Begin, is that we unlock our greatness by working on the hard stuff. Now, when I wrote the first draft of that book …and I shared it with friends, the feedback I got was it was confusing and a deeply underwhelming mess. And so when I picked myself up off the floor and I picked through the rubble to see if there's anything that could be rescued, the most precious thing was, in fact, that line, ‘We unlock our greatness by working on the hard stuff.’ But here's the rub. What that is saying is this: how will you disrupt what's comfortable for you now? How will you stir things up? How will you confuse and disappoint and anger some people around you? How will you make them and you nervous? …When you step up and you work on the hard stuff, you step forward into the unknown and to that ambiguity, you find something thrilling and important and daunting. I first came across Tony Stubblebine because, back in the day, he started Coach Me, an early habit tracker app. He turned that app into a successful coaching business, in part by becoming one of the most successful writers on Medium, a platform devoted to publishing, writing about human stories and ideas. When the founding CEO of Medium wanted to step down, Tony welcomed the opportunity to step into that role, and grow Medium and widen its impact. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Tony Stubblebine reads two pages from Once A Runner by John L. Parker, Jr. [reading begins at 21:41] Hear us discuss: The desire to create your own company. “A lot of entrepreneurs have a lack of trust. [A belief that] I cannot put my career in the hands of other people.” [7:00] | When you say yes to something, you’re saying no to other things. Tony talks about what that meant for him when he was called back to be the CEO of Medium. [10:00] | “People especially are like, well, we got to put a bunch of ideas out and let them compete, and the best ideas will win. I think what we found is the best ideas don't win and the loudest ideas, the most toxic ideas, often are the ones that are winning.” [15:00] | Endurance athletes can experience expending all of their mental and physical resources; going to and tipping right over the edge of what is possible by observing and accepting what is happening rather than negotiating whether or not they can do it. There are benefits to this type of focus for everyone, and mental conditioning such as meditation can help you achieve them. [24:55] | “People always want a quick fix, but the most reliable fix is a massive amount of work.” Tony shares how increased calm and mental awareness can help you use what you know more effectively, even when you’re under great pressure. [34:16] | When you look beyond habits you find identity and belief which have a greater influence on the choices that you make. [41:40] | What can change for you when you think about your life in terms of a cognitive budget, and reducing the number of opportunities you have to make choices that aren’t aligned with your identity. [50:35]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: In today's fast-paced world, change is the only constant. Yet, how do we truly understand, manage, and channel the emotions that accompany transformations, both personal and organizational? Whether you're an individual seeking personal growth, or a leader aiming to steer an organization, understanding the emotional dimensions of change can be a game-changer.  Dr. Hilary Jacobs Hendel is a prominent psychotherapist and author. Driven by her personal experiences with anxiety and depression, Hilary embarked on a journey into psychotherapy. Her profound insights into emotions, coupled with her unique approach to therapy, has been an eye-opener for many. Hilary ventures into her experiences and the pivotal role of Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy (AEDP) in her practice. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Hilary reads two pages from The Transforming Power of Affect: A Model for Accelerated Change by Diana Fosha. [reading begins at 17:38] Hear us discuss: The connection of body and mind: “I noticed the sensations of tension in my chest that told me that I was anxious, and I breathed, as I was instructed to do, and voila, the anxiety went down, not up.” [5:58] | The 7 “selfish” emotions and why you shouldn’t judge them: “You can't stop emotions from happening. All you can do is be aware when they happen and change your response to them.” [17:13] | Do our emotions weaken us, or make us stronger? [22:51] | What is the role of others in helping us hear the whisper of our emotions? [26:28] | “A basic education in emotions is the path to a more peaceful world.” [34”25] | How being in tune with your emotions brings out your authentic self: “Emotions are physical experience, they're there for a good reason, and if we avoid them, we really lose a connection to our authentic self and to others.” [41:46]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: Tolstoy famously started his novel Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” A twist on that: stories of success are all alike. Stories of failure are where things get interesting.  I love someone who knows how to share their failures well. When I get introduced as a keynote speaker, I have them mention that I was banned from my high school graduation and left law school being sued by one of my professors. And that's just a start. If I say so myself. My failures are what's helped me find my edge.  Suneel Gupta presents as a success. He's an entrepreneur who founded and led Rise, a breakthrough wellness company. He is a bestselling author and a speaker and a visiting scholar at Harvard Medical School. But that's not where he started. At one point, he was literally the face of failure. “Today,” Suneel says, “I make a career out of studying what I think are some of the most extraordinary people on the planet at their most disappointing moments to understand what it was that helped them endure through that.” Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌ Suneel reads ‘The Alchemy of Opposites’ by Rodolfo Scarfalloto. [reading begins at 15:45]  Hear us discuss: Long-term success can come from short-term embarrassment, if you know what to do with it. [2:26] | Your purpose is “already inside of you. And the work, for lack of a better word, is really just to strip these layers away to understand what that essence is.” [10:25] | Merging ambition and joy is about “figuring out what makes you come alive.” [20:00] | “What I realized over time is that this journey that we're on, is an everyday journey. …you don't need to wait for big moments in order to put what you're learning into practice.” [25:40]
Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Kathryn Mannix. Recommend this show by sharing the link: What makes you uncomfortable? And, how do you hold yourself when you’re in that space? Some years ago, I noticed that a pair of leather shoes I was wearing was badly creased across the top of the right shoe. A friend of mine pointed out the problem - when I get nervous in a group, I sit on the edge of my seat and jiggle my right leg. When I do this, I’m on my toes, and I crease the leather, damaging the shoe. If being in a group makes me nervous, what’s it like to sit with death?  Dr. Kathryn Mannix is a woman who has spent her life being in the presence of death. Not only that, but doing it with grace, tenderness, humor, and kindness. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Katheryn reads two pages from ‘Gratitude’ by Oliver Sacks. [reading begins at 17:45]   Hear us discuss:  “The most important skill at the bedside of dying people is knowing how to be.” [10:30] | The preciousness of being alive. [22:56] | The importance of listening in living an essential life: “I’ve got nothing, but I’m here.” [25:44] | What a tender conversation calls for. [29:23] | “Stories are the way we understand everything.” [33:16] | The lost value of silence. [42:46]
Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Brian Christian. Recommend this show by sharing the link: One thing I don't mention often is that the thesis I wrote for my law degree was an attempt to combine my interest in literature with a perspective on law. So I wrote about the phenomenon of plain English: that's trying to write law without the legalese. And I tried to write about it through the lens of literary theories of language. I honestly did not understand what I was trying to do. And also nobody in law school understood what I was trying to do. What I can see now, with the benefit of hindsight and some self-esteem and some marketing speak, is that I was a boundary rider. I've come to learn that the interesting things often take place on the edges, those intermediate areas where X meets Y and some sort of new life is born. Brian Christian is a boundary rider too. He's just way more successful and interesting than law school Micheal. He thinks deeply and writes about deep patterns of life through technology and AI and algorithms. He's the author of The Most Human Human, the Alignment Problem, and Algorithms to Live By. After the introduction I just gave you, you're probably going to guess that Brian isn't just a science guy. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Brian reads from Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. [Reading begins at 15:10] Hear us Discuss:  Metaphor can be one of the main mechanisms by which science happens. [6:20] | Rules that are delightful to break. [24:35] | “I have this deep conviction […] we are on to some philosophical paydirt here. There is a very real way in which we are building [AI] systems in our own image, and as a result they come to be a mirror for ourselves.” [28:40] | What is the heart of the human experience? [38:10] | “Humans are not so special.” [42.50]
Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Haesun Moon. Recommend this show by sharing the link: I’m a bit of a geek about models, specifically the ones that reveal patterns and invite new possibilities, helping us expand our understanding of what the world is. My favorites are: the periodic table and its various alternatives, the Roman architect Vitruvius’ three attributes for a building, and finally, the alphabet. A book I love is Edward Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, an alphabet book telling the tale of the demise of young children. If this isn’t your style, the good news is that not all alphabet books have grisly endings.   Haesun Moon, Ph.D., is an academic, a communications scientist, a teacher, a coach, and an author. Her new book is a wonderful addition to the world of coaching, Coaching A to Z: The Extraordinary Use of Ordinary Words. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Haesun reads two pages from ‘On Dialogue’ by David Bohm. [reading begins at 15:05]   Hear us discuss:  “The gap between what I heard and what you said is sometimes larger in familiar relationships.” [21:12] | Creating shared meaning on a more societal level: “Culture is nothing more than the accumulation of micro conversations.” [22:08] | How to create shared meaning when different truths exist. [27:01] | Remaining curious rather than defensive. [30:20] | Coaching A to Z. [34:09]
Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Madeleine Dore.  Recommend this show by sharing the link: I still remember reading my first Nicholson Baker book, The Mezzanine. This extraordinary book slows down the pace of life to one where all the details are able to be noticed. For someone like me–a little bit in my head and moving too fast–reading the book resembles bullet time from The Matrix movies, only with the detritus of everyday living zipping past, instead.  Madeleine Dore reminds me of myself; both a great author and a great asker of questions, though they differ a bit from mine. She’s made a career out of asking obvious questions to important people, with all of the answers she’s received ending up in her best-selling book I Didn’t Do the Thing Today: Letting Go of Productivity Guilt. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Madeleine reads two pages from ‘Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life,’ by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. [reading begins at 12:12]  Hear us discuss:  Making more generous assumptions. [16:24] | The relationship between playfulness and routine. [17:15] | Knowing what’s essential vs transitory about yourself: “It takes a long time to become who you are.” [20:12] | “Things are just experiments and projects—we’re not tied to anything forever.” [25:28] | The complexity of awaiting your next project. [26:35]
Today, we're pulling one of our best episodes from the vaults, featuring the brilliant Caroline Webb. Recommend this show by sharing the link: How are you labeled? How have you been labeled by others? And how have you labeled yourself? You listen to this podcast, which means that you're the type of person who thinks about who they are in this world, who they've been and who they're becoming. One of the ways we claim a sense of self is by the labels we give ourselves. What at first can be a helpful handhold can soon become a straitjacket, what William Blake would call a “mind forged manacle”. I'm wondering how your current labels serve you. And I'm wondering how they don't. Caroline Webb is a renowned expert in the field of behavioral science and how to apply its insights to improve your daily life. She is the author of the popular book How to Have a Good Day. Her career began as an economist working on public policies, but she soon realized her true passion was in the human aspect of economics, specifically what makes a good team and leader. She eventually returned to behavioral economics, where she continues to work as a leadership coach and executive coach. Webb is known for her courage to step out of her comfort zone and take voyages of discovery, she encourages others to do the same. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Caroline reads two pages from ‘How Emotions Are Made’ by Lisa Feldman Barrett. [reading begins at 10:52]   Hear us discuss: Looking for the “sticky” or resistant parts of change when you’re trying to make a decision. Ask yourself, “What if I were not fearful about that? What would I do? Could I do that in a small way?" [5:05] | “Your emotions are just your brain's best guess at trying to make sense of what's going on, both in what you're experiencing and perceiving from the outside world, but also what you're noticing in your body." [15:12] | “We don't want to reinvent or question everything all the time, because this is actually the way that our brain navigates, see trillions of pieces of data at any given moment. We need to have an interpretation hypothesis." [21:10] | "Maybe what we're experiencing in our heads is a simulation, but that doesn't mean it isn't a wonderful life." [32:23] | "I think of my personal mission in life as being of service to others and helping other people thrive." [33:42]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: The previous guest on this podcast was W. Dave Ball, a fellow Rhodes scholar whom I met at Oxford. One of the things I remember from my time there is the signs that were everywhere: Don’t walk on the grass. Entry forbidden. Don’t bring a naked flame into the Bodleian Library. Fair enough - I understand the last one, but most of the signs just made me feel like rebelling against them. Maybe this was the artist in me. There’s something about transgression that can be extremely powerful.  Stuart Semple is a British artist who never really had a choice about what he wanted to be when he grew up. Today, he’s not just an artist, but also an activist. Get‌ ‌book‌ ‌links‌ ‌and‌ ‌resources‌ ‌at‌  Stuart reads two pages from ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith. [reading begins at 8:40]   Hear us discuss:  “I believe an artwork isn’t truly finished until it meets an audience. I think art happens when people connect with the things that we make.” [6:24] | The sacrifices of an artist. [15:12] | Seeking inspiration: “Ideas find you.” [16:53] | The role of failure in the success of creating art. [18:07] | “There’s a peak in your work when it’s the best it’ll be, and if you fiddle about with it any more, you’re actually doing damage.” [21:34] | Criticism of your work does not equal criticism of you. [21:57] | The story of Black 3.0 [24:29] | What it takes to be a great collaborator. [27:28]
Recommend this show by sharing the link: 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  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]
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