Posted in books, meandering, podcasts

Magnetism in enthusiasm

There is something delightful about people who get jazzed about a topic, even if the topic is weird (by my standards) or not something I’m necessarily interested in.

I have read most of Malcolm Gladwell’s books and have enjoyed them thoroughly. Some of the pieces within them are about topics that I wouldn’t necessarily choose to read about. But they were in the book. So I read them. And they were interesting!

He has a podcast called Revisionist History. Some of them I enjoyed because the content was up my alley. But then he turned to talking about music history which, oddly, I wasn’t super-interested in.

And yet, I was captivated.

He was so immersed in what he was talking about and so excited to share it that it was interesting to listen to.

Six-ish months ago, I bought a one-year subscription to MasterClass. Not entirely understanding what I’d purchased, I was delighted to learn that I had access to all of the classes, not just the one I thought I had bought.

I’m taking in all of the classes about either writing or photography. (The Kid has enjoyed some episodes of Penn and Teller and others about space travel.)

In the time I’ve been a member, new classes have been added, including one by Malcolm Gladwell.

It’s about writing, so I was going to watch it regardless, but by this point, I’d become a fan enough that I would have watched at least some of it anyway.

And it doesn’t disappoint.

Listening to the podcast adds voice, inflection, etc. that the consumer doesn’t get in writing.

Watching the MasterClass adds gestures and facial expressions.

If nothing else, he is excited about his work and the stories he tells.

I have no connection to him though I’d love to share a meal or afternoon tea, I get no kickbacks for books, podcast listeners, or MasterClass subscribers (though I think I can maybe give you a referral link to MasterClass and get a discount on a renewal). I am just delighted that his work has crossed my path at this point in time when I appreciate them.

Have you been in a space where you’ve been captivated by someone’s enthusiasm about something that you otherwise might not be interested in?

Posted in meandering, podcasts

Recent podcasts I’ve loved

I listened to and loved two very different podcasts recently.

The first, titled Not really having this argument, was from Akimbo by Seth Godin. It’s only about 18 minutes long (the subsequent 10 or so minutes are follow-up questions from the previous episode, though there was one in there that I also found compelling, so keep listening after “the end”). I’ve listened to it three times. He talks about something I knew already but couldn’t have articulated most of the time, and I want to do a better job remembering it. So I’ve listened to it every few days.

The second is from Armchair Expert and is a live show with Dan Savage. I love Dan, and I love Armchair Expert, so this was a mashup of two of my favorite podcasts. If you’re not familiar with Dan Savage or Dax Sheperd, let me give you a heads up that the language isn’t clean and the content isn’t PG, but it’s fantastic to listen to.

Their fact check at the end (as they do with all of their episodes) is somewhat tedious for the first few minutes (but I had already heard Dan talk about what they were talking about, so maybe you’ll find it more interesting?), but then they fact checked the story about the girl who got pregnant from oral sex and it was true. So keep listening just for that, if nothing else. Super interesting (and no, obviously not something that the majority of us need to worry about, as you’ll see if you tune in).

Has anything you’ve listened to or watched or read really connected with you lately?

Posted in just a quote, mindset, podcasts, thoughtfulness

Podcast quote: evidence vs. belief

A quote from Seth Godin via his podcast Akimbo. It stands on its own. (This quote is actually from the Q&A at the end of the linked episode. Emphases are his.)

Where it’s starting to get tricky, in the last hundred years, is that the scientific method, the engineers’ approach to the world, the thought of testing, measuring, understanding processes means that many of the arguments that people make sound like arguments that are based on that engineers’ approach.

But while it may sound that way, that’s not really what’s being said. That what is really being said is, ‘This is something I believe. This is part of my identity. This is who I have chosen to be culturally, and I’m going to dress it up in the uniform of the scientific method.’

This drives engineers and actual scientists crazy, because when they’re doing their job properly, the scientific method forces them to change their mind in the face of a better argument.

But of course, as we’ve all experienced, people who are coming from a place of belief cannot change their mind in the face of a better argument because that’s why it’s called ‘belief.’ That belief withstands a better argument and we get pleasure out of believing it.

Posted in follow-up, know better do better, podcasts, tips

“I don’t know how to interact with women any more.”

In blog writing, I have a few rules I’ve set for myself. Always proofread at least twice (once immediately and once after walking away, ideally for a day, but an hour will do in a pinch). Don’t share identifying information about people or share other people’s stories that aren’t mine to tell (unless I have permission). And listen to the whole podcast (or read the whole book, or whatever) before sharing pieces of it.

I broke the last rule yesterday. I had 20 or so minutes left of Michael Gervais’s interview with Abby Wambach when yesterday’s post went live. Because I listen a lot less in the summer than during the school year (less time in the car; more time with The Kid in the car), I didn’t get to finishing it until later.

While the quote I picked out was indeed a good one, if I was going to choose one bit of that interview to focus on, it wouldn’t have been that one … if I had listened to the whole thing.

What might I have focused on instead?

They talked about the plight of men right now, and how so many are lamenting that they don’t know how to interact with women any more since the rules are changing. (To be honest, they had a lot more empathy in that than I do.)

Her advice?

“Mind your own body.”

Simple. Largely effective. Keep your hands, eyes, and body-based comments to yourself. Doesn’t address systemic issues or things of that sort, but for your basic, daily interactions? It should get the job done.

She also talked about inequalities between men’s and women’s sports. If your argument is “men’s sports make more money!” this would be a good clip for you to listen to. (I believe Freakonomics also addressed that a bit, but I couldn’t tell you what episode … or even what season…)

So if these pique your interest, listen to maybe the last half hour. Or just listen to the whole thing. It was interesting.

(And I will stick to my rules in the future!)

Posted in mindset, podcasts

Podcast quote: avoiding regrets

Via recommendation, I I have now listened to my first episode of Finding Mastery: Conversations with Michael Gervais. 

It was a good one. (Obviously I can’t speak to the podcast on the whole.)

He was interviewing Abby Wambach, a former professional soccer player (highest all-time scorer, regardless of gender) and Olympian.

Many pieces of the conversation were interesting to me, but this little bit was sticky and feels actionable, regardless your goals.

“In order to not have death bed regret, make sure you don’t have bed time regret.”

Takes something long-term, vague, easy to dismiss, and makes it more immediate and digestible.

Unrelated to the quote but something I enjoyed in passing: at some point well into their dialogue, she mentions her wife. It’s the first time in the podcast that the listener learns she’s gay (unless, of course, you already knew).

His next question: “So when did you know you were an athlete?”

It was so refreshing for the end of that question not to be “gay.”

Has nothing to do with the quote or the sentiment, but I had to give it a shout out.