Ugh...I settled into my office with Spotify queued up to a jazz themed Daily Mix, answered a few pressing emails, and then abruptly failed to recall the name of a podcast I wanted to write about. In my defense I listen to quite a few with the favorites shifting through a irregularly, regularly curated list.
I thought if I just googled podcasts with writers something would look familiar. No such luck. What materialized was a collection of low hanging fruit featuring authors that were lucky enough to catch lightening but nonetheless created businesses around--how you too can become published or some other malarkey.
Not simply confined to writers--business books abound with algorithms, listicles, and canonical texts to help break glass ceilings or become the next scorching big deal.
There is only one problem--well maybe a dozen but I have got to get to the gym. The most interesting and creative people are reading or listening out on the edges. Think Maria Popova or Elif Batuman. For example, Brain Pickings by Maria was one of the prompts that inspired me to create a blog. Something artful and perhaps out of the purvey of my life as a medical writer and data analyst but definitely in my DNA--and grounded in healthcare as a cultural discussion.
It was Elif that clarified the relevance of being spontaneous and creatively disparate at times but not at the expense of appearing "crazy". You can't be like a drunk driver careening down the road pointing at random things screaming "Isn't that interesting?" See where I am going here?
Common culture seems to oppose the idea of multiple discovery very vehemently and prefers the “heroic theory” of invention, which gives all the credit to a single person. Good examples are patents, copyright laws, and other measures that promote singular contribution to discoveries."
My critical life often entails helping healthcare stakeholders understand data interpretation and improve numeracy at the point of decisions or patient care. Unraveling the patent process of discoveries made on the shoulders of predecessors but exploited by few--Is a reoccurring discussion. I am motivated by discussions that pre-date our complex unraveling healthcare system. What did we think, talk, and write about before we collectively realized, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it--Upton Sinclair".
An important book seemingly outside the "business book" distinction but an important one nevertheless, Kierkegaard's Either/Or A Fragment of Life. A twitter commentary described an observation that most successful people he knew were not the most charitable or compassionate people.
As a woman in a male-dominated executive tier, perhaps my observations are colored by gender but the most well-intentioned clients are unaware of their dichotomy between an aesthetic vs. an ethical life--either on a personal or a business level. Kierkegaard masterfully articulates an aesthetic life as when the individual relates solely to himself vs. an ethical life of duty and service to others. I would argue we are both even if the reality thrives beneath the surface. Reading the book provides a clarity and forgiveness we all should embrace.
“The greatest hazard of all, losing one’s self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss - an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. - is sure to be noticed.”
This next recommendation is a revelation. I continue to be inspired by Lisa Suennen. To hear someone at Lisa's level of success as a venture capitalist @VentureValkyrie give voice to the challenges of paternalism while simultaneously giving action to solutions has been revelatory. Read an interview by Joe Mandato where Lisa discusses the role of board members. As I am a newly minted board member, her thoughts are informative for me as I learn to navigate an expanded role both fiduciary and cultural.
What are you listening to? Reading? Watching? I would like to know. Say "hey" over on twitter @datamongerbonny
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life...
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In a world of "evidence-based" medicine I am a bigger fan of practice-based evidence.
Remember the quote by Upton Sinclair...
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”
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