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?
The Longform is one of my favorite writerly podcasts. No insta-author or ill-fated recipes for success--just heart to heart granular discussions with interesting writers and editors.
The recent interview with Elif Batumen is an example of a writer culling from an extensive love of reading and critical thought.
A fan of Roland Barthes has my ear for eternity. A recent critique by @filmsie pulled the thread from an obscure essay, The Death of the Author. I recently shared the quote on LinkedIn when asked to recommend a business book.
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."
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.”
An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life...
"A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.
"One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.
"The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.
"This same fight is going on inside you - and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
"Which wolf will win?"
The old chief simply replied,
"The one you feed."