Each month, I aim to share "just three things" I read, listened to, watched, or experienced over that might be of use or interest to you too if you're a fellow culture-shaper, problem-solver, or change-maker. Plus, I share a snippet of wisdom (from someone far smarter than me) and a new photo from my wanderings.
1. PODCAST: The Age of the Algorithm by 99% Invisible (September 5, 2017)
I was an early adopter, and remain a big fan of the podcast, 99% Invisible, which explores the hidden design behind everything from. In the nearly seven years I’ve been listening, I’ve continued to be delighted and learn from episodes that explore everything from the design and use of challenge coins in the military, to the creation of the red AIDS ribbon, to the logo design for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City and its adoption by both supporters and student protesters.
Last month, 99% Invisible did a great episode building on the work of Cathy O’Neil in her book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy. I can’t recommend this episode strongly enough. It’s a really powerful illustration of how we as a society are over-privileging "big data" and under-utilizing the qualitative information, particularly by non-"experts." To be clear, I’m not opposed to big data, I just think it needs to be viewed as one tool, not THE tool, and it needs to be used in concert with qualitative research because otherwise it’s too easy to turn real people into numbers in spreadsheets.
2. ARTICLE: Without Emotional Intelligence, Mindfulness Doesn’t Work by Daniel Goleman and Matthew Lippincott (Harvard Business Review, September 8, 2017)
As a person who values the practice of mindfulness, I am always interested to see how traditional venues like the Harvard Business Review choose to approach it. While the sample size in this study (42) is very small, and it’s clear that one of the authors has an expertise in emotional intelligence, I found this recent article to be very insightful.
Just as “big data” shouldn’t be viewed as a solution, but as a tool, Goleman and Lippincott offer that “mindfulness isn’t magic; what was the mechanism at work in these executives’ transformations? One tipoff: several executives in the study reported getting feedback from colleagues that described improvements in areas like empathy, conflict management, and persuasive communication. These, it turns out, are what one of us (Dan) has described as core emotional intelligence competencies.”
By the way, HBR has been publishing some other interesting pieces on Mindfulness lately. Goleman also wrote one entitled: Here’s What Mindfulness Is (and Isn’t) Good For.
3. Iphone/Android App: Detour – Audio Walking Guides
You may or may not have noticed that Just 3 Things is coming out at a little different time of the month. That’s because I was recently traveling with my family to celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary (congrats again Mom and Dad)! It was a great trip, and after my family parted ways, I headed to Rome for the first time. As you have probably gathered from the design of my website, and my personal biography. I love to travel. For me, travel is an amazing way to be fully open and curious about the world, to learn new things, and experience the subtle and sometimes not subtle difference between cultures. I often use photography and text on Instagram to share some of my learning.
While I like to do traditional tourist things while traveling – I visited the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel as well as the Pantheon in Rome and all those places were worth the time. I also really crave gaining understanding of culture, politics, the history that is overlooked or not widely told, and of course contemporary life. And I like to walk.
I was really excited about my first set of experiences with Detour’s audio walking guides for the first time in Rome. The walks are about 1-1.25 hours long and told from the point of view of a particular person from an era in history. If the story goes far back, the narration is done by a voice actor. I was really impressed by the sound design, content, and how the app automatically plays content when you arrive at the specific sites. I completed three of these tours
- The Forum: The Fall of the Roman Republic which led me through the ruins and the history from the point of view of Marcus Crassus, the most powerful leader of the era who you’ve never head of,
- The Ghetto: Jewish Resistance during Nazi Occupation which enabled me to explore the Jewish Ghetto through the experiences of Il Moretto, who refused to bow before the Nazis during their occupation of Rome in World War II
- Piazza Venezia: Power Play in Rome which was narrated by the Investigative journalist Enrico Deaglio an covered Mussolini, post-WWII politics in Italy, the tragedy of Aldo Moro, and the rise and fall of Berlusconi. (This was my favorite of the three tours).
And I’ve concluded that I’ll have to go back to Rome because I really want to do this one entitled Pigneto: The Hip Hop Defense. There are currently Detour walking tours for a number of cities in the US (including places I’ve lived like New York City, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington, DC) as well nine cities in Europe, North Africa, and Asia. To be clear, they aren’t paying me for this recommendation. I just think it’s a cool resource.
And if you’re interested in checking one out, Sign up using this link and get your first tour for free: http://app.detour.com/xmrq/eMPZL5HaGD