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What I’ve Been Reading

I’m laughing about Brene Brown’s guilty pleasure of watching only the trailers of movies. It seems like I’ve been doing a lot of skimming lately to get the general gist, then moving on. On the other hand, I’ve been bingeing on a few favorites like Liz Gilbert and Tom Hanks.

Let’s start with Tiger King. I didn’t watch it, so I listened to Pop Culture Happy Hour to figure out what everyone’s talking about. The podcast’s hosts “didn’t find anyone rootable as a human beings.”

Liz Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) recorded a special 23-minute meditation for Insight Timer called Facing Fear With Compassion. It’s deeply soothing when you’re coming off the rails! She also published this on Facebook lately: “The job of the world is not to stay the same.”

From there, you have to listen to her Your Elusive Creative Genius TED Talk and the 2015 Marie Forleo interview. I need to check out Gilbert’s other novels if anyone has a favorite?

Tim Ferriss’s interview with Obama’s Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. WOW. His question “If you were the benevolent dictator of the US at this time, how would you direct your team for maximum effect against COVID-19, and what three principles would guide you?” (38:24) I’ll definitely be checking out Murthy’s Together book on the loneliness epidemic, which he narrates.

Likewise, Tim Ferriss and Esther Perel. They have an incredible dynamic. Great suggestions for how to spend your COVID sabbatical.

Brene Brown and her advice on the family gap plan and “settling the ball” during this highly-anxious time, e.g. low information diet, choosing science-based news over hysteria. 35 minutes and worth every second!

I’ve been listening to lots of podcasting tips, which led me to Terry Gross, consistently referenced as a strong interviewer. Her Fresh Air interview with the science writer for The Atlantic was a useful without being alarmist look at why we were so ill-prepared, immunity, vaccine candidates and future scenarios. Ed Yong’s credentials here. Listen also to the one with the zombie apocalypse guy, Max Brooks. He’s got the inside scoop on how we could’ve prepared better.

The Dutch House by Anne Patchett, narrated by Tom Hanks. This may be my favorite book ever. Majestic in the way Forrest Gump is.

This article about Tom Hanks. The niceness is the seduction; it’s the thing he can do better than anyone. But it also helped him hide, he said. “I thought the thing to do was to win the moment more than carry through with an idea.”

Hank’s Twitter feed. His book of short stories, Uncommon Type, is on my wish list.

Roe v. Wade on You’re Wrong About podcast. This show is hosted by two outspoken, occasionally irreverent, journalists that describe and debunk commonly-held perceptions about cultural events. It’s more Op Ed than unbiased, investigative reporting. I like the conversational tone, controversial questions and colorful words, e.g. “Women’s bodies and sex lives have always been policed to some degree.”

You Can’t Hit Unsend on the Hidden Brain podcast. How one ill-advised post ruined a high school grad’s college dreams. Make your teenagers listen. Thanks for the reco, Leslie Senke!

Anything from Adam Grant’s WorkLife podcast, especially When strength becomes a weakness.

Silicon Valley CEO Nanny Ad What did you make of the single mom CEO that requested a nanny who can hike, swim and ski, book vacations, play math games, plus shop and cook to specific diets? My take: The struggle is real! Her twins are getting to the age that they need more than a babysitter. Mom wants someone to model good behavior and do all the thankless tasks of the “marital we” or a personal assistant. The trouble I see with this ad (as a recruiter, lol) is that it’s actually several jobs wrapped into one. Interview with CEO mom, here.

The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan. Our book club book. Classic fast-paced mystery. Easy read.

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. A fictional story about our blunders in race relations. A black nanny is confronted in an upscale grocery store and accused of kidnapping the white child she’s babysitting. It’s an easy read, with lots of cringey stereotypes.

Tim Ferriss – Ryan Holiday podcast. How dogs & kids get us out of our heads, the “monotone conversations” (lack of diversity) of some cities, and deciding to take on projects based on whether they will energize or drain us.

Michigan vs. The Boys (Young Adult) After her girls’ hockey team dissolves due to budget cut, 16-year Michigan wins a spot on boys’ team where she endures serious hazing. It’s good, if not a little unsettling.

Marc Maron’s WTF podcast with Obama. I miss sensibility in the White House. Danny Flamberg, thanks for the reco!

Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner. I tried, it didn’t catch me after an hour.

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. Same, both this and Mrs. Everything suffer from preoccupations with minor details. SLOW.

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