Things Worth A Listen: January 2020

Inspired by all the book recommendations I got this month, I decided to publish a list of things worth a listen. I love to read, but I can consume a lot more via audio. Here are my favorite podcasts, TED Talks, articles and audio books for the past month. Welcome to my inner nerd.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I thought this was about how an African-American couple navigated the husband’s wrongful incarceration. That’s only the first third. The rest is about how betrayal, ambition, family upbringing, even timing, can unravel a marriage. It’s so raw in places that I couldn’t listen to it out loud. Like Morrison’s Sula, it is the deepest of emotional death spirals. There’s an online book discussion led by Kelly Corrigan on Sun, Feb 2nd at 1pm EST.

Anything Joe Gebbia, Airbnb. This TED Talk describes why letting strangers sleep in your house is a good idea.

Spoken word poet, Sarah Kay “A Bird Made of Birds”

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Col. Chris Hadfield. “In an emergency, be of good use.” In other words: Don’t add to the freak-out, instead save the day. Fantastic book! I love this window into how how astronauts and fighter pilots are trained. If you aspire to be more planful, this is a must-read. Thanks to Nichole Davis for turning me onto it!

I Am Here sleep music by Swamu Madhuram on Insight Timer meditation app

Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell. Ross Quinn told me about this book. I can’t read Gladwell, but I can listen to him. This book is about the incorrect assumptions we make about strangers, especially when their actions are incongruent our perceptions: Why we believed was Amanda Knox was guilty and Jerry Sandusky was not. Ultimately, the book made some startling correlations about suicide rates and police brutality.

Gender Reveal Party on Decoder Ring. This podcast explores how cultural trends take root and it’s addicting! RIP gender reveal party. This 40-min episode traces its entire 11-year lifespan, from rise to demise. It makes me wonder: As more people are rejecting gender stereotypes, will fewer parents opt to find out the sex of their babies?

Baby Shark on Decoder Ring. Can someone please confirm or deny that they sang an early version of this song at their summer camp during the 1980s?!

Greta Gerwig interview on Katie Couric’s Next Question. The path to writing/directing Lady Bird and Little Women (at 36 yrs old) and what made her adaption of Little Women unique: weaving bits of Louisa May Alcott’s life into the main character, Jo March.

Wild Game: My Mother, Her Lover, and Me by Adrienne Brodeur. I wish I never met this book. Seriously, don’t read it! It’s the twisted true story of a daughter made complicit in her mother’s affair. I enjoyed that it took place on Cape Cod, where I grew up, and referenced events from my childhood. But geez, two books on dysfunctional marriages this month. I need an exorcism! Gretchen Rubin will host a discussion with the author on her Th, Feb 5th podcast.

No list would be complete without something from my boyfriend, Tim Ferriss. From his 1/20/20 blog post: To quote Bishop Desmond Tutu, “There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” Making too many decisions is often symptomatic of poor systems or process.

OK, your turn. What do you recommend?

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