‘Podcasts are the audio of our time’

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gif by @hoppip

“Podcasts are the audio of our time. They can be beautifully produced, as good as a good book, and perhaps they will supersede radio. But there’s something about the knowledge that countless others are listening to the same thing as me, at the same time as me, that can’t be replaced. When I listen to radio from other time zones, I am reminded that I do not move through times of day but rather they move through me. Somewhere in the world, it is always far too late to be up listening to the radio”

Read On The Radio, It’s Always Midnight

‘All finished paintings are dead paintings’

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via Picasso.org

Picasso’s Guernica took 7 weeks to paint, but it could have taken a lifetime. But done is better than perfect, especially in times of strife.

The piece appeared in a Paris exhibition in 1937. It became an essential piece of political art, signaling against the destruction of war.

Listen to BBC In Our Time: Picasso’s Guernica

 

The history behind the modern definition of ‘average’

sats average human size

Everybody is unique, but on the whole, there’s still the average. Average height, average SAT score, there is even ‘average looking.’ From clothing to education to body features, there’s always been a standard.

According to 99% Invisible’s podcast ‘On Average,’ Belgian astronomer/mathematician Adolphe Quetelet discovered what we now know today as the ‘average’ when he aggregated the mean chest size of five thousand Scottish soldiers. Consequently, he took his philosophy and applied to other areas such as marriage and human lifespan, forever stamping his law of averages on the world, starting most notably with the Civil War.

The reason we have small, medium, and large clothing sizes today is that Abraham Lincoln needed a way to mass produce uniforms for the Union army. The US military would standardize both uniforms and airplanes in 1926, “the distance to the pedals and the stick, and even the shape of the flight helmets.”

However, with increased manpower required for World War II, the Air Force jettisoned the average American pilot for new planes with customizable seating, later adapted to account for female pilots such as five foot four Senior Air Force pilot Kim Campbell. She successfully flew her A10 Warthog to safety despite getting hit and losing all hydraulics during the aerial raid of Baghdad in 2003 Iraq.

So despite the continued standardization of certain clothing sizes and educational tests, today we are at least more flexible and egalitarian. You still have the option–albeit an expensive one–to order custom-made Nikes and a bespoke suit. The world is yours. Kind of.

Listen to ‘On Average’ from 99% Invisible

 

Highlights: Dissecting the Success of Malcolm Gladwell

In his interview with Tim Ferriss, Malcolm Gladwell talks about his admiration for Brian Eno’s music and then reminds people about the power of music with this adage:

“The music you discover when you’re 18 is the music that stays with you the rest of your life.”

For me, that music came from Mos Def and Talib Kweli. The Blackstar album had everything: the beats, the lyrical poetry, and descriptions of otherness – on “Thieves in the Night” in particular – which resonated perfectly with my feelings about high school.

Gladwell also discusses the importance of playing the long game in the podcast. As a writer and runner, he finds that what you’re looking for often doesn’t come until later, until page 1,000 in a long novel or the 6th mile of a marathon.

You’ll find your stride if you can delay gratification.

Listen to the podcast. 

Yo-Yo Ma on Successful Creative Collaboration

Two truths can live together comfortably.

Branch out into different genres.

Be adventurous with your time.

Place your brain in a different time.

Be the sponge, not the judge.

Collaborate egos.

Rehearse perspectives. Compose with an open mind.

There’s more than one way to do things.

Travel. Get out of your comfort zone.

Listen to different music.

Try new things.

The thing that makes you special when you’re 7 doesn’t make you special when you’re 30.

Genius is a dangerous word.

Confidence + Self-Criticism = Be Your Own Architect

Retool your goals.

There’s little time. Prioritize meaning.

What’s your second and third college experience?

Grow up to grown up.

Human beings play their part.

Share what you know.

HBR IdeaCast: 526: Yo-Yo Ma on Successful Creative Collaboration

Yo-Yo Ma on Successful Creative Collaboration

Two truths can live together comfortably.

Branch out into different genres.

Be adventurous with your time.

Place your brain in a different time.

Be the sponge, not the judge.

Collaborate egos.

Rehearse perspectives. Compose with an open mind.

There’s more than one way to do things.

Travel. Get out of your comfort zone.

Listen to different music.

Try new things.

The thing that makes you special when you’re 7 doesn’t make you special when you’re 30.

Genius is a dangerous word.

Confidence + Self-Criticism = Be Your Own Architect

Retool your goals.

There’s little time. Prioritize meaning.

What’s your second and third college experience?

Grow up to grown up.

Human beings play their part.

Share what you know.

HBR IdeaCast: 526: Yo-Yo Ma on Successful Creative Collaboration

Podcast: Maria Popova Hosts the Tim Ferriss Show

Weekends are time for catching up with podcasts, especially those of Tim Ferriss. Below are some of the highlights of Maria Popova (aka @brainpicker) on being interesting, blogging, and creating.

On being interesting

  • “The key to being interesting is being interested and enthusiastic about those interests.”
  • When Kurt Vonnegut wrote “write to please just one person” what he was really saying was write for yourself. Don’t try to please anyone but yourself.
  • Content implies an “external motive” for advertisement. Nobody does content from the joy of their soul. Write because it’s personal and you love it.

Summary: Write for yourself. Stay interested. Don’t call your writing content.

“Love words. Agonize over sentences. Pay attention to the world.” – Susan Sontag

On writing

  • “Becoming” is a life long process. You never stop evolving so what you want to become is never done.
  • The most important aspect to work is consistency. All successful authors are consistent about their work. They show up and do it.

Formula for greatness. “Consistency driven by the deep love of the work.”

On creating

  • You don’t have to have a mental illness to be creative. That’s bunk. Yet without art, you may suffer even more.

On reading

  • “Literature is the original Internet. Every footnote, every citation, every reference, is a hyperlink to another book.” Read books, not just tweets, to find other compelling content.
  • “I read to make sense of life. The writing is a record of the reading.” Moments of time, place, weather, etc impact what you read. As long as it helps make your life better and richer in moment and long run, read it.

On inspiration:

  • Thoreau’s journals are timeless: “Those who work much do not work hard.”

Podcast: Maria Popova Hosts the Tim Ferriss Show