Finding and Sharing Wisdom

Open Book on wood background

I’m reading Chip Conley’s book “Wisdom at Work” about reintroducing the wisdom of older, more experienced individuals into today’s fast moving and high-tech workforce. He coins the term “modern elder” for those with wisdom and knowledge to share with (typically) younger generations.

It’s great if you can have an individual to act as your mentor, which is exactly what part of this whole “modern elder” thing really is. It’s also cool if you find yourself in a position where you can act as a mentor by virtue of having experience that you’re willing and able to share in ways that are useful to others. I know I still, specifically, want both: even at 61 I’m looking for individuals from whom I can model and learn, and I’m looking for opportunities to share what I’ve learned with others.

Read moreFinding and Sharing Wisdom

Why I Stopped Reading “Enlightenment Now”

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker gained notoriety of late because of Bill Gates’ statement that it was “My new favorite book of all time.” Bill’s hard to ignore, especially when something reaches the top of any of his lists. I picked up a copy and dove in.

It’s a great book. Not sure it makes the “favorite book of all time” list for me, but even having not completed the book I can already heartily recommend it. And yet, I’m setting it aside.

Why? Because of something I stumbled across elsewhere, and the fact that I agree with the message behind the book.

Read moreWhy I Stopped Reading “Enlightenment Now”

An Interested Interview

I was recently interviewed by Josh Spector, the man behind For The Interested, a curated newsletter of interesting articles and other information that Josh both finds and occasionally writes himself. There’s an associated For The Interested Facebook group made up of newsletter subscribers, and as part of an experiment to learn more about the people in it, Josh has been conducting a few short interviews.

Here’s mine, presented here with his permission.

Read moreAn Interested Interview

Life is Suffering

The first of the four noble truths, as articulated by The Buddha, depending on how you translate it, is simply this: Life is suffering. In recent months it seems that in an above-average number of my circle of friends and acquaintances there has been an above-average amount of what can only be termed suffering. From … Read more

My Reading List

While on my sabbatical I did a lot of reading. Some targeted at the sabbatical proper, some leisure reading, and some that fell somewhere in between.

These are the two that when I described my sabbatical to some friends were the ones that I took the time to call out as having had special impact.

The Charge

 

The Charge probably came the closest to a structure that I could identify with for my attempt at self discovery. Of particular value were his thought exercises at the end of each chapter which I frequently used as jumping off points for my own processes. Many books present formulas – take these X steps and you’ll find your answer. That’s not how I work, and I didn’t follow Brendon’s formula either. Rather I cherry-pick from whatever I’m reading that which resonates with me and take it from there. The Charge probably had the most cherries.

The Artist’s Way

This came out of left field; “The Artist’s Way”
is a book specifically
aimed at getting blocked artists unblocked and doing their
art once again. Anyone who’s written any significant
amount of software will agree that there can be true
artistry involved – rare perhaps, but absolutely possible
– and it’s something that I’ve believed for a long time.
This book did two things for me: first, it allowed me, or
reminded me, to apply that artistry mindset to what I do
today, which in turn allows me to value it, and create it,
in a completely different light. Second is that it
introduced me to a couple of practices that I’m finding
surprisingly very valuable; the most valuable being what
the book calls “morning pages” – a daily writing exercise;
as I said writing is one of the best ways I have to work
through my thoughts. Much of the book actually doesn’t
apply – many of the problems it addresses are problems I
simply don’t have (for which I am grateful). However putting
myself in that artist’s mindset was by itself very
valuable. To build on the cherry-picking metaphor, The
Artist’s Way didn’t have as many cherries, but they were
bigger.

 

Here’s a rundown of some of the rest of books I spent time with, in no particular order.

Read moreMy Reading List

A Big What and a Little Why become What I Do

As I’ve mentioned before I don’t have a specific “Big Why” that drives me. There’s no tangible goal I’m driven to accomplish with my life, no dream that I’m aware of that I’m heading towards.

Rather, I’ve identified what I’ve come to call my “Big What” – the characteristics of how I want to live, and what I enjoy doing. The other way to look at that is that I’ve got a pretty reasonable picture of what I want my journey to look like, without really having any particular destination in mind.

Read moreA Big What and a Little Why become What I Do

Why Technology Excites Me

In my recent sabbatical/reboot I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it is I want to do, and why I want to do it.

What I enjoy doing is actually pretty simple: playing with technology. As I once put it long ago, I enjoy making personal computers and related technologies “dance”. That doesn’t mean I hop on to every new technology or latch on to every latest and greatest fad, but it does mean that I pay attention to most and am not hesitant to try something new when I think it’s interesting and when I think it’s “ready”.

Read moreWhy Technology Excites Me

On Dreams, Goals, the Big Why … and Serendipity

As part of my two month sabbatical this year I’ve been thinking a lot about where I’m headed. I’ve jokingly referred to this as figuring out what I want to be when I grow up, because in many ways I’m so very fortunate to have such a large palette of possibilities to choose from. It’s basically involved a fair amount of reading and a lot of thought and introspection. It’s also involving a fair amount of writing, some of which I’ll be capturing here.

The reading has been varied, and I’ll save the reading list for another day, but at around the end of the first month I had a realization that helped get me unstuck.

That realization?

I don’t have a dream.

And that’s OK.

Read moreOn Dreams, Goals, the Big Why … and Serendipity

On Gratitude … and Luck

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] couple of business-related things, ultimately inconsequential, conspired to have me decide that I needed to spend some time simply being thankful. A few days ago I devoted my morning’s meditation to gratitude, and the longer I thought the longer my list became. Then later in the day the topic of luck came up. It’s … Read more