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Today I talked to Gorick Ng about his new book The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right (HBR, 2021). This book takes you through one’s career, from getting hired and oriented to trying to gain promotions. The interview follows a similar path, emphasizing how to get along with colleagues and one’s boss most of all. The “north st…
 
Today I talked to Chester Elton, coauthor of Anxiety at Work: 8 Strategies to Help Teams Build Resilience, Handle Uncertainty, and Get Stuff Done (Harper Business, 2021). During my interview with Elton, the theme was really about the importance of creating a sense of psychological safety for employees, with gratitude being the other key in terms of…
 
Today I talked to Melody Wilding about her new book Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work (Chronicle Prism, 2021). Are you what Wilding calls a Sensitive Striver like herself, somebody who indexes high on the personality traits of conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness? If so, this episode is for…
 
Today I talked to Debi Kleiman about her new book First Pitch: Winning Money, Mentors, and More for Your Startup (Babson College Publishing, 2020). For anyone who has ever watched Shark Tank, you know that investors respond not only by investigating business metrics but also by trying to get a sense of the entrepreneurs’ drive, smarts, and openness…
 
Today I talked to Jessica Helfand about her new book Face: A Visual Odyssey (MIT Press, 2019) Helfand is a designer, artist, and author. She’s taught at Yale University for more than 20 years, cofounded Design Observer, and has had additional roles at a variety of institutions ranging from the American Academy in Rome to the California Institute of…
 
Today I talked to Paul Davis about her new book Beating Burnout at Work: Why Teams Hold the Secret to Well-Being and Resilience (Wharton School, 2021) What if companies held executives responsible for the turn-over rate, absenteeism rate, and the degree to which employees in the department they direct had higher-than-usual chronic mental and physic…
 
Joanna Scott is the author of 12 works of fiction, including Arrogance, a PEN/Faulkner finalist; and The Manikin, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her awards include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Rosenthal Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The episode explores the line between fact and fantasy, betwee…
 
Today I talked to Carla Diana about her new book My Robot Gets Me: How Social Design Can Make New Products More Human (Harvard Business Review Press, 2021). Carla Diana is a robot designer responsible for the creative aspects of Diligent Robotics’ new hospital service robot named Moxi. She created and leads the 4D Design masters program at the Cran…
 
Today I talked to Nicole Tersigni about her book Men to Avoid in Art and Life" (Chronicle Books, 2020). Nicole Tersigni is a comedic writer experienced in improve comedy and women’s advocacy. She lives in metro Detroit with her husband, daughter, and two dogs. This episode takes a romp through five types of men to avoid like the plague: the manspla…
 
Today I talked to Jon Levy about his new book You’re Invited: The Art and Science of Cultivating Influence (Harper Business, 2021). Jon Levy is a behavioral scientist who over a decade ago founded The Influencer Dinner, a secret dining experience for industry leaders. He’s the author of The 2 AM Principle: Discover the Science of Adventure and has …
 
Today I talked to Kim Scott about her new book Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fair (St. Martin's Press, 2021). Kim Scott and her fellow guest on this episode, Trier Bryant, co-founded the company Just Work to help organizations and individuals create more equitable workplaces. Scott was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and other tech c…
 
Today I talked to Mathew Sweezy about his new book The Context Marketing Revolution: How to Motivate Buyers in the Age of Infinite Media (Harvard Business Review Press, 2020). Mathew Sweezey is Principal of Marketing Insights for Salesforce. His work has appeared in leading publications such as AdAge, Forbes, Brand Quarterly, The Economist, and The…
 
Today I talked to Eric Rupp about his book The Transformational Travel Journal: Your Guide to Creating a Life-Changing Journey (TTC, 2020). Eric Rupp is a founding partner at the Transformational Travel Council, and runs an insightful naturalist guiding company. He’s a traveler, storyteller, an engineer, a carpenter, a designer, and a woodsman. He’…
 
Today I talked to Adam Bryant about his new book (co-authored with Kevin Sharer), The CEO Test: Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders (Harvard Business Press, 2021). Adam Bryant is managing director of Merryck & Co, a leadership development and mentoring firm. Before then, Adam was a journalist for 30 years, including at the New York…
 
Today I talked to Kali Nicole Gross about her new book (co-authored with Daina Ramey Berry) A Black Women's History of the United States (Beacon Press, 2020). This episode covers a litany of instances in which black women have shown remarkable courage and resiliency. Yes, the episode starts with Meghan Markle, Harry, their son Archie, and how the R…
 
Today I talked to David A. Lees about his book Memphis Mayhem: A Story of the Music That Shook Up the World (ECW Press, 2020) David Less has studied Memphis music for over 40 years, including work done for the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Gibson Guitar Foundation. He’s been published in Rolling Stone a…
 
Today I talked to David G. White, Jr. about his book Disrupting Corporate Culture: How Cognitive Science Alters Accepted Beliefs About Culture and Culture Change and Its Impact on Leaders and Change Agents (Routledge, 2021). David G. White, Jr. is a cognitive anthropologist working with organizations on culture, change, and leadership issues. He’s …
 
Today I talked to Michael P. F. Smith about his book The Good Hand: A Memoir of Work, Brotherhood, and Transformation in an American Boomtown (Viking, 2021) Michael Smith is a folk singer who has shared the stage with luminaries such as Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. He’s also a playwright, whose works include Wood Guthrie Dreams and Ain’t No Sin. The Good…
 
Today I talked to Ming-Hui Huang about her book (coauthored with Roland T. Rust), The Feeling Economy: How Artificial Intelligence Is Creating the Era of Empathy (Palgrave MacMillan, 2021) This episode covers the movement of the economy from brawn to brains to hearts. Put another way, the focus here is on the movement from the Physical Economy (far…
 
Today I talked to Candacy Taylor about her book Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America (Abrams Press, 2020). Taylor is an award-winning author, photographer and cultural documentarian. She’s been a fellow at Harvard University under the direction of Henry Louis Gates Jr. and her projects have been funded by org…
 
Imagination with a Straight Jacket Alan Lightman is a writer, physicist, and social entrepreneur. He has served on the faculties of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was the first person at MIT to receive dual faculty appointments in science and in the humanities. He is the author of many books, both fiction and nonfic…
 
Today I talked to Paul O. Jenkins about his book Bluegrass Ambassadors: The McLain Family Band in Appalachia and the World (West Virginia UP, 2020). This episode covers a band that defies expectations. Coming from Hindman, Kentucky, this band formed in 1968 served as ambassadors of U.S. culture in over 60 countries. T were also fairly unique in bei…
 
This episode covers a range of topics from Old’s use of line breaks (enjambment that runs contrary to the tedious, end-stopped rhyming lines of hymnals) to the degree to which any art work can be really considered to be autobiographical as artists work from intuition. The episode features Olds reading from two of her poems in Arias (Knopf, 2019). S…
 
Today I talked with Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini about their book Humanocracy: Creating Organizations As Amazing As the People Inside Them (HBR, 2020). This episode attacks the way bureaucracies are “innovation-phobic” and “soul crushing.” How can motivation, productivity and innovation be radically enhanced? By dismantling traditional power struc…
 
Today I talked to Michael Gorra about his new book The Saddest Words: William Faulkner's Civil War (Liveright, 2020). This episode touches on two of William Faulkner’s novels in particular: The Sound and the Fury as well as Absalom, Absalom! It considers the role of memory and history, Faulkner’s alcoholism, the sexual exploitation practiced by pla…
 
Today I talked to Chris Hamby about his book Soul Full of Coal Dust: The True Story of an Epic Battle for Justice (Little Brown, 2020). Hamby looks into why there has been a surge in black-lung disease in West Virginia and elsewhere in recent years. Poor self-policing and rapacious business practices go a long way in explaining the upsurge. Add in …
 
Today I talked to David Smith and Brad Johnson about their new book Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace (HBR Press, 2020). This episode addresses some of the many ways in which women face challenges in the workplace, from pay equity issues, to sexual harassment, to being interrupted by men 3x more than men get interru…
 
Today I talked to Daniel Lieberman about his book Exercised: How We Did Not Evolve to Exercise and What to Do about It (Pantheon, 2021). In the book Lieberman explodes 12 different myths, chief among them we’re supposed to want to exercise. Much of the conversation explores differences between Westerners and their lifestyles, including of course ex…
 
In this episode I talked to Russell T. Warne about his book In the Know: Debunking 35 Myths about Human Intelligence (Cambridge UP, 2020). Warne takes on the “nature versus nurture” debate regarding the source of intelligence. It also looks at a host of other angles related to IQ: from the failures of the No Child Left Behind act to what are the di…
 
Today I talked to Steven W. Webster about his book American Rage: How Anger Shapes Our Politics (Cambridge UP, 2020). We discuss the behavioral implications of anger in American politics, from increased intolerance, blame, and aggression, to an ever-deepening lack of trust in government’s efficacy. Among the topics addressed was the role of the med…
 
On this episode I speak to Ellen Van Oosten about Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth (Harvard Business Review Press, 2019). The book explores both personal and organizational change, especially how does a leader pursue an ideal self that aligns activities, goals and values. Key emotions include awe, joy…
 
Leigh Thompson is a Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. An acclaimed researcher, author, and speaker, she has developed several online and in-person courses on negotiation, leading teams, creativity, and virtual collaboration. Leigh is a best-selling author of 10 books incl…
 
In her new book Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change (Rosenfeld Media, 2020), Amy Bucher analyzes both the barriers and levers to achieving behavioral change. Among the barriers are cognitive biases, like a Status Quo Bias, as well as growing both emotionally and mentally exhausted by changes that require too much willpower on behalf of the user.…
 
Stop Solving the Wrong Problem! In this episode we discuss Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg's book What's Your Problem?: To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve (HBR Press, 2020) and focus on hisRapid Reframing Method for solving in particular people-related problems. Specific topics include: how emotions can either facilitate or hi…
 
In his book The Serenity Code: How Brain Plasticity Helps You Live Without Stress, Anxiety and Depression (SAD) (Depth Insights, 2020), Christophe Morin explains how you can rewire your brains to escape stress and anxiety. Dr. Christophe Morin is passionate about decoding the relationship between the brain and human behaviors. He’s received multipl…
 
Are robots going to be our overlords? In Human Work in the Age of Smart Machines (RosettaBooks, 2020), Jamie Merisotis says they don't have to be. We can make them our friends. Jamie Merisotis is a globally recognized leader in philanthropy, education, and public policy. Since 2008, he’s served as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, an independ…
 
How do we promote peace in the streets? In his new book Bleeding Out: The Devastating Consequences of Urban Violence--and a Bold New Plan for Peace in the Streets (Basic Books, 2019), Thomas Abt explains. Abt teaches, studies, and writes about the use of evidence-informed approaches to reduce urban violence. Abt is a Senior Fellow with the Council …
 
Why Give a Damn About Strangers? In his book The Kindness of Strangers: How a Selfish Ape Invented a New Moral Code (Basic Books, 2020), Michael E. McCullough explains. McCullough is a professor of psychology at the University of California San Diego, where he directs the Evolution and Human Behavior laboratory. Long interested in prosocial behavio…
 
What are the limitations of relying on logic as an upfront filter in pursuing ideas? Find out as I talk to Rory Sutherland about his new books Alchemy: the Dark Art and Curious Science of Creating Magic in Brands, Business, and Life (William Morrow, 2019) Sutherland is Vice Chairman of Ogilvy, a legendary advertising agency. He’s also a columnist f…
 
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