What I’ve Been Listening To (August)

Before I plug the stuff I’ve plugged into, Gabe at MacDrifter shared some podcasts that he enjoys and I echo his comments on 99pi and YANSS. Click through to his post to see what exactly that means.

Tim Ryan was on the James Altucher podcast talking about meditation and the effects it has had on the schools in his congressional district. Ryan came off as well prepared in the interview and only slightly political, a sort of praise for him I guess. It was a fresh perspective for a national representative and a good overview of how meditation can help. James also interviewed Ramit Sethi, which had good energy and different ideas on how to frame things.

Alright, I’ll confess. 99pi stands for 99 Percent Invisible and the crew there has a great episode on duplitecture. It turns out that in China there are mammoth areas of duplicated architecture. From 99pi,  “Shanghai alone has ten cities all built in the architectural styles of different European countries. Traffic permitting, it’s possible to travel from “Germany” to “Italy” to “England” in the course of a few hours.”

Tim Ferriss turned me on to Dan Carlin and his hardcore history podcast, and, well, wow. It’s like This American Life on drugs. It feels like traveling through time with Carlin to what was happening 100 years ago and the lessons abound like the Dutch Tulips in April. I started with show 50, Blueprint for Armageddon I and it is good. If school was like this, kids would beg to go.

One of my favorite bloggers, Mr. Money Mustache (MMM), was interviewed on The Disciplined Investor. I only pass it along because MMM gives so few interviews that each one seems like a treat. There’s nothing new here if you are a MMM fan, but you do get to hear his advice fall on the mostly deaf ears of host Andrew Horowitz. Which is not to criticize Horowitz, as much as comment how much the MMM ideas are beyond mainstream.

From the end of July, but I only got around to it this month, the Stuff You Should Know show, the guys talk about the dark side of the moon, which is different from the far side, or the near side. Sometimes these episodes click and I find them interesting and sometimes they don’t. This did, and in it they explain why our near side of the moon looks different from the far side.

At Nerdist Writing Panel Bryan Konietzko and Dante DiMartino are interviewed about writing and drawing Avatar and Legend of Korra. These Nerdist interviews are (also) hit or miss with me, but in addition to getting an idea about how two creators think, they shared three nuggets of inspiration. At 22:00 they talk about building the show as you go, likening it to Cannonball Run where even though your car isn’t finished, you start racing. This lesson has been reinforced in many ways this last year, if you are ready for something you would be doing it. Being full prepared for anything is not an option so you may as well begin.

Around 27:00 the guys talk about pitching a show in Hollywood and the value of loose connections. I’ll write more on this later, but it ties in nicely to some ideas from Give and Take by Adam Grant.

Around 1:10:00 they talk about the value of outlining before you write something. When I first started writing, I read a lot of books by fiction authors, like Stephen King’s On Writing and got the impression that the story should come to me. That’s not how it works. In fact, I would guess that even for King it doesn’t work that way. He says that finding a story is like digging it out of the ground. To continue that analogy though, I now imagine it like an archaeological site. Tents are erected, the area examined, and tools are prepared. Each explorer on site knows what and how to do their job. That’s – I imagine – is more like how Stephen King writes.

For whatever reason, I’m attracted to what Gretchen Rubin writes and speaks about, even though I’m never that inspired after hearing it. Maybe there are subliminal hooks, maybe I look to her as a mentor on writing, I don’t know. In her interview with Jeff Goins she talks about the writing process, her career from lawyer to writer, and how she does her best work. Around 16:00 she talks about the importance of having a clean work area, something I strongly relate to, and something in line with mise-en-place.

At 31:00 she talks about working each day, something I’m doing well with. My problem comes in doing more than first drafts. I’ve paced the ground that first drafts stand on well enough to know what to do. The editing, publishing, and promotion are in darker parts of the forest which I haven’t explored yet.

Planet Money tells the story about what happens when one half a mall has one minimum wage and the other half another. This is so ridiculous that at one point the Gap store there was told to keep track of how long each employee stood in each part of the store and pay them the wages based on where they worked the most.


One thought on “What I’ve Been Listening To (August)

  1. Pingback: Why I Gave up on the Fitbit | Mike Dariano

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