Monday Assorted Links

1. When the Revolution Came for Amy Cuddy.

Because I know you’re as fascinated by social science politics as I am.

2. What’s So Bad About Ken Burns?

Because I know you’re as fascinated by history politics as I am.

3. New Zealand Government to ban foreigners from buying property.

Shit, that’s what I get for equivocating.

4. Paul Newman’s Rolex . . . fetches $17.8m.

Or about $16.8m more than expected. Great insights on marriage tucked in, including Newman saying a good marriage requires lust, respect, patience, and determination.

5. Teachers’ perceptions can become reality for students.

“Teachers expect 58 percent of white high school students — but just 37 percent of black high school students — to obtain at least a four-year college degree. And when evaluating the same black student, white teachers were 9 percentage points less likely than their black colleagues to expect that student to earn a college degree. This bias was more flagrant for black male students than for black female students.”

6. It’s time to admit that allowing men into the workplace was a mistake.

I like Ruth Graham.

“You might be able to make the case that if we just put strict limits of their leadership opportunities, we could avoid banning them from the workplace entirely. Sadly, however, it has now become clear that many men are not just incompetent but also dangerous. One recent poll found that 30 percent of women have endured unwanted advances from men they work with, with the majority of those women saying those advances rose to the level of sexual harassment.”

Satire people. I think.

The Golden Ticket to Workplace Success

I’m involved with a number of intense conflicts—in my work life, in my civic engagements (vague enough?) and my non-work life (even more vague, must protect the innocent). Fortunately, I’m mostly a minor character in the conflicts which provides the opportunity to do a lot of thinking about patterns and themes. Conflict is no fun, but the silver lining is I’m learning lots about different types, common causes, and preventive measures.

This focus on conflict prompts thinking about how job seekers find work that pays a livable wage? And how do they stay employed over time? A higher education, a trade, specialized knowledge and skills all increase the odds of finding and keeping decent paying jobs.

Thanks for that Captain Obvious.

Less appreciated is the incredible value of in-depth knowledge of conflict and conflict resolution skills. If there is a “Golden Ticket” to work place success, this is it. Last week, I told my student teachers that if I was a principal interviewing them (or for that matter, a business owner hiring anyone for my business), I’d ask, “What’s your approach to conflict resolution?” I’d seek applicants who would help our school community have fewer conflicts and help resolve inevitable ones as skillfully and expeditiously as possible.

If interviewing you, I’d listen to how intelligently you talk about conflict, specifically assessing whether you’re knowledgable about the different types, common causes, and preventive measures. I’d also listen for references to active listening and perspective-taking, giving extra-credit if you mention one or both. I’d do all of this while studying your demeanor, specifically whether you’re poised and calm or harried and tense.

I might ask about a conflict you played a part in and what you learned from it. And how teams are better and possibly worse as a result of your presence. Be prepared for me to ask for a specific example or two.

The leaders in the conflicts that currently occupy my time, have failed to maintain positive working relationships with those they lead. In every instance, the end result has been anger, distrust, hurt feelings, and a decline in the team’s work.

The only constant in today’s especially fluid economy is interpersonal conflict. It is not rising or falling, it’s constant, like a heartbeat. And Artificial Intelligence will be no match for it.

Anxious about how to find or keep a job that pays a livable wage? Become an expert in conflict—what causes it; the different forms it takes; and most importantly, how to solve it. To do that, be more introspective than you’ve been to this point about your strengths and vulnerabilities as a human being in close relationship with others. Self understanding is a key ingredient to avoiding conflicts and thoughtfully solving them. The better you get at avoiding conflicts and thoughtfully solving them, the more valuable you’re going to be to your work teams. The more valuable you are to your work teams, the brighter your employment prospects.

Best of all, heightened self-understanding and specialized conflict resolution knowledge and skills are directly transferable to non-work, personal relationships; consequently, an especially fortuitous ripple effect is more harmonious personal relationships and a better quality of life more generally.

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Rethinking Cancer

I was blown away by the scope, clarity, interdisciplinary artistry, and intelligence of Siddhartha Mukerjee’s 2010 book, “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer“. Like Atul Gawande, Mukerjee somehow practices medicine, runs a world class research lab, while being married with two school-aged children. I like this quote from his wife, Sarah Sze, a MacArthur Genius grant recipient and tenured art professor/sculptor at Columbia.

“‘You can’t get lost in the everyday details. Sid and I are both totally like that, which can be not good with things like parking tickets. Sure, things are falling through the cracks all the time, but that doesn’t matter. The big things matter.'”

I haven’t read Mukerjee’s 2016 book, “The Gene: An Intimate History,” but did just finish his recent New Yorker essay, “The Invasion Equation,” about how cancer biologists are rethinking cancer. And he’s done it again, written so clearly even I can make sense of the science. His writing is deeply engaging on top and will not disappoint anyone interested in the current state of oncology.

A one-sentence caption on the second page of the essay summarizes the shift in thinking:

“We’ve tended to focus on the cancer, but its host tissue—”soil,” rather than “seed”—could help us predict the danger it poses.”

Later, he elaborates:

“It was only natural that many cancer biologists, confronting the sheer complexity of the whole organism, trained their attention exclusively on our “pathogen”: the cancer cell. Investigating metastasis seems more straightforward than investigating non-metastasis; clinically speaking, it’s tough to study those who haven’t fallen ill. And we physicians have been drawn to the toggle-switch model of disease and health: the biopsy was positive; the blood test was negative; the scans find “no evidence of disease.” Good germs, bad germs. Ecologists, meanwhile, talk about webs of nutrition, predation, climate, topography, all subject to complex feedback loops, all context-dependent. To them, invasion is an equation, even a set of simultaneous equations.”

My take-away from Mukherjee—whether you or I are likely to die from cancer depends largely on whether oncologists learn to think like ecologists.

Friday Assorted Links

1A. Running While Female. Male runners may be shocked to learn how often women must endure on-the-run harassment. Many female runners have come to just expect it.

“43 percent of women at least sometimes experience harassment on the run. . . compared with just 4 percent of men. In the vast majority of cases, it’s not life-threatening. But it is pervasive, and it’s upsetting, and it’s most likely happening to. . . someone you know.

A man will look a woman up and down as she runs past. A driver will shout a come-on, laughing with his friends as they speed away. A person on a bike or in a car will follow a woman, and she might dart down a side street to escape. Even if nothing like this happens most days, knowing that it (or something worse) could happen causes stress. As the recent national dialogue surrounding Donald Trump’s sexist comments and alleged assaults brought to light, almost all women—runners or not—have endured unwanted sexual attention. And no matter how swift a woman’s pace, it’s impossible to outrun harassment.”

1B. Male athletes at Garfield High mentored on how to interact with women.

“‘There was things. . . that I noticed that I’ve done in the past . . . I just realized I should change,’ said Ramari, a football player.”

Imagine that, coaches looking past scoreboards.

2. Why America’s roads are in tatters.

“Brickyard is among the roads that the Muskegon County Road Commission has slated to be turned to gravel, twenty-eight miles in all.”

We are a nation in decline.

“Each American driver pays about $450 per year toward roads, according to the Journal of Infrastructure Systems. Europeans fork over on average 2 to 3.5 times as much — the difference is largely in fuel taxes. Americans have always resisted giving such financial support for infrastructure projects. . . . The federal gas tax, 18.4 cents per gallon, was last raised in 1993 and has since lost more than one third of its purchasing power. Only three states currently index their gas tax to inflation.”

You get what you don’t pay for.

3. How long must Seattle teachers save for house down payment?

“Teachers with five years of experience, and a master’s degree would pay about 28 percent of their annual salary on rent for a one-bedroom in Seattle, according to the NCTQ data.

“Are you giving people enough money to buy a house or even rent a modest apartment? If you aren’t doing that, you’re sort of depriving a profession of what makes it a profession.'”

4. Fuck, I Totally Forgot to Fight for Women’s Rights and Promote Sustainability.

“You know how it is, though.”

The Difference Between Jordan Spieth and Donald Trump

Aspiring leaders can learn a lot from Donald Trump. Specifically, what not to do. Last week he bragged that HE was going to pass the biggest tax cut in history. Not “my administration”, not “Congressional leaders and me”, “ME“. At the same time, when pressed to explain why he’s failed to pass any significant legislation so far, he has his Press Secretary blame Congress for “not doing their job”.

In contrast, listen to 24 year-old Jordan Spieth after winning his next golf tournament. Or Justin Thomas in three days in South Korea. Both consistently credit their teams for their success, starting every sentence with “We“. They credit their caddies, swing coaches, trainers, agents, and families for their success. Also note how they shift gears when they lose. “My putting wasn’t what it has been.” “I never had control of my driver.”

Two utterly opposite models of leadership. The U.S. Constitution says you have to be 35 years old to be President. If not for that, I’d say, let’s make a trade, Spieth to the Oval Office, Trump to the first tee. I mean he claims to have shot 73 last week. That news was timely, I was beginning to think he had his sense of humor surgically removed.

Somalis Know They Are Invisible

Naomi Klein, in her 2001 book, Fences and Windows, writes:

“When I was twenty-three, I had my first media job as a copy editor at a newspaper. The newspaper closed at 11p.m., but two people stayed until 1a.m. in case a news story broke that was so significant it was worth reopening the front page. On the first night that it was my turn to stay late, a tornado in a southern U.S. state killed three people and the senior editor on duty decided to reopen the front page. On my second night, I read on the wires that 114 people had just been killed in Afghanistan, so I dutifully flagged own the senior editor. Remember, I was young, and it seemed to me that if three people warranted reopening the front page, then 114 would surely classify as a major news event. I will never forget what the editor told me. ‘Don’t worry, he said, “‘those people kill each other all the time.’

Since September 11, I’ve been thinking again about that incident, about how we in the media participate in a process that confirms and reconfirms the idea that death and murder are tragic, extraordinary and intolerable in some places and banal, ordinary, unavoidable, even expected in others.

. . . I still think the idea that some blood is precious, some blood is cheap is not just morally wrong but has helped to bring us to this bloody moment in our history.

That cold, brutal, almost unconscious calculus works it way into our shared global psyche and twists and maims us. It breeds the recklessness of those who know they are invisible, that they are not among the counted.”

This weekend a bombing in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, killed over 300 people and left hundreds more seriously wounded. It was so lightly reported on, it’s understandable if you know Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collar bone Sunday, but were completely unaware of the massive loss of life in the Horn of Africa.

After 9/11, a friend of Klein’s wrote to her:

“Compassion is not a zero sum game. But there is also undeniably something unbearable in the hierarchy of death—1 American equals 2 west Europeans equals 10 Yugoslavs equals 50 Arabs equals 200 Africans—which is one part power, one part wealth, one part race.”

Last night I traveled to Somalia through the pen of Alexis Okeowo. Okeowo introduced me to 17 year-old Aisha, a young basketball obsessed woman living in Mogadishu. I wish I knew her in real life so that I could support her and cheer her on. Her harrowing but inspiring story is inextricably linked to some of our planet’s most pressing challenges.

The more I got to know her, the more I wondered about her future. Then a deep sadness. She could have been among the dead.