Tag: Organisational Humanity

Recommended reading: The Madness of Crowds – @DouglasKMurray

I’ve just finished The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity by Douglas Murray. It opens…

We are going through a great crowd derangement. In public and in private, both online and off, people are behaving in ways that are increasingly irrational, feverish, herd-like and simply unpleasant.”

If you struggle to find a logic to follow in identity politics, if you’re somewhat mystified by the raging debates about gender versus sex, or the rights of actors or writers to present a perspective other than that of their own race-gender-sexuality, then this is the book for you.

As a result, I too found myself googling “European art” and “straight white couple”. I’ve so far resisted the temptation to google Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda video … but, the days are longer in self-isolation.

A valuable, insightful book.

The book is here.

There’s a taster in this interview from Uncommon Knowledge:

Photo by Rob Curran on Unsplash

What’s your métier?

This from chef Rick Stein’s Secret France.

In passing Stein remarks that in France, rather than asking “What do you do?”, people ask “What’s your métier?”—literally, what are you master of?

We should all aspire to be masters of our chosen profession.

I’m pretty sure it was episode 2: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000b8sb .

The book’s here, but I suspect, it won’t help. Great recipes, though.

Image: BBC

The classics and “challenging language” – in praise of friction – @AndrewGregory

Classic works of literature by William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens and other great writers can boost your brain and relieve depression, chronic pain and dementia.

Andrew Gregory, The Sunday Times, The Pick-me-up Papers: Dickens better for mental health than self-help books

Here’s a thought-provoking piece from last week’s Sunday Times. Mental health is improved by reading classic works of literature because…

Unusual phrases and unfamiliar words in great works of literature command the undivided attention of readers, provoking moments of self-reflection and helping shift brains into a higher gear.

And, the approach seems to be having a positive impact in clinical scenarios…

There is no evidence bibliotherapy, or reading therapy, can cure mental health disorders, but medics have reported dramatic results in those with poor mental health. Dr Helen Willows, a GP, said she had seen reading “transform the lives of the people that we see day after day at our surgery — those that are stuck, perhaps with low mood or who are socially isolated.”

Dr David Fearnley, executive medical director of the Betsi Cadwaladr University health board and one of the longest- serving medical directors in the NHS, goes further. Reading aloud with others in particular, he says, is “the most significant development in mental healthcare in the past 10 years”.

It’s interesting that, in all areas of life, we pursue ease and a reduction in friction, whether that’s making writing simpler, our background music less intrusive or our daily lives less exercised. But, like resistance work in the gym, or fibre in food, it’s the push-back, the friction that has greatest effect.

Photo by Max van den Oetelaar on Unsplash

Worker engagement: not the 9-5 office employee

Harvard Business Review has charted research data from the ADP Research Institute on employee engagement around the world. It’s quite comprehensive and throws up a couple of interesting data points for fans (or sceptics) of non-traditional working models.

The overall finding is that around the world only 16% of workers are “fully engaged”, which seems surprisingly low.

However, those who work remotely are more engaged than their office-bound colleagues.

And, gig workers (i.e. sovereign professionals) on full-time projects are more engaged than traditional “permanent employees”.

The full analysis (with country and sector analyses) is on HBR.org, here.

Photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

Charles Handy – sage of sovereign professionals

The Sunday Times has a profile and short interview with social philosopher Charles Handy. At 87, he has a new book out.

Handy foresaw and defined the concept of a portfolio career. His Shamrock Organisation predicted the world of outsourcing, the gig economy and B2B freelancing in the manner of the sovereign professional.

Continue reading “Charles Handy – sage of sovereign professionals”

Power and the independent professional

Power can be complicated for freelancers and independents. You have power over your own business, but on client projects your power can less clear, jeopardising your ability to deliver.

How can you ensure you have the power you need to achieve the task in hand?

Continue reading “Power and the independent professional”

Who’s afraid of Machiavelli? – BBC

Should everyone, or at least every sovereign professional, read Machiavelli’s notorious book, The Prince?

From the BBC’s Imagine series, this programme explores the history and contemporary impact of Nicolo Machiavelli’s most famous book.

Continue reading “Who’s afraid of Machiavelli? – BBC”