Rad Reads, Volume 45

This week: “Creative confidence in kids, Atheism 2.0, Radical Candor, Simmons interviews Obama, Facebook M”

Each week, we curate five unique articles, the Rad Reads. The topics are expansive and groovy, ranging from leadership, technology, pop culture, science, policy, self-improvement, philanthropy and finance.

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“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero.” Charlie Munger

Dear Rad Readers — Good morning from Pittsburgh, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Last week’s issue was the most read in RR history, so I gathered the Top 18 Articles on Self-Improvement into one comprehensive post.

Also, I’ve got a small ask for the Rad Reads community: I’m starting a small side project, crowd-sourcing a reading (i.e books) list from you Rad Folks. On this Thanksgiving weekend, I have one quick ask of you, which will be hugely beneficial to the entire community:

  1. What is one book that’s had a transformational impact on your life? (This is broad by design)
  2. In one sentence, why should a Rad Reader read this?

I will aggregate your e-mail responses to create one giant reading list — This is going to be awesome!!!
Atheism 2.0, Alain de Botton — In this talk, de Botton argues that we have “secularized badly” and proposes separating the ritualistic, moralistic, communal side of religion from the doctrine. He believes that our top universities have not taught us how to live, and we are constantly in search of “morality, guidance and consolation.” Some solutions include reintroducing the sermon (versus the didactic lecture), using repetition and rituals, focusing on oratory and storytelling, merging our physical and mental practices, and using art to improve society. (Video Link, Transcript 19 mins h/t @Halim)
How to Build Creative Confidence in Kids, IDEO — I write this article having just been “imprisoned in a ‘fun jail’ summoned to marshmallow milk and birthday cupcakes” by my five and three year old nephew and niece. There is a two pronged approach: Climbing into the back seat (unstructured time and limiting external praise) and building creative muscles (embracing constraints, lots of painting spaces, creative rituals, open-ended toys/projects). I feel like I’ll need to come back to this one… for both myself and Soriya! (Link, 5 mins)
Radical Candor — The Surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss, First Round Review — Giving effective feedback is the key to the development of your team. However, we are often prisoners to the old adage “If you can’t say something nice…” She separates two axes, “Caring Personally” and “Challenging Directly,” and that while it’s a fine line to tread, “criticizing your employees when they screw up is not just your job, it’s actually your moral obligation.” These are hard conversations but build the foundation to amazing relationships with your team and reports over the long term. (Link, 10 mins)
President Obama and Bill Simmons: The GQ Interview — It doesn’t get better than Bill Simmons interviewing the President, the latter who instantly disarms him by teasing and flattering him with a joke about Grantland. Read about Obama’s ability to tune out the 24/7 media cycle, the difference in responding to Ferguson and Charleston, and the need for a White House digital media team. But the most touching… “Having two teenage daughters whose worlds’ no longer revolve around you” mitigated by the gift of watching “them become smarter and cooler than you are.” (Link, 19 mins h/t @Phillip)
Facebook Reveals The Secrets Behind Its Artificial Intelligence Bot, Buzzfeed — Facebook is currently testing its human-supplemented Artificial Intelligence service via the messenger app (which, BTW, makes the WhatsApp purchase look even more brilliant). Through this command-line based approach, one can order plane tickets, flowers, return shirts and drawings of your friends? Facebook won’t disclose which tasks are completed by the human operators, but believes that they can serve as a bridge to deciding which verticals/tasks are most prone to automation. (Link, 12 mins)

Rad Follow ups

  • 10 Things Quick Learners Do, LifeHack.org (Link, 10 mins)
  • The Women of Hollywood Speak Up, NY Times (Link, 30 mins)

And finally, how many of you used Adele’s “Hello” to defuse tense family moments this Thanksgiving? And for those of you who like physical books, use Amazon code HOLIDAY30 for 30% of any book. (Note: This is not an affiliated link.) Happy Holidays! Khe

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