November 2017: Weekend Reading

November 2017: Weekend Reading

Happy Friday! We’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month and beyond for you to browse and enjoy this weekend.

This summer, NPR shared a print segment about the work lives of oil rig workers from their podcast Invisibilia. In 1997, Shell began construction on “the world’s deepest offshore well,” a 48-story deepwater platform called Ursa. The unprecedented project challenged all notions of how the rig’s workers would plan and build safely. “Even though the men faced the risk of death every day,” one oil worker said, “they never showed any vulnerability. This made the work even more perilous, because the men didn’t ask for help, didn’t admit if they weren’t up to a certain job.”

Can being more vulnerable lead to a safer work environment?

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Reading Mindfully: Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”

Reading Mindfully: Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”

In 2016, singer-songwriter Bob Dylan became the first musician to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, sparking a debate about the nature of “literary” writing. Can we equate song lyrics with poetry? Should we distinguish between songwriters and a novelists? Does Dylan deserve the same literary prestige as Toni Morrison and Pablo Neruda?

Can we embark on a mindful literary exploration of one of Bob Dylan’s most famous songs?

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What the Modern Workplace Can Learn from Leonardo

What the Modern Workplace Can Learn from Leonardo

In a recent Wall Street Journal essay adapted from his new biography of Leonardo da Vinci, author Walter Isaacson explores the life and mind of the ultimate Renaissance Man. How did Leonardo’s ambitious visions become realities? What made him so imaginative and prescient that people still debate his art and craft ball bearings based on his original design? What can we learn from the habits of a creative genius?

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Weekend Reading: October 2017

Weekend Reading: October 2017

Happy Friday! As usual, we’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month for you to browse and enjoy this weekend.

Harvard Business Review launched a fantastic series at the end of September focused on the epidemic of loneliness in the workplace. Former United States Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy writes in the cover story:

“Even working at an office doesn’t guarantee meaningful connections: People sit in an office full of coworkers, even in open-plan workspaces, but everyone is staring at a computer or attending task-oriented meetings where opportunities to connect on a human level are scarce. Happy hours, coffee breaks, and team-building exercises are designed to build connections between colleagues, but do they really help people develop deep relationships?”

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Reading Mindfully: T. Coraghessan Boyle’s “Are We Not Men?”

Reading Mindfully: T. Coraghessan Boyle’s “Are We Not Men?”

T. Coraghessan Boyle’s prolific literary career spans over three decades and twenty-six books of fiction. His work has earned numerous accolades including multiple O. Henry Awards for his short stories and a PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel World’s End. His prose, writes The Paris Review, is “lush, manic, overblown, satiric, highly imaginative and, on occasion, shamelessly melodramatic.” His short story “Are We Not Men?” was published in the November 2016 issue of The New Yorker. As you read the story, consider your own notions of parenthood. Why do we care so deeply about our children’s success?

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Digging Little Rivulets: An Interview with Professor Bernie Jim

Digging Little Rivulets: An Interview with Professor Bernie Jim

We recently had the chance to speak to Professor Bernie Jim about his experience as a facilitator with Books@Work. Bernie has a Ph.D. in History and has worked as a SAGES Fellow and Lecturer in History at Case Western Reserve University since 2007. He leads seminars on cities, spectacle, matters of proportion and puzzles. His favorite writers are Gabriel García Márquez and Haruki Murakami.

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Psychological Safety and the Making of a Great Team

Psychological Safety and the Making of a Great Team

We all know the story. It was 1980 at the height of the Cold War. The United States hockey team, in an incredible feat known as the Miracle on Ice, beat the Soviet Union to claim the Olympic gold. For most, the fairytale ends there, the American team victorious.

But on the Soviet team’s flight back to Moscow, another story unfolded. The coach began to insult individual players and dole out unfair blame. A defenseman named Valeri Vasiliev furiously interrupted and, in a brave moment of protest, reprimanded the coach and demanded he take back his comments. The Soviet team went on to become the pre-eminent power in world hockey, virtually unbeatable for the next four years.

So what does this have to do with Books@Work?

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Weekend Reading: September 2017

Weekend Reading: September 2017

It’s Friday! As usual, we’ve compiled our favorite articles and essays from the last month for you to enjoy over the weekend.

Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmonson and Chan Zuckerberg Initiative learning engineer Bror Saxberg make an emphatic case in the McKinsey Quarterly for prioritizing lifelong learning in the business world. With the rise of AI and robotics, they write, the complex cognitive and emotional skills that make us human are more crucial than ever.

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Reading Mindfully: Charles Bukowski’s “Bluebird”

Reading Mindfully: Charles Bukowski’s “Bluebird”

Charles Bukowski was a renowned and prolific poet, short story writer and novelist who struggled throughout his lifetime with alcoholism and depression. Drawing on his experience growing up and living in Los Angeles, his work paints a portrait of downtrodden urban life and masculinity in America. In the San Francisco Review of Books, Stephen Kessler wrote, “Bukowski writes with no apologies from the frayed edge of society.”

As you read his poem “Bluebird,” published in 1992, consider if there has been a situation in your own life where you’ve put on a tough exterior.

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