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.”

Leadership consultant Claire Nuer helped Shell foster a work environment that embraced free expression and open dialogue; over the next year and a half, more than one hundred oil rig workers participated in “a series of exercises designed to open them up.” Harvard Business School professor Robin Ely studied the experiment, and the sessions revealed a strong connection between vulnerability and safety:

“Ely says that as the men became more open with their feelings, other communication was starting to flow more freely. ‘Part of safety in an environment like that is being able to admit mistakes and being open to learning – to say, I need help, I can’t lift this thing by myself, I’m not sure how to read this meter, she says. That alone is about being vulnerable.'”

Elsewhere on the Internet:

Columnist Adam Grant writes in the New York Times about the value of open disagreement – and why respectful arguments are critical to creativity.

Diversity & inclusion start with taking a hard look at our biases, writes Facebook Global Head of Diversity for Harvard Business Review.

“Literature conducts ideas across continents and through time with a startling efficacy,” writes Scott Esposito in a passionate defense of classic literature for Literary Hub.

In a piece adapted from his new biography of Leonardo da Vinci, author Walter Isaacson explores what we can learn from the habits of a creative genius in the Wall Street Journal.

Brian Tracy of Forbes shares why emotional intelligence is such a critical skill for leaders in the workplace.

Image: Konstantin Bogaevsky, Baku Oil Rigs, 1931, [Public Domain] via

Learn More About Books@Work or Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan

Maredith Sheridan is a Development Communications Associate at the Cleveland Orchestra and a part-time member of the Books@Work team. She continues to write posts for our blog.