Dented cans, ugly fruit – it’s all tasty (and free) if you’re willing to get your hands dirty | Aeon Videos


On getting a fancy MBA…

If I was admitted to a prestigious business school and scheduled to begin in January or even September, I’m pretty sure I’d defer.

Take a gap year, take two.

For many students, the two most important parts of the top-tier MBA are getting in and getting out. It’s about selection and certification.

For the last seventy years, the most famous graduate schools in business have been honing a particular model of teaching and value creation. They excel at a sometimes-magical sort of classroom experience, one that uses exclusivity and status and real-time high-stakes interaction to create an esprit de corps as well as occasional moments of real growth. And when the programs work, the $350,000 in tuition and opportunity cost for two years can be repaid with a fancy job that brings leverage and impact to the certified graduate.

The scarce degree is a signaling mechanism for a certain group of consultants and investment banks eager to hire people who have been filtered out and paid their dues as a way of showing commitment to a specific career.

It’s predicted that more people will apply this year than ever before. In uncertain times, the process feels reassuring. For most students, the elite MBA is about the prize at the end, not the learning or the experience.

Due to the pandemic, many of those in-person interactions moved online. And if the schools are honest about it, the interactions they offered online aren’t very good. Instead of the result of nearly a century of improvement, they’re often slapped together, and they’re filled with compromise. The people who built them weren’t charged with improving what was on offer on campus, they were supposed to come up with something that would either augment it or be a less-expensive and less-prestigious alternative for people who couldn’t participate in the ‘real’ program.

My alma mater was proud to have shifted online in a matter of weeks, but they certainly realize that if it didn’t have the fancy name on it, it wouldn’t have been worth much.

After a semester or even a full year of this, it’s quite possible you won’t have really gotten to know your peers, nor will you have learned much more than you could have from a close reading of twenty books.

And for many, that’s okay, because they’re paying for the certificate, not the learning. I wrote about this twenty years ago…

When I taught at the NYU graduate school of business, I was amazed. Not by the caliber of students, which was very high, but at how little emotional enrollment and intellectual curiosity many of them had in learning what was on offer. A few realized how much they could learn, but many of the students were simply concerned with what was on the test.

When I started the altMBA five years ago, I probably chose the wrong name for it. Because I didn’t set out to replace the business school. Instead, the goal has always been to use a new medium in a new way, to create a thirty-day experience that does what it does better than it could be done any other way.

As a filtering/certifying/sorting mechanism, the elite MBA remains a profitable path for the few people who end up at McKinsey and similar institutions. But most of us don’t have those jobs and don’t want to do that work. Instead, we have the opportunity to level up and figure out how to find more relevance and impact in the work we choose to do. We don’t need a certificate–instead, it’s about learning to see and exploring how to make an impact.

The altMBA and its parent, Akimbo, are now independently owned and run, a B Corp. committed to doing work that matters. But the mission hasn’t changed–to use this new medium in a productive way to help people level up. If you’ve been wondering, “is this all there is to work,” it might be a good time to check out the altMBA. If you’re ready to lean into the process and the learning, without giving up your day job or focusing on scarcity, the altMBA could be a good fit.

No teachers, no gurus, no tests, no accreditation. Simply community in service of finding a better way forward.

The Early Decision admission deadline is tomorrow, Tuesday.

If you know someone in traditional education who is eager to push their medium forward, I hope you’ll point them to what they’re building at Akimbo. At 2% of the cost, it shouldn’t be better than what the famous schools are offering online, but I’m pretty certain that it is.

Education and learning are often very different. And online is not simply the same as sitting in a very big classroom but with a keyboard. It’s an entirely new form of pedagogy, one that’s about doing, not complying, about possibility, not coercion.

We have the chance to make things better. To learn and to lead. Together.

How to become a master negotiator with one sentence – Big Think


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“Forced empathy” is a powerful negotiation tool. Here’s how to do it.

Master negotiator Chris Voss breaks down how to get what you want during negotiations.

DEREK BERES15 July, 2020

"Forced empathy" is a powerful negotiation tool. Here's how to do it.

Credit: Paul Craft / Shutterstock

  • Former FBI negotiator Chris Voss explains how forced empathy is a powerful negotiating tactic.
  • The key is starting a sentence with “What” or “How,” causing the other person to look at the situation through your eyes.
  • What appears to signal weakness is turned into a strength when using this tactic.

How am I supposed to do that?

There’s a lot wrapped up in that seemingly simple question. First off, it’s an admission of ignorance—it invites further explanation. Questions often hold more power than declarations.

More importantly, it provokes what Chris Voss calls “forced empathy.” Voss’s resume includes a stint as the lead international kidnapping negotiator for the FB1 and 14 years in the New York City Joint Terrorist Task Force. He knows how to have a conversation in difficult situations.

Voss now teaches negotiation skills to business leaders as the CEO and founder of the Black Swan Group. Whether chatting with terrorists or corporate heads, his main tactic is similar: Make the other person empathize with you.

His seven-word question accomplishes this. What seems to be an admission of uncertainty or weakness is actually a show of strength. In jujitsu, sometimes being on your back is an advantage; in business, the same rule applies. Chris Voss explains in an interview with Big Think:

“You conveyed to them you have a problem. It’s something that we also referred to as forced empathy. One of the reasons why we exercise tactical empathy is because we want the other side to see us fairly. We want them to see our position; we want them to see the issues we have; we want them to see the constraints that we have.”

This question forces a response, and—this is the key—the other person has to consider your side of the argument. They have to look at the situation from your perspective if they hope to offer a solution.

Offering a real-world example, Voss mentions coaching a high-end real estate agent. They were leasing an expensive home in the Hollywood Hills. The first time the negotiators asked the “how” question, the leasing agent relented on a number of terms. A little while later, they asked again. This time, the agent said, “If you want the house you’re going to have to do it,” signaling that the end of negotiations had been reached. That kind of response tells you something useful: You’ve gotten as much as you can from the deal.

Voss says that “how” is not the only word that works. “What” is also a powerful entry into negotiations, such as “What am I supposed to do?” Again, you’re forcing the other person to empathize.

This is a particularly tricky skill during a time when most conversations are online. Nuance is impossible without the immediacy of pantomimes and vocal fluctuations. Whataboutism is too easy an escape. This particular forced empathy tactic might be one that’s best employed face-to-face or on the phone.

Choose your battles

Aikido Morihei Ueshiba

Aikido Morihei Ueshiba (1883 – 1969, standing, centre left), founder of the Japanese martial art of aikido, demonstrating his art with a follower, at the opening ceremony of the newly-opened aikido headquarters, Hombu Dojo, in Shinjuku, Tokyo, 1967.Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Online debates often amount to little more than frustrated individuals pulling out their hair. In his book, “Against Empathy,” Yale psychology professor Paul Bloom writes that effective altruists are able to focus on what really matters in everyday life.

For example, he compares politics to sports. Rooting for your favorite team isn’t based in rationality. If you’re a Red Sox fan, Yankees stats don’t matter. You just want to destroy them. This, he believes, is how most people treat politics. “They don’t care about truth because, for them, it’s not really about truth.”

Bloom writes that if his son believed our ancestors rode dinosaurs, it would horrify him, but “I can’t think of a view that matters less for everyday life.” We have to strive for rationality when the stakes are high. When involved in real decision-making processes that will affect their life, people are better able to express ideas and make arguments, and are more receptive to opposing ideas.

Because we “become inured to problems that seem unrelenting,” it’s imperative to make the problem seem immediate. As Voss says, giving the other side “the illusion of control” is one way of accomplishing this, as it forces them to take action. When people feel out of control, negotiations are impossible. People dig their heels in and refuse to budge.

What seems to be weakness is actually a strength. To borrow another martial arts metaphor, negotiations are like aikido: using your opponent’s force against them while also protecting them from injury. Forcing empathy is one way to accomplish this task. You may get more than you ask for without the other side ever realizing they surrendered anything.

Stay in touch with Derek on TwitterFacebook and Substack. His next book is “Hero’s Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy.”

3 Tips on Negotiations, with FBI Negotiator Chris Voss 



sociologydebatedecision-makingworkbusinesspsychology  Institute for Humane Studies

A brief history of human dignity

What is human dignity? Here’s a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.

Nicole Yeatman 30 November, 2020Credit: Benjavisa Ruangvaree / AdobeStock

  • Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
  • That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
  • We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.

 Keep readinghumanitysocietyracerelationshipspeacewarpotentialselfPOPULAR

Urban foxes self-evolve, exhibiting Darwin’s domestication syndrome

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A brief history of human dignity

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Urban foxes self-evolve, exhibiting Darwin’s domestication syndrome

A new study finds surprising evidence of the self-evolution of urban foxes.

Paul Ratner 14 June, 2020

A fox at the door of 10 Downing Street on Janurary 13, 2015.Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

  • A study from the University of Glasgow finds urban foxes evolved differently compared to rural foxes.
  • The skulls of the urban foxes are adapted to scavenging for food rather than hunting it.
  • The evolutionary changes correspond to Charles Darwin’s “domestication syndrome.”

How much can living in the city change you? If you were an urban fox, you could be evolving yourself to a whole new stage and becoming more like a dog, according to a fascinating new study.

Researchers compared skulls from rural foxes around London with foxes who lived inside the city and found important variations. Rural foxes showed adaptation for speed and hunting after quick, small prey, while urban fox skulls exhibited changes that made it easier for them to scavenge, looking through human refuse for food, rather than chasing it. Their snouts were shorter and stronger, making it easier to open packages and chew up leftovers. They also have smaller brains, not meant for hunting but for interacting with stationary food sources, reports Science magazine.

Interestingly, there was much similarity found between the male and female skulls of the urban foxes.

The observed changes correspond to what Charles Darwin called the “domestication syndrome,” comprised of traits that go along with an animal’s transition from being wild, to tamed, to domesticated.

The study was led by Kevin Parsons, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Glasgow.

“What’s really fascinating here is that the foxes are doing this to themselves,” Parsons told the BBC. “This is the result of foxes that have decided to live near people, showing these traits that make them look more like domesticated animals.”

The researchers are not suggesting you should go out and get a fox as a house-pet just yet. But they are seeing the evolutionary process taking place that’s moving the urban foxes along the path towards becoming more like dogs and cats, explained the study’s co-author Dr. Andrew Kitchener from National Museums Scotland.

A fox beneath a tree in Greenwich park, south east London

A fox beneath a tree in Greenwich park, south east London on May 14, 2020.Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP

“Some of the basic environmental aspects that may have occurred during the initial phases of domestication for our current pets, like dogs and cats, were probably similar to the conditions in which our urban foxes and other urban animals are living today,” said Kitchener. “So, adapting to life around humans actually primes some animals for domestication.”

The specimen came from the National Museum Scotland’s collection of around 1,500 fox skulls.

You can read the study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

fox sleeping beneath stadium seats

A fox at the LV County Championship, Division two match between Surrey and Derbyshire at The Brit Oval on April 9, 2010 in London, England.Photo by Clive Rose/Getty ImagesbiologyevolutionanimalsUrbancity planningsociety

Giant ‘space claw’ to begin cleaning cosmic debris in 2025

The rush to clean up outer space has begun.

Derek Beres 07 December, 2020Photo: ClearSpaceThe European Space Agency finalized a contract to begin removing space debris in 2025.ClearSpace was awarded a $105 million contract to use its space claw to extract space junk.There are currently 129 million pieces of debris orbiting Earth. Keep readingspace collisionsstart-uptechnologybig problemsglobal issuesspace

Human sexual desire: Is monogamy natural?

Monogamy is often considered a key component of traditional marriages, but it’s only half the story.

Big Think 07 December, 2020

  • Depending on who you ask, monogamy is either essential to a successful marriage or it is unrealistic and sets couples up for failure.
  • In this video, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, psychologist Chris Ryan, former Ashley Madison CEO Noel Biderman, and psychotherapist Esther Perel discuss the science and culture of monogamy, the role it plays in making or breaking relationships, and whether or not humans evolved to have one partner at a time.
  • “The bottom line is, for millions of years, there were some reproductive payoffs not only to forming a pair bond but also to adultery,” says Fisher, “leaving each one of us with a tremendous drive to fall in love and pair up, but also some susceptibility to cheating on the side.”

Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray (Completely Revised and Updated with a New Introduction)List Price: $13.17New From: $9.17 in StockUsed From: $6.25 in Stockevolutionevolutionary psychologylovemarriagemenpsychologyrelationshipsreproductionsciencesexsocietywomenCORONAVIRUS

Black households face greater financial devastation due to COVID-19 shutdowns


New research spotlights how low-income Black households face greater financial distress and vulnerability as a result of the pandemic economic crisis.


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Wisdom Quotes

Know what moves you forward and what holds you back. Then firmly embrace the first and let go of the other.
Know well what holds you back and what moves you forward. (Guatama Buddha)
We all die, but not all of us will truly live.
Every man dies. Not every man really lives. (William Wallace)

Wisdom Quotes

Don’t trust those who speak without showing their intentions.
Never trust anything that can think for itself if you can’t see where it keeps its brain. (J. K. Rowling)
Nobody is born with wisdom, but only those who seek it will find it.
We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid. (Benjamin Franklin)

Motivational Story

Hospital window

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by.

Although the other man couldn’t hear the band – he could see it. In his mind’s eye as the gentleman by th! e window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.”

Author Unknown

Best Weekly Quotes

George Santayana“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

via Today’s Quote November 30, 2020 at 11:57AM
via RSS Feed R. R. Tolkien“Courage is found in unlikely places.”

via Today’s Quote December 01, 2020 at 11:57AM
via RSS Feed Half“When one teaches, two learn.”

via Today’s Quote December 03, 2020 at 11:57AM
via RSS Feed Teresa“We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”

via Today’s Quote December 04, 2020 at 11:57AM
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Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is Dual Monarchy Day? On this day in 1431, Henry VI of England was crowned King of France in Paris. The dual monarchy of England and France existed during the latter phase of the Hundred Years’ War when succession to the throne of France was disputed. Henry VI was the first monarch to establish the royal motto Dieu et Mon Droit, and, as a patron of learning, he founded Eton and King’s College, Cambridge.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Life is all about the little decisions you make every day. You can’t change the decisions of the past, but every new day is another opportunity to make the right ones.”

— Author Unknown

Seasoned Pnuts Quotable via Daily PNUTs newsletter

“When you know you are of worth — not asking it but knowing it — you walk into a room with a particular power.” — Maya Angelou

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu

Nik’s free ebook summary newsletter

Heyo, Nik here with your free summary of the day.

If you enjoy these, check out our reading guide. It’ll help you learn and remember more from everything you read.

Happy reading!

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1-Sentence-Summary: Radical Candor is the ultimate guide to becoming a great leader, manager, or boss, and will teach you how to connect with people, push them to be their best, know when and how to fire them, and create an environment of trust and innovation at work.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

Radical Candor Summary

I’ve had nearly 20 different jobs since I was 14-years-old, and even more managers and bosses than I can remember. Each one was different, but I learned something from all of them. 

Some let me do whatever I wanted and I had to deal with the pitfalls of my own oversight. Others were too mean and demanding, which brought me down, hindered my progress, and ultimately made me leave. 

The best leaders, though, have always been those who helped me get closer to reaching my full potential by frequently lifting me up and offering constructive criticism. 

Now as I transition to becoming a leader in various avenues myself, I have to ask myself, maybe just like you do now, “how can I be kind and help people improve?”

Well, we’re in luck because Kim Malone Scott’s book Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity will teach us exactly that! You’ll be amazed by how helpful this new outlook on leadership is, and how it can even make managing people a little easier, too.

Here are 3 of the most insightful lessons about leadership from the book:

  1. To develop radical candor you must learn how to be honest and direct without offending people.
  2. Collaborative leadership is far more effective than just barking orders.
  3. Get to know your employee’s real motivations and so you can support them by having honest conversations.

Let’s dive right into these lessons and discover how you can start becoming the boss you always wished you had!If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

Download PDF

Lesson 1: Radical candor means being direct and honest with people while taking care to not offend them.

If you’re like me you might be wondering what radical candor even is. Let’s see what the definitions are, according to Google:

Radical: far-reaching or thorough.

Candor: being open and honest in expression.

In other words, radical candor is the quality of being thoroughly open and honest with others. When it comes to work and management, this means balancing care for your team members with helping them know where they need to improve.

Developing this skill starts with building a personal relationship with each person you work with. Show that you care by being open and talking about things other than business. 

As you continue working with individuals, having radical candor will require you to challenge them to do better when they’re not doing what they should. It means being honest with them about where they are at, even if it’s not easy.

An example from the author’s experience working for Google perfectly encompasses how to do this right. Scott had just given a presentation and her boss came up afterward to compliment how well she did and give some feedback. 

Interestingly, the way her boss delivered the constructive criticism was to wrap it within a compliment. She told Scott to not say “um” as much, explaining that it can make people sound stupid. 

But she added that this would be a shame in Scott’s case because she was so smart.

Lesson 2: Barking orders doesn’t work, you must collaborate with your team members if you want to be efficient.

Have you ever thought about how exciting it is that you get to work around so many brilliant people? And if you’re a leader it’s really fun to get to lead the discussions and work closely with each individual. 

The best leaders know that this is how to get stuff done. Bad managers, on the other hand, just try to boss people around. 

Steve Jobs gave us the perfect example of what the author calles collaborative leadership. He knew that he wasn’t always going to be right, so he challenged his employees to speak their mind when they disagreed with him. 

He even got angry once because an employee who had given up on convincing Jobs to change his mind ended up being right! Jobs had to let the man know that he was hired to make sure that Jobs didn’t make mistakes.

Here’s the author’s four steps to reproducing this collaborative leadership yourself:

  1. Listen to people’s ideas and create a safe space for them to speak openly.
  2. Let your team have the time to refine their ideas.
  3. Have debates to let all options come to the table and then decide on one.
  4. You as the manager must present the idea to your superiors to have it implemented, then make it happen once they do.

Lesson 3: Honest conversations with your employees are the best way to get to know their real motivations, which allows you to support them.

Most people have big aspirations. If you as a leader aren’t harnessing the powerful motivation these can provide, you’re not reaching your team’s full potential. 

To be the kind of boss that people really care about and that makes a difference, you need to learn what people want out of life and help them get it. This means talking with and listening to them so you can become invested in paving the way for them to reach their dreams.

When he was director of sales at Google Russ Laraway would have career talks with employees. In one of these, Russ could tell that his employee Sarah wasn’t being fully open with him. 

After asking what other visions for the future she had, Sarah revealed she wanted to own a farm. Now they could re-focus on what would really inspire her and bring out her full potential.

The author teaches a few types of conversations you can have to bring out people’s true motivations:

  • The life story, in which you ask about people’s entire life up to this point.
  • The dream job, to let individuals express their biggest career aspirations.
  • The 18-month plan, which involves exploring with people where they want to be in the near future.

Try each of these and with the power of radical candor your whole team wil be reaching new heights in no time!

Radical Candor Review

As one who’s had both good and bad bosses in the past, I really liked Radical Candor and wish that more people knew about it. I think the core of this book is that it’s really important to just be open with people. Having that skill, combined with truly caring, is the real secret to getting the most out of everybody.

Read full summary on Blinkist >>

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Who would I recommend the Radical Candor summary to?

The 37-year-old that just became a manager and feels lost, the 53-year-old executive that’s losing employees faster than they can blink and wants to keep people on for longer, and anybody that wants to become a great leader whether at work or elsewhere.

The post Radical Candor Summary appeared first on Four Minute Books.Keep learning,