-- Business blog now available --

A quick note to say that I've set up my Business blog, to be able to speak with a clear voice on both personal and work issues (i.e. by having separate blogs).

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Resources for a Teenager – SoundCloud

The seventh in a series of posts detailing those resources I’m finding useful on my own particular (life) journey.


Living in the sticks, I drive quite a lot. Given that we live in a digital time, I'm therefore fortunate to be able to 'make my own radio'.
In fact, I think I've been doing it since I had a mini-disc player, which was aeons ago! I either connect my device via bluetooth to the car radio, or else I plug the source into the audio-in socket. That source these days is most likely to be my Kindle Keyboard, which means I can listen to books read out loud by its text-to-speech feature.

The List

This list is from SoundCloud, which means that it's a series of interviews, thought pieces, and excerpts from longer recordings.

The rationale

  1. This is what a good life is: Jonathan Fields interviews Brené Brown in long form - ~50mins. We're the better for it.
  2. The Creative Life: I read Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear". This is Jonathan's interview of Elizabeth.
  3. Hoping Others Fail Is Not A Strategy: I have enjoyed many of Jonathan's interviews and GLP Riffs, and this shorter piece asks - "What if you could go about it differently? What if you could reframe winning on both a deeper and larger scale?"
  4. The Killer App Is You: this seems pretty much eponymous, and is asking us to believe more in ourselves.
  5. Hacking Stereotypes: this is a tremendous story about a female founder moving heaven and earth to assist other women find a life path by giving them opportunities to write software - 'Talento tech femenino de Latinoamérica para el mundo'.
  6. Hearts Broken Open: how do we find the strength and the courage to heal when our hearts have been broken open? How do we let the love fall inside? A tall recounted by Parker Palmer.
  7. Hope: this is a lovely poem, and a resonant reading by Parker.
  8. Courtney Martin and Parker Palmer: the previous poem is read at the end of this illuminating interview by Krista Tippett. Krista and team are a gift to our world. Courtney articles something really powerful: "So I think even just to feel like you’re showing up as your whole self in different settings is a pretty rebellious act."
  9. Ray Chetty: I've included this as it was a privilege listening to someone who has intense attention to detail, who is a rounded and decent human being. Tyler is a great interviewer...
  10. Cass Sunstein: being a huge fan of behaviour economics, this was (and is) an enjoyable discourse through Cass's domain.
  11. The Woodcarver: fantastic that a Quaker should be relating a story from Chinese lore
  12. The Divided Life and the Quest for True Self: "Parker Palmer reflects on the consequences of living a divided life and the quest for wholeness".
  13. Standing In The Tragic Gap: a challenge for us to to stand in the place of uncertainty between how we'd like things to be, and how they really are. How do we stay there, but keep being vulnerable and open?

The Task

Too much of what we're told seems not to stand up to scrutiny, if we're able to find our own sacred place to stand.

How do we outgrow the needs of others, and loop back to them once we have learned to become that which resonates to our deepest selves. This is my snapshot as I posted this, but the challenge is the activity of a lifetime.


Any thoughts, additions, amendments – whatever – please add in respectful and constructive comments below. Thank you!

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Resources for a Teenager – YouTube

The sixth in a series of posts detailing those resources I’m finding useful on my own particular (life) journey.

This date of publication is particularly pertinent, which is why I’m publishing today.


Thankfully, I haven’t had a TV since 2009. I don’t watch TV shows via Netflix, Amazon Prime etc., and I don’t want to.

However, with an internet connection, I am fortunate to be able to watch-free-to-view content (albeit advertiser supported).

The List

The rationale

  1. Listening to Shame: Brené Brown closes out the main TED conference, which (I believe) is the top slot. And she nails it! #goBrené This talk has 8m views on TED.com, and a further 2m on YouTube.
  2. The power of vulnerability: this is probably the first talk I watch of Brené. It’s had 33m views on TED.com, and 7m on YouTube. I think these watch numbers means that her work resonates deeply and widely. Her work has given us a great gift, a way to reframe vulnerability and consider it as a superpower [cf IN-Q below].
  3. Oscar & Clark: I love this playful scat singing by Clark Terry, which seems to be the best example I can find of his
  4. Bach’s Blues: the piece which I can still remember Oscar playing and the first one which ‘broke through for me (and one which still brings tingles)
  5. Kendra: Kendra is / was the scrum-half for the Black Ferns team which won the rugby World Cup.
  6. Lt Gen Silveria: in amongst all the posturing and double-speak, a leader truly stands up for right action and makes clear the vital importance of treating each other with dignity and respect.
  7. TryLife Jacob: a resonant clip which is a trailer for TryLife’s interactive movie. I have had one go at this, which actually was difficult / challenging to experience [probably as it should be]. I need to find time to go again. A fantastic creative endeavour.
  8. Huygens’s descent: it’s awe-inspiring that we can send machines to other planets and then watch as they land. Footage like this helps challenge our delusions of grandeur, and reframe how we consider ourselves.
  9. Holocaust denial: the Nazis truly are ‘a warning from history’. We can re-learn the lessons through these materials
  10. Antisemitism Today: one of my best friends happens to be Jewish. By standing up for him, I believe I am standing up for all of us
  11. Building a psychologically safe workplace: the idea of feeling safe enough hardly seems revolutionary, but sadly it is. Amy Edmondson’s work is brilliant and vital.
  12. Over the wall: one of my favourite movies. One of my favourite scenes. Articulates CG Jung’s concept of ‘The Middle Passage’ en route to our 'Second Adulthood’, and reminds me of Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Journey” [h/t Parker Palmer].
  13. Haka Documentary: I’m fascinating by the sentiments articulated in this piece, which shows Maori culture as being deeply rooted to the land, to nature, and to one ancestors. A powerful groundedness.
  14. Legacy: this book is on my wishlist. The video briefly summarises the key points, and the importance of humility in the lore and culture of the All Blacks rugby team [aka the male version of the Black Ferns; the name for the work they do with children is called ‘Small Blacks’…!]
  15. Healthy Romantic Relationships: a work in progress for me…
  16. オスカー・ピーターソン リユニオン・ブルース: oops, this just sneaked in [couldn’t resist]. Classic line-up (I think) of Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen.
  17. The Incredibles: I love Violet’s forcefield (although I love Brené reframe of the need-for-armour more…)
  18. Deactivating HAL: how do we do this for ourselves and reach our second adulthood. You may be discerning a pattern here… ;)
  19. Living from the Inside: Parker is epic. And he’s speaking at Naropa University. It’s all good.
  20. The Growth Mindset: Carol’s work is so important for us all as humans, and as role models for each other and younger generations which we nurture.
  21. Life is Good Superpowers: “we have superpowers too”. IN-Q’s poetry is brilliant. This poem is important and suggests we need to rethink our own abilities.
  22. Saying yes: clearly I’m projecting with all these clips #whatevs
  23. Excited for now: what soulwork do we need to do so we can be fully present?
  24. The Navigators: starting with an obituary in The Economist, I became intrigued by the connection of Papa Mau with nature and the ocean in all its forms. I think there is an authenticity which comes from being connected to the land and ocean. All this still lives on in the Polynesian Voyaging Society

    The Task

    When folk we say we live in challenging times, or change is a constant, IMHO it was ever thus.

    Therefore, how do we discern our path? How do we find courage to voyage alone and with no guidance? How do we self-actualise, when (as ever) all about us are encouraging us to conform.

    Here are some clues. It’s like a vision quest. We must journey alone, and create a path – the pathless path – and one which is only discernible once we’ve made it.


    Any thoughts, additions, amendments – whatever – please add in respectful and constructive comments below. Thank you!

    Saturday, 27 January 2018

    Resources for a Teenager – 'Natural Sciences'

    The fifth in a series of posts detailing those resources I’m finding useful on my own particular (life) journey.


    I did Biology A Level, back in the mists of time.

    To much of how science is presented seems to be a fait accompli. I prefer to create my own understanding from the evidence that’s out there, and how it evolves over time.

    The List

    The rationale

    1. Chaos – I remember reading this and being inspired, daunted, and made tearful with frustration. Top notch popular science.
    2. Genius – Dick Feynman’s life combined tragedy, playfulness, profound insightful and periods when he lost his way. Another powerful account of leaders willing  to speak truth to power (i.e. the final chapter).
    3. Emergence – seemingly a ‘parallel’ track to Chaos. Another breakthrough and disruptive discipline in the Sciences. You might be spotting a theme here…
    4. The Fractalist – part autobiography, part inspirational story of survival, part the midwifery of a new branch of science / maths. Inspirational exposition of success in the face of huge challenges, combining a gentleness of manner with first-class determination and courage.
    5. You are the Placebo – important insights into the way we create our identity from within. The challenge is doing something about this, though
    6. Mycelium Running – a powerful story of how fungi

    To read:

  1. At Home in the Universe – I’ve started reading, but got side-tracked. More insights, this time from complexity theory (cf Emergence above)     
  2. Gut – having a dairy  intolerance, I have an interest in things relating to my gut, the microbiome, and all things relating
  3. Learning from the Octopus – I must get beyond the initial chapters. It’s about how we can learn from the natural world
  4. Soft-Wired – there are too many determinists out there. Our brains alter according to how we use them.
  5. The Arrow of Time – I need to read this to understand why time only goes one way
  6. Relativity – I started this, but got stuck with time going faster and slower depending on where you are #drat
  7. Quantum Theory – I want to understand more about entanglement et al.
  8. Systems View of Life – how to bring things together as a whole
  9. The Storytelling Animal – humans as narrative making and seekers


    The Task

    The Scientific Method offers powerful ways to understand ourselves and the Cosmos.

    However, scientists are humans – after all – so IMHO we should take responsibility for our own synthesis of whatever insights we have gleaned so far from the natural world, and beyond.

    Actually, my immediate task is to read more of these books – both on my Kindle, and from my bookshelf... #oops


    Any thoughts, additions, amendments – whatever – please add in respectful and constructive comments below. Thank you!


    I endeavour to record what I’m reading via my profile on Goodreads.

    Wednesday, 24 January 2018

    Resources for a Teenager – ‘Economics’

    The fourth in a series of posts detailing those resources I’m finding useful on my own particular (life) journey.


    I did Economics A Level, back in the mists of time.

    Since then I’ve done a Psychology degree and an MBA.

    Humans are not rational actors seeking to maximise their economic utility.

    We’re meat bags, and (too) often meat puppets. Let’s treat each other – and our Selves – on the basis of that insight. I.e. with understanding, compassion, and a pinch of salt!

    The List

    The rationale

    • Predictably Irrational – i.e. humans are irrational, but in predictable ways
    • The Lean Startup – a business passion of mine, and a means to experiment your way to success. Has turned business failure into something valuable – if in the context of continual learning
    • Business Model Generation – essential complement to The Lean Startup. When I first read it, half way through I thought: “this is McKinsey quality material”. Not sure if McKinsey knows a great deal about this domain though… #discuss
    • On the basis of reading Moneyball(and watching the film), I am a huge Michael Lewis fan. His lighthearted style turns non-fiction subjects into page-turners. A pleasure and an indulgence to read his work

    To read:

    • Nudge - the book that started the Behavioural Economics movement, and brought groundedness to stale academic debate
    • Liar’s Poker – Wall Street excess and nuttiness
    • Flash Boys – the operations (or not) of high-frequency financial trading
    • The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed the World – shining a fond light into the professional collaboration of Amos Tversky & Danny Kahneman. This will be a reward for doing something special ;D
    • The Big Short – Michael’s treatment of one of the pivotal moments of this century so far
    • The English Constitution – Walter Bagehot’s take on the UK’s unwritten constitution
    • Lombard Street - according to Wikipedia: "Bagehot was one of the first writers to describe and explain the world of international and corporate finance, banking, and money in understandable language"
    • The Madness of Crowds – definitely not rational economics actions, surely undercutting efficient market theory…?
    • The Smartest Guys in the Room: epic folly, cynical pyramid schemes, and still on my shelf. The Enron story and the subsequent collapse. Whistleblowers everywhere - 

    The Task

    Let’s learn how to empower ourselves to make the best decisions possible, and de-mystify the jargon and de-fang the prognosticators – based on our own experiments!

    Students everywhere: take control of your own learning in this domain, bring it to life with stuff more readily intelligible, and become passionate about such as important topic.


    Any thoughts, additions, amendments – whatever – please add in respectful and constructive comments below. Thank you!


    I endeavour to record what I’m reading via my profile on Goodreads.

    Saturday, 13 January 2018

    Resources for a Teenager – Atul Gawande

    The third in a series of posts detailing those resources I’m finding useful on my own particular (life) journey.


    I think these lectures – and the thinking behind them – are extraordinary.

    I listened to them in the car on a couple of long journeys.

    I’ve recently started reading Atul’s personal exploration ‘Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End’. It’s also excellent, and timely for me to read it.

    The List

    The rationale

    I read Atul Gawande’s book ‘The Checklist Manifesto’ and loved it.

    I thought it common sense but which hasn’t be common practice, until Dr Gawande’s efforts to improve global public health.

    I was therefore delighted to learn that he would be delivering the BBC’s Reith Lectures.

    I’ve copy-pasted the following info from the BBC’s website to save time etc.

    Dr Atul Gawande - 2014 Reith Lectures

    Atul Gawande, MD, MPH is a practicing surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Professor at both the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School.

    In his lecture series, The Future of Medicine, Dr Atul Gawande will examine the nature of progress and failure in medicine, a field defined by what he calls 'the messy intersection of science and human fallibility'.

    Known for both his clear analysis and vivid storytelling, he will explore the growing importance of systems in medicine and argue that the future role of the medical profession in our lives should be bigger than simply assuring health and survival.

    The 2014 Reith Lectures

    The first lecture, Why do Doctors Fail?, will explore the nature of imperfection in medicine. In particular, Gawande will examine how much of failure in medicine remains due to ignorance (lack of knowledge) and how much is due to ineptitude (failure to use existing knowledge) and what that means for where medical progress will come from in the future.

    In the second lecture, The Century of the System, Gawande will focus on the impact that the development of systems has had – and should have in the future - on medicine and overcoming failures of ineptitude. He will dissect systems of all kinds, from simple checklists to complex mechanisms of many parts. And he will argue for how they can be better designed to transform care from the richest parts of the world to the poorest.

    The third lecture, The Problem of Hubris, will examine the great unfixable problems in life and healthcare - aging and death. Gawande will argue that the reluctance of society and medical institutions to recognise the limits of what professionals can do is producing widespread suffering. But research is revealing how this can change.

    The fourth and final lecture, The Idea of Wellbeing, will argue that medicine must shift from a focus on health and survival to a focus on wellbeing - on protecting, insofar as possible, people’s abilities to pursue their highest priorities in life. And, as he will suggest from the story of his father’s life and death from cancer, those priorities are nearly always more complex than simply to live longer.

    The Task

    Atul Gawande strikes me as an outstanding role model.

    Our challenge is to rise above our everyday conditioning and aim to be as good as Dr Gawande in the things that we are passionate about, and which bring us to life.

    It’s easy to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson
    "Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
    The tricky bit is sailing towards the horizon and not knowing where you're going. It's spectacularly more difficult than you might expect...

    As one of my Mentors said to me:
    "Justin, it's not about leaving A to get to B, it's about leaving A"
    Thank you Steve!


    I endeavour to record what I’m reading via my profile on Goodreads.

    Wednesday, 10 January 2018

    Resources for a Teenager – ‘Living’

    The second in a series of posts detailing those resources I’m finding useful on my own particular (life) journey.


    I’ve chosen these books to hopefully be an accessible way into cultivating inner knowledge, and valuing our inner teacher [or whatever you would like to call it…].

    IMHO there is no ‘correct’ way to live, only continual experiments in vulnerability and courage.

    I’ve come to believe it’s a life-long practice, with many speed bumps along the way #crikey

    The List

    To grow, as I come across new materials and / or think of additions.

    The rationale

    1. Daring Greatly: Brené is reframing vulnerability so that we can welcome it as a superpower. I’m coming to the belief that vulnerability is a vital stepping stone to presence, and that we are fortunate to live in a time to absorb her wisdom for ourselves.
    2. A Hidden Wholeness – Parker’s work powerfully resonates with me. I’ve attended three retreats – and counting – based on the insights of the Centre for Courage and Renewal. Their ‘Clearness Committee’ format is the most respectful and dignified way to hold other people which I have come across.
    3. What shall I do with my Life? – I remember reading this and thinking: that’s actually really helpful.
    4. Sophie’s World – IMHO we should teach philosophy to Primary Schoolers. A brilliant way to create a coherent understanding of the major schools. These are thinking skills and a mind gym we can all benefit from.
    5. Mindset [& Bounce] – a vital contribution from Carol Dweck about the Growth Mindset. Aka all feedback is an opportunity to learn, no matter how difficult it might be at the time.
    6. When Things fall apart [and they often do] – Ani Pema’s synthesis of this Buddhist lineage will be something I expect to return to time and again. In fact Ani Pema’s ability to convey profound wisdom is something I greatly value. I plan to return to her work in different formats, in future.
    7. Man’s search for meaning – out of some of humanity’s darkest hours emerges some rays of light. Night, by Elie Wiesel, taps into the same elemental forces.
    8. Quiet – I came away from reading this by thinking that I could well be an introvert, with extrovert tendencies. Perhaps an ‘ambivert’. A fascinating reframe…
    9. The Hero with a Thousand Faces – who would have thought that humanity shares many ways of thinking about our existence, when so often we (collectively) seek to differentiate our wisdom traditions?
    10. The Art of Asking – just ‘take the doughnuts’: aka let people help you. Something I’ve found very useful myself!
    11. Heart Sutra – something to come back to whenever needed. I understand the preamble better than I do the Sanskrit…!
    12. Update: Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness meditation for everyday life - Jon created the mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) class [something I've done, and continue to practice].

    The Task

    It’s been said that there are many ways to live life. Our individual challenge is to figure out a way that works for us, at our deepest levels (and even to discover them in the first place…).


    I endeavour to record what I’m reading via my profile on Goodreads.

    Sunday, 7 January 2018

    Resources for a Teenager - blog series


    Living can be a challenge. Feeling like you’re connected - a jigsaw puzzle when the pieces fit together – is a challenge for most of us.

    When you love a parent, and lose them before you might reasonably expect to, I can only imagine it’s incredibly difficult.

    I thought it’d be helpful to breathe life back into this blog - after a prolonged quietude – by making a record of those of the resources I’m finding useful on my own particular journey.

    I’m offering them here so that others may refer to them, choose what resonates, and read, watch, mark, and inwardly digest to support a life more fully lived.

    I hope they are useful!


    I’m planning to coalesce my findings – to begin with – about ‘Living’; Economics; and Fiction.

    These signposts will (probably) be books; videos; blogs & online articles; and podcasts.

    I’ll hopefully have bandwidth to provide a minimalist commentary.


    I plan to embed a number of widgets in these posts.

    It may well be that the order is a bit haphazard (according to the collation of various types of materials), and that the order is the type of material, rather than the theme. I’d apologise, but better to ship than be perfect… ;D


    Any thoughts, additions, amendments – whatever – please add in respectful and constructive comments to the posts. Thank you!

    Thursday, 22 November 2012

    Please help me raise Movember £$€ for Men’s cancer charities


    Yes, hi folks – it’s Movember time, a time when we aim to raise awareness and funds to support research into Prostate and Testicular cancers.

    This is therefore a quick post to spread the word, encourage you all to give money in support, and tell you what I’m doing to earn your commitment and hard cash!

    Movember recap

    During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces in the UK and around the world. The aim of which is to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. 
    Once registered at movember.com each Mo Bro must begin the 1st of Movember with a clean shaven face. For the entire month each Mo Bro must grow and groom a moustache. There is to be no joining of the mo to the sideburns (that’s considered a beard), there’s to be no joining of the handlebars to the chin (that’s considered a goatee) and each Mo Bro must conduct himself like a true gentleman.
    A Mo Sista is essentially a woman who loves a Mo. An individual that is dedicated to supporting the Mo Bros in her life through their moustache growing journey; whether it be a friend, colleague, family member or partner. These inspirational women are committed to raising awareness of men's health issues and much needed funds for men's health along the way. 
    Mo Bros effectively become walking, talking billboards for the 30 days of November and through their actions and words raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health. 
    At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their Movember journey throwing their own Movember parties or attending one of the Gala Partés held around the world to stand tall and celebrate the moustache.

    Sideburns, Burnsides, and Cider

    A quick back-story to this year’s ‘tache.


    Ambrose Burnside was an American Civil War general, known for his fantastic pair of burners, which happily joined in the middle under his nose. Oops, there goes rule 1!

    According to that old faithful, Wikipedia:
    Burnside was noted for his unusual facial hair, joining strips of hair in front of his ears to his mustache but with chin clean-shaven; the word burnsides was coined to describe this style. The syllables were later reversed to give sideburns.

    Cotswold Cider Co – Sideburn

    In his spare time, my brother makes cider, and he’s actually rather good at it! In particular, he makes Sideburn Cider:
    A lightly sparkling, real good "toffee-apple infusion" - splendid...
    ABV 6%, 500ml
    Celebrating the Sideburns proudly worn by real cider lovers. "Gracing the bottle is their inventor and our hero, Ambrose Burnside."

    My own work in progress

    IMG-20121109-00292Given that I didn’t totally obey the rules last year with my “monkey’s tail”, I’ve ploughed ahead with my Ambrose Burnside tribute.

    Here is a week-old version. I’ll post a more up-to-date photo asap.
    I think it’s splitting opinions, although I'll admit that a normal ‘tache probably takes a bit more courage and persistance than my own facial fuzz!

    Please give what you can. Thanks

    Albert has got the ball rolling on http://mobro.co/justingsouter.
    I’ve put my money my where my mouth / top lip is. I hope you can do the same!

    Thank you.