22 Apr RadReads n°169
This week: How to pick a career that actually fits, being vigilant against hedonic adaptation, what does it mean to retire, Jeff Bezos’ leadership lessons, and 1 small change with a lasting impact.
Good morning my beautiful friends. We’ve got a fun and hard-hitting issue today covering career frameworks, Bezos’ annual masterclass in leadership, and a postscript on what it means to retire.
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Navigating fatherhood and entrepreneurship
58 minute Rad Awakenings podcast
Adam Schwartz is an entrepreneur playing by a different set of rules. He and his partner co-founded TeePublic (an e-commerce platform for independent creators), a high growth business that can hang with deep pocketed, VC-backed startups. This has implications for control, profitability, urgency, and recruiting. But does this mean that Adam can carve new boundaries between work and life? Has he created a lifestyle business? The conversation then turns to him becoming a new dad the anxieties surrounding how this addition will impact his fully optimized life.
How to pick a career (that actually fits you)
60 mins from WaitButWhy
Another Tim Urban gem, rich with career frameworks. There’s the Yearning Octopus (i.e. trade-offs between personal, lifestyle, moral, social, and pragmatic desires), separating subconscious forces (i.e. the “basement of our house”), a prioritization framework (non-negotiables and things to resist), and remembering that traditional careers are a) changing and b) just one of the many “career board games” we can play. Tim’s a blogging idol and you’ll see his influence in my takes on identity, status anxiety, persistence, uncomfortable introspection (my take on the “basement”), paradox of choice, financial pragmatism, and changing career paths.
Racism’s punishing reach
30 minute podcast The Daily (NYTimes)
It’s impossible not to be appalled by the arrest of two black men waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks. Seeing this is a personal reminder of my straight Asian male privilege and the slew of injustices I’ll never encounter. This podcast discusses a 30 year study challenging the notion that racial inequality can be eliminated by reducing economic inequality. To reinforce the point, watch this visualization tracking the lives of “black and white boys who grew up in families with the same income, similar family structures, education levels and levels of wealth.” For more, read Republican senator Tim Scott’s perspective on race and the rite-of-passage conversation black men (irrespective of socio-economic standing) have with their sons about how to act when you’re pulled over.
Hacking hedonic adapation
5 mins from MrMoneyMoustache via @womtang
Like most men, I’ve had an evolving relationship with the concept of masculinity. As a teen, I was teased because I ‘walked like a girl.’ (That sucked.) In college, I was teased because I was early to the skinny jeans trend (didn’t care). My leadership style has been passive aggressively called feminine. I feel like I’m constantly learning what it means to be a man. In this article, I’m personally unable to link mass shootings to masculinity norms, but there’s something to explore in the fact that men are trapped, without the language to “discuss the full range of human emotion [that] is still viewed as sensitive and feminine.” Thomas Page McBee and I had a great conversation on toxic masculinity.
Jeff Bezos’ annual Amazon shareholder letter
10 min read from SEC filings
Jeff Bezos’ annual missive has become a must-read on leadership. This time he tackles customers’ non-static expectations and the impact on high standards (using “the perfect handstand” as a metaphor). Are high standards intrinsic or learned? Domain-specific or universal? Regardless, once you’ve set those standards, they become an invisible competitive advantage for recruiting and retention. For more Bezos, listen to Eugene Wei discuss his time there in the late 90s.
Below the Fold
// BEST OF THE REST
- What’s a simple life change that gave great results (Reddit, 2 mins) – A delightful read with some tiny hacks, that I’ve already started implementing.
- What I’d wished I’d known before starting Design*Sponge (DesignSponge, 9 mins) – A must-read for solopreneurs and creators on staying small and how audience (and perception) change.
- The body that ages (Unruly Body, 19 mins) – Protecting the “pretty premium” and what drives the Botox and high-end skincare market.
// FROM THE #RADFAM
- How to take reading notes with Evernote, IFTTT, and Instapaper (Rad.Family, 2 mins) – A low friction way to set your future self up with today’s reading.
- RadReader April Book Recs (Rad.Family, 1 min) – Need something to read? Six recs from our community + previews.
- Tiffany Zhong podcast notes (3 mins, The Waiters Pad) – RadReader Mike D annotated the full conversation with the WSJ’s Teenage VC Analyst.
- 4 leadership lessons from James Comey’s new book (Quartz at Work, 3 mins) – I’ve got zero interest in his beef w/Trump, but was keen to hear about his leadership philosophy (Full notes from Evernote).
LAST WEEK’S MOST READ
- The key to good luck is an open mind (Nautilus, 9 mins) – We all know those people where luck seems to find them. Can that be learnt?
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