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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
From our chief of content trentgilliss:

Mapping On Being’s future with some brilliant folks: Will Rosenzweig, Krista Tippett, Graham Griffith, Mikel Ellcessor, Lily Percy, and Chris Heagle. I’m unembodied in the photo but my laptop stood in for me. (at Open Book in Minneapolis)

From our chief of content trentgilliss:

Mapping On Being’s future with some brilliant folks: Will Rosenzweig, Krista Tippett, Graham Griffith, Mikel Ellcessor, Lily Percy, and Chris Heagle. I’m unembodied in the photo but my laptop stood in for me. (at Open Book in Minneapolis)

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Our recent interview with Sounds True founder Tami Simon, whom I guess you might label a “spiritual entrepreneur.” She’s built a successful multimedia publishing company with a mission to disseminate “spiritual wisdom” by diverse teachers and thinkers like Pema Chödrön and Eckhart Tolle, Daniel Goleman and Brené Brown. She offers compelling lessons on joining inner life with life in the workplace — and advice on spiritual practice with a mobile device.

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There’s no doubt Wired wunderkind (my turn of phrase) and marketing guru Seth Godin have an impassioned following through his blogs and books and speaking engagements and you name it… But, he doesn’t do a lot of one-on-one interviews that canvas the sweep of his personal triumphs and failures. Krista sat down with him (via ISDN) for 90 minutes of a highly engaging conversation.

I think my favorite phrase Seth uses to describe navigating this new world of vocation/avocation is a “landscape without maps.” It’s this ambiguity that’s worth embracing rather than fleeing from. Rather than merely tolerate change, he says, we are now called to rise to it — and, we’re invited and stretched in whatever we do to be artists — to create in ways that matter to other people.

We do make available all of our unedited interviews, including Krista’s conversation with Mr. Godin, in the On Being podcast (iTunes link).

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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trentgilliss:

Considering ways we could make chapbooks like this one from Graywolf Press for On Being. We receive so many pieces of lyrical work from people and this digestible, elegant format would be perfect. William Drenttel, call me?

trentgilliss:

Considering ways we could make chapbooks like this one from Graywolf Press for On Being. We receive so many pieces of lyrical work from people and this digestible, elegant format would be perfect. William Drenttel, call me?

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I’m not sure Apple even thinks about the competition. They’re uniquely themselves without worrying about anyone else. When I worked for Steve there was little discussion about the competition. The aim was for us to be the most extreme version of ourselves. When you adopt that approach, it causes you to think about things in a different way.
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Keith Yamashita, from "The Apple Effect" in Saturday’s Christian Science Monitor

How should we be “the most extreme version of ourselves” in our own work lives? If more of us lived out this philosophy on the job and perhaps in our personal lives, would we be better off for it? I’m thinking, “Yes!” (within reason, of course). *grin*

~Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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On Bin Laden Killing Tech Blogging

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

MG Siegler, a blogger at TechCrunch, takes a whack at Mashable and tech blogging in general for their capitalistic opportunism of the Osama Bin Laden news now that advertising dollars are beginning to ramp up online.

Is there some type of competitive rivalry going on here? Perhaps. But his question of business ethics and gaming the news and search engines in order to make money with SEO land grabs is something that is surely not relegated to the tech world.

The national tragedy question aside, do savvy operators undercut their own business in the long run in order to make short-term business gains? What kind of ethical responsibilities, if any, do businesses and news outlets like Mashable have in making sure their results don’t crowd out the most relevant news for quick access? What does Google owe its customer’s when businesses flood the search market with results?

From parislemon:

The information in the image above is not surprising at all. But still pathetic.

Imagine that, you write 35 200-word posts featuring the words “Bin Laden” in the headline and they pull in traffic on the day it’s one of the most searched terms ever

Were any of those stories really about technology? A few, maybe. But none were given the actual attention that a story of such magnitude deserves. It was a pure traffic/SEO play.

Read More

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Protagonists help organizations become more competitive. After all, the word compete comes from the Latin com petire, which means ‘to seek together.’ Their intent is to not to antagonize, but to drive towards something. Protagonists are willing to name things others don’t yet see; they point to new horizons. Without them, the storyline never changes.
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Nilofer MerchantNilofer Merchant, from "Are You a Rebel or a Leader?"

Hopefully this excerpt from yesterday’s Harvard Business Review provides some value for us all as we move forward in our daily work lives. Some days it’s really hard to navigate and rise above the struggles of corporate life and haggling hierarchy.

But, this piece creates a space to remember that, even in the most frustrating times, we work with many hard-working folks who have the best of intentions and different approaches to addressing issues. Perhaps it offers some helpful ways of thinking, which avoids the demonization of the other and fresh possibilities for creating new conversations with colleagues.

(photo: James Duncan Davidson/O’Reilly Media/Good Company Communications, licensed under Creative Commons)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

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Should Women “Man Up” - Even If It Means Bad Behavior?

Kaeti Hinck, guest contributor

Charley, a Powerful Woman
(photo: Pieter Musterd)

I’m not a narcissist. But Clay Shirky thinks I should be.

The media critic recently posted a controversy-mongering blog titled “A Rant About Women,” the premise being that women would do well to act more like men — stand up for themselves more and do what it takes to get ahead, even if it means being a “pompous blowhard”:

[Women] are bad at behaving like self-promoting narcissists, anti-social obsessives, or pompous blowhards, even a little bit, even temporarily, even when it would be in their best interests to do so. Whatever bad things you can say about those behaviors, you can’t say they are underrepresented among people who have changed the world.

Reading Shirky’s rant certainly doesn’t surprise from a gender standpoint. Most women have heard it our whole lives: Be more like men, even if said men are glorifying and rewarding reprehensible behavior.

What gives me pause is that Shirky, like so many of our “thought leaders,” isn’t leading at all, rather, willingly following the cultural trend of less substance and more self-aggrandizement, less selflessness and more LOOK AT ME HEY OVER HERE. So because that’s the way our culture is heading, we should equip ourselves to be better narcissists? As if we needed any help in that arena.

I see this less as a gender issue, though that is undoubtedly a factor, and more as a dangerous societal shift. We should be challenging a system that exalts arrogant self-promotion and “being discovered” over the actual work of making things better. Instead, Shirky critiques the behavior of people (not just women) who refuse to kowtow to this path of least resistance. Anna North at Jezebel said it well:

Shirky writes, “in an ideal future, self-promotion will be a skill that produces disproportionate rewards, and if skill at self-promotion remains disproportionately male, those rewards will as well. This isn’t because of oppression, it’s because of freedom.” Shirky has an idealistic view of self-promotion — he also thinks it’s a marker of a variety of other skills, about which I’m very skeptical (see above). Others take a dimmer view: it’s a dog-eat-dog world, and women had better transform themselves into better dog-eaters. This “change-yourself-to-fit-in” advice has been given to pretty much every marginalized group over the years …

Those who are marginalized by a system are often those best able to see its flaws, and teaching those people just to work around their marginalization is a great way to keep them quiet, and to keep anything from ever changing. Let’s not fall for it.

This “self promotion equals greater rewards” system is not a future we should embrace willingly. In fact, it’s a pretty dismal picture of humanity where navel gazing and notoriety inform our fundamental identities.

To Shirky’s credit, I think it’s a fair point that we need to stand up for our work and make our voices heard (not just women, but especially women). But I think it’s unproductive, not to mention morally suspect, to do so because we hope to “get famous five years from now.” And I can’t believe that the loudest blowhards in the room are the ones doing the real work of changing the world. They’re too busy talking about the work — or themselves — to actually get down to doing it. Why should we emulate their behavior?

As North said in her response: “’The squeaky wheel gets the grease’ is a s**tty way to run a world.”

She’s right. So how do we cut through the clamor of self-promotion and elevate the people and voices that are doing the often-thankless work of making the world better?

kaeti1016Ms. Hinck is a multimedia journalist and editor living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. You can read her blog Brain Popcorn and follow her on Twitter.

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Repossessing Virtue: Prabhu Guptara on Applying Personal Moral Sense to One’s Work Life
» download (mp3, 14:33)
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

We’re continuing our exploration of the economic crisis by asking a fairly specific set of questions:”Do you see this as a spiritual and moral crisis?” “Where are you looking now for leadership, for guidance?” As promised, we turned to a financial expert operating within the banking industry, Prabhu Guptara.

Several years ago, Krista spoke with Guptara when the fallout of the Enron scandal was wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy and shaking investor confidence in corporate practices and business fundamentals. His PowerPoint presentation titled "The Gods of Business" resonated with many listeners at the time. His message was simple but challenging, and also quite liberating for much of our audience — bring your personal values into the workplace. For Guptara, doing this is one of the best ways of making ethical decisions that will lead to moral integrity — and less corruption and scandal.

In the coming days, we’ll make available Kate’s interview with medical researcher Dr. Esther Sternberg. Unlike Prabhu Guptara and Martin Marty (listen to his thoughts on trust in uncertain times here), Sternberg doesn’t view this as a moral issue at all, but a biological one. And, we’re in the process of editing Krista’s conversation with Quaker educator Parker Palmer, which will be released via podcast on December 11th.

We’re releasing all of these mp3s for download in our podcast. And, check back here at SOF Observed for future conversations with wise thinkers, including Shane Claiborne.

Also, we’re looking to our readers and listeners for fresh thinking and language about how to talk about the current economic crisis. How has this changed you, your family, your community? And not just financially, but in terms of personal conscience and values? We’d like to hear from you. Tell us your first person story about your experiences.

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The good news is that creative capitalism is already with us. Some corporations have identified brand-new markets among the poor for life-changing technologies like cell phones. Others — sometimes with a nudge from activists — have seen how they can do good and do well at the same time.
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—Bill Gates, from a recent piece in TIME about “creative capitalism,” no doubt inspired by our program this week.

Shiraz Janjua, Associate Producer

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An Ethos Informed by Displaced Identity
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

Shortly before heading out of town for my first vacation in nearly five years, I was able to squeak in some action from behind the glass. I shot this clip of Krista (from Studio P in St. Paul) conducting a remote interview with Jonathan Greenblatt (from APM’s studios in L.A.).

More often than not, a guest’s response to Krista’s opening question about his/her religious and family background makes for good listening. And, more often than not, that part of the interview doesn’t make it into the final production for the radio or podcast. I used to lobby for including these preambles, but now I see the wisdom of cutting most of these stories. The show’s narrative arc wouldn’t hold up because we’d have to cut another interesting section.

Nevertheless, we have a blog now; we release Krista’s interviews in their entirety for you to download. But, this time, I thought Greenblatt’s description of how his grandparents’ flight from Nazi Germany informs his sense of service today was worth isolating.

Even after five years here, I find these long-distance interviews utterly fascinating. Do you like these SoundSeen videos from behind the glass? Are they worth your while?

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