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Author / Eric Johnson

Podcast SOS: Three sure things

I got a text today from a student on a road trip out west with some of his friends: “EJ! Currently on a road trip across the US and wanted to know if you had any podcast suggestions while we are driving!” I get this kind of request for podcast recommendations regularly. I sent him […]

Raise the aspirations of others

Tyler Cowen is an economics professor and a prolific blogger at Marginal Revolution. He’s an A-list follow with multiple blog posts every day, and he’s a voracious reader who has pointed me to a lot of insightful articles and books. I love this thought from Cowen: “At critical moments in time, you can raise the […]

A belief in the blood

“My great religion is a belief in the blood, the flesh, as being wiser than the intellect. We can go wrong in our minds. But what our blood feels and believes and says, is always true. The intellect is only a bit and a bridle. What do I care about knowledge? All I want is […]

Lines of excellence

In a press conference just weeks before his death, President Kennedy was asked by a reporter if he liked his job. Kennedy’s response: “Well, I find the work rewarding. Whether I am going to stay and what my intentions are and all the rest, it seems to me it is still a good many, many […]

“If you’re polite and if you read…”

“If you’re polite and if you read, I think you’ve got the first 75 steps down the path to success.” –Tom Peters Be kind. Be curious. Love and knowledge. “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” –Bertrand Russell

What I’ve been reading and listening to

My spring and summer book and podcast consumption so far: Books: The Triumph of Christianity by Bart Ehrman – Good insight into how a small, outlier religion took over the Roman Empire in just four centuries. The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle – Really good. The subtitle is “The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups”. The […]

The Journey is the Thing

“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness is not about making it to the peak of the mountain nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain; happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.” Tal Ben-Shahar in Happier It’s about pointing […]

Steven Pinker’s TED Talk: Is the world getting better or worse?

I read Steven Pinker’s new book, Enlightenment Now, and came away more optimistic about humanity. We’ve made remarkable progress in even the last few decades, not to mention the drastic difference in the human experience over the past two centuries. The book, though, is filled with an extraordinary amount of data backing up his arguments […]

My recent reading

I chipped away slowly (usually no more than 20 minutes a day in the morning while my kids were still asleep) at Steven Pinker’s 453-page long Enlightenment Now and finished it recently. It’s a thorough—and I do mean thorough—survey of the key measures of human well being. And his convincing conclusion, backed up by charts […]

Act as if you were absolutely perfect

“Disregard whatever you think yourself to be and act as if you were absolutely perfect—whatever your idea of perfection may be. All you need is courage… Behave as best you know. Do what you think you should. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; you can always correct them. Only intentions matter. The shape things take is […]

Hard work, hardly working

“What you choose to work on, and who you choose to work with, are far more important than how hard you work.” –Naval Ravikant Hard work overrated? Yes, especially if the “what” and “who” are undervalued. Hard work and efficiency are actually detrimental if you’re heading in the wrong direction with the wrong people. Get […]

The function and duty of a quality human being

“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.” –Bruce Lee You never arrive. But keep going nonetheless. “To be what we are, and to become what we […]

Miles Davis, So What, and being in accord no matter the chord

This story that opens jazz great Herbie Hancock’s memoir, Possibilities, is profound: I’m onstage at a concert hall in Stockholm, Sweden, in the mid-1960s playing piano with the Miles Davis Quintet. We’re on tour, and this show is really heating up. The band is tight—we’re all in sync, all on the same wavelength. The music […]

Get a move on

Meditations 9.29: “Do what nature demands. Get a move on—if you have it in you—and don’t worry whether anyone will give you credit for it. And don’t go expecting Plato’s Republic; be satisfied with even the smallest progress, and treat the outcome of it all as unimportant.” Do your work. Don’t make a big a […]

Work and play

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” –Arnold Toynbee Flow states are the blissful blur that line is calling for. “Happiness is absorption.” –T.E. Lawrence

Kurosawa on peaking at 80

I make a point in a talk I do for student groups that there’s no hurry to make your mark or to “hit it big”. There seems to be more pressure than ever for young people to not only have their career figured out right out of college, but to be rich and famous by […]

Happiness happens

“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.” –Victor Frankl Happiness happens. You don’t catch it. It catches you. Pursue, instead, a cause bigger than yourself. Focus on what you have to offer, not on what you want to receive. Aiming to bring happiness to others is a more direct path to your own happiness than […]

Choices

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.” –Jerzy Gregorek? Choose wisely.

Tell less, ask more

A haiku from the author Michael Bungay Stanier summarizing his book, The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way Your Lead Forever: “Tell less and ask more. Your advice is not as good As you think it is.” I need to print this and put it in a frame on my desk […]

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