Belgium, Human Nature, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Human Interest

Recently, I have been watching several Belgian TV programs. Most of these are short documentaries, or programs which are categorized as ‘human interest’.

Knowing other people’s stories gives me better perspectives in life. Most of these stories are filled with hope, human kindness, courage and resilience. They also provide me with the much needed, but positive distractions.

So, thank you Lidewij, Rudi, Dominique and Joris. The stories you have chosen to tell have definitely provided some brightness in these dark times.

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Flashbacks, Human Nature, Movies, Books & TV Shows, Simplify

Undelivered

In March 2019, I read the book Delivering Happiness and blogged about it. Tony Hsieh (who was barely 45 then) will be going places, I thought to myself. November this year, he is no more. In his quest of delivering happiness to everyone else, he had forgotten to take care of himself. 🙁

When travelling on the speedway of life, we mere humans tend to neglect ourselves. We lose ourselves in worldly busyness and placed aside simple things like eating well, getting enough sleep, enjoying nature, breathing deeply, loving honestly and laughing.

D and I watched The Nest last weekend. Here, you see people who were already doing quite well in life, almost perfect. But then, there is that need to reach a station higher. To accomplish more. To have acquired a million will quickly turn into the dire need to possess ten million, and thus the vicious circle of greed continues.

It will never be enough… if one does not learn to cherish the simpler things in life.

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Business & Creativity, Flashbacks, Movies, Books & TV Shows

The No Asshole Rule

One of the books I am currently reading is The No Asshole Rule by Robert I. Sutton. Even though the book is 13 years old and I have been away from the rat race for just as long; I know from random tweets, the news and my acquaintances that a lot of the things mentioned by the author still holds true today.

On page 65, point four of the hiring and firing policies states:

Every candidate is interviewed by people who will be above, below, and alongside them, status-wise. And people from unrelated professional disciplines participate.

I did that when hiring junior graphic designers at Zappos. I did not called these interviews, nor make them official. I just divided up my own interview session, and encouraged some of my co-workers to have a chat with the potential candidate.

Also on page 65:

Research on job interviews and hiring decisions shows that the recruiter tends to hire candidates who look and act like his or her favourite person on the planet – him or herself.

Well, my hires included a young father who previously worked for a bank, an internal hire of a Hawaiian Filipino who worked in customer service, an ambitious quirky African American woman, and a German American teenager who looks like a Viking. My then team of designers also included a scruffy, sometimes disgruntled New Yorker who just happened to end up with me. Any of them look or act like me? Probably not…

Was I an asshole manager? Maybe not, judging from the positive reviews I got from all of them. I can be strict and demanding, but I was well liked and respected. These are now just good memories. The important thing is that my little ones have grown and flown far from the nest. And I am proud to have been a tiny part of that.

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Jibber Jabber, Movies, Books & TV Shows

Library Membership

My library card is going to expire this August. The yearly fee is supposed to increase from €3 to €5, allowing members to borrow books from all the regional libraries. Normally, this would be an advantage for me and I would not hesitate in paying the extra €2. However, I shall not be renewing my library membership this year…

First of all, one must wear a mask when visiting the library, or risk a fine. Secondly, there shall be no more dilly-dallying, and I like doing that when I visit a library. And lastly, this might be the perfect time for me to finally go through my own library of books, bought and collected more than ten years ago.

Books about business, design, and communication may not seem to have anything to do with my current situation, but one never know, I might still learn a thing or two from these decade old books. After that, I will try to sell them online. Oh, I also have a collection of novels in Dutch. Maybe there will be time for those as well.

Yep, adapting to the new normal, because there will be no more business as usual.

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Movies, Books & TV Shows, Quotes

Reality & Make-Believe

My current reading materials consist of some magazines in Dutch, the third book of professor Yuval Harari, a memoir by Edward Snowden in audio format, and a science fiction e-book series which I read before bedtime. Those plus all the daily online tweets and feeds, give my brains sufficient material to ponder and process.

We all live partially in reality and partially in a world of make-believe.
~Marty Rubin

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Movies, Books & TV Shows, Numbers

Homo Deus

In about a week’s time, I read and finished the paperback version of Sapiens. What an incredible read filled with mind-blowing stories.

Today, I started reading the second book by Professor Yuval Noah Harari. Imagine my delight when I saw an image of my favourite artist Pieter Brueghel on page 7 of Homo Deus. Then on page 52, he mentioned Mr. Data and Captain Kirk!

Oh my goodness, I am probably going to love this book.

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Health, Movies, Books & TV Shows

No Alternatives

I have just watched an episode of Op één about air quality. The capital city with the worst air quality is Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Best air quality is found in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sweden, a rich and developed country, has invested heavily in the best infrastructure and sciences to improve the lives of its citizens. The opposite is happening in Mongolia where drought and bitter winters have driven hoards of country folks to the cities.

It is heartbreaking to witness a baby using a breathing machine and a little girl unable to go to school because of a nasty persistent cough. And elsewhere in the world, children are learning and taking naps in the open.

Life can be so unfair…

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Flashbacks, Movies, Books & TV Shows, Travels

History

The mind travels far and wide when one indulge in a good book.

Reading Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind is like entering a time machine, going back in time, to observe the past. The intriguing stories of human beings (specifically Sapiens) had me glued to the book for hours on end.

Incredibly, at certain points of my reading, the mind actually linked some of these past events with stories I have read in some of my beloved science fiction novels.

Does that mean that human minds wander the same subconscious territories regardless of time and space?

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