Issue #233

Austin Kleon on writing, creativity and the importance of idleness

This is an 'inbetweenasode' and features an interview Ali did with Austin Kleon as part of his Deep Dive series last month. Austin Kleon is the bestselling author of a trilogy of books about creativity and originality in the digital age. His three books - Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work! and Keep Going - have sold millions of copies around the world and inspired thousands of people, including myself. In their conversation they talked about Austin’s books, the value of writing daily and also the important balance between idleness and creativity. One of the most inspiring Podcasts I have listen to this year.

The 100 greatest innovations of 2020

The 33rd annual Best of What’s New awards. Every year since 1988, the PopSci staff has crammed into conference rooms to debate the year’s most important innovations. As we’d weigh the merits of glitzy gadgets and record-breaking rockets, our hands would snag slices from a stack of pizzas, reach for one-too-many diet soda refills, and fling fun-size candies across the room. In 2020, the chatter was the same, but we were different. Amid an ongoing COVID-19 threat, editors and researchers put on their best pajama pants, logged onto Google Hangouts (BYO peanut butter cups), and evaluated thousands of products and projects from afar to select the Best of What’s New: 100 breakthroughs that are windows onto what we know can be a healthier, happier, more-hopeful future.

Stop creating gratitude lists and do this instead

At the advice of these authors, gurus, and sages, I embarked on writing daily gratitude lists, scrawled on notepads and in fancy gratitude journals. I encouraged the sharing of gratitudes at dinner with my family, used gratitude apps and reminders, and made impromptu lists in my head to emotionally transition from frustration to peace. This might a bit of a different approach.

Reflect on 2020, plan for 2021

Your guide for the ultimate annual review.

How to actually encourage employee accountability

Fewer words in corporate vernacular induce a tighter wince than “accountability,” and for good reason. Companies and leaders have grappled with what it is and how to achieve it effectively for decades. Ask anyone if they look forward to their performance evaluation or periodic check-in with their boss, and most will give an emphatic “no.”

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