To be honest, without this blog post I would have had no idea how February passed by or what I did during this awfully short month. March already seems like a very full month, so here’s to hoping I still find some time to tackle my ever growing to-read pile of books. Until then, here is a quick list of things I enjoyed, read or listened to in the past weeks:
Onward – Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon
I really loved this book. Usually business books or biographies which look at how a certain entrepreneur made it are too vague to really teach you anything beyond the usual clichés of pushing forward and thinking outside the box and just descriptive enough to make the case for a new book on the stands. This is not the case for Onward. Although it has a narrow scope (mostly looking at the years between 2007 and 2011 with few flashbacks), it is full of details, honest retellings of the harshest economical moments of the past decades and many ideas of how to build, manage and lead a culture and a company.
Made to Stick – Chip and Dan Heath
I love the recipe that the Heath brothers developed after analysing thousands of sticky or rather unsticky moments (to put simply, they correlate the sticky term to something or someone being memorable). They concentrated everything they learned in an essence called SUCCES – Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories, which you can apply to most of the messages you want to convey.
I love Garance Doré, everything she creates is utterly beautiful and emanates a very French air. I think I first discovered her illustrations, then her website and book. Her podcast, Pardon my French, featured awesome guests such as Morgane Sézalory, the founder of the famous and quintessentially Parisian brand, Sézane, and Christian Louboutin, who needs no further introduction. Both interviews, although a bit too long for my commute, were full of insights and stories I had not heard before about the two designers. I highly recommend them if you are into fashion or any other creative industry.
I love all things Irina recommends and when she mentioned this podcast, I knew I had to give it a go. This podcast is about two women who decide to test out if they can follow the advices and instructions popular (self help) books are offering. So, they try to live by the book for a week and discuss how feasible the books’ teachings are. So far, I listened to three episodes and their conclusions: the Little Book of Hygge, French Women Don’t Get Fat and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and they are hilarious and extremely relatable in their retellings of their by-the-book living experiments.
I absolutely adore this website/app. It is a sound generator for working and relaxing and it is the best I encountered so far! During the day I am listening to birds chirping and I am imagining myself studying from a park (or you know, cleaning my place like Snow White), during the evening working sessions I am listening to a combination of fireplace sounds, rain, and café chatter and it does wonders to my inspiration and during the sunny mornings I am extending my time in bed by reading in direct sunlight surrounded by the sounds of crashing waves and seagulls. Sounds too good to be true? Well, try it for yourself.
I love this Spotify playlist and I think I shared it with everybody I spoke to in the past weeks. It has a fantastic mood-boosting mix of Spanish songs, sometimes bachata sounds and acoustic guitar ballads. I love it and it is the cheapest way to feel like during an Iberic vacation!
130 Facts for National Trivia Day (this was on January 4th, but the facts are still fun to share)
Here are some of the facts that made me laugh or gasp: “Before settling on the Seven Dwarfs we know today, Disney considered Chesty, Tubby, Burpy, Deafy, Hickey, Wheezy, and Awful.”, “Goats have rectangular pupils.”, “A double rainbow occurs when sunlight is reflected twice inside a raindrop. If you look closely, you can see that the colors of the secondary rainbow appear in reverse order.” and “Elvis Presley’s manager sold “I Hate Elvis” badges as a way to make money off the people who weren’t buying his merchandise”.
This is a great example of how to stand out in a playful way while doing the exact thing you want to get paid for.
If you have not watched Black Mirror until now, you must. For those unfamiliar with it, Black Mirror is a British anthology series about the dark effects of technology in the (near) future. Despite being referenced in most of my first year classes, I was not excited to start watching it because I thought it would be very depressing to see the possible negative consequences of technology in our lives. However, I loved the ingeniosity of the scenarios, the superb execution, the numerous plot twists which they can still pull off even after four seasons and the ideas behind the series: that we should act more human and that we should be more wary of new technology we allow into our lives. For those of you who watched all the episodes, this video from Screenprism is a great in-depth analysis of the show.
I hope you have enjoyed these recommendations and that they inspired you. I’d love to hear from you, what are you reading now, what cool podcasts are you listening to and what tools enhance your productivity?
Have a great March!