By Lindsay Bell
Welcome to the 65th edition of The Three Things, the weekly update of three links, podcasts, videos, or books you can’t miss from Howie Goldfarb (Blue Star Strategic Marketing), Laura Petrolino, and yours truly.
For those of you new to this series, The Three Things arrives in your inbox on Sunday mornings (unless you don’t subscribe, but that can easily be fixed if you hurry over and enter your email address or add to your RSS feed) so you have some extra time to spend perusing the obscure content we’ve curated for you (and one another) before your week begins and deadlines, meetings, and work takes over.
Today we explore Wikipedia and best selling books, ladies and why they should start bragging, and the 10,000 year old great forgetting.
Howie on Why He Loves Wikipedia. I will start with the caveat that the accuracy of Wikipedia is pretty good, but the formula for authority is based on people reaching a consensus vs. the facts. MOST entries do not have a huge bias factor when it comes to descriptions, like, say, an entry of an ancient battle. I can link jump around this site for hours. But what I especially love, is unlike infographics – created by marketers – the raw data entries are usually very accurate, and often can be cross-checked.
So I was curious what the best selling books of all time were. And here you go. And while some of the data is obviously suspect, my guess is they aren’t counting books sold to schools for English classes. To me the real value is this list of books, many I have never heard of before. How many have you read? I must be a rebel because I’ve only read 24 books from all listed. And I have read a lot of books! Time to get reading, I guess.
Laura on Lady Brags. I happened to catch part of the interview on NPR with the researcher for this study and so (as I often do) sent myself an email while at a stoplight to remember to come home and investigate further (side note: I do this so often I have an entire email folder entitled ‘car thoughts,’ but I digress….). The gist of this study surrounds women and their difficulty with ‘bragging’ (i.e. discussing their achievements). Now this is a problem I don’t really have. Don’t get me wrong, I have my insecurities when it comes to my professional skills and abilities, and there are definitely many areas where I have much to improve upon, or frankly just stink at. But I’m proud of my accomplishments and I rather enjoy talking about them. I mean, let’s be honest folks, I think I’m a ninja and promote a self-branded hashtag harkening upon my own awesomeness (#petropower. Use it. Love it.) Discussing my strengths is not something I shy away from.
Anyway, back to the study. The researchers found that women were more easily able to brag if they could find something to attribute the stress or uncomfortableness they felt when talking about their achievements to an external source. Basically if they could blame something for making them feel insecure they were better able to talk about themselves in a positive light.
I’m honestly still processing this, and to me I think the most important take away is we should work to encourage women that it’s ok to discuss their accomplishments.
What I don’t think we should do however is pander to this insecurity, as suggested by HuffPost associate business editor Jillian Berman.
Sorry ladies, this is on you, not your employer, and I’m tired of women whining their heads off about not being treated equally, and then in the same breath suggesting they should not be treated equally during interviews, because of their gender-guided insecurities.
I’m a bit hard on women, I admit this, but that’s mostly because I think we are our own worst enemy in so many ways. There have been many discussions about this here on Spin Sucks, and I could rant on about this for some time, but I’ll leave it at this (and I look forward to hearing other’s thoughts): Studies like this are powerful because they show us things we should be aware of when working to succeed professionally, NOT excuses to use about why we aren’t as successful as our male counterparts. Stop making excuses, ladies, and start bragging!
Lindsay on The Curse of Knowledge. I’ve written before about the curse of knowledge. The idea that when you know something, you forget that others don’t have that same knowledge. It can be as simple as trying to explain how to do something to another person – “What do you MEAN you don’t understand what I’m trying to say!?” – to as deep as, as this article touches on, “…the cultural collapse of tribal people as they found themselves in a new and strange mass centralized society.”
What I love about this piece is how they turn The Curse of Knowledge on it’s ear, and attribute it to the resulting “great forgetting.”
As societies developed into farming communes, then villages, then towns, then kingdoms, the society forgot what came before. And it took several thousand years before they began to record history. Consequently, “They forgot that they once were hunter gatherers and foragers who lived a nomadic lifestyle. They assumed that mankind arrived on the planet at the same time as civilization. They assumed that civilization and settled agriculture was the natural state of mankind, as natural as living in a herd and grazing is to buffalo.”
I geek out over articles and documentaries about this stuff. Where did we come from. How did we get here? Why is society the way it is? And how did it all happen? The great forgetting makes me kind of sad. Imagine if we had detailed descriptions from the days of the hunter/gatherers. Man. That would be epic.
Now it’s your turn. Is there a book, podcast, article, TV show, blog post, or story we should read?