Lindsay Bell

The Three Things, Episode 65

By: Lindsay Bell | January 26, 2014 | 
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The Three Things

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.

Wikipedia: List of Best Selling Books

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.

Why It’s Harder For Women To ‘Brag’ About Themselves At Work — And Why We Really Need To

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!

Have You Heard of The Great Forgetting? It Happened 10,000 Years Ago & Completely Affects Your Life.

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?

About Lindsay Bell


Lindsay Bell is the content director at V3 Marketing, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, two annoying cats, and Hank Dawge, a Vizsla/Foxhound/moose hybrid. Ok, maybe not moose.

  • @bellindsay Have you ever read Daniel Quinn’s “The Story of B”? One of B’s lectures (he’s purportedly the AntiChrist) centers on the Great Forgetting.

  • oh.whoa.

    Lindsay, you KNOW I’m totally in love with this article!!!! 

    Howie, this list is awesome! I’m book marking this because it reminds me of some books I haven’t read yet that I definitely want to, and some I guess sadly I didn’t even know started as books (like the Godfather, holy moly, that has totally skyrocketed to the top of my list!) I’ve read 31 of these books.

  • LauraPetrolino I am all about the emails to myself with car thoughts!

  • biggreenpen LauraPetrolino I have such amazing and insightful thoughts in the car…but sure enough if I don’t write them down POOF as soon as I arrive at my destination they disappear!

  • Some great food for thought here today! Unfortunately my sandwich generation life is catching up to me and I can’t make that second cup of coffee and dig in. The list of books WAS interesting (and I haven’t read a lot of those). // On the women topic, I think I really have tried to raise a daughter who will unabashedly express her opinions and assert her strengths but I worry that the nonverbals and some other subtleties of how I’ve handled things over the years drown those efforts out. I guess time will tell. // LOVE the third article — that’s fascinating stuff.

    For my contribution:  I haven’t read this book yet but it’s completely on my list. I heard an interview with the author this week. What really matters about our educations …….. it’s good stuff:  http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/08/opinion/menasche-teaching-life/index.html?hpt=hp_bn7

  • jasonkonopinski belllindsay I read Quinn’s Ishmael not long ago, it’s kind of mind bending…will have to check out the lecture though

  • LauraPetrolino Mario Puzo has a bunch of books that are surprisingly good, I actually read Godfather after watching the movies and it made me like them more

  • JoeCardillo LauraPetrolino Ack! Seriously? That is super exciting, I’m a huge Godfather fan!! This I shall investigate. Let me know if there are any in particular you recommend!

  • The best sellers list makes me miss reading….I used to be a nut (have read 47 on the list) but consumption’s been pretty limited the last 2-3 years. 
    Re: the Great Forgetting –  I was just talking with a friend about how we get stuck in a “this is how it was meant to be” attitude regarding human development, when in fact there are tons of parallel tracks that haven’t been evangelized, some of which are gone and some of which are still quietly around. When you get out from under a human/western-centric line of thought, some pretty interesting ideas become available. 
    LauraPetrolino Obv you know this is a big thing with me, and I’ve quietly and firmly worked to counteract some of the negative space/pushback against women in places I’ve worked. I will say that I’ve seen some evidence in the younger set, and in startups, that women are starting to feel more comfortable talking about their value. But talking about accomplishments is still a struggle for women I know. Since having strong opinions in the workplace can be a double edged sword, I tend to encourage women I know to approach it from  a) what do you love to do / have worked hard at b) what specific things (experiences, opportunities) do you want to pursue
    Of course, that is because I am not the alpha male corporate type (even though I am fairly adept at handling them), but I care a lot more about giving people a sustainable approach (read: helps them feel validated, and successful) than helping them “win.”

  • LauraPetrolino JoeCardillo Fools Die & The Sicilian are particularly good, but of course it is true that the style is pretty defined so you don’t need to read the whole catalogue of his stuff to get into it

  • I really loved the forgot everything article. I highly recommend Guns Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond. LauraPetrolinoI must be special most of the women I am around love to brag. Usually they brag that they know me. That I make their life special. Sometimes it gets a bit unbearable. 

    Interesting parallel is Cate Blanchette busting the camera guy for pan up and down her dress asking ‘Do you do that to the guys too?’ Guys are just so much more shallow then women. In general in case one of the guys here starts yelling at me for them being the exception bragging about how deep emotionally they are.

  • Howie Goldfarb LauraPetrolino You make my life more bearable, Howie. 🙂

  • JoeCardillo LauraPetrolino Yeah, you’re not “alpha” in my books, Joe. You’re much more developed than that. 🙂

  • JoeCardillo LauraPetrolino  Adding to my reading list! Since I am Sicilian I’ll start with that one. It’s always nice to read about ‘the family’ 😉

  • belllindsay Howie Goldfarb LauraPetrolino Lindsay and I were just bragging to each other about knowing you this morning Howie. I’ve even added it to my LinkedIn profile; “Knower of Howie”.

  • belllindsay JoeCardillo LauraPetrolino Joe, I think you probably handle encouraging women better than I do. Honestly, some of these issues with women and how the think or feel, or their perceived inequalities I struggle with because I don’t experience the same. So, oddly enough it is harder for me to have empathy. I feel badly about this. And when it comes down to it,  maybe I’m simply terribly naive, or blind, but I have never felt unfairly treated because of my gender at any point in my career, nor that I would be more successful if I was a male. 

    It’s really interesting, the different experiences.

  • LauraPetrolino belllindsay JoeCardillo Thanks Lindsay, that is a great compliment. I truly appreciate it. 
    @Laura see, that to me is proof that the work is going somewhere. Ultimately I want people to be appreciated for the quality of their thought / content of their minds, hearts, and actions. The biggest question: is this person working to become a better human, more thoughtful, compassionate, understanding, articulate? Race, gender, etc… should fit into that framework, not the other way around.

  • LauraPetrolino JoeCardillo Ha! Yeah, grandparents on my dad’s side were from not too far away… the bootheel, Calabria/Reggio.

  • Howie: Clearly I am an English major because I’ve read most of these. In fact, I bought a copy of Le Petit Prince in French while we were in Paris earlier this year. If you’d like me to prioritize them for you so you know where to start, let me know!

    Lindsay: I don’t know if you know this or not, but since reading your “curse of knowledge” blog post last year, I write that very phrase when I edit internal documents. It really opened my eyes to the types of things we recommend that clients have no idea what we’re talking about.

    Laura: You and I could probably do a really good series on women in the workplace. We should consider it.

  • ginidietrich 

    1) I’d LOVE for you to prioritize the reading list!
    2) She does…trust me!
    3) I really think you should. In fact when I first heard this interview, my first thought was, “hmm…I should write a post on this”, and then I realized it would be too rant-astical (as my comments above give an indication of), so I amended that thought to  “Gini should write a post on this!”

  • rdopping

    I like the way the Three Amigos have changed over time. Keeps it fresh. What-eve’s, right?

    Books. I have read two of the 100mil set, 3 of the 50 mil set, none of the 30mil set (by I saw the movies) and 5 of the 10mil set. What does that say about me? It looks like most of these are fiction and I tend to read a lot of non-fiction. Again, what-eve’s, right? Best title = Who Moved My Cheese?

    Agreed that women need to advocate for themselves. So do men. The article should have been about how all people who are not assertive and confident can build both o improve their standing. No! I didn’t read the article. I am riffing off what you wrote LauraPetrolino

    Love the same on history belllindsay The curse of knowledge thing is a big deal in my books because, believe it or not, a lot of people know very little about the Interior Design process. When i speak about it, write about and discuss it with clients I often have that same confused look on my face when they stare at me blankly. Must…fix…that…immediately.

    Love the 3 things.

  • LauraPetrolino belllindsay Howie Goldfarb “Howie Knower” #edit

  • belllindsayLauraPetrolinoHowie Goldfarb Guns Germs and Steel …. long but instructive!

  • NicoleCollida

    I’m late to the party on this, for sure, but Laura I love the article the thoughts you posted above on #LadyBrags.  So much so I think it should be it’s own hash tag!  I manage a team of all women, and have this conversation so often.  I mentor a couple others, and had THIS. EXACT. CONVO. with one of them last week.  Can’t wait to share with her – thanks for sharing with me! #petropower.

  • NicoleCollida

    LauraPetrolinoginidietrich Per my post above (again super late to party) you guys really should.  It would be empowering, and really useful across virtually ANY industry.

  • NicoleCollida Oh, I’m so glad. I hope it helps. And what an interesting position you are in to help women overcome the obstacles they put in front of themselves. Interesting and powerful. I think one of the things that women lack the most, and in my mind one of the things that most prevents us from reaching the levels of success we hope for, is quality female mentors and coaches. I’ve been really lucky to have had and still have (cough, cough @ginidietrich) some amazing male and female mentors in my life and I know it has made all the difference in who I am today (both professionally and personally)

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