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A few weeks ago, the New York Times released an article entitled Vaccines Need Effective Messengers. Here’s journalist Shira Ovide:

“Getting the science right is only one element of having coronavirus vaccines be successful. People must also trust them, and that requires an effective communications mobilization.”

The word to focus on in that paragraph is not “science,” “vaccine” or even “communications.”

It’s “trust.”

36 days after Tomas Pueyo published a massively popular article about the coronavirus, he was quoted saying this in an interview:

“I have no training in epidemiology.

You should definitely not trust me.”

Pueyo echos the feeling…


Image by the author. #15 (drawing) is shown above. Drawing helps the brain make connections it otherwise wouldn’t.

The brain is designed to answer questions.

For most of the year, the question I asked was: “How could it get any worse??” I found answers to that. Then, I asked “what made this year good?” I also found answers to that.

My guess is that you could make a list just like this. You can steal some from my personal list of 50 things that improved my life in 2020.

50. Cutting out critically acclaimed films

After 18 months of watching off Best Picture-winning films, Kate and I have turn to a steady diet of Rom Coms this year. We even watched Emily in Paris…


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Lately, I’ve been listening to the High School Musical soundtrack a lot. Some bro on Instagram said it would make me live longer.

You’re thinking “oh yeah. That song ‘We’re All In This Together,’ right?” No. The deep tracks.

Scream.

Can I Have this Dance.

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a.

I listened to HSM 2 in its entirety even though everyone knows that aside from Corbyn Bleu’s baseball diamond dance, the movie is total garbage.

Usually, the pop hits play in my headphones as I take my morning walk around town. …


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It’s odd work, making stuff for a living.

Yancey Strickler, one of my favorite writers and thinkers, put it best:

“Broadly, I am on the right path. I am doing intellectual work. I spend much of my time thinking and dreaming.

Day to day, I’m all over the place.”

That’s how my last couple of weeks have been — all over the place. Right now, I’m sitting in bed with a newly un-paralyzed french bulldog lying on my feet. Tim Denning and I are lining up a new deep dive into LinkedIn. Green beans are boiling on the stove. …


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I’m on a quest to discover why some people get famous and others get forgotten.

Often, this work results in a furrowed brow that will probably become a deep wrinkle. One day, my hope is that all those stray ideas might weave themselves theories, theories to blogs, blogs to chapters, chapters to a book.

For now, though, trying to write about fame would be like I suddenly decided to write in Spanish. I don’t have the vocabulary to address what I care about.

Last week was different.

Last week, I came across a simple diagram that showed why artists are…


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When you watch an actor on screen, you see at least 3 people.

  1. The character being played
  2. The public persona they wear “off-screen”
  3. The person they really are

That’s the sort of bizarre reality worth keeping in mind while watching something like the Academy Awards. Most of these people aren’t “people” per se. Even when they aren’t on set, they’re acting.

Is the “real” Glenn Close the one who did “Da Butt” on national television a few weeks, or is she Cruella DeVille? Does the “real” Frances McDormand howl in front of Hollywood’s elite?

It’s a puzzle. One that we’ve…


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Several years ago, I helped my father-in-law move a couch. (This is something you should never do unless you are serious about staying with his child forever. The twists and turns of marriage don’t compare with the terror of moving furniture.) The chair was a black, wobbly leather thing. We drove it 3 hours to the new place. Then, we stopped and unstrapped it.

We hauled it off the truck… up the stairs… around the corner… and onto the deck.

With a final “HURGGH!”, we shoved the couch toward the front door. It didn’t fit. We tried again. It didn’t…


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6 years ago, I agreed to take a phone call from a stranger.

I had no idea what to expect.

An interview? A business pitch? An article idea?

Was this guy normal?

I paced around my queen-sized mattress, trodding across the hopefully-clean hotel carpet. Big drifts of snow were plopped randomly across the parking lot outside the window like some half-done impressionist painting.

It’s funny how life works. If the call had been offered a week earlier or a week later, I would have never taken it. …


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Generally speaking, the message we are told in order to find success is not “make your work as frictionless as possible.”

It’s “hustle your face off.”

This story dominates our culture. It seeps into every nook and cranny, every blurb, every billboard. You can’t scroll YouTube without seeing an homage to the god of grind.​


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After refusing to touch the platform for 12 months, I’ve spent 10 days in a row on LinkedIn.

It started as a challenge from my friend Tim Denning. We’re building a LinkedIn course together. I’m the on-screen student, asking questions, taking notes. He’s the expert.

During lesson 5, I saw a note that was particularly cringe-worthy.

Todd Brison

Write your book with me and Tim Denning https://badasseryacademy.teachable.com/p/amazon-books

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