Wisereads Vol. 22 — Brave Habits with Todd Henry, MLK’s Letter from Birmingham, and Cate Hall on agency
Last week, we shared The Communist Manifesto from Mortimer Adler’s list of classic books underlying Western thought. This week, we’re sharing a preview of Todd Henry’s upcoming guide on courageous leadership and exceptional work: The Brave Habit.
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Most highlighted Articles of the week
How to be More Agentic
Drawing from her experiences as a lawyer, poker player, composer, and COO, Cate Hall offers insights on living life with more agency. “Agency is the skill that built the world around you, an all-purpose life intensifier that lets you make your corner of it more like what you want it to be…Build a better mousetrap. Have an enviable marriage. Start a country. No one is born with it, everyone can learn it, and it’s never too late.”
How Google perfected the web
The Verge explores how optimizing for discovery on Google has streamlined the web, favoring easier navigation often at the expense of uniqueness. “A post on savory pancakes sums it up, in which the Canadian Bromilow explains why he’s opted to omit the 'u' in savoury: ‘The choice, while it breaks my maple-syrup filled heart, is obvious — savory…is more likely to [get] a recipe noticed by the all-powerful and oft-mysterious search engine algorithms.’”
Slow Change Can Be Radical Change
Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit explores how real change often unfolds slowly, not in sudden breakthroughs. “Most truths are like that, easy to hear or recite, hard to live in the sense that slowness is hard for most of us, requiring commitment, perseverance, and return after you stray. Because the job is not to know; it’s to become. A sociopath knows what kindness is and how to weaponize it; a saint becomes it.”
Most highlighted YouTube Video of the week
What I learned from 100 days of rejection | TED
Jia Jiang spent 100 days deliberately facing his personal boogeyman: rejection. His first challenge? Asking a stranger for $100. “I was sweating and my heart was pounding. And I got there and said, "Hey, sir, can I borrow 100 dollars from you?" He looked up, he's like, "No, why?" And I just said, "No? I'm sorry." Then I turned around, and I just ran.”
Most highlighted Twitter Thread of the week
The Ancient Greeks had two words for time
Sheehan Quirke aka ‘The Cultural Tutor’ went from flipping burgers to sharing tidbits of art, architecture, history, philosophy, and music on Twitter. “Try thinking about your day in terms of kairos, not chronos. Which moments are the most important? Which moments are the most useful? Which moments give you an opportunity to do something consequential?”
Most highlighted PDF of the week
Letter from Birmingham Jail
While imprisoned, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote a profound letter responding to clergymen, a piece that remains vital in discussions on justice and nonviolent protest. “Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must see the need of having nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men to rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.”
Hand-picked book of the week
The Brave Habit
Why do some tend to rise to the moment, while others prefer to play it safe? In exploring this question, Author of Die Empty Todd Henry discovered The Brave Habit.
In his seventh book, Todd offers a practical toolkit for bravery, describing it as courage in action.
“No one aspires to cowardice, yet many still choose it every day. They fail to speak up because they’re afraid of being wrong. They take the easier, more comfortable path instead of the one that could lead to immense return on their effort…However, you have the choice to be brave. You can train yourself to act instead of deferring, to speak instead of holding your tongue, and to embrace discomfort instead of shunning it. You can develop the habit of bravery."
The Brave Habit releases Tuesday. If Todd’s preview resonates with you, we invite you to purchase a full copy and consider checking out his re-launched podcast, Daily Creative. 🙏
Handpicked RSS feed of the week
Editor Ernie Smith delivers strange and unusual descriptions of common things via Tedium, the ‘boring side of the internet.’ From We Beat the Machine: “There is something about the miracle of human achievement, of seeing someone do something for the first time that seemed impossible only a few years before. Video gaming has a few equivalents to the four-minute mile…breaking Tetris was one of them.”