Beyond the Blue: Artwork and Writing from the Prison Arts Collective

Beyond the Blue: Artwork and Writing from the Prison Arts Collective

This book is a catalog produced in conjunction with an exhibition of artwork created in California prisons. I attended an opening of this traveling exhibition as well as a panel discussion with former participants, teaching artists, and the deputy director of the Prison Arts Collective (PAC). This book is atypical of those normally featured on this site, but I feel it deserves some attention because it presents a perspective from a corner of humanity where voices are normally out of earshot, which may offer some insights into the bigger picture of some of society’s toughest challenges.

I will start with excerpts from the book before making some of my own observations. Continue reading “Beyond the Blue: Artwork and Writing from the Prison Arts Collective”

Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will

Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will

by Geoff Colvin

“The number of people who wrongly believed they could never be replaced by a computer keeps growing.” So what are the skills in which humans can maintain a competitive advantage over machines?

“Skills of interaction are becoming the key to success… Now, as technology drives forward more powerfully every year, the transition to the newly valuable skills of empathizing, collaborating, creating, leading, and building relationships is happening faster than corporations, governments, education systems, or most human psyches can keep up with.”  Continue reading “Humans are Underrated: What High Achievers Know that Brilliant Machines Never Will”

The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking

The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking: What a Marketer Learned in Design School

by Kunitake Saso

“The design thinking process is not a collection of steps… [It] is characterized by switching between four different modes as needed, and advancing work through short cycles… You go back and forth between the phases again and again, slowly raising the quality of your output; therefore, it is better to think of it as a compass than as a map.”

The Four Modes of Design Thinking:

  1. Research
  2. Analysis
  3. Synthesis
  4. Prototyping

The author says that 80% of the value is created in the synthesis and prototyping stages.

RESEARCH. The subjects of design research interviews are often “extreme users with strong preferences, or experts in the field and very familiar with the trends” rather than average users. Continue reading “The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking”

Choosing Civility

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct

by P.M. Forni

Choosing Civility is about counteracting the “coarsening of America.”  It was published in 2002, but is more relevant than ever.

“Being civil means being constantly aware of others and weaving restraint, respect, and consideration into the fabric of this awareness… When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that.”

“Every act of kindness is, first of all, an act of attention… When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.”

“Restraint is our inner designated driver. We all have it, and we all can learn to summon it whenever we need it… Restraint is an infusion of thinking—and thoughtfulness—into everything we do.”

Continue reading “Choosing Civility”

Be Nobody

be-nobody

Be Nobody

by Lama Marut

Lama Marut, aka Brian K. Smith, was a professor of comparative religion, he studied Hinduism and Sanskrit in India, he was a Buddhist monk, and he is the son of a Baptist preacher. So he presents a well-informed viewpoint rather than a myopic dogma. Fortunately, you don’t need to climb a mountain to be enlightened by this wise man; he imparts wisdom in his book, Be Nobody.

Marut writes about living in the iEra. “Our contemporary culture of consumerism, materialism, narcissism, and the worship of fame encourages the idea that we will be happy only when we become exceptional. But maybe we’ve got it wrong—exactly wrong. Maybe our deepest and most authentic happiness will be found only when we finally lay down this heavy burden of trying to be a somebody… Maybe true fulfillment in life requires an emptying, not a filling.” Continue reading “Be Nobody”