It’s easier to be ordinary. But in truth, none of us are. Every one of us is different, more different than perhaps we even know. So much of living in an organized society pushes us to conform, to comply, to disappear. Read more about Bearing the Truth …
Silicon Valley and San Francisco combine to make the most vibrant technology center in the world. Both startup and established companies recognize they are taken more seriously when they have a Silicon Valley presence, and increasingly companies that peripherally rely on technology are adding think tanks and research centers in Silicon Valley as a way to stay on top of the head-spinningly fast rate of technological change. Read more about Whither the Workplace? …
Does your passion maximize your potential? I wrote recently about how to evaluate potential careers, and suggested that the advice to “follow your passion” might be less than helpful. One reason is that not everyone has a singular focus, or a specific interest or talent that is consistently rewarding. Read more about Passion and Potential …
How does a young person know what career to choose? We are all encouraged to “follow our passion”, but this is very general and non-specific advice. There are a few people who are fortunate enough to find one thing that is their lifelong passion, and who are able to turn it into a career. Read more about Will you love your job? …
Some mistakes teach, and some can kill you. The challenge is to know one from the other.
We all make mistakes. It’s part of our untidy human condition. The interesting question is how to reduce the severity of the mistakes we make, and how to deal with them when they happen. Making the right mistakes means that we learn and grow. The wrong mistakes put a permanent damper on our future.
When we encounter a death, we are apt to spend time thinking about the qualities of the deceased, often in ways that we did not during their lives. Perhaps this has to do with our search for meaning – our need to associate purpose and significance with important events. By engaging in this process of holding and celebrating the lives of those who have died, we honor them, and place them and ourselves in a circle of caring and connection. In the absence of this engagement, we are more easily able to ignore their personhood, separate ourselves from them, and miss the opportunity to connect.
Violence seems to be all around us. Journalists and politicians, especially in the run-up to an election, love to create the burning platform – a sense of urgency that sends adrenalin pumping through our veins, and justifies their sound-bites and simplistic talking points.
But it turns out that our sense of danger is not supported by the facts. Stephen Pinker’s extraordinary book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined lays out the argument that in many tangible ways, the world is safer now than it has ever been. Read more about Hope for a Better World …
Today is the 15th of March – the Ides of March. It’s a Roman day of religious observances, but perhaps best known as the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination, in 44 BC. It’s important to me for another reason – my mother’s birthday. She is far from my home in California, living in the south of England,Read more about The Ides of March[…]
I wrote a play some years ago, exploring the relationships and perspectives of three very different people, caught in wartime Afghanistan. At an early stage, my friend Michael Sanie expressed interest in writing an opera based on the play, and after several years of delays and struggles, here it is. The opera is in threeRead more about Rock, Paper, Scissors[…]
It’s well known that architects are poorly paid. With a lengthy degree, followed by three or more years of apprenticeship and professional exams before they can even use the word architect, it seems crazy.
It’s not crazy, even if it is unfair.
I believe that people’s willingness to pay for a service has to do with their sense of criticality: the distance from a crisis. A simple analogy: most yachtsmen are resistant to the cost of a proper life-raft, when they see one in the chandler. No-one intends to have their boat sink, and it seems hard to justify the raft. But the same sailor, when dismasted and holed in the open sea, will happily pay almost any amount for helicopters and other rescue options. Similarly, if you need surgery, your first thought is not the cost, but the quality and experience of the surgeon. If you are up against the IRS, you want an experienced tax advisor, not just a cheap one. Read more about Architecture and Income …
This is a great TED talk from Alain de Botton. It reflects an idea I’ve struggled with for many years: how to make use of and participate in the great religious ideas without subscribing to all the doctrinal mumbo-jumbo. He insightfully shows the many virtues of religious practice, and suggests that rather than throwing outRead more about Religion for the non-religious[…]
The Architect magazine this month has a feature on work – you can learn more at their website – it’s an important topic, because we mostly do too much of it.
On the front page of the article is a drawing that lists some of the activities we enjoy (endure?) in the workplace:
It’s a good list, but I think it misses something really important. In my experience there are two very different kinds of focus work.
Architecture is about the application of ideas to the environment. Bjarke Ingels understands the power of an idea to symbolize our relationship to the environment – both in a spatial sense and in terms of more abstract ideas like sustainability. In this video he talks about how he has used architecture and master planning toRead more about Bjarke Ingels at TED[…]
Glen Small and Bjarke Ingels: vive la difference. Architect Glen Small writes about Bjarke Ingels in this article. The comparison is interesting: Both are full of energy and ideas. Their architectural strategies have a number of things in common. But they could not be more different from a business perspective. The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) hasRead more about BIG and Small[…]