Become the smartest person in the room

I’m not certain I agree with this because I do agree with the Aaron Sorkin line from Sports Night:

 If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. If you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

But, still, it’d be nice to be one of the smart ones and reportedly there are ways to pull that off which don’t involve hiring a bunch of clowns. According to Gwen Moran in Fast Company:

READ . . . A LOT
It stands to reason that actively seeking out challenging, thought-provoking information will make you smarter. A widely reported 2012 study done by researchers at the University of California, published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroanatomy, found that students who spent 100 hours or more studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) actually had changes in their brains. The findings indicated that such intensive study showed changes in the parts of the brain associated with reasoning and thinking.

How to Become the Smartest Person in the Room: Here are Ways to Both Appear Smarter and Actually Up your IQ – Gwen Moran, Fast Company (11 June 2015)

I like that one. I like that a lot. I’m less keen on the very next piece of advice which is some junk about regular exercise. Sheesh.
Read the full piece.

Not just one inspirational video but five and a bit

I never used to pay much attention to inspirational videos: I just assumed they all ended with phone numbers for you to buy something or to hand over money for nothing anyway. YouTube is changing that but I am still resistant – except when it comes to commencement lectures. has collected five such videos and an extra similar one in a set that is particularly strong.

The featured speakers are Ellen Degeneres, Aaron Sorkin, David Foster Wallace, President Obama, Conan O’Brien and (the extra one) Ray Bradbury.

It’s hard to pick but I think my favourite is Ellen Degeneres’ which goes thisaway:

But watch the lot over on Brainpickings.

Aaron Sorkin’s The Foodroom

Even when I loved Aaron Sorkin for Sports Night and the first years of The West Wing, I was aware that he could be parodied. Then Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip had some problems I thought were peculiarly obvious from the start. And now The Newsroom has a central character I cannot see for how there’s a line of previous Sorkin male characters standing in front of him. So while I still wish I could write like him, I found this new parody alarmingly spot-on.

I’m going to stretch a point here and say that I’m showing you this because it speaks to how we can all fall into traps in our work. But really I’m just showing it to you because I enjoyed it so much.