Coaching Letter #61

Good evening, I hope this finds you well.

If you have time to spare this week (between the turkey and pumpkin pie) and are looking for great things to read and listen to, here are some suggestions.

Last week’s New Yorker has an essay by Atul Gawande, The Upgrade, about the complicated relationship between doctors and digital record-keeping.  I’m a big Gawande fan, although I haven’t made it through all of his books because some of his writing is just too sad or too graphic.  What I most appreciate are the parallels to education–or sometimes the lack of them.  Big medical organizations are clearly much more realistic about the cost of implementing an innovation, and projecting exactly what the cost, or at least the dollar amount, will be.  And they are also better at collecting and analyzing data on the results of the innovation over time.

Other great essays by Gawande include The Heroism of Incremental Care–also interesting to read as a parallel to education: “We devote vast resources to intensive, one-off procedures, while starving the kind of steady, intimate care that often helps people more.”  There is When Doctors Make Mistakes, a harrowing account of error in medicine, and how that’s not because the profession is full of incompetent and malfeasance, but because error is normal.  This is one of the articles that helped reframe the way that failure is conceptualized, and is required reading for people who think that there is a clear, bright line that separates the capable from the inept in any profession.  And then of course there is Personal Best, the best article to show people when they think that only poor performers need coaching and that having a coach is a sign of weakness.  I don’t love everything about the article, from a coaching point of view, but I still think it’s incredibly helpful.

There was an article in the New York Times this week about Shane Parrish, who is less a guru than a curator of big ideas.  Anyway, you should sign up for his newsletter, Brain Food, even though I worry that once you are turned on to his stuff you won’t need me any more.  He also publishes a podcast, The Knowledge Project, which comprises remarkably long-form interviews with interesting people.  Sometimes it’s very geeky, sometimes not so much.  He also posts cool snippets on Twitter.

This week’s New Yorker has a really interesting article on podcasts, Binge Listening, that is well worth reading.  And if you are looking for more great podcasts for a long drive to Wisconsin, I can recommend:

The latest season of Serial–about the justice system in Cleveland and essential for anyone interested in equity and the intersection of justice (as in law enforcement) and social justice.

Freakonomics
TED Radio Hour
Without Fail
Hidden Brain
Revisionist History (Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast)
WorkLife (Adam Grant’s podcast–I don’t think I’ve written about his work, but I should–this is the podcast I would produce if I were capable of producing podcasts).

And let’s not forget Thinking in Bets!  Not too late to join the conversation on Google+:

https://plus.google.com/communities/111021940531290896490

Annie Duke is also on Twitter, and has a great newsletter, and if you want more suggestions for things to read, whether or not you’ve read the book, see this edition of the Coaching Letter. And please, feel free to catch up with any Coaching Letters you haven’t had a chance to read yet—they are all available on our website at https://ctschoolchange.org/stevenson-coaching-letter/ .  Share them with your Great Aunt May!

All this should keep you busy for a while, right?  If you have any comments or suggestions about any of these books, articles and pods, I would love to hear about them.  Have a great week!  Yours, Isobel

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2018-11-19T08:56:00+00:00