#55: Oliver Burkeman on the Positive Power of Negative Thinking

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

By day I help manage a small business, and for my job I attended an industry conference in Las Vegas last year. At one point during the conference, the Chariots of Fire theme music was played as a group of top-ranked managers took to the stage. In my view, the Chariots of Fire theme music should only be played if it’s 1924, and a group of strapping young men in white athletic gear are actually running along a beach. In other words, I don’t react well to events that are explicitly ‘motivational.’

So, when Oliver Burkeman’s new book, The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinkingwas released, I devoured it in one sitting. It struck me as a book that would be of particular interest to Work Stew’s readers and listeners, so I requested an interview. I spoke with Burkeman just a day before the start of his multi-city book tour that will include stops in Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Denver and Boston.

About Oliver Burkeman: Burkeman is a writer for The Guardian based in Brooklyn, New York. His new book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking explores the upsides of negativity, uncertainty, failure, and imperfection. Each week in This Column Will Change Your Life he writes about social psychology, self-help culture, productivity, and the science of happiness. He also blogs for Guardian US and writes a monthly column for Psychologies magazine.

Soundbite: Brett Besa, a.k.a. @Respecthehyphen

Listen to the clip by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

Episode #55 of the Work Stew podcast will be released next week. In the meantime, here’s a two-minute chat I had with Kansas-based college student Brett Besa, who has taken it upon himself to police Twitter users in a very specific way: he corrects their spelling…of the word “Spider-Man.”

What, if anything, does this have to do with Work Stew? Well, partly it’s that I’m interested in how people choose to use their time. But mainly, I’m just amused. As they say, all work and no play…

#54: Jed “Duffy” Selter, Clown

Listen to the interview by clicking the arrow on the audio player below.

“Do what you love” is a common but complicated directive. As we have explored on Work Stew, it can be difficult to pursue your passions and make a living at the same time. In some cases, the answer is a second acta brand new, post-retirement career.

In Jed  Selter’s case, that second act calls for a red nose and heavy makeup. Selter is part of a giggle of clowns (yes: a giggle!) that travels the world with a double mission: to inspire joy and to raise money for projects that improve people’s lives.

About Jed Selter: Selter is President of the Board and the Acting Executive Director of Caring Clowns International (CCI). He served in the U.S. Air Force and had a career in the aerospace industry before turning his focus to clowning. He has also written several books and is a volunteer disaster action team responder for the American Red Cross.