Ever since listening devices were found at Democratic Party HQ in Washington’s Watergate building, the suffix “gate” has been appended to high-level scandals. But it was not until 2013 that the conspiracy that brought down a US president was equated with see-through yoga pants. This week, pant designer Lululemon told latter-day Woodward and Bernsteins it had recovered from ‘Sheergate’. A cover-up that worked.
Selecting only 3 good reads this weekend has been a challenge. Given the plethora of sharing around the passing of Singapore’ Lee Kuan Yew, I could probably select 3 from that theme alone. But wanting to spread the wealth, here are 3 reads which I hope add some richness to your morning.
1. The Wise Man of the East. Economist has published what I believe is one of the more thoughtful remembrances of of Lee Kuan Yew. Given the caricature of Singapore so often found in western media and minds, this article offers good insight on what Singapore’s first Prime Minister has accomplished.
2. A better understanding of cybershaming. Jon Ronson has published a new book titled So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed and it appears to be a thoughtful work. In this interview, Ronson looks at folks like Monica Lewinsky, Justine Sacco, and Lindsey Stone whose behaviors have brought upon them tremendous public shane, scorn, and even death threats. Centerstage in Ronson’s inquiry you find the behaviors of everyday people–basically good people doing their part in society day in and day out–who heap tremendous hurt and pain onto those deemed guilty of some unspeakable crime.You all know what I mean. Look at your Facebook feed. Who are the people in that feed delivering daily posts telling us how wrong someone else’s choices are, how stupid someone else must be, or how ignorant some party is–all in the tone that the author is somehow superior, in the know, or better positioned to be judge and jury. I am sure you most likely have one of these people in your newsfeed.Now multiply that same basic behavior by hundreds of thousands of people across many continents, merge it all into a herd mentality, and try to imagine what it must be like to be on the receiving end.
Ronson makes what I believe is a fairly good point. Social media has enabled a certain behavior set similar to that practiced by the Stasi (neighbor watching neighbor then shaming). Given the speed with which we eagerly and with a smile screen capture someone’s less-than-finest moment and broadcast it beyond that person’s network makes me think Ronson offers a lesson we should be thinking about.
3. Exhaustion is not a Status Symbol. Last for this weekend, does overwork and exhaustion create a certain numbness that allows us conveniently overlook other parts of our lives? Do we then justify this numbness by wearing it as a badge of pride about how hard we work and the excesses of our accomplishment? A darned good question, and a final read worth your while.
Have a great weekend!
This week, upon the passing of Lee Kuan Yew, I share different views I gathered in obituaries from around the world, and the evolution of my own thoughts about Singapore’s founding father. In short, part of his brilliance and success was genuinely knowing what it took to read the context, govern in Singapore, and build the nation.
This item has been siting on my desktop for a couple days, but happy to finally share some of the latest Pew research insights. The Pew Research Center surveyed thousands of people across 32 emerging and developing nations about their technology use and how the rising influence of the internet affects their daily lives. But beyond the larger findings, we found some notable data points about specific countries that might have been lost in the fray.
1. Chinese internet users love to shop. About half of online Chinese (52%) have used the internet to buy products in the past 12 months. Given the size of the online Chinese marketplace, this goes a long way in explaining the meteoric rise of commerce giants such as Alibaba and Baidu.
2. Filipinos love social networking. Among adult internet users in the Philippines, 93% say that they use social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. This is the highest such percentage across the emerging and developing countries surveyed and greater than the 74% of internet users in the U.S. who use social networking sites. Roughly seven-in-ten of those Filipino social networkers use these platforms to share views about music and movies, while half talk about sports.
- What We Should Be Telling Children about College Admissions. College admissions madness. It’s the time of the year I am surrounded by eyesores telling me how many students get a job offer before graduation, how much money they earn, and more. This article finds a rare center of gravity that should help us all understand what is really important about getting our kids into college.
- My Friend’s Tragic Run of Depression. The author makes a personal and important point we all need to understand–depression is an illness, not a character flaw. The touching way in which he leads us to this point, however, is the real journey worth sharing. Take a few minutes to read this one.
- If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You even Know? I read recently that 47% of existing and well paying jobs will be subject to competitive pressure from computers using algorithms to do the same work (and cheaper). Here is an example of how writers are about to be subject to the pressure, and is worth a read too.