Lockdown has created a seismic shift in what constitutes the everyday for most people. Something that remains constant though, is the need to do things we love, that nourish us and make us happy. Whether you are pushing for a personal best on a local run, listening to inspiring podcasts, or reading books, escaping into your own world of choice has never been more important.
For anyone looking for some suggestions, here are some of my recommendations. They are not reviews, but some of the things I am loving right now.
My friend Luke Blower, who I met when working and living in Japan is the brains behind Life’s Not a Sprint. A virtual running community, it is racing for all, regardless of level, or ability. Run for 10 minutes, or run a full marathon – set your own targets. To motivate runners, Japan-inspired medals are sent to runners hitting their personal milestones. And the runners in the community are also raising lots of money for charities. Luke talks about Life’s Not a Sprint on the podcast Everyday Running Legends – here’s the link to the interview on spotify – and I really can’t recommend this interview enough. Anyone who is thinking about taking up running but is a bit hesitant, should listen to Luke speaking about his journey, which began with some fast food relief after his first run, to ultimately running marathons. I went on one of these early runs myself, around a park in Nagoya, and that reignited my love for it. Life’s Not a Sprint is a great idea and a fantastic way to begin, or continue, your running… at your own pace.
Inside Ideas with Marc Buckley – Marc is a great guy and friend on a mission to do everything he can to move the world on to the right side of history. He is a World Economic Forum Expert, author, global food reformist, and Editor-at-Large for Innovators Magazine – to name just a few of his roles: this man is busy. He is also the host of Inside Ideas, which has new episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. And he has had some great guests so far, including interviews with Dr Stuart Pimm, one of the world’s leading environmental scientists; explorer, Nacho Dean; filmmaker, writer and TV producer, Sasha Sagan; and renowned author and architect, Carolyn Steel.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Buddha, with Lee Mack and Neil Webster, is one of my favourites right now. Think about it a bit like starting your spiritual enlightenment journey down the pub, listening to two non-drinking friends, ones who have a read a couple of books on it. Neil has actually, sort of, been to a retreat as well.
Eckhart Tolle’s: The Power of Now was the book that first inspired their interest – and it is a great read. Neil’s notes on this, which he diligently reads out, provide a great starting point for listeners interested in the topic. Even if you’re not interested, it is a great listen. These two old pals grumble and giggle their way through shows in a way that might just take you towards enlightenment without thinking about it, which is kind of the idea.
Smartless – with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes is another of my favourite podcasts. The interview with Adam Sandler got me hooked on this one. I have always loved Adam Sandler and was excited to listen. He was brilliant, open and funny. They say you should never meet your heroes but listening to them seems to works pretty well. Will Ferrell, Robert Downey Jr., and Jennifer Aniston are some of the other great guests on Smartless.
David Graeber, who sadly died this year, has left behind a legacy of ideas I think will soon be supported en masse by societies worldwide. The American anthropologists writings on debt and bullshit jobs should be required reading for leaders worldwide right now. With the majority in debt to the few, billions are signed up to produce more goods, and engage in more activities well into the future, to pay it all off. These production promises will make overcoming the climate crisis, and other global challenges, impossible. David called for a biblical-style debt jubilee to free people and planet from a burden it cannot afford to pay. The COVID pause is the moment to face up to the folly of these recent choices.
David talked about revolutions of the past, like those that swept across Europe in the nineteenth century, as uprisings for political common sense. That it wasn’t the revolutionaries who went on to take power, rather it was the systems called for, like universal education, the extension of voting rights, the notion that power represented the people – ideas inspired by the revolutions – that replaced the old order. This is a moment in history when new ideas of political common sense must inevitably to come to the fore. Societies are already calling for action and their representatives will need to deliver.
Debt: The First 5000 Years; and Bullshit Jobs: The Rise of Pointless Work, and What We Can Do About It; are two titles by David Graeber I would recommend but google his name and read any of his articles for some common sense thinking.
Stephanie Kelton’s book: The Deficit Myth, is another well worth reading if you are delving into David’s work. Her book on Modern Monetary Theory will change how you think about the relationship between governments and money.
Go to our books page for more recommendations.