What we've been reading: Life hacks, Africa and thought leaders

  1. Francois Badenhorst

    Francois Badenhorst Business Editor, UKBF & AWEB Staff Member

    Posts: 91 Likes: 18
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    Every week, I’ll be sharing with you some journalism that I’ve enjoyed. Hence the name: What we’ve been reading.

    I’m a big believer in omnivorous reading, and I hope to bring you a diverse bounty every week. That said, I’m really keen to see what you’ve been reading and listening to, as well. So if you wish, share something cool in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out.

    Use "The Four Cs" to boost your happiness and clear mental clutter

    I’m not a giant fan of the whole ‘life hack’ genre. It’s mostly veers between wildly over ambitious or just inane. But sometimes they’re good just because they’re simple. Take this one from literally named Lifehacker.

    In business, it’s easy to become consumed in the actions of making a living.

    But we often forget who and what we’re making a living for. So tether yourself to something real. It doesn’t need to be these four Cs, it can be any old thing(s).

    3 tips for talking to the press

    For obvious reasons, getting press coverage for your business is very desirable. But very few people are au fait with the basics of speaking to a journo.

    It doesn’t have to be scary or weird. An experienced journalist will put you at ease, but remember: you’re not chatting to a mate. Know what you can or can’t say, say that something is off the record if you don’t want it published and don’t script it.

    Just tell your story and the journalist will love you for it.

    African double bill: Death of the Nile and Obesity was rising as Ghana embraced fast food. Then came KFC

    It’s almost impossible to overstate how vibrant and dynamic Africa is right now. Insanely diverse, young, economically booming and slowly emerging from years of post-colonial chaos, the continent is becoming a nexus for all manner of phenomena.

    Here’s two stories I really enjoyed. First is the travails of Earth’s longest river, snaking its way through numerous emerging economies. And second is the way commerce transforming African lives - not always for the better.

    The Rise of the Thought Leader

    You can’t go onto the internet without coming across some Thought Leader™ telling you how to live, work, have sex, clean your house, walk your dog - whatever.

    What’s the harm? These people are dispensing advice and some people are willing to take it. But, as David Sessions writes, it’s a little more complex than this. Are these thought leaders just independent public intellectuals or are they actually shills for monied interests?

    It’s a debate worth having. As Sessions notes, this worry over intellectuals isn’t new. The Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci tackled this same issue in the 1930s. “New classes …  brought with them their own set of thinkers, which he called ‘organic intellectuals’ — theorists, technicians, and administrators, who became their functionaries in a new society.”

    The goal of these functionaries was to establish that class’s ideas as “the invisible, unquestioned conventional wisdom circulating in social institutions”.

    Ask yourself: what’s that dude speaking amorphously about globalisation really selling? And do you know you’re being sold to?

    Watch Ryan Gosling in "Papyrus," SNL43's funniest sketch so far

    Nearly eight years later, Saturday Night Live dredges up one of the most baffling design choices in history.

    James Cameron’s mega-budgeted ‘Space Pocahontas’ wrote its name in the just dreadful Papyrus font. Why, James? Why?

    This sketch is also a welcome, albeit probably brief, return to form for SNL. So enjoy that, too, I guess.