Living in More Than One World

The Blog of Bruce Rosenstein

Listening to Authors in Toronto

Last week The Globe and Mail Open House Festival was held at the University of Toronto, with readings and panel discussions featuring primarily authors associated in some way with Random House or its imprints. The Globe and Mail now has a page of audio from a number of the authors speaking at the festival, including Jay McInerney, Calvin Trillin, Zoe Heller, Anne Michaels, David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle) and Joseph O’Neill, who recently won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for Netherland. There are thirteen authors on the page now, with two more to be added.  You can listen directly from the page to each of the authors, or download the podcasts to listen later.…

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Testing the Career Change Waters in Summer School

Michael Kane’s article in The New York Post, CHANGE COURSE: SLUGGISH ECONOMY GOT YOU DOWN? NOW’S THE PERFECT TIME FOR A COLLEGE TEST-RUN ON A NEW CAREER, has an intriguing take on career change. It advocates taking summer classes at local universities for inspiration about new directions available to you. The idea is to take a course in an area that interests you, with an eye towards career change and/or going back to school to get a new degree. But it’s a lot easier to take a course or two to get a sense of whether that career might be right for you.…

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David Whyte: Poetry, Business and Beyond

David Whyte has for many years been a great example of living in more than one world. He is a successful poet, author, speaker and business consultant. Check out Colleen Smith’s insightful profile/interview, David Whyte’s nonprosaic world, in the Denver Post. She was writing in advance of his appearance at a bookstore in Boulder, Col., promoting his latest book, The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self & Relationship. You can read selections from his poetry on his site, which has quite a bit of interesting material. Whyte’s quote ending the Denver Post story is instructive, as it contrasts the hard times we are living in, with the value provided by poets: “I often think of poets as makers of identity, so these are good times for poets, who speak not only for the individual, but for society and for the future at the horizon about to appear.”…

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Learning From the Best: TED Presentations for Inspiration

Making effective presentations that really engage audiences and classrooms is an ongoing challenge. As people have more access to great presentations both in person and online, the bar keeps getting set higher. Garr Reynolds has an excellent post on his Presentation Zen blog, Making presentations in the TED style, about learning from the best presentations at the famed TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference. It includes tips and links to video presentations from the likes of Al Gore, Seth Godin, Isabel Allende and others. Reynolds notes that TED has strict rules of eighteen minute time limits, with some presentations limited to three or six minute slots.…

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Peter Drucker: Novelist

Although it wasn’t a well-known aspect of his long and highly successful career, Peter Drucker published two novels: The Last of All Possible Worlds (1982) and The Temptation to Do Good (1984). The latter is the subject of an unexpected, and fascinating, Inside Higher Ed essay by higher education consultant Melanie Ho, Business and the Relevance of Liberal Arts. I think he would be pleased at the carefully thought-out, sympathetic portrayal of the book, and how its ideas and central questions have relevance for today’s academic world, twenty five years later.

When I interviewed Drucker at his home in Claremont, California six years ago for my forthcoming book, I wanted to get his thoughts on the novels, because I knew that he had long wanted to write fiction as well as nonfiction, yet the fiction writing ultimately didn’t work out as well as he would have liked.

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Yoga (and More) as a Vehicle for Post-Layoff Transformation

Tony Dobrowolski of The Berkshire Eagle reports in his article Workshop addresses job-loss stress on an intriguing three day program in June at the Kripalu center for yoga & health, in Stockbridge, Mass. It’s called Transformation: From Surviving Job Loss to Thriving, and will be focused on the kinds of thinking and mind-body awareness skills that are crucial to dealing properly with the loss of a job. These skills are also important for the transition into the unknown territory of deciding what to do with the rest of your life. And of course the latter represents only one step, as big and important as it is, as this decision will have to be balanced against reality.…

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The many worlds of Noah Levine

There can be fascinating results when two seemingly disparate worlds combine in the same person. A case in point is Kate Linthicum’s feature story in the Los Angeles Times, In the stillness, space for a rebellious spirit, about Noah Levine, who teaches Buddhist meditation infused with punk rock values. He’s the leader of the Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, and author of the 2003 book Dharma Punx. The latter is the name of the Society’s members, and there are meditation groups across the USA and Canada. Levine appears to be an intriguing embodiment of living in more than one world, as a psychologist (which, according to the article, is how he earns his living), teacher, organization leader, author and family man.…

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A local human interest story, with built-in national interest

Cindy Leise’s neat human interest story Toni Morrison’s first-grade teacher recalls past century, in Ohio’s The Chronicle-Telegram, is the kind of article at which local newspapers excel. Leise interviews 98-year old Esther Hunt, who taught the Pulitzer Prize-winning Morrison in 1937, in Lorain, Ohio.  The peg for the story was Morrison’s local appearance at Oberlin College’s Convocation Series, which unfortunately Hunt could not attend because of a family event in another state. According to the article, she taught in Lorain City Schools for 45 years, until her retirement in 1974. Morrison’s latest novel is A Mercy, which was published last year.…

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The Future is Freelance

More people, especially those of us who have recently been laid off, may have freelance contracting for knowledge work in our future, according to Sarah E. Needleman’s article Negotiating the Freelance Economy, in today’s Wall Street Journal. It points out the sobering fact that not just full time, but temporary work opportunities are also less available than a year ago. Hence the increased popularity of sites such as,, and Needleman also does a good job of pointing out some of the practicalities and possible pitfalls of working this way. In a similar vein, see the May 4 report by Jessica Dickler in, Freelance is the new full-time.…

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Living in More Than One World the Alain de Botton Way

The subject of The Independent’s My secret life feature on May 2 is the London-based author Alain de Botton, whose new book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, has already been published in the UK, and comes out in the USA next month. Rather than a standard Q&A format, My secret life draws out brief answers to such statements as:  “At night I dream of”… “When I was a child I wanted to be”… “My greatest inspirations are”…(One of the replies to the latter is Geoff Dyer, who was featured in this blog on May 2.) A look at de Botton’s site shows him to be an embodiment of living in more than one world.…

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