Weekend Briefing No. 151

Welcome to the 2016 Annual Briefing. Today is the last day of 2016. A tumultuous year, no doubt. If your year was anything like mine, it may have been a really hard year. If so, maybe the best thing you can do is stop reading, watch this video, be grateful that it’s over and start fresh tomorrow.

For the rest of you that want to keep reading I’m going to share my technique for keeping your new year’s resolutions as well as my favorite articles, books, and podcasts in 2016.

But first, I’m going to give you the most popular stories from the Weekend Briefing in 2016. These are the stories that you clicked on the most this year. As you may know, every week I select articles that broadly fit within three categories: innovation, impact and personal growth.

Now, most of you are probably on this list because you work in the innovation or impact sector, but it seems that on the weekends, you’re much more interested in personal growth. Out of the top 20 most clicked on stories, 14 were about personal growth. So, let’s get started with that.

These are the stories you found most compelling in 2016.

Growth

This year you were interested in… a 90-year life broken down into little boxes, asking better questions, admitting that, yes, in fact, I am a racist, taking my advice to stop asking to ‘pick my brain’, to stop looking for a job, thoughts about the courage divide, brutally honest sticky notes about adulting, the five stages of love, three views on marriage, relationship advice from 1500 strangers, and of course one amazing graduation speech.

Innovation

This year you were interested in… a mesmerizing video narrated by Nicola Tesla, dronestagrams, how NASA thinks society will collapse, a hot unicorn turning into a hot mess, and last week’s story about the great AI awakening.

Impact

This year you were interested in… my online tool designed to see if you should be a B Corp, how donorschoose.org uses dashboards to drive impact, how to give away $45 billion, Seth Godin’s take on poverty and social enterprise’s role in poverty alleviation, why a man traveled to the Gobi desert with $3 million in cash and came back with 150 tons of cashmere, how a new generation of business leaders think about philanthropy, and the impact sector’s favorite Instagram account @barbiesavior.

Stacking Habits

As we enter the new year, you may be contemplating how to make resolutions that you can actually keep. I feel you. I’ve never stuck to a budget, workout regimen or spiritual practice… until August. I stumbled on to a system that works for me. By intentionally creating a set of complimentary healthy habits, I built a positive feedback loop generating consistent momentum that improved my health, wealth, and spiritual practice. I thought I’d share it with you. Hope it’s helpful. Learn more at Medium (7 minutes).

My Favorite Article of 2016

Has our enslavement to dopamine — to the instant hits of validation that come with a well-crafted tweet or Snapchat streak — made us happier? I suspect it has simply made us less unhappy, or rather less aware of our unhappiness, and that our phones are merely new powerful antidepressants of a non-pharmaceutical variety. There is no dark night of the soul anymore that isn’t lit with the flicker of the screen, then there is no morning of hopefulness either. And so modernity slowly weakened spirituality, by design and accident, in favor of commerce; it downplayed silence and mere being in favor of noise and constant action. The reason we live in a culture increasingly without faith is not because science has somehow disproved the unprovable, but because the white noise of secularism has removed the very stillness in which it might endure or become reborn. This article by Andrew Sullivan is an instant classic and my favorite of the year. Pour a cup of coffee and dig in at select/all (45 minutes).

My Favorite Books of 2016

Essentialism taught me how to do less but do it better, how to identify what is essential, and most importantly the discipline of saying no. The Wright Brothers is a story of how incremental, understated, and underwhelming the process of innovation is, with an emphasis about how a singular focus eventually yields results. Ready Player One is the tale of a dystopian future where the wealth gap widens so much that most humans choose to plug into a virtual reality world to escape misery. VR as an opiate of the masses.

My Favorite Podcasts of 2016

Radiolab, Seneca, Nebraska. What do you do with a populace so divided there’s no hope? We don’t know the answer for America, but in Seneca, Nebraska, the citizens trusted in democracy—and put their existence up to a vote. The Axe Files, Karl Rove. Two practitioners at the top of their field – one a Democrat and one a Republican – with diametrically opposed views have an interesting and civil conversation. Startup, Anger. Dov Charney, the controversial founder of American Apparel, was pushed out of the company he created. But there are two accounts of what happened at American Apparel: Dov’s and the board’s.

About the Weekend Briefing

The best articles on innovation, impact, and growth distilled into one email every Saturday morning by Kyle Westaway – author of Profit & Purpose and Managing Partner of Westaway.

Thanks for making the Weekend Briefing a part of your Saturday morning routine. I love putting it together every week and love hearing your thoughtful insights. Feel free to shoot me an email with any feedback or suggestions. If you like what you’re reading, I’d be honored if you share it with your friends. Have a restful and thoughtful weekend.