Satell Book Recommendations

Digital Tonto: 11 Books that will Make You a Better Communicator, 2024-May-26 by Greg Satell

  • How Minds Change by David McRaney
  • Supercommunicators by Charles Duhigg
  • Influence by Robert Cialdini
  • Magic Words by Jonah Berger
  • The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt
  • Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work! by Douglas Coupland
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius by Ray Monk
  • The Doctor's Plague by Sherwin Nuland
  • Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman
  • Blueprint for Revolution by Srdja Popovic'
  • Cascades by Greg Satell


On Recognizing and Exiting our Reality Tunnels... Joan Westenberg

I've been aware of "reality tunnels" (a new twist on 'tunnel vision') for a long time, but I love the way Westenberg expresses this challenge and how to overcome it. Don't let all you currently know confine all you can know!

@Westenberg: On Reality Tunnels, 24-May-13 by Joan Westenberg

The most important thing is to be aware of our reality tunnels. To remember that how we see things is not necessarily how they are. Our tunnel is just one of many.

Meditation, travel, reading widely, and talking to people with different tunnels can help us stretch our perspective. It may feel uncomfortable, because it pushes against the edges of our tunnel. But that's how we grow.

The world is big and complex. There is more than one way to look at it. The more we can expand our reality tunnel—or even step outside it once in a while—the better we can understand each other and make sense of it all.

How to leverage our observations as creators

Ann Handley interviewed BJ Novack, and I learned this tip...

Just like BJ I used to take notes, but I never went back over them.... I could DO that!

Total Annarchy: 10 ways to be more creative: My interview with actor, writer BJ Novak, 2024-05-12 by Ann Handley

Prepare for inspiration; plan for execution.  BJ's creative process has two components: inspirations that he captures in a small notebook he carries everywhere (he pulled it out of his breast pocket onstage); and execution.


Every few weeks he blocks time to review the notebook, transferring the richest observations from his hand onto his computer—grouping and expanding ideas as he goes. That becomes the peat moss where insights and ideas take root.

Mind Blown: Real Economics and Protecting the Environment

Finally, I've found a rational method for being a conscientious consumer. I can't do everything, but I can understand how the system operates, and I can pull in the right direction.

For one thing: I'll never buy a natural diamond. I have a few I've inherited and a few I've been given, but the cost of extracting diamonds for the consumer market has always been brutal. I'm never going to be in that market again. I'll take synthetic, thank you very much. The Best Books on Economics and the Environment recommended by Deiter Helm, 2024-05-04, interview of Deiter Helm by Sophie Roell

There’s what economics is supposed to do, and there’s what economists actually do, and there’s a distinction between the two. Economics is really just about the allocation of scarce resources. It’s about allocating and making choices where there’s scarcity. The natural environment is, obviously, a scarce resource. It’s the critical building block of an economy and therefore why wouldn’t you be interested in how best to allocate this scarce resource?

So economics and the environment shouldn’t be separate subjects. But they are, because what many economists do is focus on this allocation as if it were a GDP problem. The public representation of economics is often, ‘How can we maximise GDP? How can we have more and more economic growth as defined by GDP?’ That, I think, is very short-sighted and quite a lot of economists now realise that.

But there are deeper problems, too. I’m interested in the longer-term, intergenerational effects. I’m interested in how we make sure that people in the future—citizens, not just consumers—have the ability to choose how to live their lives. Part of what’s required for that is not GDP flow and utility and trying to make people happy; it’s about making sure that these core infrastructure assets—of which natural capital is the most important—are properly maintained and passed on to future generations.

That is all economics, but it’s not economics as most people conceive of it. That’s why quite a lot of my work is critical of the conventional way in which economists address these questions.

From the perspective of a member of the public who’s trying to understand how they should behave, how should I be thinking about the challenges? Is it about who I vote for? Is it about what I do with my trash?

It’s about what you and I do because we are the ultimate polluters. Companies don’t go around thinking at the board table, ‘How can I do some more pollution today?’ Activists go and chain themselves to the railings or doors of oil companies. They think, ‘If only these nasty oil companies would do the right thing and close down fossil fuel production!’

But 80 percent of the world’s energy is fossil fuels. It’s 70-something percent in the UK. You and I buy that stuff. Companies wouldn’t produce the oil unless you used it. They wouldn’t produce the gas, whether it’s in the North Sea or elsewhere, unless you used it. We are the ultimate polluters. It’s us humans that make the world as it is.

We can try to organise in two ways. One is about what you and I choose to do. I choose not to fly. I’ve got loads of hypocritical behaviours that I engage in, but occasionally I try and do the right thing. We should all do our bit. That’s really important.

But it’s also about being aware that, as humans, we’re almost insatiable when it comes to consumption—and we don’t want to pay the costs. That’s why we have governments and laws that set frameworks, within which markets (and you and I) engage in exchange, production, and so on. We want a framework that curtails our insatiable expenditures and that makes us live within our means, save enough for our pensions, repair the potholes in the road and look after the rivers by stopping pollution.

It’s both of those things that we need to do. We can stop a lot of this.