Recommendation “Rationally Speaking Podcast”

I like to sometimes recommend resources that I enjoyed which offer a broader range, more insight, and greater detail than I can possibly cover in 1000 words.  More importantly, I like to recommend resources that have greatly improved my decision making skills.

I have mentioned before that decision making is one of the important topics covered in many leadership courses: the decision cycle, decision methods, etc.  I have yet to come across critical thinking as it applies to decision making.  Specifically, how information (evidence) is gathered and weighed; and if decisions are made in a rational and unbiased manner.

I gladly introduce the podcast “Rationally Speaking”, the official podcast of the New York City Skeptics.

The podcast focuses on rational thought, philosophy, science, and the nonsense that often claims to be the former three.  The topics can be sometimes a bit esoteric, but to become good at something, you have work at a level above your current capability.

“Rationally Speaking” is the bi-weekly podcast of New York City Skeptics. Join hosts Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef as they explore the borderlands between reason and nonsense, likely and unlikely, and science and pseudoscience. Any topic is fair game as long as we can bring reason to bear upon it, with both a skeptical eye and a good dose of humor!”

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Brian Williams (Memory and How Time Effects It)

Last week I discussed Brian Williams and the events leading up to his professional predicament and his crisis response to the subsequent public outcry.

The public outcry was one of two responses.  First, silence from the people who knew him, but could not defend his error.  There was no response that would not sound hypocritical and like an excuse to what seemed to be a blatant lie.  Second, the response from other view of the discussion was far more direct and accused directly him of lying.

The error was additionally magnified by Williams’ position of trust as a highly regarded and trusted news voice in the US.  According to a 2014 survey, ABC News and NBC News (Williams’ employer) were both tied as the most well known and most trusted television news sources by both US liberals and conservatives. [1]  His error is considered especially egregious because he “betrayed” his integrity as a journalist.

The major talking points in the media were that he lied to aggrandize himself and he lied which betrayed the integrity and professionalism of the news media.  Neither option is good, but like everything else in the world I don’t think the conclusions are that simple.  The events leading up to the crisis are so well known that it presents a great opportunity to examine memory and it how it (as I understand it) works.

(Please, refer to the time line at the end of the article.)

My question is did he really lie?  I am not contesting that he told an untruth.  There is no doubt that what he said was proven to be wrong.

But, did he lie? Continue reading

Leadership Confusion

DSC07412Leadership… no one seems to be able to agree on a common definition.

A great example of this is in recent posting by Brittney Helmrich from the Business News Daily.  In the article, “30 Ways to Define Leadership”, Helmrich quotes the definitions of leadership by 30 business executives.  Each definition is sensible and stands well on its own.  The comments are intelligent and well informed.  In a professional or classroom situation everyone would agree all of the quotes are good, if not enlightened.

But in the context of all the quotes, each definition is different.  In some cases, the difference is subtle… a simple difference in word selection.  In other cases, the quotes address completely different aspects of leadership: vision, empowerment, motivation, emotional intelligence, taking responsibility, empathy, influence, inspiration, to name a few.  All are great concepts.

Who really knows?

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