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June 2015


“On Being” with Krista Tippett, National Public Radio Program


What are the big take-aways?


This weekly radio show is a new discovery for me.  After introducing myself to it by listening to one of its latest episodes, an interview of Maria Popova (creator of the website, I now want to gobble up all the archived conversations.  “On Being” describes itself as:


…a Peabody Award-winning public radio conversation and podcast, a Webby Award-winning website and online exploration, a publisher and public event convener. On Being opens up the animating questions at the center of human life: What does it mean to be human, and how do we want to live? We explore these questions in their richness and complexity in 21st-century lives and endeavors.


Why do I like it?


I like that the description of the Maria Popova episode, for example, said it will “explore her gleanings on what it means to lead a good life — intellectually, creatively, and spiritually” (my emphasis).  As I delve more wholly, myself, into inquiries about what leadership is I become more aware that leadership is nearly synonymous with “what it means to lead a good life.”  I think that this gets to the core of an ultimate purpose of “On Being,” which is to serve as a resource for people who link meaning-making with questions about how we lead our lives and how we grow.


I like Krista Tippett.  She is a talented interviewer who is astute in her intellectual understanding of her guests while also being emotionally and spiritually capacious enough to ask deeply curious questions that seem to bring her subjects gently to the horizons of their own thinking.


In what situations would this be useful?


Quite simply, if you are a fan of the audio interview format and thrive on exposing yourself to fresh ideas about past, present and future ways in which we individually and collectively understand our own humanity, then this show is worth checking out.


While you’re on the “On Being” website fishing for your next episode to podcast, click on the latest weekly column by Parker J. Palmer (no relation), sage founder of the Center for Courage & Renewal.  His wisdom – based on a career and a life devoted to teaching, learning and transformation – always strikes me as wisdom about leadership.


What other resources might “pair” well with it?


For a similar radio show format that is focused more precisely on the practice of leadership, I highly recommend “Inside Transformational Leadership,” sponsored by Georgetown University’s Institute for Transformational Leadership, which airs weekly on VoiceAmerica (previously reviewed here in the Leadership Library).


I actually found Popova’s website,, to itself be a nice pairing with the show that hosted her.  To take Popova one step further, I noticed during the interview that a favorite “centering” resource of hers is the Journal of Henry David Thoreau, which I suspect might therefore serve as another great pairing.  (One of Popova’s recent blog entries is entitled, “The Diffusion of Useful Ignorance: Thoreau on the Hubris of Our Knowledge and the Transcendent Humility of Not-Knowing.”)



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