Sam Radford

March 3, 2022

Little things

Sometimes the big things in life are beyond our control. Take 2022. We entered the year full of renewed hope and expectation. Then, barely a week in, my wife got ill with what was more than likely Covid. She’s not been back in work since. She’s getting better. Slowly. But it’s fair to say this isn’t how we hoped the year would go. And ...
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March 2, 2022

What would I tell my best friend to do?

We’re all faced with decisions every day—some trivial, some vital. When it comes to the big ones though, we often end up paralysed by indecision. We don’t know what to do. Daniel Pink addresses this in his latest ‘Pinkcast’ and offers a suggestion that makes so much sense. When struggling with a decision, Pink says we should ask oursel...
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February 24, 2022

Russia & Ukraine: “This is not for ordinary people”

I asked someone I know in Russia for their perspective on Russia attacking Ukraine. Here’s how the conversation unfolded (shared with permission): “ME: What is your take on the Ukraine situation? THEM: It’s very hard to explain. It is a war. And it’s very scary. All my colleagues are very quiet today. They have been all day. Usually we...
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February 23, 2022

Out of control

I was thirteen when I first visited Ghana. I was tagging along with my dad while he had various speaking engagements. Most of these were in the evenings, leaving plenty of free time during the day. The time of year we were there mean that, like clockwork, there was a thirty minute tropical downpour every afternoon. This was when I chos...
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February 16, 2022

Keep changing your mind

I’m a regular subscriber to The Economist. One of my favourite subscription features is an email each morning called ‘The World in Brief’. It’s a handy, short overview of the biggest news stories from around the globe, along with succinct commentary. In addition, each email closes with a quote for the day too. Here’s today’s: “Only stu...
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February 11, 2022

Never stop learning

Though I haven’t studied in an official capacity for years, that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped learning. In fact, I’m more committed to learning and growing now than at any point in my life. Why? I enjoy learning new things! It’s as simple as that. I’m curious and I like discovering more—particularly if it’s connected to humans and how we ...
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February 9, 2022

When less is more—the path to satisfaction

My friend, Ryan, sent me a quite brilliant article in The Atlantic by Arthur C. Brooks this morning. It’s adapted from a book he has coming out next month. He explores the age-old dilemma of how we find satisfaction in life. The key, it seems, is wanting less, but we all know that isn’t easy. It is abundantly clear though, as Brooks wr...
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February 4, 2022

Focus on your food!

I’ve been reading ‘The Expectation Effect’ by David Robson this week. It’s a fascinating read! There’s countless themes I’ve been tempted to write about, but one stood out and it was in a chapter about food. In short, our expectations around food and how we approach it can make a tangible difference to digestion, weight loss or gain, a...
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February 2, 2022

What would keep me alive?

My German friend, Armin Ruser, wrote a blog post this week reflecting on the writing of Victor Frankl about his time in Auschwitz. This in particular stood out: “When [Frankl] once fell ill with typhoid fever during his detention in the camp, he began to [re]write parts of [his confiscated book] manuscript on notes. According to his ow...
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January 28, 2022

The need for friction

David Heinemeier Hansson wrote recently about how no longer engaging in online conversation via social media (specifically Twitter) has led to much more fruitful conversations via email: “...I’ve replaced the free-for-all of the thunderdome with connections mediated by friction. The kind of friction the internet had since its inception...
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January 26, 2022

Assume people are focused on their own work

Jason Fried, founder and CEO of Basecamp, wrote a great article on his blog this week entitled ‘The Presence Prison’. It was about the trend via apps like Teams and Slack to always showcase our presence at work—whether we’re available, busy, in a meeting, or away. He’s not a fan: “Truth is, there are hardly any good reasons to know if ...
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January 21, 2022

The end of religious obligation

I read ‘Christianity After Religion’ by Diana Butler Bass this week. Written in 2012, it’s a fascinating look at the state of Christianity, and an exploration of what it might take if it is to have any ongoing relevance to the future. This paragraph captures perfectly the scale of the challenge facing Christianity, and indeed religion ...
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January 19, 2022

No time to read

I wrote last week about the reading frenzy I’ve started 2022 with. Inevitably, when I share about my reading habits, I’m always asked how I find the time to read. Before sharing a few thoughts, I will say that there are some exceptions to what I say. When I had young kids, I hardly did any reading. Also, I know plenty of friends who wh...
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January 17, 2022

The futility of worry

In his latest book, ‘Four Thousand Weeks’, Oliver Burkeman addresses the role of worry, writing: “Worry, at its core, is the repetitious experience of a mind attempting to generate a feeling of security about the future, failing, then trying again and again and again - as if the very effort of worrying might somehow help forestall disa...
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January 14, 2022

Men, marriage, depression, and friendship

I’ve been reading Friends by Robin Dunbar this week. It’s an engrossing read, full of science-based insight on the role of friends in our lives. There’s a ton of things I could write about—and I may well write on this subject more in the future—but one thing that jumped out to me was a passage on the impact on men of a marriage breakin...
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January 12, 2022

See what happens

It was Richard Rohr who said the following: “We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” If we wait for our thinking to change, we’ll be left waiting. We have to make a lifestyle choice and trust that our thinking will catch up with our new way of living. Similarly, Mark Manson wrote...
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January 10, 2022

A reading frenzy

It’s fair to say I’ve started 2022 with a reading frenzy. I’ve finished six books already! I’m well on the way through another two books too. My new Kindle Paperwhite is a factor in this. I bought it with Christmas money having long resisted. I felt that the combination of my iPhone and iPad, along with still buying plenty of physical ...
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January 7, 2022

More and less

Happy New Year! I’ve given up on wishing people a year that’s better than the last. There’s never any guarantees. And, let’s be honest, it’s already off to a rocky start. I do wish you all a year that’s filled with peace and joy though. Peace that transcends whatever circumstances come your way. And joy that upholds you no matter the c...
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December 20, 2021

Merry Christmas!

As we approach Christmas, I’ve decided to have a brief pause with my writing. I find regular breaks helpful for freshening things up and discovering new motivation for writing. Not only that, the way Christmas breaks up so many usual rhythms means it’s challenging to write on any kind of schedule. I’ll be back in the New Year. I want t...
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December 10, 2021

The uninterrupted life

Long-time readers will be aware of my propensity to share liberally from Oliver Burkeman’s newsletter. If you’re not yet a subscriber, I recommend you becoming one. You rarely come away without something meaningful and thought-provoking. His latest post explores the trend towards looking to pursue ‘deep work’ with our working lives and...
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December 8, 2021

Don’t commodify it

My friend Ryan sent me an article from The Atlantic yesterday titled, ‘How to Care Less About Work’. It’s a great read. This paragraph, talking about activities unrelated to work, in particular stood out to me: “Whatever your thing might be—and maybe there are many things—the most important component should be aiming to make it as unli...
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December 3, 2021

A healthy dose of not a lot

I didn’t use as much annual leave as expected earlier this year. It’s left me with five days I need to use before the year-end. Sadly, family responsibilities meant travelling somewhere exciting wasn’t an option. So I’ve decided to work four-day weeks for the rest of the year. Today is my second Friday off. And today is the second Frid...
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December 1, 2021

Adapt or die

I continue to enjoy Will Smith’s memoir, ‘Will’. This quote, though lengthy, is worth sharing in full: “There’s a Buddhist parable that has guided me through many a perilous transition: A man is standing on the banks of a treacherous, raging river. It’s rainy season – if he can’t get to the other side, he’s done. He quickly builds a ra...
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November 29, 2021

Don't just be an ideas person

There’s something in our wiring as humans that causes us to get caught up with the idea of something over the reality of it. We have this incredible notion for a new business or product, but never get around to creating anything. We want to get fit, but we never take the exercise class or go to the gym. We want to become a reader, yet ...
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November 24, 2021

When what we think is hard is actually easy

Much of life is about perception. We put off that task because, in our head, it feels huge. Eventually, when we can put if off no longer, we embrace the task. Thirty minutes later, it’s done. And we’re left wondering why we ever thought it was a big deal. In his latest newsletter, Oliver Burkeman tackles this issue. Reflecting on how h...
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November 22, 2021

Thoughts on ‘Maid’

A friend of mine suggested I watch the Netflix show ‘Maid’ recently. I get a lot of TV show recommendations though, and many end up forgotten. Or on a list that I already have no chance of ever getting through. But I dived straight into this one. And I’m glad I did. What an incredible, moving, devastating-yet-heart-warming, depressing-...
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November 19, 2021

Can you learn while you’re talking?

“I never learned anything while I was talking. —Larry King” I came across the quote above earlier in the daily email I get from The Economist. It makes a lot of sense. If you’re not listening, how are you learning? And if you’re busy talking, how can you be listening? But then I thought about the times when ideas have crystallised for ...
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November 17, 2021

Blindfolding ourselves

I’m continuing to enjoy Will by Will Smith. Here’s another line that’s stayed with me: “Sometimes we'd rather blindfold ourselves than take a cold, hard look at the world exactly as it is.” Denial, it seems, is part of human nature. Put another way, we have a tendency as humans to put a narrative over painful truths to stop us facing u...
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November 15, 2021

Reading about writing

Once or twice a year, I pick up a book about writing. It’s not always a new book – On Writing Well is one book I go back to again and again – but I like to take time on a regular basis to think about my written words. This last week, I’ve been reading a book that is new to me. It’s called Several short sentences about writing, written ...
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November 12, 2021

Book Notes – ‘The Beekeeper of Aleppo’ by Christy Lefteri

I don’t listen to lots of audiobooks. I tend to save them for when I know I have long drive coming up. With a visit down to London and then back up to Buxton a few weeks back, I decided to listen to The Beekeeper of Aleppo. The fact Audible were offering it for free may or may not have influenced my choice... Either way, I’m glad I pic...
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