Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 24 Time Magazine: Roots of Empathy, Personal Branding, Elena Kagan & Lost

A lot of interesting stuff from the May 24 issue of Time (cover image below).

First was "At Center Court: Can Kagan Be a Consensus Builder?"  by Jeffrey Rosen.  What struck me about this profile of Obama's Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, was how darn smart she must be.  An academic background of Princeton and Oxford followed by Harvard Law... and then Professor and Dean of the Harvard Law School, she's no dummy.

Second was the the James Poniewozik piece "Preparing for Life After Lost."  Even if I didn't like the show (which I do quite a bit), I'd be interested as I find compelling stuff that falls into the "game changer" category.  As described in this story, Lost fits this bill with the way that it upended popular convention by being a complicated serial drama... and one that then ends on top rather than dragging out past it's prime.

Third was "How to Deprogram Bullies: Teaching Kindness 101."  Very interesting concept here about bringing mothers and babies into school classrooms to help teach a concept labeled Roots of Empathy (ROE).  One of the fundamental notions of the program is that people who victimize others often have been victims themselves... and can get a lot out of watching the frustration of a cute and protection needing infant.

Finally, I noted the Joel Stein last page column "Love Me, Love My Brand, Says the Sultan of Snark™."  It didn't necessarily have much gravitas for me until the part about one's personal brand being important because "if you don't give your brand some thought, you become the guy whose funeral is all about how much he loved the Mets." 

Perhaps this was just intended as a throwaway line, but it resonated with me from the perspective of people considering what they'll be known for.  It's not a knock on sports of course, but rather it's the idea of what one leaves behind for others.