Work and Life with Stew Friedman

Welcome to the Work and Life Podcast with Stew Friedman -- bestselling author, celebrated professor at The Wharton School, and founder of Wharton's Work/Life Integration Project. Stew is widely recognized as the world's
Latest Episode2/19/2020

Ep 158. Maggie Jackson: Productive Uncertainty

Maggie Jackson is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, fellowships, and prizes as an author and journalist whose essays, commentary, and books have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, New Philosopher, on National Public Radio, and elsewhere. A graduate of Yale and the London School of Economics, her book Distracted: Reclaiming Our Focus in a World of Lost Attention has been described as “groundbreaking” and “essential” and a new, updated edition has just been released that continues to warn that the fragmentation of attention in today’s world is eroding our abilities to problem-solve, innovate, and care for one another. She’s the author of another book, What’s Happening to Home? Balancing Work, Life and Refuge in the Information Age, which was the first to explore the fate of home in the digital age, a time when private life is permeable and portable.In this episode, Stew and Maggie talk about distraction in the digital age and a new project she’s working on, what she calls “productive uncertainty.” They explore the benefits of fallow time, which permits restoration and rejuvenation; the dangers of snap judgements and how we are biased toward making them without really thinking; how to nourish the “slow mind” and much more. Maggie explains some of the cognitive science underpinning her incisive insights on how to cultivate a greater acceptance of openness to uncertainty and non-linear ways of appreciating our world.

Ep 157. David Fajgenbaum: Turning Hope Into Action

David Fajgenbaum is Assistant Professor of Medicine, Translational Medicine & Human Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of a memoir called Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action. David is the co-founder and executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) and an NIH-funded physician-scientist. Diagnosed with Castleman’s disease while in medical school, David has dedicated his life to discovering new treatments and cures for deadly disorders like Castleman disease. For this inspirational work he’s been recognized on the Forbes 30 Under 30 healthcare list, as a top healthcare leader by Becker's Hospital Review, and one of the youngest people ever elected as a Fellow of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the nation's oldest medical society. He was one of three recipients—including Vice President Joe Biden—of a 2016 Atlas Award from the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia. David earned a BS from Georgetown University magna cum laude with honors and distinction, MSc from the University of Oxford, MD from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, and MBA from The Wharton School. He is also a former Division I college quarterback, state-champion weight-lifter, and co-founder of a national grief support network.In this episode, Stew and David discuss the harrowing and inspiring story of him as a young doctor who decided to find his own cure for the rare disease that nearly killed him. They talk about how David used crowdsourcing to investigate the most promising treatment options — something the medical community is starting to adopt -- and how, years after first being diagnosed, he’s in remission, married to his college sweetheart, and a new father. They explore what it takes to successfully confront the trials we each face in life with hope, perseverance, and the critical importance of social support.

Ep 155. Wayne Baker: All You Have to Do Is Ask

Wayne Baker is the Robert P. Thome Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Management & Organizations at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and Faculty Director of the Center for Positive Organizations. His latest book is All You Have to Do Is Ask: How to Master the Most Important Skill for Success. He is the author of five other books and many scholarly articles. His work has focused on social capital, social networks, generosity, and positive organizations, and values. Wayne is a cofounder and board member of Give and Take Inc., developers of the Givitas collaborative technology platform based on principles in All You Have to Do Is Ask.In this episode, Stew and Wayne talk about the science and art of both asking for and giving help, and we need to be able to do both. Getting the support we need to achieve our goals, at work and in all the rest of life, is too often inhibited by difficulties we face in asking for it. In this conversation, Wayne describes and illustrates what the barriers are that hold people back from asking for help and what can be done to overcome them. He explains the essential elements of an effective request -- that it’s specific, meaningful, action-oriented, realistic, and time-bound -- and how to assess your style of giving and receiving help, as a useful starting point for becoming smarter about how to cultivate generosity in all the relationships that matter to you.

Ep 154. Stan Silverman: Be Different

Stan Silverman is the author Be Different! The Key to Business and Career Success. A recognized thought leader and influencer, Stan publishes a widely read, nationally syndicated column on leadership in the Philadelphia Business Journal and 42 affiliated business publications across the U.S. Stan is the former president and CEO of global PQ Corporation and is a senior executive in residence at the LeBow College of Business of Drexel University. He earned his engineering and MBA degrees from Drexel. He is vice chairman of Drexel University’s board of trustees and the former chairman of its College of Medicine. He also serves on the boards of three K-12 independent schools and is a member of the faculty of Board Advisory Services of the National Association of Corporate Directors.In this episode, Stew and Stan talk about what it takes to be different and how crucial it is to learn how to do so if one is to succeed in one’s career and in the rest of life. They talk about the value of trust -- perhaps a leader’s most precious asset -- and what it takes to build it and how fragile it can be. Being genuinely interested in the lives of the people around you is one of the important means for developing a reputation as someone who is trustworthy. From the wisdom of his experience, Stan offers compelling examples of what it means to be accountable for acting ethically -- at work and in other key relationships in life -- and for holding others to that standard, especially by striving to serve as a role model.

Ep 153. Due Quach: Portal to Peace

Due Quach (pronounced “Zway Kwok”), is the Founder and CEO of Calm Clarity and author of Calm Clarity: How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain for Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment and Joy, one of Fast Company’s best business books of 2018. Through her social enterprise, Calm Clarity, she guides organizations to incorporate valuable insights from neuroscience and mindfulness to address unconscious bias and build a high-performing and inclusive culture. She also heads a second nonprofit, the Collective Success Network, to mentor, support, and empower low-income, first-generation college students to successfully navigate college and enter professional careers. Having started life in poverty as a refugee in inner-city Philadelphia, she turned to neuroscience to heal the long-term effects of trauma, graduate from Harvard College and the Wharton School, and built a successful international business career. Her inspiring story is featured in The Portal, a new documentary film about meditation as a portal for healing and transformation.In this episode, Stew and Due talk about her remarkable struggle for survival and how it led to her discovery of the mental and spiritual tools that saved her. They talk about her role in the documentary, The Portal, and about its aspirations to bring more healing to our world. Due describes the basics of her Brain 3.0 model, a clear and simple method, that draws on both the latest scientific research as well as ancient spiritual traditions, for understanding how we can use mindfulness meditation to strengthen the brain functions that keep us calm. And she talks about the growth and impact of the Collective Success Network.

Ep 152. Richard Boyatzis: Helping People Change

Richard Boyatzis is Distinguished University Professor at Case Western Reserve University and is one of the world’s experts on emotional intelligence. His great new book is Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth. He has a B.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from Harvard. Using his Intentional Change Theory (ICT), he studies sustained, desired change at all levels of human endeavor from individuals, teams, organizations, communities and countries. He is the author of more than 200 articles on leadership, emotional intelligence, competency development, coaching, neuroscience and management education. His nine books include the international best-seller, Primal Leadership, and Resonant Leadership.In this episode Stew and Richard talk about how anyone can be effective as a coach -- helping others learn and create sustainable change -- by following a set of simple guidelines. Richard describes some of the findings from his research on coaching, including the important observation that people are helped most, and they’re most open to exploring real possibilities for change, when they are infused with a sense of hope in dreaming about the future. They discuss some of the specific methods for helping others enter that frame of mind and the many benefits that result. Richard offers this admonition for those of us who might strive to help others: Don’t try to fix someone’s problems for them so much as demonstrate care for them and engender trust so they are open to imagining new pathways.