196: “True” Stories

True Stories


Is it possible for a true story to be untrue? Yes.

Although true stories are based on”facts,” the person “telling” the story must present those facts in a frame that carries his/her bias  or interpretation of the facts.

Simply put, what we call objective reality is always tinged by subjectivity. What you look at is always colored by the lens through which you view it.

This episode explores fascinating examples of this. The first one focuses on a famous Impressionist painting, “Le Pont de l’Europe,” by Gustave Caillebotte. The English translation is “The Bridge of Europe.”

The painting seems like a realistic representation of the bridge. Closer inspection reveals a “distorted” or exaggerated perspective that the artist used to create specific feelings and thoughts about his society.

You may be intrigued when you learn about:

  • Diane Arbus – her famous photographs of people are far from objective representations of their subjects.
  • Leni Riefenstahl – the images in her brilliant “documentary” films, “Triumph of the Will,” about Hitler’s Nuremberg rally, and her movie about the German Olympics can be seen as propaganda.
  • Rashomon, a play based on two Japanese short stories, and, later, a film thriller by Akira Kurosawa, examines the nature of truth.

This episode challenges your critical thinking and asks you to not get intellectually lazy about the questions, “What are facts?” and, “Are there any true stories?”

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195: Suits

suits tell stories


People wear suits. People love suits. People hate suits. There’s a popular TV series called Suits. Suits tell stories.

They tell stories, and we buy into them. Sometimes, the stories are innocent. Sometimes, they’re not.

This episode explores the history of suits in Western culture. It looks at how styles have changed as well as the symbolic stories that accompany those styles.

You’ll learn about how you see others and yourself as we travel through time with changing fashions. These are some of the stops we’ll make along the way:

  • Regency period – early 19th century – the age of Beau Brummell, a British dandy and fashion setter.
  • Victorian period – mid 19th century – the age of the morning coat and the introduction of the dinner jacket for men.
  • Edwardian period – early 20th century – the morning coat becomes standard business dress in town and country.
  • Post World War I into the 1920s – short suits become popular and the dinner jacket dominates.
  • Post World War II – emergence of the grey flannel suit – it comes to represent drab middle class conformity.
  • Late 20th century and early 21st – rise of the individualistic entrepreneur – the gradual demise of corporate culture

Today, the suit does not tell the story of influence, respectability, and authority as strongly as it used to.  We see the rise of new icons like Gary Vee, slightly disheveled, rough around the edges, and highly influential. A new look with a new story.

The story of suits is the story of power and influence.

What stories do your clothes tell, and how do they affect your happiness and success?

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194: Story of a Hat

story of a hat


Imagine if your clothes could talk. What would they say? What stories would they tell?

This episode is about a “talking” hat; it’s about the story of a hat.

This no ordinary hat. It is the  red MAGA hat worn by Trump supporters. Not only does this hat talk, it tells different stories to different people. Strong, loud, passionate stories that, all too often, trigger violent actions.

Earlier this month, a black man wearing a MAGA hat was violently assaulted and robbed by two other black men because he would not remove the hat when they ordered him to. The hat inflamed them. It triggered a STORY in their heads that led to violence.

We project all sorts of stories onto neutral objects and onto people. When we do that we are slaves to our narratives.

Here are a few of the provocative questions and insights you’ll discover in this episode:

  • What is the nature of story?
  • How do your story filters color your view of the world?
  • What happens if you don’t  take full responsibility for the narratives that create your world?
  • The similarity between your inner narratives and a wild horse
  • The truth about your opinions and judgements

The story of a hat is the story of your mind; it’s the story of the reality that you create moment to moment that makes your world enriching or frightening.

The story of hat is a challenge for you to take full responsibility for the circumstances, the emotions, and the reality that you project onto the world. It is a challenge to change your story, and change your life.

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191: Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones


This episodes explores how the popular HBO series,  Game of Thrones, reveals important insights about storytelling.

You will learn about four different aspects or levels of storytelling:

  • CELEBRITY STORY – Our society is fascinated by celebrities and the phenomenon of celebrity in general. Why do people become passionate fans of anyone or anything? What emotional stories do they create in their minds that make them loyal to people, causes, and brands? How can you tap into the power of celebrity loyalty and apply it successfully to your business? How can you create a story about your products and services that becomes a movement that people want to join?
  • SOCIAL MEDIA STORY – Social interaction is predominantly online today. Do you have a huge following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social networks? Do you want to grow your following for personal or business reasons? What can you learn from Game of Thrones that will dramatically increase your influence?
  • WHY GAME OF THRONES IS REAL – I Game of Thrones pure fantastical fiction? Or, is it closer to real life than we care to admit? I believe that the show is a metaphor for our current world and its conflicts. Look at it through the lense of social commentary and you will recognize the battles that are raging in Israel, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, the United States, and the entire planet. Look very closely, and you will identify the pacifist message at the heart of the show.
  • STORYTELLING TECHNIQUE – How do the writers of Game of Thrones keep us engaged and curious episode after episode for eight seasons? Study any one episode carefully, and you will discover powerful storytelling techniques, like the cliffhanger.

Who do you root for in Game of Thrones, and who do you think will sit on the Throne when the show ends?

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190: Future Story

future story


What if science fiction isn’t fiction at all? What if your future can be so much better than your past? What if humanity conquers death and you and I can live a thousand years with strong healthy bodies?

That vision is coming to pass, and, if you embrace it, it can be your empowering future story.

Today’s guest is man who has embraced this story about human evolution. His name is Chris Smedley.  His company, Digital Habitats, is Earth’s first terraformer. A terraformer modifies the atmosphere, temperature, surface topography or ecology of a planet. Digital Habitats will create fully autonomous happy cities complete with habitation, infrastructure, and streamlined future-world transportation systems.

This episode will give you a sneak peak into an exciting world that is evolving around you at exponential speed. You will get a fascinating glimpse at:

  • Ray Kurzweil’s vision of the Singularity – that point in time in the very near future when the word HUMAN is redefined
  • Kurzweil’s collaboration with Google to create an artificial mind
  • The 3 Bridges of human evolution: 1) Biological – people as beings with bodies; 2) Cyborg – people with bodies enhanced by technology (not the nightmarish vision created by Hollywood); 3) Homodigitalis – Humans with godlike powers
  • Singualrity University – A school in California created by Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil in 2008 with the goal of shepherding humanity into a new abundant world by empowering people to leverage emerging technology to positively impact one billion lives
  • The 130 cognitive biases of all human beings
  • Overcoming our biggest challenge in life – being driven by our emotions
  • Moving beyond competition into a world of collaboration
  • Overcoming our false sense of scarcity


The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology by Ray Kurzweil

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler

Foundation and Empire by Isaac Asimov

Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke


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