In My Hands Todday…

The Queen: Her Life – Andrew Morton

Painfully shy, Elizabeth Windsor’s personality was well suited to her youthful ambition of living quietly in the country, raising a family, and caring for her dogs and horses. But when her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated, she became heir to the throne—embarking on a journey that would test her as a woman and queen.

Ascending to the throne at only 25, this self-effacing monarch navigated endless setbacks, family conflict, and occasional triumphs throughout her 70 years as the Queen of England. As her mettle was tested, she endeavored to keep the monarchy relevant culturally, socially, and politically, often in the face of resistance from inside the institution itself. And yet the greatest challenges she faced were often inside her own family, forever under intense scrutiny; from rumors about her husband’s infidelity, her sister’s marital breakdown, Princess Diana’s tragic death, to the recent departure of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Now in The Queen, renowned biographer Andrew Morton takes an in-depth look at Britain’s longest reigning monarch, exploring the influence Queen Elizabeth had on both Britain and the rest of the world for much of the last century. From leading a nation struggling to restore itself after the devastation of the second World War to navigating the divisive political landscape of the present day, Queen Elizabeth was a reluctant but resolute queen. This is the story of a woman of unflagging self-discipline who will long be remembered as mother and grandmother to Great Britain, and one of the greatest sovereigns of the modern era.

Instagram Interludes

Regular readers will know Lord Ganesh is my ishtadev. I collect his statues whenever I see something different or unique and I have been collecting for decades now. My family also will buy statues when they see a different one and over the years, I’ve managed to fill up a cupboard full.

This year, I will showcase some of the statues. Here’s the first batch.

2023 Week 04 Update

Today’s quote is a lovely one from author and speaker, Mark Black and one which I endorse 100%. Being able to relax and take time away from work, and anything that could be construed by work, depending on one’s point in life, is actually proven to make one more productive overall whilst also increasing the mood and improving mental health. This makes purposeful relaxation extremely important, and a valuable part of the daily routine. So, as I am doing this weekend, I would like all of my readers to purposefully relax this weekend, so you are fully charged for the new work week.

This week, GG applied for her first university application and she will soon apply to the other universities she is interested in. Please send her positive vibes and wishes so that she gets a place in her first choice of university and course. Both she and BB will soon finish their course by the end of next month and then they are free for a while, at least until BB enlists and GG, hopefully, enters university.

This was a very short work week because of the long Chinese New Year weekend, so there’s nothing that happened that I can talk about. That’s all for this week, take care and stay safe people!

In My Hands Today…

Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World – Maryanne Wolf

The author of the acclaimed Proust and the Squid follows up with a lively, ambitious, and deeply informative book that considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we become increasingly dependent on digital technologies.

A decade ago, Maryanne Wolf’s Proust and the Squid revealed what we know about how the brain learns to read and how reading changes the way we think and feel. Since then, the ways we process written language have changed dramatically with many concerned about both their own changes and that of children. New research on the reading brain chronicles these changes in the brains of children and adults as they learn to read while immersed in a digitally dominated medium.

Drawing deeply on this research, this book comprises a series of letters Wolf writes to us—her beloved readers—to describe her concerns and her hopes about what is happening to the reading brain as it unavoidably changes to adapt to digital mediums. Wolf raises difficult questions, including:

  • Will children learn to incorporate the full range of “deep reading” processes that are at the core of the expert reading brain?
  • Will the mix of a seemingly infinite set of distractions for children’s attention and their quick access to immediate, voluminous information alter their ability to think for themselves?
  • With information at their fingertips, will the next generation learn to build their own storehouse of knowledge, which could impede the ability to make analogies and draw inferences from what they know?
  • Will all these influences, in turn, change the formation in children and the use in adults of “slower” cognitive processes like critical thinking, personal reflection, imagination, and empathy that comprise deep reading and that influence both how we think and how we live our lives?
  • Will the chain of digital influences ultimately influence the use of the critical analytical and empathic capacities necessary for a democratic society?
  • How can we preserve deep reading processes in future iterations of the reading brain?
  • Who are the “good readers” of every epoch?

Concerns about attention span, critical reasoning, and over-reliance on technology are never just about children—Wolf herself has found that, though she is a reading expert, her ability to read deeply has been impacted as she has become, inevitably, increasingly dependent on screens.

Wolf draws on neuroscience, literature, education, technology, and philosophy and blends historical, literary, and scientific facts with down-to-earth examples and warm anecdotes to illuminate complex ideas that culminate in a proposal for a biliterate reading brain. Provocative and intriguing, Reader, Come Home is a roadmap that provides a cautionary but hopeful perspective on the impact of technology on our brains and our most essential intellectual capacities—and what this could mean for our future.

Quiet Quitting: Good or Bad?

In 2022, we all heard millennials speak of quiet quitting. So what exactly is this phenomenon sweeping the world? A phenomenon that spread on TikTok, quiet quitting refers to doing the minimum requirements of one’s job and putting in no more time, effort, or enthusiasm than is necessary. As such, it is something of a misnomer, since the worker doesn’t leave their position and continues to collect a salary. In some places, soft quitting is used interchangeably with quiet quitting.

A 2022 Gallup survey suggested that at least half of the U.S. workforce, particularly those under 35, where this percentage is higher consists of quiet quitters, but these numbers are questioned and even if quiet quitting is a new trend or simply a trendy new name for worker dissatisfaction. In September 2022, a Harvard Business Review article observed that quiet quitters continue to fulfil their primary responsibilities, but they’re less willing to engage in activities known as citizenship behaviours like not staying late, showing up early, or attending non-mandatory meetings.

Beyond the workplace, the term quiet quitting is now being applied to nonwork aspects of people’s lives, such as marriages and relationships. The hashtag #QuietQuitting has now racked up more than 17 million views on TikTok and articles in print and online media worldwide have used the term and the noise has spread to Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media sites.

Adult Gen Zers are big influencers on social media and about 60% say they post content they hope will change the world, according to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer. Those aged 18-26 are the most worried about security, health, finances, social connections and keeping up with change, the Edelman survey of 36,000 people found. But workforce studies on the changing world of work support the rise of quiet quitting – and suggest it’s more than just a social media hashtag.

Quiet quitting is a way of dealing with burnout according to organisational behaviour experts. Burnout is a big risk in the workplace, especially amongst younger Gen Z professionals aged in their 20s, research shows. A survey of 30,000 workers by Microsoft showed 54% of Gen Z workers are considering quitting their job. In its 2021 Global Risks Report, the World Economic Forum ranks youth disillusionment as eighth of 10 immediate risks. Findings include deteriorating mental health since the start of the pandemic, leaving 80% of young people worldwide vulnerable to depression, anxiety and disappointment.

COVID-19 has changed the world of work – and how seriously we take it. Twenty-something Gen Z workers, in particular, may have joined the world of work during the pandemic with all of its dislocating effects – especially remote working. This generation has also come of age amidst rising activism. More people are quitting 9 to 5 jobs to start their businesses or try non-traditional work like temporary work, gig or part-time roles. It also shows some are quitting to take a break or care for family, as remote working has removed boundaries for working or living overseas. Gen Z workers aged 18-24 years most value flexibility and meaningful work, while Millennials and Gen Xers aged between about 25 and 45 years are largely the ones trying self-employment and new types of work. Experts say the passion economy where people do more of what they love has heralded a new era of side hustles, in everything from craft to campaigning.

Does quiet quitting just affect young people? Workforce data from major organizations including McKinsey & Company suggests 40% of the global workforce is looking to quit their jobs in the next three to six months. The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime, so it’s no surprise that job satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, can significantly affect your life according to McKinsey. The 2022 State of the Global Workplace report from Gallup shows only 21% of employees are engaged at work. Living for the weekend, watching the clock tick and work is just a paycheck are the mantras of most global workers, according to Gallup. People are realising that work is not life and that one’s worth as a person is not defined by their job.

The reaction of managers to the phenomenon has been mixed. Some have been tolerant, in part because the tight labour market of recent years makes replacing quiet quitters difficult, at least for the time being. Others have responded to quiet quitting by quietly, or loudly, firing employees whom they see as slacking off. Quiet firing has become a buzz phrase in its own right, generally defined as making a job so unrewarding that the employee will feel compelled to resign.

Some experts have suggested that bosses should get tough on quiet quitting while others say they need to lighten up. Some experts advise managers to first examine their behaviour and check if this trend is a reflection of their leadership abilities rather than the person quiet quitting.

Quiet quitting may or may not be a bona fide trend or recent phenomenon. But it has called attention to what appears to be fairly widespread dissatisfaction that employers might need to address. Quiet quitting is not a life philosophy or policy proposal that needs logical scrutiny. It’s also not a political weapon to be wielded to prove how much more woke or conservative one is than everyone else. It’s both more incoherent and essential than all of that. Figuring out how work fits into a life well lived is hard, but it’s an evolution that has to happen. Quiet quitting is the messy starting gun of a new generation embarking on this challenge.

So what are your views on quiet quitting? I know it’s been around and many of us are also guilty of quiet quitting at some point or the other.