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Scott Berkun | Blog – Scott Berkun

Author and Speaker Scott Berkun

Last Build Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2017 15:25:22 +0000


Orwell’s Animal Farm – Book Review

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 17:16:29 +0000

I’ve read Orwell’s Animal Farm three times now: once was in high school when I wasn’t paying attention, another was in my 20s when I felt I owed it a second chance and then again this week as part of an inquiry into what’s happening in the world. While it’s well known that the context Orwell

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Hidden Insight and The Third Donkey

Tue, 10 Jan 2017 18:22:06 +0000

There is a viral video making the rounds of several donkeys at an animal sanctuary trying to work their way out of a pen. Most people, including a writer at the Huffington Post, focus on the superior problem solving skills of the third donkey, named Oreste, who took a novel approach to finding his way

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2016 Post-Election Sanity Guide

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:42:07 +0000

For three weeks I worked hard to put the 2016 election in some kind of context. I read selections from history. I worked through all the commentary. I even went back and read some of the Constitution. The result is this carefully researched 10 minute read that explains what happened, what it means and what you

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Eight lessons from Nazi Propaganda

Tue, 22 Nov 2016 17:18:25 +0000

On my way through Austin, Texas last week I had a free afternoon and on a whim went to the Bullock museum of Texas History. To my surprise there was an entire exhibition about Nazi Propaganda, called State of Deception. It seemed timely somehow, so I bought a ticket and stepped inside. Here is what I

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New Release: Updated Edition of The Ghost of My Father

Tue, 01 Nov 2016 20:07:03 +0000

I’m proud to announce the new edition of The Ghost of My Father, with a new epilogue, is now on sale. The book was first released October 2014, and a year later my father died. The new epilogue explains what happened between these two pivotal moments in my life. It shares what he thought of

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Notes from Leading Design 2016

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 11:45:57 +0000

I gave the opening talk at the first Leading Design event in London, hosted by Clearleft. I spoke about the challenges of being a designer in the real world, and you can grab the slides here: Design vs. The World (PDF). I stayed for both days of the event and took notes for every session I

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Notes from Digital PM Summit 2016

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 14:33:08 +0000

I’m the I was the closing speaker today yesterday at Digital PM Summit in San Antonio, TX, and I’ll be taking notes (or in fancy terms, liveblogging) for every session that I sit in until it’s my turn. I’ll be following the basic rules of Min/Max note taking and will update this post as the day goes on.

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On The Quest For Fun

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 16:03:18 +0000

Last week I saw Ian Bogost speak at Town Hall Seattle about his new book, Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. Of the many ideas he offered about how to think about fun, he shared three stories that stayed with me more than anything else he said.

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The 7 Questions For Any Tradition

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 17:42:36 +0000

A tradition is simply a custom that has been passed down from one generation to another. Their longevity can have many reasons, some good and some bad. We can not assume that persistence alone provides moral justification. Instead we must ask better questions about traditions before we judge their value. The problem is we instinctively defend

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The Real World of Technology (Book Review)

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 15:02:04 +0000

Despite our cultural obsession with new technology, we forget that the idea of new technology is old. We also overlook that there are patterns for how new technologies impact cultures and societies that technologists are often ignorant of. Without understanding the social impact of past technologies, we’re more likely to repeat mistakes, since we don’t

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The 7 Questions For Any Technological Idea

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 15:27:59 +0000

From Neil Postman’s lecture On Culture’s Surrender to Technology: What is the problem that this new technology solves? Whose problem is it? What new problems do we create by solving this problem? Which people and institutions will be most impacted by a technological solution? What changes in language occur as the result of technological change?

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Staying Sane In An Insane World 

Thu, 28 Jul 2016 17:12:52 +0000

How would you explain the events of 2016 to someone from the year 2050 who time traveled to visit us? Many adjectives come quickly to mind: turmoil, danger, violence, drama, unrest, uncertainty. But if you think deeper about trying to explain what it all means, you’d realize this challenge is impossible. We couldn’t tell someone

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Quote of the week, from Viggo Mortensen

Wed, 20 Jul 2016 17:33:08 +0000

One of my favorite podcasts is Here’s the Thing, and on a recent episode host Alec Baldwin interviewed Viggo Mortensen about his latest film, Captain Fantastic. Towards the end he mentioned this: “By taking the risk of trying hard means you are going to make mistakes, and then the most important thing is hopefully realizing that and

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Five Ways To Survive Fathers Day

Thu, 16 Jun 2016 19:12:43 +0000

Father’s Day is always a tricky time for me. I had a tough relationship with my father, and the day has often made me sad. I’d see friends celebrate and think  of what I wish I had experienced, but never will. Many people have similiar stories to mine, or their father’s are no long alive, making the

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How To Be a Better Speaker – The Short Honest Truth

Tue, 24 May 2016 15:15:12 +0000

For any skill, the only way to improve is through practice. Reading about that skill is not practice. Watching other people do something is not practice. Reading and watching can only help you develop a skill if you apply what you learn while you are practicing. Most people do not practice, which is why most

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The Simple Plan for People That Want To Solve Big Problems

Wed, 11 May 2016 21:16:22 +0000

[This is an excerpt from chapter 12, of the bestseller, The Myths of Innovation] The Simple Plan If you want to make progress happen, or be someone who brings good ideas into the world, this is for you. It’s the simplest, easiest, most straightforward way to convert your ambition into action. When I’m asked to give

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What We Can Learn From The Eiffel Tower

Thu, 31 Mar 2016 15:56:37 +0000

We take great works for granted. We forget, but the fate of even our most famous ideas and creations was far from certain at the time they were proposed. A powerful exercise anyone can do is to pick a famous creation and go back in history to the days before it was made. Only then can

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Media Files:

The Real Reasons Why We Vote The Way We Do

Fri, 04 Mar 2016 19:06:11 +0000

We all tend to think our own political views are sound, but that it’s “the others” that are crazy, dumb or both. To get some perspective this election season, I recently read Political Animals: How Our Stone Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics, by Rick Shenkman. It’s a good and important book.

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Why Do Idiots Get Ahead?

Tue, 01 Mar 2016 23:25:48 +0000

On Tuesdays I often write about the top voted question on Ask Berkun (see the archive). This week’s question is from C. with 101 votes] is Why Do Idiots Get Ahead? I’m a diligent individual, but find it frustrating to continually clean up after the mess “idiots” create – but yet the “idiots” cannot be stopped.

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My Eight Favorite Podcasts

Tue, 23 Feb 2016 18:32:35 +0000

I am a heavy podcast listener. It’s a primary source of news, entertainment and education for me. Between daily workouts at the gym and frequent bus rides, I go through 10 to 20 hours of podcasts every week. I love audio only media as it frees me to listen while I’m cooking, running or doing

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