Episode Date September 9, 2021
Featured Guest Stacey Vanek Smith
Featured Book "How Proust Can Change Your Life" by Alain de Botton

Episode Summary

Stacey Vanek Smith reading from Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life and discussing power and negotiation.

I’ve never been that great at following a map. When I’d go hiking or tried orienteering, I’d struggle to put it all together. Now, we’ve all got phones, so the physical journeys are easier, but navigating the world? That’s as tricky as ever. There’s rarely a map, rarely a compass. Often, what we need is a guide. So, who’s your hero, your guide for how you navigate the world? Whose playbook do you follow? Lots of us might pick a kind, gentle type of guy, or maybe someone from the classics. But, who would pick the scheming politics of Niccolò Machiavelli, author of the infamous guide to politics, The Prince?

Stacey Vanek Smith is an author, a journalist, and the co-host of NPR’s ‘The Indicator from Planet Money.’ She’s also on a mission to rehabilitate Machiavelli. There’s much to learn from him, she says, especially when your own needs are compromised by power imbalances. In this episode, Stacey discusses the ups and downs of finding your inner Machiavelli.

Stacey reads two pages from ‘How Proust Can Change Your Life’ by Alain de Botton. [reading begins at 8:07]

Hear us talk about:

  • Sitting with the ambiguity and messiness that accompany complexity: “You allow people the complexity of their own experiences and points of view, and the conclusions they draw from it.” [14:36]
  • Generosity when negotiating. [17:43]
  • Thinking about power: women versus men. [21:15]
  • Structural inequities of ‘finding your inner Machiavelli’: “There is a gift in having to fight for things.” [23:26]
  • Sense of agency. [26:55]

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Stacey Vanek Smith | Website | NPR | LinkedIn | Twitter

Stacey Vanek Smith’s book | Machiavelli for Women: Truth, Power, and Strategy in the Workplace

Alain de Botton | How Proust Can Change Your Life: Not a Novel

Follow Michael on | Instagram | Twitter | YouTubeLinkedIn | Facebook

Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

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