Lyse Links: Apple to Zumba

Angela Ascendant: Apple’s head of retail is re-imagining the Apple store. For one thing, Apple no longer calls their retail spaces “stores.” Instead, they imagine them as “modern-day town squares.” (I think there are better modern-day examples, like libraries.) Find out how the wildly successful Burberry executive ended up at a tech company, and why the tables in Apple stores are still the same.

Baltimore: A Record-Breaking City: Some sociological problems seem insurmountable. Those of us who want to make a difference, or just be good citizens, should, at the least, be learning about the complex issues facing our cities.

Houston’s Baseball Experiment: Hindsight is a glorious thing. In light of the Astros winning the World Series this year, revisit this 2014 article analyzing the team’s phoenix strategy (burn it down and rise anew). The intro is astonishing:


The Story of a Very Old Wolf: Where do wolves fit in a country dominated by human rules?


The Reckoning: How do we begin to discuss the onslaught of revelations about sexual assault in our society? This essay is a good place to start. [Obviously, includes sensitive topics and strong language.] 

How to Sleep: James Hamblin is my favorite health writer and sleep is one of my favorite topics. This is worth reading. And, dare I say, sleep habits make a good topic to consider for 2018’s resolutions.

Running is a Unique Therapy for Depression and Anxiety: Isn’t that headline enough of an intro? Managing mental illness through activity is a fascinating idea to me.

I’ll Never Be Good at Running: Sometimes it is enough to just like a thing and not try to go faster or further.

Secrets from Tom Brady’s Personal Coach: Charlatan or magic-worker? (Also: a huge draw for his facility is surely because you can, as the author did, spot Gisele Bundchen and other celebrities during a session.)

From Chess Novice to Playing a Grand Master in 30 Days: Can a chess novice learn to beat one of the top masters in 30 days? I love challenges like this!

The Biggest Movie Star You’ve Never Heard Of: His name is unassuming, but his work is not.


The Land Where Vendettas Go Forever: Blood feuds are part of life in Albania. This passage keeps poking me, talking about the deep code–unmoored from religion or government–that Albanians follow:

Before we hung up, Fox gently chastised me for using the word “lawless” to refer to contemporary Albania. “I’d be very careful using that term,” he said. “As long as people are following the Kanun, there is no lawlessness.”

The Brothers Who Bought South Africa: I don’t follow South African politics, so this caught my eye. Is an Indian family shadow-governing South Africa?

For Sale: Presented without comment.

Inside Zumba: I can’t help but feel the writer was just too skeptical to take Zumba seriously. I’ve never tried it, but it doesn’t seem worse than any of the other fitness “cults.” People found something they like, let them enjoy it. (For any of you marketing/business people: great read about brand building.)


That’s it for this week! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, if you celebrate.

Have thoughts about any of the stories I shared? Drop them in the comments! I’d love to talk.

Tired Legs, Peaceful Mind

(ICYMI: The introduction to my running journey: Tired Legs, Happy Heart.)

My 10k training program* has dramatically improved my fitness already, but I’m starting to notice mental benefits too. Elite athletes care a lot about the mental aspects of their sports, but the rest of us focus more on the physical gains we can make. My mind comes into the running game in 2 ways:

  1. my mind affecting my run
  2. my running affecting my mind in the rest of life

I was going to address both in this post, but this is already 1000 words long and I decided that you’re very nice to read my posts and I shouldn’t push my luck. So today we’ll just hit Part 1: My Mind Affecting My Run. Part 2 coming later this week.

*very informal, loosely based on a free program available from Hal Higdon.

My Mind Affecting My Run

All sports are mental, certainly, but running has some unique challenges. For one, it’s not a team sport and your practice times aren’t scheduled (unless you work with a partner). So you have to motivate yourself to run, no help from your team. Then, there are no external Continue reading

Lyse Links

This week’s batch of reads is heavy on sports and I did a little thinking to figure out why. First, I have always been partial to a good sports article. The best authors manage to weave enough psychology and human story into the sports to make their pieces worth reading even if you know nothing about sports. But secondly, I think I’m gravitating toward sports right now because everything else seems to be about politics. And while I like to be well-informed about events, sometimes I’d like a break. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I encourage you to peruse a few of these articles that I handpicked for you.

What is the “Esquire Man” Now?: I don’t really read Esquire, but it’s interesting to see how publications change to fit the times.

How Jokes Won the Election: This story asks “How do fight an enemy who’s just kidding?” As little as I like to talk about the election or current state of politics, it certainly does provide plenty of fodder for analysis.

The Man Who Cleans Up After Plane Crashes: This profile is morbid and at times almost grisly, but a good look into the mundane elements of tragedy–like picking up all the pieces.

I Created the Milo Trolling Playbook: As someone who despises the Milo playbook, I find this a depressing read. But as a marketer, I can’t help but respect the undeniable success of the despicable playbook.

Dropped: This is a story about the man who is probably the best juggler alive right now and possibly the best juggler of all time. With no fanfare, he quit juggling to open a construction business. Why?

How the Haters Made Trump: I’ve seen lots of pieces about the psychology of Donald Trump and this is one of the better ones. It’s quite long and unapologetically crude in places (lots of strong language), but very insightful. I came upon it while looking for information about the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner–a dinner where both Obama and keynote comedian Seth Myers spent unprecedented amounts of time making jokes about Trump, who was sitting front and center. In light of President Trump’s refusal to attend this year’s WHCD, this article is especially timely.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on La La Land: This article is interesting for 2 reasons. 1. It’s by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is best known as a basketball player (not a movie critic). [see my last Lyse Links for a great long-form profile of him.] 2. While I loved La La Land, this is actually a very good critique of troublesome issues in the film.

A Racing Mind: I’m not really a NASCAR fan, but this is a good profile of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is a great racecar driver, but maybe not a great man. (Although that seems to be changing.)

The Misunderstood Genius of Russell Westbrook: Even with the plethora of fascinating characters in the NBA right now, Westbrook stands out. I thoroughly enjoyed this profile of him.

A 15-year-old basketball prodigy: What does life look like for a teenager who is being scouted and courted by big name schools? On a writing note, I especially appreciated how the author managed to convey the unique attitudes and language of a teenage boy without sounding either too close or condescending.

LeBron James: The Second Chapter: After a crazy successful career as a basketball star, LeBron James appears to be gunning for a second career, this time as an entertainment icon.

Basketball at Orr and the Bleeding of a City: In a high school in the middle of violent Chicago, a coach and team struggle with the fear and death around them. This 5-part series is less polished than I often like in long-form journalism, but it’s a good look at the reality of being a student-athlete in the more violent parts of Chicago.

World championship ski competitor see snow for first time: The title of the article calls this athlete the “World’s Worst Skier,” but that seems extraordinarily unfair. He’s just the worst at this world championship. But his story is fascinating.

What was your favorite story? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!




Lyse Links: The Bonus Awesome Edition

If you’re looking for a great read on any topic, I’ve got it for you. I’ve read some excellent articles this last month and I can’t wait to hear what you all think about them. I’m posting more than my usual number and sorting them by topic to help you find your interests more easily. Regardless of topic, these are all great stories.


As you may know, if you follow this blog, I’m not really a sports person. But I love the stories that come from sports. I’ve been on a bit of a basketball kick recently (to be fair, basketball seems to be undergoing a massive transformation), so you’ll see a lot here about the Golden State Warriors.


I don’t want to say much about politics, so I’m bringing you only 2 post-election articles, which I recommend for everyone, regardless of party.  Continue reading

Discussion Post: Readers & Fitness

Ok, let’s talk about a thing that bothers me. (because what else is a blog for??)

You know this idea that readers/bookworms/writers are secluded nerds with no athletic ability or physical fitness?

[If you don’t know, it’s totally a thing. See pictures.]

Logically, this stereotype sorta makes sense. It’s not very easy to read while exercising (although the prevalence of ebooks & audiobooks has made it lots easier!). So when we grow up, we have to choose between reading or playing sports. And most people choose one and mostly ignore the other. It’s a real thing. Bookworms like their tea/coffee & blankets. Inside. Not exercising.

hermioneBut I have a lots of problems with this stereotype. Not because I don’t like blankets or coziness. (I don’t drink tea or coffee. I knooooow, it’s weird! You can stop throwing things.) Also, not because I think jocks/athletic people can’t be bookish (they definitely can be).

I’ve been very systematically observing bookworms for a few months now (maybe a year? what is time???) and I’ve reached a conclusion.


Lots of readers and writers love moving and being outdoors. Like, really love it.

Writers talk/write/post often about how physical activity helps them sort through plotting/writing issues. They walk. They run marathons. They do yoga (or aerial yoga–looking at you, Gwenda Bond!). And I’m sure many of them are active but don’t post about it.


Readers are the same. I play soccer. I run. Have played sports basically my entire life. Readers carry huge stacks of books. Readers play with their dogs. Readers stand in long lines to meet authors.

But here’s the most irritating thing about this stereotype.

We–the readers, the writers, the lovers of books–perpetuate it. We embrace it. 

I’m far more likely to share a funny book meme than something about running. I’m more likely to post a picture of my book than a post-workout selfie. It’s time for that to change.

Can we make bookstagram/booktube/book blogs/etc. encompass all our interests? Can we stop pretending that we all live in book burritos all day?bookburrito

Can we ditch this idea that readers avoid outdoors and activity at all costs? We’re strong enough to imagine others complexly. (h/t to the Green brothers, obviously)