Study Slow Culture, Not Just Fast

Chief Culture Officer

When I attended TEDxCincy in October 2010, there was one session where I was furiously taking notes: the session by Grant McCracken, author of Chief Culture Officer. Click here to find out more about the fascinating McCracken.

[For more on my so-so experience of TEDxCincy, read “7 Lessons for Delivering a Powerful Message.”]

So, here’s the best of what I captured [mostly verbatim] from McCracken’s talk. I’ve been trying harder to incorporate these practices into my life.

Study slow culture, not just fast.
We must be well-informed and keep up, of course. But we must have deeper understanding of American culture. Don’t just talk about the latest thing, that’s about 20% of what we need to be talking about—the froth, the churn. We understand it better when we understand the history and depth. Innovation coming from everywhere, we feel like we’re hydroplaning, as if patterns are no longer possible.

Track, not just spot.
We must track things over time, we must look with care at assumptions when we’re wrong and right. Study maps of culture; study displays that allow us to talk about and pick up trends over the long term. We want to have a sense of all the stuff that’s moving, so that when we read about a specific piece of information at a specific moment in time, we can say: Yeah, we’re tracking that—or that’s just noise.

Posted in Cincinnati, Life Philosophy, Work-Life.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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Erika Robuck

The insight about hydroplaning struck a chord. Thanks for the reminder to be mindful and study carefully.

Ann Frantz

Yes, there is a lot of trendy lightning in the air, grabbing all of our attention. But beneath it lies the earth–solid, bearing the weight of all that has been and will be, with much to teach.