I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon recently. A lot of people are getting puppies during the crisis. One of my neighbors just got two puppies, my brother is getting a puppy and my colleague, Cathy, knows seven families who have gotten or are getting puppies.
We are not immune. My wife was on a Bernese Mountain Dog breeder website and there was an announcement that they had no puppies but had gotten 70 inquiries in April about puppies, about 10 times the average they see. I was informed that we decided to put our name on a waiting list for another Golden Retriever puppy in which they are not yet sure that the dog is pregnant. We are number 10 on the list. We remain under the illusion that I will have the ability to veto the puppy purchase if the dog has a litter of 10 or more and we have seen the puppy. Yeah, right. That horse left the barn so long ago that I can’t even remember the horse. Who knows, maybe if the stay at home lasts long enough, we’ll get a horse, too.
The ability for us to justify our actions is amazing and coming from a business where we deal with behavioral finance, I find it fascinating. In the puppy situation, the justification is that our four-year old dog, Harvey, is bored. This dog has two activities. Sleeping and stealing freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Since the stay-at-home order was issued, he is surrounded by the five of us, 24/7. When we take out his leash, the look on his face says “you’ve got to be kidding me, I’m exhausted.” I’ve analogized getting a puppy to me seeing a stranger walking down my street and inviting him to live with us. But if that stranger weighs five pounds and is covered with fur, it’s apparently a brilliant idea.
Lori Gottlieb, the author of “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” wrote an article in the New York Times last week titled Grieving the Losses of Coronavirus. She writes that “In addition to the tragic losses of life and health and jobs, we are grieving the losses of weddings, sports and the ability to buy eggs or get a haircut.” She gives some tips on how to deal with our grief and our feelings of guilt that we are saddened by the loss of seemingly insignificant things while so many other are enduring real tragedy.
Another article that I found interesting was on the Singularity Hub website titled Don’t Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste. Instead, use it as a catalyst for innovation. It is written for business leaders and the author writes that “playing it safe” is actually risky, especially at times when the world around us is experiencing massive, rapid change.”
Here is a list of podcasts that I really enjoy:
- The Daily (The New York Times)
- Bag Man – a fascinating story about Spiro Agnew
- Slowburn – two series one of which was about Watergate and the other about the Clinton impeachment
- How I Built This with Guy Raz – Guy interviews entrepreneurs on how and why they built their businesses. I especially liked the interviews with Jose Andres, the founder of Soul Cycle, the founder of Rent the Runway, the founder of Five Guys and the founder of Lyft.
- The Next Big Idea - I especially liked Rethinking Big Ideas: Daniel Pink on the Future of Work
- Unlocking Us with Brene Brown – Brene Brown has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and her latest book, Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership.