Heroes, Friends and Learning about China

Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater

Welcome to a New Year and to Saturday! Here are your 5 things from the mind of Miles for this week.

  1. A Political Hero. We need political heroes that remind us to stand up for democracy and our country. I’ve recently been learning more about Elliot Richardson. He is inspiring for his varied and long career as a public servant.  He is particularly known for his work as US Attorney General under President Nixon. He not only oversaw the Watergate investigation but also negotiated VP Agnew’s resignation. I learned more listening to the Bag Man podcast and reading Richardson’s short bio. I’ve got his picture posted in my office now.

  2. Amiguero.  A friend recently introduced me to something called Amiguero projects. “An Amiguero is a professional friend to their friends – someone who takes their friendships as seriously as they take their work. They take their friendships so seriously that they are willing to give their most precious commodity – their time – to prove it.” The idea is to set aside structured time to help friends. Have you ever done this? Should I try it?

  3. Impact Metrics. Please send tips on how to go deeper on impact metrics. For example, learning SASB or other models more deeply.

  4. Charity Starts at Home? Each December, we draft our giving plan for the coming year. It helps us clarify our priorities and make sure to set aside money for charitable giving. One the conversations we often have is about the moral and practical trade-offs of giving closer to home or further away. As we live in a rich country, the problems around us are less likely to be solved by money alone. And our money has more impact further from home where things are less expensive. But it seems to be the wrong answer to only give money far from home and neglect our neighbors. While we will continue to consider the right split, I’m glad that we support both the local food bank and One Acre Fund (to take two examples). 

  5. Learning About China - I’ve got a learning theme going on Chinese history and culture. I studied US, European and Japanese more than China in school and I have felt the gap recently. I read the book Wild Swans and am in the middle of Age of Ambition. I also started a few Great Courses about Chinese history. Any other suggestions for me?

As a reminder, my work projects are:

Until next week,