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Tracking Wonder Podcast

Arts & Culture Podcasts

The Tracking Wonder podcast, hosted by Jeffrey Davis, is all about helping agile creatives and curious entrepreneurs advance their most important ideas even amidst inevitable challenges. Each week brings you in-depth conversations with leaders, stories from change-makers, and provocative ideas from artists and scientists - all designed to inspire you to shape your best work with more possibility, impact, and - yes - wonder.


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The Tracking Wonder podcast, hosted by Jeffrey Davis, is all about helping agile creatives and curious entrepreneurs advance their most important ideas even amidst inevitable challenges. Each week brings you in-depth conversations with leaders, stories from change-makers, and provocative ideas from artists and scientists - all designed to inspire you to shape your best work with more possibility, impact, and - yes - wonder.



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S3 EP7: Epilogue: The Quest to Shape a Life That Ripples with Impact

We’ve spent this season on the podcast exploring the beauty of an excellent life. And our listener-heroes have some difficult questions about the process of daring to excel. You asked: What role does FEAR play in advancing our best work? Is the rise of entrepreneurship bringing with it a destructive rise of SELF-CENTEREDNESS? How do you protect the INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY of your brand’s frameworks? Today, Jeffrey tackles the themes of fear, self-interest and intellectual property in the life of an entrepreneur. He explains how positive stressors can serve to deepen our insight and shares his process of inquiry when catastrophic thinking takes over. Jeffrey also reflects on the difference between self-interest and self-centeredness, discussing Adam Grant’s research around balancing self- and other-interest to have the most significant impact. Finally, he offers several current examples of egregious self-interest AND robust other-interest, addressing what we can do as entrepreneurs to keep our egos in check. Listen in for insight around how Jeffrey protects his brand language and frameworks—and learn how to approach someone who seems to be appropriating your intellectual property. Key Takeaways [0:10] The three listener questions we’re exploring in this episode [2:58] The role of fear in advancing our best work [11:20] Questions to consider when catastrophic thinking takes over [14:47] The potential correlation between entrepreneurship and self-interest [18:25] Adam Grant’s research around impact and self-interest [20:03] Jeffrey’s examples of egregious self-interest [26:08] Jeffrey’s examples of robust other-interest Grunin Center for Law and Social EntrepreneurshipFast Company Impact CouncilDavid Byrne’s Reasons to Be CheerfulJohn Mertz’s Activate World Podcast [28:36] What we can do as entrepreneurs to hold our egos in check [30:26] How Jeffrey protects phrases like patch of the planet + brand artist [35:58] How to protect our intellectual property as entrepreneurs [38:12] What to consider before confronting someone for use of your IP [40:18] How to approach someone who’s appropriating your frameworks [43:22] Jeffrey’s top takeaways from this season of Tracking Wonder [43:58] The advantage of slowing down in a rapidly changing world Connect with Jeffrey Tracking Wonder Tracking Wonder on Facebook Jeffrey on Twitter Jeffrey on Instagram Jeffrey on LinkedIn Resources Quest 2020 Nancy Burger Jeffrey’s Column at Psychology Today Susan Cain’s TED Talk Job Stressors & Innovation Study Barbara Fredrickson’s Research on Positive Emotions The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why Being Your Whole Self—Not Just Your ‘Good’ Self—Drives Success and Fulfillment by Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant CNBC Story on Uber Under Travis Kalanick Business Insider Story on Uber Driver Protests Fyre Festival Settlement Story Derek Thompson’s Workism Article in The Atlantic Pew Research Center Teen Survey on Fulfilling Work Research by Dr. Jean Twenge Generation Me: Why Today’s Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled—and More Miserable Than Ever Before by Jean M. Twenge, PhD The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M. Twenge and W. Keith Campbell Grunin Center for Law and Social Entrepreneurship Fast Company Impact Council Reasons to Be Cheerful Magazine Activate World Podcast 12 Principles to Do Business as Unusual Kyle Durand Pamela Slim Brené Brown Brain Pickings The Curator’s Code of Ethics Collective Virtuosity


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S3 EP6: The Art of Life Design — with Marc & Angel Chernoff

What happens when the personal and professional life we have planned comes unraveled with a series of setbacks? Is there a way to reframe the most stressful period of our lives as an opportunity? Marc and Angel Chernoff contend that the way we spend our days is the way we spend our lives, and when they came up against back-to-back tragedy, the couple ruthlessly examined their everyday habits. And one by one, they started to incorporate new daily rituals. Little things that got them closer to where they wanted to be. So, how can we work through our own tornado moments and use the experience to grow? How can we learn to excel—even as our world is falling apart? Today, Jeffrey examines the art of life design with Marc and Angel, the creators of the Marc & Angel Hack Life Blog and bestselling authors of Getting Back to Happy and 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently. Marc and Angel share the series of personal tragedies that led to their work in the personal development space and the challenge they faced in shifting their own daily habits. The couple discusses what they had to unlearn to build a collective personal brand and speaks to their ability to translate complex theory into actionable insight. Listen in as Marc and Angel challenge us to ask what’s worth suffering for and learn why rituals are essential in shaping our days along the journey to an excellent life. Key Takeaways [0:02] How to turn tornado moments into opportunities [5:51] How Marc & Angel’s young genius informs their current work [10:22] What Marc & Angel’s life was like before their tornado moment [12:31] The series of tragedies that led Marc & Angel to personal development [17:32] The challenge Marc & Angel faced in shifting their daily habits [22:50] When Marc & Angel realized their blog could be a business [27:14] What Marc & Angel had to unlearn to build a collective personal brand [31:48] How Marc & Angel developed the discipline to turn theory into actionable insights [35:56] The three critical actions Marc & Angel took to excel in the wake of upheaval [39:13] Why rituals are essential in shaping our days to help us be our best [45:42] Marc & Angel’s take on the adage to ‘follow your passion’ [52:31] Marc & Angel’s insight around what’s worth suffering for [57:06] How to see the beauty in intense moments with other people [1:04:32] The advice Marc & Angel have revised over time [1:11:48] The art of turning hardships into opportunities Connect with Marc & Angel Marc & Angel Hack Life 1000+ Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently by Marc & Angel Chernoff Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs by Marc & Angel Chernoff Think Better, Live Better Conference Resources A Wondrous Mind on 1440 Multiversity Omega Institute Dr. Wayne Dyer Eckhart Tolle Byron Katie The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth by M. Scott Peck Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi William James The Principles of Psychology by William James


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S3 EP5: Designing for Excellent Wow — with Meow Wolf Founder Vince Kadlubek

As humans, we yearn for artistic experiences that disrupt the day-to-day and wow us with a greater reality beyond our to-do list. That’s what draws us to the wonder of film and literature and art exhibits. In the absence of such experiences, we fall down the rabbit hole of digital distractions, scrolling Instagram for the unpredictability, the excitement of discovery we’re not getting from our physical environment. But what if we didn’t have to go to a gallery or a theater to encounter these transformative moments? What if artful experiences were available in ordinary places? What if you yourself could design for disruption and delight on a small scale in your own business and brand? Today, Jeffrey explores the impact of artful, transformative experiences with Vince Kadlubek, cofounder and executive advisor of Meow Wolf, an award-winning immersive arts production company out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Vince explains how he went from struggling artist to head of a company valued at nine figures, describing how he thinks about the tension between art and commerce. He speaks to what he calls the crisis of imagination, discussing why people are hungry for imaginative analog experiences and what businesses can do artfully in response to the crisis. Listen in for insight into how the emerging experience economy is changing the way businesses engage with customers and learn the design parameters Vince uses to create the kind of reality-bending, transformational moments that make for an excellent life. Key Takeaways [0:02] The human desire to be moved by artistic experiences [5:17] How Vince’s creative genius expressed itself early on [8:34] What moved Vince to disrupt the mainstream Santa Fe art scene Warehouse 21 [16:23] The early days of the Meow Wolf arts collective [20:20] The turning point when Vince was arrested for shoplifting [26:36] The mammouth growth of Meow Wolf in the last four years House of Eternal Return [34:35] The opportunity around our shift to an experience economy [37:10] How Vince reconciles the tension between art and commerce [43:04] Why people are hungry for memorable analog experiences [46:44] Vince’s description of the House of Eternal Return [52:03] The design parameters for creating transformative experiences [59:17] How Vince is contending with the art of saying NO [1:03:00] The questions that arise out of today’s conversation with Vince Connect with Vince Vince on LinkedIn Meow Wolf Meow Wolf on Facebook Meow Wolf on Instagram Meow Wolf on YouTube Meow Wolf Documentary Origin Story Resources A Wondrous Mind on 1440 Multiversity House of Eternal Return Warehouse 21 Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe Matt King The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Yayoi Kusama James Turrell teamLab My Project Brief ‘Welcome to the Experience Economy’ in Harvard Business Review AREA 15 Video of the House of Eternal Return Chip Heath & Chris Fink on Tracking Wonder S2EP02 The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have an Extraordinary Impact by Chip and Dan Heath Exploratorium Meow Wolf in Denver Meow Wolf in DC Marc and Angel Chernoff


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S3 EP4: Excelling at Tech, Entrepreneurship and the Art of Not-Knowing — with Sequoia Blodgett

Corporate culture perpetuates the idea that we need to fake it ‘til we make it, pretending to have all the answers and projecting confidence in our abilities—whether we feel it or not. But what if there are advantages to not knowing? What if living rich, creative entrepreneurial lives requires that we let go of what we think we know, step into new territory and expand our mental map of the world? Today, Jeffrey considers the benefit of naïveté in creativity and entrepreneurship with Sequoia Blodgett, former music video director and founder of Commas, a tech platform designed to help founders build sustainable businesses. Sequoia shares her journey from directing music videos to the tech world, explaining what she did to secure VC funding for her first company and how the failure of that venture led to the creation of Commas. She addresses the vast disparity of women of color in tech, discussing the unconscious bias prevalent on both sides of private equity and her mission to even the playing field for multicultural entrepreneurs. Listen in to understand how travel enhances creativity and learn how to navigate your own knowledge gaps in the pursuit of an excellent life. Key Takeaways [0:02] How naïveté can work to our advantage [4:44] How Sequoia’s creative genius expressed itself early on [11:47] Sequoia’s frustration with the business of making music videos [17:43] What inspired Sequoia to step into the tech world Draper UniversityTim Draper [29:59] How the failure of 7AM informed the creation of Commas [34:46] The navigation of knowledge gaps in pursuit of excellence [39:10] Sequoia’s mindset shift around what it means to fail [40:04] The vast disparity of women of color in tech [46:01] Sequoia’s insight around trying to do it all yourself [48:06] What Sequoia is doing to foster a strong inner life [51:20] Sequoia’s take on the necessity of wonder [57:27] What Sequoia is learning to say NO to Black Enterprise [1:02:22] How to expand your mental map of the world Connect with Sequoia Commas Commas Podcast Sequoia’s Website Resources A Wondrous Mind on 1440 Multiversity Ray Dalio Sequoia’s Dad’s Blog Dave Meyers Sequoia’s Music Video Draper University Alexa Café Adobe Creative Suite Scratch Awesomeness TV Tim Draper Y Combinator Adobe InDesign Black Tech Mecca Sequoia’s Article on BTM Black Enterprise Magazine This Movie Changed Me: Black Panther Danielle Leslie John Jantsch Duct Tape Marketing Columbia Study on Intercultural Relationships & Creativity Airbnb Experiences Whitney Wolfe Herd Bumble Srinivas Rao & Marty Neumeier on Tracking Wonder S2EP06 Meow Wolf Vince Kadlubek


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S3 EP3: Mastering the Entrepreneurial Self — with John Jantsch

We are barraged by digital distractions to the point where it can warp our perspective. It’s profoundly challenging to hear ourselves think, let along carve out an identity of our own. So, how can we step out of this Matrix-like web of endless bombardment and live our own version of an excellent life? How can we learn to listen to and rely upon our own point of view? What does that take? Are there skills of self-reliance we can practice? Today, Jeffrey explores the art of mastering the entrepreneurial self with John Jantsch, the founder of Duct Tape Marketing and author of the forthcoming book, The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: 366 Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business. John explains how his curiosity informed his early days in business, discussing what living a life of excellence meant to him then and what it means now. He describes how the ideas of great mid-nineteenth century American thinkers like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Margaret Fuller apply to contemporary entrepreneurs, challenging us to foster the self-trust necessary to uncover our personal passion and purpose. Listen in for John’s insight around the characteristics of a self-reliant entrepreneur and learn to listen to your own authority, nurture a sense of empathy and openness to growth, and evolve to become even more of yourself. Key Takeaways [0:02] Our addiction to information and digital distractions [5:35] The portrait of a young John [8:57] How John’s curiosity informed his early days in business [11:17] How John built and scaled his marketing firm [15:45] What a life of excellence meant to John early on [18:19] What inspired The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur [28:49] How John’s writing voice has evolved over time [36:08] The relationship between self-trust and purpose [38:19] The tension between the values and practice of self-reliance [41:45] John’s practices for listening to our own authority [45:36] How self-reliant entrepreneurs will change the world [55:00] The evolution of a self-reliant entrepreneur [1:03:14] The value of change by evolution vs. revolution Connect with John Self-Reliant Entrepreneur Duct Tape Marketing Email Resources A Wondrous Mind on 1440 Multiversity The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business by John Jantsch Duct Tape Marketing: The World’s Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide by John Jantsch “I Used to Be a Human Being” by Andrew Sullivan Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv Walden by Henry David Thoreau “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson My Ántonia by Willa Cather Margaret Fuller Jay Baer Todd Henry The Daily Drucker: 366 Days of Insight and Motivation for Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman Sequoia Blodgett


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S3 EP2: The Art of Finishing Our Best Work — with Charlie Gilkey

Do you have an abundance of ideas for potential projects? But never enough time to reach the finish line? What holds you back? Is it really that there aren’t enough hours in the day? And what’s the cost of not finishing the projects that matter? What if you could take steps today to act on your most essential ideas—and get closer to your vision for an excellent life? Today, Jeffrey explores the idea of finishing our most important work with Charlie Gilkey, the Business Growth Strategist behind Productive Flourishing and author of Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done. Charlie shares his strategies for deciding what projects really matter, explaining how finishing important work bridges the gap between where we are and where we want to be. He also weighs in on the pursuit of self-mastery to embolden our courage, discussing actionable practices for expanding our comfort zone and making meaningful progress in the age of distraction. Listen in to understand how Charlie navigates unbidden surprises without abandoning his most important work and learn how to excel at finishing what matters. Key Takeaways [4:16] How Charlie’s young genius informs his work as a writer [11:00] What pushed Charlie’s personal limits in writing Start Finishing [17:16] Charlie’s take on living a life of excellence [22:45] Charlie’s advice for deciding what projects to pursue [3:08] Why courage is crucial in achieving our vision of an excellent life [45:03] Charlie’s top practices for self-mastery I am …I feel … [53:45] Charlie’s insight on technology and distractions [59:38] How Charlie navigates unbidden surprises [1:12:28] How Charlie is celebrating the launch of his book Connect with Charlie Productive Flourishing Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done by Charlie Gilkey Resources A Wondrous Mind Dao De Jing by Laozi “Self-Mastery” by Henrietta Cordelia Ray Nilofer Merchant Michele Woodward Seth Godin Sounds True Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Duct Tape Marketing The Self-Reliant Entrepreneur: Daily Meditations to Feed Your Soul and Grow Your Business by John Jantsch


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S3 EP1: Prologue: The Beauty of an Excellent Life

Have you spent years building your one business or brand, honing your craft, refining your core skill set to build out a set of services around your distinct expertise? Or do you experiment with multiple fields, crossing boundaries to pursue excellence with your diverse background? Fearlessly shifting shapes and testing your versatility in new spaces? Is your motivation to excel at your work born from a need to be the best? Or are you driven by something deeper? Today, Jeffrey introduces us to the focus of Season 3, an exploration of the beauty of pursuing a life of excellence. He shares two different approaches to excellence, comparing the song of a wood thrush with that of a lyrebird and offering examples of legendary creatives who fit into each category. Jeffrey also reflects on what motivates us to excel, challenging the idea that we’re driven solely by the desire to compete and survive. Listen in for insight around how we’re motivated by our admiration for others and learn how the beauty and sorrow of the human condition inspires us to “sing” —and create exceptional experiences for each other. Are you a wood thrush or a lyrebird? Key Takeaways [1:38] Season 3’s focus on the beauty of an excellent life [3:43] The wood thrush’s approach to the pursuit of excellence [5:18] What drives the lyrebird’s pursuit of excellence [9:22] Examples of celebrated wood thrushes and lyrebirds [11:24] What motivates us to excel [15:40] What to expect in upcoming episodes Start Finishing Connect with Jeffrey Tracking Wonder Tracking Wonder on Facebook Jeffrey on Twitter Jeffrey on Instagram Jeffrey on LinkedIn Resources Little Drummer Boy with David Bowie & Bing Crosby, produced by David Bowie Lady Gaga’s Tribute to David Bowie Simone Biles at 2016 Olympics Haidt & Keltner Motivation Study Productive Flourishing Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done by Charlie Gilkey


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Season 3: The Beauty of an Excellent Life (Trailer)

Some social critics argue that the Internet Age has ushered in a culture of mediocrity and amateurism. But maybe there’s another story. Maybe these bewildering times prompt in us a new kind of drive. Almost all of us want to get better at something, whether it is being a better business owner or painter, prototyper or parent. Inherent in this desire to improve is the drive to excel: A daring to flourish in our work, our creativity, and our humanity. Is it possible that if we dared to excel together – guided by qualities such as wonder, beauty, and compassion – we could enhance our lives and elevate the world around us? Is it possible that qualities such as ambition, openness, curiosity, and an appreciation of beauty can fuel our pursuit of excellence? To dare to excel is to venture into the unknown, to test our limits, to go beyond the bounds of our comfort zone. But this is a risk worth taking for our own benefit and for the sake of making the world a more beautiful place. Join us each Tuesday to discover how beauty, wonder, and mastery can shape a fulfilling and fruitful life.


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S2 EP8: Epilogue: The State of Wonder 2018 — with Jeffrey Davis, Erin Haworth, Britt Bravo & Laine Nickl

This season on the podcast, we explored the idea of designing our lives and work for more curiosity, more purpose, more openness… More WONDER. We went behind-the-scenes of wonder-making in films, video games and art exhibitions and studied experience architecture in our families and our brand communities. But have you ever wondered how Jeffrey and his team design the podcast itself or the business of Tracking Wonder as a whole? Today, Tracking Wonder team members Jeffrey Davis, Erin Haworth, Britt Bravo and Laine Nickl pull back the curtain on their own work. Jeffrey reveals how he conceived of the idea for the business, discussing the watershed moments that led to his commitment to be a wonder tracker in his own life. They go on to share their top takeaways from this season of the podcast and the nuts and bolts of putting together an episode. Jeffrey walks us through his role in developing the premise, Erin offers insight around the necessary systems and Laine describes the evolution of the imagery that complements the podcast episodes. Jeffrey also explains the need for wonder in the current moment of divisiveness, advocating for businesses to raise their expectations and bring diverse people together in a culture of openness. Finally, they address the idea of working well and breaking better, developing a strong work ethos in conjunction with a strong wonder ethos. Listen in as Britt shares the power of Tracking Wonder’s Brand Artistry Labs program and learn about the organization’s other offerings, including Quest 2019, the Tracking Wonder journal and the upcoming 1440 Multiversity Wonder Interventions Course. Key Takeaways [2:17] The origins of Tracking Wonder [6:20] Jeffrey’s watershed moments [11:07] Jeffrey’s small moments of derailment [13:22] How Jeffrey’s daughters inform his business [16:27] The team’s key takeaways from this season [20:23] Jeffrey’s role in creating a podcast episode [23:28] Erin’s insight on the podcast systems, team [26:10] The design experience of Tracking Wonder [27:46] The need for wonder in this moment in time [33:25] How Brand Artistry Labs brings people together [37:46] The Tracking Wonder Quest Experience [43:03] The benefits of Tracking Wonder’s ArtMark [46:08] The new Wonder Interventions tool 1440 Multiversity Course Connect with Jeffrey & the Tracking Wonder Team Tracking Wonder Email Tracking Wonder on Twitter Tracking Wonder on Facebook Tracking Wonder on Instagram Jeffrey on Instagram Brand Artistry Labs Quest 2019 ArtMark 1440 Multiversity Tracking Wonder Course Resources The Journey from the Center to the Page: Yoga Philosophies and Practices as a Muse for Authentic Writing by Jeff Davis ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ by Charles Baudelaire Dr. Martin Seligman & Positive Psychology The Little Prince Film Walden, A Game Zen Habits: Handbook for Life by Leo Babauta Zen Habits


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S2 EP7: Designing Brand Communities for Belonging — with Charles Vogl

We long to belong. The desire to be a part of a community is a fundamental human yearning, yet broad swaths of Americans have never felt more isolated. In fact, four out of ten report regularly feeling lonely, and very few have more than two people they consider confidants. Why is this happening? What can we do about it? Is there an opportunity for businesses and organizations to fill the void? And if so, how do we design for belonging in brand communities? Today, Jeffrey takes a deep dive into the concept of belonging with executive consultant Charles Vogl, author of The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging. Charles describes his personal feelings around being an outsider and discusses the top three trends contributing to the loneliness epidemic in the US. He shares his experience at Yale Divinity School, explaining the pervasive ‘crisis of belonging’ on campus and how that phenomenon informs his current work. Charles also offers his definition of community as shared mutual concern and discusses how brands might foster genuine connection among a customer base. Jeffrey asks why leaders and event planners miss the mark, and Charles uncovers the necessity of facilitating shared experiences and investing in the growth of diverse groups. Listen in for insight on the value of story in revealing what a business values and learn how you can build a brand for belonging. Key Takeaways [4:34] Young Charles at his most free [6:11] Charles’ feeling of being an outsider [10:51] The rise of loneliness in the US [14:05] The causes of this loneliness epidemic [19:09] Charles’ experience at Yale Divinity School [25:09] Charles’ definition of community [28:11] How Charles describes the structure of community [39:21] How to foster mutual care among a customer base [43:56] How to foster diverse communities [47:55] How leaders can create moments of openness [57:06] How story fosters a shared experience [1:01:26] What Charles is pursuing in the next year Connect with Charles Charles’ Website The Art of Community: Seven Principles for Belonging by Charles Vogl Resources ‘Work and the Loneliness Epidemic’ in Harvard Business Review Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg Carrie Melissa Jones Jayzen Patria Robin Zander Responsive Conference ‘Loneliness … An American Malady’ by Carson McCullers The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers Quest 2019


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S2 EP6: Designing a Life & Business for Creative Mastery & Meaning — with Srinivas Rao & Marty Neumeier

We have spent the last several weeks exploring how to design memorable moments for our customers and communities, our audiences and even our families. But how do we design a life of wonder for ourselves? How do we juggle our own creative calling with the needs of our clients and communities? Is there a way to approach marketing as a craft, making it part of our path to mastery? How do we realize our best creative selves, pursuing mastery and meaning in every aspect of our lives? Today, Jeffrey explores the creative process with Srinivas Rao, the founder and host of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast and author of the recently released Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake, and Marty Neumeier, Director of CEO Branding at Liquid Agency and author of several books, including the forthcoming business thriller SCRAMBLE: How Agile Strategy Can Build Epic Brands in Record Time. Srinivas and Marty explain how they make decisions about which projects to take on, discussing the tension between what they have been called to create and market demands. They address the significance of ongoing reflection and self-awareness in carving a path of personal and professional mastery and offer insight around putting your imprint or signature on any project you take on, learning best practices—and then challenging them. Srinivas and Marty also describe how they measure the value of their own work, seeking self-mastery rather than obsessing over marketing metrics. Jeffrey asks them how they work through doubt in the writing process, what surprised them in the creation of their latest works, and how they foster openness in creative collaboration. Listen in for advice on leveraging a support system to navigate crises and learn how to design a fulfilling life and business with an eye to creative mastery and meaning. Key Takeaways [5:01] Young Srini and Marty at their best Thriller [9:51] Marty’s transition to an audience of one [13:05] Srini’s transition to an audience of one [19:55] Marty’s insight on mastery and metrics [22:40] The difference between mimicry and modeling [31:20] The role of environment in the creative process The Ultimate Game of Life [32:40] How to reinvent yourself with each new project [43:12] Srini’s insight around creativity and the internet [50:54] The impetus for Marty’s new book SCRAMBLE [53:14] The surprises Marty & Srini experienced in the writing process [59:13] How Marty & Srini work through doubt when writing [1:06:00] How Srini navigates crises in business [1:12:00] Marty’s approach to crises in SCRAMBLE [1:18:09] How to foster openness in creative collaboration [1:20:55] What Srini & Marty are pursuing in the next year Connect with Srinivas The Unmistakable Creative The Unmistakable Creative Podcast The Art of Being Unmistakable: A Collection of Essays About Making a Dent in the Universe by Srinivas Rao An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake by Srinivas Rao ‘If You Want to Build an Audience, Focus on Mastery Instead of Metrics’ by Srinivas Rao ‘The Wasted Potential of the Internet’ by Srinivas Rao Connect with Marty Marty’s Website Liquid Agency The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Neumeier SCRAMBLE: How Agile Strategy Can Build Epic Brands in Record Time by Marty Neumeier Zag: The Number One Strategy of High-Performance Brands by Marty Neumeier Resources Tracking Wonder S1EP11 AJ Leon The Brand Gap on SlideShare Misfit Incorporated Creative Live with Danielle LaPorte & Srinivas Rao Danielle LaPorte Leap First: Creating Work That Matters by Seth Godin The Brand Gap on SlideShare The Ultimate Game of Life The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Charles Baxter Steven Pressfield Mastery by Robert Greene Books by Anders Ericsson Spark: The Revolutionary New...


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S2 EP5: Designing for Stillness and Genius in Film, Video Games — with Mark Osborne & Tracy Fullerton

Perhaps you want to bring more magic into the world in the form of an animated film or video game. Inevitably, such a significant undertaking will face big challenges. What gives filmmakers and game designers the drive to persist over the years it takes to complete such substantial projects—when there is no guarantee or reward or recognition? Today, Jeffrey goes behind-the-scenes of wonder-making with filmmaker, animator, director and producer Mark Osborne, whose film The Little Prince received France’s prestigious César Award for Best Animated Film, and game designer, educator and Game Design Workshop author Tracy Fullerton, who serves as Director of the USC Games Program and Professor and Chair of the Interactive Media & Games Division of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. Mark and Tracy explore the collaborative nature of the work they do, explaining how their respective teams foster curiosity and generate unexpected ideas via play, affording special attention to craft and detail along the way. Mark describes his commitment to doing justice to The Little Prince, and Tracy offers insight around the personal connection her ‘book club’ developed with the award-winning Walden, a game. Tracy and Mark share their favorite elements of wonder in The Little Prince and Walden, discussing the painstaking effort involved in taking our breath away. Listen in to understand how their work brings Thoreau and Saint-Exupéry’s themes into the 21st century and learn how to keep your own team inspired and agile by way of an open, inclusive work culture. Key Takeaways [6:14] Young Mark and Tracy at their best Star Wars [9:33] How Tracy’s young genius informs her work now [13:44] The collaborative nature of animation [16:52] Mark’s inspiration for the frame story in The Little Prince [22:05] The concept behind the Walden video game [27:24] The personal connection Tracy’s team had to Walden [30:10] The challenges Mark faced in creating The Little Prince [42:18] The universal themes of The Little Prince [46:25] How Walden applies in the 21st century [48:56] Mark’s favorite element of wonder in The Little Prince [52:33] Tracy’s favorite element of wonder in Walden [57:06] How to create openness and inclusiveness on teams [1:02:14] What Tracy and Mark are pursuing in the coming year Connect with Mark Happy Product, Inc. Happy Product on Vimeo Happy Product on YouTube The Little Prince Connect with Tracy Tracy Fullerton USC Game Innovation Lab Walden, a game Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games by Tracy Fullerton Resources The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Walden by Henry David Thoreau Walden for Educators Tracking Wonder S1EP06 Tracking Wonder S2EP03 “How ‘The Little Prince’ Director Pitched Investors with His Magic Suitcase” in The Frame Jamie Caliri on Vimeo The Unmistakable Creative Podcast An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake by Srinivas Rao SCRAMBLE: How Agile Strategy Can Build Epic Brands in Record Time by Marty Neumeier Brand Artistry Labs


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S2 EP4: What If We Could Explode Every Day? — with Julianne Swartz & Denise Markonish

In a cultural moment characterized by divisiveness, we ache for community. We go through our days surrounded by people, but we have forgotten how to connect. Does art have the capacity to foster the kind of openness and connection we need right now? Is it possible that a provocative experience of unfamiliarity or disorientation might help us engage with each other? What if we could learn to follow the artist’s example and explode every day with wonder? Today, Jeffrey studies art as a conduit of wonder with Denise Markonish, curator of MASS MoCA and author of Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art from North North America, and award-winning artist Julianne Swartz, whose work has appeared at premier museums including MASS MoCA and The Whitney. Julianne and Denise trace the origins of their wonder and curiosity, exploring how their childhood investigations inform the work they do now. Julianne describes the intent of her work to provoke an experience of unfamiliarity and facilitate the exchange of wonder, and Denise shares her role as an experience architect, working with artists to generate deeply personal exhibitions. Listen in for insight around the promise of art to create an openness between communities—and learn how to think like an artist, fostering wonder in your own life and work. Key Takeaways [4:34] Young Julianne and Denise at their best [8:28] How Denise & Julianne’s young genius inform their work now [13:45] Julianne’s reputation for ‘soft explosions of love’ Affirmation [18:25] Denise’s role as an architect of experiences [21:06] MASS MoCA’s Explode Everyday exhibition [27:23] The emotional quality of Julianne’s work [30:08] How Julianne fosters wonder in her life and work [35:00] The exchange of wonder in Julianne’s work [42:04] Denise’s insight on fostering wonder for yourself [45:11] The capacity of art to create openness between communities Can You Hear Me?We Complete [53:08] The promise of art in our current cultural moment [55:57] What Julianne is pursuing in the coming year Joy, still. at Grace Farms [58:42] What Denise is pursuing in the coming year Suffering from RealnessMind of the Mound Connect with Julianne Julianne Swartz Affirmation Blue Sky with Rainbow In Harmonicity, The Tonal Walkway Can You Hear Me? We Complete Link/Line Joy, still. at Grace Farms Connect with Denise MASS MoCA Suffering from Realness Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass Resources The Autobiography of Charles Darwin by Charles Darwin Sebastian Smee MASS MoCA’s Explode Every Day The Explode Every Day Catalog Sean Foley Mark Osborne Tracy Fullerton Charles LaBelle Grace Farms Trenton Doyle Hancock Oh, Canada: Contemporary Art from North North America by Denise Markonish Diana’s Dragons Mary Ellen Beads Inside Knowledge Brand Artistry Labs


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S2 EP3: Making Time to Savor Life, Family, & Business — with Laura Vanderkam & Tom Hodgkinson

We live in a culture of busy, wearing our overwork like a badge of honor. We complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day—and blame our jobs and our kids for the fact that we can’t enjoy life. We even feel guilty when we make time for fun. Busy is a virtue. Idleness is irresponsible. But what if we have a greater responsibility to be our best selves for the people around us? Is it true that we don’t have time to pursue activities that bring us joy? Or is that simply the story we’re telling ourselves? What if we could design our days, our families and our businesses for more off-time, delight and openness to surprise? Today, Jeffrey challenges our culture of busy with Laura Vanderkam, author of Off the Clock and cohost of the Best of Both Worlds podcast, and Tom Hodgkinson, editor of The Idler magazine and author of Business for Bohemians. Tom and Laura discuss the origin of ‘busy’ as a virtue, the idea of working less as ‘irresponsible’ and the tension between our desires to work hard AND enjoy life. Laura shares the results of her time tracking experiment, explaining how adventure stretches time, and Tom describes his Idle Parenting philosophy, discussing the benefits of ignoring your kids once in a while. Listen in for insight around planning for leisure time—even in the midst of raising small children—and learn how to create a business vision that expresses the essence of who you are. Key Takeaways [5:08] Young Laura and Tom at their best [8:37] The origin of ‘busy’ as a virtue [14:18] The tension between working hard and enjoying life [17:39] Laura’s time tracking experiment [23:21] The idea of working less as being ‘irresponsible’ [28:29] How adventure stretches time [35:11] Tom’s insight on Idle Parenting [42:29] Laura’s insight around planning leisure time [45:28] Tom’s take on eudaimonia in business [49:56] Laura’s take on trying to do everything [52:43] What Tom is pursuing in the next year [55:28] What Laura is pursuing in the next year Connect with Laura Laura Vanderkam Connect with Tom The Idler Resources The Idler Subscription Mary Oliver’s ‘The Summer Day’ What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: A Short Guide to Making Over Your Mornings—and Life by Laura Vanderkam Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids by Tom Hodgkinson Idler Academy Business for Bohemians: Live Well, Make Money by Tom Hodgkinson ‘The Busy Person’s Lies’ in The New York Times How to Be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto by Tom Hodgkinson Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang 168 Hours Time Tracking Challenge Laura’s 168 Hours Time Tracking Template Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi Juliet’s School of Possibilities: A Little Story About the Power of Priorities by Laura Vanderkam The Sacred Healing Well Gentle Warrior’s Wellness MASS MoCA Julianne Swartz


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S2 EP2: Experience Design to Build Wonder at Work— with Chip Heath & Chris Flink

The #2 hotel in Los Angeles cannot compete with the Hyatts or the Hiltons of the world when it comes to expensive amenities. What makes the Magic Castle special is the staff’s ability to design surprising experiences, like a red phone by the pool coined Popsicle Hotline. By breaking the script, the Magic Castle inspires delight in their guests—and consistently ranks higher than high-end, luxury hotels in the city. How can we follow the lead of the Magic Castle and create a workplace of wonder? How do we design for extraordinary moments with our colleagues and customers? Today, Jeffrey explores workplace wonder with Chris Flink, Executive Director of the Exploratorium Museum in San Francisco, and Chip Heath, the Thrive Foundation for Youth Professor of Organizational Behavior in the Stanford Graduate School of Business and co-author of The Power of Moments. Chip and Chris explain how designing surprising moments for customers can give you a competitive advantage and why it’s beneficial to think beyond simply fixing problems to the architecting of positive experiences. Chip describes why it’s in your best interest to focus on elevating mostly satisfied customers to truly delighted ones, and Chris shares the power of physical experiences to captivate people in a deeply personal way. Listen in for insight around designing for positive, extraordinary experiences that facilitate connection and learn how to surprise yourself, your colleagues and your customers with the exchange of wonder. Key Takeaways [7:47] Young Chip and Chris at their best [10:41] What makes those boyhood moments memorable [13:39] How Chris got into the area of experience design [17:34] How Chip came to explore experience architecture [23:12] Why we should consider experience design [36:59] The concept of ‘breaking the script’ [41:18] Chip and Chris’ response to resistance [46:49] The value of face-to-face, analog experiences [49:42] How to design experiences for your organization [59:23] The social dimension of wonder [1:04:44] What Chip and Chris are pursuing in the next year Connect with Chip Heath Brothers Stanford Social Innovation Review Connect with Chris Exploratorium Resources TD Bank YouTube Video Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath Stanford IDEO Bill Moggridge: Interaction Design Magic Castle Hotel Theo Jansen’s STRANDBEEST Larry Shaw Art Aron’s Interpersonal Closeness Experience Laura Vanderkam The Idler Evelyn Asher Fateme Banishoeb


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S2 EP1: Can We Design for Wonder at the Clap of a Hand?

‘It doesn’t take long for our feet to wear a rut born of habit in our daily, default path. But if we’re fortunate, during any given day, something surprising startles our heart long enough to arrest the bustle and disrupt our rut.’ The question is, do we have to wait for that something surprising to happen spontaneously? Or can we build the experience of awe into our daily lives? Can we design for wonder? Today, Jeffrey introduces us to his working premise for Season 2: Wonder is not an accident and designing for wonder is not only possible but necessary in our world of deteriorating trust. He walks us through the possible dawn of awe when our ancestors developed the ‘irresistible urge to gaze’ and defines wonder as the emotional experience of surprise that dissolves our biases. Jeffrey also previews the themes of this season by way of two stories, one of a company designing for wonder NOW via Instagram hashtags and another of the philosopher Descartes discovering wonder THEN, in 17th-century Denmark through the laughter of his daughter. Listen in for insight around the role of wonder in facilitating radically new solutions and join the growing alliance of Wonder Trackers who choose wonder over cynicism. Key Takeaways [0:04] The definition of wonder [4:05] Jeffrey’s working premise for Season 2 [5:37] The significance of choosing wonder over cynicism [8:58] What to expect this season on Tracking Wonder [11:44] The story of NOW [12:56] The story of THEN [18:06] James Baldwin’s insight on wonder Connect with Jeffrey Tracking Wonder Tracking Wonder on Facebook Jeffrey on Twitter Jeffrey on Instagram Jeffrey on LinkedIn Resources Bay Area Discovery Museum MASS MoCA USC Annenberg Innovation Lab Suja Juice Cogito, Ergo Sum: The Life of Rene Descartes by Richard Watson Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason by Russell Shorto Chip Heath Chris Flink


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Trailer: Tracking Wonder (Season 2) with Jeffrey Davis

Welcome to season 2 of Tracking Wonder! This season we're tracking the theme of designing for wonder. Wonder is not an accident. Wonder is designable. Join us each Tuesday, and learn how innovators design work, customer experience, and life for more openness, curiosity, and surprise.


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S1 EP12: Cracked Open to a Greater-Than-You Purpose

The most fulfilled innovators and influencers who lead lives of mastery and meaning—at some point get cracked open by wonder, get cracked open to a purpose greater than themselves. Today, Jeffrey reflects on Season 1 of Tracking Wonder, looking back at his conversations with leaders, change-makers, artists and creatives to identify the wonder switch in each of their stories, those moments when they were opened up to a greater-than-you purpose that drives the work they do today. Jeffrey begins with Susan Piver’s experience of being cracked open in love after a serious car accident by way of a surprising connection with another person. He reminds us of Caroline Adams Miller’s inspiration—people with the grit to do extraordinary things in their ordinary lives. Jeffrey speaks to the challenge of ‘standing in love’ with your big idea, revisiting Jonathan Fields and Dorie Clarke’s discussion around the need for authentic community. He also covers the concept of conscious leadership, reflecting on Mike Erwin and Todd Henry’s respective takes on sourcing bravery from within and leading with a mindset of service. Listen in as Jeffrey highlights Marty Neumeier’s theory on doing the ‘right thing’ that leads us to beauty, cohesiveness and order and learn why wonder is the key to unlocking our compassion—and ultimately making decisions with an eye to the future. Key Takeaways [7:50] Susan Piver’s experience being cracked open in love [11:50] The kind of grit that inspires Caroline Adams Miller [15:48] The challenge of ‘standing in love’ with your big idea [18:36] Why the world needs brands to build authentic community [23:30] The concept of conscious leadership [27:06] Why we have an ethical responsibility to lead with our ideals [38:30] The role of wonder in evoking empathy and compassion for others Resources The Heart of Altruism by Kristen Monroe ‘Blessing the Boats’ by Lucille Clifton The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivating Passion, Perseverance, and Purpose by Caroline Adams Miller Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It by Dorie Clark Good Life Project The Positivity Project Accidental Creative Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need by Todd Henry Liquid Agency Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions by Martha C. Nussbaum


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S1 EP11: Branding & Creativity with a Higher Purpose with Marty Neumeier

You have to have a purpose bigger than profits. The landscape of branding has changed over time, and with the advent of two-way communication via the internet, a mission statement that prioritizes a financial responsibility to shareholders simply won’t cut it anymore. People want to support—and be a part of—the companies that aspire to a higher purpose and align with their own personal values. How does a brand go about identifying its purpose? How do you do good AND do good business at the same time? Today, Jeffrey sits down with Marty Neumeier, the Director of CEO Branding and de-facto thought leader at Liquid Agency. Marty is also a bestselling author, speaker and facilitator in the realm of helping people and organizations uncover their creative genius. Marty describes growing up with a mother who taught him the magic of art and a love of learning. He speaks to his time in Silicon Valley, learning to translate tech into English and pictures, and the history of branding from the agricultural age through the current consumer-led movement. Marty explains the concept of ludic learning, the difference between a brand and branding, and the business advantage of identifying a purpose beyond simply making money. Listen in for Marty’s insight around the nature of sin as the choice for a short-term, selfish good and learn the value in a brand driven by purpose for the benefit of society. Key Takeaways [3:15] Marty’s young genius [5:58] The adults who nurtured Marty’s love of learning [9:05] Marty’s experience in Silicon Valley [18:55] The difference between a brand and branding [20:31] How the landscape of branding has changed [28:11] The shift to a customer focus [30:15] How to hone your branding [32:49] The brand advantage of being driven by purpose Method [39:32] Marty’s take on campaigns like REI’s #OptOutside [43:43] Marty’s insight on the nature of sin [51:50] The definition of ludic learning [54:29] Marty’s advice around unlearning [57:30] What Marty is pursuing moving forward Connect with Marty Liquid Agency Marty’s Website Marty on Twitter Resources The Third Wave by Alvin Toffler The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Neumeier Books by Al Ries and Jack Trout Books by David Aaker The Brand Flip: Why Customers Now Run Companies and How to Profit from It by Marty Neumeier Metaskills: Five Talents for the Robotic Age by Marty Neumeier Method The 46 Rules of Genius: An Innovator’s Guide to Creativity by Marty Neumeier Brand Artistry Labs


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S1 EP10: The Challenges of Long-Term Love & Creative Work with Susan Piver

As entrepreneurs and creatives, we know the feeling of pouring our whole heart into our work. Of devoting all our attention to the project at hand in pursuit of something greater than ourselves. How do we balance that quest for our best work with the desire to nurture our long-term, loving relationships? How do we make room for the people we love—and love us back? What if the qualities necessary to sustain our long-term, loving relationships are the very same qualities we use to sustain our commitment to the creative path? On this episode of Tracking Wonder, Jeffrey is joined by Susan Piver, renowned Shambhala Buddhist teacher, New York Times bestselling author, and founder of the world’s largest virtual mindfulness community, the Open Heart Project. Susan shares the significance of bringing a constant curiosity to our loving relationships, explaining how the practice of love demands an attention not on the extraordinary, but on the familiar and ordinary. She offers insight around the four noble truths of love, the challenges of standing in love versus falling in love, and the idea of meeting instability together. Listen in to understand why long-term love doesn’t have to be in battle with one or both partners’ devotion to creative work and learn and learn how mindfulness is the practice of love. Key Takeaways [3:19] Susan’s young genius [7:04] Susan’s experience being hit by a drunk driver [15:36] How Susan came to practice Buddhism [21:59] Why Susan is fascinated with love [26:28] The four noble truths of love [34:04] The tension between familiarity and mystery [45:29] The practice of conversation in long-term relationships [51:22] The challenge of long-term relationships and creative work [1:02:20] Susan’s insight on negotiating attention [1:03:58] The noble truths of love through music “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James“Blue Gardenia” by Dinah WashingtonJohn Coltrane and Johnny Hartman [1:09:21] What Susan is pursuing moving forward Connect with Susan Open Heart Project Resources Credit: “To You Again” is from Incarnadine by MarySzybist, . Copyright © 2012 byMarySzybist. Used with the permission of the publisher, Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships by Susan Piver The Hard Questions: 100 Essential Questions to Ask Before You Say ‘I Do’ by Susan Piver The Wisdom of a Broken Heart: An Uncommon Guide to Healing, Insight, and Love by Susan Piver The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm All About Love: New Visions by Bell Hooks Incarnadine: Poems by Mary Szybist Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation by Susan Piver “Big Red Sun Blues” by Lucinda Williams “I Felt the Chill” by Elvis Costello and Loretta Lynn “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James “Blue Gardenia” by Dinah Washington John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman Brand Artistry Labs