There were a handful of things I read, listened to and watched in 2012 that I think are worth sharing. I am impressed by creativity, gumption, perserverance and honesty. I value both the craft of storytelling as well as its message. In a year full of thousands of links, likes and other cacophonous draws on my attention, these were the standouts:
The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever
Michael J Mooney, D Magazine (published July 2012)
This story about an amateur bowler was my favorite sports read from 2012. Bowling doesn't strike you as the most complex or taxing of pastimes - but the attainment of the 'Perfect Series' (36 straight strikes) ranks up there for me as one of the all-time most elusive achievements in sports. Only 21 have ever been recorded. Ever.
This piece by Radiolab cohost Jad Abumrad gets to the heart of the creative process, the birth of a thing, fear, and how to trust your gut for success.
Tren is currently at Microsoft and formerly of Craig McCaw's Eagle River private equity firm who I was familiar with in my past life as a VC. As a finance/policy/technology/investing nerd, his blog and twitter feed are a must read for me. His affection and compendium (still in progress) on the great Charlie Munger is the most accessible synopsis of Munger's strategic thinking (and acerbic wit) I've seen outside of Charlie himself.
In today's world of high-frequency trading, cloak and dagger derivatives and financial engineering, it's refreshing to see the spotlight shown on long-term investing approaches distilled from one of the all-time greats.
Stand-Up comedy remains one of the most awe-inspiring performance arts we have in today's culture. Tig Notaro's performance tackling her days old diagnosis of breast cancer is one of the most chilling, cathartic and inspiring comedy sessions I have ever heard. Louis CK spearheaded its public release and the show is now available as a $5 iTunes download. Here's a link to a This American Life episode that contains an abridged version of the set (for free).
Keeping in the comedy vein, for the past couple of years the great podcast Bullseye has been releasing a year-end comedy special highlighting some of the best Stand-Up performances of the year (Tig Notaro's set makes an appearance).
If you want to know what you missed in the year of funny. Check this out.
Apple has had one of the most surreal runs in the history of modern business. Success inevitably breeds inspection. Public Radio program This American Life published a story in January 2012 featuring one man's investigation into how Apple managed to produce so many devices.
In the aftermath of the story, TAL came to the conclusion that their feature subject had moved far beyond the objective truth despite his proclamations otherwise. What emerged 3 months later is one of the most uncomfortably honest hours of radio I have ever heard.
The integrity required not only to own up to their mistake but to diligence its underpinnings and present their findings in as public a forum as possible is rare in today's journalistic society.
This 2-hour profile on Carson does more than any other piece I've ever read or watched to describe the cultural importance of Johnny Carson to the rise of late night television. It is superbly constructed with interviews from all the people that knew, loved and had their careers made by visiting his couch. This includes Letterman, Leno, Conan, Joan Rivers, Seinfeld and many others.
PBS strikes again with another American Masters installment on Hollywood legend David Geffen. I've known of him mainly as 1/3 of Dreamworks and an LA Philanthropist, but this look at his impressive career as an agent, manager, record executive and now Hollywood mogul is again worth watching.