The Profile: The novelist whose inventions went too far & the TikTok therapists
This week's edition of The Profile features Lisa Marie Presley, H.G. Carrillo, Katey Stone, and more.
Good morning, friends!
I was reading Oprah’s book What I Know For Sure, and there was one part that I can’t stop thinking about. She writes:
“I’m always fascinated by lists of ‘Most Powerful People,’ and by the ways they use external things — fame, status, wealth — to define and rank power.
“It’s curious how a person can go from the top of the list one year to unlisted the next — all in the blink of a board meeting.
“Was that person’s power real, or was the power only in the position? We often get the two confused.”
I often think about this in relation to success. Your success is only a mirage if you attain it from an external source. If your success is a measure of status or money, know that it’s something you can lose, as Oprah says, “in the blink of a board meeting.”
I’ve interviewed many successful people, and the question I love to ask at the end of each interview is: "How do you define success?"
That single question gives you a brief glimpse into their world — it explains why they do what they do, what motivates them, and how they measure the outcome of their efforts.
Personally, I like to think of true success as the result of challenging but meaningful work.
Sometimes, it looks like Tyler Perry's principle of "helping someone cross" — making a helpful introduction, giving people jobs, or inspiring a young person. Other times, success looks like Esther Wojcicki’s ideas for effective parenting, which teaches the next generation of kids how to become confident and secure adults.
Although Oprah was talking about power, I think success falls in the same category: If it’s not authentic to you, then you’ve fallen in the trap of conflating your success with that of your job title. When you wrap your identity around a job, a relationship, or a number in a bank account, you tie your self-worth to something you could lose — and that’s a recipe for psychological disaster.
If you “wait to feel successful” and make your happiness conditional, you’ll always remain miserable. I often think about Chris Hadfield, who was an astronaut for 21 years, but he only spent 6 months in space. He had to find a way to maintain a sense of purpose for a long period of time.
“I don’t wait until the end to feel successful,” he says. “I don’t say, ‘The only time I’m going to be happy is when I walk on the moon. If you wait until you walk on the moon, it still won’t be fun because it won’t turn out the way you envisioned.”
The secret to real, fulfilling success?
I’ll let Oprah take it away: “The secret is alignment: when you know for sure that you’re on course and doing exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, fulfilling your soul’s intention, your heart’s desire. When your life is on course with its purpose, you are at your most powerful. And though you may stumble, you will not fall.”
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— The novelist whose inventions went too far [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The American royal
— Harvard’s ice hockey coach under fire
— The therapists on TikTok
— The social media app trying to avoid a U.S. ban
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The novelist whose inventions went too far: After the Afro-Cuban novelist H.G. Carrillo died, his husband learned that almost everything he had shared about his life was made up – including his Cuban identity. In his writing, Carrillo invented a traumatic childhood in Cuba that never actually happened to him. This revelation caused a scandal in the literary world and raised questions about the ethics of using real-life experiences in fiction. This profile delves into larger questions about the role of truth in literature and the power dynamics between authors and their readers. (The New Yorker)
“There doesn’t seem to me anything great or admirable about deceiving people, especially young people, even if the fiction was spun charismatically.”
The American royal: Lisa Marie Presley was the closest thing America had to royalty. But living in Elvis’ shadow was an unimaginable struggle. She endured a turbulent ride: four marriages, four divorces, battles with addiction, family loss, and the airing of her train-wreck finances for the world to judge. “I’m a tabloid queen … princess … whatever you want to call me,” Presley said in 2003. In this profile, friends and collaborators recall Lisa Marie's rebel spirit and the mix of hope and heaviness that marked her final days. (Rolling Stone)
“I can’t imagine what it would have been to carry the responsibility of her father’s legacy.”
Harvard’s ice hockey coach under fire: Katey Stone, the coach of Harvard women’s ice hockey coach is under fire for misconduct. Stone, 56, has coached Harvard for 27 seasons and has more wins than any other female coach in collegiate women’s hockey history. Over the last month, The Athletic reviewed audio recordings, videos and email correspondence from players, school officials and others. What emerged from that reporting was a portrait of a program that, for most of Stone’s tenure, pushed and crossed the boundaries of acceptable treatment of athletes, players say, and in many years there were activities that some players considered hazing. (The Athletic; reply to this email if you can’t read the article)
“It was a mental-health Hunger Games.’”
The therapists on TikTok: What would you do if you went to see a therapist and then days later, found them posting TikTok videos using subject matter from your session as inspiration for content? Counselors have moved from beside the chaise longue and into users’ TikTok feeds, fueling debates about client privacy and the mental health profession. (WIRED)
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
The social media app trying to avoid a U.S. ban: Ahead of next week’s showdown in D.C. over ongoing national security concerns, the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok is considering all its options—from going along with a forced sale to taking the offensive. Here’s the question on everyone’s mind: If TikTok can figure out how to entertain individual US users so specifically and successfully, and TikTok is owned by a Chinese company, what could China do with that power? (Bloomberg; reply to this article if you can’t access this story)
“We face very significant headwinds in the trust space.”
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