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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Dec 25, 2019

Rahaf Harfoush is a Digital Anthropologist, Strategist, and Best-Selling Author who focuses on the intersections between emerging technology, innovation, and the impact they have on our culture. She is also the Executive Director of Red Thread Institute of Digital Culture, which teaches innovation and emerging business models at Sciences Politique’s Master’s of Economics and Finance program in Paris. Rahaf offers insight as to why the hustle culture isn’t going away, the need for leaders to adapt to new learning methodologies, and how we can be productive with less time.


Key Takeaways

[3:00] What is a digital anthropologist? Rahaf studies how emerging technologies influence our culture.

[5:25] Leaders have the daunting task of managing a wide variety of new information coming to them. They are struggling to keep up and understand what’s relevant and what’s not.

[7:45] We are taught to consume information in a very linear fashion. You go to a class, you exit that class, you do it enough times and you get a degree. The information in this class is focused and specific. However, our ecosystem is now infinite and we haven’t adapted our learning styles to keep up with this.

[9:25] Leaders need to have a bit of vulnerability in them to admit that they don’t know everything. It’s difficult because they’re seen as the go-to person for answers, but the rapid growth of our technology makes it impossible for anyone to truly know everything. Leaders need to freely admit that they don’t have the answers.

[14:25] Rahaf’s book, Hustle & Float, came from the result of burnout. Rahaf understood the importance of rest, so why wasn’t she doing it?

[17:35] Your brain needs unstructured time to be creative, but our work culture doesn’t allow room for this.

[21:55] Leaders are overworking themselves because they are suffering from ‘work devotion.’ We sacrifice not seeing our families for our work because it showcases to the world how much of a hardworking individual we are.

[24:15] It’s the American Dream dilemma: If you haven’t achieved your perceived level of success, it must be because you’re not working hard enough.

[32:55] The answer to achieving better productivity is to create systems that are custom-tailored to the individual so that they have time to listen, reflect, and innovate.

[39:30] What value does it have to tell the other person that you’ve read a message or not? There is so much added stress and pressure to respond ‘right now.’

[46:10] Joe Biden has expressed that if his staff miss out on important family events in favor of doing work for him, it would disappoint him greatly. Sometimes you need leaders to just spell it out as plainly and bluntly as that. Be a supportive leader.

[49:45] How can you change the company culture for the better? Start having uncomfortable conversations with yourself about your own work identity, and then carry this dialogue over to your team’s work identity.


Quotable Quotes

  • “Technology is changing the way that we relate to each other; the way we communicate and maintain friendships.”
  • “There’s an expectation of a leader to manage everything and sort of know everything.
  • Do I have the courage to raise my hand and say, ‘We need to ask questions’?”
  • “We have created this intensely complex relationship with work. We’ve linked work with our identities and self-worth.
  • We are asking people to tackle complex problems and yet we’re creating work cultures that make it hard for people to accomplish this.


  • How to Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work

Hustle & Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work,
by Rahaf Harfoush

Twitter: @rahafharfoush

Medium: @rahafharfoush


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Strategic Partners


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