The Attachment Point – Slackchat #8: Recent Loves

Welcome to The Attachment Point. This is our SlackChat content where volunteers on The Insurance Nerds Slack Channel (join here) discuss various topics. We do very little editing (so excuse the typos) and we try to keep it as conversational as possible. Enjoy!

Tony Canas: Hi everyone. This week’s question is: What was the last book you LOVED? And why?

Steven Griswold: Ship of Theseus by JJ Abrams/Doug Dorst. It’s more of an experience than a book and hard to explain. It’s a novel, but adds innovative printing/assembly techniques to layer a second narrative via handwritten notes in the margins and found objects embedded in the pages (e.g. postcards, news clippings).  Almost like a printed ARG.

Carly Burnham: ARG? I don’t know this acronym.

Steven Griswold: Alternate Reality Game. It’s when a narrative uses transmedia and real world storytelling / audience participation.  Essentially making it feel like you get to “participate” in the narrative instead of just view.

Carly Burnham: OOOOh! That sounds like fun!

Steven Griswold: With this book, you’re reading the novel, but at the same time reading the dialogue between these two scholars of the author’s work, and watching them try to solve a mystery.

Ryan Deeds: Life 3.0 was a huge help in understanding the reality of AI and the limitations. I thought it was a very good primer for how AI may manifest and what different paths it may take.

Megan Whittemore: The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. It’s an alternate take on history based on the idea that the Black Death killed 99% of Europe. It spans the intervening centuries with a complex set of seemingly disparate stories, each intensely colorful, that tie together through basic humanity, correlating human social and technological breakthroughs, and a core group of characters being reincarnated. It was a slog to get through this novel, but at the end I was made emotional by the experience.

Nick Lamparelli: Moneyball by Michael Lewis. I’ve read it a few times and I just love the story of this nobody from Kansas City who upended everything we thought we knew about baseball. It wasn’t fancy math or anything, just logic backed by numbers.

Tony Canas: I figured you read Moneyball years ago! Weren’t you a fantasy sports fanatic for a while?

Nick Lamparelli: yes. no longer. but the book influenced how I think about everything.

Carly Burnham: Recently, I’ve been all-consumed with Bill’s book “When Words Collide“, but before that book, which I did LOVE for MANY reasons, and you can hear me talk about that on Profiles in Risk: Episode 73.

The last book that I loved was The Art of Asking which I read last summer. I also loved this for many reasons: Amanda Palmer’s voice is enjoyable and conversational, her view of the world was refreshing, and in 2017, I particularly needed to read about the good in the world, and I found her life experiences personally moving, especially her discussion of her marriage to Neil Gaiman.  It was also useful in thinking about my career path: taking the idea of asking for what you need or want in to the office has served me well. Finally, though this book is not classified as a “Women’s Studies” book, Amanda gives a perspective on experiencing the world as a woman that I think is useful for anyone thinking about the gender politics of the moment.

Taryn recently reviewed “The Art of Asking” for the site, and you can find her thoughts here.

Tony Canas: It’s a really fun read, which I didn’t expect

Carly Burnham: Which one?

Tony Canas: When Words Collide! I thought I replied to that specifically

 Carl T. Moulton: Threat Vector by Tom Clancy – As a Retired Naval Officer I always loved his style of writing.  It blended technical truth with believable stories, still with the good guys winning!  Starting with Hunt for Red October  Threat Vector was the last book he wrote before he passed.

Nick Lamparelli: I am reading some non-fiction on Stalingrad. I have never read Clancy, but bet I would love it!

Ryan Deeds: That’s funny – I’ve read 3-4 books on Stalingrad and I’m kind of a history buff

Nick Lamparelli: Im fanatical. Ive gotten strange looks on airplanes because I constantly have WW2 documentaries on and there is always Nazi flags flying on my screens during the documentaries. Honestly, I get mean looks.  I have an idea for a book. It’s Dec 7th. The Japanese are planning a surprise air and sea attach. But it’s not Pearl Harbor. It’s Vladivostok Russia!

Ryan Deeds: I read the storm of war which I thought was an awesome overview of ww2 and I’m on the 2nd book of Atkinsons liberation trilogy. I agree man I spend a ton of time on YouTube with ww2 and I play the hell out of hearts of iron 4 which would allow your scenario.

Nick Lamparelli: we have a lot to discuss. As I was feeding my kid breakfast this morning I was watching a youtube documentary on Soviet T34 tanks we need to hang out!

Carl T. Moulton: Let me know if you dudes have any USN questions for me!

Sergio Variu: Principles by Ray Dalio

Eric Lindbloom: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

An absolutely outstanding book that takes a look at all the biases people have in their decision making. Has really made be stop and think when making decisions, or picking a point of view, whether I am thinking with System 1 (fast, intuitive and emotional) or System 2 ( deliberate and logical).

If I can be indulged to provide two, the next would be Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s basically a history of humans and talks about the how and why of decisions we have made to become “civilized” and whether we can influence what comes next. His book Homo Deus which looks at the future of humanity is on my desk to read soon.

Patrick Whalen: That was an incredible piece of storytelling. Sometimes the main story “Ship of Theseus” dragged but the overlaying stories were intriguing enough to keep the whole thing moving, especially as the relationship between the two main characters evolved.

  1. I’ve been continuing my journey through the John Le Carre “George Smiley” novels with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Call for the Dead (and currently working through The Looking Glass War). As a big espionage fan I really appreciate the mostly factual insights into the world of spydom.
  2. Artemis by Andy Weir (The Martian). His storytelling is always a little weak but his worldbuilding is fantastic.
  3. And finally Hitmakers: The Science of Popularity in the Age of Distraction. Derek Thompson puts together a great piece on how things become hits (hint: a lot of the familiar + the unexpected + timing).

Nick Lamparelli: This SlackChat is depressing. I just won’t ever have time to read all of these books.

Tony Canas: Audiobooks instead of podcasts (except PiF of course), that’s my poison

Nick Lamparelli: I wish I could work and listen, but I can’t focus on work and listen at the same time. When I used to live in California, I had a 25 minute bike ride back and forth to work. I devoured a ton of audiobooks then.

The good ole day

Tony Canas: Heads down work, of course not. Clerical or repetitive work yup. Also while traveling

Rob Galbraith: Here are 3 relatively recent reads that still hold up well for me:

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky was written 10 years ago but still has a ton of relevance on the shift in power dynamics in our social media world,  As most of you know, I’m a big Twitter (@Robgalb) and LinkedIn guy and honestly do not know how I would do my job without these tools AND stunned that most people do not actively use them daily in their business life.  Understanding their power and using them will allow you to advance quickly.

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly is a tremendous book to process the 12 technology forces that are changing our world, so a good one to reflect one and simply process what is happening in this dizzying era of fundamental changes driven by tech.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni can really help pinpoint organizational dysfunction, why it happens and, most importantly, how to diagnose it.  As a young professional, you aren’t always in a position to fix it, but awareness of what is happening and the standard root causes is hugely beneficial to keep your sanity.

Sergio Variu:  Rob, why only twitter and linkedin? Why not Facebook? I think Facebook is the best platform to connect with prospects

Nick Lamparelli: I find that LinkedIn and Twitter get more professional conversations. Facebook is for personal stuff and tougher to get meaningful dialogue going

Rob Galbraith: So I agree with Nick – with a small caveat.  I do feel that FB is mostly for personal stuff – in fact, sometimes I feel creepy spotting professional colleagues on there sharing pictures and activities that make me blush!  My only caveat is that the few times I post the same content on FB that I do on Twitter and LinkedIn, it gets a ton of views/likes/comments relative to the small number of people I’ve friended there.  It can be a powerful medium, no two ways about it! Just too much “personal junk” out there for my liking – hard to cut through the clutter.

I’ve written FB’s obituary so many times – always wondering “who uses FB any more?” – then every time I check it, all my friends are there!  I’ll grouse when no one is active on Twitter or LinkedIn and think “everyone must be busy” – busy posting on FB!

So FB is “not quite dead yet”!  (But if it does die, I won’t cry at its funeral)

Sergio Variu: Rob, your colleagues, your customers, your boss, your prospects, your competitors … all are on Facebook. They most likely use it every day. Linkedin is this platform where people put on a “serious face” and go there to post stuff related to their business hoping it will get them more business. Twitter is the same…most go in tweet or automate their tweets and get out.


Facebook is the most active and engaging platform… I do believe business should be p2p (people 2 people). Your prospect posts pictures about his newborn? Good, this is the perfect opportunity to congratulate him.

Also groups are a different story…most groups on Facebook are active, engaged, people are professional and you get really good conversations going… compare it with Linkedin groups where everyone just advertises their crap. Twitter as well … everyone advertises their crap hoping someone will click

Rob Galbraith: Sergio, I get it – everyone is on FB!  Just feels weird to me to mix business and pleasure – finding the right balance is hard IMHO

Clearly not everyone feels the same way so perhaps I am in the minority.

Chris Murphy: Power of Moments was great. I love everything by the Heath Brothers because they make complex topics so simple. I model a lot of my speaking and writing after their style. It wasn’t as good as their other 3 books but I still enjoyed every page.

Rob Galbraith: Chris, In what order would you rank the Heath brothers books?

Chris Murphy: Switch, Made to Stick, Decisive, Power of Moments

Jen Overhulse: Lately, I’ve been reading lots of Jo Nesbo, but before I got started on that I loved “American Gods” by Neil Gaiman and “Stories of Your Life and Others” by Ted Chiang. I’ve never been one that likes a lot of symbolism, but Gaiman’s symbolism works on SOOOO many levels, calling the trappings of technology and modern society into serious question. Chiang’s book includes an amazing story about the Tower of Babel. Anyway, these might not appeal to others, but they certainly appealed to me.





About Carly Burnham

Carly Burnham began her insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. She got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how she fell in love with the industry. She saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. When Carly moved to Des Moines in 2010, she decided to commit to the industry, and she completed her CPCU in one year finishing it in 2012 and attending commencement in New Orleans. She completed her MBA at Iowa State University in 2014. During this time, she and Tony founded a Gen Y Associate Resource Group at Nationwide in Des Moines. After they had both left Nationwide, Tony recruited Carly to co-author and manage She has the difficult task of keeping his constant flow of crazy ideas focused and helping to flesh them out into useful articles. Carly enjoys sharing knowledge and ideas about the future of the industry and finds the website a good outlet for this passion. Carly is involved in the the CPCU Society Underwriting Interest Group. She also writes "Next Wave" a monthly column in the "Perspectives" section of Best's Review.

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