FYI August 12, 13 & 14, 2019

On This Day

1323 – Signature of the Treaty of Nöteborg between Sweden and Novgorod Republic, which regulates the border between the two countries for the first time.
The Treaty of Nöteborg, also known as the Treaty of Oreshek (Swedish: Freden i Nöteborg, Russian: Ореховецкий мир, Finnish: Pähkinäsaaren rauha), is a conventional name for the peace treaty signed at Orekhovets (Swedish: Nöteborg, Finnish: Pähkinäsaari) on 12 August 1323. It was the first settlement between Sweden and the Novgorod Republic regulating their border. Three years later, Novgorod signed the Treaty of Novgorod with the Norwegians.

1645 – Sweden and Denmark sign Peace of Brömsebro.
The Second Treaty of Brömsebro (or the Peace of Brömsebro) was signed on 13 August 1645, and ended the Torstenson War, a local conflict that began in 1643 (and was part of the larger Thirty Years’ War) between Sweden and Denmark-Norway. Negotiations for the treaty began in February the same year.

1457 – Publication of the Mainz Psalter, the first book to feature a printed date of publication and printed colophon.
The Mainz Psalter was the second major book printed with movable type in the West;[1] the first was the Gutenberg Bible. It is a psalter commissioned by the Mainz archbishop in 1457. The Psalter introduced several innovations: it was the first book to feature a printed date of publication, a printed colophon, two sizes of type, printed decorative initials, and the first to be printed in three colours.[1] The colophon also contains the first example of a printer’s mark.[2] It was the first important publication issued by Johann Fust and Peter Schoeffer following their split from Johannes Gutenberg.


Born On This Day

1867 – Edith Hamilton, German-American author and educator (d. 1963)
Edith Hamilton (August 12, 1867 – May 31, 1963) was an American educator and internationally known[2] author who was one of the most renowned classicists of her era in the United States.[3] A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, she also studied in Germany at the University of Leipzig and the University of Munich. Hamilton began her career as an educator and head of the Bryn Mawr School, a private college preparatory school for girls in Baltimore, Maryland; however, Hamilton is best known for her essays and best-selling books on ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.

Hamilton’s second career as an author began after her retirement from Bryn Mawr School in 1922. She was sixty-two years old when her first book, The Greek Way, was published in 1930. It was an immediate success and a featured selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club in 1957. Hamilton’s other notable works include The Roman Way (1932), The Prophets of Israel (1936), Mythology (1942), and The Echo of Greece (1957).

Critics have acclaimed Hamilton’s books for their lively interpretations of ancient cultures, and she is described as the classical scholar who “brought into clear and brilliant focus the Golden Age of Greek life and thought … with Homeric power and simplicity in her style of writing”.[4] Her works are said to influence modern lives through a “realization of the refuge and strength in the past” to those “in the troubled present.”[5] Hamilton’s younger sister was Alice Hamilton, an expert in industrial toxicology and the first woman appointed to the faculty of Harvard University.


1904 – Margaret Tafoya, Native American Pueblo potter (d. 2001)[8]
Maria Margarita “Margaret” Tafoya (Tewa name: Corn Blossom; August 13, 1904 – February 25, 2001)[1] was the matriarch of Santa Clara Pueblo potters.[2] She was a recipient of a 1984 National Heritage Fellowship awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States government’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.[3]

1848 – Margaret Lindsay Huggins, Anglo-Irish astronomer and author (d. 1915)
Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins (14 August 1848 in Dublin – 24 March 1915 in London),[1] born Margaret Lindsay Murray, was an Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-wrote the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra (1899).[9][10]




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Stephen Guise: 10 Clever Tips for Better Conversations

Conversations are the foundation of all relationships. Thus, conversation skills are important, but they’re often overlooked. I can’t think of a time I purposefully worked on my conversation skills. We do get better at them just by talking to others, but there are still “blind spots” that can make a big difference if addressed. We don’t always come across how we think we do or how we would like.

I came across a TEDx Talk about how to have good conversations and found the information incredibly valuable. The speech is very well delivered, too (I laughed multiple times).

Link to the speech (youtube): How to Have a Good Conversation by Celeste Headlee

Here are her tips in written form, though I do recommend watching the video for complete context (it’s 12 minutes).

1. Don’t multitask. Don’t be halfway in a conversation. Be in it or out of it.
2. Don’t pontificate, which is stating an opinion without the opportunity for response, argument, or discussion. Enter every conversation assuming that you have something to learn. Set aside your personal opinion. Everyone you meet knows something that you don’t. Everyone is an expert in something.
3. Who, what, where, when, how? Let them describe it.
4. Go with the flow. Thoughts will come and go. Don’t force the direction of conversation.
5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. If they’re talking about the time they lost a family member, don’t start talking about the time that you lost a family member. If they start talking about the trouble they’re having at work, don’t start talking about how you hate your job. It’s never the same. All experiences are individual.
7. Try not to repeat yourself. It can come across as condescending and it’s really boring. We tend to do it a lot in work situations and conversations with our kids.
8. Stay out of the weeds. People don’t care about the minutiae. What they care about is you.
9. Listen.

“If your mouth is open, you’re not learning.” (Buddha)
“No man ever listened his way out of a job.”(Calvin Coolidge)
“Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand, we listen with the intent to reply.” (Stephen Covey)

10. Be brief.

How great are these tips? The one that struck me the most is #6. I do that ALL the time. I think I’m being relatable by sharing a similar experience, but instead I’m making their issue or concern about me. At the very least, I want to acknowledge their feelings and unique situation before I say anything about myself.

Which ones can you improve? As Celeste says in the beginning of the speech, improving even one of these could have a profoundly positive effect on your conversations and relationships.


Stephen Guise

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