Day 9: Ira Glass

This is sort of a weird thing to do, but I just really want to talk about and focus on Ira Glass, who I can say with some level of confidence is my favorite radio host. He is described by Wikipedia as an American public radio personality and the host and producer of the podcast This American Life. Recently, I began listening to this program, which I can say with some level of confidence is my favorite podcast, that talks about a variety of nonfictions journalistic stories told along a certain theme. For example, this week’s episode was entitled “Call for Help” and was, surprisingly enough, about various people asking for help, from a stranded family on a sailboat in the Pacific issuing a distress call to an autistic adopted child finding a friend.

The stories aren’t always so interesting, but the way Ira connects them between parts of the show is just so appealing. He speaks rather softly in a dulcet, perfect-for-radio voice and always seems to talk in an easy-to-understand way. For someone who is so clearly intellectual and well-learned, it is immensely refreshing that he talks just like me, someone 39 years my senior who feels like he could be my best friend. As the program progresses, he often shares his opinions, which are often filled with humor, about different stories which so often are similar to my own and really allow me to relate to him.

Furthermore, he often gives interviews or talks at various important venues like Talks at Google, where he speaks eloquently about nearly everything. In particular, I’m a fan of this snippet of an interview where he talks about the creative process, which sort of serves as an inspiration of this whole project that I’m working on. The principles that Ira outlines in it are just like the ones in The Crossroads of Should and Must (see Day 1). Interestingly enough, Ira is cousin’s with the successful composer Phillip Glass who happens to be mentioned in the book, as an example of someone who found their must late in life (at age 42 after working as a plumber).

Ultimately, Ira Glass serves as an inspiration for me in terms of creative work and communication. Communication is the foundation of everything, from relationships to leadership. I aspire to become as eloquent as Ira by simply observing what he does. He doesn’t speak faultlessly, often having “uh”s and “ums” in his speech, yet he always speaks clearly and at a perfect pace that is always completely understandable.


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