I learned about The Listserve from Yoav Shapira, a former co-worker (and adventure-racing friend) of mine.
The Listserve is a growing email list of 20,000+ readers. Each day, one of the subscribers from the list is randomly chosen and wins the opportunity to write an email to the list. It’s a social experiment that I’ve been happy to be a part of the last two months. While I have not yet won the opportunity to write an email to 20,000+ people, I’ve enjoyed the many emails from around the world that are sent to my inbox each day.
Here are 3 of my favorite Listserve emails:
Email 1: David Evans
I’m going to tell you about an inspirational person. He loved to push himself to the limits, the sports he loved were always ones where he could use his brain, expeditions, climbing, bouldering, kayaking, orienteering, he maintained his nerdy ways.
I don’t want to give you the wrong impression that he was really intelligent there was that one time we drove all the way to a festival for the day, he got out the car and realised he had no shoes on ‘Oh shit got no shoes on, we’ll have to go back’, that was kind of stupid.
He did use his intelligence to get a degree in Mechanical Engineering and teach children Kayaking and climbing, but I liked to remind him of the stupid moments more than these.
His determination and complete love of life led him in so many directions, being a DJ, learning to fly a plane, and all the while he wanted to better himself. He came back from India and wanted to learn so much about spirituality, religion and philosophy, he had a desire to know why we were here.
He always wanted more, more adventure, more knowledge, more achievement.
You would never guess this on a night in Liverpool when he would turn into the craziest party animal. One night, he was dressed up as a paramedic for a fancy dress party, ordered a pint of Red Bull and a pint of vodka, dancing the night away to techno taking a gulp from each one in turn.
I could spend hours telling you about his life but put simply he was just so nice, and kind and hilarious, someone everyone of you would love to have as a friend.
David Evans is my older brother, he died 1 July 2011 in Chamonix, France in a climbing accident. He was 24 but lived such a meaningful life that inspires me everyday to live my life through and for him.
David’s advice would be what his tattoo said, he would tell every single one of you with a huge smile on his face and in his deep scouse accent ‘Learn from yesterday, live for today’.
And If I could tell him one thing I would answer his question of why he was here, I’d say that he was here to infect so many lives with the love, determination and inspiration that guided his.
Email 2: Intelligence & How to Get It
You are what you know.
A contemporary view of intelligence finds that it is the sum of two factors:
G(f) is fluid intelligence- the size of your working memory, how ‘fast you think’ etc.
G(c) is concrete intelligence- a measure of how much factual information you have acquired.
Learning more information then is the key to greater intelligence.
Hart and Risley (1995) found that children in non-working households heard, on average, 616 words per hour, while children from professional families heard 2153. By the age of three this totaled a difference of 30 million words. Less well off children are exposed to fewer concepts- and develop less concrete intelligence.
Research into memory and cognitive neuroscience has soundly shown that the learning of new material is much more efficient if you already know a body of linked material.
Eric Hanushek’s work suggests that a good teacher can get 1.5 years of learning growth in one year, a bad teacher 0.5. The consequences of a bad teacher for a number of years in a row can be devastating. Note that many of our most challenging schools struggle to attract good teachers.
Finally, we know which classroom practices most enhance learning and achievement. We have a well-developed science of learning- but you’ll have to look very hard to find proof of this in our schools. It’s long overdue that schools, classrooms and teachers applied what works, and the folk pedagogy and traditions that guide our educational institutions were replaced by evidence-driven practice.
Dr Mark Evans
Email 3: Little Kid
As a college student/intern/tutor/babysitter/freelance writer figuring out what I want to do with my life, I wouldn’t be where I am now without the help of some amazing people who helped me early on in my career. They could have easily ignored me and dismissed me as a “little kid,” but instead, they took me under their wing and gave me work experience, guidance, and time that I will always value.
Thank you to the editor of the Town Journal in Ridgewood, NJ. At 14, I sent you my book report on the Odyssey as well as suggested that I become the paper’s next book reviewer. You didn’t laugh, but invited me into your office for a meeting, where you offered me the position. I was elated. You worked with me through awful draft after awful draft peppered with nonsensical words from the thesaurus because I thought they sounded fancy (and New York Times-esque). You sent me long e-mails full of suggestions about how to improve my writing, and I took each one to heart. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to work with me and allowing me to pursue what I thought was merely a dream.
Thank you to Kate Jackson of HarperCollins Publishers. After I wrote an article in the Town Journal about my disdain for teen books, she wrote an editorial in response. I then asked if we could meet and discuss our differing opinions on teen literature, and she agreed. When we met, she offered me a summer internship at the company in the children’s editorial department. Kate and the team I worked with that summer were incredible, and it made me realize that writing will always be a part of my life.
My point here is that if you’re young, don’t be afraid to do what you love. I used to think that I had to be of a certain age to accomplish certain things, but I don’t think that way any longer. Age isn’t a barrier to accomplishments, and it doesn’t define who you are. Always strive to achieve, no matter how old you are.
New York, NY
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