Briefing Notes: It’s not just the laughter, is it?

Published: July 5, 2020

The 30th | a Longevity Edition


At 98, Carl Reiner – writer, director, actor – died last week in his home in California.

Mel Brooks once asked Reiner if laughter was what’s keeping them alive. Reiner said, “While your alive, you can laugh. When you’re dead, the laughter is so difficult. So difficult.”

With Reiner, Brooks, Betty White, et al, we can see that having a healthy sense of humor has something to do with longevity. Sure, it’s the laughter. But upon reflection on Reiner’s life, there appears to be more than that.

It’s having a laugh with the people who know us better than anyone else.

It’s having something to say — ideally something that makes people smile or laugh or think — and sharing that with others.

And it’s having the stamina and willingness to keep doing that until the day we leave this earth.

In his final years, Reiner was always writing a book, going on podcasts, granting interviews. Reiner was active on Twitter until hours before he died. One of his tweets during his final weekend reflected his continued love for his late wife, Estelle, to whom he was married for 64 years.

I loved reading WaPo’s reflection on Carl Reiner’s life. Instead of the usual recitation of the legendary scope of Reiner’s career, it was instead a perspective on what Reiner was up to during his final days.

The stamina is startling. The stamina IS the story, along with the laughter.

I found this altogether more inspiring and instructive than all the other articles written about him this past week.


Switching from climbing a corporate ladder to starting a small business meant I was in for a steep learning curve. Back in the day, this would have meant investing loads of money on a business program and school on nights and weekends. Thankfully, we now have access to JIT training and bite-sized programs that fit our busy schedules. I couldn’t have done it without the online classes at Creative Live.

If you’re starting out in your self-employment or business ownership journey, you’ll want to take advantage of these best-selling business basics classes on discount.* Good luck with your new venture!

*P.S. This is an affiliate link.


  • How to curb our anger. Because it’s going to interfere with the sense of humor thing that I was just talking about. And we’re living in a big anger incubator right now.
  • How to truly relax. Because apparently, I’m not doing it right. And maybe neither are you?
  • How to buy a bike. Everything you ever needed to know. Because longevity. And it’s 2020. Riding a bike isn’t quite like ‘riding a bike’ anymore.


“When we do something consistently and persistently, we become a different person.” — Ryan Holiday


This month, the Czech Republic joined a handful of countries (incl US, China, Russia, Italy, and Mexico) where 3D printing a house is for real. Prvok (the house’s moniker) has a green roof, built to last over 100 years, and can float. Says the artist, “In the future, the owners can crush the building once it has run its useful life, and print it again with the same material directly on the location.” Count me in.


… when our family huddled around transistor radios or when we danced with our friends from hits blaring out of a boom box? Forty years ago, in June 1980, America was introduced to the Walkman. And the days of music being a shared experience began its slow fade out. Susan Blond, a VP of CBS Records once said, “With the advent of the Sony Walkman came the end of meeting people. You put the Walkman on and you blot out the rest of the world.” At that time, this phenomenon was called “the Walkman Effect”. Today, it’s impossible to imagine life without smartphones and noise-cancelling earbuds. Today, what was once called a phenomenon is simply our normal. Perhaps more importantly, it’s allowing us to survive a time when we can’t huddle and meet at all.


100 Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity
by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott.

Drawing on the unique pairing of their experience in psychology and economics, Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott offer an analysis to help you rethink retirement, your finances, your education, your career, and your relationships to create a fulfilling 100-year life.

This plus other recommended reads here.


🎙 Season 4 is in development 💃 and the podcast is currently on hiatus. But you can revisit Season 2 (The Side Hustle Series) and Season 3 (Career Continuity and Resilience) in the meantime. Barring any difficulties (as has been typical of 2020!), the new season starts on August 6th.


Briefing Notes is researched, written, and edited by me alone. Each issue takes hours to produce and requires paid subscriptions to numerous journals, magazines, and books to get the widest and best source of information. If you find value in the newsletter, I’d so much appreciate you subsidizing my coffee habit 😊 It helps with the research and the writing!

Buy Me a Coffee


On our last family zoom call, my niece asked about our plans for the 4th of July. (It’s a holiday weekend here in the US.)

My response, “Oh, same as what I did the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that…”

It’s all the same day for me these days. Except I’m wearing a mask.

Here’s to a productive, safe, and sane week ahead. Send over any comments, the song you kept playing on that Walkman, and the recipé for your favorite cocktail.

Cool beans,
Lou Blaser


A former management consultant and IT leader, Lou Blaser is the editor of Briefing Notes and the host of the Second Breaks podcast. She is also the author of Break Free: The Courage to Reinvent Yourself and Your career. Lou’s work is focused on helping experienced professionals navigate an evolving work landscape so they can continue their impact and relevance in a changing world.

The world of work is changing.

Stay smart about it.

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