Episode 1

Published on:

6th Mar 2024

Gil Friend: Can the World Work?

In this episode of How My View Grew, discover how sustainability pioneer Gil Friend found his footing...and a commitment to a world that works for all life. At an extraordinary summer workshop filled with aliveness and curiosity, he found a new answer to the question, "Can the world work?"

About the guest

Gil Friend is an inaugural member of the Sustainability Hall of Fame. He was named by the Guardian as one of the ten most influential sustainability voices in America. He served as the first chief sustainability officer for Palo Alto, California. He founded and runs both Natural Logic, Inc. and Critical Path Capital.

Key takeaways

  • 1:37 An early belief that things are terrible and it's their fault
  • 7:33 Learning to plan backwards from the future
  • 13:12 Gil is tapped on the shoulder, saying "Go this way."
  • 17:15 Moods are the resonant frequencies of groups
  • 24:46 You can point fingers at others, or you can design the future
  • 26:30 Let's try capitalism by removing the subsidies for fossil fuel industries
  • 30:24 Amiel's reflections on the conversation


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About the Podcast

How My View Grew
Origin stories of big ideas about humanity's challenges
If you’re weary of political polarization, nothing is more refreshing than nuanced thinking: ideas that reveal the complexity of what’s wrong in the world and how to make it better. But where does such thinking come from? Often, it’s from someone changing their mind—letting go of an old perspective and growing into a new one. Join executive coach Amiel Handelsman as he interviews nuanced thinkers about the origin stories of their big ideas. Each story offers a window into one of humanity’s greatest challenges like climate change, democracy, the culture wars, the wealth gap, Ukraine, and Israel. In weeks between interviews, Amiel offers tips for training your mind to navigate complex topics and difficult conversations.

About your host

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Amiel Handelsman

Amiel Handelsman is an executive coach, writer, and seasoned interviewer. As a coach, he has 25 years of experience helping leaders and teams navigate complexity. His clients have included C-level business executives, college presidents, middle managers, and teams at every level. He specializes in helping people reframe complex situations and build new conversation habits.

Amiel’s books include Reimagining American Identity, Practice Greatness, and How to Be an Anti-race Antiracist. He writes frequently for Medium about democracy, culture, and the Middle East and has been featured in Fast Company. Recently, Governing.com profiled his experience as a climate migrant.

As an interviewer, Amiel got his start at age eleven asking computer experts about software piracy. Fifteen years later, he got his feet wet conducting biographical interviews for a self-designed family oral history. As an adult, Amiel gained practice by interviewing hundreds of executives and hosting a leadership podcast for five years. He is known for deep-dive interviews that make people think.

One podcast guest, best-selling author Peter Block, commented on Amiel’s extensive preparation by saying, “You frighten me.”

Amiel created How My View Grew to bring together two interests: a commitment to exploring humanity’s challenges with nuance and a curiosity about how people change their minds. In each interview, a big thinker shares the origin story of an idea about climate, democracy, politics, the Middle East, and other complex issues. In between interviews, Amiel offers tips for expanding your perspective and navigating difficult conversations.

Amiel lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan with his wife and two sons. Go Blue!

“How My View Grew dives deep into humanity’s challenges by looking at big thinkers who have changed their minds.”