The Reliants Project #32

How networks shape our lives

Thanks for signing up to all the new readers! Here are some nuggets about how networks shape your wellbeing, relationships and community to help you actively cultivate yours.


Assessing the Association Between Social Gatherings and COVID-19 Risk Using Birthdays has identified what is being described as the “birthday effect”. Households that celebrated a birthday within the previous 2 weeks were significantly more likely to have members that tested positive for Covid-19. The correlation is even stronger if it was a child’s birthday. It’s incredibly difficult to deal with the fact that our cultural rituals to gather and celebrate are at odds with our desire to protect our loved ones.


For those of you who were paying attention to the Euros, you might have noticed that England made it to the finals! It was a heartbreaking loss for fans, but there’s a fascinating back story about how the manager built such a successful team. Euros 2020: What all of us can learn from Gareth Southgate highlights how the team addressed the challenges of homophily, group think, and echo chambers by bringing diverse perspectives to the table.

At first, football insiders were horrified by this group, with negative articles appearing in the British press. We are not "footballing men". But this is why the group is capable of offering fresh insights on preparation, diet, data, mental fortitude and more. This is sometimes called "divergent" thinking to contrast it with the "convergence" of echo chambers.

"I like listening to people who know things that I don't," Southgate told me. "That's how you learn."


If you listened to our podcast mini-series focused on conversation, you’ll recognise Georgie Nightingall in How to Become a Master at Talking to Strangers.

She came to believe, too — and this is important — that making a practice of talking to strangers could offer more than a jolt of good feeling for an individual. There was joy in it, profundity, real communion. If practiced widely enough, she believed it could help repair a fracturing society. “We’re not just talking about a few individualized things,” she says. “We’re talking about a different way to live.”

Want to get a taste of what she teaches? You can listen to our mini-series here:

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About The Reliants Project

Reliant is my word for a person that someone depends on, an essential component of our social networks. With each edition, I’ll share useful nuggets about how networks shape your wellbeingrelationships, and community to help you actively cultivate yours. Whether you want to make better introductions, build better social products and services, or activate networks to make an impact in the world, let me help you reach your goals.

You can find more about The Reliants Project here.