The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working

For most of my adult life, I’ve accepted the incredibly durable myth that some people are born with special talents and gifts, and that the potential to truly excel in any given pursuit is largely determined by our genetic inheritance.

During the past year, I’ve read no fewer than five books — and a raft of scientific research — which powerfully challenge that assumption (see below for a list). I’ve also written one, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, which lays out a guide, grounded in the science of high performance, to systematically building your capacity physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

Read the article: Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

The Millenials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change.

Generations, like people, have personalities, and Millennials – the American teens and twenty-somethings currently making the passage into adulthood – have begun to forge theirs: confident, self-expressive, liberal, upbeat and receptive to new ideas and ways of living. [pewsocialtrends.org]

Comment: Personally, I think being around 75% Millenial is good any above that may actually be deteriorating, but that’s just a perspective, take the quiz yourself to know how ‘Millenial’ you are.

Read the article:
Millennials: A Portrait of Generation Next – Pew Research Center

The Gervais Principle

The Sociopaths enter and exit organizations at will, at any stage, and do whatever it takes to come out on top. They contribute creativity in early stages of a organization’s life, neurotic leadership in the middle stages, and cold-bloodedness in the later stages, where they drive decisions like mergers, acquisitions and layoffs that others are too scared or too compassionate to drive. The Losers like to feel good about their lives. They are the happiness seekers, rather than will-to-power players, and enter and exit reactively, in response to the meta-Darwinian trends in the economy. But they have no more loyalty to the firm than the sociopaths. They do have a loyalty to individual people, and a commitment to finding fulfillment through work when they can, and coasting when they cannot. The Clueless are the ones who lack the competence to circulate freely through the economy (unlike sociopaths and losers), and build up a perverse sense of loyalty to the firm, even when events make it abundantly clear that the firm is not loyal to them. To sustain themselves, they must be capable of fashioning elaborate delusions based on idealized notions of the firm — the perfectly pathological entities we mentioned. Unless squeezed out by forces they cannot resist, they hang on as long as possible, long after both sociopaths and losers have left.

The Gervais Principle is this: Sociopaths, in their own best interests, knowingly promote over-performing losers into middle-management, groom under-performing losers into sociopaths, and leave the average bare-minimum-effort losers to fend for themselves.

Read the article: The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office”

The Economics Of Fear

Scientific studies have shown that you can destroy a child by calling them “smart.” Even when they’re very young, little kids know that being “smart” is what makes them special – and so, the first time they encounter something they don’t understand immediately, it’s a threat. Their specialness is in danger of being stripped away. And if they lose that smartness, then what are they? Kids who are called smart take fewer chances. Why risk all that glorious social acclaim for a stupid test? And if you don’t really try, then you can still be smart – you may have potential, but even a six-year-old knows that having the potential to be smart gives you more benefits than finding out that no, you’re not really smart at all. Far better to tell a kid that they’re hard working. Hard work is something you can’t take away. Hard work is something that can always be improved. Smart can just… vanish.

Read the article: The Economics Of Fear

The End of Science

Scientists are trained to recognize that correlation is not causation, that no conclusions should be drawn simply on the basis of correlation between X and Y (it could just be a coincidence). Instead, you must understand the underlying mechanisms that connect the two. Once you have a model, you can connect the data se ts with confidence. Data without a model is just noise.

There is now a better way. Petabytes allow us to say: “Correlation is enough.” We can stop looking for models. We can analyze the data without hypotheses about what it might show. We can throw the numbers into the biggest computing clusters the world has ever seen and let statistical algorithms find patterns where science cannot. Via Computer Program Self-Discovers Laws of Physics.

Read the article: The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete

The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox

You can think of this traditional concept of the search for marriage partners as a kind of an auction. In this auction, some women will be more confident of their prospects, others less so. In game-theory terms, you would call the first group “strong bidders” and the second “weak bidders.” Your first thought might be that the “strong bidders”—women who (whether because of looks, social ability, or any other reason) are conventionally deemed more of a catch—would consistently win this kind of auction.

But this is not true…

Read the article: Game theory explains dinner-party dates

Smart ways to prepare for a world beyond recession

Governments around the world are grappling with some of the toughest decisions faced in generations. In severe recession, they are collectively considering as much as $4,500bn (€3,600bn, £3,200bn) in stimulus investments.

Read the article: Smart ways to prepare for a world beyond recession

Decision time

So how should we make a decision? The key is something called metacognition, or thinking about thinking. Because the mind is like a Swiss Army knife – it’s stuffed full of different mental tools, each of which is well-suited to a specific situation – it’s essential that we learn how to adjust our thought process to the task at hand.

Read the article: Decision time