Monday September 08, 2014
Welcome to the very first edition of Granted, my brand-new newsletter highlighting interesting content about work and behavior. These are some of the articles and videos that I’ve enjoyed recently:
From Around the Web:
1. Getting Over Procrastination
Want to hear Maria Konnikova’s favorite procrastination joke?
She’ll tell you later. But you might want to read this now.
2. The Power of Two
“Help! I need somebody… Help! Not just anybody…” What John Lennon and Paul McCartney can teach us about the successes (and challenges) of creative pairs. Hint: the love you take is equal to the love you make.
3. How Paying It Forward Can Help Your Company
A study on how help spreads in networks, including three large companies that are putting these theories—and their employees—to the test. One claims a savings of $100 million. Not too shabby.
4. Your Gloomy Friends Don’t Want Cheering Up
“While optimism may lift the spirits of the optimistically minded, those with a gloomy outlook don’t want sunshine… They just want understanding.”
5. Kids Value Success Over Caring Because They Think Their Parents Do
Children value caring, but not as much as achievement. Why so many parents inadvertently send the wrong messages, and how to fix it.
6. Asking for Advice Makes You Seem More Competent, Not Less
A short article summarizing new evidence that asking for advice is a sign of competence—and can make us more competent. Send this to your friend who never asks for directions.
7. The Power of the Doodle: Improve Your Focus and Memory
Good news for doodlers: attention and retention get a boost when you visually noodle. (Artistic skill is optional.)
8. How the Average American Work Week Compares to the Rest of the World
Germany is the most productive; Korea is the most overworked; and the Netherlands is Neverland.
9. The Secret of Effective Motivation
Taking a deeper look at the two types of motivation—internal and instrumental—that drive commitment and success, and why (paradoxically) more motivation isn’t always better.
10. Seinfeld’s 25 Greatest Contributions to the English Language
Okay… admittedly this one doesn’t have as much to do with work or psychology. But you gotta hand it to a show that gave us almost as many new words as it did laughs.
From My Desk
Some of what I’ve written over the past few months:
Raising a Moral Child
How do children develop giving instincts? I take a look at nature vs. nurture, praising character vs. behavior, shame vs. guilt, and what role models say vs. what they do. Warning: this may influence your parenting.
Why So Many Men Don't Stand Up for Their Female Colleagues
A man raised his hand to share his support for bringing more women into leadership positions. I expected enthusiastic reactions from his female peers, but instead, his comment was greeted with skepticism. One woman directly questioned his intentions: What was his ulterior motive? Was he trying to ingratiate himself with women to improve his dating prospects?
If You Do This, Your Emails Might Be Rude
When writing emails, are you inadvertently alienating the very people with whom you’re hoping to connect? Avoid these nine pitfalls and you’ll be off to a good start.
Why Behavioral Economics is Cool, and I’m Not
When people think of economists, they picture smart people crunching numbers. When they think of psychology, they picture Sigmund Freud lying on a couch telling them they failed a driving test because they failed to kill their fathers and sleep with their mothers. (If you object to that, don’t worry; you’re in denial.)
Three Words You Shouldn't Say About Yourself
Why only a taker would call himself a giver. And a video of what happened when I went searching for generous celebrities.
Thank you for reading—if you made it this far, I hope you found something you liked. My next newsletter will pop into your inbox in a month or so. In the meantime, serenity now.