GRANTED: October newsletter on work and psychology
Welcome to the second edition of Granted, my monthly newsletter on work and psychology. Here are some of the articles that I’ve enjoyed this month:
From Around the Web:
1. Are Workplace Personality Tests Fair?
Employers are increasingly incorporating personality tests into the hiring process, but what's really being measured? As discrimination allegations arise, Lauren Weber and Elizabeth Dwoskin examine the justice and effectiveness of the practice.
2. How to Graciously Say No to Anyone
What's the right way to say "no" to a request? Mumbling incoherently and sprinting away is tempting, but for those seeking something a bit more elegant, Alexandra Franzen shares some great tips and a template that may help you without hurting others.
3. What I Wish I Knew About Creativity When I Was 20
Kevan Lee shares 17 pieces of sage wisdom with his past self. Whatever your age, there's something here to inspire.
4. Two Years To No Lies
This is an article about handcrafted mozzarella. Okay, that was a lie. Dina Kaplan would never do such a thing. Two years ago, she accidentally stumbled into a lifelong commitment to tell only the truth. Here, she shares the unexpected upsides and challenges of her experience with humor, sensitivity, and (as you might expect) honesty. Take note, Family Guy fans: if Peter Griffin had read Dina's piece, he could have avoided this infinite regress: "Everything I say is a lie. Except that. And that. And that. And that..."
5. Cut the Strut: Both Men and Women Find Humility More Attractive
Some clever studies involving online dating profiles and couples in long-distance relationships, demonstrating that humility not only helps attract potential partners, but also inspires forgiveness later in the relationship. It seems the truly humble have much they could—but won't—brag about.
6. How You Can Skip 99% of Networking Events and Maximize the 1% You Do Attend
Now that you've learned how to be honest and graciously say "no," here's a chance to do it 99 times in a row. Josh Beser shares his three-step strategy for deciding which events make the cut... and making them count. (Finally, a positive reference to the 1%.)
7. The Abrasiveness Trap: High-Achieving Men and Women are Described Differently in Reviews
Kieran Snyder analyzes the linguistic content of hundreds of performance reviews and finds that women receive more—and harsher—critical feedback from both male and female managers. "At most mid-size or large tech companies, HR leaders supervise review scores to uncover and correct patterns of systematic bias. This is a call to action to bring the same rigor to the review language itself."
From My Desk
Some of what I’ve written over the past month:
Throw Out the College Application System
The college admissions system is broken, but there's a better way. My case in the New York Times for an admissions process that assesses the whole student, beyond mere grades and test scores.
Emotional Intelligence Is Overrated
Warning: if you’re a devoted member of an emotional intelligence cult, you may have a strong negative reaction to the data in this post, which identifies another type of intelligence that's five times more powerful in predicting job performance.
The New Books to Read This Fall
There’s an unusually exciting crop of new big idea and business books about human behavior, innovation and entrepreneurship, and the fundamental questions of success, meaning, and happiness in work and life. Here are 14 forthcoming and just-released reads for you to check out.
VIDEO: My talk at Google Zeitgeist
I talk about why takers cause paranoia, but matchers restore justice by punishing them; why it's so hard to judge our own generosity; what Facebook profile pictures can reveal about us; and how to catch a thief in the hiring process.
Thank you for reading—I hope you found something you enjoyed. My next newsletter will make a spontaneous appearance in your inbox in about a month. In the meantime, if you'd like to join people discussing these and other topics, there's a group here.