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GRANTED: February 2015 edition
This month, we'll look at letters from past lives, what makes experiences extraordinary, and three words we should all say more often. Without further ado:
1. The Single Best Goal You Can Set for 2015
Be less judgmental, says Jeff Pfeffer. It will make you happier, more powerful, and more helpful. If you don’t agree, I reserve the right to judge your lack of openness.
2. Why Some Teams Are Smarter Than Others
If you want an intelligent team, don’t just bring together a bunch of smart, motivated people. New evidence from Anita Woolley and her colleagues shows that equal participation, reading emotions, and a greater number of female members are keys to team smarts.
3. Making Your Kid Play Organized Sports Could Cost Them Their Creativity
Fuming because your kid didn't make the basketball team? You may find solace in this article and study from Matthew Bowers. He suggests that informal, unstructured play is key to the development of creativity. Anyone up for a pickup game?
4. The Trick to Setting Goals the Right Way
With this link, I hope to increase customer-centric disruption with an eye on sustainability. Uninspired? You're not alone. Using abstract jargon in corporate vision statements isn't just annoying—it can also be ineffective. Jena McGregor explores the power of concrete, image-driven goals for your business and personal life alike.
5. Dear Me, 20 Years From Now
In a heartwarming read from Sarah Boesveld, we meet a retired high-school teacher named Bruce Farrer. He keeps former students' letters to themselves for 20 years, often exerting considerable effort to return them. Clearly, this is a man who does not take promises lightly.
6. Without Friends or Family, Even Desirable Experiences are Disappointing
Daniel Yudkin shares two clever studies demonstrating that our subjective experience of the world—from the happiness we derive from a funny movie to the tastiness of a chocolate bar—can be dramatically influenced by the mere presence of other people watching or snacking along with us. The effect seems to heighten negative experiences just as much as positive ones, though, so it might be best to keep that root canal a solo activity.
From My Desk:
7. Madam CEO, Get Me a Coffee
In this op-ed with Sheryl Sandberg—our third in a series of four on women at work—we examine why women help more but benefit less from it. Here you'll find suggestions for both women and men on how to acknowledge and correct the imbalance in "office housework".
8. How NOT to Ask for a Recommendation Letter
The thirteen most ineffective requests for recommendations that I’ve seen as a manager and professor, along with a running commentary on what a cynical recommender might read between the lines. My hope is that we’ll all get a little bit more thoughtful about who, how, and when we ask.
9. To "Think Like a Freak," Start with These Three Words
What are these three words, you ask? I don't know. No, seriously, "I don't know" is what Freakonomics coauthor Stephen Dubner would like to hear more of. To mark the release of the most recent book in the series, Think Like a Freak, Stephen and I discuss peer pressure, the upside of quitting, and the logic of the flu vaccine. In three forms (video, podcast, and text transcript) for your convenience. We aim to please.
Thank you for reading—I hope you found something you enjoyed. See you in about a month for some March madness, newsletter-style.