GRANTED: August 2015 newsletter on work and psychology
This month, we'll learn how robots learn to walk, why companies should stop ranking employees and creativity can’t be forced, and when to quit yakking:
1. Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert? You May Be an Ambivert
Ambidextrous? Amphibious? Have I got a personality trait for you! Elizabeth Bernstein explores the social and energy preferences that Goldilocks would appreciate: not too much, not too little.
2. The Kinds of Friendships You Have In Your 20s and 30s Predict Your Well-Being Later In Life
Happiness in your 50s is predicted by quantity of friendships in your 20s but quality of friendships in your 30s. Thu-Huong Ha shares the results of an illuminating new study on how relationships affect us over time.
3. Who Will Succeed In Life? Bet On That Cooperative Kindergartener
Tom Jacobs writes about how helping others at age 5 is predictive of graduating from college and having a stable job at 25. Note to self: must revise resume to include "Shared scissors with Timmy."
4. How to Know If You Talk Too Much
If your conversational partner passes out from exhaustion, you have probably talked too much. Alternatively, try a tip from Mark Goulston and employ the Traffic Light Rule. Forty seconds in without interruption? Red light!
5. Why Employee Ranking Can Backfire
When it comes to knowing how we stack up against our colleagues, does the truth set us free, or is ignorance bliss? Phyllis Korkki describes how making rankings public can be demotivating for low scorers and provide no boost to those who score high.
6. Stop Trying To Be Creative
An algorithm for creativity shows that creativity can’t be reduced to an algorithm. Christie Aschwanden explains how to overcome writer’s block and why robots walk furthest when programmed not to walk far, but to do novel things over and over. The lesson for aspiring creatives: set fewer goals, seek more novelty.
From My Desk:
7. He Never Gave His Last Lecture
Four timeless lessons I learned from my late mentor, Jeff Zaslow. I didn't get the chance to tell him what an impact he had on me, but I hope to honor his memory by sharing the wisdom he imparted through his actions.
8. Parlio Q&A Session
I tried out—and loved—a new format of Q&A, and received the most thoughtful and thought-provoking set of questions I’ve seen in quite some time. Among other topics: why I think nuclear families are a bad idea, job interviews are broken, future generations won’t sleep, and the most influential person alive is J.K. Rowling.
Thank you for reading—and apologies for violating the 40-second rule. See you next month, for the first anniversary edition of this newsletter.