June 7, 2021
For decades we’ve been taught that user-centricity is the key to good design. But now the philosophy is showing vulnerabilities. We need approaches that are less narrow, less transactional, and more able to cope with the diverse, systemic challenges the 21st century has in store.
June 3, 2021
The genre of “Dumb Internet Video” has evolved considerably since connection speeds became fast enough for file-sharing. For a long time, online videos were something special — uploaded to archaic file-sharing sites or hosted as Flash animations or passed around message boards as very early-stage YouTube links.
June 1, 2021
One of my clients, Ben, a research and development director at a pharmaceutical company, arrived at our coaching session feeling distraught. “A situation happened at work today that I can’t get out of my head,” he said. It turned out that Ben had spent hours preparing for an all-hands meeting with colleagues across the globe. He reviewed the agenda, drafted his talking points, and logged on to the conference software ready to contribute.
June 1, 2021
This month the TV news program “60 Minutes” ran a segment on recent sightings by Navy pilots of unidentified flying objects. The pilots’ accounts were bolstered by videos recorded by cameras onboard their planes that captured what the government now calls “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
May 24, 2021
In the late nineteen-sixties, the writer Peter Benchley and his wife, Wendy, were looking for a quiet place to live near New York City. They considered Princeton, New Jersey, but couldn’t afford it, so they settled for Pennington, a small community eight miles to the west.
May 23, 2021
The American ironist James Branch Cabell wrote that: “An optimist believes we live in the best possible of worlds. A pessimist fears that this is true.” Far from the sunny entitlement of life’s Panglossian amblers, to practice the art of negativity is to see the world with darkly artful perception. While a valorization of the negative may be hideously alien to some, its paradox holds cast-iron worth.
May 18, 2021
Many years ago, I met a woman who had had the kind of experience you ordinarily only find in fiction. As a young adult, she was in a serious car accident, resulting in a head injury. She suffered a period of total amnesia, followed by months of convalescence. When she recovered, she was never the same.
May 3, 2021
Is hygge still a thing? The Danish concept of comfortable conviviality and all things cozy is supposed to capture the essence of Danish culture and has been marketed as the secret for happy living. A few years back, there was a surge of hygge-related books, articles, and household products.
April 29, 2021
Change is hard, but it’s possible. Use motivational interviewing techniques to build your confidence, and take the plunge Struggling to change in the ways we want to is a common human experience. Many of the practical steps required aren’t easy or fun. This makes motivation a challenge.
April 21, 2021
The neglected middle child of mental health can dull your motivation and focus — and it may be the dominant emotion of 2021. At first, I didn’t recognize the symptoms that we all had in common. Friends mentioned that they were having trouble concentrating.
April 18, 2021
For generations, the standard way to learn how to ride a bicycle was with training wheels or a tricycle. But in recent years, many parents have opted to train their kids with balance bikes, pedalless two-wheelers that enable children to develop the coordination needed for bicycling—a skill that is not as easily acquired with an extra set of wheels.
April 18, 2021
Consider the Lego structure depicted in Figure 1, in which a figurine is placed under a roof supported by a single pillar at one corner. How would you change this structure so that you could put a masonry brick on top of it without crushing the figurine, bearing in mind that each block added costs 10 cents? If you are like most participants in a study reported by Adams et al. in Nature, you would add pillars to better support the roof. But a simpler (and cheaper) solution would be to remove the existing pillar, and let the roof simply rest on the base.
April 16, 2021
For many on Earth, this is a typical day—a nine to five job, some downtime in the evening ready for the day ahead, and two days off at the weekend. It might come as a surprise to learn that astronauts in space keep a very similar schedule.
April 3, 2021
Sometimes success is just about avoiding failure. At FS, we help people make better decisions without needing to rely on getting lucky. One aspect of decision-making that’s rarely talked about is how to avoid making bad decisions.
March 27, 2021
We are master storytellers. We tell ourselves fanciful stories to motivate ourselves to get vast amounts of work done in small amounts of time. We jot down task after task after task, sure that we can complete them all within a standard workday. And yet, at the end of the day, we’re stunned to find that work remains unfinished and we have to dash to the finish line.
March 21, 2021
If you’ll indulge me, I’d like to begin with some shameless nostalgia. Let’s step back a decade, to the heyday of techno-utopia. Back in 2010, the mobile revolution had reached full pace. The whole world, and all its information, were just a tap away. Social media meant we could connect with people in ways we’d never dreamt of: whoever you were, you could find thousands of like-minded people across the globe, and they were all in your pocket every day.
March 11, 2021
I am an inveterate scorekeeper. I can go back decades and find lists of goals I set for myself to gauge “success” by certain milestone birthdays. For example, in my 20s, I had a to-do list for the decade, the items on which more or less told the story of a penniless musician who had made some dubious choices.
March 8, 2021
Every day, your life leaves a trail of digital breadcrumbs that tech giants use to track you. You send an email, order some food, stream a show. They get back valuable packets of data to build up their understanding of your preferences.
March 7, 2021
Maybe more people are writing about the real and potential problems of technology today than ever before. That is mostly a good thing. The list of books and articles from the last few years that have nuanced and illuminating perspectives on the contemporary technological situation is rich and long.
February 24, 2021
It felt like stepping on the wrong end of a rake. My relative had asked for my opinion, but when I gave it, he launched into what sounded like a well-rehearsed argument, taking issue with each thing I had said and critiquing my character. I felt like I’d walked into a trap.