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Links 1 through 10 of 18424 Chris Yeh's Bookmarks

I know Hillary Clinton’s economic team fairly well, and I’m very impressed by them. They really are top-notch economists and economic policy thinkers. They don’t have anything for a 55-year-old laid-off factory worker in Michigan or northeastern Pennsylvania. Or whatever. They don’t have anything to offer them. And so I think it's intuitively understandable that a screaming, loud, wrong answer is more compelling than a calm, reasonable, accurate, right answer: Your life is going to be worse for the rest of your life — but don’t worry, these hipsters in Brooklyn are doing much better.
[…] The threshold for wages has gone up. There was a long period in the 20th century where, simply being willing to go to a building reliably everyday for eight hours or 12 hours and do what you’re told was worth a lot. […] And you didn’t need to read, you didn’t need to write, you didn’t need to have any kind of education. Those jobs are all but fully gone. […] So in this country, we don’t have demand for the high-school-only graduates and the high-school dropouts we have, and that’s a big population. Something like 80 million people.

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The big reveal of 2016 (it was visible to see for much longer than that of course, as I’ve been arguing since 1994) is that Republican voters aren’t anti-statists. People who aspire to lead those voters must recognize that fact and respond to it. If your principles won’t allow you to do that, then you belong not in a political party organized to compete for power, but in an intellectual movement aimed at influencing elites. That’s not a criticism, by the way! Such intellectual movements can change the world, as the environmentalists have done, and the gay rights movement, and gun advocates. Libertarians have won arguments in the past (deregulation of transportation), and they may win arguments in the future (marijuana legalization). But while such movements can shape and bend politics, they cannot form it, because they are inspired by a unitary ideological doctrine and most human beings are not. True parties must be run by politicians, and politicians must make concessions to the refractory and contradictory demands of non-ideological voters.

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I have come up with five primary elements involved in increasing your fluid intelligence, or cognitive ability. Like I said, it would be impractical to constantly practice the dual n-back task or variations thereof every day for the rest of your life to reap cognitive benefits. But it isn’t impractical to adopt lifestyle changes that will have the same—and even greater cognitive benefits. These can be implemented every day, to get you the benefits of intense entire-brain training, and should transfer to gains in overall cognitive functioning as well.
These five primary principles are:
1. Seek Novelty
2. Challenge Yourself
3. Think Creatively
4. Do Things The Hard Way
5. Network

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A 2014 study of the Collegiate Learning Assessment test—administered to some 13,000 undergraduates as they entered and exited university—found that business, health, and education majors substantially underperformed students in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and engineering. The authors then adjusted their results to account for the academic abilities of students entering these majors—and found that business and education majors still showed substantially lower gains in writing, complex reasoning, and critical thinking by the time they’d graduated.

Those are the weaknesses that a liberal-arts education can address. “Liberal arts majors … are the students who have the active minds, who are asking the big questions,” said Erika Walker, an assistant dean at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. That, she said, was a mindset that all students require. “What we need to strive to achieve for the students who aren’t asking the big questions is: challenge yourselves.”

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A person’s life story is an internalized and evolving narrative of the self that reconstructs the past and imagines the future in such a way as to provide life with some sense of meaning and purpose.  The story provides a subjective account, told to others and to the self, of how I came to be the person I am becoming. With respect to human personality, people’s stories about their lives (their narrative identities) layer over their dispositional traits. To understand a person well, even if that person is the self, one must understand the basic traits that inform everyday social behavior and the inner story that gives meaning to the person’s life.  

The traits are given, it seems; but the stories seem to be made.  Human beings, therefore, are simultaneously social actors whose behavior is shaped by given traits and autobiographical authors who make meaning out of their lives through narratives.

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Research shows that, if anything, physical activity boosts short-term brain function and heightens awareness. And even on days they don’t train — which rules out fatigue as a factor — those who habitually push their bodies tend to confront daily stressors with a stoic demeanor. While the traditional benefits of vigorous exercise — like prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and osteoporosis — are well known and often reported, the most powerful benefit might be the lesson that my coach imparted to me: In a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice suffering.

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But Grant says it wasn’t just experience that prevented those managers from appreciating Seinfeld. It was also that they had bad incentives. As he explained, “If you are a manager, if you commit a false positive, you are going to embarrass yourself, and potentially ruin your career.” Managers, he says, are terrified of committing false positives, meaning saying something will be a hit when in fact it will flop.

False negatives, by contrast, present little costs. “If you reject a great idea,” Grant said, “most of the time, no one will ever know.” (One exception to this: Pity the editors who rejected Harry Potter.) Managers like to make safe bets and don’t mind the invisible losses.

The question then, for Grant, is whether it’s possible to train managers to be more receptive to new ideas. To answer that, he asked, who out there is good at this?

Berg’s work was again illuminating. Berg found that there was one group whose instincts did line up well with what would actually be successful with audiences: other circus artists. “They were the best forecasters by far,” said Grant. “Unlike the artists themselves, the peers could take a step back” and see a work’s flaws. But, unlike managers, the peers “were also really invested in the creative process,” which enabled them to recognize when something was novel and worth the risk.

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As recently as the 1950s, possessing only middling intelligence was not likely to severely limit your life’s trajectory. IQ wasn’t a big factor in whom you married, where you lived, or what others thought of you. The qualifications for a good job, whether on an assembly line or behind a desk, mostly revolved around integrity, work ethic, and a knack for getting along—bosses didn’t routinely expect college degrees, much less ask to see SAT scores. As one account of the era put it, hiring decisions were “based on a candidate having a critical skill or two and on soft factors such as eagerness, appearance, family background, and physical characteristics.”

The 2010s, in contrast, are a terrible time to not be brainy. Those who consider themselves bright openly mock others for being less so. Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the nonsmart. People who’d swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s‑bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being “stupid” has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement.

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With our spending exceeding our revenue, we knew we needed to make some changes now to avoid an even bigger problem down the line.
We explored many scenarios to move forward. In the end, these are the cost-saving measures we decided to take in order to recover:
We made 10 layoffs in order to recover to a healthier financial position. Savings: $585,000Both Leo and I have taken a salary cut of 40% until at least the end of the year. Savings: $94,000.Leo and I are committing $100k each in the form of a loan at the lowest possible interest rate, with repayment only when Buffer reaches a healthy financial position. Savings: $200,000.We adjusted the loyalty portion of our salary formula. Each teammate previously got a salary bump of 5% on their year anniversary with Buffer. Now it’s 3%, applied for everyone who has been with the company longer than a year. Savings: $74,000.We’ve discontinued two perks (with the hopes of bringing them back in 2017, if we are able): A health & wellness grant of up to $100 per teammate per month. Savings: $49,000.An annual vacation bonus of $1,000 per teammate and $500 per dependent. Savings: $52,000. We canceled our upcoming team retreat to Berlin. Savings: $400,000.We cut our sponsorship budget through the end of the year. Savings: $75,000.

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In this farsighted, pioneering guide, the founders of Silicon Valley advisory firm Play Bigger rely on data analysis and interviews to understand the inner workings of “category kings”— companies such as Amazon, Salesforce, Uber, and IKEA—that give us new ways of living, thinking or doing business, often solving problems we didn’t know we had.

In Play Bigger, the authors assemble their findings to introduce the new discipline of category design. By applying category design, companies can create new demand where none existed, conditioning customers’ brains so they change their expectations and buying habits. While this discipline defines the tech industry, it applies to every kind of industry and even to personal careers.

Crossing the Chasm revolutionized how we think about new products in an existing market. The Innovator’s Dilemma taught us about disrupting an aging market. Now, Play Bigger is transforming business once again, showing us how to create the market itself.

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