Links worth clicking.
+ Who Gains From Grit?
On closer inspection, the concept of grit turns out to be dubious, as does the evidence cited to support it. Persistence can actually backfire and distract from more important goals. Emphasizing grit is usually justified as a way to boost academic achievement, which sounds commendable. Indeed, research has found that more Aâ€™s are given to students who report that they put off doing what they enjoy until they finish their homework. Another pair of studies found that middle-schoolers who qualified for the National Spelling Bee performed better in that competition if they had more grit, â€œwhereas spellers higher in openness to experience, defined as preferring using their imagination, playing with ideas, and otherwise enjoying a complex mental life,â€ did worse. (Pair with the opposite view: Angela Duckworth on why grit is the most important predictor of success.)
+ Big History for Everyone
Itâ€™s hard to boil down 13.7 billion years of history into something manageable. But I think the writers, developers and producers who worked on this made an entertaining and informative course. You should be able to finish it in four or five hours.
+ The Limits of Social Engineering
Tapping into big data, researchers and planners are building mathematical models of personal and civic behavior. But the models may hide rather than reveal the deepest sources of social ills. (Physics envy meets behavioural psychology and results in "social physics.")
+ How to be interesting â€“ and why the best bits of life are more than 'interesting'
"A theorist is considered great, not because his theories are true, but because they are interesting." Even in the world of academia, most people aren't motivated by the truth. What they want, above all, is not to be bored. ... Interestingness gives the mind something to chew on â€“ but the best experiences come when you stop chewing. When you're watching a stunning sunset, Tolle asks, "could you say, 'This sunset is interesting'? Only if you were trying to write a PhD about sunsetsâ€¦ Truly look, and then what you're looking at goes beyond interestingâ€¦ There's nothing interesting about it, and yet it's awe-inspiring."
+ More time is better than more money
Here is what I learned from 40 years of traveling: Of the two modes, it is far better to have more time than money. When you have abundant time you can get closer to core of a place. You can hang around and see what really happens. You can meet a wider variety of people. You can slow down until the hour that the secret vault is opened. You have enough time to learn some new words, to understand what the real prices are, to wait out the weather, to get to that place that takes a week in a jeep. Money is an attempt to buy time, but it rarely is able to buy any of the above.
+ I taught America to beat the SAT. Thatâ€™s how I know itâ€™s useless
"Between his techniques and my software, we could crack the test. And thatâ€™s when we realized the whole thing was a scam."
+ Cognitive depletion impacts even simple and habitual tasks (like hand washing) (h/t @ideas42)
(pair with Do you make too many decisions?)
+ TV a sleep detriment in children
A study following more than 1,800 children from ages 6 months to nearly 8 years old found a small but consistent association between increased television viewing and shorter sleep duration. (Best paired with The Science of Sleep)
+ Schulz on Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez (1927-2014)
That is the magic not in GarcÃa MÃ¡rquezâ€™s books, but of them: that the characters he created could return to me as if bearing the sad news themselvesâ€”as if once they really had lived; as if they still did.
+ The Science of Older and Wiser
True personal wisdom involves five elements, said Professor Staudinger, now a life span psychologist and professor at Columbia University. They are self-insight; the ability to demonstrate personal growth; self-awareness in terms of your historical era and your family history; understanding that priorities and values, including your own, are not absolute; and an awareness of lifeâ€™s ambiguities. (Pair with The Wisdom Paradox)