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- Feb 2 20179 minutes
Against Willpower: Willpower is a dangerous, old idea that needs to be scrapped.
Thomas1 was a highly successful and mild-mannered lawyer who was worried about his drinking. When he came to see me at my psychotherapy practice, his wine intake had crept up to six or seven glasses a night, and he was starting to hide it from his fa
- Jun 1 20162 minutes
How Real Brilliance Is Measured
Rather than looking at typical benchmarks, we focus on the ideas, almost all fueled by passion and implemented by strong leaders.
- Feb 2 20177 minutes
Why You Didn’t See It Coming: When scale confounds our perceptions, stories can clarify them.
You don’t see it coming. You probably couldn’t if you tried. The effects of large changes in scale are frequently beyond our powers of perception, even our imagination. They seem to emerge out of nowhere: the cumulative effects of climate change, the
- Jun 1 20161 minute
This Founder's Meditation Startup Draws Cult Demand: How She Did It
Suze Yalof Schwartz has modernized meditation with Unplug.
- Mar 19 20143 minutes
The Ancient, Peaceful Art of Self-Generated Hallucination
After five years of practicing meditation, subject number 99003 began to see the lights. “My eyes were closed,” he reported, “[and] there would be what appeared to be a moon-shaped object in my consciousness directly above me, about the same size as
- Feb 7 20175 minutes
Video Games Do Guilt Better Than Any Other Art
The idea that motion pictures can be works of art has been around since the 1920s, and it hasn’t really been disputed since. It’s easy to see why—cinema shares characteristics with theater in terms of acting, direction, music, set design, narrative,
- Jan 17 20178 minutes
The OA And The Dark Side Of Science
Brit Marling discusses the folklore and real-life research that went into her trippy Netflix series.
- Nov 28 20161 minute
Hold Yourself Accountable—You’ll Be Happier
PEOPLE TEND TO EXTERNALIZE WHEN THEY encounter problems—to look beyond themselves and find fault with others when things go wrong. Society’s mantra is “There’s plenty of blame to go around!” You can hear it echo in the reactions to the election. But
- Feb 2 20178 minutes
What Quantum Gravity Needs Is More Experiments: Math won’t solve quantum gravity. Experimentation will.
In the mid-1990s, I studied mathematics. I wasn’t really sure just what I wanted to do with my life, but I was awed by the power of mathematics to describe the natural world. After classes on differential geometry and Lie algebras, I attended a semin
- Feb 9 201726 minutes
Bias In The ER: Doctors suffer from the same cognitive distortions as the rest of us.
The dazed young woman who arrived at Sunnybrook Hospital, Canada’s first and largest regional trauma center, from a head-on car crash presented the surgeons treating her with a disturbing problem. In addition to her many broken bones, the rhythm of h
- Feb 16 201711 minutes
The Anatomy of Charisma: What makes a person magnetic and why we should be wary.
For weeks I had been researching what science has to say about the power of charisma. Why do some people so clearly have it and others don’t? Why do we fall so easily under its influence? Charismatics can make us feel charmed and great about ourselve
- Sep 1 20153 minutes
6 Secrets About the Human Brain That Will Make You a Better Marketer
Knowing how the mind processes information and images can help you send the right message.
- Apr 1 20131 minute
The 5 Branding Rules of Attraction
Your brand draws customers to your business. Here are the elements you should consider when designing it.
- Sep 19 20161 minute
We Shouldn’t Dismiss People Who Deny Facts
IT’S EASY TO DISMISS PEOPLE WHO believe things that are factually incorrect—that vaccines cause autism, for example, or that climate change isn’t real. But if we really want to change how they think, we need to take an honest look at what’s driving t
- Jan 27 20171 minute
Why Pascal’s Wager Is Eminently Modern
On the evening of November 23rd, 1654, the brilliant polymath Blaise Pascal was thrown from his horse-drawn carriage, the creatures having been frightened by a thunderstorm. The horses fell off the bridge they had been crossing into the turbulent riv
- Mar 1 20166 minutes
22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader
Want to be a laudable leader? Study these characteristics -- and the wise words of leaders who strive to embody them.
- Feb 17 20176 minutes
How to Understand Extreme Numbers
The late statistics wizard Hans Rosling, who died this month at age 68, brought at least 10 toilet paper rolls to some of his beloved presentations. He would stack them into a tower on a table, each roll representing one billion people. In a 2012 t
- Feb 16 201710 minutes
Atheism, the Computer Model: Big data meets history to forecast the rise and fall of religion.
In the United States, the nones have it. The nones being people with no organized religion and increasingly no belief in God or a universal spiritual power. They have the momentum, attention, and an expectation that in the future they will become a m
- Feb 24 20171 hour
Donald Trump's Conflicts of Interests: A Crib Sheet
A semi-comprehensive list of the business concerns that may influence the president during his time in office
- Jun 6 20163 minutes
Be Happier By Knowing Your Future Self
Aren’t you positively brimming with joy, now that winter has gone? No? Me neither. Yet several months ago, I couldn’t wait for the Ottawa snow to melt and spring to start. Now that it’s here, though, I can’t really tell what I thought was so exciting
- Jul 4 20161 minute
The Liberal Hypocrisy of ‘Free Speech’
LIBERALS TEND TO THINK OF THEMSELVES as open-minded and supportive of free speech. But recent examples show otherwise—and prove that many on the left are not above using intimidation and harassment to silence dissenting voices. Consider the fight ag
- Feb 22 20176 minutes
5 Languages That Could Change the Way You See the World
I went to my neighbor’s house for something to eat yesterday.Think about this sentence. It’s pretty simple—English speakers would know precisely what it means. But what does it actually tell you—or, more to the point, what does it not tell you? It do
- Oct 17 20161 minute
How Mindfulness Can Save You Money
IF YOU PUT PEOPLE IN BRAIN SCANNERS and give them something delicious—say, wine or chocolate—the reward centers of their brains light up. In other words, it’s making them feel good. But if you promise them a delicious item in the future, there’s no r
- Dec 18 201627 minutes
The 50 Best Podcasts of 2016
From politics shows to horror series, highlights from a year of listening
- Sep 26 20161 minute
Why We Should Watch Our Internal Clocks
IN OUR RELENTLESS QUEST TO LIVE healthier, happier, more productive lives, we often overlook a powerful tool within us: our internal sense of timing. The human body is genetically designed to coordinate the “when” of almost all aspects of life—sleep,
- Sep 15 20161 minute
A Reading List for Powerful Women
Two new books on gender in the workplace can help women and men become better colleagues and managers.
- Feb 14 20172 minutes
Love Can Make You Smarter
Love is supposed to make you stupid. We’re used to seeing the lover as a mooning fool, blind to his lover’s faults and the goings-on of the outside world, or even as a person who has lost all sense of rationality or propriety, driven to a kind of mad
- Sep 15 20168 minutes
How to Tell If You’re a Jerk: If you think everyone around you is terrible, the joke may be on you.
Here’s something you probably didn’t do this morning: Look in the mirror and ask, am I a jerk? It seems like a reasonable question. There are, presumably, genuine jerks in the world. And many of those jerks, presumably, have a pretty high moral opini
- Jan 3 20179 minutes
The Friendship That Created Behavioral Economics
A conversation with Michael Lewis about his new book on the research of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky
- Apr 14 20165 minutes
No, You Can’t Feel Sorry for Everyone: The idea of empathy for all ignores the limits of human psychology.
The world seems to be getting more empathetic. Americans donate to charity at record rates. People feel the pain of suffering in geographically distant countries brought to our attention by advances in communications and transportation. Violence, see