• carrot

    How Rewards and Punishment Change Behavior

    The old “carrot and stick” are two of the most-used tools for motivation. Yet, do we really understand how they work? Recent research has found some surprising truths about these age-old tools of human psychology. Random Rewards Classical conditioning would have us consistently reward people for a task, yet this may not be the most effective […]

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  • karenina

    Why Happiness is Boring

    The Anna Karenina principle is derived from a famous Tolstoy quote: Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.   This profound insight into human psychology has withstood the tests of time and scientific rigor. Put simply, there are a lot of ways to fail but very few ways […]

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  • clock

    How We Each Think About Time Differently

    Let’s face it: our brains are terrible at time. We tend to either ignore it completely, or become chronic clock-watchers. Our obsession with time leads us to spend much of our lives worrying about it. Research is revealing more about how humans perceive time, but first, a word about the nature of time itself…   […]

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  • okc

    Can Online Dating Make You Happy?

    Three years ago, the move to “online” dating was still confined to relatively small groups. Now, I speak regularly to friends of mine all around the country who sign on to their online dating profiles every day. The taboo has been lifted by sites like OkCupid and Tinder; online dating has become the stuff of […]

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  • sleep

    Experiment: How To Sleep Less

    If there is a “holy grail” for those obsessed by productivity and time-management, it is conquering sleep.  It is easy to think of the time spent sleeping each night as wasted time.  If only we could sleep less without any ill-effects!   You’ve probably tried going without sleep once or twice and know what a […]

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  • sunny

    Mindhacks to Increase Happiness using Science

    Much of the latest psychological research is yielding surprising, even counter-intuitive insights into how the mind works (which is why we have wonderful books like Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational). A common thread underlying much of this research is that the mind can be easily “tricked.” This has led to new fields, like neuromarketing, but also a variety […]

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  • californiacation

    Scarcity and Deadlines: The Secret of Productivity?

    A “deadline” is a scary word. It comes from an imaginary line in the ground in civil war prisons, the crossing of which would lead to death. Sometimes the dead line was not even marked; it was just an arbitrary point at which the guards would fire and kill a presumed prison-breaking inmate. Today, deadlines […]

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  • affiliate_marketing_is_not_a_get_rich_quick_scheme

    Crappy Apps and Get Rich Quick Schemes

    Sturgeon’s Law says that “90% of everything is crap.” When I first read this, it seemed immensely depressing. I couldn’t help but feel that it was somehow an attack on my work. All craftsmen, from authors to computer programmers, know the feeling of having created something that is not quite good enough. We have a […]

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  • 00386

    What It’s Like to Live In China

    Whenever I’m asked “what was your favorite country you lived in?” I feel like I’m being asked to choose between children. Each nation where I’ve been a resident has it’s own distinct flavor. This post is part of a series about what it’s like to live abroad, where I profile each country one at a time and […]

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  • WozThiel

    The Lone Genius and the Startup Founder: a Tale of Two Styles

    The tension between the the Lone Genius and the Startup Founder is one I’ve found myself personally struggling with throughout my life. Is it better to create, even in isolation, for the sake of creation  – or to build something large, regardless of the impact I might have upon the actual product? Some very smart people would advocate for […]

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