Thursday, 29 December 2016


Do you deserve what you get?

Is it all about how 'lucky' you are?
Jay Doubleyou: don’t think you’re lucky? think again

Or are there other games at play which determine how well you do in life?
Jay Doubleyou: SAT tests are 'weakening our democracy"
Jay Doubleyou: the fall and rise of social democracy?

At the heart of this is 'meritocracy':
Meritocracy - Wikipedia
Meritocracy - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For BBC Radio, the Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel put together a programme with people from over 40 countries taking part:

Do Those on Top Deserve Their Success?

Listen in pop-out player

Many people who find themselves on the wrong side of growing inequality feel the system is stacked against them. 
But who deserves to succeed? 
Should we reward talent and hard work? 
If so, what do we do about those left behind? 
Do they deserve their fate, too? 
And is talent, in fact, little more than luck? 
Using a pioneering digital facility at Harvard Business School, Professor Michael Sandel is joined by 60 people from nearly 40 different countries. 
Together they look for answers to these tough questions; questions which lie behind some of the biggest political stories of the moment.

BBC Radio 4 - The Global Philosopher, Do Those on Top Deserve Their Success?
BBC Radio 4 - The Global Philosopher - Michael Sandel

It's obviously a hot topic, with the Financial Times doing a big piece on it:
Architects of Meritocracy

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

34 unobvious benefits of learning a second language

Following on from this piece:
Jay Doubleyou: 10 tips and tricks to pick up any language

How about these tips:

34 Unobvious Benefits of Learning a Second Language
By Julia Reed November 16, 2016

When you want to learn a foreign language, you may find it difficult to lock yourself up in a class, or sit yourself down at your desk at home, without having a real goal that inspires you and pushes you on.

However, there are so many wonderful benefits of learning a second language – it is not only about getting a promotion in your company, or being able to travel confidently in a fascinating country you’ve always wanted to visit.

In this article you’ll find 34 unobvious and surprising facts and figures collected by various researchers to support one inspiring idea:

Learning a second language makes you smarter, healthier and more communicative.

Is that difficult to believe?

Custom Writing collected the most impressive advantages of learning a second language.

Read on to see what the linguists have to tell us!

Learning a foreign language helps you improve math skills

People who learn one or more languages think faster than those who know only their mother tongue. To be exact, coming up with the answer to a simple math task, like “What is 2 x 6 + 10 : 5?” takes 3.5 seconds on average if you are a language learner and 4 seconds on average if you don’t speak any other language. That means that bilinguals outperform monolinguals by 12.5% when they need to solve easy math tasks.

2 To perform better in math, you need to learn a foreign language – even if you learn it instead of math. In their research, ACTFL investigated how learning a second language helps children to perform better in school. According to the results, those students who studied a foreign language outperformed their classmates in an MCAS test after 2 years of foreign language classes. And after 7 years of learning a language, they became incomparably good at math.

3 To find out how much time you need to spend on second language learning to perform better in math, we turn to the University of Michigan’s Language Learning Journal. Their research showed that only 1.5 hours per week of foreign language learning, for just one semester, is enough to outperform your peers in math.

4 Bilinguals also have better analytical skills. In one study, researchers asked bilingual and monolingual children to choose the smallest of three toys placed in front of them. Monolingual children were correct approximately 50% of the time, while bilingual children picked the right object 77% of the time.

5 The International Journal of Bilingualism published a study where researchers investigated the analytical skills and logic of monolingual and bilingual children. There were 121 participants, and the study showed that the 62 children who spoke a foreign language achieved significantly higher results than monolingual kids.

6 A Florida study shows that bilingual children tend to score an average of 23–34 points higher in language and math tests.

7 Learning a foreign language also improves your focus. People who speak two or more languages tend to pay attention for a time span that is 20% longer than monolingual people can manage.

These studies prove that learning a second language is a fantastic cognitive exercise that can not only improve communication skills but also be applied to a range of skills in the sphere of mathematics, analytics, and problem-solving.

Second language learning prevents mental diseases

8 When we learn a language, we fight depression and stress, and even delay mental illnesses. A study by the American Journal of Public Health reveals that children who speak two languages have lower levels of behavioral problems and show aggression, sadness, and loneliness less frequently than monolingual children. Further, they rarely experience anxiety and stress.

An American Academy of Neurology study showed that learning languages also increases the number of neural pathways in the brain, which means that information is processed through a greater number of channels, which helps with short- and long-term memory.

10 Washington State University analyzed 63 studies to establish that bilingual people outperform monolinguals in many activities related to attention, working memory, and abstract and symbolic skills.

11 Foreign language learners can delay severe mental diseases related to aging. Dr. Bialystok’s research showed that people who speak two or more languages fend off the onset of dementia for an average of 4 years. According to the data, an average age when bilingual patients begin to experience dementia symptoms is 75, and they visit a doctor at 78 – for monolingual patients these ages are 71 and 75.

Psychologists often advise patients who suffer from depression to learn a second language to help overcome their illness. This advice is based on two reasons:

12 Learning a language makes your brain grow. A Lund University study showed that the human brain significantly increases after 3 months of learning a foreign language. Moreover, it increases in 4 different parts, which improves cognitive functions and helps learners to think faster. That means that polyglots apply a lot of mental effort every daily. And mental exercises are an important part of overcoming depressive diseases.

13 When you start learning a foreign language, your vision of the world can change remarkably. Not only are you exposed to new expressions, ideas, and people, but you practice making conversation, communicating with new groups of people, strengthening connections and forming relationships – which is all wonderful for your wellbeing.

14 Another language learning benefit is that being bilingual helps people to recover from brain injury faster. A recent study of 600 Indian stroke survivors showed that the chances of recovery were twice as high for those who speak several languages as for monolinguals, while 40% of bilinguals, but only 20% of monolinguals, had normal cognitive functions.

15 Multilingual people have 0.05 additional cubic millimeters of gray matter in their brain, found in the parietal regions. The parietal lobes integrate sensory information and represent the world around us.

Foreign language learners become better communicators in every language

16 If you learn the English language, there’s good news for you: the British Council forecast that by 2020 there will be over 2 billion people around the world who speak English. Compare that to the 2016 world population of 7.5 billion people, and you can be sure that wherever you go, there will be someone who speaks the same language as you!

English is by far the most popular language around the world, compared with other languages that are spoken by fewer people in smaller geographical areas. But are there any benefits of learning a language other than English?

Surveys say: yes.

17 Studying a foreign language, we become more open-minded and less likely to feel prejudice towards people who are different from us. Psychology professor Krista Byers-Heinlein tested 48 bilingual and monolingual children to find out how speaking two languages affects children’s views of life. The professor asked the children to answer two questions: “If a child was born to English parents and adopted by Italians, would they speak English or Italian? If a duck was raised by dogs, would it quack or bark?” The results were amazing. Bilingual children thought that everything one knows is learned, and monolinguals thought that everything is inherited. Bilingual children even said that a duck would bark and run instead of flying if it were raised by dogs.

18 According to Kaplan International, speaking more than one language even makes you more attractive to other people. This idea was supported by 270 British dating agencies. What’s more, there’s no reason to be shy about your accent – dating agencies have published many lists of the most appealing accents in the world! They include Irish, Brazilian, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Learning a second language helps people to learn other languages faster

Because their memory grows and improves as they learn a language, and because so many languages share common roots, bilingual people find it easier and faster to learn even more languages and become multilingual.

19 The International Journal of Humanities and Social Science investigated how learning Latin affects children’s knowledge of the English language. Kids in grades 2 to 4 studied a Latin program for one year. It consisted of 15­–20 minutes of Latin lessons each day. An English vocabulary measure showed that children who undertook the Latin program were functioning at their grade level, while those who hadn’t studied Latin scored 1 year below their grade level.

20 When it comes to vocabulary and learning a language, it’s much more effective to learn several languages simultaneously. This approach can save a lot of time – instead of spending 1.5 years on becoming a fluent speaker in one language, it takes 2 years to master 2 of them.

21 Other research shows that 54% of preschool-age bilingual children can distinguish words by their meaning, while the majority of monolingual elementary students are not able to do so – they separate words by sound.

Learning a second language benefits your career

22 One of the main advantages of learning a foreign language is that you can open up a whole new world when it comes to your career, which can mean better pay and conditions for you in your job. Whether you work in the IT sphere, the services industry, journalism or marketing, you’ll have the edge over other applicants, even if the job you’re applying for doesn’t specifically require a second language. What’s more, you’ll see lots of vacancies that do require the language you can speak.

23 Eton Institute’s language development unit stated that 89% of people think that multilingual workers add value to companies, and 88% commented that they prefer to hire multilingual rather than monolingual people. That means that if you know one or more foreign languages you have a better chance of getting a job. Moreover, it’s easier for you to get a promotion or become an irreplaceable worker, especially if your company is an international one.

24 Your ability to speak a second language is reflected in the salary you’re paid. Kaplan International states that in various spheres workers who speak one or more languages can expect a salary uplift of up to 20% in the near future. Furthermore, a third of businesses search for employees specifically for their skills.

25 The British Chambers of Commerce established that 60% of companies that want to expand their businesses in other countries experience language barriers. So if you know one or more foreign languages then that makes you a more desirable employee.

26 According to a Chiswick and Miller study among immigrants in the USA, those who speak the English language earn 15–19% more than those who speak only their native language. Similar surveys in other countries had similar findings. For example, in Canada immigrants who speak one of the official languages, as well as their mother tongue, earn salaries that are 10–12% higher.

Even if you don’t work in a big international company, you can still profit from learning foreign languages.

27 Data from the European Journal of Marketing indicates that customers at restaurants give higher tips if they are served in their native language rather than in their second language. At the same time, it doesn’t matter how experienced in the language a worker is – it’s more important for customers to hear people speaking their language.

Don’t forget that learning a foreign language sets you on the path to mastering the skill and becoming an interpreter or translator. If you’re open to working in this sphere, there is good news for you.

28 The US Department of Labor stated that in the next 10 years we should expect a 42% increase in jobs for translators interpreters.

29 In the USA, interpreters and translators are included on the top 15 fastest growing occupations. CNN forecasts there will be 25,000 translation and interpreter jobs available by 2020.

30 The Economist revealed the annual bonuses of bilingual speakers in the USA. The data showed that the bonuses were 1.5% for Spanish speakers, 2.3% for French speakers, and 3.8% for German speakers.

31 42% of UK citizens would move to another country to develop their career if they could fluently speak the native language of the country.

Second language learning helps you travel

Of course one of the main benefits of language learning is communication. This is especially important for business trips and vacations. If you want your trip to another country to be successful, you should know at least the basic vocabulary of the language you’re visiting.

Of course, the English language can help you solve the majority of misunderstandings and little troubles – so you should know it when traveling.

But there are also countries where it’s difficult to find English speakers – for example, some Asian countries. So it’s useful for travelers to know at least a couple of words of a country’s official language.

32 The creators of educational app Babbel did a survey to establish the motivations of their users for learning languages. They asked 5,000 users why they decided to learn a foreign language, and 53% of respondents answered that they want to communicate better while traveling. According to this statistic, traveling is the best motivation for people to learn a language. Other motivations included interest and keeping mentally fit.

33 Doors open to people who speak a country’s official language. A Kaplan International survey showed that 97% of respondents thought that knowing another language made traveling easier.

34 Nowadays, there are excellent opportunities to become an international student. Since 1975, the number of international students in the USA has increased from 800,000 to 3,500,000. Each year this number increases by 12%.

It’s vital to keep in mind the benefits of language learning, so that you stay motivated in your studies. You can accomplish a lot of things on your own if you know a country’s native language – find new friends, understand excursions and movies, find your way without getting lost, and much more.

But there are also a lot of troublesome situations when you can be overloaded with assignments and exercises. So when you’re struggling to put in the time to learn a language, just come back to this article as a reminder of how many advantages you’ll gain by pushing on through. Good luck!
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34 Unobvious Benefits of Learning a Second Language

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

does becoming a more productive worker make you a better human being?

Is it really a good idea to be 'positive' all the time?
Jay Doubleyou: smile or die: the power of positive thinking
Jay Doubleyou: you can't get success and happiness through positive thinking
Jay Doubleyou: optimism - our enemy

And what's really the point of being 'positive'?
Jay Doubleyou: motivation
Jay Doubleyou: positive power and influence

Is it all just a lot of empty words?
Jay Doubleyou: meaningless corporate speak

Prof Louis Menard writes in the New Yorker:


How to succeed at work and at home.

Does becoming a more productive worker make you a better human being?
Illustration by Richard McGuire

“Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” (Random House) is Charles Duhigg’s follow-up to his best-selling The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business,” which was published in 2012. The new book, like its predecessor, has a format that’s familiar in contemporary nonfiction: exemplary tales interpolated with a little social and cognitive science. The purpose of the tales is to create entertaining human-interest narratives; the purpose of the science is to help the author pick out a replicable feature of those narratives for readers to emulate.

What enabled the pilot to land the badly damaged plane? How did the academic dropout with anxiety disorder become a champion poker player? What made “West Side Story” and Disney’s “Frozen” into mega-hits? All that was necessary, it turns out, was one key tweak to normal mental functioning or group dynamics. “Mental models” helped the pilot land the plane. “Bayesian thinking” transformed the basket case into a winner at cards. An “innovation broker” brought “West Side Story” together, and “Frozen” became the highest-grossing animation film of all time because of a principle known as “intermediate disturbance.”

Other tweaks on offer in “Smarter Faster Better” include “creating disfluency,” “a bias toward action,” “smart goals” versus “stretch goals,” and the concept of “psychological safety.” There are a few mind-sets to avoid as well (side effects may include crashed aircraft and the Yom Kippur War): “cognitive tunneling,” “reactive thinking,” and an exaggerated disposition for “cognitive closure.” Basically, the good stuff boils down to organizational buzzwords like “lean,” “nimble,” “flexible,” “innovative,” and “disruptive.” Negative stuff has to do with mindless routines, mechanical thinking, and the need for certainty.

There is not much to disagree with here, and that is one of the intriguing things about the genre this book belongs to. Not dozens or hundreds but thousands of titles like “Smarter Faster Better” are published every year, and they account for a disproportionate percentage of total book sales. Yet they mainly reiterate common sense.

Does anybody think it’s unwise to be lean, nimble, and innovative? Who needs a book to know that rote behavior and fear of uncertainty are not going to take us very far? It’s not startling to learn that organizations that nurture a “culture of commitment” are more productive than organizations that don’t, or that setting ambitious objectives can jump-start innovation. “People who know how to self-motivate, according to studies, earn more money than their peers, report higher levels of happiness, and say they are more satisfied with their families, jobs, and lives.” I can believe that. “Determined and focused people . . . often have higher paying jobs.” I won’t argue. “An instinct for decisiveness is great—until it’s not.” An impregnable assertion.

Probably the most famous book of this type is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” which was published in 1936 and has never gone out of print. It is reported to have sold more than thirty million copies. I can tell you the lesson of that book in one sentence: If you are nice to people, they will like you. You just saved yourself sixteen dollars. (Not to spoil the reading experience, but the lesson of Duhigg’s previous book, “The Power of Habit,” is: Replace bad habits with good ones.)

As always, of course, the question is not What would Jesus do? but How, exactly, would He do it? Being super-nice to everyone is a virtuous aim, but, for most of us, it’s actually not that easy. Similarly, life’s unpredictability is universally acknowledged, but people get anxious anyway. The promise of books like “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and “Smarter Faster Better” is not to tell us what we should be like but to give us tools for becoming that way, devices to get us from our native diffidence and clinginess to where we already know we want to be, friendly and adaptable.

So Carnegie didn’t only preach niceness. He provided tips for being nice. “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language” is one of his “Six Ways to Make People Like You.” (I can tell you from experience that this is true only if you know how to pronounce it correctly.) Duhigg’s advice is less concrete: “Find a choice, almost any choice, that allows you to exert control,” “Envision multiple futures,” and so on. But the idea is the same.

These all sound like ways to help you feel better about yourself, and maybe even be a better person. But the books are not beauty products for the personality, and that is not the reason people buy them. Most functioning people are probably O.K. with the personalities and temperaments that the Good Lord or natural selection has given them. They’ve learned work-arounds for their grumpiness and fretfulness. What they’re worried about is how others see them and, specifically, how employers see them. The clue to the real purpose of these books is the section of the bookstore you find them in. They’re not in the psychology section, and they’re not in with the diet and exercise books. They’re with the business books.

This is because books like “How to Win Friends” and “Smarter Faster Better” are essentially applied management theory. They try to sum up current thinking in the business world about “human resources” and transmute it into a manual for self-improvement. People don’t read these books to find out how to be better human beings. People read them to figure out how to become the kind of human being the workplace is looking for.

A great deal of the appeal of the books, and what makes them fun to read, is the exemplary-tales part. Duhigg’s are cleverly written, and in a detective-story style. This feature dates back to the very beginning of the genre, Samuel Smiles’s “Self-Help,” published in 1859 (the same year as “On the Origin of Species”). “Self-Help” is a commodious compendium of exemplary tales, the stories of (almost exclusively) men who have made it in nearly every imaginable arena of human endeavor. One chapter has a discussion of great potters.

For Smiles, the key ingredient of success is perseverance. (Smiles was a Scotsman.) Josiah Wedgwood wasn’t smarter or more privileged or even luckier than the rest of us. He just kept at it. The important thing about perseverance is that everyone has it, or can potentially have it. For the premise—and the selling point—of these books is the insistence that the game is not rigged. If the prize is out of reach no matter what you do, there is no reason to improve yourself; writers like Smiles, Carnegie, and Duhigg are here to tell you that the prize is within reach. You just need to persevere, smile, tweak, get up an hour earlier in the morning, practice TM—whatever it is.

We buy the books because, deep down and until the universe compels us to admit otherwise, we all believe this about ourselves. When I was twelve, I was sure that, just by putting my mind to it, I could become a star basketball player. I would have bought any number of books offering to explain the secret ingredient of athletic success. I was eventually obliged to concede that factors beyond my control made basketball stardom unrealizable. Basically, I never had a chance. The game was rigged, in favor of people with, well, talent. Still, no one wants only what is there for the taking. What would we be if we didn’t try?

The key ingredient, the replicable feature of all success stories that explains why some people do better than other people, is not arbitrarily chosen. It reflects the nature of the economic times. When Smiles published his book, in the laissez-faire era of industrial capitalism, the novel feature of contemporary life for the sort of person who bought books like “Self-Help” was economic and social fluidity. Upward mobility was newly possible for many people, but so was downward mobility. Many of the novels of Smiles’s contemporary Charles Dickens are illustrations of the latter. Smiles made the case for diligence and dedication as the ticket upward.

Smiles was distressed when readers complained that “self-help” meant selfishness, or the pursuit of self-interest, and, in a later edition, he explained that “the duty of helping one’s self in the highest sense involves the helping of one’s neighbors.” This was not wholly coherent, and when the book came out it didn’t matter, because in a laissez-faire economy the pursuit of self-interest is a virtue. There’s nothing wrong with it; on the contrary, it’s supposed to be what makes markets work. (“On the Origin of Species” described the natural world similarly, as a place consisting of, at bottom, nothing but organisms single-mindedly pursuing reproductive success.)

One striking thing about the exemplary tales in “Self-Help” is the all-consuming nature of the careers they document. There is no separation between work life and private life. Personal prosperity and professional success coincide, and this elision became a staple of the genre. The secrets of success in business are the secrets of success in life. The reason that the nature of the secrets changes is that the nature of work changes. Different modes of work call for different types of people.

Let’s say you were running a steel company a hundred years ago. You would want the workers in your factory to perform physical tasks as efficiently as possible. You’d want them to be able to move large objects around quickly and operate heavy machinery with a minimum of rest or redundant effort. You’d be looking to maximize the ratio of output to time; that would be your measure of productivity. You would therefore want your workers to become habituated, through repetition, to a specified mechanical routine. You would not want them to do a lot of thinking on the job. You would reward the most efficient workers with higher wages.

The buzzword in this manufacturing economy was “efficiency,” and its bible was Frederick Taylor’s “Principles of Scientific Management,” first published in 1911. Taylor didn’t want workers to think about what they were doing; he wanted their actions to be designed scientifically by management to maximize speed. His chief illustration had to do with pig-iron handlers, men who moved large pieces of iron all day. That example might not seem a model for the practice of daily life, but, as Jill Lepore showed in these pages a few years ago, the value of “efficiency” was duly imported into the home in the form of home economics, a scientific approach to baking pies and cleaning dishes. “Efficient” moved over from a term of business to the name for a personality type.

If you owned an advertising agency fifty years ago, on the other hand, you wouldn’t care how much pig iron your workers could carry in an hour. You would want your account executives to have winning personalities, to be able to bond easily with other people, to be likable. You would want them to have manners tailored to attract the patronage and retain the loyalty of your customers. Their task would be to persuade, not to push. You would therefore want them to be able to conceal, maybe even from themselves, the manipulative and possibly mercenary nature of their relationship with clients, and to transform a business transaction into a friendly quid pro quo. You would reward the most successful account executives with lavish expense accounts.

This is, of course, the service-economy world of “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Among the things that the book promises to do for its readers (in the original edition; these were omitted in later printings) are: “Enable you to win new clients, new customers,” “Increase your earning power,” and “Make you a better salesman, a better executive.” It’s nice to be nice, but it also pays.

The constant emphasis, reinforced by books like Carnegie’s, on calculating what other people think of you became a major subject for mid-century sociologists like David Riesman, who, in his best-selling book “The Lonely Crowd,” distinguished between other- and inner-directed personalities. But, for readers of “How to Win Friends,” other-directedness was only an internalization of the advice to be likable. Other-direction had positive career value.

Today, if you were starting up a tech company (hey, maybe you are!), you would simply outsource your customer relations. In house, you would want your employees to be innovative and flexible, able to work in teams and adjust to new goals as they arose. You’d want to encourage your employees’ creativity by making them feel valued partners in the enterprise, active agents rather than code-writing drones. You’d be looking to maximize the ratio of brains to adaptability. You’d try to insure your employees’ commitment by making them feel that they were generating their own tasks and measures of performance, by having them “take ownership” of the workplace. You’d want reliable people who can also think “outside the box,” not people who think that successful performance means merely meeting preset goals. You would reward the most loyal employees with stock options.

"Smarter Faster Better” is a book for this economy, the information economy, and there are many more like it. One huge best-seller from a decade or so ago is Spencer Johnson’s “Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal With Change in Your Work and in Your Life.” The book is an allegory about two mice and two Lilliputians looking for cheese in a maze, and the lesson is: Those not ready for change will be left behind. The values of flexibility, innovation, and so on all reflect this distinctive characteristic of the twenty-first-century workplace, where startups boom and crash daily.

I don’t work in a startup. I work in a brick-and-mortar university, one of the most institutionally conservative workplaces in the world outside North Korea. But my colleagues and I all value flexibility and innovation. We are against routine thinking and rote learning. We teach our students to think outside the box and to be comfortable with failure. We stress the importance of teamwork and interaction; we seek to have our students take ownership of the classroom and to insure that they have a psychologically safe space in which to discuss their ideas. We want them to be smarter, faster, better. If someone said, “Sounds like you’re running a startup,” most of us would be quite offended.

We didn’t consciously adopt those values from the contemporary workplace. But we have internalized them from the general culture. They are today’s praise words for a certain kind of human being. We admire people like this, and think they have a better chance for a fulfilling life, just as Samuel Smiles admired people who stick to one task through thick and thin, and thought they would be better human beings. Today, we would call most of those people inflexible and consider their single-mindedness a recipe for unhappiness, just as we tend to suspect people who are overly friendly of being manipulative or insincere.

It’s not surprising that every era has a different human model to suit a different theory of productivity, but it is mildly disheartening to realize how readily we import these models into our daily lives. We apply technologies of the self to our own selves, and measure our worth by the standards of the workplace. We can even be a little self-punishing in our efforts to become the sort of person who matches the model.

In his earlier book, “The Power of Habit,” Duhigg used, as an example of replacing bad habits, his own effort to stop interrupting his work every afternoon to eat a chocolate-chip cookie. For various reasons, this habit seemed to him undesirable, and he undertook a time-and-motion study (not unlike the kind Frederick Taylor pioneered, more than a century ago) to figure out why he did it. After several days of documenting the events leading up to the purchase and consumption of the cookie, he decided that he regularly wanted a distraction from his work at a certain time of day, and that this led him, other options not presenting themselves, to take a cookie break. He vowed to use that time every afternoon to chat with a colleague instead. He soon found that he no longer needed the cookie. He had management-theorized himself into becoming a more disciplined person. The story made me sad. Mr. Duhigg. Charles. Life is short. Eat the cookie.

“Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business” - The New Yorker