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Robinson
94 articles
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  • We often decide whether a decision is good or not based on its outcome. It’s what poker players call “resulting”.
  • Making good decisions certainly increases the chances of a good outcome; it doesn’t guarantee it. You could make the best possible play at every point in the game and still lose. Similarly, you could make the worst plays and still win.This is where the paradigm shift comes in — all decisions are bets
  • One reason is because we tend to overestimate the impact of our decisions and actions. In our minds, what we get is a result of what we do.
  • As a chess player, I like to think that I know how to make good decisions. After all, the game teaches you how to think logically and methodically. But that’s not how decision making works in the real world. Annie Duke explains this in her book, Thinking in Bets:
  • That sounds reasonable. But as we’ve seen, good outcomes are possible even when we make bad decisions, and vice-versa.
  • Sometimes, the uncertainty bites at us, and we forgo making a decision,
  • As humans, we strive for internal psychological consistency in order to mentally function in a complex world. This leads us to reject information that runs contradictory to what we believe.
  • The smarter you are, the better you are at constructing a narrative that supports your beliefs, rationalizing and framing the data to fit your argument or point of view. After all, people in the “spin room” in a political setting are generally pretty smart for a reason.”
  • All we can do is learn to be comfortable with uncertainty and keep making good bets.
  • You don’t always get the outcome you want even when you make the best decision. Even if you get a positive outcome, it’s difficult to tell if you deserve credit. There’s a double layer of complexity.In many ways, life is one long poker game.
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  • Our attention spans are evaporating.
  • why is it so terrible at follow through
  • Because the information-seeking part is way stronger than the “cognitive control” part that allows you to complete tasks.
  • it has been shown that people who believe that they are good at multitasking actually tend to be those who do the worst on laboratory tests of multitasking
  • you probably feel good when you multitask. But feeling good and efficiency are not the same thing. Multitasking meets your emotional need to do something new and exciting
  • Over the years more evidence has accrued that meditation techniques improve cognitive control, including sustained attention, speed of processing, and working memory capacity.
  • In fact, we’re so distracted we’re walking into things.
  • Attention span 101
  • “single dopamine neurons process both primitive and cognitive rewards, and suggest that current theories of reward-seeking must be revised to include information-seeking.
  • your brain has to expend precious resources in order to filter distractions around you. So doing the same task is harder in environments with more tempting or annoying stimuli.
  • if the two goals both require cognitive control to enact them, such as holding the details of a complex scene in mind (working memory) at the same time as searching the ground for a rock (selective attention), then they will certainly compete for limited prefrontal cortex resources
  • . In fact, cognitive control is measurably better after just a single exercise session.
  • A 2008 paper described a significant improvement in their working memory performance after the nature walk, but not after the urban walk.
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  • we're subject to cognitive biases, those annoying glitches in our thinking that cause us to make questionable decisions and reach erroneous conclusions.
  • the most common and pernicious cognitive biases that you need to know about.
  • A cognitive bias, on the other hand, is a genuine deficiency or limitation in our thinking — a flaw in judgment that arises from errors of memory, social attribution, and miscalculations
  • Observational Selection Bias
  • A perfect example is what happens after we buy a new car and we inexplicably start to see the same car virtually everywhere. A similar effect happens to pregnant women who suddenly notice a lot of other pregnant women around them. Or it could be a unique number or song. It's not that these things are appearing more frequently, it's that we've (for whatever reason) selected the item in our mind, and in turn, are noticing it more often
  • We like to stick to our routines, political parties, and our favorite meals at restaurants. Part of the perniciousness of this bias is the unwarranted assumption that another choice will be inferior or make things worse.
  • Though we're often unconscious of it, we love to go with the flow of the crowd. When the masses start to pick a winner or a favorite, that's when our individualized brains start to shut down and enter into a kind of "groupthink" or hivemind mentality.
  • Most of us would rather experience pleasure in the current moment, while leaving the pain for later
  • T
  • We tend to assume that most people think just like us
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  • In 2009, the average American encountered 100,000 words a day, even if they didn't "read" all of them. It's hard to imagine that's decreased in the nine years since
  • "Memory generally has a very intrinsic limitation
  • recognition memory is more important. "So long as you know where that information is at and how to access it, then you don't really need to recall it," he says.
  • Surely some people can read a book or watch a movie once and retain the plot perfectly. But for many, the experience of consuming culture is like filling up a bathtub, soaking in it, and then watching the water run down the drain.
  • The "forgetting curve", as it's called, is steepest during the first 24 hours after you learn something.
  • unless you review the material, much of it slips down the drain after the first day, with more to follow in the days after, leaving you with a fraction of what you took in.
  • most common kind of reading is likely reading as consumption: where we read, especially on the internet, merely to acquire information. Information that stands no chance of becoming knowledge unless it 'sticks'."
  • When people expect to have future access to information, they have lower rates of recall of the information itself,"
  • The information is flowing in, we're understanding it, it seems like it is smoothly collating itself into a binder to be slotted onto the shelves of our brains. "But it actually doesn't stick unless you put effort into it and concentrate and engage in certain strategies that will help you remember."
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  • The values included setting a goal to achieve something difficult, putting in a lot effort to complete the task and generally viewing intelligence as a trait that can be acquired through hard work rather than a quality that you're born with.
  • a cat that has an appetite for sloppy letters — "written too large or too small, or if the letter is missing a stroke," explains one of the researchers, psychologist Cecilia Cheung, a professor at University of California Riverside. "So the only way children can stop their letters from being eaten is to write really carefully and practice every day."
  • if you think intelligence is gained through effort, then when you're confronted with a challenge or even an outright failure, "you just put more effort into it. You try to learn from the experience and you think about different ways of approaching the problem rather than saying, 'No, I'm just not smart and I'm just going to give up right away.'"
  • By contrast, Cheung says a typical book from the U.S. is one called The Jar of Happiness.
  • emphasizing that smiling is important, that laughing is important, that being surrounded by people who are happy is important."
  • Chinese parents might want to learn from the American focus on encouraging children's happiness and sense of connection to others.
  • What are the hidden messages in the storybooks we read to our kids
  • underlying point is clear: "This is really instilling the idea of effort
  • this emphasis on happiness comes up a lot in the books from the U.S
  • Cheung notes that children in China consistently score higher on academic tests compared to children in the U.S. and Mexico. But she says more research is needed to determine how much of that is due to the storybooks or even to the larger differences in cultural values that the books reflect. Other completely unrelated factors, such as different teaching techniques could be at work.
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  • However, in this day and age, our negativity bias, both as it relates to the environment and to our self-judgments, is harmful," she writes
  • Meanwhile, Alibaba founder and CEO Jack Ma was born to a poor family in China and later failed his university entrance exams twice before getting accepted to Hangzhou Teachers' Institute. Upon graduation, Ma applied for dozens of jobs and faced rejection after rejection.
  • If you want to be happier and more successful in life, it's important to fight the brain's natural tendency to focus on the negative
  • "self-compassion" can sound "soft" or "idealistic." However, she explains, "it allows you to be successful without sabotaging yourself."
  • Highlighting the work of social psychologist Roy Baumeister, Seppälä points out that our brain's "tendency to give more weight to the negative may have helped our species survive by highlighting potential dangers.
  • replacing your belief in strengths with belief in your efforts and replacing self-criticism with self-compassion.
  • When they each faced adversity and difficult situations, they did not allow themselves to feel defeated. Instead, they persisted and believed their efforts would pay off — a mindset encapsulated in this quote Seppälä credits to Einstein: "Failure is success in progress."
  • Research shows that three times more positive than negative things happen to us, yet we focus on the negative," Seppälä says. "By realizing the good things, we will obviously be not just happier, but more realistic. We won't let our life go by wasted on complaints, we'll actually enjoy and make the best of what we have."
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  • young workers think they don't have any other choice," he tells me. "If you don't quit you have to work 100 hours. If you quit you just can't live.
  • Japan has some of the longest working hours in the world, and some young Japanese workers are literally working themselves to death.
  • The Japanese people count on the government but they are being betrayed," says Koji Morioka, an academic who has studied the karoshi phenomenon for 30 years.
  • the challenge has been to break a decades-old work culture
  • On Christmas Day in 2015, 24-year-old Matsuri Takahashi, an employee at the Japanese advertising agency Dentsu, jumped to her death.
  • working more than 100 hours of overtime a month in the period leading up to her death.
  • a district of downtown Tokyo, they have resorted to turning the office lights off at 7pm in an effort to force people to go home.
  • particularly for new starters in a company.
  • The only solution they say is to put a legal limit on the overtime employees are permitted to work.
  • Nearly a quarter of Japanese companies have employees working more than 80 hours overtime a month, often unpaid,
  • Those numbers are important; 80 hours overtime a month is regarded as the threshold above which you have an increased chance of dying.
  • "He usually worked until the last train, but if he missed it he slept at his desk," she said. "In the worst case he had to work overnight through to 10pm the next evening, working 37 hours in total."
  • "Companies just focus on short-term profits," she says. "My son and other young workers don't hate work. they are capable and they want to do well.
  • Two years later Naoya died at the age of 27 from an overdose of medication.
  • was officially rule a case of "karoshi" - the Japanese term to describe death attributed to overwork.
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  • unemployment rate measures joblessness only among people who are actively looking for work. And many American teens aren't.
  • Today's teenagers have other priorities.
  • 43 percent of 16- to 19-year-olds were either working or looking for a job. That's 10 points lower than in July 2006. In 1988 and 1989, the July labor force participation rate for teenagers nearly hit 70 percent.
  • Why aren't teens working? Lots of theories have been offered:
  • Teen earnings are low and pay little toward the costs of college,
  • Immigrants are competing with teens for jobs; a 2012 study found that less educated immigrants affected employment for U.S
  • In July of last year, more than two in five 16- to 19-year-olds were enrolled in school. That's four times times as many as were enrolled in 1985, BLS data show.
  • Parents are pushing kids to volunteer and sign up for extracurricular activities instead of working, to impress college admission counselors
  • millions of teenagers aren't working because they're studying instead.
  • education has taken up more and more of teenagers' time, 
  • All this studying has obvious benefits, but a single-minded focus on education has disadvantages, too.
  • but teens usually find it harder to find jobs than their more experienced elders.
  • researchers analyzed the effects of two Chicago programs providing students with part-time job
  • an effect felt for at least a year after the programs ended. If teens got nothing else out of the jobs programs, the researchers suggested, they were at least "learning to better avoid or manage conflict." 
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  • Surrounded by affluence, enabled by the internet, and empowered by an educational system that prizes self-esteem over achievement, Americans have become more opinionated even as they have become less informed, and are now utterly intolerant of ever being told they’re wrong about almost anything.
  • Today, in public forums, we engage each other not to learn or to converse, but to fight along the harshest and most intractable partisan lines — and to win, no matter how obnoxious we must be in order to carry the day.
  • some of this problem is generated by human nature, especially the problem of “confirmation bias.
  • This isn't just human nature, but the result of a narcissism that took root in American society after the 1960s and has been growing ever since.
  • Like so many examples of confirmation bias, this could spring from personal experience.
  • Unable to cope with this level of nuance and unwilling to see their own biases, most people will simply drive each other crazy arguing rather than accept answers that contradict what they already think about the subject.
  • We must come out from behind our keyboards and smartphones and televisions and engage each other as citizens,
  • One person in this discussion, for example, might hold firmly, as many Americans do, to the idea that unemployed people are just lazy
  • Why can’t Americans agree about anything? The United States has survived through periods of great division and yet today we all now seem incapable of finding common ground on even the smallest issues.
  • We naturally want to reject evidence that conflicts with those cherished views
  • For this person, every “help wanted” sign— which confirmation bias will note and file away— is further proof of the laziness of the unemployed.
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