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Scott H Young



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Last Build Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:39:51 +0000

 



Lesson One: How much of your career is running to stay in the same spot?

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:34:22 +0000

In Lewis Carol’s novella Through the Looking Glass, there’s a quirky little dialog between Alice and the Red Queen: “‘Well, in our country,’ said Alice, still panting a little, ‘you’d generally get to somewhere else — if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.’ “‘A slow sort of country!’ said […]



Further Notes on “Rethinking Discipline”

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 17:15:08 +0000

Last week I published an article arguing for a different hypothesis about how self-discipline works. The standard idea, which even had decent scientific backing, was that willpower was a resource that could be depleted like a fuel. Now the evidence behind this view is a bit shakier, so I wanted to suggest an alternative: self-discipline […]



Rethinking Discipline

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 17:52:45 +0000

What is self-discipline? I think everyone has at least a hazy picture of what it means to be self-disciplined. From the outside, self-discipline looks like suppressing impulses to do things you shouldn’t do. Self-discipline means not eating too much, not succumbing to the temptation to check your phone every two minutes, ignoring what you want […]



Set Goals in the Middle

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 21:50:11 +0000

Classic goal-setting theory says that you first set a goal, then you make a plan to achieve it and finally you start taking action. Recently, I’ve begun to question the wisdom of this approach. Now, I’m inclined to believe that, for certain types of efforts, you’re better of setting goals in the middle. At first […]



Book Club: Seeing Like A State (January 2018)

Thu, 25 Jan 2018 20:54:27 +0000

This month we read Seeing Like A State by James C. Scott Compulsory ujamaa villages in Tanzania, collectivization in Russia, Le Corbusier’s urban planning theory realized in Brasilia, the Great Leap Forward in China, agricultural “modernization” in the Tropics―the twentieth century has been racked by grand utopian schemes that have inadvertently brought death and disruption to millions. […]



How Much Faster Can You Learn?

Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:58:24 +0000

Say you were to optimize everything you possibly could for a particular learning goal. You used the best time-management system, you picked exactly the right tasks that would drive learning improvement, you applied tremendous motivation and effort. How much faster could you learn something than the status quo would expect? The answer, of course, will […]



What’s Next?

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 19:59:39 +0000

Completing a big project or achieving a goal can lead to an unexpected experience. Part of you feels proud and satisfied—you did the thing you wanted to do. But another part of you can end up feeling totally lost. On the one hand, completing a hard-won project has given you the thing you set out […]



Choose Your Signal Wisely

Thu, 04 Jan 2018 19:39:47 +0000

Psychological research has demonstrated that human beings are particularly susceptible to what are called framing effects. These are differences in the way we respond to a situation, based on how it is framed for us, rather than on its substance. To take a particularly striking example, American physicians were presented with the following scenario: “The […]



Book Club: Godel, Escher, Bach (December 2017)

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 23:44:41 +0000

This month we read Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter.  This is a fantastically weird and wonderful book. At one level, the book is about a parallel between three people: Johann Sebastian Bach, Kurt Godel and M.C. Escher, in particular how their work in music, math and art manages to loop back on itself and […]



Discovering the Meta

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 18:02:03 +0000

One of my favorite early lessons in entrepreneurship was the idea of working “on” your business instead of merely working “in” your business. To see the distinction, imagine running a restaurant. Here, working “in” the business is clear. Make delicious food. Offer great service to your customers. Keep the place clean and inviting. Being able […]