Saturday, September 19, 2015

Another edition of Dan Pink's email newsletter. It's such a bonanza and it is not too long...

Continuing Education

One of the quotes that I posted in my classroom recently was

"The person who doesn't read is no better off than the person who can't read."

That's a reminder that we have so many opprotunities to move ahead through treading.

Here's what I look foward to... the infrequent letter from Dan Pink.

Here is his latest list of links to explore.  I encourage you to sign up for his email letter.

Welcome to the latest edition of our irregular and irreverent newsletter. In this issue, you’ll find: a brand new interview feature called “Four Questions For”;  the best piece of software I’ve downloaded in years; 4 books, movies, and podcasts I’ve recently discovered; and our usual collection of 7 must-read articles.

Let’s get started.


We’re introducing a new feature here at the newsletter. I call it “4 Questions 4” (hereinafter “4Q4”). In every newsletter, I’ll enlist a smart writer with a new non-fiction book — and I’ll ask that person four questions. Four questions that cut through the clutter and get to the heart of what the writer is trying to say and what it means for readers. The same four questions every time. 

We launch 4Q4 with one of my favorite books of the year, How to Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (Buy it at IndieBoundBarnes & Noble, or Amazon). Here are four questions for its author, former Stanford University Dean of Freshmen Julie Lythcott-Haims:
1. Julie, what’s the big idea?
We worry about neglectful parents, and rightly so. But there’s also harm at the opposite end of the spectrum: Overparenting. Whether via overprotection (think “bubble-wrapped kids”), overdirection (“tiger mom”), or too much hand-holding (“parent as concierge”) kids raised this way lack basic life skills, can’t think for themselves, don’t take the initiative, and suffer from alarming rates of anxiety and depression.
2. How do you know?
As Stanford’s freshman dean, I saw more students each year who needed a parent to tell them what to do, how to do it, or outright do it for them, and who couldn’t cope with even small setbacks. Colleagues nationwide saw the same. I realized overparenting was to blame when one night at dinner I began cutting my son’s meat (he was ten). I was already doing too much for him and was on track to be “that parent” who couldn’t let go of him at eighteen. 
3. Why should I care?
Parents: regardless of the short term “win” you achieve by overparenting (e.g. a higher grade), in the long term your kid will be mentally unwell, lack skills needed in the workplace, and be bewildered when you’re gone. Boomers and GenXers: we have to hand the mantle of leadership to these “kids” one day. If young adults increasingly lack the wherewithal to act and think like an “adult” – and lead our institutions and families one day – what’s to become of our society?
4. What should I do?
Teach kids to fend for themselves (e.g. wake themselves up, make a meal, keep track of their stuff, do their own work, meet deadlines, get places, talk to others, advocate for their needs, and bounce back from adversity). Here’s an easy four step method for teaching kids any skill: 1) do it for them; 2) do it with them; 3) watch them do it; 4) then they do it completely independently.
More: How to Raise an Adult


Ads on the web are kinda creepy, right?  

Say you visit a sports goods site looking for swim goggles, but don’t buy anything. For the next week, that jilted vendor will follow you to every other place you visit — your bank, your local newspaper, that dermatology site you checked when you had that weird rash — beckoning you with ads for goggles you’ve already decided you don’t want. If this happened in meatspace, you’d call the cops.

A few weeks ago, perhaps later than some of you, I found a solution. It’s called Adblock Plus - a browser extension that blocks ads. It’s free, open-source, and it works like a dream.

Now I’m no longer assaulted by ads (though I can whitelist certain sites from which I do want ads). And pages load much faster.

Of course, some argue that ad-blocking technology will kill certain web sites by denying them revenue. But my view is that these innovations will force publishers to create better, more useful, less annoying ads or figure out less creepy methods for paying their bills.

More: Adblock Plus 


Here’s some other stuff I’ve liked lately:

BOOK: The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics. Barton Swaim’s vivid, funny, and often sad account of a few years writing speeches for a peculiar and persnickety southern Governor.

DOCUMENTARY: Going Clear. From HBO Films, a look inside the bizzaro world of Scientology. Riveting (and slightly terrifying). 

NEWSLETTER: Sunday New York Times Digest. Matt Thomas reads the Sunday Times so you don’t have to. No crossword help, though. 

PODCAST:   Hidden Brain. An amazing new show from NPR social science correspondent Shankar Vedantam. It launches next week, so be sure to subscribe now.  (Disclosure: I have a small role in this one). 

From my Instapaper account to your email inbox comes our most popular feature. Here are 7 articles that caught my eye and charged my brain: 

How to Graciously Say No to Anyone
The more time I spend on this planet, the more I realize that one secret to well-being is saying no. Austin Kleon explains how to do it with a touch of grace. 

How to Improve Your Writing: 5 Secrets From Hollywood
Structure, surprise, and the importance of being semi-miserable. More shrewd advice from Eric Barker.

What You Miss When You Take Notes on a Laptop
Shut the MacBook and take out a pen. You’ll be a better note-taker.

A World Without Work
Very thoughtful Atlantic article by Derek Thompson about automation, leisure, and the meaning of work.

The Coddling of the American Mind
Another great Atlantic piece, this one about the lunkheadedness of protecting college students from ideas they don’t like.

Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert? You May Be an Ambivert?
The Wall Street Journal’s Elizabeth Bernstein on one of my favorite topics. 

Traffic signs with a heart ask you to stop - in the name of love
Luc Rinaldi at Macleans covers another topic near to my heart: Emotionally intelligent signage.

BONUS: If you’ve still got the time and the mental bandwidth, here is a short Wired story I wrote on the science of being happy at work. And here is a (not universally loved) PBS Newshour video essay I did explaining why parents, even nice ones, shouldn’t watch their kids' athletic events.

That’s all for this edition.  As always, thanks for reading our humble newsletter. 

Daniel Pink

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