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The Best of Farnam Street March 2013

Here is a look at some of the things we learned:

Is The Key to Happiness Being Busy?

Who among us are the most happy? Newly published research suggests it is those fortunate folks who have little or no excess time, and yet seldom feel rushed.

Steve Jobs: The Most Important Thing

Life can be much broader, once you discover one simple fact, and that is that everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work

What’s in the spotlight will rarely be everything we need to make good decisions, but we won’t always remember to shift the light.

12 Things We Know About How The Brain Works

If workplaces had nap rooms, multitasking was frowned upon, and meetings were held during walks, we’d be vastly more productive. Here are 12 things we know about how the brain works.

What Matters More in Decisions: Analysis or Process?

So what matters more, process or analysis? After comparing the results they determined that “process mattered more than analysis—by a factor of six.”

I’m just a working-class guy trying to take part in the conversation that all the smart people are having. What books should I read?

“I want to be an educated, well-read, cultured, critically thinking person but need some stuff to read,” articulates an anonymous reader in the Ask The Paris Review section. The letter and the response from the Paris Review to this cry for help are must-reads.

How To Pick The Best Seat At A Restaurant Or Dinner Party

One of the most complex social situations you will encounter is the 45 seconds that elapse while deciding where to sit for dinner at a restaurant. Your choice should appear natural, unbiased and haphazard if executed properly. Timing is everything.

How People Learn

In a traditional classroom, the teacher stands at the front of the class explaining what is clear in their mind to a group of passive students. Yet this pedagogical strategy doesn’t positively impact retention of information from lecture, improve understanding basic concepts, or affect beliefs (that is, does new information change your belief about how something works).

How Strategy Really Works

Rather than develop strategies, many leaders tend to approach strategy in one of the following ineffective ways:

they define strategy as a vision;
they define strategy as a plan;
they deny that long-term strategy is possible;
they define strategy as the optimization of the status quo; and
they define strategy as following best practices.

“These ineffective approaches,” Lafley and Martin argue, “are driven by a misconception of what strategy really is and a reluctance to make truly hard choices.”

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