Who says?

Does it matter who says it? Science says: “It doesn’t matter who said it. What matters is the evidence and the reasoning.” Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts Richard Feynman Thomas Hobbes said much the same: Words are wise men’s counters, they do but reckon by them; but they are the money of fools, that value them…

Seth Godin on difficult conversations

I highly recommend this week’s excellent episode of Akimbo about Difficult Conversations. Here’s my summary: There are lots of conversations that we think of as “difficult”: telling someone you manage that you’re not happy with their performance; complaining about customer service; asking a friend to change their behaviour. We often find having these conversations hard and even avoid having them…

Neil Gaiman on reading fiction, empathy and changing the world

“Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn…

Commitment: their actual lives

This might be your life’s work. It might be a side project. But as you work – doing something to help, perhaps hiring people to work with you, apportioning your time and attention between competing people and priorities – remember that these are people’s actual lives. And yours. Be as clear as possible about your commitment and its costs, and…

David Krakauer on Claude Shannon’s definition of information

[Claude] Shannon said “Look, here’s what information is. Let’s say I want to navigate from one part of the city to another, from A to B, in a car. I could just drive around randomly. It would take an awful long time to get there, but I might eventually get there. Alternatively, I could give you a map or driving…

I’d rather be

If you’d rather be doing something else, please go and do it. You are more useful there than here. But if you really would rather be, say, drinking beer, you probably could be. Which means that actually you’ve chosen to do this instead. So maybe you mean “Drinking beer is more immediately pleasurable than this, but instead I choose to…

PISA: defining literacy

PISA assesses reading literacy, as opposed to reading. Reading is often interpreted, in a general, non-academic context, as reading aloud or simply converting text into sounds. PISA conceives of reading literacy as a broader set of competencies that allows readers to engage with written information, presented in one or more texts, for a specific purpose. (RAND Reading Study Group and…

PISA on the changing nature of literacy

… the nature of reading has evolved significantly over the past decade, notably due to the growing influence and rapid evolution of technology. Reading now involves not only the printed page but also electronic formats (i.e. digital reading). Moreover, readers must now engage in a greater variety of tasks. In the past, when students did not know the answer to…

When not to speak

Here’s a flow to help me with my “helpful contribution” problem:Is the priority of (this part of) the meeting to discuss things exhaustively, or to cover the essentials? If the purpose of the meeting is exhaustive discussion and there’s still time and attention available – go ahead and share your point. If the purpose of the meeting is to cover…

Obviously

If they knew what you knew, felt how you felt, had the right perspective, it would be obvious to them too. But they don’t. This means that – assuming that it’s necessary and helpful to point out the obvious in this case – the way you do it matters a lot: What are you going to do to help you…