Sharpen your thinking about business advice: Sensitivity, specificity and base rates

Your news feed might have pieces about how to get better at business (or indeed your living your life). They might have a seemingly empirical basis, and offer numbers of great specificity: the ten ways the successful manage their time; the fifteen books the very rich have read (and you must read too); the six… Read More

We must rediscover the psychological importance of idleness, play and even boredom (updated a little, including new videos and some pop sociological speculations)

Aeon brings us an important, beautifully-written and profound meditation by psychologist Peter Gray on the importance of play during and for human development that should be read by educators, politicians and parents alike. Children’s own self-directed play has been systematically devalued and squeezed to the margins in developed societies in favour of adult-directed and controlled activity. There are lots… Read More

Cognition enhancement via drugs – “Smart and smarter drugs | Mosaic”

Embed from Getty Images Great piece on a topic we have dealt with here before – allegedly cognition-enhancing drugs. via Smart and smarter drugs | Mosaic. Author: Marek Kohn Editor: Giles Newton Copyeditor: Kirsty Strawbridge Fact checker: Lowri Daniels Illustrator: Mari Kanstad Johnsen Art director: Peta Bell “You know how they say that we can only access 20 per cent of our… Read More

Decision making via nonconscious cognitive processes – AKA heuristics or ‘gut instincts’

Via my Brain for Business blog, a short piece on the adaptive rationality of nonconscious decision-making processes and the work of Gerd Gigerenzer. h/t: the  HBR Blog Network – Harvard Business Review.

What use are PhD’s? What future do they have?

 A picture attached to a tweet I received from Where will a biology PhD take you? Probably not academia: <8% of new PhDs will get tenure. via @jameswilsdon — Mo Costandi (@mocost) April 15, 2014 @mocost (and others) is profoundly depressing. It plots the number of biology PhD students in the US (86,000) against the… Read More

Here’s why the MOOCs don’t work… (and maybe how they can be made to work)

I spent some time over the holidays looking at some MOOC offerings – either the freebie intro lectures available from some of the major providers, or the clips available on YouTube. I also had a look at some course content, syllabi and related materials. This trawl is, of course, not representative or even properly systematic… Read More

Managing your brain to optimise learning and memory: Some notes

This is a short popular media piece I wrote a while back for the Memory Lab exhibition (2011) on managing your brain to optimise learning and memory. I dug it out after receiving a few emails on this topic regarding study advice. There are two general things you can do – manage your lifestyle, and manage… Read More

Sometimes, very smart people say (kinda, sorta) uninformed things: Last comments on teaching and MOOCs (for a while)

From the Fast Company profile of Sebastian Thrun: It’s hard to imagine a story that more thoroughly flatters the current sensibilities of Silicon Valley than the one into which Thrun stumbled. Not only is reinventing the university a worthy goal–tuition prices at both public and private colleges have soared in recent years, and the debt burden… Read More

The MOOCs don’t work … part xyz

The FT continues the sceptical realism with a super piece on MOOCs (reg req). All sorts of interesting material here – costs and motivation may be the key issue for US college students. MOOCs promise to address part of the equation, but the problems run much deeper than a broadband connection and a video of somebody delivering the… Read More