“Innovation is about saying no to 1,000 things”

I came across this Steve Jobs quote in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s tremendously entertaining book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, and it struck a chord. I notice it’s a fairly popular quote on Goodreads too, as are quite a few from Taleb’s book. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. […]

Flow states feel awesome because: norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin and endorphins

Dr Steven Kotler, Director of Research for the Flow Genome Project, talks in this 4:20 video about the neurochemistry of your brain when you’re in a flow state. Transcript from YouTube: Besides neuroanatomical changes in flow there are neurochemical changes, right. The brain produces a giant cascade of neurochemistry. You get norepinephrine, dopamine, anandamide, serotonin […]

This is so good: “We are dead stars, looking back at the sky”

Can’t believe I hadn’t seen this before. It is the best video ever. Made in May 2014 by  The Atlantic and The Really Big Questions, the video (3:57) features NASA astronomer Dr Michelle Thaller explaining, beautifully, how “the iron in our blood connects us to one of the most violent acts in the universe—a supernova explosion—and what the […]

Why you shouldn’t drink seawater (even if you’re shipwrecked)

    I feel like I’ve always ‘known’ that it’s bad to drink seawater but I can’t remember ever learning why. This excerpt from Rose George’s excellent ‘90% of Everything: Inside Shipping‘ gives a fair idea: In a lecture to the Royal College of Physicians in 1942, MacDonald Critchley, a physician who had studied survival […]

‘I’m intrigued by this idea of complexity being something adversarial, that sneaks into your life like a cockroach’

Five takeaways from the written version of a charming talk given by Pinboard founder Maciej Ceglowski  at the 2013 XOXO conference in Portland. Well worth a read. I’m intrigued by this idea of complexity being something adversarial, that sneaks into your life, like a cockroach, and you have to fight to eradicate. There’s a pernicious idea […]

‘Making time in your schedule is not enough, you also need bandwidth’

I like the distinction Sendhil Mullainathan makes over on Time.com between scheduling time and scheduling bandwidth. Busy people all make the same mistake: they assume they are short on time, which of course they are. But time is not their only scarce resource. They are also short on bandwidth. By bandwidth I mean basic cognitive resources — psychologists […]