Summary of “How to Work with a Manipulative Person”

Almost everyone who’s ever gone to work has had to deal with an office manipulator.
Many workplaces promote manipulators because they appear to be effective at getting things done, despite the significant costs their abuse can inflict on productivity and people over time.
Three kinds of responses have proven to be consistently effective for confronting most garden-variety manipulators, even if you have less rank, power, or status.
Manipulators don’t usually show their true colors at the beginning of a relationship.
Over time, she began to doubt her own instincts and started acting like the manipulative colleague’s sidekick rather than championing her own causes.
At one point, a vice president who had an extremely self-serving and manipulative reputation raised his eyebrows in apparent surprise, shook his head repeatedly, and at the end shrugged, as if to indicate to his peers in the room that he either didn’t agree with what his colleague was saying or didn’t understand why he was saying it – all without him saying a word.
Rather than letting her hide her criticisms behind others, I would say things like, “You’ve been clear that you don’t like how James handled his team’s conflict. I’ll be happy to meet with you and James so that you can explain your concern, and then I can work with him on managing his team.” Now that she understands her own behavior pattern and has received support to change, she’s far less likely to offload uncomfortable situations to others.
If your position is senior to the manipulator’s, the most effective thing is to begin a rigorous plan of corrective action promptly, using approaches such as these and providing concrete behavioral feedback until they either drop their inappropriate habits or you remove them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Neuroscientist David Eagleman and composer Anthony Brandt explain how creativity works”

What makes humans special? Some credit should go to the opposable thumb and the larynx, says neuroscientist David Eagleman, but a lot of it has to do with our ability to be creative and constantly think up new ideas.
Eagleman, a professor at Stanford University and writer, collaborated with composer and Rice University professor Anthony Brandt to write The Runaway Species: How Human Creativity Remakes the World, published this month by Catapult.
Throughout the book, which is filled with photographs and illustrations, they narrow down and explain the three main components of creativity: bending elements, blending elements, and breaking.
The Verge spoke to Eagleman and Brandt about how these processes work, the relationship between creativity and quality, and their own favorite examples of creativity.
We had no interest in writing something about, you know, “Here’s advice on how to be creative,” in part because people are so different in what works for one person and what works for another.
What about taste, though? There are plenty of things, like performance art, that people will say is “Creative,” but they also say it’s bad. How should we evaluate? And how do we know how creative to be, or if it’s possible to be “Too” creative?
Brandt: We describe creativity as kind of a conversation between personal impulse and the community that sees it.
Eagleman: There is no way to know exactly how far out you need to be.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How Do You Focus?”

I do think more students should prioritize education over grades.
What you learn is far more important than the artificial relic of grades.
Two More Bonus TipsIf You’re Young, Go Wide, Not DeepAnother thing to remember about being young is that you have a lot of time to rack up those accomplishments.
So instead of spending time trying to go super deep into any one thing to become THE BEST, I think more young people should focus on going as wide as possible.
Enjoy the time to do a lot of things at first to see what you really want to do.
Of course that’s applied over a lot of different systems.
So many things we work on, and experiment with, just don’t move the needle.
From a different perspective, you’ll probably find, most of it really didn’t even matter.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Connect with Yourself in a World Designed to Distract You”

A thought is planted in us so carefully that suppressing it feels like denying our most basic instincts.
If, on occasion, we do look inward, we feel a sense of emptiness and fear.
A good sign of having lost connection with yourself is that your true instincts feel like distractions, and distractions feel like true instincts.
Is there a way to rediscover that connection with ourselves? To feel centered, and confident about who we are; to understand our emotions, feelings, and desires clearly; to know our strengths and acknowledge our limitations?
Sometimes we are at peace with the world, but also feel a longing for something better.
The reason is, our mind is telling the body what to feel, based on what the mind is thinking.
Quick exercise: Close your eyes and try to discern the shape of your hand by feeling the electrical impulses on the skin, and the gentle blood flow in the veins.
If you are able to discern only the index finger, or just the thumb, then become more sensitive to what you are feeling, until you can feel your entire hand.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Fantastic Beasts and How to Rank Them”

What makes an impossible thing seem plausible? In a convoluted passage in the Poetics, Aristotle tells us that if an impossible thing would “Necessarily” require something else to occur along with it, you should put that second thing in your story, too, because then your readers will be more likely to believe the first one.
Unlike most of us, they have practical motives for wondering how best to make imaginary things seem convincing, a problem that must be solved as much for “Vanity Fair” as for “A Wrinkle in Time.” Accordingly, creative types have done an unusual amount of thinking about plausible impossibility.
“We cannot do the fantastic things, based on the real, unless we first know the real,” he once wrote, by way of explaining why, in 1929, he began driving his animators to a studio in downtown Los Angeles for night classes in life drawing.
Taken together, Disney’s foundation of fact and Coleridge’s semblance of truth suggest a good starting place for any Unified Theory of the Plausibility of Supernatural Beings: the more closely such creatures hew to the real world, the more likely we are to deem them believable.
Perhaps we don’t care how much supernatural creatures resemble the animal kingdom in general; perhaps we only care how much they resemble us.
Over all, the subjects felt that spells were more difficult when they violated “More fundamental principles of intuitive physics.” What makes a principle of physics fundamental, in this case, is how early in our cognitive development we acquire it.
“Severing one link in a causal network,” they write, “Still leaves the rest of the network intact.” And the more links you sever, the more powerful-or, put differently, the less probable-your magic seems.
Small impossible things, she contended, are more believable than large impossible things, because they could more easily exist without us noticing them.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A beginner’s guide to Getting Things Done”

Getting Things Done is a time management technique that took the world by storm when it was first published in 2001.
What is GTD?Getting Things Done is much more than just a way to get things done.
It is a framework for organizing and tracking tasks, such that you can 100% trust that the things on your to do list truly are the things you need to do.
Open loops are the things that are niggling at the back of your mind, things you remember when you can’t sleep at four in the morning, things that bug you when you run across them again.
Things you can add to your waiting for list include things that are blocked for any reason - you need a reply to an email you sent before you can continue, or you’re waiting on a delivery.
Don’t include anything that you want to get done on a certain day, only things that must be done.
If you can view your next actions list sorted by context, then you can easily just check your list of things to do ‘at work’ or ‘out shopping’ while you’re in those locations.
You’ll forget to add something to the next actions list, or you’ll forget to remove the things that should no longer be on the list.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What constitutes an individual organism in biology?”

My view is that no such unified theory exists; there’s no single answer to the question: ‘What parts of the world are a part of you as a biological individual, and what parts are not?’ Different accounts of individuality pick out different boundaries, like an overlapping Venn diagram drawn on top of a network of biotic interactions.
He compared the individual units of such ‘zoophytes’ to buds on a tree; but he, like his grandfather, accepted that the buds ‘must be considered individual plants’.
Some hydrozoans live their lives as individual polyps, while others develop into complex colonies made up of many individuals.
In The Principles of Biology, Spencer wrote that a biological individual is one in which the interdependence of the parts allows it to function and respond to environmental change as a whole.
Living matter could be grouped into continuing, ‘closed, independent systems with harmonious parts’, he wrote in The Individual in the Animal Kingdom.
One of the things that Janzen pointed out in ‘What Are Dandelions and Aphids?’ was that evolutionary biologists and ecologists are talking about different things when they talk about individual dandelions and individual aphids.
These traits often correlate with being an individual, and can function as a handy marker – but they are not a reason to define something as an individual per se.
Through the lens of physiological individuality, in which discrete parts function as an integrated whole, you’re an individual who contains human parts and microbial parts.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Creating the Elegance of Simplicity & Focus in Your Work Day”

The answer, I’ve repeatedly found, is in the pure elegance of simplicity.
Let’s look at some things you can do today to create the elegance of simplicity and focus in your life.
Simplifying your physical and digital workspaces will help you be less distracted, and more able to focus on a single task.
As much as possible, it’s best to focus on a single task at a time.
As you narrow your focus on fewer things, simplify your workspace so that there are fewer distractions, and practice single-minded focus with intention things start to change.
Our brains seem to become calmer, more at peace, when we find joy in the elegance of simplicity.
It’s the pure elegance of simplicity, and it is found in the paring down.
In this workshop, I’ll be talking about finding focus, simplicity, mindfulness and quiet, while focusing on high-impact tasks that have meaning in our lives.

The orginal article.

Summary of “She’s 26, and Brought Down Uber’s C.E.O. What’s Next?”

Ms. Fowler worked as a stable hand and a nanny to help support her family.
Ms. Fowler took screen shots and reported the manager to human resources, thinking, “They’ll do the right thing.” But they didn’t, explaining that the manager was “a high performer” and it was his first offense, something Ms. Fowler later discovered to be untrue.
Like women in Hollywood I talked to after the Weinstein collapse, Ms. Fowler thought the new outspokenness in Silicon Valley on sexual harassment may have been spurred by the election of President Trump.
‘” Ms. Fowler adds that the company’s C.T.O., Thuan Pham, who knew about her complaints, is still in the same job.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal earlier this month, Ms. Hornsey, who joined Uber a month after Ms. Fowler left and a month before the famous blog post, was asked if she had ever reached out to Ms. Fowler.
Ms. Fowler tweeted a screen shot of that part of the interview, saying: “Oooh burn” and “She really, really doesn’t like me.”
Ms. Fowler has taken that to the Supreme Court, and as is her wont, is studying the syllabuses of Columbia Law School so she can learn more about her rights.
Ms. Fowler is still reading the Stoics.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Stephen Sondheim, Theater’s Greatest Lyricist”

Miranda: How do you clear your desk and write the next thing?
He’d been a mystery writer, you know.
Miranda: Can you think of any times you’ve surprised yourself in the writing process?
You think, “Oh, I didn’t know I could – oh, that’s good!” You know, writing’s full of surprises for oneself.
We were on the subject of “Finishing the Hat” from “Sunday in the Park With George,” one of Sondheim’s most celebrated songs, and maybe the greatest song ever written about the self-induced spell of the creative process.
You must know that the great thing about writing and creating is, time disappears.
Then for a moment you let in the depth and intensity and range of Stephen Sondheim’s feeling for the past half-century.
Sixty years of iconic theatrical moments, and they exist as a result of the specific way Stephen Sondheim feels.

The orginal article.