What We Are Reading

November 2, 2012

Happy Friday! Here are some fun and inspiring things we’ve been reading lately, to kick off your weekend:

What Do Kids Really Learn From Failure? by Alfie Kohn: “Research certainly doesn’t support the idea that failure or disappointment is constructive in itself… We may want kids to rebound from failure, but that doesn’t mean it’s usually going to happen — or that the experience of failure makes that desired outcome more likely.”

Should QS Researchers Protect Themselves With Disclaimers? by @measuredme: “The point of the disclaimer that I have in mind is not to restrict access to data or research… What I am really concerned about is those rare instances when our data and findings could lead to liabilities or involuntary involvement in legal disputes, due to misuse or misinterpretation.”

If Behavior Change Is Belief Change, a conversation with Buster Benson, Ernesto Ramirez, and others: “Can we forcefully change our own identities and beliefs about ourselves? Will writing something down every day have a positive (or negative??) impact on our desire to believe something different than we actually do?”

Haven’t We All Done Steroids, In A Way? by Lance Armstrong: “As people, we are united by our shared experiences. We all live, breathe, fall in love, take steroids, lie to anti-doping officials, make indignant public denials about steroids, cry, achieve dizzying levels of fame and success by continuing to use steroids, laugh. Deep down, that is how we are, and we’re stuck with it.”

Peeling Away Health Care’s Sticker Shock by Andy Grove: “The paradox of health care is that technology has driven costs higher. In fact, half of the increase in medical spending is related to the deployment of new medical technologies.”

Reasoning is Sharper in a Foreign Language by Jessica Gross: “Cognitive biases are rooted in emotional reactions, and thinking in a foreign language helps us disconnect from these emotions and make decisions in a more economically rational way.”

The Hug Timer: A Respectful Way to Guide and Show Gratitude During Discussions by Ted Eytan: “The standard techniques, the ‘time’s up,’ the ‘I’m going to be a brutal timekeeper’ lines are disrespectful bordering on angry… Language and behavior matter, especially in health. On the other hand, a hug signifies something totally different. It says, ‘I’m so glad that you came to be with us, for every second of time you’ve given to our learning.'”

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THE QUANTIFIED SELF is about making personally relevant discoveries using our own self-collected data. We call this practice everyday science, a name that emphasizes its nonprofessional character. Lately, we've been organizing small group projects that show how collaboration can make individual projects easier. Today we're publishing a detailed white paper documenting the design and implementation of our recent "Bloodtesters" PLR, hoping it will be useful to others who follow in our footsteps. Please click through to the full post to read about the white paper and download a complete version.