How to design your life


While "design thinking" has become an overused catchphrase among consultants, it is also a real thing, a formal methodology for solving difficult problems. Bill Burnett, the executive director of Stanford's Design Program where they take design thinking very seriously, and his colleague David Evans, who co-founded Electronic Arts and teaches a very popular Stanford course called "Designing Your Life," have written a new book based on the class titled "Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life". Above is the trailer for the book. From the New York Times:

They say the practices taught in the class and the book can help you (in designing-your-life-speak) “reframe” dysfunctional beliefs that surround life and career decisions and help you “wayfind” in a chaotic world through the adoption of such design tenets as bias-for-action, prototyping and team-building....

The book includes things that are not in the class, like what Mr. Burnett and Mr. Evans call “anchor problems” — overcommitted life choices that keep people stuck and unhappy. A common mistake that people make, they said, is to assume that there’s only one right solution or optimal version of your life, and that if you choose wrong, you’ve blown it.

That’s completely absurd, Mr. Evans said: “There are lots of you. There are lots of right answers.”

"Designing Your Life: How To Build A Well-Lived, Joyful Life" (Amazon)

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The Bad Advisor has a new home, and is dispensing scorching wisdom


The Bad Advisor (previously), who has delighted us for years with amazing, frank, scathing alternative answers to real advice-column questions, has a new home on The Establishment, where bad advice is given at longer length than usual -- and with extra column-inches, the Bad Avisor finds new heights of hilarity. Read the rest

Worst boss ever asks how to be an even worse boss

Image: Flickr/State Farm

A manager wrote to the website "Ask a Manager" for advice on what she should do about an employee who quit after she was told she couldn't miss work to attend her college graduation ceremony.

The manager wrote:

I’m a bit upset because she was my best employee by far. Her work was excellent, she never missed a day of work in the six years she worked here, and she was my go-to person for weekends and holidays.

Even though she doesn’t work here any longer, I want to reach out and tell her that quitting without notice because she didn’t get her way isn’t exactly professional. I only want to do this because she was an otherwise great employee, and I don’t want her to derail her career by doing this again and thinking it is okay. She was raised in a few dozen different foster homes and has no living family. She was homeless for a bit after she turned 18 and besides us she doesn’t have anyone in her life that has ever had professional employment. This is the only job she has had. Since she’s never had anyone to teach her professional norms, I want to help her so she doesn’t make the same mistake again. What do you think is the best way for me to do this?

The site has 1,842 comments for the manager. Read the rest

This video will show you how to live so long, you'll be the oldest person alive on the planet.

It's complicated.

Burning nostrils, olives in noses, and Dear Abby

I posted Sunday's curious Dear Abby column about a woman so disturbed by her husband's ice chewing that she eats breakfast in another room while wearing noise-canceling headphones. This reminded my friend Vann Hall of a strange letter that Abigail Van Buren cited as one of her favorites. Unfortunately I can't find Abby's answer online so please feel free to share your advice in the comments.
My husband burns the hair out of his nose with a lighted match -- and he thinks I'm crazy because I voted for Goldwater!"
And here's another nose-related annoyance from Abby's archives:
My husband has a problem. When we go out to a nice restaurant for dinner, he always orders a martini with 10 or 12 olives in it. Then he sticks the olives in his nose and sucks out the juice. He claims it clears up his sinuses. Abby, this is so embarrassing. What can I do?
"Dear Abby: Are All Those Weird Letters for Real?" (Palm Beach Daily News, 11/16/74) Read the rest

How to: Replace unnecessary antibiotics with a good dose of empathy

A key component of antibiotic resistance is the over-use of antibiotics. We talk about this a lot in the context of over-the-counter antibacterial cleansers, but there's a doctor's office side to this story, as well.

When sick people come into a doctor's office, part of what they are looking for is psychological wellness. They want to feel like somebody has listened to them and is doing something to treat their illness. Sometimes, that means they ask their doctor for antibiotics, even if antibiotics aren't the right thing to treat what they have.

In the past, and sometimes still today, doctors go ahead and prescribe antibiotics almost like a placebo. It's hard to say no to something a patient really wants, especially when it's likely to make them feel better—just because taking anything, and treating the problem, will make them feel better. But that is definitely not a good thing in the long term.

At KevinMD, family physician Dike Drummond offers some really nice advice for doctors who are struggling with how to make a patient feel better, but also want to avoid contributing to the growing antibiotic resistance problem. What I like best about Drummond's advice: It starts with empathy.

If you have a major challenge working up some empathy one of two things is happening.

You are experiencing some level of burnout. Empathy is the first thing to go when You are not getting Your needs met. This is a whole different topic and “compassion fatigue” is a well known early sign of significant burnout.

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Bertrand Russell's advice to internet commenters

Sure, it's not really what he had in mind. But I'm rather struck by the fact that pretty much every flame war ever could be avoided if we only listened to him. Shorter version: Recognize that you could be wrong, be tolerant of people who say things you hate and kind to people with whom you disagree, and, for god's sake, don't feed the trolls*.

*He didn't actually say that last bit, but it's just assumed at this point, right?

Video Link

Via Joe Dwyer

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