Friday Link Love

Some stuff that crossed my 'desk' this week that I found interesting: What Gets in the Way of Delegating?

As our session begins a new way of doing our work, appropriate delegation will be essential. This has some good ways of thinking about what stands in the way of delegating.

Asking Questions

A recent study pitted students in a library against students using Google. Both groups had to answer a set of questions. Hal Varian, Google's chief economist was overjoyed at the results:

It took them 7 minutes to answer the questions on Google and 22 minutes to answer them in the library. Think about all the time saved! Thirty years ago, getting answers was really expensive, so we asked very few questions. Now getting answers is cheap, so we ask billions of questions a day, like “what is Jennifer Aniston having for breakfast?” We would have never asked that 30 years ago.

Nicholas Carr isn't satisfied:

...Maybe the question we should be asking, not of Google but of ourselves, is what types of questions the Net is encouraging us to ask. Should human thought be gauged by its output or by its quality?

Interesting stuff.

What Use Is Poetry, Really?

On the first day of National Poetry Month: a review of Wendell Berry's recent book about William Carlos Williams. Essential reading for the poetically inclined.

The Surprising Truth about Addiction

Smoking is at the top of the charts in terms of difficulty of quitting. But the majority of ex-smokers quit without any aid––neither nicotine patches nor gum, Smokenders groups nor hypnotism. (Don't take my word for it; at your next social gathering, ask how many people have quit smoking on their own.) In fact, as many cigarette smokers quit on their own, an even higher percentage of heroin and cocaine addicts and alcoholics quit without treatment. It is simply more difficult to keep these habits going through adulthood. It's hard to go to Disney World with your family while you are shooting heroin. Addicts who quit on their own typically report that they did so in order to achieve normalcy.

Tools for Thinking

I find David Brooks to be kind of a pinhead, but this is pretty interesting stuff.

A few months ago, Steven Pinker of Harvard asked a smart question: What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?

The Origins of Good Ideas

We have a natural tendency to romanticize breakthrough innovations, imagining momentous ideas transcending their surroundings, a gifted mind somehow seeing over the detritus of old ideas and ossified tradition.

But ideas are works of bricolage. They are, almost inevitably, networks of other ideas. We take the ideas we've inherited or stumbled across, and we jigger them together into some new shape. We like to think of our ideas as a $40,000 incubator, shipped direct from the factory, but in reality they've been cobbled together with spare parts that happened to be sitting in the garage.

Have a great weekend...