The secret to doing good research is always to be a little underemployed. You waste years by not being able to waste hours.
Monthly archives of “February 2018”
Making Something Truly Different
Do something all of your own, and you can make something truly different.
– Charanjit Singh, music innovator and acid house pioneer
Measurement is not an alternative to judgement. Measurement demands judgement – judgement about whether to measure, what to measure, how to evaluate the significance of what’s been measured, whether rewards and penalties will be attached to the results, and to whom to make the measurements available.
– Jerry Muller, The Tyranny Of Metrics
The Absence Of Talent As A Gift
Imagine having no talent. Imagine being no good at all at something and doing it anyway. Then, after nine years, failing at it and giving it up in disgust and moving to Englewood, N.J., and selling aluminum siding. And then, years later, trying the thing again, though it wrecks your marriage, and failing again. And eventually making a meticulous study of the thing and figuring out that, by eliminating every extraneous element, you could isolate what makes it work and just do that. And then, after becoming better at it than anyone who had ever done it, realizing that maybe you didn’t need the talent. That maybe its absence was a gift.
– Alex Halberstadt, on Rodney Dangerfield
The Human Introspective Blind Spot
Human beings are primates, and primates are political animals. Our brains are therefore designed not just to hunt and gather, but also to get ahead socially, often by devious means.
But while we may be self-interested schemers, we benefit by pretending otherwise. The less we know about our own ugly motives, the better. And thus we don’t like to talk — or even think — about the extent of our selfishness. This is “the elephant in the brain,” an introspective blind spot that makes it hard to think clearly about ourselves and the explanations for our behavior.