March 2016
This month, take two tablespoons of changing other people's minds, stir in some tips for effortless email intros, and add just a dash of Kevin Spacey. Let's dig in:
1. Doing a TED Talk: The Full Story
Tim Urban offers two great ways to procrastinate: first, read his hilarious reflection on preparing for his TED talk, then watch the equally entertaining result here.

2. How to Change Someone's Mind, According to Science
Researchers analyzed two years' worth of Reddit debates, seeking to parse out powerful persuasion. According to Ana Swanson, what works: being indirect, introducing new information, and being (somewhat) persistent. If you want to be more persuasive, it could be the case that it helps to hedge by using language like “it could be the case.”

3. The Counterintuitive Trait That Will Make You Significantly More Successful (or will it?)
Shane Snow turns the optimist/pessimist spectrum into a 2x2 by highlighting an important overlooked dimension: skepticism. He makes a compelling case that great things come from skeptical optimism.

4. A Low-Cost Trick for Radically Improving the Performance of Your Worst Employees
Jessica Stillman shares a tip that originated in the classroom: pairing strugglers with superstars boosted test scores, inspiring companies like Google to try it out in the workplace. If you’re worried about dragging down the stars, never fear: we’ve long known that teaching is one of the best ways to learn.

5. How People Learn to Become Resilient
A 32-year study of 700 people hints at how to prevent life circumstances from determining life outcomes. Maria Konnikova highlights how resilient people see themselves as “the orchestrators of their own fates.”

6. Life's Work: An Interview with Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey's real life has been full of as many interesting twists as some of his films. Alison Beard finds out how he makes big career decisions: "With every job, you should have something to lose, something to gain, something to learn."

From My Desk:

7. To Overcome the Fear of Failure, Fear This Instead
When most of us fear failure, we walk away from our boldest ideas, but great entrepreneurs have a different response. Yes, they’re afraid of failing, but they’re even more afraid of failing to try.

8. How to Make an Email Introduction that Doesn't Ruin Both People's Lives
Introductory emails can be the start of lasting, fruitful connections. They can also be a very effective means of getting two people to deeply resent each other—and you. Here's how to not do that.

Interested in beefing up your negotiation skills? Check out this free online course from Yale professor Barry Nalebuff, which seeks to treat people—not dollars—equally.

Last fall, a Wharton student named Lauren McCann came to me with a wonderful idea: what if seniors wrote letters to freshmen about what they wish they had known earlier in college? She took the initiative to make it happen—the website had over 10,000 hits in the first 24 hours alone, and other schools are now adopting it. Join me in congratulating her, and feel free to check out the letters here:
Adam Grant, Ph.D.
Wharton professor and author of GIVE AND TAKE and ORIGINALS
Copyright © 2016 The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, All rights reserved.

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