Top Blog Articles of 2017, H1

Top Blog Articles of 2017 As this blog’s readership grows, popular articles posted in the first half of the year get left behind in my end-of-year list (2016, 2015) of popular posts. Here are the top 10 popular posts from the first half of this year based on email- and feed-subscribership:

  • Bertrand Russell’s Ten Commandments of Honest Thought and Discourse. The celebrated British mathematician, logician, and political activist wrote, “The essence of the liberal outlook is a belief that men should be free to question anything if they can support their questioning by solid arguments.”
  • Book Summary of “Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!” Journalist Nicholas Carlson chronicles the fabled legacy internet company’s slide to irrelevance. Despite her extraordinary credentials, drive, technical savvy, celebrity, and charisma, Marissa Mayer arrived too late to right the ship.
  • Six Powerful Reasons to Eat Slowly and Mindfully. Cultivate a healthy relationship with food. Dedicating time to eat slowly, mindfully, and intentionally—and enjoying the pleasure of food—can make an enormous difference in your diet and health.
  • Learn from the Great Minds of the Past. If you wish to succeed in your life, there is no better source of inspiration than in the lives of those who have changed our lives and our world for the better. Biographies stimulate self-discovery.
  • Be a Survivor, Not a Victim: Lessons on Adversity from Charlie Munger. Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice-Chairman overcame “horrible blows, unfair blows” on the road to success. Munger counsels, “Feeling like a victim is a perfectly disastrous way to go through life.” Don’t operate life on the assumption that the world ought to be fair, just, and objective. You are neither entitled nor unentitled to good treatment.
  • The Only Goal You Need for 2017: Doing Is Everything. Most folks know what they should do: lose weight, start exercising, stop smoking, get serious about managing careers, find a romantic partner, start saving money, and so on. Yet they can’t seem to make themselves do. One of the most insidious obstacles to your success in life is the chasm between knowing and doing.
  • Competition Can Push You to Achieve Greater Results. Tennis legend Andre Agassi wrote in his interesting autobiography, “There were times my rivals brought out the best in me; there were times they brought out the worst. They probably helped me win things I never would have otherwise; they also cost me titles.” A certain amount of competition can be helpful when it motivates you and doesn’t result in stress or hurt your personal relationships.
  • Addiction to Pleasure is a Symptom of Fear. Whenever you seek pleasure, not only do you become dependent on the eagerness to find it, but also you create an existence of suffering, because pleasure is impermanent and fleeting. Buddhism encourages you to purge yourself of your attachment to pleasure or to any source of satisfaction that could trigger distress in seeking to make it permanent.
  • The Cost of Leadership Incivility. Steve Jobs’s advice to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi to “throw tantrums” at employees and “certain words a little bit more freely” to express passion is abhorrently misguided. Steve Jobs could throw temper tantrums because he could! However, a leader’s tone is the foundation upon which the culture of her organization is built.
  • How to Deal with Upset Customers. Nine guidelines that can result in a constructive interaction with an angry customer and restore his perception of satisfaction and loyalty. A failure to recognize and quickly respond to the needs of angry customers can make them feel ignored, frustrated, and powerless.

And here are articles from 2016 that continue to be popular:

  1. How Smart Companies Get Smarter.
  2. Stop asking “What do you do for a living?”
  3. What Will You Regret?
  4. Make Decisions Using Bill Hewlett’s “Hat-Wearing Process.”
  5. Destroy Your Previous Ideas (Lessons from Charlie Munger.)

Top Blog Articles of 2016

Here are this year’s most popular articles based on email- and feed-subscribership:

  1. Top Blog Articles of 2016 How Smart Companies Get Smarter. To develop collective intelligence and build smarter organizations, discourage employees from heroically patching up recurring problems—whenever and wherever they occur. Instead, encourage them to find, report, analyze, experiment, and fix systemic problems to prevent their recurrence.
  2. Stop asking “What do you do for a living?” Chatting with somebody in socializing situations should be less about discerning the details of the other’s life to size up the other’s socioeconomic status, and more about building a bit of familiarity to initiate stimulating conversations about topics of mutual interest.
  3. What Will You Regret? A fascinating way of looking at life is to think about your life and your career in the context of future regret-avoidance. Regrets for the things you did are likely to be tempered by the passage of time, but regrets for the things you do not do will be upsetting in retrospect.
  4. Make Decisions Using Bill Hewlett’s “Hat-Wearing Process.” Carefully consider an idea, listen to and mull over facts, collect input from others, develop some perspective that comes only with time, and make sound, thoughtful decisions.
  5. Destroy Your Previous Ideas (Lessons from Charlie Munger.) An important constituent of critical thinking is taking your beliefs and opinions apart methodically, analyzing each part, assessing it for soundness by means of arguments and counterarguments, and then improving it. Challenge your convictions with contradictory evidence to fortify your beliefs.
  6. Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Taken. You can learn a lot from your heroes, but don’t blatantly pattern your lives after them. Develop your own style. Don’t become second-rate versions of people you admire; instead be a first-rate version of yourself.
  7. Being Underestimated Can Be a Great Thing. Don’t sweat when others think less than you actually are. Don’t let them make you feel small. Embrace their misjudgments with equanimity. Believe in yourself with humble confidence. Then outthink, outsmart, and outperform.
  8. Groupthink—The Curse of Teamwork. Many teams tend to compromise their decisions for the sake of consensus, harmony, and “esprit de corps.” They strive to minimize conflict and value conformity. The result is often a lowest-common-denominator decision upon which everybody in the team agrees.
  9. Beware of Advice from the Superstars. What worked for them won’t work for you. Expose yourself to many success principles and consider what qualities, attributes, mental models, or approaches to life you may want to assimilate into who you are. Don’t expect to blatantly imitate your hero and expect the same outcomes.
  10. You Can’t Know Everything. The wisest people I know are the ones who acknowledge that they don’t know everything and put strategies in place to shield themselves from their own ignorance. Make risk analysis and risk reduction one of the primary goals of your intellectual processes.

And here are articles of yesteryear that continue to be popular:

  1. Reframe Your Thinking, Get Better Answers. By changing or adjusting your perception of an issue, you are likely to reevaluate your intentions and find alternative, acceptable solutions to your situations.
  2. Self-Assessment Quiz: How Stressed are You? The first step to overcome the causes and effects of stress is to acknowledge stress and become aware of its symptoms. By identifying a few telltale signs of stress, you can take steps to manage them.
  3. How to Email Busy People. When you ask something of somebody, make it as convenient as possible for that person to respond to your request. Avoid imposing more busy work on already busy people.
  4. Coaching vs. Feedback. Coaching is about future behavior and feedback is about past (and current) behavior. Coaching is about assisting employees reach their goals for the future. Feedback is about helping employees understand what prevents them from reaching their current goals.
  5. The Opportunities in Customer Pain Points. Many innovative ideas are born of a reliable formula: prudent attention to customer pain points. Customers are usually willing to pay a premium to have their frustrations with a product or a service resolved.
  6. When Delegating, Acknowledge Possible Errors. When delegating, empower your employees by letting them know that they aren’t expected to make optimal decisions every time and you’re not demanding perfection.
  7. How to Earn Others’ Trust. The most important component of being effective at work is earning and upholding others’ trust through our actions, not through our words. Earn trust by making and honoring commitments.
  8. The Truth Can Be Bitterer than a Sweet Illusion. Delaying action and putting off unpleasant confrontations will only make things harder. Especially when dealing with difficulties involving people, there is nothing more insidious than unresolved conflict and inaction.
  9. Your To-Do List Isn’t a Wish List. Most folks can’t seem to complete and cross-off more than half of their to-do lists. Their buildup of tasks is never-ending; for every task they complete, they tend to add a few more. Add to your to-do list selectively; don’t say yes to everything that people ask of you.
  10. How to Write Email Subject Lines that Persuade. By writing persuasive subject lines in emails, you can help your readers identify the importance of your message and the action you’re asking.

Top Blog Articles of 2015

Here are this year’s most popular articles based on email- and feed-subscribership:

  1. Top Blog Articles of 2015 Reframe Your Thinking, Get Better Answers. By changing or adjusting your perception of an issue, you are likely to reevaluate your intentions and find alternative, acceptable solutions to your situations.
  2. How to Email Busy People. When you ask something of somebody, make it as convenient as possible for that person to respond to your request. Avoid imposing more busy work on already busy people.
  3. Seek Discipline, Not Motivation. People who actually get things done are those who find a way to work at whatever they are interested in even when they do not really feel like doing it. Focus on the ends rather than the means.
  4. When Delegating, Acknowledge Possible Errors. When delegating, empower your employees by letting them know that they aren’t expected to make optimal decisions every time and you’re not demanding perfection.
  5. The Opportunities in Customer Pain Points. Many innovative ideas are born of a reliable formula: prudent attention to customer pain points: customers are usually willing to pay a premium to have their frustrations with a product or a service resolved.
  6. Fear of Failure is an Obstacle to Growth. If you fear failure and limit your activities, you are acutely impeding the knowledge and wisdom that comes from opening yourselves up to the new and the unfamiliar.
  7. What Everybody Ought to Know about Writing Better Emails. Poorly written emails are a result of weaknesses in style and structure. Poor style is characterized by improper spelling and grammar, meandering and complex sentences and abstract, technical or indirect language. Poor structure refers to disparity between logical sentence order and the reader’s comprehension of those sentences.
  8. Coaching vs. Feedback. Coaching is about future behavior and feedback is about past (and current) behavior. Coaching is about assisting employees reach their goals for the future. Feedback is about helping employees understand what prevents them from reaching their current goals.
  9. The Truth Can Be Bitterer than a Sweet Illusion. Delaying action and putting off unpleasant confrontations will only make things harder. Especially when dealing with difficulties involving people, there is nothing more insidious than unresolved conflict and inaction.
  10. What Opportunities Are You Overlooking? What opportunities are you overlooking today that, months, years, or decades from now, you could come to regret with the perspective that comes with time or upon mature reflection?

And here are articles of yesteryear that continue to be popular:

  1. 25 Ways to Instantly Become a Better Boss. Bad management is not usually a result of bosses not knowing what to do to manage better. Rather, it stems largely from bosses not putting simple, conventional managerial skills into practice.
  2. How to Write Email Subject Lines that Persuade. By writing persuasive subject lines in emails, you can help your readers identify the importance of your message and the action you’re asking.
  3. Self-Assessment Quiz: How Stressed are You? The first step to overcome the causes and effects of stress is to acknowledge stress and become aware of its symptoms. By identifying a few telltale signs of stress, you can take steps to manage them.
  4. Maria Bartiromo’s “The 10 Laws of Enduring Success.” CNBC anchor and journalist Maria Bartiromo presents a longstanding blueprint of success as ten attitudes: self-awareness, foresight, ingenuity, audacity, integrity, flexibility, modesty, fortitude, tenacity of purpose, and resilience.
  5. 7 Easy Ways to Get More Done in Less Time. Divide and conquer. Fight procrastination. Put things in their place. Create checklists for all tasks. Start planning your day on the prior day. Pick up after yourself and clean your home and workspace. Maintain a ‘On-The-Go’ folder.