Early one morning in 1996, Malcolm Gladwell sits at his desk at the New Yorker office. He’s new here, having spent the last decade at the Washington Post, covering business and science stories. None of his previous work has garnered much attention but crucially he’s now spent 10,000 hours over the course of a decade honing his craft. He’s now ready to write something truly great.
The son of a Jamaican psychotherapist and mathematics professor, Gladwell is wiry, both of body and hair. He could be the nerdy younger brother of Zack de la Rocha, the lead singer of Rage…
It has now been 365 days since I last had an alcoholic drink. I did not stop drinking because my body is a temple, or out of some wholesome hipster celebration of soberness and getting to know the real me. I gave up because I had to; I was heading to a dark and lonely place and I pumped the brakes before it was too late.
It seems strange celebrating not doing something for a year. I also haven’t punched a child in the face, or stolen a meerkat from a zoo, or kicked anybody in the shins. I haven’t…
The new Gillette advert certainly ruffled some feathers. What interested me most about it was not the advert itself (I had some thoughts about it that I summarise at the end of this), but the reaction to it, and just how angry the discussion around it became. Just watch this segment on This Morning and bask in how an advert for a company that makes sharp metal to get rid of hair can make people very angry indeed. It got me thinking quite a bit about how we as a society disagree with others, and how we debate.
I’ve recently returned from a two week trip to Japan, and it’s safe to say it was one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.
Rather than regale you with stories of karaoke, sushi, ryokan and give you tips on what to do, I thought it would be useful to share some general pointers that I’d wish I’d known before the trip.
Many of these will be fairly common knowledge, so consider at least some of these merely anxiety reducing reassurance.
Are all charitable causes equally good?
We in the UK are a charitable bunch. In 2016, 61% of us gave money to causes and between us we gave £9.7 billion. That’s a fair chunk of change by any measure, so I’ve been wondering recently what causes we give to as a nation, and whether or not we donate to worthy causes as a group of 70 million people.
More specifically the question I…
“Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne Johnson
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” Colin Powell
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” Stephen King
“I can tell you that hard work pays off. It’s not just a cliche.” Cameron Diaz
You don’t have to look far to see more examples of successful people extolling the virtues of hard work. Extreme hard work. Articles outlining the work schedule of billionaires — rising at 6am and…
The startup world has disproportionately high levels of people suffering mental issues. Take this from Business Insider:
Of the 242 entrepreneurs surveyed, 49% reported having a mental-health condition. Depression was the №1 reported condition among them and was present in 30% of all entrepreneurs, followed by ADHD (29%) and anxiety problems (27%). That’s a much higher percentage than the US population at large, where only about 7% identify as depressed.
AUGUST 2019 UPDATE — since I wrote this article over three years ago, it’s been read and discussed a lot, which is fantastic. There now seems to be more scrutiny around Bolt (also great) but with the benefit of hindsight there are a few things in here that I’ve updated. Mostly to be more rigorous with the data available, but the main update is a section about Bolt’s physique and him being a genetic ‘freak’ (the number one response as a defense of Bolt’s ludicrously fast track times). Updated sections are clearly marked.
“When people ask me about Bolt, I…
Start ups, science, geekdom, Arnie.