List of selected “Quick takes” from the database. Click on an item to view the full post.

Quick takes

Why ignorance and stupidity prevail: The Dunning-Kruger effect

There is an inverse relationship between knowledge and confidence in competence. The less you know, the more you are certain of your ability. First described in 1999 in a paper by Dunning and Kruger, it provides a good explanation for why it is so difficult to change existing beliefs and opinions. ...
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How to get the most from meetings: do it like Jeff Bezos

Instead of Powerpoints and other presentation tools, Jeff Bezos of Amazon uses a unique method for extracting value from meetings. He insists on a written-out, carefully structured narrative. He then goes on to do some more unusual things with the meeting. ...
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The ideal number for a meeting is …

Meetings are universally disliked. They disrupt work schedules. They are roadblocks to productivity. A handful of vocal people dominate the proceedings; the rest sit bored. But, abolishing meetings is akin to "throwing the baby out with the bath water." Limiting the number of attendees is the key to effective meetings. Each person needs to have a role in the proceedings. There is a magic number. ...
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Confirmation bias

Blind spots cloud clear cognition and understanding. The confirmation bias heads a long list. We programme our minds to filter out events that don't align with our existing beliefs. ...
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TTT – September 2022

Articles for September 2022 ...
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Parkinson’s Law of Triviality

Long and hot discussions about trivial matters with small economic impact are easier to have than those over important issues requiring big sums of money. Large chunks of discussion time are spent on the former while the latter is quickly brushed away. ...
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Better memory in the age of information overload

Now, more than ever, we need good strategies for remembering information that is valuable. Here is a popular tools for countering the "forgetting curve": the Cornell note-taking system. ...
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The Peter Principle

The Peter Principle - Why and how hierarchies become incompetent bureaucracies. ...
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The sunk cost fallacy

The sunk cost fallacy offers an explanation for why we persist with lost causes - throw good money after bad. ...
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TTT – April 2022

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TTT – May-June 2022

Articles for May-June 2022 ...
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TTT – August 2022

Articles for August 2022. ...
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Why is disinformation so pervasive and what can we do about it?

Distortion of the truth, giving it a spin or angle, has been going on through all of history. But, it has never been so easy to spread misinformation and lies, widely and quickly, as is possible in the age of the Internet. ...
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This tyrant now rules the world: our screens

"The locus of entertainment" has been slowly wrested from within our own choosing and dropped onto our all-pervasive screens. The "feeds" have taken over our minds. ...
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No show dummy

For full tag list ...
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The art of listening

"Good listening is complex, subtle, slippery - but it is also right here, it lives in us. ... absurdly under discussed ... a
renewed approach to listening has improved how I relate to others." ...
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How to get the biggest bang for the buck when you donate to good causes: Effective altruism

Our moral boundaries can be examined by sound reasoning. Effective altruism tries to look closely at the results of charitable acts to make sure that money is spent in the best way possible. ...
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If you want to be a leader, you need this “X factor”​: Executive Presence

Executive presence distinguishes leaders from the crowd of people with mere talent or merit. EP is:"... an amalgam of qualities that true leaders exude, a presence that telegraphs you're in charge or deserve to be." ...
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Pay it forward – be a mentor

Mentorship is a great way of "paying it forward". Traditionally, we look at paying back as the way of acknowledging help and support given to us in times of need. There is a more effective alternative: paying it forward. In a professional context, and in a word: mentorship. ...
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The secret sauce for “Getting Things Done”: slow down

The claim, "I'm busy," is flaunted as a badge of honour. But, are you getting things done? Is your health and personal relationships suffering from your busy-ness? ...
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Want to be more empathic? Try listening with your eyes closed

Empathic accuracy is a skill with which individuals can effectively judge the emotions, thoughts, and feelings of others. Effective listening is the key to this skill. Voice-only communication enhances empathic accuracy relative to communication across senses. In other words, shutting off sight could enhance empathic accuracy. ...
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A Walk Through the Brave New World of Healthcare Data Analytics

LONG FORM ARTICLE (White Paper): In keeping with all other areas of human activity, the years have seen a shift in medical technology from analogue to digital. Everywhere we turn, we keep seeing, reading or hearing about the rapidly expanding role of big data analysis and artificial intelligence. Computer power and software complexity have reached a point where hitherto fortressed domains are being breached. Healthcare data analytics hold the promise for being a dominant force in bringing about a much-needed change in the area of healthcare delivery. ...
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Catastrophic health expenditure

In simple terms, a catastrophic health expenditure is a healthcare-related bill that exceeds your capacity to pay. It often involves the encashment of savings and assets, including, at times, homes and businesses. It can impoverish and devastate families for many years. ...
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In memoriam: Side Kick and the days of yore

Looking back at 40 plus years of personal (and I mean personal) computing. ...
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The final exit: Dealing with terminal illness

There are many major elements of terminal illness that are important. In my practice, this situation is possibly the hardest encounter I have had with patients and their families. ...
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Why is clinical reasoning important?

Reasoning is important in any walk of life, not just medical practice. Simply put, you encounter a situation, get some input or information from it, make a reasoned-out assessment, do some research on the subject, and then carry out a response. The practise of Medicine involves the same approach but modified for the specific purpose of managing illness. ...
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Electronic health records

Electronic health records (EHR) are now a standard in quality healthcare delivery. They offer numerous benefits and advantages over the conventional paper record. Yet, doctors are intensely dissatisfied with having to use them. ...
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Choosing Medicine as a career

If you have the ability to feel other’s pain, and, without letting it get you down, do everything to help them, then that’s all you need for a medical career. Keep with it and you will be a terrific doctor. ...
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Second opinions in medical practice

Any doctor who is secure in their own reasoning and judgment should not feel threatened or insulted by the request for a second opinion. Offering a patient the option of a second opinion is one of the major tenets of ethical medical practice. A patient always retains the right to seek confirmation or rebuttal of the diagnosis or treatment offered by the primary doctor when there is lack of confidence, for whatever reason. ...
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How to get the best value from your routine health check up

Despite all the publicity and money spent, there is no good evidence that these check ups have a major impact. There are very few tests that have a reasonable impact on preventing or detecting common disorders. ...
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Risk from surgical procedures

Even experienced surgeons can rarely explain the risks of surgical procedures completely. Risk is only a proportion, a probability at best, not a guarantee. Adverse outcomes, as far as the patient in concerned, either happen or don’t: 0 or 100%. ...
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Every job application must include a covering letter

No job application is complete without a covering letter. The document should be carefully crafted and not dashed off thoughtlessly. It can make a vital difference in the way employers perceive your application. Here’s a three-step method for writing unique covering letters. ...
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Personal journals: a cheaper and more effective alternative to psychotherapy

A well-nurtured journal can be a remarkable asset for your personal and professional life. You will be in the company of a long list of famous people who owed their success to this device. It need not be a daily chore; just an archive of thoughts, emotions and ideas coming from within you. It can be as simple as a plain notebook or endowed with a range of rich features which are built into digital tools like Journal One, Evernote or Bear. ...
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Battery and snowball: that’s how you build willpower

Will power and self-control have finite limits. Like a battery, they can be depleted. Draining this trait to exhaustion is likely to create resistance during future attempts. The trick lies in using the battery for short bursts and building up will power like a snowball as your gather momentum. ...
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Your attention is priceless treasure. Don’t give it away for free.

Distraction is labelled as the 21st century syndrome. Lack of focus and attention lies on the surface of a deep-seated problem: anxiety arising from fear of failure. ...
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The secret to making good decisions lies in weighing the trade-offs

We make thousands of decisions every day. Most of them hardly reach our consciousness. When they do, decision making often poses a dilemma. You want something, but you have to give up something else: a tradeoff. Some other benefit or opportunity is at stake -- the opportunity cost of your decision. ...
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Why do I feel so tired all the time? Where has all my energy gone?

Every one of us feels tired now and then; this is normal. It's a safety mechanism built in to ensure that we don't wear our bodies out. Feeling chronically tired, day in and day out, is not normal. ...
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5 reasons why you should stop doing everything by yourself

Effective delegation is one of the most powerful tools for improving productivity. Letting go of activities that don't need our specific skills, realising others can do that, is the single most important act that can liberate us from drudgery. Today's world hinges on collaboration. ...
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Placebo power: it shouldn’t work but it does

The human mind-body defies explanation in many ways. Quite often, medications that have no active component (“sugar pills”) can produce marked relief of a patient’s complaints: the placebo effect. Once considered a quirk, the placebo effect is now an established fact that is being actively explored. ...
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Teleworking: staying visible in the new reality of work

"Out of sight, out of mind": this well-worn aphorism has never been more valid than in the age of COVID. Memories fade over time. We begin to wonder if our colleagues think about us at all. Visibility is key to success at work. Staying on top-of-the-mind-recall is going to involve a new set of rules and behaviours, some of them awkward for the kind of person you are. ...
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Yes, there’s an upside to anger. Learn how to put it to work for you.

The key, though is in being able to recognise anger and work with it, if not immediately, at least while reflecting on the episode. Ask yourself questions. Probe till it hurts. Go into dark spaces. ...
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How to write a business narrative which will impress Bezos

A well thought-out, worded, structured and written document is, in the opinion of Bezos, the best way to communicate ideas across a group of people. Most of us balk at the prospect of writing because we have never received formal instruction on the process. This article outlines a 4-section framework for producing a good quality business narrative. ...
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Making meetings matter: do it like Bezos

Meetings are universally unpopular. Most of us see them as a waste of time and a drag on productivity. Jeff Bezos has a unique way of conducting meetings with focus and effectiveness. ...
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The future of work is a 60-year career

Life expectancy has increased, and this demands a creative, new approach to employment. We may foresee to work 60 years or more in a 100-year life. ...
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How trust undermines Science

Trust is an absence of deliberative questioning - C. Thi Nguyen. People have implicit trust in science. Is it justifiable? ...
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