Showing posts from 2012

Top 10 Greatest Classical Composers Ever

Just for fun, my son Brent and I made a brief poll: Who is the Greatest Classical Composer ever?  115 people filled in the survey. Here are the results (by the way, the difference between no. 1 and 2 was only 1 vote): Top 10 Greatest Classical Composers Ever

Conditions for perpetual peace

In a review of Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature , Bill Gates said that the book "stands out as one of the most important books I’ve read – not just this year, but ever". Who am I to disagree? The book is an unbelievably rich resource documenting the steady decline of violence throughout history. To get an impression of how strong this decline has been, take a look at this graph.

15 Inspiring quotes from 'How life imitates chess' by Garry Kasparov

In 2007, Garry Kasparov, one of the greatest chess players ever, wrote the book How life imitates chess . In that book he looked back on his great career and he made comparisons between life and chess. The book contains some inspiring thoughts. Here are some quotes: You must know what questions to ask and ask them frequently Personal style is not generic software that you can download. You must instead recognize what works best for you and then, through trial and error, develop your own method- your own map.

Two lesser known disadvantages of fixed mindsets

As you may know , how we think about our own qualities has a big impact on how we feel, how we behave, how we learn and how we perform. Thinking our abilities (such as our intelligence) are fixed (this is called a fixed mindset) makes us less challenge seeking and less persistent and also more defensive. Also our performance is lower over time. A growth mindset, thinking that our qualities can be developed through effort, leads to more challenge seeking, persistence, openness, learning and performance over time. Thinking about others' qualities as fixed also has consequences such as being quicker to stereotype and label people, to be less open to new information about people, and to punish them quicker when they have done something wrong. In a chapter in a new book , Carol Dweck mentions two lesser known finding with respect to mindsets.

The scaling question: flexible and versatile technology for progress-focused professionals

In 1965, psychologist Hadley Cantril wrote an article describing an intervention he called The Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale . This intervention can be considered a precursor to what has now become one of the most popular techniques used by coaches: the scaling question. The scaling question came to fruition by the developers of the solution-focused approach, Insoo Kim Berg, Steve de Shazer, and their colleagues at the Brief Family Therapy Center in the United States. They added important new elements to the question of scale. Over the years, its application in coaching practice has been further refined and its applications have become broader. Scaling questions are among the most flexible and versatile techniques coaches use today.

The circle technique

The circle technique is an easy and flexible technique for making progress more visible and for helping people make further progress. It can be used individually but also in coachings and in team facilitation. It works like this. First you draw to two circles on a big piece of paper, an inner circle and an outer circle. The inner circle represents progress which has already been made; the outer circle stands for progress which has yet to be made. You can use these circles by going through the following 4 steps: What is the topic you want to use the circles for? Write down what that topic is and why it is desirable and/or important for you to make progress with respect to that topic. What progress have you already made since you started working on that topic? Write everything you have already accomplished on small post-it notes down and put them in the inner-circle. Take your time to think of every little step forward you have taken; nothing is too small. What further progre

Combining practice based learning and theory based learning

As mentioned before on this site, I am rather reluctant about the usefulness of a giving advice - especially unasked-for advice. In general my assumption is that self-found internal solutions , solutions which are based on people's own experience and which they can apply themselves without help or training by others, are the most motivating way forward in many situations. By the way, from this, it does not follow that we can't help other people. We can actually help people identify their own internal solutions. But the way to do this is not to offer them judgments and advices. Instead, through a process of asking carefully chosen questions and interventions people can, in many cases be helped to find their own solutions to problems ( here is an example of how such a helping strategy may be designed).

Did you know these things about heritability?

I came across a Huffington post article from some time ago written by Scott Barry Kaufman in which he teamed up with David S. Moore to list  8 Surprising Facts About Parenting, Genes and What Really Makes Us Who We Are . Do the statements below indeed surprise you? Which surprised you most? How convincing do you find Kaufman's explanations?