Why bullshit is no laughing matter

Along with all the talk about fake news and the effect it may or may have not had on the election there usually comes a chuckle as if it didn’t really matter. But it does. We’re bombarded with untruths on a regular basis yet we consider ourselves experts at recognizing them. However, the fact that advertising works so well says we’re not even close to that. What to do?

Bullshit is much harder to detect when we want to agree with it. The first and most important step is to recognise the limits of our own cognition. We must be humble about our ability to justify our own beliefs. These are the keys to adopting a critical mindset – which is our only hope in a world so full of bullshit.

You’re How Old? We’ll Be in Touch

For someone in the over-50 age bracket ageism isn’t just a word is something you have to deal with on a regular basis, particularly when you’re looking for employment. It’s illegal, of course, but extremely easy to get away with under the guise of “over-qualified” or “doesn’t fit with our culture” yet…

Not one negative stereotype about older workers holds up under scrutiny. Abundant data show that they’re reliable, handle stress well, master new skills and are the most engaged of all workers when offered the chance to grow and advance on the job. Older people might take longer to accomplish a given task, but they make fewer mistakes. They take longer to recover from injury but hurt themselves less often. It’s a wash. Motivation and effort affect output far more than age does.

It’s time we looked at older workers as no less valuable than anyone else and make sure our definition diversity includes age.

How LinkedIn failed

How LinkedIn failed is a pretty good look into how the professional social network grew and evolved into something most people find annoying rather than useful.

For most professionals LinkedIn is something you have to be on but like a suit it’s not something you need very often. I really don’t know how Microsoft is going to change that even with their plans to integrate it into Office 365. But I’ll keep my profile, just like everyone else.

The aftermath of Go Set a Watchman and Harper Lee’s death

Yes, I’m somewhat obsessed with Mockingbird. I suspect it’s in no small part to having grown up in the 60s and witnessing the racial upheaval that haunted that decade.

Author Diane McWhorter was a friend of Harper Lee when they both lived in NYC. Although McWhorter had plenty of opportunities to talk with Lee, mysteries remain in the aftermath of Go Set a Watchman and her death.

The one that intrigues me the most is the real story about what happened when Lee submitted Watchman for publication. History (legend?) says it was in many ways not suitable yet when it was finally released, despite not having be altered in the meantime, it was a fully realized piece of work. What really transpired between author and editor has been lost to time and death but it seems clear there’s more to this than has ever been revealed.

What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team

Google is known for hiring only the best and brightest, but it discovered that simply having a bunch of smart people on a team wasn’t a predictor for team success. Teams that did well were all over the map as far as individual members go.  What it comes down to is how the team members work together. Teams that allow everyone a chance to contribute and feel valued simply did better, regardless of individual abilities.

The Words That Killed Medieval Jews

Following up on my earlier post about personal morality, it’s worth considering how that morality came about. How does someone who thinks it’s moral to kill get to that point? Are words alone enough?

For example, Jews lived peacefully in Europe right up until around 1100. But then mainstream Christian teaching changed from focusing on Christ’s divine nature and death to his suffering and painted the Jews as directly responsible. The result was widespread persecution and murder of European Jews that ultimately ended in the Holocaust. Christian clergy didn’t understand why this happened since they hadn’t told anyone to do this, yet it happened anyway.

We hear a lot of angry statements from some of our leaders lately about immigrants and women’s health providers, none of which specifically advocate violence. Yet violence still happens. There’s a lesson there.