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Memes: Ideas that Spread and Evolve

Memes: Ideas that Spread and Evolve

Memes: Ideas that Spread and EvolveNo. An article on memes is not an excuse to re-post a bunch of funny internet memes. We’re more grown-up boring than that, here at Management Pocketbooks.

And it’s not as if we think you don’t know what a meme is. Of course you do. So, why have we made it the subject of one of our Big Ideas articles?

Because a meme is an idea that sticks around. It is a Big Idea!

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Self-Help: Therapy for the DIY Age

Self-Help

Self-HelpSelf-help wasn’t always a multi-million dollar industry. Its origins go way back to when the first caveman or cavewoman got up off the floor, brushed themselves down, and got back on with it.

So what is there to say about a Big Idea that’s been around forever and is almost certainly wired into our genes?

For me, it is the self-help industry that is the story. It’s a story of:

  • academic rigour and genuine solutions, alongside
  • mindless credulity and outright charlatanry

Continue reading Self-Help: Therapy for the DIY Age

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Big Five Personality Traits

Big Five Personality Traits

Big Five Personality TraitsThe quest to understand human personalities has been going on for 3,000 years, or more. The Big Five Personality Traits are just the latest in a long line of models that take us towards that understanding.

And, it would be as absurd to think that the Big Five Personality Traits will be the last word on the matter as it would have been to stick with the four humours. But perhaps what the centuries of scientific development, and acres of statistical analysis, can assure us of is that we are honing that understanding.

How like the Big Five our 22nd Century model will be, we cannot know. But, for now, the best representation we have, of the fundamentals of human psychology, are the big Five Personality Traits. So, what are they?

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Happiness: The Pursuit of a Good Life

Happiness: the Pursuit of a Good Life

Happiness: the Pursuit of a Good LifeWhat better way to start the year than with an introduction to the science of Happiness?

And it’s not just a thriving area of scientific research. It’s also a predictably fertile topic for popular science books. On my shelf, I have:

  • Authentic Happiness, by Martin Seligman (2003) (US|UK)
  • Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, by Richard Layard (2005) (US|UK)
  • Happiness, The Science Behind Your Smile, by Daniel Nettle (2005) (US|UK)
  • The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt (2006) (US|UK)
  • Happier, by Tal ben-Shahar (2008) (US|UK)
  • The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor (2010) (US|UK)

And I have stopped collecting.

Continue reading Happiness: The Pursuit of a Good Life

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VUCA and VUCA Prime

VUCA and VUCA Prime

VUCA and VUCA PrimeThe acronym VUCA stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. It may be a military coinage, but it seems to sum up so much of what the modern world feels like.

But, never fear: linguistic fluency and creative ingenuity have conjured a number of strategies to counter the prevailing VUCA environment we inhabit. Best known among them is Bob Johanson’s ‘VUCA prime’. It is an alternative acronym with four ripostes to Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity.

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Strengths: Character Strengths and Signature Strengths

Strengths

StrengthsStrengths are the things we are naturally good at. Everyone knows that. And it has become something of a commonplace that:

We should play to our strengths

In fact, that seeming truism has been underpinned by a lot of academic research over the last 20 years or so, since Martin Seligman formally kicked-off the discipline of Positive Psychology.

So it is in the Positive Psychology sense that we shall examine what strengths are, and why they matter to us.

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Growth Mindset: Putting it to Work

Growth Mindset: Putting it to Work

Growth Mindset: Putting it to WorkFour years ago we wrote about Growth Mindset, in our Management Thinkers series. We profiled the originator of the idea, Carol Dweck, and introduced the subject.

If there was any concern then that Growth Mindset may be little more than a fad, further research has only strengthened Dweck’s early conclusions. So, it seems timely to return to the topic.

While this article stands alone, I would recommend you to review the earlier article first. It’s good context. Because, to avoid repeating it, we’re going to use this article to look at how you can put the Big Idea of Growth Mindset to work in your workplace.

Continue reading Growth Mindset: Putting it to Work

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Flow: The Optimal State for a Human Being

Flow

FlowThe Flow State has been described by the first researcher to study it in depth, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as the optimal state for a human being.

When we are in a flow state, there’s nothing more we want, than to continue doing what we are doing, to completion. So, flow states are great for getting things done.

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The Slow Movement: Right-speeding

The Slow Movement

The Slow MovementAs I started researching this article, I found myself speed-reading an interview with Carl Honoré. Was the interview dull? No. Rather, it was my need to finish and move on. This is what the Slow Movement is pushing back, gently, against.

The Slow Movement is a corrective. While some proponents advocate slowing down for its own sake, I think the most persuasive advocates of slow are those who see it as being about slowing down to the right pace. I’ll call that right speeding.

Continue reading The Slow Movement: Right-speeding

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Accelerated Learning: Learn fast & effectively

Accelerated Learning

Accelerated LearningThe world changes fast, and to keep up, you need to be learning new stuff all the time. And some of that needs to be from a large and complex body of knowledge. Yet, as a working manager, your time is at a premium. So is there any way you can create accelerated learning?

The answer is yes. Over many years, we have accumulated a broad and eclectic body of knowledge about how we learn. It combines experience, practical psychology, and neuroscience. And practitioners bring this all together under the banner of Accelerated Learning.

Continue reading Accelerated Learning: Learn fast & effectively

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