The Idea EnthusiastThe Idea Enthusiast

Category : Newsletter

By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from January 2019

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from January 2019. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



The career journey of Bjork, who began writing music at age 9, and the power of treating creative work as an ongoing experiment. [1-9-19]

“Why the best leaders don’t always have a plan“. Adam Grant interviews Gen. Stanley McChrystal about moving forward without knowing whats next. [1-9-19]

The concept of microproductivity is a foundational aspect of the Challenge Mindset. On the Trello blog, 4 aspects of breaking work down into its smallest parts to insure success. [1-9-19]

If you want to tackle big problemstry thinking like a bee. In its lifetime, a bee makes only 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. [1-9-19]

How to balance full-time work with creative projectsDone is better than perfect. Also, start small and build slowly. [1-9-19]

VIDEO: Goose Island Field Goal Challenge. After the Chicago Bears lost their playoff game on a field goal that hit the uprights, not once but twice, the local brewery gave fans a chance to win tickets by kicking a similar 43-yard field goal in the snow. 101 tried, including the author of this article. 101 failed. A lesson in humility and skill appreciation. [1-16-19]

The #MakeupOnPotato challenge has taken over Instagram. Make-up artists from across the world are getting out their beauty blenders, ebbing out all the imperfections on potatoes and giving them a full make-up transformation. [1-16-19]

Reframing Facebook’s #10yearchallenge. Helena Price, owner of a Silicon Valley production company, asked a different version of the question on Twitter (changing the focus from looks to accomplishments) and got hundreds of replies. Bravo. [1-16-19]

Journaling one sentence every day. Author James Clear, who is enjoying the fruits of 3 years of blogging with his NY Times bestseller, Atomic Habits, writes about the surprising benefits of one of the most micro challenges you can do. [1-16-19]

Farnam Street’s guide to doing great things. Two great insights here: (1) Focused investment of only one hour a day can double your lifetime output and (2) People who do great things tolerate ambiguity — they can both believe and not believe at the same time. [1-16-19]

The skilled climber and thief Vjeran Tomic, whom the French press referred to as Spider-Man, has described robbery as an “act of imagination“. This is the story of his — and possibly history’s — greatest heist. [1-23-19]

What can we learn from people who succeed later in life? Beyond their resiliance, they have a “Q factor”. [1-23-19]

Comedian Chris Gethard is known for his awkward comedy and freewheeling live show in NYC, but here he talks about working on his physical strength, taking 3rd place in a grappling tourney. [1-23-19]

The National Association of Concessionaires is celebrating its 75th anniversary by launching a 30-day membership campaign designed as a challenge. [1-23-19]

VIDEO: Comedy writer Matt Buechele concocted a one-minute parody of most musical’s opening songs. [1-23-19

After years of attempts and a partner’s heart attack, Austrian sport climber and mountaineer David Lama finally made it to the top of Nepal’s tallest unclimbed mountain. [1-30-19]

Pew Research Center walks us through its survey experiments and how wording influences responses. [1-30-19]

Experimenting at a 160-year-old company: an interview about the inner workings of the in-house creative team at The Atlantic. [1-30-19]

Big brands like Häagen-Dazs and Tide are testing reusable packaging in an attempt to cut down on plastic waste. [1-30-19]

At 66 years old, David Kilpatrick, the president of Paramount Pictures, challenged himself to walk 100,000 steps in a single day. [1-30-19]

“Never underestimate the difference a few minutes can make.” Scarsdale (NY) High School experiments with two different schedules. [1-30-19]



The dark underbelly of America, as witnessed by female cable tech[1-2-19]

An Israeli reporter embeds with the fact-checkers at Politifact to cover the 2018 midterms. [1-2-19]

A social entrepreneur quits her startup to study depression. [1-2-19]

“Going Dumb”: a year with a flip phone. [1-2-19]

“Unplugged”: logging off and reading 12 books in a week. [1-2-19]

Spending 2018 reading motivational books. [1-2-19]

Riding an electric skateboard from New York to Philadelphia; a contemplation on the changing nature of transportation. [1-2-19

How a non-designer redesigned his Twitter feed to be “mostly harmless”[1-9-19]

Joe Pulizzi, of the Content Marketing Institute, pulls lessons from his 12-month sabbatical. [1-9-19]

Observations from a year of professional party-crashing. [1-9-19]

Teaching your local neighborhood baristas about implicit bias, after the Philly Starbucks incident. [1-9-19]

This guy tracked his entire life in 2018 using a Google Spreadsheet. [1-16-19]

16 people who lost 100+ lbs share their best tips. [1-16-19]

Following Ben Franklin’s daily schedule for one month. [1-16-19]

Reflections on reading 50 books in 2018, grouped by theme. There’s one on “mindset”. [1-16-19]

How one person who hates exercise learned to love exercise. Took about a year and a half. [1-16-19]

behind-the-scenes look at how Chick-Fil-A makes its signature chicken sandwich shows it’s a race against the clock, and the results are plucked (ha!) right from lean startup and kanban philosophies. [1-23-19]

A writer wrote for a year anonymously and reflects on the freedom of losing a byline[1-23-19]

10 creatives on when they knew they had to make a change in their career. [1-23-19]

DC-based writer Andrew Zaleski returns to the TIE newsletter, this time with a report on joining the Shawn Baker meat-eating cult for 30 days. [1-23-19]

“I tried to block Amazon from my life and it was impossible”. [1-23-19]

Every year, California Democrats elect 7 men and women in each of California’s 80 Assembly Districts, for a total of 1,120 delegates to represent the party at the Democratic State Convention. Kristen Wong learned that running for this unpaid position is no joke. [1-30-19]

The State of Work Life Balance in 2019: What the RescueTime platform learned from studying 185 million hours of working time. [1-30-19]

Writer Kashmir Hill is back with another story about quitting and this time, it’s quitting Facebook. Turns out, she missed it. [1-30-19]




Should you learn things you don’t plan on using? [1-2-19]

A lifestyle blogger keeps a monthly gratitude list. How writing down what your thankful for is good for your health. [1-2-19]

Even better, the act of drawing something has a “massive” benefit for memorycompared with writing it down. [1-2-19]

Intellectual humility: why it’s so hard to see our own ignorance, and what to do about it. Observations from the Loss of Confidence Project. [1-9-19]

The most Instagrammable place on Earth, a behind-the-scenes tour of Color Factory’s New York space. For anyone who designs “experiences”. [1-9-19]

The man behind most of the ski maps in America you’ve seen and his creative process. [1-9-19]

An oral history of the Hampsterdance, one of the worlds first memes and a true nod to creativity just for creativitys sake. The actual meme here. [1-9-19]

Let’s end the obsession with innovation. “True innovation isn’t just some magic carnival of invention, like a Steve Jobs keynote with a pretty toy at the end. It is a continuing process of gradual improvement and assessment that every institution and business experiences in some way.” [1-16-19]

The art of decision making. Your life choices aren’t just about what you want to do; they’re about who you want to be. A centuries-spanning look at how our brain picks what we do, based on the new book from author Steven Johnson. [1-16-19]

What’s it like to be an internet advice columnist? Five advice columnists on the letters they’ll never forget, whether they give advice to friends/family, how to get them to actually answer your letter, and so much more. [1-16-19]

Revisiting the One Thousand True fans theory, ten years later. One of the enduring lessons is, “sticking with something long enough to see a result, far past where the average person quits.” [1-16-19]

Six actors turned artists that make work worth talking about. RELATED: Nine musicians share secrets to staying creative in sobriety. [1-23-19]

This photographer spent years finding original locations of vintage vinyl covers[1-23-19]

We need both rituals and routines to power our workday. [1-30-19]

Your digital identity has three layers, and you can only protect one of them. Worse, your online profile isn’t always built on facts. [1-30-19]

GUIDE: 6 powerful psychological biases and how they influence human behavior online. [1-30-19]

How to create your dream job inside your existing company. (Position yourself as a key problem-solver). [1-30-19]

How to use Gmail more efficiently, by setting up multiple inboxes. [1-30-19]

Biohacker Dave Asprey, founder of multimillion-dollar brand Bulletproof Coffee, has spent $1 Million in his quest to live to 180. #curseofloftygoals [1-30-19]



Change My View, the story of a subreddit built on the idea that we’ve at least got to listen to people we disagree with. [1-2-19]

Two methods for getting better at arguments, based on the moral foundations theory. [1-2-19]

Why the Australian Ministry of Justice ran a design sprint to tackle child sexual exploitation. [1-2-19]

How to manage people who are totally disorganized. [1-2-19]

Are your high expectations hurting you team? A study of more than 300 executives in 10 countries shows that approximately 35% of executives fail because of a tendency toward perfection. [1-16-19]

SurveyMonkey made a “culture of curiosity” its mission. They worked with an organizational psychologist to re-imagine how employee surveys could help them identify fresh perspectives and new thinking. [1-16-19]

The power of “Legacy’. Clemson’s championship-winning team, and culture, may owe some credit to a New Zealand rugby powerhouse. [1-16-19]

Let’s keep the ideas moving: A former Target executive shares how to move fast within organizations that are slow to evolve. [1-23-19]

High school students in Connecticut used design thinking to tackle social media problems. [1-23-19]

If you’re staring at a problem you’ve never seen before, “pattern-based thinking” is your friend. [1-23-19]

Team of dysfunction: inside the perpetually-rebuilding Cleveland Browns. [1-30-19]

Venture capital still has a diversity problem, as pitch rooms are still unwelcoming and inaccessible to women of color. [1-30-19]



A big-picture look at social rules and how people make / break them. [1-2-19]

Turns out, alot of the internet is fake. [1-2-19]

Perhaps you’ve heard of the design sprint. Parlor co-founder Keith Frankel writes this piece on his org’s version, the “discovery sprint“. [1-9-19]

The 7 deadly sins of product development, as explained by Dilbert cartoons. No Brad Pitt, but a funner read than you’d expect. [1-9-19]

The co-founder of Village Global’s conversation frameworks he’s picked up from the investor world. Still time to add your own. [1-9-19]

The ‘5-15 communication principle’ was invented by folks at Patagonia. It provides those at the very top of even the most complex company a weekly snapshot of what’s going well and badly from the point of view of all their employees. [1-16-19]

How to spend less time checking email every day. [1-23-19]

How often should you be wrong? Aim for somewhere between 0% and 50% of the time.  15% to be safe. [1-23-19]

Let’s say you have to greet someone you hate. How should you do it? Completely ignoring them is not the right choice. [1-23-19]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from December 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from December 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



The Last Curious Man: the enormous life of Anthony Bourdain, according to those who knew him best. [12-5-18]

VIDEO: Lucas Brar shows you the 10 levels of jazz guitar in 4 mins. All great art is made up of small steps along the way. [12-5-18]

The elite cabal of “Mall Santas” making up to $20,000 every Christmas season. “There are professional Santas and there are guys in red suits.” Amen. [12-5-18]

psychological traps that ruin your creative thinking. Avoid the boiling frog syndrome. [12-5-18]

You make decisions quicker and with less information than you think. A few experiments from the U of Chicago. [12-12-18]

Why we all take the same travel photos. Turns out the photos themselves may be to blame. [12-12-18]

From corporate exec to writer – after turning 40. It’s never too late to start. [12-12-18]

VIDEO: The last chess shop in NYC, a surprisingly moving 5-min short. I walked right by it last week without even realizing it. Will have to visit next time. [12-12-18]

This school cafeteria manager writes messages on banana peels and the students love it. (If you get the paywall, close the window and click again). [12-19-18]

The Year in Review list of year in review lists, mostly by the brands themselves. Still, excellent timewaster if you’re mailing it in this week. [12-19-18]

The two hungers: how curiosity (brain) and appetite (stomach) work in similar ways. [12-19-18]

“I’ll do it later”: the syndrome of waiting 10 days to do something that takes 10 mins. FLIPSIDE: Procrastinate like DaVinci and Darwin. [12-19-18]



How to collaborate with people you don’t like. [12-5-18]

3 designers tackle the question: “is it important to agree with your client’s morals?” [12-5-18]

When you feel left out at the workplace, you need an ally first, then a friend. [12-5-18]

Our broken way of problem-solving and what needs to change. “Intelligent people are, somehow, more prone to making dumb decisions.” [12-5-18]

Don’t give up on a great idea just because it seems obvious. [12-12-18]

How Home Depot made design sprints work for them, part of a three-part series about team problem-solving. [12-12-18]

Dealing with naysaying employees, specifically Brad and his passive aggression. Get bent, Brad! [12-12-18]

The upside of conflict, from a study of international civil society organizations. Figuring out how to disagree for the good of the org is an essential workplace strategy. [12-12-18]

Hard truths about innovative cultures. Every desirable attribute is on a slippery slope. [12-19-18]

The factors that separate good team building from bad. Actually workplace practices, not talking about trust falls here. [12-19-18]

To design a new experience in the medical field, IDEO took it’s team to the airport. [12-19-18]

Living like the user: software engineers at Boeing board a test flight in order write better code for airplanes. #challenegemindset [12-19-18]



Developed in-house, the NY Public Library talks about their “All Books are Free” Black Friday spoof ad. [12-5-18]

NPR’s Terry Gross shares her secrets to better conversation[12-5-18]

VIDEO: Max Rose is the first Democrat to win NY’s 11th district in 40 years and some of the credit may go to his team of “deep canvassers”. [12-5-18]

Designing logos for history’s most famous painters. You think your brand identity is good? [12-5-18]

Who decides what words mean? Bound by rules, yet constantly changing, language might be the ultimate self-regulating system, with nobody in charge. [12-12-18]

Why humans evolved into such good bullshitters: a psychologist explains our obsession with other people’s opinions. [12-12-18]

On the other hand: Do we have the concept of gossip all wrong? A look at how to harness its power for good. [12-12-18]

Finally, the resilience of Costco: A 150+ slide presentation that is way more interesting than you’d expect. More text than I’d like on slides, but a nice, clear narrative about the company. [12-12-18]

15 of the best marketing stunts, “activations”, and creations of 2018. List includes Gritty.

The Pitch podcast does a live show at Wharton in Philly. This article provides background on the Shark Tank-like program and includes writeups on the three competing pitches, which you can take stylistic lessons from, especially #3. [12-19-18]

A look at how historians used ‘Twitter threads’ to add context and accuracy to the news cycle in 2018. [12-19-18]

The Cleaners is a documentary that profiles the hardest (and most horrifying) job in Silicon Valley — the content moderator. [12-19-18]



Working a day at one of the busiest Chick-Fil-As in America. [12-5-18]

VIDEO: Colin Quinn talks to NYC cab drivers about ride apps, the industry’s suicide rate, and the future of the “Yellow Taxi”, if there is one. [12-5-18]

Tracking your spending closely for one month by writing down every purchase. In addition to using Mint, that is. [12-5-18]

Payless ShoeSource constructs a fake luxury brand and tricks fashion influencers into spending $640 for their discount kicks. [12-5-18]

Writing and storytelling lessons from the Rudolph stop-motion TV special, the beloved holiday movie with a fairly twisted premise. [12-12-18]

WeTransfer asked 10,000 creatives where they get good ideas and put together this visualization of the answers. [12-12-18]

A young woman calmly challenges the use of Islamaphobic language at a public debate. [12-12-18]

How one man’s quest to spread Christmas cheer led to a miserable four-year war with his neighborhood. Let;s all try to keep our heads, OK? [12-12-18]

Quitting Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google for 30 days. [12-19-19]

What reading 1182 emergency room bills teaches us about our health care system. [12-19-19]

Lessons from those who succeeded later in life. [12-19-19]

Half-Imposter Syndrome: Observations from a mixed race American traveling in Africa. [12-19-19]

VIDEO: People from all 50 states explain how they know you’re not from their states. [12-19-19]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from November 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from November 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



What are we like? 10 psychological findings about the worst aspects of human nature. [11-7-18]

Modern life is changing both our IQ and our problem-solving skills. [11-7-18]

Whether you crave or can’t stand coffee may be influenced by your genetics. [11-7-18]

What happens to student behavior when schools prioritize art. [11-7-18]

Do creative ideas work better than data-driven ones? [11-14-18]

One of the cornerstones of the “Challenge Mindset” theory I’m developing is that we need to stop describing our early efforts as “failure” just because they aren’t 100% right. Related to that, this essay in The Atlantic illustrates how to combat the destructive force of perfectionism. [11-14-18]

How to stop wasting time on the internet. After you close this newsletter, of course. [11-14-18]

Inside the World Cup of eSports, with 50,000 screaming nerds. [11-14-18]

How rage can lead to a creative breakthrough. New ideas depend on persistence and flexibility. Anger encourages both, according to a 2011 study. [11-21-18]

10 paradoxes that will stretch your mind and 5 questions that kill creativity. [11-21-18]

Have you thought about taking more risks with your decisions? [11-21-18]

11-time ultra-marathon winner Courtney Dauwalter and the quest to outlast everyone, including the men. [11-21-18]

Conceived 6 years ago as an antidote to Black Friday and Cybermonday, how Giving Tuesday became a worldwide phenomenon. [11-28-18]

“Please stop telling me to leave my comfort zone.” Maybe anxiety isn’t a great motivator of achievement. [11-28-18]

This guy organizes his to-do list by mental state instead of by project. [11-28-18]

21 creative teachers who do things differently to serve their students. Would love to know how #10 sounds if you need all 4 teachers. [11-28-18]



Using experiments to launch new products, with the introduction of UberPool as an example. [11-7-18]

How do robots impact teamwork in the operating room? [11-7-18]

Playgrounds crush innovation and what to do about it. [11-7-18]

How McDonald’s has designed it wildly popular sweepstakes campaign over the years. [11-7-18]

How LEGO runs design sprints and attempts to scale them across the entire company. [11-14-18]

Inside the innovation kitchen at Shake Shack, a place where new ideas for food are introduced as small experiments. [11-14-18]

Making the business case for collaboration software at Aetna, Finish Line, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. [11-14-18]

‘Always on’ isn’t the best for team decision-making. A look at research experiments into taking communication breaks. [11-14-18]

Giving better advice depends on your ability to switch perspectives. [11-21-18]

How to get a UX job without a UX background. Turns out, this is a nice overview of how to work on any creative team. [11-21-18]

‘Weak signal detection’ and teamwork skills from the military. [11-21-18]

Meetings should be shorter. We attend 8-12 a week and most are stretched to an hour because that’s how our calendars are set up. [11-21-18]

The story of C Space, a Boston-based company that attempted to redefine its culture, only to see it backfire, then tried again and found a better way. Now that’s a #challengemindset. [11-28-18]

Students at the oldest technical university in Asia use a two-day design sprint to redesign the campus rickshaw system. [11-28-18]

Two argumentative heads can be better than one, explained by a cognitive scientist power-couple. [11-28-18]

Knowing is half the battle. The other half, before you know, is asking the right question. (Our second straight week name-checking Warren Berger). [11-28-18]



A (somewhat sad) look at how and why most Instagram photos look the same. [11-7-18]

Do you understand what UX is? 16 experts try to explain what they do. Vote for your favorite! (Wait, voting was yesterday, sorry). [11-7-18]

INFOGRAPHIC: Using simple psychology to increase conversions for whatever you’re selling. [11-7-18]

A really really really large app fraud scheme on your Android phone. [11-7-18]

Can you distill your presentation message down to just 15 words? [11-14-18]

Want to avoid getting duped by fake news? Don’t be lazy. Two competing hypotheses for why people fall for misinformation. [11-14-18]

How podcasts became a seductive and sometimes slippery mode of storytelling. [11-14-18]

This weekend marked the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. Here are 20 slang terms from the era, you dingbats. [11-14-18]

How to start an email to your boss. [11-21-18]

On the other hand, Gen-Z employees don’t do email. Emojis have forever changed business communications and maybe that’s a good thing? [11-21-18]

Why fighting fake news is so hard, an in-depth look at how people use WhatsApp. Think about stopping your addiction to bad news. [11-21-18]

Acting like an extravert has benefits, but not for introverts. [11-21-18]

There’s a right way to speak truth to power: cultivate everyday courage. [11-28-18]

How political opinions can change, based on a clever experiment revealing how flexible we are. [11-28-18]

Is this the worst sales email ever written? if so, I’ve gotten a bunch like these on LinkedIn lately. [11-28-18]

VIDEO: Blue Note captured the refined sophistication of jazz during the early 60s, and designer Reid Miles gave their covers a signature look. [11-28-18]



VICE news investigators posed as 100 senators to run ads on Facebook to see if they could manipulate the “paid for by” filter. [11-7-18]

Working at a cannabis dispensary in LA for 6 months. [11-7-18]

Barron’s reporter took a psychological test about investment savvy. [11-7-18]

Prompted by a challenge from her church, a faith columnist takes a 10-day social media moratorium. [11-7-18]

Trying a carnivore diet lasted only 3 days. [11-7-18]

RIP Stan Lee. A WIRED writer reflects on 20 years of lunches with the comics legend and 12 lessons about Lee’s life. [11-14-18]

The folks at Buffer dissect a tweet that got over 17 million views. [11-14-18]

Author RJ Young becomes a gun owner to better understand gun ownership. [11-14-18]

A woman is attempting to write one thank you note everyday for all of 2018. Related, AJ Jacobs’ new book is about 1000 thank you notes to everyone worldwide involved in his morning coffee. [11-14-18

CJR set up a newsstand in Midtown NYC and replaced real publications with fake titles featuring misinformation pulled from the internet. Results were encouraging. [11-21-18]

An IDEO designer started making an animated GIF everyday to boost her creative thinking. She made it 32 days and you can see them all here[11-21-18]

Taking a gap year in your 40s. While not a financial reality for all of us, maybe we could do “gap days” over time? [11-21-18

What 20,000 letters to an advice columnist over 30 years tell us about our deepest concerns. [11-28-18]

The Red Couch experiments: what Politifact learned about its pop-up fact-checking while showing people two different State of the Union addresses. [11-28-18]

Jana Kleitsch, CEO of Wanderlust Society, on closing her company after a 3-year run. [11-28-18]

Surveillance kills the will to experiment and try new ideas. [11-28-18]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from October 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from October 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



It’s never too late to peak in your career. Let’s hope so since I feel like I’m just getting started. [10-3-18]

When to work: How to optimize your daily schedule for energy, motivation, and focus. [10-3-18]

What’s it like to “feel safe”? This woman hired 3 bodyguards for one day. [10-3-18]

The guy behind of the famous marshmallow test has more advice on self-control. [10-3-18]

THIS WEEK’S CONUNDRUM: How to improve in 6 months vs how bad are you willing to be at the thing you want to be great at? [10-10-18]

Drawing is the best way to learn, argues a new book called “Stick Figures” so here’s a tutorial on how to start sketching thoughts and ideas. [10-10-18]

Feeling burned out? Fantasizing about a new life? Work towards that big resetwith experiments, not passion. [10-10-18]

Meet Anthony Mancinelli, the world’s oldest barber at 107 and still cutting hair. [10-17-18]

The lost art of concentration: being distracted in a digital world. [10-17-18]

How to feel when you’re not feeling it, a Zen Habits look at opening your mind and offering your talents to the world. [10-17-18]

CONUNDRUM: Follow your passions vs Don’t follow your passions. [10-24-18]

For screen and stage, film director Sam Mendes works like a sculptor—continually molding and remolding space, speech, and gesture. [10-24-18]

Badass-centric author Jen Sincero says you may need to upgrade your inner circle of friends. [10-24-18]

Hacking your anxiety to make it work for you. [10-24-18]

Always start by understanding you don’t (or it doesn’t) need to be perfect. Being good enough is it’s own rewarding experience. Being comfortable with not even being that good is perfectly legit as well. Focus on the attempt. [10-31-18]

The power of shutting up and sitting in silence[10-31-18]

An essay drawing a parallel between bullshit jobs and the bullshit web. [10-31-18]

The oft-repeated, but still instructive tale of two film companies, one that flamed out and one that figured out new possibilities, decision-making, and change. [10-31-18]



Opposing views: What it’s like to have Steve Jobs swear at you vs SORRY NO this is not OK. Finally: His “best” insults, compiled. [10-3-18]

Buffer’s 3 activities and a gameshow for your next company retreat. [10-3-18]

An experiment to understand how dolphins learn to work together. [10-3-18]

How to disconnect from the “always on” workplace culture. [10-10-18]

The CMO is the new chief collaboration officer, with CarMax as an example. [10-10-18]

Ask yourself these questions before giving honest feedback. [10-10-18]

What the world’s most extreme workplaces can teach us about teamwork. [10-10-18]

Help your team do more without burning them out. Focus on being energizing, not energetic. [10-17-18]

Why you need to make your team uncomfortable from time to time. [10-17-18]

The rise of the “silent meeting”. [10-17-18]

Researchers at Vanderbilt U tried a few experiments aimed at reducing racial bias in groups at work. [10-17-18]

You won’t believe what I heard: You should stop complaining about your colleagues behind their backs. [10-24-18]

It’s good to be back from vacation, now here’s my feedback on what you did while I was away. [10-24-18]

An $800 countertop pizza oven for your home and how the product design team at Breville made it happen. [10-24-18]

There’s no such thing as difficult people. Hooray? [10-24-18]

IDEO responds to critics of design thinking[10-31-18]

Are “chats” the key to building teams that work better together? Findings from a study at UC-Santa Barbara. [10-31-18]

The all-female trio, Boygenius, is comprised of three indie-rock solo acts who learned how to collaborate while making their first EP. [10-31-18]

Successful virtual teams share these qualities, according to an experiment at the U of Iowa. [10-31-18]



More than anything else, employers want speaking skills, yet our schools don’t really teach them. [10-3-18]

How Trello’s one-man email team manages to do it all. [10-3-18]

The best way to be highly influential  is to be human to everyone you meet. [10-3-18]

9 ways to explain your introversion. [10-3-18]

Big data gives the “Big 5” Personality Traits a makeover. Findings from an analysis of 1.5 million people. [10-10-18]

The most hated poet in Portland OR and the weird world of Instagram poetry. [10-10-18]

VIDEO: The secret to leaving comments online. [10-10-18]

An analysis of 200,000 reviews of Las Vegas on TripAdvisor led to this piece on what type of customer reviews most influence buying decisions. [10-17-18]

Inside this story about someone who earns $6K/day writing for Instagram are lessons on how to punch up your social media posts. [10-17-18]

PODCAST: Houston teacher wins the Toastmasters’ World Championship of Public Speaking. [10-17-18]

That went better than I realized: How we have a distorted view of the quality of our own conversations. [10-24-18]

The most productive meetings don’t have slide decks. [10-24-18]

Creative agency Lippincott shares the thinking behind 10 of its most recognizable brand campaigns. [10-24-18]

VIDEO: This clip of Ibram Kendi’s commencement speech from the University of Florida earlier this year asks a very simple question “Are you an intellectual?” [10-24-18]

How to successfully pitch the NY Times (or anyone else).

This interview with Megan Amram, a writer for The Good Place and The Simpsons (!) provides tons of insight on the writing life, being disciplined, and food puns.

When a stranger decides to destroy your life: A disturbing tale of online rumor-spreading.

More on how poetry has found a home on Instagram.



Starting with the October 10, 2018 newsletter I introduced a new section, “What I Learned”, to highlight folks who adopted personal challenges and wrote about the perspective they gained from doing do. “What I learned” became a precursor to my new keynote, “The Challenge Mindset”.

What a transgender candidate with a military background learned in nine months of running for U.S. Congress in Massachusetts. [10-10-18]

How to be a good man: a biz school prof spends one month reading feminist classics. [10-10-18]

An NBC News editor had her friends pick out her clothes for a week, affecting both her style and self-confidence. [10-10-18]

This boat salesman secret shopped at 100 competitors and here are his tips for improving the generic sales lead email[10-10-18]

Daniel Radcliff spends a day as the factchecker for New Yorker magazine. [10-17-18]

Life imitates Forrest Gump, sort of: Two guys walked 71,940 yards in honor of Saints QB Drew Brees and his record-setting career. [10-17-18]

Going to every pop-up experience in NYC that she could, a writer contemplates the emptiness of the trend. [10-17-18]

Taking part in unconscious bias training produces some uneasy revelations about the human brain. [10-17-18]

Appearing as a cultural expert opposite a white supremacist on the Today show. [10-24-18]

300 interviews with “high achievers” about their morning routines. [10-24-18]

A college professor worked as an EMT at the U.S.-Mexico Border Wall. [10-24-18]

Riding the scooter craze for one week at the University of Minnesota. [10-24-18]

This bartender is the secretly the greatest Tetris player in the world. [10-24-18]

DC-based freelance writer Andrew Zaleski takes “adulting classes for Millennials”, going inside the newest soft-skills cottage industry.  [10-31-18]

Looking through childhood artwork and contemplating a recent essay that urges you to throw your children’s artwork away[10-31-18]

Teaching in the Australia’s elite boys schools for 10 years — as a woman[10-31-18]

Revelations from having a life coach for 3 months[10-31-18]

By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from September 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from September 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



“Authenticity” on the job: perspectives from minorities on one of the most overused terms in worklife. [9-5-18]

Is everything we know about being distracted wrong? Making sense of the research into focusing our attention. [9-5-18]

Why your brain can’t let go of a grudge. [9-5-18]

Inside the Blockbuster store in Bend OR, the last surviving location of the former rental giant. [9-5-18]

Last week, I saw author Steven Johnson discuss his new book Farsighted, which examines the process of making difficult decisions. [9-12-18]

Frank Zappa and the power of cataloging your creative influences. There’s no shame in doing it. [9-12-18]

VIDEO: How Michael Jackson wrote a hit song, using “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” as a case study. [9-12-18]

What it was like to give a demo to Steve Jobs, told by the guy who prototyped the iPhone keyboard. [9-12-18]

Get lost in the Web Design Museum which has 900+ unique designs from the years 1995 to 2005. [9-19-18]

An online community for people addicted to doodling. Related: How to draw a wolf (and a cat, dog, and horse). [9-19-18]

quick warm-up exercise to get into a more creative mindset. [9-19-18]

The inside story of Ben Stiller’s high school avant-punk band. [9-19-18]

Stories of unusual inspiration: how 9 creative minds got their ideas. [9-26-18]

Need a new morning routine? Browse 300+ of them from successful people in a variety of professions. [9-26-18]

How to find more time for your side projects. [9-26-18]

There’s a thing called the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards and it’s exactly what you’d think. Preview some of the 2018 finalists thanks to The Guardian. [9-26-18]



6 chefs talk about fixing toxic workplace culture in the restaurant industry. [9-5-18]

The strange history of Myers-Briggs, the most famous guide to understanding others, along with being our most questionable pop science success story. [9-5-18]

How the NY Times encourages employee-led innovation, as demonstrated by its recent Maker Week. [9-5-18]

How the latest successful “coaching trees” in the NFL challenges itself to stay one step ahead of copycat innovators, including the weekly “Beautiful Mind” whiteboard challenge. [9-5-18]

Understanding the neuroscience of feedback will decrease social anxiety and improve your workplace culture. [9-12-18]

Turns out, the wisdom of crowds might depend on not being in constant touch with each other. #personalspace [9-12-18]

VIDEO: Janet Stovell, speechwriter at UPS, has one of the hottest TED talks right now, talking about diversity and inclusion. [9-12-18

Design Sprints creator Jake Knapp reflects on running the team innovation process for the NY Times‘ Maker Week. [9-12-18]

Solving problems with the 5 Whys[9-19-18]

Having a healthy workplace culture means setting rules for email. [9-19-18]

How bosses waste their employees’ time, according to Robert Sutton (author of the famous book “No Asshole Rule” who I had a recent Twitter exchange with, thx Bob). [9-19-18]

Ilan Frank, Director of Product (!) at Slack, outlines why he believes Agile teams define the modern work world. [9-19-18]

Design thinking: defender of the status quo? [9-26-18]

Stories of workplace conflicts and survival advice. RELATED: We map out past relationships into new ones, that’s why we often overreact at work. [9-26-18]

INFOGRAPHIC: The 6 Socratic Questions to use in your next meeting. [9-26-18]

“Diversity and inclusion fatigue” is real and it’s not spectacular. 8 steps to make D&I efforts more walk, less talk. [9-26-18]



How to email like an actual person, including extensions that proof-read your clarity. BONUS: How Gmail happened. [9-5-18]

Beware the disproportionately-sized power of anecdotes, especially in polling. [9-5-18]

The mystery of people who speak dozens of languages. What can we uni-linguals learn from them? [9-5-18]

Scientific American looks at Internet buzzwords and their misleading power. [9-12-18]

Researchers (and UNICEF) test new ways to persuade kids to drink more water, less soda. [9-12-18]

Top moments from this past week’s Content Marketing World and INBOUND conferences. [9-12-18]

The difference between power and influence. [9-12-18]

“OK” — How a cheesy joke from the 1830s became one of the most widely spoken words in the world. [9-19-18]

Should students be required to give in-class presentations? One tweet ignites a debate. [9-19-18]

TIME examines whether audiobooks as good as reading. (I’ve recently started actively listening to audiobooks, meaning, I take notes as I listen, instead of passively playing them in the background.) [9-19-18]

Jargon and bullsh*t are why people don’t understand “design” (or the thing you care about). [9-19-18]

How to be better at parties, including a “don’t be that person” section. [9-26-18]

VIDEO: Why we don’t feel “in the moment”. Recommended for the incredibly proper British accent. [9-26-18]

An interview with author Matthew Willcox on how human nature drives choice and what that means for marketing. [9-26-18]

5 creatives discuss whether or not to delete their social media accounts. [9-26-18]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from August 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from August 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.


“What I learned from 30+ years of measuring myself like the stock market.” Condensed into one chart. [8-1-18]
Choir singing improves your health and happiness. [8-1-18]

The business challenge of our time, and what your “work culture” should be addressing, is creating meaningful work for everyone. [8-1-18]

11 “great ideas” that went horribly wrong. Some lessons learned. [8-1-18]

10 ways to prevent admin tasks from draining your creative energy. [8-8-18]

The cognitive biases that trick your brain and delude you. [8-8-18]

7 design lessons from Silicon Valley’s most important failures. [8-8-18]

How catalog-loving retailer Hammacher Schlemmer survives in the age of Amazon. [8-8-18]

The fine line between self-care and self-sabotage. [8-15-18]

Findings from 300 interviews with people about their morning routines. #1: quit social media in the am. [8-15-18]

Here’s how to prep your calendar for a productive workweek, from the folks at Slack. [8-15-18]

The tricky art of rewiring your own brain. A look at mental placebos, nocebos, and “defensive pessimism”. [8-22-18]

QUIZ: What’s your creative type? Meta Wagner (actual name), Emerson College professor and author of a book by the same name, offers a chance to self-diagnose your abilities. [8-22-18]

Introducing Couch Potato: keep track of all the time you spend doing absolutely nothing. [8-22-18]

Planning where you’re going vs seeing where creativity takes you: How JK Rowling used a hand-drawn spreadsheet format to map out the plot of Harry Potter. My feeling is, this only works if you are working solo. [8-22-18]

There are 3 types of “failure”, but only one you should feel bad about. Related: The best #ShareYourRejection stories are the ones that aren’t just strategic humblebrags. [8-29-18]

Giphy has launched the first-ever film festival dedicated to GIFs. Hope Kanye wins something and it drives him nuts. [8-29-18]

Using a “noting” practice to control negative thinking. [8-29-18]

CHOICE: How Blue Bottle Coffee started as a side hustle to 40 locations around the world or the inside story of how McDonald’s innovated the Quarter Pounder[8-29-18]



Why ethical people eventually become unethical negotiators. [8-1-18]

10 principles for the personal care and feeding of ideas. Establish a personal knowledge management system. [8-1-18]

Fight to win: how friction sparks innovation, a Wharton interview with author Shane Snow. [8-1-18]

What to do when each department uses different terms to describe the same thing. [8-1-18]

IDEO’s 5 tips for running a design sprint. [8-8-18]

Your teammates are like a bowl of Skittles“. Seems unscientific (or just made up), but I do like using Trello. [8-8-18]

This week’s choice: “team building is easier than you think” or “The most cringe-worthy team building exercise I ever participated in”. [8-8-18]

Is the right group leading your digital initiatives? [8-8-18]

TV’s writers’ rooms have a “mother” of a problem, a 2-part CNN report on workplace challenges for pregnant women. [8-8-18]

At Drexel U, a creative approach to teaching creativity. No surprise that it involves each member of the class teaching for a half-session. [8-15-18]

Meet the team that ensures an Australian ski resort stays open and functioning. [8-15-18]

A look by EY at a few companies’ methods for inspiring their people to pitch and pursue new ideas. [8-15-18]

Oklahoma State football players introduce themselves humorously to forge team chemistry. The team’s new defensive coordinator documented the intros on Twitter. [8-15-18]

A look at the numbers behind making friends, according to science. The avg person trusts only 10-20 people. [8-22-18]

Why innovation is a team sport. Results from 800 companies through the Great Place to Work study. [8-22-18]

5 tips from IDEO for running a successful design sprint with your creative team. [8-22-18]

The 4-Day Work Week: Employees at the New Zealand trusts firm Perpetual Guardian demonstrate positive results from an eight-week experiment. [8-22-18]

What the tango (the dance) can teach us about high-performing teams. [8-29-18]

Stories of terrible corporate team building encounters. [8-29-18]

We all live in a parasocial hell. A look at “fake friends” a new web series explaining modern day interpersonal interaction. [8-29-18]

Why Hollywood exec Barry Diller believes in cultivating creative conflict. [8-29-18]



A guide to midwestern conversation, from McSweeney’s. A few F-bombs in the translation, presumably from the East Coaster who is decoding the typical Midwesterner. [8-1-18]

VIDEO: How to change someone else’s mind. [8-1-18]

Telling a good innovation story means choosing one of 3 narratives, according to this McKinsey study. [8-1-18]
INFOGRAPHIC: 10 types of visuals that our brains like. Employ for your next presentation. [8-1-18]

To reach an audience of millions, create for an audience of one. [8-8-18]

How Judd Apatow used email to give himself notes and write Knocked Up. [8-8-18]

‘I can’t believe I’m going to do this’: The inside story behind Phil Mickelson’s viral dance video. [8-8-18]

Lessons learned from writing 7,000 artist bios. [8-15-18]

If you want to be a great listener (and better presenter), learn to paraphrase. [8-15-18]

We’ve become addicted to exclamation points in emails and texts, and going cold turkey freaks people out(!!) [8-15-18]

How political parties use tiny changes in words to influence your thinking. [8-22-18]

Deep dive: The dark side of persuasion and how to avoid crossing that line. [8-22-18]

The best headlines appeal to people’s self-interest or give news. Also handy in conversations, especially with the boss. [8-22-18]

Why we hate using email but love sending texts. The intertwined histories of both channels. [8-22-18]

FROM ME: 4 years ago, I wrote a 90-second Labor Day message delivered by NAR President Steve Brown. Here’s a look at my writing process behind that[8-29-18]

What’s the difference between persuasion and manipulation? [8-29-18]

Hold on to your BS filters, fake news is getting more sophisticated. [8-29-18]

How to give a better pep talk, one that motivates people. [8-29-18]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from July 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from July 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.


How Mr. Rogers became everyone’s neighbor[7-4-18]

5 everyday experiments you can run to improve your life. [7-4-18]

How to decide which ideas you should pursue. [7-4-18]

Why are we so certain about our mistakes? Ryan Holiday was one of my favorite keynotes at #WDS2018 a few weeks ago, here is his stoic-driven latest. [7-11-18]

The three levels of self-awareness, from the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F—. I only made it about a quarter of the way thru that book, just fyi. [7-11-18]

“Find your passion” is bad advice. [7-11-18]

The word is out: open offices suck. They increase distraction, drive down collaboration, and result in more emailing. Stuck in an open office? Here’s the WSJ‘s survival guide. [7-18-18]

Regrets from the guy who invented the internet (and how he plans to fix things). [7-18-18]

Five lessons from running a passion project that never made a dime in 3 years. [7-18-18]

VIDEO: Harvard Law student Pete Davis uses Netflix as an example of why keeping options open isn’t always a good idea. On a related note, it’s not your fault if you can’t get stuff done in the summer. [7-25-18]

One writer feels these 20 images by work culture artist Hugh MacLeod (@GapingVoid) will teach you more than 100 books. Maybe, but it’s a much smaller time investment and I love Hugh’s work. [7-25-18]

VIDEO: Knowing ourselves emotionally vs intellectually. [7-25-18]

What is the the true cost of adventure? One man’s VERY detailed account of exploring the U.S. by RV finds it’s about $90/day per person. [7-25-18]



How and why to ask better questions. [7-4-18]

Radical candor means to care personally and challenge directly at the same time. [7-4-18]

How to “win” every argument, according to a Duke University professor. [7-4-18]

A psychologist explains why humans can be so terrible to each other. [7-4-18]

“I’m every employer’s dream “diversity hire,” and it’s the worst”. Notes from a black, Korean, lesbian tech worker. [7-11-18]

The hierarchy and gender dynamics that drive conflict on surgical teams. [7-11-18]

And yet, too much team harmony kills team creativity. Obligatory jazz reference therein. [7-11-18]

The chief product officer at Box details their innovation team process[7-18-18]

How to hire better, based on lessons learned interviewing over 400+ engineers at three startups[7-18-18]

When your team’s path forward isn’t clear, take time to “carve it”. [7-18-18]

The Prior Idiots Phenomenon: when a new person joins your team, believes everything is broken because everyone before them is an idiot, here’s what you do. [7-18-18]

If you are looking to create a change movement (no matter how big or small), how many hearts and minds do you need to persuade? Researchers from UPenn and ULondon say 25%. [7-25-18]

For teams, there’s an important difference between good pressure and bad pressure, says the VP of product design at Facebook. [7-25-18]

In the aftermath of their CEO exit, Forbes lays out the “inside story” of toxic culture at Papa John’s, based on about 3 dozen interviews. Oxygen look at “6 insane revelations” from that article. [7-25-18]

Could you be too much of a team player? If so, you could also learn better team dynamics from a study of one thousand Dropboxs by Northwestern U. [7-25-18]



Got Milk? How the iconic campaign came to be, 25 years ago. [7-4-18]

An in-depth report on how and from where bloggers make their income. [7-4-18]

How Lebron James finally mastered the media game. [7-4-18]

8 email cliches that aren’t as innocent as they sound. Also, check out “Toddler or CEO”. [7-11-18]

18 ideas about how to create a hit, from the book Hit Makers. [7-11-18]

2020 hopefuls get failing grades for commencement speeches. Lot of people keeping it “real boring, String”. [7-11-18]

Finally, a montage of dance moments from over 300 films, condensed into 7 minutes. Impressive editing work. [7-11-18]

12 lessons from the Help Scout blog on the art of negotiation[7-18-18]

An comprehensive breakdown of Ali Wong’s hour-long stand-up comedy special. Impressive detail and would be worth it just for the killer web presentation. [7-18-18]

It’s not just a mimimum-wage job for teens anymore. Inside the world of competitive sign-spinning. [7-18-18]

“Is it gender bias or do I just suck?” Dr. Esther Choo asks Twitter about self-doubt and discrimination. The thread takes off. [7-25-18]

The body language mistakes you don’t realize you’re making at work. [7-25-18]

“Can I go home now?” Networking tips for introverts. [7-25-18]

The new wave of fact-checkers who want to save the world, or at least beat back “fake news”. [7-25-18]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from June 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from June 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



10 things you don’t know about yourself. [6-6-18]

The most popular course at Yale is about being happy. Here’s a DEEP DIVE inside from someone who took it. [6-6-18]

What’s going on in your child’s brain when you’re reading them a story? [6-6-18]

Doing the self-help thing responsibly[6-13-18]

What to do (and not to do) when you feel insecure[6-13-18]

How music helps creatives deal with anxiety and depression. [6-13-18]

The neuroscientific case for facing your fears. Based on mice. [6-20-18]

Seeing vs reading: developing the flexible mindset for creativity. [6-20-18]

Science behind improv, as told through rap, jazz, and comedy. [6-20-18]

The inside story of how a bunch of kids got a new state reptile for N.J. “The voting was intense” reads one sentence. [6-27-18]

Thoughts on how to transform anger into empathy[6-27-18]

The usefulness of thinking small. [6-27-18]



4 lessons from the maker movement, about meetings, criticism, and working together. [6-6-18]

VIDEO: How to stay calm under pressure. [6-6-18]

5 innovative brands and how they do it. [6-6-18]

Solving the right/wrong problems in the legal field with better teams. [6-6-18]

Why teams should argue, demonstrated by a Mexican government taskforce. [6-13-18]

Researchers at the University of Kansas are following social media sites and sports blogs to study how people argue. [6-13-18]

Excerpted from his new book, Dream Teams (currently in my Audible que), Shane Snow says bad ideas can be incredibly useful. [6-13-18]

steps you can take once you have an idea. [6-13-18]

5 common complaints about meetings and what to do about them. [6-20-18]

Giving feedback at work that doesn’t destroy your environment. [6-20-18]

How 4 companies fixed “meetings overload”. I live by #1. [6-20-18]

Favorite team-building activities from association staffers. These don’t sound particularly substantive, however. and one case sounds downright ill-conceived. Partially why “team-building” has a bad connotation. [6-20-18]

Putting all of your star players on one team can stifle creativity. [6-27-18]

Five features of better arguments, from a former Clinton Administration official. [6-27-18]

How to collaborate without burning out. [6-27-18]

Rethnking 6 management mantras for better innovation. [6-27-18]



“The Intuitive and the Unlearnable” or why some designs won’t ever stop sucking. [6-6-18]

VIDEO: Design legend Milton Glaser reflects on his I ❤️ NY icon. [6-6-18]

Brian Koppleman, screenwriter and co-creator of “Billions”, writes a 5-part tweet about listening with imagination. In my speaking workshops, I refer to this as “street language”. [6-6-18]

Your graduation speech in 50 words or less: pearls of wisdom 20 years after the fact. [6-13-18]

20 ideas on the craft, process, and impact of writing. [6-13-18]

What the London Underground map can teach us about design (and communication in general). [6-13-18]

A 4-step guide to ranting productively. Step #4 is the key. Ranting is for relief and clarity, it’s not a strategy. [6-20-18]

Zen habits on how to overcome being annoyed by people. [6-20-18]

A writer heads to the very first gym for your face. Filed here because the exercises are good for improving your speaking and presentation skills. [6-20-18]

How heavy use of social media is linked to mental illness. [6-27-18]
Our online behavior — including fake news and harassment — is a design problem. [6-27-18]

Clever illustrations visually define the same words that have different meanings. [6-27-18]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from May 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from May 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



Observations on a “non-linear” career path, from the VP of Design at Intuit. Only 27% of college grads have a career related to their major. [5-2-18]

One-sentence descriptions of 42 books that will make you a better person. [5-2-18]

How to manufacture creative inspiration, instead of just waiting for it. [5-2-18]

FROM ME: A list of things that TV writers rooms do to get unstuck. [5-9-18]

Thoughts on how to escape the procrastination doom loop. [5-9-18]

VIDEO: Dylan Marron says turn negative comments online to positive comments offline. [5-9-18]

Too much experience can hurt your decision-making, so maybe it’s time to spot and overcome your biggest weakness. [5-9-18]

Inside Milan’s opulent retirement home for musicians. Rec’d for the unusual story and nice pics. [5-16-18]

VIDEO: Skillshare on how to stop being a people pleaser. [5-16-18]

For a more creative brain. follow this 5 steps. [5-16-18]

Not sure if this is good news or bad news: what 6 people did after watching a TED talk. [5-16-18]

For your kids, curiosity is a direct path to developing self-control. Probably goes for us adults as well. [5-23-18]

Understanding the Pygmalion Effect, or faking it until you make it. [5-23-18]

The math men have overtaken the madmen. [5-23-18]

For Monopoly-makers, Hasbro, cheating led to a creative breakthrough. [5-30-18]

After 8 years of pharmacy school, he became a designer instead. [5-30-18]

Empathy has its limits: You can’t feel sorry for everyone. [5-30-18]



Inside Pinterest’s KnitCon, where best ideas come from a meeting of opposing viewpoints. [5-2-18]

This is your brain on false expertise: how to stop being swayed by the loudest person in the room. [5-2-18]
How the founder of Reverb empowers introverts on his team. [5-2-18]

NPR is looking for poems about teamwork. Deadline May 11. [5-2-18]

Deceptive messaging and conversations that kill your workplace culture. [5-9-18]

VIDEO: The effect of a rough childhood on receiving and handling criticism. [5-9-18]

INFOGRAPHIC: 27 ways to refocus a team. [5-9-18]

The 4 scenarios of new ideas for innovation teams and how to handle each. [5-16-18]

Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest, offers some advice on better decision-making, which (ironically) includes not worshipping Silicon Valley leaders so much. So, bring this up next time you’re at a conference and the speaker only talks about Apple, Google, and Facebook. [5-16-18]

VIDEO: Arguing in front of your kids can help teach them creative problem-solving skills. If you do it right. [5-16-18]

Rethinking 6 different management “mantras” (YAWN) for better innovation in nonprofits. Good primer on creating new stuff in your org. [5-16-18]

Lessons out of the 99u conference on being a better creative leader. [5-23-18]

The Radical Candor movement tackles the art of “humble feedback”. [5-23-18]

What it takes to think more deeply about complex problems. [5-23-18]

One designer’s thoughts on learning to love your bad ideas. [5-23-18]

Washington Post reporter (and DC standup comic) Elahe Izadi goes inside the writers room at Late Night with Seth Myers. [5-30-18]

Readers respond in harrowing detail to Fast Company‘s story on the sexism of open office design. [5-30-18]

Strategies to use disagreements to build stronger teams. [5-30-18]

How golf startups are bringing innovation to a tradition-steeped game. [5-30-18]


Long read: How and why good people turn bad online. [5-2-18]

look at the TSA’s award-winning Instagram account, which btw placed #4 on Rolling Stone’s Top 100 list. At #5? Beyonce. [5-2-18]

Your choice: 7 writing tips from Jerry Seinfeld or David Mamet’s two rules for finding success. [5-2-18]

The hand-made sketchbooks of traveling artist Jose Naranja (story includes plenty of photos). Keeping a journal has many benefits. [5-2-18]

A historical perspective on why humans will always need and respond to the powerful narrative. [5-9-18]

10 commercials disguised as short films. [5-9-18]

What marketers should know about marketing to personality types. [5-9-18]

Why and how “stories” took over your smartphone. [5-9-18]

If someone asks your opinion of a design and you’re not a designer, here are a few things to keep in mind. [5-16-18]

Flashing back a few weeks to when I talked about “sharing sessions” at work to build “team language”, Research Digest dissects exactly why teaching others is a great way to learn things for yourself. [5-16-18]

Seth Godin on how to create value in your story. One quibble I have: not everything does or needs to come with a story. Sometimes, the presence of meaning is more than enough. [5-23-18]

Trends vs Fads: defining and spotting each. [5-23-18]

“Communication debt” refers to all of the knowledge-sharing, messages, and notifications that need your attention. One school of thought on how to keep your team out of it. [5-23-18]

A lesson in humility and bias: 3 years of research after #thedress. [5-30-18]

“A creative idea needs creative direction not group consensus.” Thoughts from BBH on making great advertising, but it applies to all creative pursuits. [5-30-18]

And finally, the best, worst, and most repetitive emails of the GDPR avalanche. [5-30-18]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from April 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from February 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.



Seth Godin on how you should react when your ideas get stolen. [4-4-18]

How to get a promotion when you’re an introvert. [4-4-18]

Why you should NOT share your goals, according to science. [4-4-18]

Adam Grant on the power of humble narcissism in leaders and why it works for them. How long before there’s a blog/book/podcast called The Humble Narcissist? “Not long enough” is the answer, I bet. [4-11-18]

The key to good luck is an open mind, an in-depth piece on researcher Christine Carter’s efforts to explain the mystical forces that shine on some, but not others. My favorite piece of the week. [4-11-18]

What’s your “learning style”? Don’t worry about it, they’re largely nonsense anyway. [4-11-18]

The most common type of incompetent leader is the absentee leader. [4-18-18]

Minor Threat: DC punk auteur Ian Mackaye is the subject of this deep dive into DIY ethos and values (Contains F-bombs). [4-18-18]

The tortured zen of Garry Shandling, inside the mind of an original thinker, writer, and entertainer. I watched the HBO documentary and loved it. [4-18-18]

Nerd Alert: Open Culture has over 11,000 digitized issues of sci-fi, fantasy, and detective fiction that you can download for free. [4-18-18]

“I joined a procrastination support group and it changed my life”. [4-25-18]

How perfectionists get out of their own way. [4-25-18]

Gaping Void’s latest cartoon print, “My Son is an Entrepreneur”. One for the haters. [4-25-18]



To win an argument, think like a cat. This does not mean lick yourself. [4-4-18]

The Minnesota Twins make a problematic “unwritten rules” argument. Sports, in general, have long been a world plagued by “retro-thinking”. [4-4-18]

How to stop being a control freak. [4-4-18]

An HBR study on 4 ways to deal with a toxic co-worker. #1 is to confront them. Bold strategy, Cotton. Hope it works out. Not on the list: subterfuge. [4-11-18]

The skeptic’s case for design thinking. I’m critical of what I see as a cult forming around the design thinking process, but it’s still a very useful approach to solving problems more honestly and strategically. I prefer design sprints, however. [4-11-18]

INFOGRAPHIC: Pros and Cons of remote team collaboration. [4-11-18]

Sally Kohn’s Time piece on what working at FOX News as a liberal taught her about arguments, excerpted from her book. [4-11-18]

7 strategies to argue and disagree your way to better conversations. [4-18-18]

Clean up messy team dynamics by using the “emotional cleanup” system. [4-18-18]

What the “bias of crowds” phenomenon means for corporate diversity (or how GoDaddy screwed up). [4-18-18]

The 76ers use player show-and-tells to create moments of conversation, collective introspection, and unscripted humor in service of team-building. Contains snakes, tattoos, coffee, civil war, Australian wildlife, and base reality theory. Excellent read. Go Sixers. [4-25-18]

Brainstorming is killing your creativity, use question bursts instead. [4-25-18]

Inside Amazon’s unique memo reading culture for staff meetings. [4-25-18]

The unintended consequences of a too-nice work culture. [4-25-18]



What But Why looks at how to communicate complex ideas. [4-4-18]

How to respond when you hear the word “no”. [4-4-18]

What really happens when someone stares at you. [4-4-18]

People with depression use different language and here’s how to spot it. [4-4-18]

What behavioral science says about impulse tweeting. I bet you can guess. [4-11-18]

The inside story of Reddit’s website redesign. And the Reddit thread about the Reddit website redesign. See what I did there? [4-11-18]

Writing advice for visual thinkers from the guy who inspired this newsletter, Austin Kleon. Please share with your friendly neighborhood design professional, perhaps over very cool-looking scones. [4-11-18]

What it’s like to quit social media when you’re a teenager. [4-18-18]

Why your writers should be allowed to pitch story ideas. [4-18-18]

More and more non-media companies have a “Chief Content Officer”. [4-18-18]

Our brains rapidly and automatically process opinions we agree with as if they are facts. [4-25-18]

“Thanks, Algorithms!”: No one is original anymore, not even you. Heavy emphasis on philosophy and fashion. [4-25-18]


By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from March 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from March 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.

NOTE: Weeks 3 and 4 of march 2018 had no newsletter because I was on my Honeymoon.



It turns out that people don’t know themselves very well. Oh, is this how I’m coming of because this isn’t me. [3-7-18]

How 12 teens — all of’m female — invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless. [3-7-18]

“We’re really afraid of talking to people that we disagree with “. Lessons on listening to the other side at TC Williams High School. [3-7-18]

Distinction Bias: Why you make terrible life choices, complete with cartoony illustrations. [3-7-18]

You can learn to relax (or, how to be lazy). [3-14-18]

How to nurture your creative 6th sense, told through a design school experiment showing two different fonts to lawyers and doctors. [3-14-18]

Do you live in a bubble? Take the Bubble Quiz, as designed by the libertarian writer Charles Murray. [3-14-18]



Doist explains how they manage 60 remote people across 23 countries. [3-7-18]

When “doing strategy”, find a way to make yourself an outside voice. [3-7-18]

“Those who don’t believe but actively want to engage in a conversation are the right kind of naysayers“. IDEO’s language is annoying sometimes (“transform their organization with a purpose-led workforce”), but there are good points here. [3-7-18]

Here’s how ants work together to build bridges, complete with timelapse video. [3-14-18]

How smart people handle difficult people. [3-14-18]

Your company culture does not need to be warm and fuzzy. [3-14-18]

The first stage in the design thinking process is called “empathy mapping” and this is a heady, yet well-written explanation of what that means. Written from a user experience (UX) perspective, it has actual visuals, as well as sample questions we ask when we’re in a meeting where it doesn’t feel like we’re solving anything. You know those types of meetings. [3-14-18]



A guy wrote about storytelling and haters on Medium and I left a really long comment because I think he oversimplifies things. I don’t expect he’ll respond, but you could give me a handclap. [3-7-18]

If you could go ahead and handle a boss who over-communicates that would be great. [3-7-18]

The stories behind 5 well-known logos, including Domino’s original, seemingly-shortsighted plan. [3-7-18]

Inside the mysterious art — and big business of –choosing the right color. Feel the pressure?  [3-7-18]

Great pitches come from customers. Stop talking about how amazing your organization, your product, or your service is. Customers tell you why they buy. [3-14-18]

A recent study of 12 years of Twitter data find that fake news spreads faster than true news — and it’s our fault, not the ‘bots. [3-14-18]

The lonely life of a professional YouTuber. Just to caution you, this is a Vice piece, so you’re going to feel old reading it. [3-14-18]

There are no shortcuts to producing great content. The price of creation is time. [3-14-18]



By Greg Roth

Newsletter Stories from February 2018

Each Wednesday, I send out a newsletter with links to “idea enthusiasm” stories from around the web. Here is a compilation of stories from February 2018. You can sign up for the newsletter here.  



Thrillist went ahead and ranked all the Super Bowl ads and, good news, they’re all on one page. [2-7-18]

Also, here’s the whole story behind that Crocodile Dundee ad that is or is not actually a movie. [2-7-18]

“Imagine having no talent. Imagine being no good at all at something and doing it anyway.” The late life redemption of Rodney Dangerfield. [2-7-18]

10 rhetorical concepts you can use to communicate creative ideas. [2-7-18]

2017 winners of the SkyPixel Ariel Photography Contest. I’m not telling you to steal these for powerpoint slides, but the thought did cross my mind. (There’s also an iPhone category.) [2-7-18]

Don’t let a lack of self-awareness be your “thing”. Also features a reading list on emotional intelligence. [2-14-18]

NASA scientists confirm that we are born creative but school ruins it[2-14-18]

user experience (UX) explanation of why you hate your new job. [2-14-18]

Recapping the epic Twitter beef between Boston and Philadelphia art museums. [2-14-18]

“I’ve broken every bone in my body at least once.” A video overview of Jackie Chan’s unlikely success story. [2-21-18]

I’m sick of articles that cite Steve Jobs’ genius, but I’m making an exception this time because it’s about the upside of procrastination. [2-21-18]

5 female creative leaders share their wisdom for being great. [2-21-18]

By 2020, the number of self-employed is projected to triple[2-28-18]

How the creators of the first ever fully-painted-yet-also-animated movie made it happen. [2-28-18]

You can use this very simple PDF calendar generator to make sure you stick to whatever your plan is each day all year. Print it out, cross off a day at a time. [2-28-18]



Does your workplace have a culture of critique? That is, are you able to evaluate and talk about others’ ideas productively? [2-7-18]

To do that, you need intellectual humility. See where you fall on the 1-9 scale. [2-7-18]

Meet Bark, the NYC startup that has a formula for designing a funnier dog toy. [2-7-18]

A writer gets fired for disagreeing, but is committed to continue disagreeing. I’d like to meet this guy. [2-14-18]

To find a great idea, start with the worst idea possible. I do this in conversation all the time, just to see who has a sense of humor. [2-14-18]

What working in a dark office does to your brain, based on rat-testing anyway. [2-14-18]

How to talk to your creative collaborator, including a handy “do say, don’t say” section. [2-21-18]

In TV writers rooms tackling immigration issues, we learn that “it’s easy to write off an idea. It’s not easy to write off a person”. [2-21-18]

For this week’s deepest look into how to work with and respond to each other, inside the Twitter take-downs of NY Times writer Bari Weiss and the “call-out culture” of social media. [2-21-18]

6 sources for learning how to give feedback that helps people grow. [2-28-18]

Psychologists on how to take things less personally (13-min podcast) [2-28-18]

Does vulnerability lead to better creative work? An examination of Brene Brown’s research. [2-28-18]

Inside the ‘animal house’ workplace culture of the Dallas Mavericks. On the other end of the spectrum, how Robert Morris U uses personality analytics in its basketball program. [2-28-18]



My primer on speaking fundamentals and the 5 types of presentations that I use in my workshops. [2-7-18]

Adam Grant’s 6 ways to get me to email you back. Try them this week and tell me how it goes. [2-7-18]

Confessions of a fake news writer. Recommended for spokespeople. [2-7-18]

Finally, an incredibly epic oral history of Toto’s song, “Africa”, complete with rockstar language (you’ve been warned), embedded videos, and ruminations on creating something that takes on a never-ending life of its own. [2-7-18]

Here are the one two three greatest startup sales decks ever from ZuoraDrift, and Salesforce. [2-14-18]

How to be heard when you’re not the loudest person in the room. [2-14-18]

Please, for the love of [insert cosmic presence], do not have a slide this dense in your powerpoint. [2-14-18]

In the information overload age, it is absolutely your duty to perform a 30-second fact check. [2-21-18]

Always deliver the bad news first. If there’s only good news, make some bad news up.

Facebook has a Pages problem, while these brands show how to succeed at Instagram Stories. [2-21-18]

Finally, this guy says he’s heard 20,000 elevator pitches. Wonder if any of them were for apps that block one from hearing bad elevator pitches. [2-21-18]

Why do so many tech companies’ logos have the same look and/or feel? One of the reasons may be how you’re viewing this story. It could also be how your brain sees a logo. [2-28-18]

When activists and advertisers collide: an exec’s brief overview of trying to change the narrative. [2-28-18]

There’s no substitute for quality. However, here are 19 tricks to increase email open rates[2-28-18]

Hubspot’s ultimate list of email subject spam words. [2-28-18]

Here’s an exhaustive comparison of 5 different smartphone cameras. Recommended because this is how you do a product review that everyone wants to read. [2-28-18]  

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Newsletter Stories from January 2019
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