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Ben Leong
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"I cannot teach hunger. I cannot possibly make a kid, who’s been made obese with excessive parental affirmation and pampering, hungry."

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"When it comes to building a team, Royston quotes the time-honored “hire slow, fire fast” mantra. “You should never hire fast when you don’t have the core culture in place,” he says. Each new hire changes the culture, so when you double or triple your team numbers in a matter of months, it’s harder to control what the company becomes.

“We have to be respectful of new people coming in and the culture they will bring along but we are also trying to preserve aspects we feel are important,” Royston points out."

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"One important reason Silicon Valley can exist at all, he said, is that it is welcoming to people from far outside its borders. “I go all across the world, and every other place is asking, ‘How do we replicate Silicon Valley where we are — in London, in Paris, in Singapore, in Australia?’”

The reason those places have so far failed to create their own indomitable tech hubs is that everyone there wants to come here."

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"A useful way to think about teams with the right mix of skills and personalities is to consider the two roles every person plays in a working group: a functional role, based on their formal position and technical skill, and a psychological role, based on the kind of person they are. Too often, organizations focus merely on the functional role and hope that good team performance somehow follows. This is why even the most expensive professional sports teams often fail to perform according to the individual talents of each player: There is no psychological synergy. A more effective approach (like the mission to Mars example) focuses as much on people’s personalities as on their skills."

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"The basis of service-based leadership is prioritizing your team’s needs before your own. As Marine officers, we always ate last, ensuring others had food on their plates before ours were filled. During down time, we kept our teams busy with training opportunities so they could broaden their skills, which also curtailed complacency. When it was dark and cold in the field, we made a point of being present on the lines (not hiding out in a warm tent) to show our teams we were right there with them. Through our actions, we demonstrated that we were willing to go without food, free time, and comfort to ensure our people knew they were supported."

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"Early leadership experience can be very valuable. Selective colleges screen for demonstrated leadership experience, and studies have found that people with high school leadership experience are paid up to 33% more than those without it. This wage premium is similar to the one associated with a college degree.

However, we know little about what types of skills early leadership service may help to develop. Although adults who serve as leaders are observably different from nonleaders — leaders tend to have higher cognitive ability, more self-confidence, and more motivation or drive — we don’t know much about whether these differences arise because leadership service changes individuals or because these individuals are selected for their preexisting skills."

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"A writing center is an effective way to lift an organization’s writing culture by its bootstraps. That means everybody can spend less time puzzling out incomprehensible messages and more time actually getting things done."

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"A perfectionist is a tough person to mentor or coach. The most productive and meaningful relationships are characterized by transparency, reciprocity, openness, and trust. Yet a perfectionist never lets a mentor discern areas for growth and development. Not even relative weaknesses are shared. And so a perfectionist’s desperate need to appear flawless may sabotage the value of mentoring or coaching. Even if a mentor astutely diagnoses a mentee’s perfectionism, the mentee may resist the mentor’s efforts to accept imperfection."

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"Our findings support the hypothesis that cognitive ability is a crucial element for the acquisition of chess skill. Of course, we have to be careful when establishing the direction of causality. It could be that intelligent people are more attracted to intellectual activities such as chess compared to the general population, or that they learn quicker.

But it could also be the case that practising cognitively demanding tasks makes people smarter. However, the latter possibility seems more unlikely, as recent research has found no causal relationship between chess instruction and cognitive ability. Interestingly, the same lack of relationship has been found for music training.

While practice remains a necessary component of success in chess and other fields, it is just not sufficient to get to the top. If individuals with superior cognitive ability have better chances to achieve mastery in chess, it is likely that the same applies to other domains such as music, the professions, and science.

Practice helps us to improve, but our improvements are strictly bounded to our cognitive ability. Sadly, good will is not enough."

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"Economic history shows that automation not only substitutes for human labor, it complements it. The disappearance of some jobs and industries gives rise to others. Nontechnology industries, from restaurants to personal fitness, benefit from the consumer demand that results from rising incomes in a growing economy. But only robust public policy can ensure that the benefits of growth are broadly shared.

If reforms are not enacted — as is likely with President Trump and congressional Republicans in charge — Americans should blame policy makers, not robots."
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