Management books don't really thrill me. Maybe that is an odd admission for someone who writes about the world of work, and who reads pretty much anything that comes under her nose. But I am reading one now that does indeed thrill me, and I'd like you to read it too. Would you, please? And... Continue Reading →

My Boss Made Me Do It

At a staff gathering a while ago I led a session on work productivity. I asked people to think of the most important tasks they do regularly, and then asked them to think about what they spend the most time doing. Then we talked a little bit about why people spend so much time doing... Continue Reading →

It’s Complicated

Evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson was on NPR talking about the behavior of ants. This was on Freakonomics Radio, where Freakonomics authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner explore economic and behavioral theory on everyday events. I won't go into ant behavior, but it segued into Levitt saying that evolutionary biologists and economists try to strip things... Continue Reading →


In middle school I had a Trapper Keeper binder, black with a sparkly unicorn on the front. I loved that thing. In my mind I can still see the unicorn among the clouds, feel the smooth vinyl cover and hear the vvrrrpp of the Velcro flap opening. Funny, that, because I don't think I actually... Continue Reading →


When I was eight my dad bought me a punching bag. He thought it was better for me to punch a bag than to punch the wall, or flip my mattress over, or empty my dresser drawers onto the floor. My rages were always sparked by my inability to do something well - make my... Continue Reading →

Warning: Explicit

While procrastinating the other day I found an article on dyslexia and mathematics.  The standard reading intervention for dyslexics is known as explicit teaching in phonics and other reading skills, which is in contrast to the "whole language" approach that introduces kids to rich language and meaning but leaves out the mechanics. Most kids don't... Continue Reading →

Forget the Silver Lining

What is up with our fixation on finding a silver lining? Every dark place must have one, an up-lifting promise that everything will be okay, that things are not so bad as they seem. We are a people who must make lemonade out of lemons, damn it. Why am I thinking about dark places and... Continue Reading →

Some Kind of Help

Free to Be You and Me was the soundtrack of my childhood. When I see in my mind's eye the living-room of the little red ranch house where I grew up I hear "It's All Right to Cry" and "Housework" playing in the background. But there is one song called "Helping" that sticks in my... Continue Reading →

Unexpected Hour

My calendar is a problem. Most mornings stack up with appointments and to-dos, so that I am deciding whether I need to go to this meeting, take that call, or respond to the flaming email that just arrived. It isn't really about having too much to do, it's about everything I have to do sitting... Continue Reading →

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