Survey: Science, math college graduates earn top dollar – CBS News

WASHINGTON – It seems to matter less whether your alma mater is public or private than what you study – math and science in particular – when it comes to finding a high-paying job after college, according to a report released Tuesday by the Department of Education.

The survey of the class of 2008, by DOE’s National Center for Education Statistics, provides an interesting snapshot of the nation’s educated elite following a crushing economic recession: Overall, college grads reported lower unemployment rates compared with the national average, although black and Asian college graduates were twice as likely to be out of work than their white classmates. College grads from private four-year schools earned about the same as those from public four-year schools, about $50,000 a year.

But while a paltry 16 percent of students took home degrees in science, technology, engineering or math, those who did were paid significantly better – averaging $65,000 a year compared with $49,500 of graduates of other degrees.

The findings are based on a survey of 17,110 students conducted in 2012, about four years after the students obtained their bachelor’s degrees.

The survey found a strong correlation between earning money and highly specialized degrees. More than 95 percent of grads who studied computer and information sciences, for example, were employed full-time at the time of the survey and earned $72,600 on average. Engineering students reported similar job and salary prospects. That’s compared with a humanities graduate who was more likely to report working multiple jobs and earn a full-time salary averaging only $43,100.

The report also pointed to a correlation between being white or Asian and male and having a higher salary.

Asian graduates reported earning more than other ethnicities, averaging $62,500 in full-time jobs compared with $47,300 earned by Hispanics, $48,800 by blacks and $52,400 by whites. Likewise, male grads reported earning more – $57,800 on average – than their female classmates in full time jobs, who averaged $47,400.

The study doesn’t explain the disparities in pay, which could be attributed to different fields of study.

Among other findings in the report:

-The average unemployment rate among the graduates was 6.7 percent, compared with the 8.1 percent national unemployment rate at the time of the survey. Unemployment rates were very low for students who studied computer and information sciences or engineering, but jump for those with degrees in social sciences or general humanities.

-Most graduates avoided marriage and kids in the four years after obtaining a degree. Only 19.6 percent reported having both.

-The average salary of students graduating from for-profit four-year institutions was slightly higher than their nonprofit counterparts: $62,900 compared with $50,700 for public school grads and $53,700 for private school grads. But the unemployment rate among for-profit schools was higher at 12 percent, compared with the 6.2 percent graduating from public schools.

These disparities could be attributed to the types of students who attend for-profit schools. Often highly specialized, for-profit schools often attract students who already have work experience but lost a job or want to earn more money.


July 8, 2014, 9:56 AM

© 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Why a six-hour workday is getting a test in Sweden

If you’re feeling overworked — a common complaint among American workers — you might want to keep tabs on a workplace experiment taking place in Sweden.

The city of Gothenburg is testing a six-hour workday in an unusual trial: A test group of municipal workers will cut down their day to six hours while the rest of the town’s workers will stick to the typical eight-hour day, according to the Swedish publication The Local. Pay will remain the same for those cutting their hours back.

The reason? The city wants to test whether reducing the workday will actually improve efficiency, cut sick leave and ultimately result in saving money. While Americans might scoff at the experiment as another example of how Europeans coddle their workers, the current standard 8-hour workday wasn’t a given in the U.S.: It was hard-won by unions in the 19th century and eventually standardized by the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938. Before that, workers were expected at their jobs for 10 to 16 hours a day.

There’s some research to show that some workers perform better with even shorter workdays. Knowledge workers — anyone from software developers to teachers — actually have about six productive hours per day, compared with eight for manual laborers, according to Salon. And that’s what Gothenburg hopes to find out: Do workers end up performing better if they’re able to focus their efforts in a potentially optimal daily work period?

“We’ll compare the two afterwards and see how they differ. We hope to get the staff members taking fewer sick days and feeling better mentally and physically after they’ve worked shorter days,” Mats Pilhem, the deputy mayor of Gothenburg, told the Local.

For American workers, the six-hour day may seem increasingly like an unrealistic goal, given that employees are actually now putting in eight hours-plus each day. The average employed American between 25 to 54 years old and with children works almost 9 hours each day, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

To top it off, while U.S. workers are pulling more hours and becoming more productive, wages have fallen off for many. From 2000 to 2013, hourly wages for a majority of Americans either fallen or flatlined, according to a study published Wednesday by the Economic Policy Institute.

Still, not everyone in Sweden is convinced the test is a good idea. Malin Sahlen, an analyst at the Swedish think tank Timbro, told the AFP that the plan is “a crazy idea” because it would be too expensive to pay the workforce the same while cutting hours by one-quarter.

Robert Nilsson, a Gothenburg city mechanic who is taking part in the test, told the AFP that his new experimental 6-hour day has caused some friction with friends.

Nilsson noted, “My friends hate me. Most of them think because I work six hours, I shouldn’t be paid for eight.”


ByAIMEE PICCHI / MONEYWATCH / June 6, 2014, 11:14 AM

9 Core Behaviors Of People Who Positively Impact The World

Look around you and you’ll see three kinds of people – those who hate their work, and complain bitterly, those who just tolerate their work and see it as a paycheck and aren’t looking for more (or feel they can’t have more), and finally, those who love their work, and relish it.  The third category is a small subset of all professionals globally, but this group stands out because these are, most often, the people who change the world for the better.

In my work as a success coach and writer, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with people who’ve made a true and measurable impact in the world, including well-known experts, authors, researchers, journalists, scientists, innovators, business geniuses, and entrepreneurs. But among this group of world influencers there are also everyday people who have found a special niche in which they’ve contributed at the highest level.

It’s critical to note that people who’ve made a real difference aren’t all privileged, advantaged or “special” by any stretch.  Many come from disadvantaged families, crushing circumstances and initially limited capabilities, but have found ways to pick themselves up and rise above their circumstances (and their genes) to transform their own lives and those around them.

Researching these makers, shakers and disruptors, and working with my own clients who shape the world around them in powerful and constructive ways, I’ve observed 9 core behaviors that set them apart – habitual ways of behaving and approaching life and work that distinguish them from those who long to make a difference but can’t or won’t find the way.

The 9 core behaviors of people who positively impact the world are:

They dedicate themselves to what gives their life meaning and purpose.

Thousands of people today don’t believe in meaning and purpose as something to discover or pursue in life.  And others believe in a life purpose but won’t take the risk to identify or honor it.  Those with positive influence feel otherwise.  They have found that there is a purpose to their life, and that purpose usually involves some aspect of turning their “mess into a message,” or using what they’ve learned (often the hard way) as a means of being of service to others.  People with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and lit up from the inside – unable to be deterred or distracted from what they believe is the reason they’re on this planet at this time. This sense of meaning and purpose gives them inexhaustible drive and offers guideposts to follow along the path.  It informs them of what they wish to attend to in life, and what they need to walk away from because it doesn’t support their higher purpose.

They commit to continually bettering themselves.

People who impact the world for the better know that they are not perfect. They understand how their knowledge isn’t “complete” – there are always gaps, biases, limitations and prejudices, and new places to go with their expertise.

Yes, there are powerful narcissists aplenty, but their influence isn’t positive or helpful in the long run – it’s damaging and destructive.  Innovators who positively shape the world come from a “beginner’s mind” and a loving, compassionate heart – with an openness to see, learn, and experience new things on the way to being a better servant of the world.

They engage with people in open, mutually-beneficial ways.

Those with huge positive influence understand the power of relationships, connection, and engaging with the world openly.  They’re not afraid to get “out there” – connecting with others, sharing their knowledge and talents, offering their authentic and often contrarian viewpoints and opinions.  They’ve pushed beyond any introversion, shyness or reluctance to be who they are, and have learned how to relate well with others and build mutually-supportive relationships that catapult both parties to a higher level.  They know that positive, supportive and authentic relationships are the foundational building blocks to anything and everything they want to achieve.

They invest time and energy not in what is, but what can be.

The people I’ve interacted with and interviewed who’ve made a positive impact in the world don’t settle for conformity.  When they see something that agitates and disturbs them, they strive to know more, get to the root of the issue, research and understand the contributing factors, and arrive at new solutions.  They observe gaps and mistakes in common thinking and behavior, and trust themselves in their belief that it’s time to push the boundaries of what’s accepted.   They want to affect change because they believe change will bring a better way to live.

They embrace critique.

The most powerful positive influencers don’t need or want to be “right” – they want to grow and be more effective.  For that to occur, they walk right into critique, and they embrace challenge.  They’re not afraid to put their work out there for others to poke holes in.   They are strong and confident in the face of opposition, yet know how to integrate constructive feedback to strengthen their work and ideas. They engage in open dialogue and welcome scrutiny.

They spread what they know.

We’ve all met authors or “experts” who keep their knowledge secret, close to the vest. They’re afraid to let it out for fear someone will steal it or make money on their ideas.  This is the opposite of the positive influencer’s mindset.  Those who make a true positive difference can’t help but share and teach what they’ve learned. They don’t see their knowledge as just some commodity to sell, as a meal ticket or a money maker – they see it as information that has to be shared with the world for its betterment. They believe their ideas and innovations are of use and value to others, and can’t help but share those openly, and teach others what they’ve learned.  They live the universal principle  – “the more you give, the more you get.”

They uplift others as they ascend.

You’ve experienced, as I have, scores of “leaders” and high-achievers who’ve gotten where they are by stepping on the heads and backs of those in the way.  These are not true leaders or influencers because their power is a sham – it was obtained unethically and is shallow and weak, and can’t be sustained over the long haul.   I have encountered power-mongers who were crushing and cruel to their subordinates and I wondered when they would finally reap what they’ve sown.  Over the long term, this day always comes.

On the other hand, people who positively impact the world not only obtain amazing results in their work, but their process of obtaining these results – how they operate in life — is also inspiring and uplifting.  They are happy to help and support others, and have an overflow of positive energy that enriches the lives of everyone they work with and connect with.  These positive influencers want others to grow.  They walk away from “success-building” opportunities that will be hurtful and damaging to others. They know that those unethical, demeaning or destructive approaches go against the very meaning and purpose they’re committed to.

They view the journey as the goal.

They use their power and influence well.

Sadly, it’s a common occurrence in business today to witness power and influence being wielded as a weapon. It hurts and destroys. Positive influencers use their power well and wisely. They understand the widespread influence they have, the power they have to build up and elevate, or tear down.  Those who impact the world for the better are careful and judicious with their words, actions and behaviors. They operate with heart, and care deeply about their leadership and communication process and style, and the influence they have.  They take it seriously, as a special honor and responsibility not to be flaunted or misused.  They understand their special role, and accept it with grace, compassion, and care.

What A Millennial Wishes Mom Told Her About Work

(I normally blog biweekly about work and volunteering for Next Avenue. But this week, in honor of college graduation season, I’ve turned my blog over to my daughter Juliana, a 2013 grad, and asked her to reflect on her first year in the workplace. — Nancy Collamer)

Dear Mom,

Last year, as I was about to graduate from George Washington University, you wrote me a letter that Next Avenue published passing on your wisdom about how to approach the “real world.”

Admittedly, my transition from college student to Executive Director of Volunteers On Call (a nonprofit dedicated to service opportunities in Fairfield, Conn.) has had its challenges and over the past 12 months, I’ve turned to your words time and again for guidance.

While I hate to be difficult (especially because you’re letting me live in your house rent-free — thanks!), I must admit that you missed a few key pieces of advice.

With a year of working under my belt, here are five insights I have for the class of 2014 that I wish I’d known:

1. Pace yourself. So, you graduated summa cum laude and your resumé is overflowing with big-name internships. Congratulations! Now, take a deep breath… and get over yourself.

At the ripe old age of 22, it’s highly unlikely that you will be working at the job of your dreams. I have friends with Ivy League degrees who are toiling at sailing schools by day and bartending by night. And there is nothing wrong with that.

A first job is just that — a first job. It might not be glamorous or as stimulating as you had hoped, but this position will undoubtedly open the door to a second job, a third job, and hopefully, to a fulfilling lifelong career.

2. Ask for help. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I have heard the phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” more times than I can bear. And contrary to popular belief, just because a phrase rhymes, it does not necessarily apply to all situations in the office or otherwise.

What I wish someone had told me was to ask for help until I made it.

Over the past year, I have squandered countless hours pretending like I had it all together, while internally panicking. In retrospect, I should have simply requested additional direction from my colleagues and superiors.

Don’t get me wrong — learning to improvise and make independent discoveries can be highly valuable, but there is also a time and a place to ask questions.

While no one wants to be the person in the office pestering his supervisor with constant inquiries, I can nearly guarantee that any boss would rather you ask for clarification than waste time and resources completing the wrong task.

If you feel uncomfortable approaching your manager, find a co-worker who can show you the ropes. For life’s bigger decisions, find a mentor (or two) to guide you towards a path of personal and professional success.

3. Pick up the phone.  As members of the digital generation, recent graduates have been conditioned to communicate almost exclusively by email and text. However, if the past year has taught me anything, it’s that there are several advantages to actually talking on the phone instead of tapping on its screen or reaching for the mouse.

Phone calls allow questions to be addressed quickly and efficiently, minimize confusion and misunderstandings and create more personal exchanges.

Furthermore, many professionals in their mid-50s and early 60s prefer to communicate by phone and are more likely to respond to voicemails than emails.

And here’s the bonus: When you pick up the phone, you never have to worry about being “that guy” who mistakenly hits Reply All on a company-wide email.

4. Get a side hustleOne of the best pieces of advice my mom gave me last year was to live beneath my means, which I’ve done. Despite having to fundraise my own salary as the Executive Director of a small nonprofit, I’ve created a financial safety net by becoming an SAT tutor and taking odd jobs on the side.

If you find yourself with a few hours to spare and needing extra cash, there is no shame in coming up with creative ways to cushion your bank account. Offer to sell your friends’ old college textbooks on eBay or check out Craigslist for opportunities to pet-sit. If you need something more permanent, try picking up the weekend shift at a local retail store or restaurant.

Spending a Saturday night babysitting may make you feel like you’re back in high school, but it will be well worth it when you can afford dinner out with friends and write your rent check without breaking into a cold sweat.

5. Keep your perspective. If you’re anything like me, you might start to feel slightly nauseous when the Forbes “30 Under 30” list comes out. Suddenly, your recent promotion at work and the fact that three more people subscribed to your blog seem wildly insignificant in contrast to the multi-billion dollar valuation of a startup founded by a 23-year-old.

At moments like this, I retain my sanity by turning to the words of writer Christopher Morley, “There is only one success: to be able to spend life in your own way and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it.”

There will always be someone who has a nicer apartment, earns a higher salary and can afford a Netflix subscription instead of poaching off of friends. But at the end of the day, the only person you’re accountable to is yourself.

So, get married. Or stay single for the next twenty years. Move to the big city. Or build your life in a small town. Pursue your MBA. Or work for a nonprofit.

Recognize your own happy place and forget about everyone else.

And, when in doubt, ask your mom and dad — they really do know best.

One last thing, Mom: Thank you for giving me the wisdom and tools to establish a personally and professionally fulfilling life post-graduation. I’m grateful for the advice you gave me last year and think you’ll approve of my additions.



Why skipping college means losing $830,000 in income

Going to college is a pricey affair for many families, given that annual tuition and room and board now costs almost $23,000, or six times the outlay in 1980. That has prompted even the likes of billionaire and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg to advise students to skip the quad in favor of a trade, like plumbing.

But a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is calling some of that advice into question, given its findings that college degrees actually gain in value over time and still remain a good investment, even when accounting for higher tuition.

The study, which compared earnings over time from college graduates versus those with only high school degrees, found that the average student recoups her investment in a 4-year program by the time she turns 40. After that, her higher lifetime wages will provide a significant return on her investment. By the time she retires, she’ll have earned $830,000 more than a high-school graduate.

“Although there are stories of people who skipped college and achieved financial success, for most Americans the path to higher future earnings involves a four-year college degree,” wrote associate director of research Mary C. Daly and research associate Leila Bengali in the report, published Monday. “Once the investment is paid for, it continues to pay dividends through the rest of the worker’s life, leaving college graduates with substantially higher lifetime earnings than their peers with a high school degree.”

Interestingly, the study considered the premium that college grads earn compared with their cohorts over time, or how much students graduating in, say, the 1950s and 1960s have earned since graduation day. Premiums pick up over time, which means while there’s an income gap for college versus high-school grads from day one, the disparity is even wider just 10 years after grabbing their diplomas.

For instance, people who graduated college in the 1990s and 2000s entered the workforce earning $5,400 more than people in the age group without college degrees. After 10 years, that gap had grown to $26,800, the study found.

“This evidence tells us that the value of a college education rises over a worker’s life,” the authors note.

But what about the rising cost of college? After all, the cost of an undergraduate degree has surged more than 500 percent since 1985, compared with a 121 percent jump in the consumer price index over the same time. With that out-of-proportion surge, does it still make sense, especially for younger students who are facing those higher costs?

Actually, yes, thanks to those higher lifetime earnings, the study notes. There is a caveat, however: it figures that the break-even point will take 20 years, given an annual tuition rate of about $21,200, which is low for some prestigious colleges. But, the authors add, “there is no definitive evidence that [high-cost colleges] produce far superior results for all students.”

The bottom line? A college degree pays lifelong dividends, but you may want to think long and hard about degrees that cost above the norm.


May 6, 2014, 12:54 PM

This Is The Personality Trait That Most Often Predicts Success

The only major personality trait that consistently leads to success is conscientiousness

“It’s emerging as one of the primary dimensions of successful functioning across the lifespan,” Paul Tough writes in “How Children Succeed.” “It really goes cradle to grave in terms of how people do.”

Tough says that people who test high in conscientiousness get better grades in school and college, commit fewer crimes, and stay married longer.

They live longer, too, he says. And not just because they smoke and drink less. They have fewer strokes, lower blood pressure, and a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.

There’s a staggering amount of research linking conscientiousness with success. A National Institute of Mental Health study found that conscientious men earn higher salaries. The National Institute on Aging also found that conscientiousness is linked to income and job satisfactionOther studies show that conscientiousness is the most important factor for finding and retaining employment.

How do you know if you’re conscientious? Conscientious people tend to be super organized, responsible, and plan ahead. They work hard in the face of challenges and can control their impulses.

Psychologists classify conscientiousness is one of the “Big 5” personality traits, with the others being agreeableness, extroversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience. The other traits can predict certain workplace outcomes — extroversion is a great fit for highly social gigs like sales and openness to experience often leads to creativity — but conscientiousness is remarkable for the way it cuts across roles.

Research shows that arriving on time, doing thorough work, and being thoughtful toward your colleagues helps people regardless of their job function or workplace situation. “Being on top of deadlines is almost universally a good thing,” one industrial psychologist told us.

Moreover, within conscientiousness are the narrower traits of self control and “grit,” which University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth has found to be more integral to children’s scholarly success than IQ.

Why conscientiousness people are so successful

“Highly conscientious employees do a series of things better than the rest of us,” says University of Illinois psychologist Brent Roberts, who studies conscientiousness.

To start, they’re better at goals: setting them, working toward them, and persisting amid setbacks. If a super ambitious goal can’t be realized, they’ll switch to a more attainable one rather than getting discouraged and giving up. As a result, they tend to achieve goals that are consistent with what employers want.

Roberts also owes their success to “hygiene” factors. Conscientious people have a tendency to organize their lives well. A disorganized, un-conscientious person might lose 20 or 30 minutes rooting through their files to find the right document, an inefficient experience conscientious folks tend to avoid. Basically, by being conscientious, people sidestep stress they’d otherwise create for themselves.

Being conscientious “is like brushing your teeth,” Roberts says. “It prevents problems from arising.”

Conscientious people also like to follow rules and norms. You can spot the conscientious kids in the classroom. They sit in their chairs, don’t complain, and don’t act out — which also, of course, contributes to earning good grades from teachers. While conscientiousness doesn’t correlate with high SAT scores, it does predict high GPAs.

To spot conscientious people at work, Roberts says to look for punctuality. If someone shows up on time, that’s a great clue toward conscientiousness, since a punctual person has to be organized enough — and care enough — to arrive on time.

The bigger, and less visible, indicator is how people deal with setbacks. Do they give up or redouble their efforts?

“The conscientious person is going to have a plan,” Roberts says. “Even if there is a failure, they’re going to have a plan to deal with that failure.”


By: Drake Baer 

April 30, 2014.

Read more:

Businesses Say They’re Having Trouble Finding People Who Will Show Up For Work

Every month, the New York Fed conducts two surveys: the Empire State Manufacturing Survey and its services-sector counterpart, the Business Leaders Survey. And each April it asks respondents of both surveys questions related to the difficulty of finding potential hires with certain skills.

This year’s pair of April surveys confirmed that, as in previous years, employers are having trouble finding people with advanced computer and interpersonal skills, punctuality, and reliability.

Further, businesses in both the manufacturing and services sectors report that it is becoming increasingly difficult to retain skilled workers.

Below are the two key tables from the survey. The first shows that 36% of businesses in the manufacturing sector that responded to the survey are having moderate difficulty finding workers who are punctual and reliable, while 11% report great difficulty in finding workers with those traits. In the services sector, it’s not as bad — 22% of respondents report moderate difficulty finding punctual, reliable workers, whereas only 3% report great difficulty.

1. Skills businesses are having trouble finding in potential hires.

New York Fed survey

New York Fed


2. Difficulty retaining skilled talent.

New York Fed survey


APR. 16, 2014, 9:27 AM

Read more:

Here’s Exactly How To Form A Habit That Sticks

More than 40% of the things we do in a day aren’t really decisions — they’re habits.

But changing habits isn’t a matter of “powering through” them. Like a muscle, your willpower gets exhausted throughout a day.

As Charles Duhigg details in the now-in-paperback “The Power of Habit,” advances in social science suggest that behavioral change isn’t a result of focusing on the behavior itself. Instead, we need to tinker with the cues and rewards that keep the habit coming.

To change a habit, you have to first understand how it forms.

A habit is not one action but a loop, made up of a cue, routine, and reward:

  • The cue is what triggers a behavior to start. It tells your brain to switch into automatic mode. There are five primary types of cues: a place, a time of day, a particular person, a particular emotion, or a ritualized behavior. As Duhigg told the Boston Globe, he had a cookie habit, one that led to his gaining eight pounds. Every day between 3 and 3:30 p.m., he’d get up from his desk, go crab a cookie from the cafeteria, and eat the sweet snack while talking with his coworkers.
  • Then there’s the routine, the automatic behavior that you find yourself doing unknowingly. While having a habit being automatic sounds unnerving, it’s actually an adaptation. The first time you do something in your life — like driving a car — you have to invest a ton of attention into it. But the more you do something, the less attention you need to invest in it — good drivers can hold a conversation while parallel parking. That’s because you’ve become so familiar with an activity that you no longer are making decisions about it. The habitual behavior just takes over, freeing up mental space.
  • Lastly, there’s the reward, the pleasure you get from the behavior. Beyond feeling good, the reward burns the habit into your memory, making it a go-to action for the next time a cue occurs.

Understanding the cue and reward can curb a bad habit.

In the case of Duhigg and his cookies, the author didn’t know what reward was driving his snacking. To find out, he did an experiment over a few days.

On the first day he went for walk around the block when the cookie urge struck, since that would test whether he just wanted a break from work. The next day he grabbed a candy bar and ate it back at his desk, since that would satisfy any possible sweet tooth. Then on another day he went to the cafeteria but didn’t buy anything — instead he just walked up to a colleague and started chatting.

“What I figured out pretty quickly, was (that the reward) had nothing to do with cookies,” he said. “It had to do with socializing.”

So now, instead of gobbling a cookie and gabbing with a friend at 3:30, he gets up from his desk, ambles over to a colleague, and gossips for 10 minutes. Then he goes back to work. The urge to get the cookie has disappeared, he reports, no sweets needed. And he’s lost 12 pounds.

You can use rewards to create habits, too.

Let’s say you don’t want to stop eating cookies. Instead, you want to go for a run every day. Knowing how cues and rewards form behaviors can help.

It’s a matter of teaching your brain to associate exercise with a reward, Duhigg says. Regular runners might crave the endorphin rush that comes after a run, but as a beginner, you might need some help. To do that, he says, give yourself something you love after the workout, like say, a cookie:

This is counterintuitive, because most people start exercising to lose weight. But the goal here is to train your brain to associate a certain cue (“It’s 5 o’clock”) with a routine (“Three miles down!”) and a reward (“Chocolate!”).

Eventually, your brain will start expecting the reward inherent in exercise (“It’s 5 o’clock. Three miles down! Endorphin rush!”) and you won’t need the chocolate anymore. In fact, you won’t even want it. But until your neurology learns to enjoy those endorphins and the other rewards inherent in exercise, you need to jump-start the process.

So either way the cookie crumbles, knowing your cues and rewards can help you change your habits.


By: APR. 3, 2014, 9:34 AM
Read more:

7 Books Every Leader Should Read, According To A Harvard Business School Professor

Max Bazerman, a business psychology professor at Harvard Business School and the author of the best book on general decision making that I’ve ever read, “Judgment in Managerial Decision Making,” came out with 7 book recommendations.

I hadn’t heard of two of these, which I picked up.

1. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

I think we’ve all heard of this one. Bazerman says:

The development of decision research is the most pronounced influence of the social sciences on professional education and societal change that we have witness in the last half century. Kahneman is the greatest social scientist of our time, and” Thinking, Fast and Slow” provides an integrated history of the fields of behavioral decision research and behavioral economics, the role of our two different systems for processing information (System 1 vs. System 2), and the wonderful story of Kahneman’s relationship with Amos Tversky (Tversky would have shared Kahneman’s Nobel Prize had he not passed away at an early age).

2. “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness” by Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein

This is another one I think most of you have heard of but it’s a classic. I once used this book as the foundation to make the case to a management team for hiring a group of behavioral psychologists. Along with “Thinking, Fast and Slow” it is part of the ultimate behavioral economics reading list.

Nudge takes the study of how humans depart from rational decision making and turns this work into a prescriptive strategy for action. Over the last 40 years, we have learned a great deal about the systematic and predictable ways in which the human mind departs from rational action. Yet, we have observed dozens of studies that show the limits of trying to de-bias the human mind. Nudge highlights that we do not need to de-bias humans, we simply need to understand humans, and create decision architectures with a realistic understanding of the human to guide humans to wise decisions. Nudge has emerged as the bible of behavioral insight teams that are transforming the ways countries help to devise wise policies.

3. “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” by Michael Lewis

Lewis is an amazing writer, with the talent to capture amazing features of how humans have the capacity to overcome common limitations. Moneyball (that would have been on the list, but I imposed a one book per author limit) was a fascinating look about how overcoming common human limits allowed baseball leaders to develop unique and effective leadership strategies. In The Big Short, Lewis shows how people can notice, even when most of us are failing to do so. Lewis shows that it was possible to notice vast problems with our economy by 2007, and tells the amazing account of those who did.

4. “Eyewitness To Power: The Essence of Leadership Nixon to Clinton” by David Gergen

This one looks fascinating.

David Gergen is an amazingly insightful intellect about so many things, including the nature of Presidential leadership. His writing is wonderful, and his ability to pull out the nuggets of effective leadership in his closing chapter is a lasting contribution. You will learn about four Presidents that have escaped you in the past, and in the process, learn some insights about leadership in your organization.

5. “Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them” by Joshua Greene

This book has been recommended to me by so many smart people that there must be something to it.

Joshua Greene is a wonderful mix of insightful philosopher, careful psychologist, and keen observer of human morality. If you have ever been confronted with the famous “trolley problem”, and want to learn more, Moral Tribes is the place to go. Whether you are a philosopher looking for a new path, a psychologist looking for insight from a new direction, or simply a human who wants to understand your own morality, this book is terrific.

6. “Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending” by Elizabeth Dunn & Michael Norton

For decades, the study of consumer behavior has been dominated by the question of how marketers can understand consumers to sell their products and services. Dunn and Norton use contemporary social science to provide insight into what consumers can do to make themselves, rather than marketers, happy.

7. “The Art and Science of Negotiation” by Howard Raiffa

The Art and Science of Negotiation is where it all began from an intellectual standpoint, where Raiffa provides insight into how to think systematically in a world where you cannot count on the other side to do so.


By: MAR. 24, 2014, 10:40 AM
Read more:

Where you went to school matters less than you think

Does it matter where you went to college? More business leaders say the answer is no than yes.

In a survey released Tuesday by Gallup, just 9 percent of business leaders said a job candidate’s degree was “very important” when it came to hiring. Meanwhile, 54 percent said it was not very important or not important at all, and 37 percent said it was somewhat important. Candidates’ majors, skills and knowledge of the field were far more important, the telephone survey of 623 business executives found.

Still, job candidates haven’t gotten the message. A whopping 80 percent of the American public surveyed by Gallup say they think their alma mater is important.

Some of that disconnect between employers’ and employees’ views may be less drastic than appears. What business leaders say in surveys and actually do aren’t necessarily one in the same. As Brandon Busteed, the executive director of Gallup Education, told Quartz, many companies still hire from a small group of universities. That’s especially true in some industries, such as finance. 

Of course, one reason candidates’ schools may matter less is that fewer top executives have elite degrees these days. A study by professors at Wharton and IE Business School in Madrid found that just 35 percent of executives in 2011 went to private non-Ivy League universities, down from 54 percent in 1980. (The prevalence of Ivy League degrees fell too, albeit less dramatically, from 14 percent in 1980 to 10 percent in 2011.)

Education still matters plenty, though, even if the particular school doesn’t. A candidate’s major was considered very or somewhat important by 70 percent of the participants in the Gallup survey. And a surprising number of companies actually still care how candidates performed on their SATs, the Wall Street Journal is reporting — with some firms even asking candidates in their 40s and 50s how they scored way back when.

So while it may not matter where you went, how you did and what you studied could help you get the job.

By: Jena McGregor. February 26, 2014