The odd trend seemed to come into focus earlier this year, when a start-up called Outbox announced that it was closing shop and, on the same day, another Silicon Valley venture, DrawQuest, sounded its own death knell in a self-flagellating blog post: “Today My Start-up Failed.” Dozens more confessionals like these popped up around the same time: “First Start-up. First Flop”; “Anatomy of a Failed Start-up”; “Postmortem of a Venture-Backed Start-up.” There are books about start-up setbacks, like venture capitalist Ben Horowitz’s recent bad-times manual The Hard Thing About Hard Things, and a handful of live events, like Startup Funeral and FailCon, that are meant to recast tech-world failure as something to be celebrated rather than shunned and shushed. In December, Paul Smith, a U.K.-based start-up adviser, griped about the rise of self-pitying mea culpas. “Failure has somehow become a fashionably acceptable outcome,” he wrote in a Medium essay. “Start-ups can go bust because of dreadful execution or woeful market knowledge, and founders are immediately surrounded by a circlejerk of backslapping.”
Saval’s book accentuates the transformations that occurred as those weak and spindly office workers began to inherit the Earth, or at least the eight-hour workday. In 1880, less than 5 percent of the American workforce worked in nonmanual labor, although the number was much higher—in the 20-40 percent rage—in cities like Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Boston. As trade expanded across the country, the amount of clerical work increased. And as the number of people working in offices grew, the question arose of how to optimize efficiency and, in some cases, comfort in this new work climate.
(Also checkout the article “The Boss Stops Here.”)
Scientific American has a post titled “The Irrationality of Irrationality: The Paradox of Popular Psychology.”
It’s natural for us to reduce the complexity of our rationality into convenient bite-sized ideas. As the trader turned epistemologist Nassim Taleb says: “We humans, facing limits of knowledge, and things we do not observe, the unseen and the unknown, resolve the tension by squeezing life and the world into crisp commoditized ideas.” But readers of popular psychology books on rationality must recognize that there’s a lot they don’t know, and they must be beware of how seductive stories are.
By age 2, children experience some moral emotions — feelings triggered by right and wrong. To reinforce caring as the right behavior, research indicates, praise is more effective than rewards. Rewards run the risk of leading children to be kind only when a carrot is offered, whereas praise communicates that sharing is intrinsically worthwhile for its own sake. But what kind of praise should we give when our children show early signs of generosity?
If funding was one issue, finding the space to build new nurseries was another. Yokohama didn’t have enough vacant land. Each of the city’s 18 districts was allocated a person whose job it is to secure sites for new nurseries. Byobugaura Harukaze’s location under an elevated road was one solution. “We weren’t bound by stereotyped ideas,” says Hayashi. Smaller support centres have opened in vacant shops and empty classrooms. The city broke with convention by teaming up with partners from the private sector, non-profit organisations and social welfare corporations such as Harukaze, which operates Byobugaura.