53 Deep Dives on Improving Productivity, Health, Happiness
Help make the ultimate personal development publication based on trust.
Dear Better Humans reader,
For the last few months, I’ve been the experimental “personal development editor” for Medium Members. Medium gave me a budget to go “find articles that actually change people’s lives.” Membership is $5/month for everything below plus every other topic Medium’s been producing for Members.
I do think you should join. Maybe in the future, I’ll be able to give you a discount or the articles will be metered so that you can try them for free. But for now Membership is $5.
We’re using that Membership money to try to build the ultimate personal development publication. A big theme is “advice you can trust.”
As we work on that goal, I’m going to reach out to you a few times for input. Last week I asked what topics you were interested in, offering that you could Ask Better Humans Anything.
Today I want to get your opinion on the issue of trust. The answers I’m looking for are Yes, No or Other.
Below are the 53 deep dives into personal development that I’ve edited so far — lengthy tutorials on rewiring your brain, remaking your body, and achieving your full potential.
A goal for each article is to address issues of trust in three ways:
- The author must have personally tested all advice. We don’t want cargo-cult advice or book reports about how a stranger did something. We want authors who have tried the advice themselves and/or directly helped other people try the advice. Otherwise, how can they know it’s good advice? A lot of the authors are coaches or academics. But we also explicitly like aggressive self-experimenters as long they are clear: “This might work if you are like me.”
- The reader should trust that the article contains all steps to follow the advice. We don’t allow calls to action or sales pitches. The article should stand on its own. Editorially, we push authors to cover not just what to do, but also what to do when things go wrong. There is nothing more frustrating than an article that inspires you to follow advice that you were guaranteed to fail at because the steps were dishonest or incomplete.
- Reject one-size-fits-all. Everyone should be honest about the chances of advice working. Most advice helps 10% of the time but most people hope the advice will help 90% of the time. In other words, success comes from trial and error. Most gurus take advantage of this hope by advertising their advice as one-size-fits-all. That’s never true. We cover lots of approaches because people are complicated and most people will have to try multiple approaches before they succeed.
So, my question to you is: Do the above goals match our definition of trust? Can you highlight the words Yes or No? If your answer is Other can you leave a comment with your nuanced thoughts?
And if we pull those off, would you read any or all of the articles below?
This is a topic we’re just breaking the ice on. The following are two quantified-self style reports from people who’ve tried this diet approach.
The roots of procrastination start in the emotional centers of our brain. Normally, we won’t even notice subconscious emotions that trigger it. Thankfully, there are a number of tested tactics to reduce and maybe even cure procrastination.
This series starts with the world’s leading researcher in procrastination, followed by applied tactics from top coaches, and then ends with a science fiction piece about what would happen if we could design a device that would apply these tactics for us.
- How to use psychology to solve the procrastination puzzle ~ Tim Pychyl
- How to conquer procrastination with three self-awareness techniques~Niklas Goeke
- How to use software and apps to beat procrastination, pt 1 ~ George Halachev
- How to use software and apps to beat procrastination, pt 2 ~ George Halachev
- How artists and creatives can beat procrastination ~ Bjorgvin Benediktsson
- Science Fiction: The Mood Repair Device ~ K. D. McAdams
Office Design for Productivity & Creativity
A four part series from an architect who specialized in applying scientific research on productivity, creativity and flow. All by Donald M. Rattner, AIA.
Business & Career Advice
The angle we take is to “help a person who worships competence succeed in a world designed for hubris.” I want to live in a world led by people who got there through competence.
- How to get promoted ~ Heather Hund
- How to be a more influential person ~ Chris Sowers
- What people don’t tell you about product management ~ Jason Shen
- The manager’s guide to cultivating flow at work ~ Kate Jones
- How to be a better manager by understanding the difference between social norms and market norms ~ Chris Sowers
- Situational leadership and how the best managers keep star talent ~ Matt Trainer
- A practical guide to influence for introverts ~ Kate Jones
- How to conquer fear and loathing of public speaking ~ Larry Cornett
- What happens when values based leadership isn’t good enough ~ Chantal Laurie Below
- How to leverage introversion as a career strength ~ Larry Cornett
- Why successful people learn to ask for help ~ Ryan Engelstad
- How improving your receptivity to feedback can supercharge your career~ Matt Trainer
- I learned the secret to interviewing and got five times more job offers ~ Heather Hund
Hacks, tips, assessments — there’s a ton you can do to maximize your productivity.
- The complete guide to developing your grit ~ Patrik Edblad
- Finding your right productivity style ~ Liz Sumner
- The complete guide to remembering what you read ~ Niklas Goeke
- Eight health habits you can use to build energy and get more done every day ~ John Zeratsky
- How to fall asleep quickly and wake up with energy ~ Melissa Chu
- How to stop tinkering and become somebody who ships ~ Jason Shen
- A complete guide to being faster in Chrome ~ George Halachev
Goals & Behavior Design
This is the “teach a person to fish, feed them for a lifetime” section. The lessons in these articles could help any of your goals.
- Complete guide to deliberate practice ~ Jason Shen
- How to avoid plateaus in the quest for personal growth ~ Ryan Engelstad
- A counterintuitive strategy for building a daily exercise habit (or any habit) ~ Robert Hardy
- Self-improvement insights from the journal of Ben Franklin ~ Jawwad Siddiqui
- Most psychology research is BS — here is how to spot what’s true and what’s false ~ Jason Hreha
Life and Happiness
I always ask people who care about productivity, “To what end?” The following articles are the closest we’ve gotten to answering that question of purpose.
- The complete guide to happiness for introverts ~ Kate Jones
- Get happy like the Danes by adopting principles of Hygge ~ Andrew Merle
- How to reject busyness and embrace slow living with your entire family~ Jen Anderson
- How to trigger success by adopting gratitude ~ Ryan Engelstad
- How to be a budget Anthony Bourdain and master value travel ~ Chelsea Fagan
- How to manage your inner critic ~ Chantal Laurie Below
- Five golden rules of economically diverse friendships ~ Chelsea Fagan
- A practical guide to beating isolation and becoming a connected person~ Benjamin Sledge
Meditation and Mindfulness
Honestly, I thought this section would be a lot longer given how much personal interest I have. Oops! These three are great though.
Well — not everything has a category yet.
- How to avoid emotional outbursts ~ Christopher Sowers
- The practical guide to staying creative while traveling ~ Brian McFadden
- The pitfalls of over planning and how to avert them ~ Kate Jones
- How to use the relationship between your body and bank account to your advantage ~ Andrew Merle
- Parenting with social anxiety ~ Andrew Knott
Your feedback is appreciated, thank you!