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PINKCAST 3.14: This is how to make your workplace kinder (and more effective.)

Trolls. Road rage. Social media weaponized to destroy. We face an epidemic of incivility. 

To find an antidote, I turned to Christine Porath, a Georgetown University professor and the country’s leading researcher on civility. In our latest Pinkcast, she shares a remarkably simple technique for deepening respect and promoting belongingness in any setting. It’s called the “10-5 Rule” — and it could help us all. 

You can watch the 100-second video below. 


  • Chris’s excellent book, which contains lots more wise counsel on restoring politeness and humanity to the world of work, is Mastering Civility: A Manifesto for the Workplace. (Buy it at Amazon,, IndieBound, or Porchlight)
  • You can find out more about Chris and her work here.
    Her TED Talk on civility, which I’ve recommended in the newsletter, is especially worth watching.

Three years ago, I published a short PDF listing the 20 books that had mattered most to me over my life. 

ONE MORE THING: The Eight-Five Percent Rule

Researchers have long understood the general principle: We learn best when we teeter on the “edge of our competence.” If a challenge is too difficult, we become discouraged and give up. If it’is too easy, we become complacent and stagnate.

But where exactly is this sweet spot?

In a new paper in Nature Communications, a team of psychologists, linguists, and neuroscientists has produced an early answer. They discovered that learning progresses most quickly when our error rate is about 15 percent. In other words, when we’re practicing something new (a language, a musical instrument, a swimming stroke), we learn the most when we get it right about 85 percent of the time.

So, the next time you’re drilling yourself in le subjonctif in French or practicing an Edward Elgar piece on the bassoon, pay attention to how you’re doing. If you’re messing up every sixth or seventh verb, or bungling about 15 percent of the notes, you’re doing it right!


As always, thanks for subscribing. 

Daniel Pink

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Each Issue Features:

A Pinkcast: A short video with science-based tools and tips for working smarter and living better.

One More Thing: A few paragraphs about an idea that's caught my attention and seemed worth sharing.