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PINKCAST 3.16: This is how to take an effective break — in just 20 seconds.

Your ability to focus will be your most important skill” in 2020, says one workplace sage.

Yet being able to focus depends on being able to regularly replenish our attention. And that requires taking breaks. So, for the first Pinkcast of 2020, I explain the simplest, easiest break I’ve encountered. It takes less than a minute and doesn’t require leaving your chair.

You can watch the 64-second video below.


ONE MORE THING: What to read — 4 books and 2 essays

I let you down. Most years, at the end of December, I share a list of my favorite books from the previous 12 months. But in late 2019, circumstances — some unexpected deadlines, a family trip, the creeping dread that my country was imploding — got the better of me.

Mea culpa. Let me make amends.

My two favorite novels of 2019 were Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys  (AmazonBN.comIndieBound, or Porchlight) and Sally Rooney’s Normal People (AmazonBN.comIndieBoundPorchlight).

My two favorite non-fiction books were Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer Eberhardt (AmazonBN.comIndieBound, or Porchlight) and Because Internet: Understanding the New Rules of Language by Gretchen McCulloch (AmazonBN.comIndieBoundPorchlight)

Or, if you’re in the mood for something shorter, I also recently read two outstanding essays that I’ve been recommending to everyone. 

The first is The Lesson to Unlearn, by Paul Graham, about the conflict between grades and learning and the difference between hackable tests and genuine achievement.

The second, by Jonathan Haidt and Tobias Rose-Stockwell, is The Dark Psychology of Social Networks. This Atlantic piece examines how social media is warping democracy and — hope is on the way! — offers some solutions for restoring our collective sanity. 


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.