Welcome to the latest issue of our irregular and irreverent newsletter. In this edition, you’ll discover 5 books that are coming this spring, 10 articles that are worth your time, and 4 TV episodes that are fun, fascinating, and, best of all, free.

Let’s get started…


The writing life doesn’t come with the slew of benefits that often accompany other jobs. We scribblers find our own health insurance, reboot our own routers, and miss out on office birthday parties and their giant helpings of facecake. But two perks nearly make up for what we’re missing: (a) getting to know other writers and (b) getting a chance to read their work in advance.

Over the last few months I’ve had the opportunity to preview a huge stack of 2015 books, most of them non-fiction and most of them forgettable. But five books stood out — not necessarily for their literary panache but for their keen insights into human behavior and their savvy advice for how to live and work better.

As spring unfolds, keep an eye on:

Work Rules: Insights From Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead (by Laszlo Bock)
Google’s head of People Operations reveals the secrets that made the company a talent powerhouse and that can help you radically think how you recruit, hire, challenge, nudge, and inspire employees. (April)

No One Understands You: And What To Do About It (by Heidi Grant Halvorson)
It’s a sad truth about human perception: Other people don’t see you objectively. Nor do they see you as you see yourself. Columbia social psychologist Halvorson tells us how to respond. (April)

Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life (By Tom Rath)
Rath’s books — which include StrengthsFinder 2.0 and Eat, Move, Sleep — have spent 300 (!) weeks on the Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. This one is arguably his best. (May)

No Sweat: How the Simple Science of Motivation Can Bring You a Lifetime of Fitness (by Michelle Segar)
Segar, head of the University of Michigan’s Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center, studies the science of healthy behavior. Her book’s key point: Start thinking of exercise less as a chore and more as a gift. (June)

How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success (by Julie Lythcott-Haims)
The former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford University trenchantly shows how helicopter parents and Tiger Moms are causing much more harm than good. Then she offers an array of tips and strategies for doing better by our kids. (June)

P.S. Back in December, novelist Ann Patchett and I discussed our three favorite books of 2014. Here’s the video.

P.P.S. If you’re more in the mood for fiction, I strongly recommend two other 2014 books, Joshua Ferris’s To Rise Again at a Decent Hour and Phil Klay’s short story collection, Redeployment.

From my Instapaper account to your inbox, here are recent 10 articles that made me think:

The Under-Appreciated Benefits of Creative Consistency
Lifehacker explains why showing up is more powerful than setting goals.

This Diagram Shows Cornell’s Revolutionary Method for Taking Notes
Business Insider says you’ve probably been doing it wrong your whole life.

The Top 10 Reasons American Politics Are So Broken
A persuasive (and distressing) list from Jonathan Haidt and Sam Abrams in The Washington Post.

How to Keep Your Resolutions
Yeah, I know it’s February. But the “bundled temptations” strategy makes sense any time of year.

Revealing The Trauma of War
A haunting National Geographic photo essay of soldiers who use art therapy to create painted masks that express how they feel.

The Power of Saying No
In the Financial Times, Tim Harford explains that “Every time we say yes to a request, we are saying no anything else we might accomplish with the time.”

Making Your Kid Play Organized Sports Could Cost Them Their Creativity
A University of Texas study reports that “time spent playing informal sports was significantly and positively related to overall creativity, while time spent playing organized sports was significantly and negatively related to overall creativity.”

The Tragedy of the American Military
The Atlantic’s James Fallows writes a piece I wish every US presidential candidate would read.

Why It’s So Hard to Fill Sales Jobs
Millennials don’t want to take sales jobs — and that’s forcing sales itself to change.

The Benefits of a Lunch Hour Walk
From the New York Times: “A new study finds that even gentle lunchtime strolls can perceptibly — and immediately — buoy people’s moods and ability to handle stress at work.”


As you might remember, I spent much of last year working on a 12-episode television project called “Crowd Control” for the National Geographic Channel. The show — in which we tackle problems from highway speeding to double-dipping guacamole using behavioral science, design, and technology — has now aired all over the world.

You can still find it in re-runs on the National Geographic Channel. But since almost nobody watches TV on actual TV these days, there’s another option: The folks at NatGeo just posted a few episodes — for free! — on YouTube.  Here are four you might enjoy:

Episode 1. Lawbreakers
To get people to stop jaywalking, busting speed limits, and parking in disabled spaces, we try out a mix of cash, games, revenge, and empathy. You’ll be surprised which works best.

Episode 3. Travel
How do you get people to pay attention to in-flight safety announcements? To find out, we simulate a crash landing and scare the hell out of some unsuspecting passengers.

Episode 5. Anger Management
We visit a DMV in Florida and a towing lot in New Jersey to see if we can make angry people a little happier. Our tools? Software from MIT, a laughter yoga instructor, and some paint with special powers.

Episode 7. Money
If you spotted a lost wallet, would you return it? Are you sure? We test people’s honesty by “losing” a wallet on a busy boardwalk and recording what happens with hidden cameras. Then, using three principles of social science, I teach a guy to sell more beefy jerky. Seriously.

That’s it for this edition. As always, thanks for reading our humble newsletter.

Daniel Pink

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