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How to Improve Your Odds 34X


If you need to ask for something important, try and do it in person and not via email.

New research from Mahdi Roghanizad and Vanessa K. Bohns finds asking for something in person vs sending an email is “the significantly more effective approach; you need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email blast.”

So why do we wildly overestimate the power of written communication? The researcher’s conjecture that people fail “to anticipate what the recipients of their emails were likely to see: an untrustworthy email asking them to click on a suspicious link.”

“You need to ask six people in person to equal the power of a 200-recipient email blast.” – Vanessa K. Bohns

Get all the details of the study at HBR: “A Face-to-Face Request Is 34 Times More Successful than an Email.


Do you know this word? I learned it in an email from one of my favorite services, Airtable. (Note – Airtable isn’t a sponsor. But they could be, hint hint.)

Frühjahrsmüdigkeit is a German term referring to a sense of “weariness and low energy thought to be brought on by the advent of springtime.” It’s a German expression, but other cultures recognize it. For example, in the opening lines of “The Wasteland,” T.S. Eliot writes:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

According to Wikipedia, symptoms arise from mid-March to mid-April and can include weariness, sensitivity to changes in the weather, dizziness, irritability, headaches, and sometimes aching joints and a lack of drive.

Although causes of springtime lethargy aren’t fully known, hormone balance may play a role. When the days become longer in springtime, the body readjusts its hormone levels, and more endorphin, testosterone, and estrogen are released. This puts a heavy strain on it, and then you feel of tired.

Food may also play a role, as we switch from heavy carbs to lighter fare.

So if you’re not feeling the typical “spring fever” this year, full of bountiful energy and desire, don’t feel too bad. It will pass before you can pronounce “Frühjahrsmüdigkeit.”

“It is not an exaggeration to say life itself is one long improvisation.”

Philosopher Stephen T. Asma has a great article in the New York Times ostensibly about playing guitar with Bo Diddly, but actually about the daily art of improvisation.

“Improvising is a style of thinking generally. It investigates and helps us come to know the world not by theory but by a method of simulation — observing, listening, acting. I would argue, in fact, that it is the most fundamental form of human cognition, one that must have evolved long before deductive and inductive logic, when the first humans began developing the skills needed for their survival in an untamed environment.”

It’s a wonderful short article. Read it here: “Was Bo Diddley a Buddha?

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