Why Constant Learners All Embrace the 5-Hour Rule

Productivity | Live-long learning | Constant learning | Management

By Michael Simmons (Empact)

Benjamin Franklin did this 1 hour a day, 5 hours a week. Why you should do it too.

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CREDIT: Getty Images

This is a post from Michael Simmons, co-founder of Empact.

With Ian Chew

At the age of 10, Benjamin Franklin left formal schooling to become an apprentice to his father. As a teenager, he showed no particular talent or aptitude aside from his love of books.

When he died a little over half a century later, he was America’s most respected statesman, its most famous inventor, a prolific author, and a successful entrepreneur.

What happened between these two points to cause such a meteoric rise? Read more…

Underlying the answer to this question is a success strategy for life that we can all use, and increasingly must use.

The five-hour rule:
Read more…

Stop Answering “What’s Your Greatest Weakness” with Badly-Spun Positives

Career Advice | Interviews | Employment

by Alan Henry 1-20-2015

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The idea that you should answer “what’s your biggest weakness” in a job interview with something that’s really just a positive trait (“I’m a workaholic!” or “I’m a perfectionist!”) is something you’ll hear often from career coaches. The truth is, just stop. Every interviewer everywhere has heard it before, and would rather you just be honest.

This is one of those job hunting tips that’s often repeated. We’ve discussed how to best answer this question before, among other tricky interview questions, but if you catch yourself about to spin a positive into something that could appear negative just to get through the question without looking like you actually have any weaknesses, you’ve probably revealed your real issue then and there—a lack of clarity, honesty, and capacity for self-introspection. Ultimately, your answer to the question should be well considered and relevant to the job and the interview, and it should be an actual point you’d like to work on and improve—not something designed to just make you look good. Read more…

THE RAZOR’S EDGE: Libraries in a Time of Crisis: Remaking the Social Compact

Public libraries | Democracy | Activism | Library services

by Brendan Howley

Fifty-six years ago, on Jan. 20, 1961, President John F. Kennedy put millions of Americans to a very particular test: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Kennedy’s call to action has the feel of a different time—of a different America—when libraries were reverential places where books came and went in silence, except for the soft thump of the librarian’s rubber stamp on the due date card.

Welcome to the battered U.S. social compact of 2017, the centenary of Kennedy’s birth. Perhaps never since the chaos of the civil rights movement slamming into the nascent resistance of the Vietnam War has America been so darkly, damagingly split. Culturally, politically, emotionally, and even spiritually, the country has precious little common ground.

Libraries are that common ground. Moreover, they at once stand apart from their communities—as trusted repositories of a community’s past and intellectually honest resources for the community’s future—and couldn’t be closer to the day-to-day pulse of community life. They aren’t alone as essential services: Museums and hospitals, each in their own ways, serve vital needs of identity and care. But libraries are custodians of the very fabric of society, because they nurture discovery, self-worth, and belief in possibility, and they share the tools to make social goods manifest.

And libraries share something else, something intangible that needs to be made tangible: inclusivity. Libraries serve everyone without distinction. Standing up to the Department of Homeland Security, which Edward Snowden cheered in a now-famous tweet, a New Hampshire public library and its community—with the help of the Library Freedom Project—protected their patrons’ privacy by installing an anonymous internet browsing network. This is no small thing—and I write this as someone who, in his past life, was an investigative journalist specializing in intelligence and counterintelligence matters. Read more…