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Joe Amendola

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palm reading

The editors over at Edge.org asked some of the most influential thinkers in the world — including neuroscientists, physicists and mathematicians — what they believe are the most important scientific concepts of the modern era.

The result is "This Will make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts To Improve Your Thinking," a compilation of nearly 200 essays exploring concepts such as the "shifting baseline syndrome" and a scientific view of "randomness."

We've highlighted 39 of the concepts here, crediting the author whose essay highlights the theory.

Cognitive humility

Decades of cognitive research shows that "our minds are finite and far from noble. Knowing their limits can help us become better reasoners. ... Perhaps the most dire consequence is that human beings tend to be better at remembering evidence consistent with their beliefs." 

Gary Marcus, director, New York University, Center for Child Language. Author, Kluge: The Haphazard Evolution of the Human Mind from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking

Cognitive load

Our brains can only hold so much information at once. When there's too much "information overload," we tend to get distracted easily and not retain what we're learning.

"Working memory is what brain scientists call the short-term store of information where we hold the contents of our consciousness at any given moment — all the impressions and thoughts that flow into our mind as we go through the day."

Nicholas Carr, author, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing To Our Brains, from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking.

Constraint satisfaction

When presented with too many choices — no matter how beautiful or beneficial — it can be overwhelming, and we are paralyzed by indecision.

That's why having constraints, or any sort of limits, is beneficial and leads to solutions. 

In fact, "much creativity emerges from constraint satisfaction. ... Einstein had one of his major breakthroughs when he realized that time need not pass at a constant rate."

Stephen M. Kosslyn, director, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University,
from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking.

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matrix

Cheat codes are secret combinations that unlock special abilities in video games.

Reddit users have compiled a long list of "real-life cheats" that can help you navigate the mall, the bar, Macy's and everywhere else.

We've picked out our favorites and are sharing them here. 

If you need to withdraw more than your limit, sometimes you can withdraw twice from the same ATM or the one next to it before the bank stops you.

From Reddit's list of real-life cheats.

When you're talking to someone, cross your arms to check if they're listening. If they cross theirs as well, they truly are.

From Reddit's list of real-life cheats.

If you have crushing chest pain, call 911 first. Then chew some aspirin. I work in cardiology.

From Reddit's list of real-life cheats.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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beach, reading, relaxing, summer

We go through dozens of books each year here at Business Insider's War Room. Many aren't worth a second glance, but there are some every business owner should read. 

So, we've put together a list of the best books for entrepreneurs — either from our own recommendations or touted by big-time VCs, CEOs and startup founders.

Are there any other important books you think should've made the cut? Let us know in the comments. 

"Predictably Irrational," by Dan Ariely

Ariely's book looks deep into human behavior and consumer habits, and it's focused around the revelation that humans are wired to be irrational. Ariely goes deeper by using plenty of first-hand experiments to show that the world is fuzzier than traditional economists would like it to be.

Read more about Dan Ariely's Predictably Irrational

"The Four Steps To The Epiphany," by Steve Blank

Blank's book prompted the whole "Lean Startup" movement, which says that you need to get traction in the market as quickly as possible, instead of developing a final version of a product before releasing it.

Read more about Steve Blank's The Four Steps To The Epiphany

"How to Change the World," by David Bornstein

Bornstein profiles a variety of "social" entrepreneurs in his book. The case studies serve to show that you can succeed if you have a hunger to actively change the world, and that idealism can be an infinitely strong motivator.

Read more about David Bornstein's How to Change the World

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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Mark Zuckerberg eyes

Eight years ago, Facebook was a coding project in Mark Zuckerberg's dorm room.

Now its a global business with $4 billion of revenue that is used by 1/8th of the world's population. And it's worth more than $100 billion.

When Facebook started, there were dozens of other social networks going after the same opportunity.

Facebook won. They lost.

Here are some reasons why--reasons that apply to almost every business.

1. Move fast

Mark Zuckerberg built the first version of Facebook in his spare time in his Harvard dorm room.

He didn't write a business plan.

He didn't endlessly ask friends and advisors what they thought of the idea.

He didn't "research the market," apply for patents or trademarks, assemble focus groups, or do any of the other things that entrepreneurs are supposed to do.

He just built a cool product quickly and launched it.

And Facebook was born.

2. Remember that ideas are a dime a dozen--it's all about execution.

From the moment Facebook was launched, there was a huge fight about whose idea it was.

Two Harvard seniors, the Winklevosses, said it was their idea--that Mark Zuckerberg had "stolen it."

This led to a legal fight that has lasted for nearly a decade.

Meanwhile, outside the clubby world of Harvard, there were dozens of other entrepreneurs who had similar ideas. And lots of them launched those ideas. But, today, there's only one Facebook.

Why?

Because ideas are a dime a dozen.

What matters is making them happen.

As the fictional Mark Zuckerberg told the fictional Winklevoss brothers in the movie: "If you had invented Facebook, you would have invented Facebook."

Don't waste time congratulating yourself for having a good idea. Just go make it happen.

3. Keep it simple (don't overbuild)

Many companies get so entranced with all the amazing features they want to build into their products that they make their products so complex that no one can figure out how to use them.

Or they take so long to develop their products that by the time they come out, they have already been leapfrogged.

The first version of the "thefacebook" was very simple. It did one thing well.

Then Zuckerberg and the Facebook team improved it over time. And, each time, they made sure that the service was still easy to use.

(Okay, the privacy controls are ludicrously complex, but no one pays attention to those).

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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