Your online presence matters.

Businessman wearing a suit
Businessman wearing a suit
Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

When someone searches for your name on Google, what will they find? Probably your Instagram, maybe Twitter, and perhaps some old photos on an outdated Facebook profile.

What if it happens to be a prospective employer or business partner who’s Googling you? You’d probably want them to find more than some random Instagram pictures, right?

Instead, you want to present a professional image — a picture of the work you’ve done and the work you hope to do. At the very least, you want your information to come up, and not someone else’s.

While the best way to achieve this is to build a personal website, LinkedIn is an easy way to quickly establish an internet presence that people can check out when they type your name into Google. …


David Foster Wallace’s famous speech about education and meaning

The sea
The sea
Photo by YUCAR FotoGrafik on Unsplash

This post wasn’t written by me. It was written by David Foster Wallace, and delivered as his commencement address in 2005 to Kenyon College. It’s the only speech David ever gave outlining his outlook on life, and Time ranks it among the best commencement speeches ever delivered (to which I agree).

However, the speech almost didn’t happen. Wallace hesitated to accept the invite because of his anxiety when talking in front of crowds. …


What REALLY motivates us?

Book cover of The Elephant in the Brain
Book cover of The Elephant in the Brain

What makes people tick?

This is the main question in The Elephant in the Brain, an eye-opening book on understanding our “hidden motives in everyday life.”

In other words, why do we do what we do?

Programmer Kevin Simler and economist Robin Hanson explore why we’re prone to self-deception about our motives, and how this deception can shed light on otherwise inexplicable behaviors. For example, why do we laugh? And how come we laugh 30% more when we’re around others?

Well, as the authors explain in the first part of their book, we’re often blind to our own true motives for doing things. Or, the way Jonathan Haidt put it, “The conscious mind thinks it’s the Oval Office, when in reality it’s the press office.” …


The most important psychological insight you’ll ever learn

Traffic
Traffic
Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash

When some guy cuts you off in traffic, you probably think, instinctively: What a jerk. (Or perhaps your self-talk is a little more impolite.) What you almost certainly don’t think to yourself is, Gosh, I wonder what’s wrong that he’s in such a hurry.

It’s not hard to see why we don’t think that. It seems naive. Almost as if we’re making an excuse for a bad person.

But think about your own behavior for a second. Think of a time when you were driving so recklessly that others would have been justified to curse you.

Was your crazy driving on that day a manifestation of your true character (i.e. you’re a jerk to the core)? Or was it sparked by the situation you were in? …


If You Only Read A Few Books This Year, Read These

My best books of 2020
My best books of 2020
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I’ve read 48 books this year. Here’s a curated list of the ones I’d gladly re-read in 2021 (and probably will). These five books cover world history, entrepreneurship, statistics, cognitive science, and everything in between.

I hope you’ll get just as much out of them as I did…

Happy reading!

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win

Maria Konnikova


Six SEO tips to skyrocket your search rankings

SEO — Search Engine Optimizaiton
SEO — Search Engine Optimizaiton
Photo by Merakist on Unsplash

“The best place to hide a dead body is the second page of Google.”

One year ago, I wrote my third Medium story. It received only a dozen views in the first two weeks. (Which, by the way, shouldn’t have come as a big surprise considering my whopping tribe of 15 followers at the time.)

Disappointed with not gaining any traction despite my hard work, I stopped looking at its numbers. Two months later, I was checking my older stats and something miraculous had happened.

Google picked up on it. My third article now features on Google as the top result for the searches “creative nudge examples” and “examples of…


Accept that you’re biased, and you’ll be less biased

Daniel Kahneman
Daniel Kahneman
Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman. Source

I recently wrote a story titled How to Make Better Decisions by Avoiding These Thinking Traps. As a follow-up to that post, here are three more common biases and blind spots that can mess up our decision making.

Enjoy!

Survivorship Bias: The Forgotten Failures

“Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill Gates all dropped out of school and became billionaires! You don’t need school to succeed. Startup founders just need to stop wasting time in class, drop out, and get started.”

It’s entirely possible that Steve Jobs succeeded despite his path and not because of it. For every Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg, there are thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs with failed products, debt-heavy bank accounts, and half-finished degrees. …


An Ogilvy executive’s best behavioral science & marketing advice

Rory Sutherland at TED speech
Rory Sutherland at TED speech
Rory Sutherland. Source

“Marketing is the science of knowing what economists are wrong about.”

Rory Sutherland is the real deal. The Ogilvy & Mather vice-chairman is a powerhouse when it comes to combining the art of marketing with insights from psychology.

Inspired by his most recent bestseller Alchemy and some of his humor-packed TED talks, I’ve compiled Rory’s best bits of wit and wisdom about all things branding, psychology, and advertising in the list below:

“The Human Mind Does Not Run on Logic Any More Than a Horse Runs on Petrol”

People assume that most decision making is driven by logic. This is what behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman calls “System 2 thinking.” …


“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us”

Pen
Pen
Photo by Art Lasovsky on Unsplash

Perhaps 17th-century poet John Dryden said it best:

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

What follows are four meta-habits that have the potential to make anyone better at the craft of mixing words. As always: writing is an art, not a science. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Ritualize Your Writing With a Routine

“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.” — Attributed to about a hundred different writers, though it’s probaby by William Faulkner. Either way, good quote.

You’ve heard the same old advice about consistency and writing. What is often not said, however, is how to be consistent. …


Seven easy habits to start reading more books right now

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash

Deep down, everyone knows reading is important. After all, reading good books remains the ultimate “life hack” — knowledge that often took years to assemble can be consumed in mere hours.

What is more, several studies have shown that reading can increase our emotional intelligence due to the range of motivations and perspectives digested while reading. Besides, a 2013 study in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and Art found that imagining scenes while reading can actually help us develop greater empathy and compassion.

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” — Joseph Addison

But unfortunately, most people still struggle with reading on a consistent basis. Which is completely understandable. Just like losing weight or “trying to be more positive,” there are a lot of details that go into successfully planning and achieving your reading goals. …

About

Yannick Bikker

I write about marketing, books, psychology & anything else that sparks my interest. Also a proud advocate of peanut butter (the crunchy kind). yannickbikker.com

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