• Core

I recently completed the book "How We Learn" by Benedict Carey, a science writer for the New York Times. Carey synthesizes the research on learning to develop what amount to "tips" on how to improve our learning. Many of his findings "show that some of what we've been taught to think of as our worst enemies – laziness, ignorance, distraction – can also work in our favor." That's the interesting, counter-intuitive conclusion that I draw from this book.

Among the ideas I found most surprising are:

1. Varying the environment improves learning. This so-called "context effect" not only means studying in various locations as opposed to a single designated study space, it also means altering the time of day, the medium (i.e., computer, book, discussion, etc.), even the music you listen to while studying;

2. Spaced learning – that is intervals between studying sessions, including interruptions – leads to greater long term retention than cramming or intensive study;

3. "Retrieval practice" (i.e., testing) is important, especially if it reveals ignorance of the subject matter. Research indicates that early testing sets the stage for greater learning. It also supports the notion that "you don't really know a topic until you have to teach it";

4. Distraction plays a critical part in problem solving because it allows for the mind, especially the subconscious mind, to work on the "incubation" of ideas. There's a time to focus and concentrate but there's also a time in the learning process for not focusing and for distractions to be considered an acceptable part of the process;

5. Interruptions trigger the "Zeigarnik effect" which states that people remember incomplete or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks.

Carey also writes about "perceptual learning modules" and the effects of sleep on learning, topics that are explored in more detail by other writers and researchers. Taken as a whole, this book suggests modifications to teaching and training programs such as Empowered Wealth's that would challenge conventional educational and training practices.


  • Contribution

This article adds an important distinction, the self-protective giver, to Adam Grant's work described in his book "Give and Take". This is consistent with our ideas about how to "Go B.I.G." (begin in gratitude); that is, start with self-respect, kindness and courtesy towards yourself.

Also, embedded in this article is a short summary entitled "7 Habits of Highly Productive Giving", which I found as useful as anything else in this article. the 7 Habits are:

1. Prioritize the help requests that come your way — say yes when it matters most and no when you need to.
2. Give in ways that play to your interests and strengths to preserve your energy and provide greater value.
3. Distribute the giving load more evenly — refer requests to others when you don’t have the time or skills, and be careful not to reinforce gender biases about who helps and how.
4. Secure your oxygen mask first — you’ll help others more effectively if you don’t neglect your own needs.
5. Amplify your impact by looking for ways to help multiple people with a single act of generosity.
6. Chunk your giving into dedicated days or blocks of time rather than sprinkling it throughout the week. You’ll be more effective — and more focused.
7. Learn to spot takers, and steer clear of them. They’re a drain on your energy, not to mention a performance hazard. 

Since "Generosity" is a vital part of our tool "The Levels of Gratitude" and an important skill that we train and develop in our work, Grant and Rebele's ideas add to our working knowledge of how to make Gratitude part of our character and thereby influence those around us in increasingly more positive ways.


Beat Generosity Burnout
Selflessness at work leads to exhaustion — and often hurts the very people you want to help. Here’s how to share your time and expertise more effectively.

  • Contribution

“We overvalue nonessentials like a nicer car or house, or even intangibles like the number of our followers on Twitter or the way we look in our Facebook photos. As a result, we neglect activities that are truly essential, like spending time with our loved ones, or nurturing our spirit, or taking care of our health.”

― Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

​As a guru and life coach to many entrepreneurs, Lee Brower uses the concept of True Wealth in order to help his clients focus on the essential​ activities in their lives. In the video below, Lee explains how he uses the four quadrants of True Wealth in order to prioritize his thinking and focus on the essential.

​I’ve noticed that as I get older, I’ve come to value wisdom, character​, and know-how more and more. Some people are skillful and fortunate enough to create financial legacies for their families. Empowered Wealth has given me the opportunity to observe how one’s wisdom, character, and know-how if thoughtfully and intentionally conveyed in the form of teaching, mentoring, and coaching can guide younger generations, regardless of their financial wealth. I’ve been slow to realize that empowering younger people to become the best leaders they can be is the most reliable way to sustain families, organizations, and groups over multiple generations.


  • Core

This is a far-reaching, visionary statement by Mark Zuckerberg. As the communication platform of choice for most people on the planet, what Facebook stands for and what it aspires to achieve really matters. Zuckberg's statement is a quintessentially Silicon Valley, California, American, democratic, free-enterprise expression of hope and belief in technology to transform our lives and build a better future, a global community that works.

My narrower, more local view is that regardless of the medium or platform, families, organizations and communities require strong moral, ethical leadership. This leadership (or lack thereof), when combined with the power and reach of Facebook and other platforms, is what will drive our future and our fates.

Building Global Community
On our journey to connect the world, we often discuss products we’re building and updates on our business. Today I want to focus on the most important question of all: are we building the world we all want? History is the story of how we’ve learned to come together in ever greater numbers — from tribes …