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Big Breakthroughs Come in Your Late 30s

Big Breakthroughs Come in Your Late 30s | Knowledge Broker |

The authors of this study examined the high points of the careers of both great inventors and Nobel-Prize winning scientists, and they found that the late 30s were the sweet spot for strokes of genius. 

Read the paper - Age and Scientific Genious - here.  

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10 Great Vanishings in Literature

10 Great Vanishings in Literature | Knowledge Broker |

This is a great reading list from Idra Novey, author of Ways to Disappear.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Why are disappearances so alluring? Perhaps the reason is that, as mortals, we are all destined to vanish from our lives eventually.


Ten landmark books that revolve around a vanishing.


Idra Novey can be followed on Twitter here: @IdraNovey.



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How Facebook Makes Us Dumber

How Facebook Makes Us Dumber | Knowledge Broker |

Why does misinformation spread so quickly on the social media? Why doesn’t it get corrected? When the truth is so easy to find, why do people accept falsehoods?


A new study focusing on Facebook users provides strong evidence that the explanation is confirmation bias: people’s tendency to seek out information that confirms their beliefs, and to ignore contrary information.



Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The new study, led by Michela Del Vicario of Italy’s Laboratory of Computational Social Science, explores the behavior of Facebook users from 2010 to 2014. One of the study’s goals was to test a question that continues to be sharply disputed: When people are online, do they encounter opposing views, or do they create the virtual equivalent of gated communities?


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Our Shared Condition - Consciousness

Our Shared Condition - Consciousness | Knowledge Broker |

Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. 


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In praise of slowness

In praise of slowness | Knowledge Broker |

Journalist Carl Honore believes the Western world's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their all-too-modern lives.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

We live in a world of scarce understanding and abundant information. We complain that we never have any free time yet we seek distraction. If work can’t distract us, we distract ourselves. We crave perpetual stimulation and motion. We’re so busy that our free time comes in 20 second bursts, just long enough for us to read the gist and assume we understand. If we are to synthesize learning and understanding we need time to think.





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How To Manage Your Time: 5 Secrets Backed By Research

How To Manage Your Time: 5 Secrets Backed By Research | Knowledge Broker |

Want answers on how to manage your time from an expert in the field? Georgetown professor Cal Newport explains what it takes to get things that matter done.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Everything we do at the office gets called “work.” And that’s a problem. Really, there are two kinds of work:


  • “Deep work” is using your skills to create something of value. It takes thought, energy, time and concentration.
  • “Shallow work” is all the little administrative and logistical stuff: email, meetings, calls, expense reports, etc.


Shallow work stops you from getting fired — but deep work is what gets you promoted.



Peggy Kelsey's curator insight, January 17, 1:51 PM

Of course you can't manage your time, but you can manage how you use it. Some great, outside the box tips here. 

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Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick?

Is the Drive for Success Making Our Children Sick? | Knowledge Broker |

Across America, children are experiencing depression, anxiety and even physical strain because of the pressures of school.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Expectations surrounding education have spun out of control. On top of a seven-hour school day, our kids march through hours of nightly homework, daily sports practices and band rehearsals, and weekend-consuming assignments and tournaments. Each activity is seen as a step on the ladder to a top college, an enviable job and a successful life.


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What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness

What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness | Knowledge Broker |

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? If you think it's fame and money, you're not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you're mistaken. 


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

As the director of a 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.



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Born to Be Conned

Born to Be Conned | Knowledge Broker |

Honesty­ and greed are beside the point. As .

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

As human beings we have a deep need to believe in a version of the world where everything really is for the best — at least when it comes to us.


We don’t knowingly embraces false beliefs. We embrace something we think is as true as it gets. We don’t set out to be conned. We set out to become, in some way, better than we were before.


That is the true power of belief. It gives us hope. If we are skeptical, miserly with our trust, unwilling to accept the possibilities of the world, we despair. To live a good life we must, almost by definition, be open to belief.


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Charming Illustrations Highlight True Love in All of Life's Little Moments

Charming Illustrations Highlight True Love in All of Life's Little Moments | Knowledge Broker |

True love doesn't always consist of grand, cinematic gestures. In fact, it's often the little things that mean the most when you're in a long-term relationship. Spending a lazy morning together, helping each other get through a bad day, and even assembling furniture side-by-side can end up producing some amazing memories. 


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Artist Philippa Rice designed a whimsical illustration book called Soppy to zero in on these little, love-filled moments. While creating her artistic publication, Rice based many of the black, white, and red drawings on her real-life relationship. This not only makes her work relatable, it also perfectly captures what happens when two people share a life together.


Rice's book, titled Soppy: A Love Story is currently available to purchase through online outlets like Amazon.


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Wabi-Sabi - The Beauty of Imperfections

At the heart of Japanese philosophy and wisdom lies a concept called ‘wabi-sabi’; a term which denotes a commitment to the everyday, the melancholic, the somewhat broken and the imperfect. It’s a term we need a lot more of in our lives.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

I can recommend reading "Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers" by Leonard Koren.


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I'm Doing Work

We keep using that word, productivity. Maybe it doesn’t mean what we think it means. 

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The words we use are indicative of broader social patterns. Nowadays, we are so obsessed with work that we even measure our leisure time in terms of 'productivity', which treats humans as mere output-machines. But the things that really matter – creativity, meaning – can't be measured.

John Jung's curator insight, December 11, 2015 2:56 PM

The Cult of Productivity is called into question…it is like the activity wheel of the rat race!

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The World's Most inspirational People

The World's Most inspirational People | Knowledge Broker |

Inspiration has many faces, spans centuries, and lives big and small, as Raconteur discovered in a survey of over 2,000 readers and contemporary figures.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

We all know what it feels like to have a “lightbulb” moment – that lightning-quick strike of momentary inspiration that plants the seed of genius and sends us racing to the whiteboard. But the feeling of sustained inspiration – a lifelong link to a particular point of reference that moors us, guides us, reminds us of what we might aspire to and what we can achieve – is something much deeper, and much greater.

As it turns out, inspiration has many faces. It spans many centuries. It covers all walks of life, and lives big and small.

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Live Rich

Live Rich– A spoken word film about the true meaning of wealth.

‘Live Rich’ is a film about our relationship with money in a world where we are always being sold to, and how the most important things in life can’t be bought.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Live Rich is written, performed and directed by Gary Turk. I highly recommend that you check out his website You can also follow Gary on Twitter here: @Gary_Turk

Live Rich (Transcript)

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives,
and we all spend it spending.
We live to consume, we consume to live,
and our desire for more is unending.

Whenever I get paid, I just can’t wait to spend it,
it disappears so quickly and I’m left to mend it,
I pretend it will all be okay,
to give a week’s wages away in one day.

But we try our best, still money seems to go,
we’ve been told many times that money doesn’t grow on trees,
But it’s a disease, the elephant in the room,
it’s the big bad wolf that’s making us consume.

They get more money, if we’re regular buyers,
so they manipulate are needs, and twist our desires.
They are liars, a shady institution,
where they create a problem and sell us a solution.

They will use fear, so we buy things we don’t need,
say you’re dying, you’re ugly, it’s all out of greed.
They mislead, make you buy things that wont last,
planned obsolescence should be a thing of the past.

They’ll do anything to trick us, try and take our money captive.
Sell us happiness and sex appeal, and ways to be attractive,
so we go out and buy it, and fill our lives with clutter
only we still feel the same, but with money in the gutter.

It’s a cycle, of perpetual spending,
a disposable culture with no sign of ending.
We’re pretending like they’re our own choices
and ignoring the fact that we can hear voices in our heads.
It’s Consumerism, banging at our door.

Saying our lives should be better, that we should have more.

But we’re just as bad, we shouldn’t pass blame,
we’re all part of the same money game,
But they’re winning, and we always lose,
we’re giving them our money because we join the queues
of people, all keeping up with the Joneses,
buying the latest and the newest, but what no one shows is
it’s difficult to make ends meet,
when all these temptations are thrown at our feet.

But I have a solution, which you’re welcome to ditch,
it’s hard but it’s worth it, Spend Less – Live Rich.

As simple as that, just tune out the noise,
Take in what you have and appreciate the joys
of living, without being told what to buy,
or else you’ll always want more, until the day that you die.

It’s a struggle, living day to day,
trying to stay afloat when your worries weigh you down.
You’re in your overdraft, you have been for years,
Everything you owe is being paid in arrears.

And it’s tough, you don’t know what to do,
you cant control your money when money controls you.
You need help, but you have too much pride,
you’ve used up all your credit and your cards have been denied.

You could get a loan, but that’s not the way to wealth,
when you borrow money, you rob your future self.
Ask for help, think ahead, no one wants this stress,
you may need money now but later you’ll have less.

What you earn doesn’t matter, only what you save,
you can spend what you have, but don’t be a slave
to the system, they will find a new way,
to numb the pain that you feel when it comes time to pay.

We had cash and cheque, then onto chip and pin,
now you keep hold of your card when you buy anything.
You don’t feel it, when your funds go in a flash,
just try and go a week where you only pay cash.
Then you will notice, as your stash runs low,
the wage you work hard for, how you just let it go.

Think of those in the world without shirts on their back,
when you see clothes in your closet that are still in their pack.
Realise you have what you need, when your money runs low,
And the voices on the TV start telling you to throw,
Things away, to buy the new version.
They only want your cash; they don’t care about the person.

So take control of your money, and take control of your lives,
saving money isn’t boring when you start to realise
what it stands for, the choices and the freedom,
the security of those pennies in the times that you need them.

You see true wealth isn’t in the numbers to you name,
It’s in knowledge itself, and the experiences you gain,
It’s about the priceless, and the things you cant buy,
Like memories, and loved ones, and feeling that high
When you realise, that life’s full of free gifts,
When you live in the moment, and forget that money exists.

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Higher Consciousness

What is “higher consciousness,” really, and can it be unmoored from the baggage of spiritualism and superstition to enrich our secular understanding of what it means to be human?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Higher consciousness' sounds mystical and possibly irritating. It shouldn't. It just captures how we see things when we go beyond our own egos.

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Engagement is Relational, not Transactional

Engagement is Relational, not Transactional | Knowledge Broker |

If journalism didn’t exist today, it wouldn’t be created in the top-down distributed model it has used in the past. Journalism must adapt to this new interconnected reality if it is to be relevant and trustworthy to the public. The industry has invested resources in new business models and in finding ways to grow the audience by examining analytics. But very little attention has been paid to reimagining public engagement with the news.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Social media won’t fix this situation. But engaging with and empowering the public can provide an opportunity to help build the community, as opposed to tearing it down.

David Hain's curator insight, December 2, 2015 6:38 AM

What's deeply personal is also most universal. There's a thought to conjure with in collaborative enterprise...

Ian Berry's curator insight, December 2, 2015 5:10 PM

There's lots of lessons here for your business. I say employee engagement is an outcome of the quality of relationships you have with your employees and they with each other plus such relationships must be supported by quality transactions otherwise you risk undermining your relationships

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Growth Mindset: Clearing up Some Common Confusions

Growth Mindset: Clearing up Some Common Confusions | Knowledge Broker |

Carol Dweck's work has made growth mindset a hotly discussed topic in education. It has also spawned misunderstandings about growth mindset and what it means in education.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

A growth mindset is the understanding that personal qualities and abilities can change. It leads people to take on challenges, persevere in the face of setbacks, and become more effective learners. As more and more people learn about the growth mindset, which was first discovered by Stanford Professor Carol Dweck, we sometimes observe some confusions about it.

This article summarizes some common confusions and offers some reflections.

Matthew Farmer's curator insight, November 17, 2015 2:16 AM

Research has shown that developing a growth mindset is beneficial in a variety of contexts, from education to the workplace to interpersonal relationships to sports to health. It leads people to take on challenges they can learn from, to find more effective ways to improve, to persevere in the face of setbacks, and to make greater progress, all of which we need to further cultivate in education. 

RebeccaMoore's curator insight, November 18, 2015 8:15 PM

Mind Shift shares misconceptions associated with the term "growth mindset" and shares ideas to change our own thinking and that of our students. Practical advise on how to move forward using a growth mindset helps readers to put into practice the clear explanations. 

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Will Digital Books Ever Replace Print?

Will Digital Books Ever Replace Print? | Knowledge Broker |

Digital books stagnate in closed, dull systems, while printed books are shareable, lovely and enduring. Where do we go from here?

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Our relationships to our most meaningful books are long and textured. And until we can trust our digital reading platforms, until the value propositions of digital are made clearer, until the notes and data we produce within them is more accessible and malleable, physical books will remain at the core of our working libraries for a long time coming.

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Twitter is teetering because it has turned into one big pyramid scheme

Twitter is teetering because it has turned into one big pyramid scheme | Knowledge Broker |

Why is the San Francisco-based company laying off almost 10% of its workforce, after posting a near-$600m loss last year as user growth flatlined?

 Illustration: Andrzej Krauze.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

Social media’s struggles sum up a modern malaise: the inability to recognise value beyond market-driven metrics.

Stephen Dale's curator insight, November 8, 2015 6:33 AM

Having been a Twitter user since 2007, I'm used to its foibles and deficiencies, not least knowing how to dodge the growing number of bots and marketing bullshitters. Having grown my followers organically, and appreciate every single one of them, I never cease to be amazed at the concept of "buying" followers. One day these people will realise that it doesn't make any financial - or ethical - sense. I refuse to follow anyone who has hundreds of thousands of followers yet has only tweeted infrequently. For them, followers are juts commodities.The sooner this practice is seen for what it is the sooner we will reclaim the "social" space that was always the original intention for Twitter.

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A Toolkit for Building Better Minds: Wi-Phi

A Toolkit for Building Better Minds: Wi-Phi | Knowledge Broker |

Wi-Phi is an open access philosophy project created by Yale and MIT. 

Wi-Phi's mission is to introduce people to the practice of philosophy by making videos that are freely available in a form that is entertaining, interesting and accessible to people with no background in the subject.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

On this website you can explore everything from cognitive biases to the good life, as examined by PlatoAristotle, and Kant.

Dig deeper into their Youtube channel and you’ll find more simple but not simplistic lessons on the philosophy of mathematics, language, ancient China, and much more.

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Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More

Bertrand Russell & Buckminster Fuller on Why We Should Work Less, and Live & Learn More | Knowledge Broker |

In far too many cases in fact, the work we must do to survive robs us of the ability to live by ruining our health, consuming all our precious time, and degrading our environment.

Gary Bamford's curator insight, November 2, 2015 12:38 PM

Take charge of your destiny!

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Screw Finding Your Passion

Screw Finding Your Passion | Knowledge Broker |

If you don’t have any idea what to do with yourself, what makes you think some jackass with a website would? I’m a writer, not a fortune teller.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The problem is not a lack of passion for something. The problem is productivity. The problem is perception. The problem is acceptance.

The problem isn’t passion. It’s never passion.

It’s priorities.

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Everything Hinges on the Narrative of Your Work

Everything Hinges on the Narrative of Your Work | Knowledge Broker |

It is human nature to tell stories. From Hamlet to The Hunger Games, narrative is the lifeblood of the human condition. To this end, knowing what you do professionally and how you do it is important, but knowing the story you tell yourself about what you do is evermore meaningful.

Via David Hain
Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

On a primal level, we seek narrative because our minds are hardwired to sort chaos into order. We seek and desire stability of behavior, and it’s difficult for us to look at something and not immediately wrap a story around it. We create stories to give meaning.

How does this apply to work and what you do?

David Hain's curator insight, October 15, 2015 7:11 AM

What story do you tell yourself about the work you do? It can make all the difference.

Dave Wood's curator insight, October 16, 2015 12:41 AM

So true. All coaching clients come with a narrative about their situation. Especially when the issue is in relationship to somebody else.  Then its a case of "what's your story about them". This is when visually mapping the stories can be so useful.

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If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy

If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy | Knowledge Broker |

As government agencies and tech companies develop more and more intrusive means of watching and influencing people, how can we live free lives?

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Stop Googling. Let’s Talk.

Stop Googling. Let’s Talk. | Knowledge Broker |

What have we done to face-to-face conversation? 

These days, we feel less of a need to hide the fact that we are dividing our attention.

Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

In a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 89 percent of cellphone owners said they had used their phones during the last social gathering they attended. But they weren’t happy about it; 82 percent of adults felt that the way they used their phones in social settings hurt the conversation.

A fine post by MIT professor Sherry Turkle. She is the author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age.

Stephen Dale's curator insight, October 15, 2015 4:49 AM

Perhaps confirms what we've all suspected - smartphones are killing the art of face-to-face conversation. Relationships are developed - and ended - on the keypad. #socmed

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What to Think About Machines That Think: Leading Thinkers on Artificial Intelligence and What It Means to Be Human

What to Think About Machines That Think: Leading Thinkers on Artificial Intelligence and What It Means to Be Human | Knowledge Broker |
“Once we had neurons. Now we’re becoming the neurons.”

In the 2015 edition of his annual question, John Brockman invited 192 of today’s most prominent thinkers to tussle with these core questions of artificial intelligence and its undergirding human dilemmas.


Kenneth Mikkelsen's insight:

The idea that artificial intelligence isn’t some futuristic abstraction but a palpably present reality with which we’re already living.

Excellent curation by Maria Popova on Brain Pickings. 

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Curated by Kenneth Mikkelsen
Thinker ★ Speaker ★ Writer ★ Leadership Adviser ★ Learning Designer ★ Connector of ideas+people ★ Loud Listener ★ Horizon Scanner ★ Polymath ★ Humanist

Kenneth Mikkelsen is co-founder of FutureShifts. We help visionary companies identify and tackle the big shifts in the world by cultivating the skills, mindsets, behaviors and organizational cultures needed to succeed in times of change.