Category: Article

How to live a happy, healthy, long life

This great article by Eric Barker is trying very hard to convince us that relationships are good for our health and that strong social connections and being surrounded by people who care, can improve our overall well-being and can add as much as 15 years to our life. Well, the article has convinced me at least.

So, here is the sum up:

“Relationships = health: Three times as powerful as exercise

Online relationships don’t count: Don’t substitute Facebook for face-to-face. Use tech to arrange relationships, not replace them.

Be part of a community: Be a Sardinian and be engaged with groups of like-minded people who care.

Work relationships matter: Take breaks with your friends and give’em a hug.”

Read the whole article here.

How to help every child fulfil their potential

“Praise your child explicitly for how capable they are of learning rather than telling them how smart they are.”

I am trying to remind myself to do this with my kids. I found this video really helpful and enlightening.

Dr. Carol Dweck, a researcher in motivation, personality and development, is one of the few talking about how to instill a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Her talk on this was recently turned into another beautifully animated RSA Short video.

Carol Dweck is also mentioned in a very interesting book I am reading at the moment: NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children. Lastlyrelevant article I happened to stumble upon recently, also mentioned Dweck and her work.

So you want to have kids…

Although the article is addressed to people who are considering to start a family (and I am way past that stage), I found this quote very powerful:

“Don’t merely be present with your kids, don’t just “cherish” it (whatever that really means), actively observe and participate because at some point it’ll be the last time they crawl, the last time you give them a bath, the last time they hold your hand.

Some big truths, but also a very funny read. Read the whole article here: So you want to have kids…  A one-sided story of what to be prepared for in parenthood”

Using LEGO to build math concepts



I always loved Lego as a kid but Alycia Zimmerman, a 3rd-grade teacher in New York, takes it to a new educational level. She uses LEGO bricks to explain fractions, squares and other mathematical concepts to her students. What a great idea!

She has also written an article about the full potential of LEGO and about her experience in using them in class.


Being obsessive about detail is being normal

I totally agree with Erik Spiekermann when he speaks about “obsessive attention to detail”:

Every craft requires attention to detail. Whether you’re building a bicycle, an engine, a table, a song, a typeface or a page: the details are not the details, they make the design. Concepts don’t have to be pixel-perfect, and even the fussiest project starts with a rough sketch. But building something that will be used by other people, be they drivers, riders, readers, listeners – users everywhere, it needs to be built as well as can be. Unless you are obsessed by what you’re doing, you will not be doing it well enough. Typography appears to require a lot of detail, but so does music, cooking, carpentry, not to mention brain surgery. Sometimes only the experts know the difference, but if you want to be an expert at what you’re making, you will only be happy with the result when you’ve given it everything you have.

I strongly believe that the attention someone gives to what he or she makes is reflected in the end result, whether it is obvious or not. Inherent quality is part of absolute quality and without it things will appear shoddy. The users may not know why, but they always sense it.

– from Erik Spiekermann’s blog  (German typographer and designer)

See the whole post here.

Learnings from Brain Pickings

  1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
  2. Do nothing for prestige or status or money or approval alone.
  3. Be generous.
  4. Build pockets of stillness into your life. Sleep.
  5. When people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
  6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity.
  7. “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”
  8. Seek out what magnifies your spirit.
  9. Don’t be afraid to be an idealist.

by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)

Brain Pickings is a site I wish I could be able to read more. I check it often to see new content, but to be frank you have to dedicate some serious time to read and absorb the particular posts.

Founded in 2006 as a weekly email that went out to seven friends and eventually brought online, Brain Pickings is now read by several million readers. Maria Popova, the founder and editor of the popular blog, calls it a “human-powered discovery engine for interestingness”. Popova reads 12 to 15 books a week about culture, art, design or philosophy and writes about enduring ideas that give some insight into what it means to live a meaningful life.

“In October of 2013, as Brain Pickings turned seven, I marked the occasion by looking back on the seven most important things I learned from the thousands of hours spent reading, writing, and living during those first seven years. I shared those reflections not as any sort of universal advice on how life is to be lived, but as centering truths that have emerged and recurred in the course of how this life has been lived; insights that might, just maybe, prove useful or assuring for others.”

Now, as Brain Pickings turns nine, Popova continues to stand by these reflections, and she adds two more. Read the whole article: 9 Learnings from 9 Years of Brain Pickings

How to talk to little girls

A very good article on how to talk to little girls, by :

“Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.”

(go here for the whole article)

As a parent of three young girls, this is definitely food for thought.

The caffeine-nap

“How to take a caffeine nap:

1) Find perfect nap spot.
2) Grab and drink your favorite caffeine laden beverage.
3) Set your alarm to go off in 15-20mins
4) Don’t delay, take your nap straight away.”

I am a big fan of power-naps and this is a different twist on it. Read the article here.

(via Swissmiss)

Explaining graphic design to four-year-olds

“I also pointed out that toilet design is really important. We all use toilets every day, and they need to be the right size, and comfortable to sit on, and you need to be able to reach the paper. Cue lots of giggles and muttering of the word ‘toilet’. Want to get 4-year-olds on-side? Talk about toilets.”

Many times I get asked by my kids, what is it exactly that I do? It is not easy to explain graphic design, especially to young ones.

This funny article tries to explain graphic design to four-year-olds and gets it right.

The four stages of life

“Life is a bitch. Then you die. So while staring at my navel the other day, I decided that that bitch happens in four stages.”

– Mark Manson (Author. Thinker. Life Enthusiast.)

An interesting article by Mark Manson about the stages we all go through in our life: Mimicking, Self-Discovery, Commitment και Legacy.

I can now say that I am definitely in Stage Three:

“Then you double down on what you’re best at and what is best to you. You double down on the most important relationships in your life. You double down on a single mission in life, whether that’s to work on the world’s energy crisis or to be a bitching digital artist or to become an expert in brains or have a bunch of snotty, drooling children. Whatever it is, Stage Three is when you get it done.”

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