Let’s do it

We were married in the traditional way. Our two families knew each other, so a meeting was arranged. We’d never met. He came to my house with his mother, and we went to a room for two hours and talked. We talked about our expectations, our idea of love, and our plans for the future. I thought about it for two days, then I sent him a text message, saying: ‘Let’s do it.’ And he wrote back: ‘Alright, my dear.’ [link]

Pour libations for the ancestors but don’t taste it yourself

“The association between alcohol consumption and health is extremely complex. Although alcohol consumption has been associated with some health benefits, it has also been associated with increased risks for other outcomes,” said first author Andrew Smyth, MMedSc, a research fellow at the Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

“Our study suggests no overall benefit from alcohol consumption. Importantly, the greatest magnitude of increases in risk were seen in lower-income countries, where harmful alcohol use was highest,” he reported. “Our data support global health strategies and national initiatives to reduce harmful alcohol use.”

Alcohol consumption has been linked to more than 60 medical disorders and represents the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. [link]

Too many incompetent men get promoted to leadership, crowding out women with good leadership skills

The truth of the matter is that pretty much anywhere in the world men tend to think that they that are much smarter than women. Yet arrogance and overconfidence are inversely related to leadership talent — the ability to build and maintain high-performing teams, and to inspire followers to set aside their selfish agendas in order to work for the common interest of the group. Indeed, whether in sports, politics or business, the best leaders are usually humble — and whether through nature or nurture, humility is a much more common feature in women than men. For example, women outperform men on emotional intelligence, which is a strong driver of modest behaviors. Furthermore, a quantitative review of gender differences in personality involving more than 23,000 participants in 26 cultures indicated that women are more sensitive, considerate, and humble than men, which is arguably one of the least counter-intuitive findings in the social sciences. An even clearer picture emerges when one examines the dark side of personality: for instance, our normative data, which includes thousands of managers from across all industry sectors and 40 countries, shows that men are consistently more arrogant, manipulative and risk-prone than women.

The paradoxical implication is that the same psychological characteristics that enable male managers to rise to the top of the corporate or political ladder are actually responsible for their downfall. In other words, what it takes to get the job is not just different from, but also the reverse of, what it takes to do the job well. As a result, too many incompetent people are promoted to management jobs, and promoted over more competent people. [HBR]

Mmmm … muffins

The day before the race, you’re stressed out,” Phinney said. “You’re like, ‘man I gotta race tomorrow, this big race.’ And you think ‘I wish I was at a coffee shop across the street from my house, hanging out, having a muffin.’ But then you really think about it, and you’re like, ‘I wouldn’t really be happy eating a muffin across the street from my house right now. I’d rather be here, getting ready for this race. [link]

Ory Okolloh explains why Africa needs more than entrepreneurship

We can’t entrepreneur our way around bad leadership. We can’t entrepreneur our way around bad policies. Those of us who have managed to entrepreneur ourselves out of it are living in a very false security in Africa. There is growth in Africa, but Africans are not growing. And we have to questions why is there this big push for us to innovate ourselves around problems that our leaders, our taxes, our policymakers, ourselves, to be quite frankly, should be grappling with.

 … I think sometimes we are running away from dealing with the really hard things. And the same people who are pushing this entrepreneurship and innovation thing are coming from places where your roads work, your electricity works, your teachers are well paid. I didn’t see anyone entrepreneur-ing around public schooling in the US. You all went to public schools, you know, and then made it to Harvard or whatever. You turned on your light and it came on. No one is trying to innovate around your electricity power company. So why are we being made to do that? Our systems need to work and we need to figure our shit out.” [link]