The collective brain: where does innovation come from?

Plato, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Mary Shelley, Frida Kahlo… When we think about the most famous thinkers, inventors, and creators in history, we often picture one specific individual—a genius who uncovered something new where nobody was looking. However, this poetic vision of the innovator as a solo explorer doesn’t reflect the reality of humanity’s …

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The best CSS themes for Roam Research

While many people are raving about the functionality and user experience of Roam, some have complained in the past about the aesthetics of the note-taking app, which they found too barebone or not polished enough for their taste. The good news is: you can personalise the look of Roam with a custom CSS theme! If …

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Semantic traps: why vague words are risky

In politics and linguistics, semantic traps are words so vague that we cannot give them specific meaning, or words that are systematically misleading. Semantic traps are often used to stir a debate in a certain direction, or to influence people’s judgement. A famous example is when Republican strategist Frank Luntz wrote a memo to George …

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How to build diagrams in Roam Research

As a big fan of thinking in maps, I’m always curious about tools to lay out and connect ideas visually. Many people are not aware as this is a bit of a hidden functionality, but you can actually create diagrams in Roam. 1. Create the canvas. Type {{diagram}} and press enter. You can also type …

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The power of flexible consistency

When I launched the newsletter last summer, I didn’t expect to hit 20,000 subscribers about a year later. Beside the financial freedom, what started as a little project has brought me countless opportunities to connect with smart people and create new friendships. Many readers are also writers, creators, designers, and entrepreneurs—whether full-time or on the …

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Negativity bias: how negative experiences cloud our judgement

Have you ever found yourself ruminating over a mistake you made a while ago? Replaying in your head a conversation that didn’t go so well? That’s the negativity bias at play: not only do we register negative stimuli more readily, but we also tend to dwell on these events for longer. In general, negative events …

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Networked thinking: a quiet cognitive revolution

Humanity has lived through several cognitive revolutions already. The development of various writing systems around the world; the invention of the printing press; the formulation of the heliocentric hypothesis by Copernicus; Darwin’s theory of evolution; Einstein’s theory of relativity—all of these discoveries have fundamentally reshaped the way we think. While nowadays the spotlight is on …

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Adjacent skills: how to widen your career perspective

Gone are the days of linear career trajectories. Most people will live several work lives, and careers have become increasingly mobile. While deep expertise in a given domain can lead to a successful career, it is also a more rigid approach which may limit the number of lateral opportunities. In contrast, adjacent skills can open …

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How to think better

As Einstein wrote in 1936: “All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.” Why is it that a skill as important as thinking is not a key focus in traditional schools? Why don’t we have classes on decision-making, cognitive biases, and mental models? Can we learn how to think better? It’s …

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The science of deliberate practice

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “practice makes perfect” is “said to encourage someone to continue to do something many times, so that they will learn to do it very well.” But does practice really make perfect? We tend to see practice as tireless repetition of the same task, where the goal is to progressively become …

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