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Essential Smarts Blog—thoughts, conversations and research on thriving in a complex world.

December 21, 2019

In spring 2019, we ran a pilot study of our first workshop, Mastering the Art of Failing Forward, at the Stanford Online High School, a learning community of diverse, intellectually passionate students from around the world.


December 21, 2019

Research shows pushing the boundaries and taking chances is where the greatest learning and discoveries occur. 


October 22, 2019

Most people think of craft in glowing terms, like it’s all about flow and spontaneity. But weaving is slow, hard, technical work. To succeed as a weaver—just as in any craft—you've got to love every bit of creative the process.


May 25, 2019

Work needs to be fun. And that includes making toys!


January 2, 2019

Keep high quality work examples close at hand to inspire you to greatness. .


December 3, 2018

Being a craftsman means you’ve never paid your dues: you’ve got to earn your way each day, by improving, innovating and delivering your best work.


November 3, 2018

By regularly spending time studying poorly executed work, it helps you turn a critical eye to your own creative process.


October 22, 2018

If you don’t care enough about your work to want to master it, then you’re doing the wrong thing.


September 25, 2018

When you’re thinking of improving inefficient practices, proceed with caution: the pursuit of efficiency can sap the charm and meaning from your work.


August 7, 2018

People usually don’t worry about their work practices until things grind to halt. But the time to study your methods is when things are going well, so that you can identify the habits and processes that inspire your best work.


July 4, 2018

Creative people follow careful routines. They come up with the pattern for sleeping, eating, socializing and working that best supports their work, and then stick with it. What should be your routine?


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