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1 more bit to remember:

Commuting really really sucks. Least happy part of almost everyone's day, who does it. Minimizing commute is a not-inconsequential path towards increased happiness.


Great post. Several quibbles:

The wealth -> happiness current data is changed every year. Last study had a monotonic positive relationship between wealth and happiness to $60K/y. Will Wilkinson had this a while back.

Parenthood also has a complex relationship with happiness. In general, it appears to decrease young folks happiness, and increase older folks happiness, as of the last thing I read. Read Will Wilkinson and Bryan Caplan here.

The Kahneman TED video: ( ) on happiness, suggesting that experienced happiness and remembered happiness are effectively ENTIRELY different things is an important caveat here. I actually think it's probably the most important thing to be known about happiness.

You also don't address very well (and probably shouldn't in a how-to) the serious methodological difficulty of happiness research. Rating happiness on a Likert scale is a weak way to rate happiness, and one prone to intra- and inter- personal comparisons with ones self and reference group...whether or not one has a buzzer.

For instance, my move from Chicago to California has allowed a great deal more outdoor/sun time, which increases happiness...but after a couple years, I'll have forgotten the reference group of Chicago, and will rate my daily happiness based on my current baseline, not my current Chicago-including reference. .


As before...Teacher for 20+ years...dozens of different topics taught (~40K hours): Math (K-16), English (to Natives and Foreigners), Sports (Springboard Diving, Soccer, Basketball), Programming(C-->Java mostly).

The most interesting part of explanations is that the same explanation doesn't work for everyone. If you're going to be an effective teacher, you need 2+ backup explanations for when the first one doesn't work. Examples are frequently even better than explanations, and enough examples will get most folks a long ways.

My personal obsession in education is the feedback system, which is all but ignored in most education discussions. Difficulty with swimming is that folks with low kinesthetic awareness have very little ability to check what they're doing. Underwater video-cam would give quite a bit of advantage here.

3 takeaways:

  1. Teaching != Learning. Practice = learning.
  2. There is no Universal best method -- people have massively different relevant prior experience.
  3. Feedback systems allowing folks to correct their practice in a reasonable action-fix loop is the killer feature missing from most practice.

I was slow...and I didn't have a computer to program on until 8.
On the other hand, I've been teaching for ~20 years, and I've been teaching programming for half that. Learning to iterate through a collection of data structures is the killer feature in programming. Some folks get it....and immediately. Most folks who are not naturals take a lot longer to understand the concept...and most classes jump over it like it's easy. Usually 3-10 different explanations, and 5-20 examples will get folks over the hump.


I'm not exactly between 0 and 1...But I have some hours available here, and would like to do this. I've been through bits of Jaynes, but the social aspect will make doing the whole thing more interesting.

FWIW, I've a math degree, and have 20 years of technical (math, software, etc.) teaching expertise, if you'd like some assistance.

I'd suggest to everyone who hasn't as much tech-teaching experience that time spent doing exercises is the only thing that you should be counting as learning-time. Time spent reading has no feedback system, and you don't know (despite believing) whether you've learned anything. Do-->Learn. Read-->???


Perhaps interested, from the Western Suburbs


This is clearly a good way to do skepticism, if you're going to do it. However, I wonder, at my blog (, whether skepticism is generally wise at all, and whether religion is a much more useful and effective cognitive antivirus system (especially for the only normally intelligent) than anyone else here seems to give it credit for.


Douglas Hubbard writes on the topic of calibration as well. He focuses on RW application of this stuff, and calibration is clearly a part of that.

His 1st book:

His site: