Pocket Hits 2014

The 30 best articles of the year, saved by millions of people on Pocket.

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The Overprotected Kid

A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A new kind of playground points to a better solution. A trio of boys tramps along the length of a wooden fence, back and forth, shouting like carnival barkers.

How to Get a Job at Google

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — LAST June, in an interview with Adam Bryant of The Times, Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google — i.e., the guy in charge of hiring for one of the world’s most successful companies — noted that Google had determined that “G.P.A.

The Case for Reparations

Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

How to Scale Yourself and Get More Done Than You Thought Possible

This counterintuitive advice is one of a dozen-plus productivity practices preached by Scott Hanselman, a program manager at Microsoft, author and avid blogger and speaker. Hanselman's not the person you'd to expect to hear encourage dropping the ball and discourage burning the midnight oil.

The astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world.

A summer afternoon at the Reichstag. Soft Berlin light filters down through the great glass dome, past tourists ascending the spiral ramp, and into the main hall of parliament. Half the members’ seats are empty.

The Fermi Paradox

PDF: We made a fancy PDF of this post for printing and offline viewing. Buy it here. (Or see a preview.) Some people stick with the traditional, feeling struck by the epic beauty or blown away by the insane scale of the universe.

10 Life Lessons to Excel in Your 30s

A couple weeks ago I turned 30. Leading up to my birthday I wrote a post on what I learned in my 20s. But I did something else. I sent an email out to my subscribers (subscribe here) and asked readers age 37 and older what advice they would give their 30-year-old selves.

Secrets of the Creative Brain

A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQ—and why it is so often accompanied by mental illness.

One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society

Recently, our nation’s financial chieftains have been feeling a little unloved.

How Netflix Reverse Engineered Hollywood

To understand how people look for movies, the video service created 76,897 micro-genres. We took the genre descriptions, broke them down to their key words, … and built our own new-genre generator. If you use Netflix, you've probably wondered about the specific genres that it suggests to you.

People Don’t Buy Products, They Buy Better Versions of Themselves

There is the famous story about Steve Jobs when he invented the iPod and everyone in the news and the rest of the tech industry scratched their head a little. MP3 players had been around for quite a while, what was so different about the iPod?

The Death of Adulthood in American Culture

Sometime this spring, during the first half of the final season of “Mad Men,” the popular pastime of watching the show — recapping episodes, tripping over spoilers, trading notes on the flawless production design, quibbling about historical details

When You're at the Crossroads of Should and Must

Elle Luna is an artist and designer who lives and works in San Francisco. She worked with teams to design and build Mailbox, redesign Uber’s iPhone app, and scale the storytelling platform Medium.

Why You Hate Work

Editors’ note: We hope you’re not totally miserable at the office tomorrow, but if you are, here’s one article from the archives that may explain why. THE way we’re working isn’t working.

The Disease of Being Busy | On Being

How One Boy With Autism Became BFF With Apple’s Siri

Just how bad a mother am I? I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri. Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” on the iPhone, is currently his BFF.

What if Age Is Nothing but a Mind-Set?

One day in the fall of 1981, eight men in their 70s stepped out of a van in front of a converted monastery in New Hampshire. They shuffled forward, a few of them arthritically stooped, a couple with canes. Then they passed through the door and entered a time warp.

Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think

The first day I was in second grade, I came to school and noticed that there was a new, very pretty girl in the class—someone who hadn’t been there the previous two years. Her name was Alana and within an hour, she was everything to me.

How to Tell a Great Story

We tell stories to our coworkers and peers all the time — to persuade someone to support our project, to explain to an employee how he might improve, or to inspire a team that is facing challenges.

The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup

Stewart is hungry. He’s munching on potatoes smothered in chicken fat drippings, sitting by a long metal table that once served as a gurney in the morgue at the Treasure Island Naval Base. It’s a prominent piece of furniture in what will be the kitchen area for Stewart’s new startup.

For the Love of Money - NYTimes.com

This Is Your Brain on Silence

One icy night in March 2010, 100 marketing experts piled into the Sea Horse Restaurant in Helsinki, with the modest goal of making a remote and medium-sized country a world-famous tourist destination.

How we end up marrying the wrong people

Anyone we could marry would, of course, be a little wrong for us. It is wise to be appropriately pessimistic here. Perfection is not on the cards. Unhappiness is a constant.

A Short Guide to a Happy Life: Anna Quindlen on Work, Joy, and How to Live Rather Than Exist

The commencement address is a special kind of modern communication art, and its greatest masterpieces tend to either become a book — take, for instance, David Foster Wallace on the meaning of life, Neil Gaiman on the resilience of the creative spirit, Ann Patchett on storytelling and belonging

How I made sure all 12 of my kids could pay for college themselves

My wife and I had 12 children over the course of 15 1/2 years. Today, our oldest is 37 and our youngest is 22. I have always had a very prosperous job and enough money to give my kids almost anything. But my wife and I decided not to.

We Are All Confident Idiots - Pacific Standard: The Science of Society

The Secret To Creativity, Intelligence, And Scientific Thinking

The image is from cartoonist Hugh MacLeod, who came up with such a brilliant way to express a concept that’s often not that easy to grasp. The image makes a clear point—that knowledge alone is not useful unless we can make connections between what we know.

Masters of Love

Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.

No Time to Think

ONE of the biggest complaints in modern society is being overscheduled, overcommitted and overextended. Ask people at a social gathering how they are and the stock answer is “super busy,” “crazy busy” or “insanely busy.” Nobody is just “fine” anymore.

Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,” Debbie Millman counseled in one of the best commencement speeches ever given, urging: “Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love.

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