Why Do Millions of Us Drive Ourselves Crazy Over a Crossword? Will Shortz, Puzzle Master, Has A Clue

Will Shortz, puzzle master, tells us, “With a crossword we’re challenging ourselves to create order out of chaos.”

Thinking of clues keeps Will Shortz up at night. After all as Puzzle Master at NPR and puzzle editor of The New York Times, he has to come up with 16,000 clues a year—that’s nearly 50 twisty clues a day.

“Just as I’m about to drift off to sleep I may think of a terrific clue,” says Shortz. “It’s the eternal writer’s dilemma. I have to either wake up and write it down, or think really really really hard and hope the idea will still be there in the morning.”

He opts for the latter. And the chances that he remembers? Not bad, he insists.

To say that Shortz is interested in puzzles is to call World War 2 a skirmish. Shortz has been constructing puzzles since he was 8 when his mother handed him a blank grid to occupy him while her friends came to play bridge. He sold his first puzzle at 14. And in lieu of a regular college degree, he followed an independent course of study in puzzles, graduating as the world’s first enigmatologist. Continue reading “Why Do Millions of Us Drive Ourselves Crazy Over a Crossword? Will Shortz, Puzzle Master, Has A Clue”

11 Tips for Having Great Meetings from
Some of the World’s Most Productive People

A recent U.K. study showed that the average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week. That’s over 800 hours a year, for a grand total of 4 years of your life over your career. Here are 10 strategies to get your office meeting off life support. Plus a bonus tip on meetings from Mark Zuckerberg.

meetingsMark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Nilofer Merchant, Clay Shirky, Valentina Rice, Guy Kawasaki and others, know about getting things done, being productive and keeping a crowd engaged. So when they talk, we should listen.

recent U.K. study showed that the average office worker spends around 16 hours in meetings each week. That’s over 800 hours a year. For a grand total over an entire career of–are you sitting down?–37,440 hours of meetings. That’s more than 4 years of your precious time.

There are few tried and true strategies for running productive meetings: Be prepared, have a leader, an agenda, a fixed time to start and stop, a conclusion and plan to follow up. But if we have to sit around in a windowless conference room for 9,000 hours, can’t we come up with something more . . . engaging?

Here are 10 strategies to get your office meeting off life support. Plus a bonus tip on meetings from Mark Zuckerberg: Continue reading “11 Tips for Having Great Meetings from
Some of the World’s Most Productive People”

Reset: From Perfect to Imperfect

How a New York Times reporter’s life went from perfect to imperfect and just right once she learned how to ride the wave.

Diane Cardwell New York Times Reporter surfing in Rockaway Beach. Photo by Josh Gosfield

For our blog we’ve wanted to write about some of the people we’ve come across who have changed their lives in profound or unexpected ways. Diane Cardwell is one of them.

If you had met Diane Cardwell just a few years ago, you would have thought her life was perfect with the prestigious job as a reporter at The New York Times, the handsome, ambitious, NGO-ish husband, the beautiful Brooklyn Brownstone they actually owned and land upstate to build their dream home someday. But when her marriage fell apart, Diane told us, her life no longer made sense to her. Continue reading “Reset: From Perfect to Imperfect”