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Derek Thompson

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The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It

August 27, 2014 When I woke up this morning, I had one goal: Finish this article by 11 a.m. So, predictably, by the time it was 10 a.m., I had made and consumed two cups of coffee, taken out the trash, cleaned my room while taking a deliberately slow approach to folding my ...

Study: Nobody Is Paying Attention on Your Conference Call

August 22, 2014 It's 3:15 p.m. on a Wednesday, and I am deep, deep inside the guts of BaseballReference.com, the statistical mecca for MLB fanatics, conducting an exhaustive investigation on an issue of national importance: What was the greatest pitching season of all time? Was it Bob Gibson in '68? Pedro Martinez in ...

The Thing Employers Look For When Hiring Recent Graduates

August 19, 2014 When I was 17, if you asked me how I planned on getting a job in the future, I think I would have said: Get into the right college. When I was 18, if you asked me the same question, I would have said: Get into the right classes. When ...

The Joys and Sorrows of Late-Night Email

August 18, 2014 At 10:13 PM last night, I sent Atlantic assistant editor Joe Pinsker an email to say I was writing an article about all the after-work time we spend on email. Before the clock struck 10:14, Joe had replied: "Sounds good." Without having any idea that I would share his correspondence, ...

The Joys and Sorrows of Late-Night Email

August 18, 2014 FROM NEXTGOV arrow At 10:13 PM last night, I sent Atlantic assistant editor Joe Pinsker an email to say I was writing an article about all the after-work time we spend on email. Before the clock struck 10:14, Joe had replied: "Sounds good." Without having any idea that I would share his correspondence, ...

Video: Is Social Security the Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

August 15, 2014 On August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act, which aimed to reduce poverty among the elderly. Eight decades later, it is the one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in U.S. history. So, why do some people hate it? Derek Thompson explains. (Top image via ...

How Your Face Shapes Your Economic Chances

August 4, 2014 Beauty, closely studied, seems nearly indistinguishable from quick math. Men seem to prefer women with a low waist-to-hip ratio. Women prefer men with optimally long jaws. For reasons we don't entirely understand, humans find symmetrical faces consistently bewitching. A 2005 study found women can accurately guess the symmetry of a ...

What Corporate America Is Learning About Keeping Workers Happy

July 30, 2014 You can hear it in the game rooms of Google's Chelsea office, smell it from the ice cream shops on Facebook's Menlo Park campus, and see it with yoga mats aligned on the rooftop of OpenDNS: We are living in an Age of Peak Perk. (Some of us, anyway). While ...

The President of the United States Does Not Control the Economy

July 29, 2014 For years, Americans have listed the economy as their "most important problem," and it seems like countless elections have swung on candidates' sugar-coated promises to accelerate growth, create jobs, and generally make us all as rich as we've dreamed. But just how much power does the president really have over ...

The Best- and Worst-Paid Jobs in America—in 1 Ludicrously Long Chart

June 24, 2014 The 13 best-paid non-executive jobs in America have one thing in common: They're all in health care. Anesthesiologists nip surgeons to grab the top spot. That's the top takeaway from this fun and long—like, really long—graph of the average wage of 820 occupations tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics ...