Tony Schwartz, at the HBR Blog, on the twelve most important lessons he learned by the time he turned 60. My favorite is #2. #5 is very true and perhaps underrated, despite the fact that it's been drummed into us since the Ben Franklin days. (I say this as a person who stayed up late reading Bob Caro and has now spent half the morning reading lists and an article about the new Hello Kitty airplane.) 

Note how many of Schwartz's lessons have a strong values component--not more than is warranted, but more than you typically see when such lists are targeted at younger people. Three hypotheses: 1) As we get older, we have greater awareness of what really matters, and it's not "have a go-to black dress that can go from office to evening with a change of necklace." 2) The pragmatic advice for the under-30 set ("save for retirement") approaches obsolescence as you reach the later decades. 3) Legacy concerns?

Having recently turned 30, I'm thinking of writing my own such list, so I can look back at it 30 years hence and chuckle at my awkward mix of idealism and relativism. Related lists: Charles Wheelan with some advice for new graduates; Pamela Redman Satran, at Glamour, on 30 things women should have and know by the time they turn 30; Kayla Webley, at Time, with a critique of Glamour's list; Jen Doll, at The Atlantic Wire, with a critique of such articles 'for women' in general.

05/02/2012 18:27

I've been a victim of the Hello Kitty article too, probably from the same source.

As for #5, I recently discovered the power of not opening my email when I get to work until I have done the one thing I set myself for the day and it has the intended effect.


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