What we've been reading: Future self, Faraday and gear

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Welcome to 2017, year zero of the Trump presidency. You probably didn’t expect that sentence to be a thing at the start of 2016.

But that was 2016’s jam wasn’t it? 2016’s thing was a giant middle finger to all the experts and learned predictions. I’m morbidly curious to see what 2017 offers. It won’t always be great or fun, but I’m sure it’ll be interesting.

So good luck out there, reader, and thank you for joining BusinessZone for the ride.

To change your life, learn how to trust your future self

It seems even the media is on that “new year, new you” trip. The guys over at the excellent Science of Us have launched a series looking at how people initiate meaningful change in their lives.

The first step: learn how to trust your future self, writes Jeff Wise. Traditional psychology, he says, has focused on a split rational and impulsive brain. “We want to lose weight, but we eat a sundae. We want to get in shape, but we sit on the couch. We want to save money, but we buy a plane ticket to Italy.”

Well, that common perception might be wrong. In recent years, a new model has emerged from the field of addiction studies: a brain that’s a unitary system “that prioritizes immediately rewarding options over those that pay off later”.

This battle between current, slobby, impulsive you and future, rational you can be won, says Wise. And all you need to do is learn to trust yourself through bundling small successful behaviours. “Step one: Choose a simple rule for yourself, one so simple and clear that you can’t possibly fail.

“Step two: make sure you follow step one.”

Behind the scenes at Faraday Future, an electric carmaker on the brink of collapse

Here, have yourself a cautionary tale. Faraday Future, the Tesla killer, emerged not that long ago, bloated by Chinese investment cash. Now, by all accounts, the secretive automaker is on the cusp of collapse.

The list of FF’s maladies is long – but perhaps most damaging has been the firm’s toxic relationship with its investors. Amazingly, the company’s IP isn’t owned by FF but “by a separate entity named FF Cayman Global, a revelation which raises questions about Faraday Future’s relationship with its investors and suppliers, and could further endanger the company’s success.”

The Verge’s in-depth profile doesn’t paint a pretty picture and, for any founders out there, it’s a sterling reminder that funding ain’t everything.

Survive anything by always carrying these 13 pieces of gear

Wired’s ‘gear’ section is always worth a gander. In it, the magazine offers tools for different scenarios. This one, in particular, is pretty cool.

Constantly on the move, hustling across town from meeting to meeting? This list might be the one you need.

Just maybe don’t try and take the pen knife onto a plane, yeah?

Why time management is ruining our lives

This Guardian long read is worth reading for this fact alone: on average, the human lifespan is 4,000 weeks. On the surface, that’s sounds like a lot. Contemplate for long enough, though, and you’ll probably phone your mom to say “I love you”.

Factlets aside, this piece by Oliver Burkeman deftly deconstructs our era of “frenetic doing” and how it’s not only making us miserable, but damaging the quality of our work. “Thinking about time encourages clockwatching, which has been repeatedly shown to undermine the quality of work.”

4,000 weeks, though. Damn.

The wild and wondrous technologies of the year ahead

To finish, here’s some of the tech that’ll be making waves this year. CES, the Woodstock of tech products, always provides a sparkling glimpse of cool stuff. And it hasn’t disappointed.

From looking at this year’s offerings, might I just say that I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

Francois Badenhorst
Deputy editor
BusinessZone and UK Business Forums
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