When Caro first wrote to Moses to tell him he was writing a biography and would like to interview him, Moses not only said no but dispatched two different PR reps in two different conversations to tell Caro “no” in person. Not only would Moses not speak to him, neither would family members, friends, aides, city officials, or state officials. And he would not provide documents either.
Caro plowed ahead anyway. He drew a series of concentric circles on a page with a single dot—Robert Moses—in the center. The first circle was Moses’ family and friends, the next circle was people in regular contact, and so on, to an outer circle of people who knew Moses, and dealt with him, and were willing to discuss it. “As I was later to be told,” Caro wrote in a 1998 New Yorker article, “Commissioner Moses was more and more frequently encountering people who, unaware of his feelings, said that this young reporter had been to see them.” ‘The Power Broker’ Turns 40: How Robert Caro Wrote a Masterpiece - The Daily Beast
My symptoms were testament to the power of what psychologists call variable intermittent reinforcement. Famed behaviorist B. F. Skinner discovered long ago that if you really want to ingrain a habit, you encourage it with rewards that arrive at variable times, in variable sizes. The lab rat knows that it will periodically be given food for pressing the lever, but not exactly when or how much. The result: a compulsive rat.
It’s the same with humans. Variable intermittent reinforcement explains why slot machines are so enthralling, why video games contain hidden caches of coins or weapons, and why we’re all helpless before our e-mail accounts. One time you check your inbox and there’s a single new message, from LinkedIn, which reminds you that you can’t figure out how to delete your LinkedIn account. Sad face. The next time you check, you have five new messages, including one from an old friend and another from a potential employer. Happy face! So you check, check, check. One Man’s Year of Digital Detox | Media | OutsideOnline.com
If I’m not saying “HELL YEAH!” about something, then say no.
Meaning: When deciding whether to commit to something, if I feel anything less than, “Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!” - then my answer is no.
When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say “HELL YEAH!”
We’re all busy. We’ve all taken on too much. Saying yes to less is the way out. No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! or no. | Derek Sivers
It was easy to make friends here, to be enveloped in community. The city, unlike my home of Washington, is generously cast with characters. No one inquires where you did your undergraduate work. It can take months before anyone asks what you do for a living. Neighborhoods mean everything. The food is superior, the prices saner (well, except car insurance), the subway louder.
Frankly, everything in Philadelphia is louder, sharper. Waitresses call you hon.
I love a hon. I waited my whole life to be honned.
The city became home. It has always amused me how Philadelphians, rightly proud of this region, are constantly shocked when someone opts to move here. After thousands of bylines, a final column