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Can you imagine life without your smartphone?

So many of us can’t. We depend upon them for everything from directions to telling us the temperature outside to tracking our daily steps and heart rate. Our “Hey, Siri” culture has conditioned us to equate speed with efficiency and efficacy — and it’s changing how we process information. Our brains have become conditioned to respond with pleasure to the bings, pings, and dings our phones and computers provide.

While Siri and Alexa and Google are great when we’re jonesing for Italian food and want help finding a restaurant, they’re not great, or…

Ali Khaloo is a first-time founder and CEO of Aren, a company that uses artificial intelligence to inspect and analyze infrastructure assets, such as bridges, dams and tunnels, to assess their structural integrity. He gravitated toward AREA in part because despite developing a new technology, he needed to both figure out how to commercialize and monetize it and how to explain his company’s value proposition to civil engineering and construction companies as well as to the governments that own the infrastructure assets.

“Our ecosystem of engineering and construction companies is not a digitized industry,” says Khaloo. “We realized that they…

The truth is stranger than fiction. Lord Byron wrote those words in 1823 in a poem called “Don Juan,” which satirized the legendary real-life womanizer. His words are still true today, perhaps even more so as our country shudders from a combustible mix of global pandemic, a chaotic election and episodes of racial injustice. Faced with so much uncertainty and anxiety, what is the purpose of fiction? Fiction offers us something that life cannot give us so easily: the ability to make some of our mistakes before we make them.

In this episode of Problem Solved podcast, I interview debut…

Have you been talking with your children about the new school year? Many schools are starting the year fully remote; some, including New York City’s public school system, are vowing to provide in-person learning; some colleges and universities are staggering their calendars and only allowing select classes of students or majors to return to in-person learning. Many schools and colleges that began the year with in-person classes have already had to rethink and readjust their plans. As a parent, with so much in flux, you may feel like you have no control. But you can develop a plan with your…

In 2010 serial entrepreneur Jeff Wald co-founded Work Market, a software platform that enables companies to efficiently and compliantly organize, manage and pay freelancers. Eight years later, in 2018, he sold the company to payroll services giant ADP, staying on as an ADP executive. Since then he wrote and published a book chronicling the rise of the gig economy and the relationship between on-demand workers and employers.

Eric Dawson founded Peace First in 2009 to empower young people to work toward a more just and peaceful world. He began in Boston and over time grew his nonprofit and its powerful movement into 140 countries. A small grant from the Gates Foundation allowed Peace First to explore expanding into the Mideast and North Africa, the so-called MENA region, by supporting a set of teams in different countries.

But recently, as the grant was ending, Peace First reached a “choice point,” says Eric. “Do we continue at a slow pace of growth, winding things down in the MENA region…

Amid the long and difficult unfolding of the Covid-19 crisis, we are all getting a crash course in how uncomfortable it is to be ruled by uncertainty and scarcity. We took for granted the basic freedoms of our society and its abundance. No one thought life could shrink for all of us so quickly and so completely. We didn’t expect to be told to stay home for so long or that even necessities like toilet paper and meat might suddenly be unavailable.

But we also didn’t know –and this is the good news– how creative we could become when faced…

What do you do when everything becomes unknown? So much of our daily lives now seems to fall into the “unknown” category: Is it safe to go to work? Should you cancel your family plans for vacation? What about going out for a slice of pizza? Yes or no?

Usually, we differentiate between big and small decisions but in today’s Covid-19 world, small decisions can carry big risks. So how do we assess risk, especially when anxiety overshadows our decisions?

Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao that “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” but a…

So you might expect that an educator would be in favor of more education, right? Well, not for Emma, a former Teach for America teacher who went into nonprofit education and wanted to decide what kind of graduate school program would best help her become an expert educator.

Listen to the latest version of the Problem Solved Podcast and hear how AREA helped Emma redefine a critical professional development decision about how to dot her “i’s” and cross her “t’s” without too much homework.


Here was Emma’s initial decision problem:

Where should I go to graduate school in education?

Around the world, high school seniors –and their parents–are receiving decisions about applications for early admission to college. Some of these emails will elicit joy, but many more will cause students anxiety. Students who don’t get into their ED school will now face making a big decision on a tight deadline: where do you apply now, and to how many schools?

This is my third time waiting with a child for this December decision while also planning for the possible “race against the clock.”

So here are a few tips to help you make your big decision better:

Behind the…

Cheryl Strauss Einhorn

Cheryl Einhorn is the creator of the AREA Method, a decision making system for individuals and companies to solve complex problems and author of Problem Solved.

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