friday five 1.13.17

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1. infant brains reveal how the mind gets built

Personally, I thought the most interesting part of this article was that humans don't develop facial bias until they're four months old, but following that, the cortex shows signs of specialization and displays facial recognition patterns similar to those of adult brains. So what I assume this means is that we can rationalize from a very young age that faces are specific composites of features pieced together in a certain way. And that's amazing. And we thought four-month-olds were useless. Just kidding.

2. 52 key learnings in 52 weeks of 2016

Resolutions are so boring and contrived, and they're scientifically proven to fail (this was also a great read, and explains why my boba addiction has gotten progressively worse)(but on the other hand, I'm grateful that I'm doing mentally-stimulating work). Becoming a more refined and well-adjusted human doesn't come from drastic, 180° turnarounds but from creating small, incremental (and sometimes elegant) changes in your lifestyle. So I really love this. It's a year-long process, a 52-week commitment to the documentation and adoption of active learning and awareness of the interesting and the profound. It's kind of why I started Friday Five.

3. soulcycle, casper, and drybar execs reveal the secrets to their cult brands' success

I just really love hearing people talk about their passions. And what I think is cool about these brands in particular is that they reflect a paradigm shift in the way we live. Everything now is about experience. There's nothing particularly revolutionary about buying a mattress or getting a blowout or exercising, but these companies have found ways to make these things personal experiences that resonate with consumers.

4. the secret to exceptional mental strength lies in this surprising science-backed habit

I've mentioned the controversial nature of "grit" before, mostly because I find it fascinating, but is one of the more compelling and well-supported arguments against it. In short, "resilience is how you recharge, not how you endure," and this presents a much more nuanced view of the concept of grit. It's usually explained as a quality that some people inherently possess and others do not, but this considers the possibility that grit itself is a much more complex characteristic, biologically speaking, than we originally assumed.

5. the 21 hottest female-founded startups to watch in 2017

This is why it's so important to have gender diversity in business! Not only has research demonstrated that companies with women in leadership roles are more profitable, but services like Maven and Rockets of Awesome (the latter I'm lowkey bitter about because I had a very similar idea two years ago) address female-specific pain points and I think are much more helpful than half of the apps on the market today. Speakable and Accompany are also brilliant; they're just more examples of why we need that kind of diversity of thought.