The Year in Ideas

The New York Times has put up their 8th Annual Year in Ideas as part of their Sunday magazine. You can browse A to Z (well, W) and find short pieces on some of the outstanding developments across a breadth of arenas and disciplines. Definitely one of my favorite magazine issues of the year.

Here is one I found on Women in Power Are Set Up To Fail, or the “glass cliff” based on experimental research by Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam:

83 businesspeople — roughly half of them women — [had] described to them two companies, one that was steadily improving in profitability and an-other that was steadily declining. The subjects were told to pick a new financial director for the firm and were presented with three candidates: a man and a woman who were identical in experience and a lesser-qualified male. The subjects were slightly more likely to pick a man to lead the successful firm but were far more likely to pick the woman to lead the failing one. Two other experiments with similar designs yielded the same result: When presented with men and women to lead a company that’s going down the tubes, people pick the woman.

The same issue also features a fun interview with Jonah Lehrer, who runs The Frontal Cortex blog and has a forthcoming book on How We Decide. Gotta love this quote, “I wrote the book because I would spend 10 minutes in the cereal aisle choosing between Honey Nut Cheerios and Apple Cinnamon Cheerios.”

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