52 things I learned in 2021

Inspired by Tom Whitwell’s annual collection of things learned, here are my ’52 things I learned in 2021′.

The list is usually presented under the comment that ‘no explanation or context of what it is about the article I learned, just a title and link of something that was important to me personally or professionally in [year]’, but this year is different. As I started the list, I was hoping that 2021 would be more like 2019 than 2020 and that we aren’t going to waste the opportunity to (re)evaluate what we keep and what we redesign from our ‘old’ lives. But at the time I didn’t know. There were so many unknowns as we arrived on January 1st, 2021.

Looking ahead to 2022 it seems even more uncertain than this time last year … a new Covid variant and continued political misdemeanors abound. Someone, please rescue me/us?

  1. ‘The moment the modern world went wrong’ [Jonathan Sumption]
  2. ‘Small Fixes, Big Results: How to Perfect Your Home Office Setup’ [Krista Soriano]
  3. ‘How to Build a Hydroponic Garden’ [Lee Wallender]
  4. ‘The year reality collapsed into pixels’ [Alissa Wilkinson]
  5. ‘The scientific reason why two sleeps are better than one’ [Melinda Jackson]
  6. ‘Think you’re safe at home? Think again. 5 household demons to be mindful about’ [Alisha Moopen]
  7. ‘This Doctor Says Humans Actually Need 7 Kinds of Rest (and You’re Probably Not Getting All of Them)’ [Jessica Stillman]
  8. ‘Teaching in the Age of Disinformation’ [Beth McMurtrie]
  9. ‘Blue Monday Isn’t Real So Why Still Talk About It?’ [Carly Sime]
  10. ‘In Japan, You Can Rent a Person To Do Nothing’ [Frankie Lantican]
  11. ’50 Funny Books to Read When Life Is Overwhelming and You Need a Laugh’ [Sarah Steifvater]
  12. ‘Long Life Learning Is The New Postsecondary Education’ [Alison Griffin]
  13. ‘What If We Got Rid Of Political Parties?’ [Steve Almond]
  14. ‘How to stop overthinking everything’ [Melody Wilding]
  15. ‘Couple Spends 20 Years Planting an Entire Forest and Animals Have Returned’ [Kelly Richmon-Abdou]
  16. ‘Job performance isn’t about showing up anymore—and that’s a good thing’ [David Vallance]
  17. ‘Product Entropy’ [Rob Horan]
  18. What are your meetings telling you about your company’s culture?’ [Matt Tucker]
  19. ‘The robots of the future are already among us’ [Nicole Kobie]
  20. ‘Why bitcoin uses so much energy’ [The Economist]
  21. ‘Neither depressed nor flourishing? How languishing defines modern life’ [The Guardian]
  22. ‘To stop online abuse against women, we must reform digital spaces’ [Azmina Dhrodia]
  23. ‘Big data analysis examines #MeToo statements’ [Jeniffer Rainey]
  24. ’10 Silent Signs of Heart Trouble You Shouldn’t Ignore’ [jeanjanekae.me]
  25. ‘Smartphone is now ‘the place where we live’, anthropologists say’ [Alex Hern]
  26. ‘The puzzling psychology of procrastination and how to stop it’ [Thomas Ling]
  27. ‘Why sharing gender pronouns at work matters’ [Lexi Croswell]
  28. ‘Google got it wrong. The open-office trend is destroying the workplace.’ [Lindsay Kaufman]
  29. ‘The power of no: how to build strong, healthy boundaries’ [Eleanor Morgan]
  30. ‘Fake news, educated views and how-tos: social media for teaching and research’ [Terese Bird]
  31. ‘Our Brains Were Not Built for This Much Uncertainty’ [Heidi Grant and Tal Goldhamer]
  32. ‘If pandemics are predictable, could they be preventable?’ [James Coe]
  33. ‘Drugs, robots and the pursuit of pleasure – why experts are worried about AIs becoming addicts’ [Thomas Moynihan and Anders Sandberg]
  34. ‘What Do We Do With All This Rage?’ [Charlie Warzel]
  35. ‘What does Amazon know about you?’ [Emma McGowen]
  36. ‘Why we must value universities’ [James Coe]
  37. ‘The Rise of Dark Web Design: How Sites Manipulate You into Clicking’ [Daniel Fitton]
  38. ‘In a Distracted World, Solitude Is a Competitive Advantage’ [Mike Erwin]
  39. ‘Millennials own nothing because the economy screwed us over for 25 years — but older generations still try and blame it on our work ethic’ [Ingrid Cruz]
  40. ‘Why You Should Assume Everyone Is Stupid, Lazy, and Possibly Insane (Including You)’ [Stephen Johnson]
  41. ‘The Impact Of Blockchain Technology On The eLearning Industry’ [Smith Johnes]
  42. ‘We cannot negotiate the melting point of ice’ [WWF]
  43. ‘Facebook, the metaverse and the monetisation of higher education’ [John Preston]
  44. ‘Mask-wearing linked to 53% cut in Covid incidence, global study finds’ [Andrew Gregory]
  45. ‘Remote Work Should Be (Mostly) Asynchronous’ [Steve Glaveski]
  46. ‘Earth is getting a black box to record our climate change actions, and it’s already started listening’ [Nick Kilvert]
  47. ‘Quiet People in Meetings Are Incredible’ [Tim Denning]
  48. ‘3 Ways To Use Lottie Animations To Enhance Your Learning Experiences’ [Melissa Milloway]
  49. ‘How to rest well’ [Alex Soojung-Kim Pang]
  50. ‘Online Gaming Is the New Therapist’s Office’ [Gina Rich]
  51. ‘The big idea: Should we leave the classroom behind?’ [Laura Spinney]
  52. ‘What To Do When You’re Feeling Lost’ [Brad Stulberg]
  53. BONUS: ‘How to Care Less About Work’ [Charlie Warzel and Anne Helen Petersen]
  54. BONUS: ‘Dear Self; We Need To Talk About Social Media’ [Elizabeth]

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash