Seasonal greetings

I’m taking a break from blogging for the next couple of weeks.

Blogging topics for the new year include: Surviving first year university exams; planning good things for when you leave university; more articles about design, planning, and research methods; plus the usual miscellany of interesting concepts from little-known places.

I hope that you have a pleasant, peaceful and happy festive season, and that life treats you kindly in the year ahead.

Gordon Rugg


Seasonal humour: Getting that special paper published

By Gordon Rugg

Every paper is special to its proud author. Some papers, though, are more special than others, and those papers can be hard to get published. Suppose, for instance, that you want to gift the world with your explanation for how the Egyptian pyramids were built using genetically engineered dinosaurs created by the Nephilim and controlled by implanted microchips. Traditional academic publishing can be very narrow-minded about such bold new ideas. This makes publication difficult. Difficult, however, is not the same as impossible.

This article presents a few modest proposals for ways of overcoming those difficulties, and achieving publication for that special paper. Continue reading

Misperceptions of failure

By Gordon Rugg

One of the most useful pieces of advice I every encountered in relation to life planning is that you should aim to be rejected in about 75% of your job applications.

It’s one of those profoundly counter-intuitive concepts that make you re-think a lot of things that you had previously taken for granted, and that give you a much more powerful (and also much more forgiving) set of insights as a result.

Why is it good advice, and what are the implications? Continue reading

Heroism, hagiography, and management theory

By Gordon Rugg

Popular management texts can be wonderful if you’re having a bad day. You simply dip into an accessibly-written text, and soon you encounter uplifting, edifying stories about real people who went through experiences much more traumatic than your bad day, and who then went on to accomplish amazing things. Stories like those can lift the spirits wonderfully, and fill you with new resolve and hope, at least until the next email or phone call comes along to plunge you back into the here and now.

Or, if you’re of a cynical nature, stories like those can leave you wondering whether you might be able to sell some gold bricks to anyone who believes the aforesaid tales.

So where does the truth lie? That’s the topic of this article, which takes us from management theory into the lives of saints, and into good old schema theory and cherry picking.


Images from Wikipedia; details at the end of this article

Continue reading