This is a book about giving feedback, but not the kind you’ve come to know and loathe.

Whether it’s the feedback we give to employees and co-workers, teachers and students, or family and friends, we have a nagging suspicion that it’s ultimately going to fail. And you know what? We’re right.

According to Columbia University psychologist Kevin Ochsner, people apply just 30% of the feedback they receive. The rest is ignored, rejected, stonewalled, or mangled the moment it arrives. Even if they don’t dread feedback, the vast majority of people just aren’t interested in applying it in their professional or personal lives. If delivering feedback is going to run into that much resistance, sharing it seems like a major waste of time and energy.

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Few people like hearing bad news about themselves. Getting a tough performance review or being called out for a mistake challenges our status and triggers feelings of shame, frustration, and helplessness. Negative feedback floods the brain with stress-inducing hormones that raise our threat awareness and causes a momentary loss of executive functioning. If an unfavorable report makes you think you’ve lost your mind, it’s probably because you have.

But before we write off the criticisms we receive from bosses and friends, here’s the surprising part about negative feedback: It might actually be good for us.

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Pixar is one of the most successful movie studios in Hollywood. Over the years, it has collected more than twenty Academy Awards for hits like Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Finding Nemo. Its last eight films have grossed more than $500 million worldwide. The memorable characters and storylines that Pixar dreams up have delighted moviegoers of all ages. But behind all of the box office magic is an active feedback system that’s built on candor, communication, and a surprising openness to other people’s ideas. (more…)

The Golden State Warriors look like they’re heading once again for the NBA Finals. Now we know why.

They eat a lot of cake.

In what has become a Warriors tradition, players receive custom-designed cakes on their birthdays from Alison Okabayashi, a trained pastry chef in the Bay Area. (What else do you get for a multi-millionaire on his birthday?) Over the past year, Okabayashi has dreamed up MVP-caliber confections for the team. There was the one with the Michigan State mascot in Draymond Green’s uniform. Or the lifelike reconstruction of Anderson Vareajo’s curly hair. And who could forget the birthday cake for Kevin Durant, the newest Warrior, who celebrated his birthday with a cake replica of his jersey adorned with Olympic gold medals and crab legs?

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