1. You want to persuade your chief executive that everyone should have a siesta after lunch. Science will back you, but how long should you recommend for maximum benefit? A) 3 minutes B) 16 minutes C) 26 minutes
C) 26 minutes. Okay it’s going to be a harder sell to the chief, but the very precise ideal time comes from scientists at NASA.
The benefits? How about being 34 per cent more efficient, 54 per cent more alert? (It's those precise boffins again.)
Tell the boss that you’re more likely to be alive at the end of the week too. A huge study of Greek mid-day nappers published by Harvard School of Public Health showed that working men reduced their risk of death by 64 per cent. (No women died, so the researchers couldn’t come up with an equivalent figure.)
You should sleep in a chair or on a couch. A bed could send you into deep sleep and you'd wake up groggy and compromise your big sleeps.
Good luck with the chief executive.
2. It is much easier to persuade other drivers to let you into a line of traffic on dull days than sunny days. (Believe us, it’s true.) Can you explain why?
It’s the eye contact. You can’t establish eye contact as easily when the sunglasses come out. Eye contact builds empathy and the chances of other drivers letting you into the line of traffic increases dramatically.
It’s the same in war zones. Kevin Dutton, Professor of Psychology at Oxford, says that troops who wore sunglasses on peace-keeping duties in Iraq reported more unrest and more casualties.
3. Some women really do find men’s sweat attractive. How is that possible?
It’s genetic. Only 70 per cent of us can detect androstenone, a steroid found in sweat. You'll know you are in the remaining 30 per cent if you describe the aroma of sweat as like vanilla, woody or neutral. It’s the same with meat – especially pork.
You can buy androstenone as a 'human pheromone' on the internet to make yourself even more irresistible. The sales claims are highly suspect, despite the testimonials.
4. Where can you buy chocolate fish? A) England B) Australia C) Neither D) Both
D) Both. You can buy them in specialty shops as kiwi icons. Kiwis have been enjoying chocolate fish since 1952 and they have become the industry-standard reward for training workshops.
You can take them into Australia, as we do, but when you declare them at the border say they are ‘wrapped confectionery’. Mention chocolate fish to an Australian customs officer and you’ll get a very odd look.
5. You want to live a long and healthy life. Which country should you move to? A) Georgia B) Japan C) South Africa
B) Japan. The CIA World Fact Book (on-line) lists Japan third in the world for life expectancy.
Japan’s southern island chain Okinawa would be your best choice for a long and healthy life. It has 740 proven centenarians in a population of just 1.3 million.
A study of Okinawans running since 1975 shows that older people there eat nutritious food, garden for exercise, have a positive outlook and are valued in their families and communities.
Georgia is only 65th on the list, despite what you may have read in the media. It turns out that Georgians have been exaggerating the age of their elderly citizens and the birth records are dodgy anyway.
South Africa is number 222 - second-to-bottom for life expectancy.
New Zealand ranks only 25th, but we’ve considered all the other benefits and we're staying.
6. You are interviewing applicants for a job. Why should you be wary of a ‘star performer’ who is confident, outgoing and makes you want to say, ‘welcome aboard’ before another organisation grabs him?
You may be interviewing a narcissist. Narcissists are not just self-focused and immodest, they are all talk. Once on board, they’re a disaster. They don’t play well with others and don’t work as hard either.
A little bit of narcissism is healthy. Too much could be hazardous for your team. Want more?
7. What is the first name of the Pakistani teenager who campaigns for education for girls? A) Malika B) Malala C) Laila
C) Malala. Malala Yousafzai was 15 when she was shot by the Taliban for ‘western thinking’. (She had been advocating education for girls in a blog for the BBC’s Urdu service.) She survived the shooting and has chosen to continue her campaign.
One of our team likes to mention her story in conferences. Malala's extraordinary courage illustrates an outstanding characteristic of people who succeed: They believe that they are in charge of their lives, not fate, genes or powerful other people.
In psychology, believing you are in charge of your own life is called having an ‘internal locus of control’. It's a more courageous view of life.