Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our Worst Habits According to Mechanical Turk

Phone From CarMy survey of habits that drive people crazy has been a hit on Mechanical Turk (see my earlier post on Mechanical Turk). Unlike my survey on the best engineering books, I've received more than 130 responses!

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with so much data. The responses are fascinating to read, but it's way too much data for a blog post; I'll have to find another way to publish the data.

In the mean time, here are a few randomly chosen responses. I've abridged the questions to save space, but the quotes are unedited.


Habit that drives me crazy: “People who panic over nothing are draining and shouldn’t be allowed to work.”

Do I have the same habit? “no”

Are other people usually annoyed by this habit? “yes”

How could someone change this habit? “Firing the employee.”

My worst habit: “Being stressed out.”

What could I do to change my habit? “Meditating”

Will I take action to change my habit? “no”

Do I have any other feedback for these questions? “kudos”


Habit that drives me crazy: “Lying, especially flattery.”

Do I have the same habit? “yes”

Are other people usually annoyed by this habit? “yes”

How could someone change this habit? “It’s hard to tell the truth in part because we may not know it ourselves or we may feel that it will hurt the other person. But in the long run, lies hurt more.”

My worst habit: “Lying”

What could I do to change my habit? “Taking the risk of telling the truth.”

Will I take action to change my habit? “yes”

Do I have any other feedback for these questions? “Very interesting. Sort of transformative.”


Habit that drives me crazy: “when people call and do not leave a message on voice mail they just hang up.”

Do I have the same habit? “yes”

Are other people usually annoyed by this habit? “yes”

How could someone change this habit? “leave a message when they call even if it is just to say their name”

My worst habit: “The same thing”

What could I do to change my habit? “leave messages even if it is a call just to chat and not something important”

Will I take action to change my habit? “no”

Do I have any other feedback for these questions? “It makes you think about how the things that annoy you most in other people you do yourself”


Habit that drives me crazy: “Overall, generalized stupidity - think of the examples outlines in “Here's Your Sign” by Bill Engvall” *

Do I have the same habit? “yes”

Are other people usually annoyed by this habit? “yes”

How could someone change this habit? “Stopping to THINK before they say and do obviously stupid things.”

My worst habit: “Talking too much, and with too little tact. My problem is that my lips move when I think.”

What could I do to change my habit? “Just stay quiet... preferably with my mouth full of water or something.”

Will I take action to change my habit? “yes”

* You can help me and my publisher by buying the book using this link. In association with Amazon.

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