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What Can We Learn From the Desks of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg?

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How a person leaves their office desk can tell you a lot about them.

Is it organized chaos, bursting with new plans and ideas to take the world by storm? Do sentimental photos of family and moments adorn the area surrounding the workspace? Is the desk organized, meticulously cleaned, and orderly?

The structure of a person’s work environment, along with the routines they use for enhancing productivity while at the office, can help give us insight on how they work best – and this becomes especially interesting when we look at the strategies and tactics used by some of the world’s most extraordinary people.

Famous Desks and What We Can Learn

Today’s infographic comes from the Pens.com, and it highlights the work habits, routines, and desks from extraordinary people like Albert Einstein, Ernest Hemingway, Arianna Huffington, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg.

Let’s see what we can take away from these examples:

What Can We Learn From the Desks of Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg?

Each approach above is unique – and each set of tactics helps that extraordinary person in getting closer to reaching their objective.

Lessons from the Greats

Here are some of our favorite lessons that we thought were the most tangible:

Mark Zuckerberg
Consistent with his grey t-shirt and jeans approach to his wardrobe, Zucks also keeps his workspace simple. He doesn’t have an office, and instead works with the same desk setup as every other Facebook employee.

Lesson: As a leader, the way you dress and set up your work environment also communicates your values to the organization and the outside world. Mark Zuckerberg keeps his environment simple to help him focus on the bigger problems, and this vision shines through crystal clear to inspire the people around him.

Elon Musk
At the Tesla office, Elon Musk set his desk up at the end of the Model X assembly line so he could personally inspect each finished vehicle.

Lesson: When doing something bold and visionary, there must be constant attention to detail to ensure that the end product meshes with the vision. Elon could have put his desk somewhere with a nice view, or in a corner office. Instead, by setting up his desk in this strategic position, it gave him assurance that the vehicles coming off the line were going to meet his uncompromising quality standards.

Albert Einstein
Einstein believed that cluttered desks were the sign of a cluttered brain, with lots of things going on. As such, he wondered what was going on in the brains of people with perfectly tidy workspaces!

Einstein also thought that combining unrelated concepts to generate new, creative ideas was a secret of genius.

Lesson: Studies have shown that messy desks are linked to creativity – something that Einstein needed when solving “outside the box” physics problems like relativity.

Arianna Huffington
For anyone that has read her book, Sleep Revolution, it’s clear Arianna Huffington believes that people are generally quite sleep-deprived. For these reasons, she encourages naps to boost productivity in the workplace.

Lesson: Arianna Huffington has “owned” the discussion around sleep, and how proper habits can help with work productivity. It’s no surprise she walks the talk, as well.

Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway thought he did his best work standing up, and he also kept a tally of his daily word count in front of him.

Lesson: While studies show working while standing up can enhance productivity by 10% – more importantly, Hemingway did what works best for him, even though it was unconventional. He also knew that monitoring his most important KPI, and keeping that metric right in front of him, would allow him to best gauge his progress on achieving his vision.

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Automotive

What are America’s Most Disappointing Cars in 2024?

Automakers with models on the most disappointing cars list include: Volkswagen, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Nissan.

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A cropped bar graph with the percentage of survey respondents (from Consumer Reports) who would buy or lease their specific models again.

What are America’s Most Disappointing Cars in 2024?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

Cars are such a fundamental part of American life, that certain brands or models can attract abject tribalism from their fans and blind judgment from critics.

Meanwhile, there are some car owners who simply do not jive well with their auto of choice, and would not be hitching their wagon to the brand any time soon.

We rank the 10 most disappointing cars to own, based on the results from an annual survey by Consumer Reports which asked 330,000 members whether they would buy or lease their same vehicle again.

Ranked: The Least Satisfying Cars to Own in the U.S.

The Infiniti QX50 is the least satisfying car to own, according to those polled at Consumer Reports. An overwhelming three quarters polled said they would not buy or lease their car again.

The QX50 is Infiniti’s compact crossover offering, currently in its second generation (introduced in 2019). Major criticisms from auto reviewers revolve around the car’s fuel economy and loud engine, especially compared to rival cars from BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

“The QX50’s attractive styling and interior may entice luxury shoppers, but the powertrain’s shortcomings mean it can’t quite match the upscale experience offered by numerous rivals.” — Car and Driver Magazine

For a car priced between $42,000–$60,000, these fundamental flaws explain why most owners would not want to buy again.

RankBrandModel% of Buyers Who
Wouldn't Buy Again
1InfinitiQX5075%
2VolkswagenTaos62%
3NissanSentra61%
4KiaSorento Hybrid58%
5NissanKicks56%
6KiaSeltos55%
7Mercedes-BenzC-Class54%
8VolkswagenJetta53%
9KiaForte53%
10NissanAltima52%

Note: Infiniti is Nissan’s luxury vehicle division.

At second place, more than 60% of respondents said they would pass on purchasing the Volkswagen Taos if given the chance. While the 2024 model is reasonably reviewed, previous models appear to be mired with engine issues, including stalling and acceleration lag.

Between August 2021 and March 2023, a total of six recalls were issued for the Taos.

Volkswagen has another car on the disappointment list (the Jetta, ranked 8th), but Nissan is underperforming Consumer Reports’ members the most. More than 50% of the respondents would not buy or lease either the Sentra, the Kicks, or the Altima again.

Interestingly there isn’t a noticeable correlation between price and displeasure for survey respondents. The Infiniti QX50 and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class (ranked 7th) are the only two cars on the list priced above $40,000. The other range between $20,000 (Kia Forte) and $39,000 (Kia Sorento Hybrid).

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