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Widgets by Rodd Wagner

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THE SEVENTH RULE

Don’t Kill the Meaning

ONE OF THE BEST DEMONSTRATIONS OF THE POWER OF MEANINGFUL work revolves around the question of how long you can get a Harvard man to play with Legos.

Beginning around 2001, the company that makes Legos began selling a line it called Bionicle. Bionicles were otherworldly action figures with names like Tahu, Kopaka, Pohatu, and Onua. They came unassembled in colorful cylinders so the child who got one could not only play with the figure when it was done but get the satisfaction of building it.

A few years after Bionicle came onto the market, three researchers decided to recruit male undergraduates at Harvard University to assemble the 40-odd pieces into the finished figure. (Harvard men can do this without ...

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