We are creatures of habit, and that is never more evident as in the advent of a new year when we swear to new habits as we discard old ones. Despite our best intentions, perhaps it is the very habit of our habits that could use a New Year’s resolve. In a recent New York Times Op-Ed, Harvard economics professor Sendhil Mullainathan examined how our comfortable habits...Read More
These days we are besieged by alarming events, those unfolding in our own backyard and in the yards of far-flung places. We seek refuge from our angst of what is and what might be.
Mental escape is one popular way to cope with worries and as bibliophiles can attest, books are a magical escape route. But, can they provide more than that? Do books offer a novel therapy during turbulent times—in both the literal and figurative sense?
If that seems like hyperbole, consider how well books can influence our perspective on the world or alter our mood; they can engender ideas, tap into emotions, and motivate behaviors—results we often seek from traditional treatments and remedies.Read More
Dusters are making news again (a rare one wreaked havoc in central Illinois this past week). According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, they are increasing in numbers. A dust déjà vu?
Mention the Dust Bowl and people often refer to John Steinbeck’s classic, “The Grapes of Wrath,” and the Joad family’s migrant escape to California. Like the fictional Joad’s, millions of real people fled the Plains States during the Dirty Thirties. What about those who stayed behind?Read More
I have recently read some very good books on productivity, focus, business ingenuity, perseverance. For all the wisdom bestowed, reality is that my get-up-and-go keeps meandering through meadows of dandelions and daffodils. I should be writing, instead I just want to curl up and read about escaping to far-flung places. That’s when it hit me, I have Spring Fever. I...Read More
We say it about ourselves, about others, and sometimes, about entire groups: “How could I (he, she, we, or they) have been so blind?” This later fallibility is the focus of “Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril.” In it, author Margaret Heffernan combines research and compelling case studies to examine our collective societal ‘ostrichness’.Read More
Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s life has inspired a recent cascade of creativity. First Ron Chernow wrote the Pulitzer-prize winning biography, “Alexander Hamilton,” which begat Lin-Manuel Miranda’s blockbuster, “Hamilton: The Musical.” Since its launch in 2015, the musical was the catalyst for a PBS special, a mixtape, and another book, “Hamilton: The Revolution,” a virtual matryoshka doll of stories nesting inside of stories: autobiography, biography and history.Read More