Thursday, September 29, 2016

I Have House Mice...Maybe Rats

I have a mouse problem, maybe a rat problem. In my house. A problem that I can't seem to make go away. I tell the tale in my article today.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

On the Envelope: Musing on the mundane

In my article today, I write a brief meditation on the lowly envelope.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Purpose of Marriage

A popular quotation from Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck is:

"The whole point of marriage is to encourage your partner’s development and have them encourage yours." 

Indeed, a Google search found that quote cited 523 times.

I raise questions about that in my article today. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Burdens of Intelligence

Being intelligent has downsides, which can be mitigated. I explore those in my article today.

An Ode to Readers of How-To Articles

The how-to article is considered a lowly form of writing. I consider it much underrated as are people who seek education, training, and edification from them. 

Thus, in, I wrote a an ode to the reader of how-to articles.

On Autumn and Fall, Life's Last Smile

Kimberly Vardeman, CC 2.0
A few days ago, we entered autumn or fall. The word, "autumn" implies hope, the endless cycle of renewal in which autumn is a necessary prerequisite to spring. In contrast,  the word "fall" implies unidirectionality...downward.

"Fall," alas, more accurately describes the final quarter of our life, the metaphor often invoked for our descent into decrepitude and extinction. William Cullen Bryant called fall, "the year's last, loveliest smile." Is it not life's last smile?

How can we cope with thoughts of death and, worse, with the dying process, which lyricist Johnny Mercer, in the song, Autumn Leaves, called, "hearing winter's song?"

I address that in my article today.

Is "The Pursuit of Happiness" Overrated?

Michael Cote, CC 2.0Psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik questions the wisdom of "the pursuit of happiness?" I lay out her case and my response in my article today.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Better Goal for Mark Zuckerberg's $3 Billion: A Super-Intelligence Pill

Everyone is falling over themselves to praise Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg for giving $3 billion in the attempt to cure all disease by the year 2100.

In my article today, I argue it would be wiser for him to fund research that would develop a super-intelligence pill.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Changing Someone's Mind

The American Psychological Association ranked Leon Festinger the 5th most influential psychologist of the 20th century. 

I was taken by his quote, "A person with conviction is a hard person to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show her facts or figures and she questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point."

Changing anyone is difficult but there are mitigators. I list five in my article today.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Gig Economy: Is that trend good? An internal debate

In the past 50 years, the U.S. workforce grew by 100% but by 300% in the number of part-time/temp/contract workers who want to work full-time. 

In my article today, I offer an internal debate on whether our trend toward a gig economy is a net positive.

Monday, September 19, 2016

How to Give Advice That Will Be Accepted

We're all warned not to give advice. Yet even unasked-for advice can be helpful and embraced if worded appropriately. 

In my article today, I offer templates for framing advice-giving.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Hedonism vs "Workaholism": A debate

For most people, including the Framers, core to the life well-led is "the pursuit of happiness."

Career corollaries include: "Make work fun," "Prioritize work-life balance," and "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life." 
Outside-of-work corollaries include: "Life's short. East dessert first," "He who dies with the most toys wins," and "Par-tay!"

Yet some people believe the life well-led is mainly about being productive and contributing, that time spent frivolously could be better spent.

Perhaps the debate I posted on today will help you gain clarity on whether you want to move somewhere new on the hedonist to work-centered continuum. 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

On Meeting the Intended

We typically think of birth, marriage, and death as life’s signal events. There’s a less-considered one: when parents meet their child’s intended spouse.

In my article today, I offer the thoughts that might then race through that parent's mind .

Unspeakables: What might you say to a mirror that you couldn't say to a person?

In my article today,  I show you an exercise you might find enlightening as well as raise a most difficult subject.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

On the Personal Essay: An interview with Phillip Lopate

A mark of good writers, whether fiction, essay, or poetry, is the ability to unflinchingly illuminate the emotional issues that people often try to suppress.

A prime exemplar is Phillip Lopate, long acclaimed as a writer of the widest range: from film reviews to poetry, novels to, most of all, personal essays.

Lopate is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, been a judge for the Pulitzer Prize, and is Professor and Director of the nonfiction writing program at Columbia University.  He is my latest The Eminents interview in Psychology Today.

Parenting That Made Me Cringe

Ha! Designs, CC 2.0A parent sitting near me at a restaurant made me cringe. It was her parenting. I tell the tale in my article today.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Training Smart

Next to hiring, training staff may be a manager or leader's most important task. In my article today, I offer thoughts on how to do it wisely

Monday, September 12, 2016

When A Parent Wants to Keep His Child From Paying the Price for Screwing Up

A caller to my radio show yesterday said that his son did something so bad when he was 13 that now, four years later, it's still grounds for automatic disqualification from admission to the Army. He'd love to enlist in the Army.

His father called asking for my advice on how to get the Army to make an exception. I don't think I told him what he wanted to hear. My article today consists of an augmented transcript of our exchange.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

On Being Practical: An underrated way to live.

The word "practical" has kind of gotten a bad name, implying a certain dourness, a life lacking in purple. We tend to more admire life writ-large: the risk-taker, the idealist, the artiste.

Yet, with rare exceptions such as my irrationally exuberant doting over my sweet doggie Einstein, I've stubbornly remained practical in my career, writing, and personal life. I make the case for the boring, practical life in my article today.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

On Making Mistakes: Career, Relationships, Money, Health, Performing

A differentiator between successful and unsuccessful people is in their preventing mistakes and in how they respond to mistakes they do make.

In my article today, I share thoughts on mistakes in career, relationships, money, health, and performing.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Geneticists and Education Researchers Should Talk: Thoughts on a Robert Plomin quote.

Inexorably, we're learning that intelligence, okay, "reasoning and problem solving" are heavily affected by genes. 

That doesn't imply that education is fruitless. It implies that geneticists and education researchers should work together to make the most of individuals' different genetics. 

Preeminent behavioral geneticist Robert Plomin makes the case in my article today.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Experimental Parent. An interview with T. Berry Brazelton

Courtesy, Brazelton Touchpoints Center
Parents have relied on T. Berry Brazelton’s parenting advice for decades, for example, his book: Touchpoints Birth-3.  

He is Clinical Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus at Harvard Medical School and founder of The Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. President Obama awarded him a Citizen's Medal. The Library Of Congress named him a "Living Legend. (He said, "It's better than the alternative.")

He is today's The Eminents interview in Psychology Today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Practical Ethics: An interview with Peter Singer

Joel Travis Sage, CC 3.0
Consciously or not, we're always making ethical choices. Peter Singer argues that we often do so poorly.
Singer is Professor of Bioethics at Princeton. The New Yorker called him, the planet’s “most influential living philosopher. I interviewed him today in Psychology Today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Are People a Minefield?

We can relax around some people even if they're veritable strangers...but not with others. They're mines ready to explode if you don't say what they want to hear.  

In my article today, I offer examples of the accelerating problem.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Beating The Odds: A commencement speech I may or may not get to give

A college president invited me to lunch yesterday to discuss the possibility of my giving a commencement address. We agreed  that a good topic would be "Beating the Odds."

Afterward, I decided to draft the address to give him an idea of what I'd say. I thought you too might find it of value so I posted it on

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Islands of Sanity: Escapes from the Maelstrom

Tonny Watanabe, Public DomainMany people seem busier and more stressed than ever.In my article today , I list a number of careers and recreations that are escapes from the maelstrom.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Having Trouble Finding a Good Job? Keeping a Good Job?

Know anyone who's having difficulty landing a good job? Or keeping one? Or afraid of losing their good job for fear they won't find one as good?

You're not alone. Indeed, many of my clients, colleagues, and friends struggle and worry.

And many feel inferior. After all, every month, the media trumpets the federal government's press release it titles,: "The Employment Situation."That title implies it provides a comprehensive picture of American employment.  Not exactly.

I explain why in my article today

Friday, September 2, 2016

Musings on Using Animals in Medical Research

The American Psychological Association ranked Neal Miller the 8th most influential psychologist of the 20th century. 

I had the privilege of being his research assistant at the Rockefeller University on the first research to prove that biofeedback worked.

In that research, we used a number of research animals, and animal rights activists attacked Miller for that. Here was his response:
There is sacredness of all life. But where do we draw the line? That's the problem. Cats kill birds and mice. Dogs exploit other animals by killing and eating them. Humans have to draw the line somewhere in animal rights, or we're dead.
I'm not sure that would convince vegans but perhaps the expansion of his argument that I wrote in today might:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Wise Words: 52 underused terms

In my article today, I explain why each of 52 words should more often be used.