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Posts tagged "Self Help"

Another Week Ends: First Reformed, Millennial Gray, Self-Improvement B.S., Getting Back On the Bike (and Off Again), and World Cup Generosity

Another Week Ends: First Reformed, Millennial Gray, Self-Improvement B.S., Getting Back On the Bike (and Off Again), and World Cup Generosity

1. A new book out by Will Storr looks at the history of the self-esteem, and its rapid growth in the technological age. Storr’s book, Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It’s Doing to Us, focuses much of its history on the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA, and places like it, which flourished in the 70s alongside the Human Potential Movement, and went mainstream in the 80s and 90s, focused on the real benefits stemming from a positive self-image. Storr uncovers the origin story of this movement, and its less-than-credible correlations between well-being and a…

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Another Week Ends: Minimizers, Teachers & Solvers, Super Bowl Winners & Self-Help Fixers, Unhappy Undergrads and Cradle Episcopalians

Another Week Ends: Minimizers, Teachers & Solvers, Super Bowl Winners & Self-Help Fixers, Unhappy Undergrads and Cradle Episcopalians

1. Kate Bowler’s new op-ed in the New York Times this week is one for the ages. Bowler, who we’ve written about before, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer at 35, having just had a baby. She is also a professor at Duke Seminary, her research and first book on the history of the American Prosperity Gospel. In this op-ed she tackles the difficulty of conversations with someone like herself, how she represents the “Angel of Death” to most people, which prompts friends and family and acquaintances to awkwardly stumble around a difficult reality they spend much of their…

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How To Be Miserable, Lesson 27

How To Be Miserable, Lesson 27

Putting the finishing touches on the Mental Health issue of our print magazine, and simply couldn’t wait to share an excerpt from one of the books we’re including in our list Non-Self-Help Self-Help Books. This comes from Randy J. Paterson’s recently released How to Be Miserable: 40 Strategies You Already Use, a tongue-in-cheek guide to being your own worst enemy. You’ll learn, for example, how to “filter for the negative”, “construct future hells”, and “rehearse the regrettable past.” As you can imagine, it’s all pretty much worth reprinting, but for the sake of brevity, here’s one of my favorites, the…

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Hollywood Teaches Us How to Be Good Friends: A Much-Belated Review of The Intern

Hollywood Teaches Us How to Be Good Friends: A Much-Belated Review of The Intern

I inwardly sighed last week when my wife suggested that we watch the 2015 Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway comedy The Intern on HBO Now. One has to admit there are problems with the film’s setup.

Robert De Niro plays Ben Whitaker, who is a retired, widowed, 70-year-old who spent 40 years climbing the corporate ladder at a telephone book publisher. He applies for a “senior internship”* offered by a hip start-up, About the Fit, which has set up its open-office, iMac- and MacBook-heavy workplace in the building where Ben’s factory used to make the now-obsolete phonebook. Ben gets assigned to the company’s…

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From the Archives - Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

From the Archives – Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Well, we’re probably nearing our yearly limit for writing about anxiety, but great articles on the subject have been irrepressible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our increasing need to self-actualize, and increasing avenues for doing so, is a root behind the contemporary epidemic of nerves that had 1 in 5 American adults on anti-anxiety or antidepressant meds in 2011, numbers which have presumably risen since. An organization called the ADAA (anxiety and depression, etc) reported that almost one-third of the nation’s health bill is caused by anxiety disorders. You could reasonably ask to vet the numbers there, but even…

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Mind Like the Raging Sea: Thoughts on David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Second Edition

Mind Like the Raging Sea: Thoughts on David Allen’s Getting Things Done, Second Edition

I’ve started reading the second edition of David Allen’s Getting Things Done, mostly because I’m due for a productivity update. If you haven’t heard of Allen’s system (abbreviated and trademarked as GTD)—well, then, you’re clearly not as efficient as you could be. I’ll pray for you.

I won’t bore you with how, specifically, GTD has allowed me to triage emails and projects and documents and presentations and travel and (shiver) networking and (throw up a little in my mouth) PowerPoint slide decks. I will say this, though: I have never successfully used my precious system outside of work. Never. I installed…

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Another Week Ends: Normcore, Eterni.me, Colbert's Late Show Prospects, Post-Grad Advice, and "I Love You, Buts"

Another Week Ends: Normcore, Eterni.me, Colbert’s Late Show Prospects, Post-Grad Advice, and “I Love You, Buts”

Real quick before we get going: Conference recordings should be up early next week! Videos will roll out gradually after that. Also, we’ve pulled Eden and Afterward to make some final changes. Look for a release announcement in the next ten days.

1) Even getting out of the game is part of the game, now. In fact, it is the game de rigueur. If you thought you weren’t in a fashion trend, if you didn’t know a group existed for people who were actually dressed just like most people, now there is, and you are, and it is the innest…

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Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut's Shapes of Stories

Another Week Ends: Negatively Positive Thinking, Bill W. and Dr. Bob, Love and Friendship, Fun Families, Facebook Sociology and Vonnegut’s Shapes of Stories

1. Think positive! The New Yorker this week pushes back against the “think I can” trend, famously espoused by Thomas the Train – and even in adult media, too. While it’s certain that confidence often sometimes helps (Seahawks defensiveback Richard Sherman self-imputed the title “best cornerback in the league” and subsequently grew into it), it tends to break down in the long run, ht TB:

According to a great deal of research, positive fantasies may lessen your chances of succeeding. In one experiment, the social psychologists Gabriele Oettingen and Doris Mayer asked eighty-three German students to rate the extent to which they “experienced positive thoughts, images,…

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Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Well, we’re probably nearing our yearly limit for writing about anxiety, and it’s only January, but great articles on the subject have been irrepressible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our increasing need to self-actualize, and increasing avenues for doing so, is a root behind the contemporary epidemic of nerves that had 1 in 5 American adults on anti-anxiety or antidepressant meds in 2011, numbers which have presumably risen since. An organization called the ADAA (anxiety and depression, etc) reported that almost one-third of the nation’s health bill is caused by anxiety disorders. You could reasonably ask…

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Another Week Ends: Grand Theft Auto, Angry Net Users, One Way Love, Self-Helpy Great Books, Anti-Altruistic Kickstarters, and More Breaking Bad

Another Week Ends: Grand Theft Auto, Angry Net Users, One Way Love, Self-Helpy Great Books, Anti-Altruistic Kickstarters, and More Breaking Bad

1. For starters, Grand Theft Auto V is out! (If you need a strong case for dabbling in it, go here). Kill Screen posted a doozie of a review, provocatively titled, “Grand Theft Auto 5 channels the violent, lonely minds of men, especially mine“, ht SZ:

I shudder with recognition… at the bleeding edge of reality in Grand Theft Auto V. I am both delighted and disturbed by how much I see elements of myself, and of everyone I know, in the narratives of the three protagonists: Michael, Franklin Clinton and Trevor Philips.

That statement doesn’t look too good, for my health or for…

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Another Week Ends: Secular Apocalypse, Holy Spirit Hits SEGA, Melville's Bible, More A-Rod, Increasing Positivity, and Insights from The Canyons

Another Week Ends: Secular Apocalypse, Holy Spirit Hits SEGA, Melville’s Bible, More A-Rod, Increasing Positivity, and Insights from The Canyons

1. First off, an excellent essay on Apocalypticism over at The Chronicle looks at the psychology behind end-times expectations and fascinations. There’s something endearing about a professed “secularist” having both a real understanding of Christianity and a penchant for pointing out how secular humanists fall prey to the same end-of-history temptations as Christians do (read: William Miller, Family Radio):

I find it harder to mock false prophets, because of the very real fear (of death, nothingness, irrelevance) to which their prophecies speak, and because I’m not at all convinced that secular culture is above their form of self-flattery. We’re living through…

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The "Me" Gospel: Killers and Chillers in the Workplace

The “Me” Gospel: Killers and Chillers in the Workplace

The internet is still brimming with commentary on what “the good life” really means, a question which, in itself, may prove the point of The NY Times‘ recent must-read op-ed, “The Gospel According to ‘Me’”. In it Jamieson Webster and Simon Critchley, a psychoanalyst and a philosophy professor talk shop about today’s “church of self,” how the emptying pews of churches and synagogues isn’t representative of popular religiosity. Quite the opposite in fact–the religious faculties of the human race are doing just fine, thank you very much; it’s simply that their object has shifted. So where is our focus these…

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