Why Frenemies May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Excerpt – We often think about relationships on a spectrum from positive to negative. We gravitate toward loving family members, caring classmates and supportive mentors. We do our best to avoid the cruel uncle, the playground bully and the jerk boss. But the most toxic relationships aren’t the purely negative ones. They’re the ones that are a mix of positive and negative. We often call them frenemies, supposed friends who sometimes help you and sometimes hurt you. But it’s not just friends. It’s the in-laws who volunteer to watch your kids but belittle your parenting. The roommate who gets you … Read More

“The Perfection Trap” decries what it calls a “hidden epidemic”

Thomas Curran finds some unusual culprits for the scourge of perfectionism “Mr [social psychologist at the London School of Economics Thomas] Curran distinguishes between three sorts of perfectionism. The first, which looks inward, is the relentless self-scolding of the workaholic or punctilious student. A second version, directed towards others, is commonly found in bosses who have unrealistic expectations of their staff and decry their supposed failings (he cites Steve Jobs as an example). The third and most troublesome kind is the form imputed to society: “an all-encompassing belief that everybody, at all times, expects us to be perfect”. Its victims … Read More

How to Find a Missing Person with Dementia

Excerpt – On the day she disappeared into Los Angeles, Paulikas was one of nearly five and a half million people in the U.S. with Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia. (Today, that number is more than six million.) In becoming lost, she experienced one of the disease’s most common symptoms: the unravelling of the brain’s navigational systems. According to some estimates, more than sixty per cent of people with Alzheimer’s disease will wander away from home or a caregiver, or become lost when an abrupt bout of confusion propels them from an otherwise familiar setting. Such episodes … Read More

Our Obsession With Wellness Is Hurting Teens — and Adults

The clinical psychologist Lisa Damour offers an on-the-ground look at the mental health crisis teenagers are facing. “[New York Times’ Ezra Klein] [..] What has always been difficult about being a teenager? [Clinical psychologist and author of “The Emotional Lives of Teenagers” and “Under Pressure” Lisa Damour] Well, we have a few cardinal rules in psychology, and one is that change equals stress. And if you look at an 11-year-old, which is typically when we mark the beginning of adolescence, and you look at a, say, 17 or 18-year-old, so someone who’s pretty far down the line of being a … Read More

What If Instead of Trying to Manage Your Time, You Set It Free?

“In her newest book, “Saving Time,” Jenny Odell, a visual artist and the author of the best-selling “How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy,” argues that standard ways of thinking about time — particularly regarding work and what time is owed and to whom — can obscure potentially more humane and expansive, less self-centered notions of time, views that go beyond restrictive notions of efficiency or work-life balance. “I’m really trying to work against an instrumental view of time,” says Odell, who is 37, “where it’s either something that is going to help you or hurt you.” [..] [Marchese] … Read More

AI’s Education Revolution

Khan Academy is using ChatGPT to bring one-on-one teaching to scale. “Millions of students use Khan Academy’s online videos and problem sets to supplement their schoolwork. Three years ago, Sal Khan and I spoke about developing a tool like the Illustrated Primer from Neal Stephenson’s 1995 novel “The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer.” It’s an education tablet, in the author’s words, in which “the pictures moved, and you could ask them questions and get answers.” Adaptive, intuitive, personalized, self-paced—nothing like today’s education. But it’s science-fiction. Last week I spoke with Mr. Khan, who told me, “Now I think a Primer is within … Read More

How to Be More Creative

Breakthroughs are the product of persistence, not magic. Excerpt – About 10 years ago, the management professors Brian Lucas and Loran Nordgren encountered a paradox. On the one hand, we recognize that other people are more likely to make creative breakthroughs when they persist. Thomas Edison—for many the personification of creative genius—famously experimented with hundreds of materials before inventing the light bulb. On the other hand, when we feel stuck on a problem, most of us fail to see how successful we’ll be if we just keep trying. We tend to believe that our creativity plummets over time—that if our … Read More

The Only Career Advice You’ll Ever Need

“When we are stuck on a hard problem, it usually isn’t because we can’t find the answer; it’s that we don’t even know the right question. Imagine that you are trying to figure out how fast food can make you healthier: You are overlooking the right first question—which is whether fast food can do this. That is precisely the problem with agonizing over finding the right job and career. “What am I supposed to do to find a career that makes me happy?” is not the right first question. The right first question is “Who am I?” Only after we answer that can we understand … Read More

Michael Milken Wants to Speed Up Cures

Excerpt – Driven by a family history of disease and his own experience with prostate cancer, [Michael] Milken, the onetime junk-bond wizard whose spectacular downfall on securities charges led to a 22-month prison term in the 1990s, has spent the last three decades trying to advance medical science so that people “can find cures to life-threatening diseases within their own lifetimes.” [..] [KFF] Is the U.S. too slow in reaching cures? [Milken] A train today in Europe or Asia can travel at 200 miles an hour, but the average train in the U.S. travels at the same speed as 100 years ago because you … Read More

I Ruined Two Birthday Parties and Learned the Limits of Psychology

“Psychologists sometimes act like we’re compiling a how-to book for life. Year by year, we scratch out the old wives’ tales, folk theories, and cognitive biases, and then replace them with evidence-based guidance for making better, happier decisions. We are not compiling a how-to book for life. Many of our studies fail to replicate, but even if every paper were 100 percent true, you could not staple them together into an instruction manual, for two reasons. First, people are just too diverse. Almost nothing we discover is going to be true for every single human. In my own research, for … Read More