Couldn't get into this that much. It felt like too much self-reflexivity in the service of itself, rather than in the service of doing greater justiceCouldn't get into this that much. It felt like too much self-reflexivity in the service of itself, rather than in the service of doing greater justice to something outside of the author. This impression was NOT negated by her self-reflexive acknowledgement that this was a possibility, the entire topic of the essay on Saccharine/Sentimentality. She references Joan Didion in one of the "Pain Tours" essays, and her style reminded me of the little Didion I have read, which would be great recommendation for many. Portions of the first essay, on being a medical actor, and the essay on Morgellons, were almost medical anthropology (which I like). Wide ranging in location/topic as well as in references. The references don't always add to the reader's experience, though contemplating them might have added to hers. ...more
Really enjoyed this. Fast, fascinating, funny, and sad.
"Little Eustace Conway was a teenager. He was already a skilled woodsman and a fierce leader,Really enjoyed this. Fast, fascinating, funny, and sad.
"Little Eustace Conway was a teenager. He was already a skilled woodsman and a fierce leader, the one who had every kid in his neighborhood working on regulated shifts around the clock to tend to his extensive personal turtle collection." (196)
"So Eustace doesn't know what to do about Ashley. In the end, his decision will almost certainly be a showdown between the two things he craves most: absolute love and absolute control. It's a tough call. Historically, love has always been a pretty fierce contender, but some people in this world need more than love. Eustace has lived without love before; that's a familiar sensation for him. whereas he has never lived a moment of his adult life without control." (246). ...more
Read this because of fascinating NYT magazine excerpt on how Target tracks our buying habits. The rest of the book is not as compelling -- anecdotes sRead this because of fascinating NYT magazine excerpt on how Target tracks our buying habits. The rest of the book is not as compelling -- anecdotes sometimes don't support particular arguments he's attempting to illustrate (the Hey-Ya examples being the most egregious), and his section on how social movements occur is weak and unconvincing, and not really about habits, per se. Style and structure were often clunky, and the book seems a bit muddled as its ultimate purpose. I dunno, I guess I was expecting slightly more substantial psychology or social science and instead got more of a book solidly for businesses/manager types and people on the beginning of their self-help journeys. But I fall into the latter category, so why am I pooh pooh-ing this book so much? I dunno. Maybe I am just jealous of how $$$ money this dude's gonna make at corporate speaking gigs.
Anyway, lessons I'll take away -- *making your bed every morning and committing to regular exercise are two habits that can transform your entire goddamn life *Diagram about mouse brain activity spike post-reward eventually arriving prior to reward (the origin of cravings) *Changing habits requires identifying the cues and rewards that trigger and support the habit behavior, then trying out various substitutes for the behavior that might achieve the same reward *deliberate advance plans for responding to challenging situations can be extremely helpful (ex Scottish knee/hip replacement patients, Michael Phelps, Starbucks) *With more challenging habits like alcoholism or stuff related to football, true belief and submission to some higher purpose is necessary *in general, it's more effective to change others' habits if you make them believe they have some power or authority over their decision than if you coerce them with force *casinos are super evil
The first chapter, which presents five components to human well-being, is the best part of this book. The remainder, which are laden with Seligman's mThe first chapter, which presents five components to human well-being, is the best part of this book. The remainder, which are laden with Seligman's many meandering anecdotes about all the brilliant people he's worked with and the professional and financial success he has attained, are less helpful.
The five components, btw, are Positive emotions (happiness, pleasure, joy, etc), Engagement (participation in activities that create "flow" states), Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement. ...more