Last night I finished Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. It's an amazing book. I highly recommend it. At any rate, via the miracle of YouTube, this man's search for videos of Dr. Frankl eventually led me to some interviews with Carl Jung, and from there, logically, Will Smith. The son of West Philadelphia alludes to The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, and speaks about that magical "Universe" business.
"The first step in transforming a society into one in which people live a good life is to teach people how to make their happiness depend as little as possible on their external circumstances. The second step in transforming a society is to change people's external circumstances. If we fail to transform ourselves, then no matter how much we transform the society in which we live, we are unlikely to have a good life."
- William Irvine, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy
Haven't read this book yet...stole the quote from Derek Sivers' notes.
Sam Harris explains how science can lead us to an objective morality that fosters individual and collective well-being. This talk is absolutely genius.
Anyone who knows me knows I love Phish. I could write a novel about how important they've been in my life, but I'll spare you and just say, watch this video, because these guys continue to stand for the fact that if you dream big, work hard, and believe in yourself, anything is possible.
junoday.com has been replaced by TED.com. Welcome.
Brené Brown shares with us the power of embracing vulnerability, which leads to "WholeHearted" living.
TED obsession continues...this talk is so awesome. William Ury is the co-author of Getting to Yes, which is a worthwhile read if you're interested in negotiating and conflict resolution. He's also a great speaker.
Recently I've been starting my days off with breakfast and a TED talk. This one really resonated with me. Three lessons for what we should emphasize in teaching today:
1) experiential learning
2) student voice
3) embracing failure
This is a great story about Edward Witten, a leading theoretical physicist and pioneer of string theory. Here's the excerpt:
How long will you need to find your truest, most productive niche? This I cannot predict, for, sadly, access to a podium confers no gift of prophecy. But I can say that however long it takes, it will be time well spent. I am reminded of a friend from the early 1970s, Edward Witten. I liked Ed, but felt sorry for him, too, because, for all his potential, he lacked focus. He had been a history major in college, and a linguistics minor. On graduating, though, he concluded that, as rewarding as these fields had been, he was not really cut out to make a living at them. He decided that what he was really meant to do was study economics. And so, he applied to graduate school, and was accepted at the University of Wisconsin. And, after only a semester, he dropped out of the program. Not for him. So, history was out; linguistics, out; economics, out. What to do? This was a time of widespread political activism, and Ed became an aide to Senator George McGovern, then running for the presidency on an anti-war platform. He also wrote articles for political journals like the Nation and the New Republic. After some months, Ed realized that politics was not for him, because, in his words, it demanded qualities he did not have, foremost among them common sense. All right, then: history, linguistics, economics, politics, were all out as career choices. What to do? Ed suddenly realized that he was really suited to study mathematics. So he applied to graduate school, and was accepted at Princeton. I met him midway through his first year there--just after he had dropped out of the mathematics department. He realized, he said, that what he was really meant to do was study physics; he applied to the physics department, and was accepted.
I was happy for him. But I lamented all the false starts he had made, and how his career opportunities appeared to be passing him by. Many years later, in 1987, I was reading the New York Times magazine and saw a full-page picture akin to a mug shot, of a thin man with a large head staring out of thick glasses. It was Ed Witten! I was stunned. What was he doing in the Times magazine? Well, he was being profiled as the Einstein of his age, a pioneer of a revolution in physics called "String Theory." Colleagues at Harvard and Princeton, who marvelled at his use of bizarre mathematics to solve physics problems, claimed that his ideas, popularly called a "theory of everything," might at last explain the origins and nature of the cosmos. Ed said modestly of his theories that it was really much easier to solve problems when you analyzed them in at least ten dimensions. Perhaps. Much clearer to me was an observation Ed made that appeared near the end of this article: every one of us has talent; the great challenge in life is finding an outlet to express it. I thought, he has truly earned the right to say that. And I realized that, for all my earlier concerns that he had squandered his time, in fact his entire career path--the ventures in history, linguistics, economics, politics, math, as well as physics--had been rewarding: a time of hard work, self-discovery, and new insight into his potential based on growing experience.
Originally from a speech by Robert Weisbrot, a professor of history at Colby College. Found on Posterous via someone's Twitter (can't remember who at this point), but it's also been linked to on Y Combinator.