Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

Beyond The Pond

What famous (pink-colored) financial newspaper recently included in its weekend edition stories on gastronomic architecture, Sri Lankan real estate, a Greek monument inspiring dramatists in Sydney, the formative years of Vincent Van Gogh, a safari camp in Chad, premium wine rankings and a survey of restaurants in Cape Town?   Why, the Financial Times, of course. It’s not all just about dollars and cents … I have found the weekend edition a great way to keep up with life across “the pond” — and local affairs as well.

Living in Limbic Limbo

Did you know that just being aware that you have an unread e-mail  message can reduce your IQ by up to 10 points?  That texting can be addictive?  That we store information in a different, less permanent part of our brains when we divide our attention?  A thought-provoking article in The Guardian sheds new light on the allure of multitasking: The part of our brain we need to stay on task is itself easily distracted, and actually rewards us for getting sidetracked.  But there is a price to pay for trading “the big rewards that come from sustained, focused effort” for such frequent empty rewards: not only are we not getting as much done, we are compromising our own well-being with metabolic costs, anxiety, and diminished decision skills.  I’d tell you more, but I just got a text…

The Silver lining to your golden years

Two recent articles in Atlantic and WSJ provide different perspectives on the same topic: Getting older = Getting better. Both articles quote Stanford’s Laura Carstensen, whose research at the Center on Longevity is challenging long-held assumptions about aging and decline.  The Journal article provides evidence that seniors are happier, smarter, and more creative and productive, while the Atlantic article focuses on the midlife crisis. Labor and development economists are discovering a U-shaped pattern of content as we age that spans cultures, economic conditions, and even species: evidence suggests that an ape’s sense of well-being also bottoms out at what is their equivalent to age 45-50. The good news is it does get better and stays better, well into your seventies. The takeaway?  Recognize that the U-curve is to blame — not your life choices — and ride through the mid-life storm to better days ahead.

Perks Pack a Punch

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an update on a Silicon Valley touchstone: lavish employee perks.  Now that the tech job market is so tight, perks have moved from from niceties to musts. They now account for “easily” 15% of salaries, and many companies have staff devoted to providing them.  Are they worth it?  This article questions the ROI and traces the practice back to SV’s earliest roots: Hewlett-Packard, which in the 1950s provided then-radical perks like flex hours and stock options.  Makes you wonder whether mediation, meals, and massages will be de rigueur a few decades from now.  

Looking for a quick hit of news?  The landing page for Factiva (select it from our list of databases here) includes top stories at a glance for WSJ, NYT, Washington Post, The Times, Barron’s, Forbes, and more.

Numbers, numbers

How many Google searches are performed every minute?  2,000,000. That and other interesting statistics from the sublime to the ridiculous were listed in the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of  Information Today magazine. Other tidbits? 34% of college students report downloading course materials from “unauthorized” Web sites, while  $110 is the typical price for a print textbook ($58 for a digital one). The number of open access journals that accepted a ‘spoof paper’ from a journalist working for Science was 157. Warren Buffett has forked out $344 million the past several years to acquire 28 newspapers, while print newspaper advertising revenue declined by $1.8 billion in 2012. 84% of Pinterest users are female, 70% of Google+ users are male. 100 minutes is the average number of minutes per day spent online by people who report spending “leisure time” on the Net.  28% of Facebook’s 128 million daily users access it via mobile devices, while 190 is the average number of ‘friends’ among Facebook users. There are 231.7 million “monthly active” users of Twitter; the number of hard-boiled eggs consumed weekly at Twitter headquarters is 1,440. And finally, in a survey 90% of Americans 16 and older said that closing of their public library would have “an impact on their community”. That is one statistic worth remembering.

More Bliss For Your Buck

If you’ve ever bought a major appliance for no money down and no payments for 12 months, you already know the misery that comes from having to pay for something you’ve already “owned” for a year. But have you ever thought about the benefits of doing the opposite?  By prepaying, you psych yourself into feeling like you got something free. Paying in advance is just one of the 5 principles outlined by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton in Happy Money: The science of smarter spending. Endorsed by such luminaries as Dan Ariely, Dan Gilbert, and our own Chip Heath, Happy Money is full of amusing anecdotes and great advice on mindful spending.  Check it out and learn for yourself that “if you think money can’t buy happiness, you’re not spending it right.”

Happy Money is in the GSB Library stacks under call number HG 179 .D8587 2013.

The Roaring Twenties

Have you ever thought that it doesn’t matter what you do in your early adult years, as you still have plenty of time to change course and take another path later? Clinical psychologist Meg Jay argues that the choices you make in your twenties have more of an effect on the rest of your life then any you make in the decades after that, and provides true life examples to illustrate it. In The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now, Dr. Jay discusses: 

  • the concept of “identity capital” (which might be described as the qualities that make your resume stand out) and how to build yours;
  • the value of mining “weak ties” to open unexpected doors;
  • the effects of “sliding, not deciding” in relationships; and
  • making your own certainty

The Defining Decade is in our Popular Books section, and circulates for two weeks.  Check it out!

For another take on life lessons geared toward your third decade, take a look at Tina Seelig’s What I wish I knew when I was 20: A crash course on making your way in the world. This lively and readable account of life lessons and cogent observations is food for thought at any age.  Seelig, MSE professor and Executive Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, uses anecdotes from many luminaries and her own life to illustrate principles such as:

  • the influence of direct and indirect messages
  • the advantage of challenging assumptions
  • the value of viewing problems as opportunites, and turning failure into success
  • what a successful career really looks like (hint: not a straight line)
  • the importance of doing the right thing instead of the smart thing

What I wish I knew when I was 20 is in our main stacks on the lower level, call # LC 1037.5 S44 2009.  Check it out!


 


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