How To Inoculate Children Against Peer Pressure

Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography

When I was in first grade, I vividly recall my father once saying to me, “Just because your friends think something is a good idea doesn’t mean it is. You should always do what you think.” I don’t remember what prompted him to say this, but not one day later […]

Choosing The Object Of Your Devotion

Photo: khrawlings

Whether we realize it or not, at every moment we stand devoted to something—something which we cherish above all others. It may be money, a job, a person, an ideal, or our own comfort, but whatever it is, it’s the thing to which we orient all our resources, all our interest, and […]

Great Books

Photo: shutterhacks

I love to read. In fact, there are few things I enjoy more. Though my great passion is fiction, I’ll read almost anything: non-fiction, comic books, newspaper and magazine articles, blogs, poems, candy wrappers, it doesn’t matter—anything with words in it. Reading is listening to someone else’s thoughts, learning from and about […]

How To Ask The Right Questions

Photo: Marco Bellucci

Our minds are simply not to be trusted. As Daniel Kahneman wrote in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, we’re all at the mercy of a voluminous set of cognitive biases that distort our thinking: we routinely ignore evidence that contradicts our preexisting beliefs, we think anecdotally rather than statistically, we’re […]

How To Prevent Procrastination

Photo: kaibara87

I’m among the most disciplined people I know, but when it comes to avoiding procrastination I know one person who’s even better than I: my wife. She delays nothing. Even when it seems like she might be, it’s only because she’s getting a long series of other things done first. She’s been […]

Why Raising Children Is So Hard

Photo: limaoscarjuliet

You don’t really know what an experience is like, of course, until you have it yourself. I remember thinking to myself when my wife and I first began discussing the idea of having children that this was especially true regarding parenthood. In the past I’d been able to predict with reasonable accuracy […]

Removing A Splinter

Photo: SuperFantastic

Two weeks ago, my son came home from nursery school with a splinter in his palm. It was so small, though, I wasn’t sure if it was really there.

“It’s there,” my wife said.

She’d tried to squeeze it out before I’d come home but had only succeeded in hurting him terribly. […]

Why Perfect Is The Enemy Of Good

Photo: stevendepolo

As long as I can remember, I’ve been burdened with a desire for perfection in all my creative endeavors. No new sentence can be written until the previous one is just right. No garment painted can be abandoned until its texture seems utterly real, as if touching it wouldn’t yield the sensation […]

Celebrating Birthdays

Photo: Aih

One week ago, my family and I celebrated my father’s 75th birthday. Even writing that number I find shocking (probably almost as shocking as my father finds reading it). Birthdays have always represented the most important of all celebrations in my family—more important certainly than any local or national holidays. What, after […]

The Joy Of Not Hurrying

Photo: Autistic Psycho

The other day I found myself standing in a long line to buy breakfast in my hospital’s cafeteria when I noticed something that surprised me: I wasn’t feeling annoyed at having to wait. In the past, such a delay to the start of my day—to any part of my day, really—would […]