Why Be Average Quotes

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Women intrinsically understand human dynamics, and that makes them unstoppable. Unfortunately, the average man is less adroit at fostering such rivalries, which is why most men remain average; males are better at hating things that can't hate them back (e.g., lawnmowers, cats, the Denver Broncos, et cetera). They don't see the big picture.
Chuck Klosterman (Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas)
But why diminish your soul being run-of-the-mill at something? Mediocrity: now there is ugliness for you. Mediocrity's a hairball coughed up on the Persian carpet of Creation.
Tom Robbins (Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas)
I can explain myself: If you want to be safe, walk in the middle of the street. I’m not joking. You’ve been told to look both ways before crossing the street, and the sidewalk is your friend, right? Wrong. I’ve spent years walking sidewalks at night. I’ve looked around me when it was dark, when there were men following me, creeping out of alleyways, attempting to goad me into speaking to them and shouting obscenities at me when I wouldn’t, and I suddenly realised that the only place left to go was the middle of street. But why would I risk it? Because the odds are in my favour. In the States, someone is killed in a car accident on average every 12.5 minutes, while someone is raped on average every 2.5 minutes. Even when factoring in that, one, I am generously including ALL car-related accidents and not just those involving accidents, and two, that the vast majorities of rapes still go unreported […] And, thus, this is now the way I live my life: out in the open, in the middle of everything, because the middle of the street is actually the safest place to walk.
Emilie Autumn (The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls)
Addicts, as a group, generally score far above average o intelligence tests. Why? You tell me. I guess maybe we're smart enough to have figured out how shitty things are and we decide addiction is the only way to deal with it.
James Frey (A Million Little Pieces)
By definition, it is not possible to everyone to be above the average.
James C. Collins (Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't)
I bet if you look at the average teenager and the average adult, the average teenager has read more books in the last year than the average adult. Now of course the adult would be all like, 'I'm busy, I got a job, I got stuff to do.' WHATEVER! READ! I mean, you're watching CSI: Miami. Why would you be watching CSI: Miami, when you could be READING CSI: Miami, the novelization?
John Green
Why?" "Because...because he's so tall," Mindy explained, like height was proof of good character. "And did I mention European?" "Yes. It's so much better to be stalked by a tall European that an American of average height.
Beth Fantaskey (Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica, #1))
Justin, honey, you were my very first kiss. My very first hand to hold. But you were nothing more than an average guy. And I don't say that to be mean- I don't. There was just something about you that made me need to be your girlfriend to this day I don't know exactly what that was. But it was there.. and it was amazingly strong. -Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher
There seems to be an inborn drive in all human beings not to live in a steady emotional state, which would suggest that such a state is not tolerable to most people. Why else would someone succumb to the attractions of romantic love more than once? Didn’t they learn their lesson the first time or the tenth time or the twentieth time? And it’s the same old lesson: everything in this life—I repeat, everything—is more trouble than it’s worth. And simply being alive is the basic trouble. This is something that is more recognized in Eastern societies than in the West. There’s a minor tradition in Greek philosophy that instructs us to seek a state of equanimity rather than one of ecstasy, but it never really caught on for obvious reasons. Buddhism advises its practitioners not to seek highs or lows but to follow a middle path to personal salvation from the painful cravings of the average sensual life, which is why it was pretty much reviled by the masses and mutated into forms more suited to human drives and desires. It seems evident that very few people can simply sit still. Children spin in circles until they collapse with dizziness.
Thomas Ligotti
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy's definition of "Universe": The Universe is a very big thing that contains a great number of planets and a great number of beings. It is Everything. What we live in. All around us. The lot. Not nothing. It is quite difficult to actually define what the Universe means, but fortunately the Guide doesn't worry about that and just gives us some useful information to live in it. Area: The area of the Universe is infinite. Imports: None. This is a by product of infinity; it is impossible to import things into something that has infinite volume because by definition there is no outside to import things from. Exports: None, for similar reasons as imports. Population: None. Although you might see people from time to time, they are most likely products of your imagination. Simple mathematics tells us that the population of the Universe must be zero. Why? Well given that the volume of the universe is infinite there must be an infinite number of worlds. But not all of them are populated; therefore only a finite number are. Any finite number divided by infinity is zero, therefore the average population of the Universe is zero, and so the total population must be zero. Art: None. Because the function of art is to hold a mirror up to nature there can be no art because the Universe is infinite which means there simply isn't a mirror big enough. Sex: None. Although in fact there is quite a lot, given the zero population of the Universe there can in fact be no beings to have sex, and therefore no sex happens in the Universe.
Douglas Adams
It's about average for us. Behavior always draws more than survey. We're the sexy ones,' Nate said with a grin. Amy snorted. 'Oh, yeah, you guys are the Mae Wests of the nerd world.' We're action nerds,' Nate said. 'Adventure nerds. Nerds of romance.
Christopher Moore (Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings)
I'm drawn to unusual, even freakish people. Why? They are far more engaging than the ordinary, which the world has too much of.
Donna Lynn Hope
Statistically, if you're reading this sentence, you're an oddball. The average American spends three minutes a day reading a book. At this moment, you and I are engaged in an essentially antiquated interaction. Welcome, fellow Neanderthal!
Dick Meyer (Why We Hate Us: American Discontent in the New Millennium)
If a man's got talent and guts to buck society, he's obviously above average. You want to hold on to him. You straighten him out and turn him into a plus value. Why throw him away? Do that enough and all you've got left are the sheep.
Alfred Bester (The Demolished Man)
And knowing what happens on average is a good place to start. By so doing, we insulate ourselves from the tendency to build our thinking - our daily decisions, our laws, our governance - on exceptions and anomalies rather than on reality.
Steven D. Levitt (SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance)
I recently read in the book My Stroke of Insight by brain scientist Jill Bolte Taylor that the natural life span of an emotion—the average time it takes for it to move through the nervous system and body—is only a minute and a half. After that we need thoughts to keep the emotion rolling. So if we wonder why we lock into painful emotional states like anxiety, depression, or rage, we need look no further than our own endless stream of inner dialogue.
Tara Brach
What would you prefer? Life in a maximum-security prison or trapped in Jurassic Park?" "Do I have a social standing in this prison?" "No. You're just an average Joe." "Then I guess I have to go with Jurassic Park." "Why?" "Well, I'll have constant fresh air, for a start, and also if I'm going to be anyone's prey, I'm going to be the prey of an animal that's acting out of instinct rather than psychopathy... You?" "If you're in Jurassic Park, I'm in Jurassic Park.
Samantha Young (Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3))
Repetition is sometimes the best way to deal with the Luidaeg: just keep saying the same thing over and over until she gets fed up and gives you what you want. All preschoolers have an instinctive grasp of this concept, but most don’t practice it on immortal water demons. That’s probably why there are so few disembowelments in your average preschool.
Seanan McGuire (A Local Habitation (October Daye, #2))
We spend too much time trying to be “good” when good is often merely average. To be great we must be different. And that doesn’t come from trying to follow society’s vision of what is best, because society doesn’t always know what it needs. More often being the best means just being the best version of you.
Eric Barker (Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong)
There would be little reason to lie down at night without the possibility of seeing things bigger and more amazing than the average day might bright about. Why pick up a pen or type on a keyboard if there's no imagination or wonder left to behold? I would hate to be in the position of hoping for nothing simply because my brain can no longer dream.
Obert Skye
Average companies give their people something to work on. In contrast, the most innovative organizations give their people something to work toward.
Simon Sinek (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action)
Dreaming is the closest the average human gets to the paranormal plane; it’s the time when the mind lets down its guard and the walls get thin enough for there to be glimpses to the other side. That’s why, after sleeping, so many people report a visit from someone who’s passed.
Jodi Picoult (Leaving Time)
Unless Sophronia missed her guess, the poor lad was already developing romantic feelings toward her friend. Many of the sooties probably were. Dimity was so pretty and chattery, she quite overpowered the average male. Many gentlemen were unable to cope with abundant chatter, which is why they so often married it.
Gail Carriger (Curtsies & Conspiracies (Finishing School, #2))
Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression. Why are more creative people prone to madness? They have more than average amounts of energies and abilities to see things in a fresh and original way—then because they also have depression, I think they’re more in touch with human suffering.
Nick Flynn (Another Bullshit Night in Suck City)
Caffeine has an average half-life of five to seven hours. Let’s say that you have a cup of coffee after your evening dinner, around 7:30 p.m. This means that by 1:30 a.m., 50 percent of that caffeine may still be active and circulating throughout your brain tissue. In other words, by 1:30 a.m., you’re only halfway to completing the job of cleansing your brain of the caffeine you drank after dinner.
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams)
As a general principle, people feel more responsible for their actions than they do for their inactions. If we are going to err at something, we would rather err by failing to act.
Joseph T. Hallinan (Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average)
I'm not interested in absolute moral judgments. Just think of what it means to be a good man or a bad one. What, after all, is the measure of difference? The good guy may be 65 per cent good and 35 per cent bad—that's a very good guy. The average decent fellow might be 54 per cent good, 46 per cent bad—and the average mean spirit is the reverse. So say I'm 60 per cent bad and 40 per cent good—for that, must I suffer eternal punishment? "Heaven and Hell make no sense if the majority of humans are a complex mixture of good and evil. There's no reason to receive a reward if you're 57/43—why sit around forever in an elevated version of Club Med? That's almost impossible to contemplate.
Norman Mailer (On God: An Uncommon Conversation)
A farm includes the passion of the farmer's heart, the interest of the farm's customers, the biological activity in the soil, the pleasantness of the air about the farm -- it's everything touching, emanating from, and supplying that piece of landscape. A farm is virtually a living organism. The tragedy of our time is that cultural philosophies and market realities are squeezing life's vitality out of most farms. And that is why the average farmer is now 60 years old. Serfdom just doesn't attract the best and brightest.
Joel Salatin (Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front)
Do you know why average men can live out thire lives and die without accoplishing anything ? First off, because they lack imagination ..They never find anything more valuable than thier own lives .So they lived and die , shamelessly creating nothing but shit ..
Hajime Isayama (進撃の巨人 18 [Shingeki no Kyojin 18] (Attack on Titan, #18))
Would you believe I was in the neighborhood?” “No." “Well, how about that I needed to see you.” “Why? Did one of my neighbors call and say my cat’s been stalking their bunny?” One corner of his mouth went up. “You know, that sounds like a euphemism. A kind of salacious one” “Ooh, big words for Mr. Average Joe street cop,” she said, knowing she sounded bitchy but unable to help it. “Can you take out the angry eyes, Mrs. Potato Head, and just let me talk to you?
Leslie Parrish (Cold Touch (Extrasensory Agents, #2))
That’s why everyone hates each other nowadays,’ he reckoned. ‘Because they are overloaded with non-friends friends. Ever heard about Dunbar’s number?’ And then he had told her about a man called Roger Dunbar at Oxford University, who had discovered that human beings were wired to know only a hundred and fifty people, as that was the average size of hunter-gatherer communities.
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
In the end, it seems to me that forgiveness may be the only realistic antidote we are offered in love, to combat the inescapable disappointments of intimacy." “Women’s sense of integrity seems to be entwined with an ethic of care, so that to see themselves as women as to see themselves in a relationship of connection…I believe that many modern women, my mother included, carry within them a whole secret New England cemetery, wherein that have quietly buried in many neat rows– the personal dreams they have given up for their families…(Women) have a sort of talent for changing form, enabling them to dissolve and then flow around the needs of their partners, or the needs of their children, or the needs of mere quotidian reality. They adjust, adapt, glide, accept.” “The cold ugly fact is that marriage does not benefit women as much as it benefits men. From studies, married men perform dazzingly better in life, live longer, accumulate more, excel at careers, report to be happier, less likely to die from a violent death, suffer less from alcoholism, drug abuse, and depression than single man…The reverse is not true. In fact, every fact is reverse, single women fare much better than married women. On average, married women take a 7% pay cut. All of this adds up to what Sociologists called the “Marriage Benefit Imbalance”…It is important to pause here and inspect why so women long for it (marriage) so deeply.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
If the average American were confined by the carbon footprint of her European counterpart, U.S. carbon emissions would fall by more than half. If the world’s richest 10 percent were limited to that same footprint, global emissions would fall by a third. And why shouldn’t they be?
David Wallace-Wells (The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming)
As Kurzban has summarized this finding, “We think we’re better than average at not being biased in thinking that we’re better than average.
Robert Wright (Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment)
But as any mathematician knows, averages can be deceptive. Andrew Robinson, CEO of famed advertising agency BBDO, once said, “When your head is in a refrigerator and your feet on a burner, the average temperature is okay. I am always cautious about averages.” As
Eric Barker (Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong)
She's gone. Been gone for ages. They split up right after you left. That's why the grass out front started growing again." "He's got a new girlfriend?" she said quietly. "Thank god. You must be happy." "Yeah. He does. It's a relief. She's a lot nicer. But then, your average angry snake is nicer than Fiona. I'm sure she's happier wherever she is now, burning orphans or whatever she does with her time.
Maureen Johnson (The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2))
You are the best. You are the worst. You are average. Your love is a part of you. You try to give it away because you cannot bear its radiance, but you cannot separate it from yourself. To understand your fellow humans, you must understand why you give them your love. You must realize that hate is but a crime-ridden subdivision of love. You must reclaim what you never lost. You must take leave of your sanity, and yet be fully responsible for your action.
Gnarls Barkley
Elephant, beyond the fact that their size and conformation are aesthetically more suited to the treading of this earth than our angular informity, have an average intelligence comparable to our own. Of course they are less agile and physically less adaptable than ourselves -- nature having developed their bodies in one direction and their brains in another, while human beings, on the other hand, drew from Mr. Darwin's lottery of evolution both the winning ticket and the stub to match it. This, I suppose, is why we are so wonderful and can make movies and electric razors and wireless sets -- and guns with which to shoot the elephant, the hare, clay pigeons, and each other.
Beryl Markham (West with the Night)
J. E. Littlewood, a mathematician at Cambridge University, wrote about the law of truly large numbers in his 1986 book, "Littlewood's Miscellany." He said the average person is alert for about eight hours every day, and something happens to the average person about once a second. At this rate, you will experience 1 million events every thirty-five days. This means when you say the chances of something happening are one in a million, it also means about once a month. The monthly miracle is called Littlewood's Law.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
Why let your fury lay deep inside you, sullenly boiling your blood into silent steam and griding your bones to dust? I it not better to thrust it out with great velocity from every pore, with your every action? Let your actions speak your legend. The physical is the manifestation of the spirit. Let your spirit be teeming with fury. Let your strength be unusual and controlled. The average is the borderline that keeps mere men in their place. Those who step over the line are heroes by the very act. Go.
Henry Rollins (Solipsist)
Martin Luther spent two hours a day in prayer. John Wesley spent two hours a day in prayer. According to a recent poll taken on both sides of the Atlantic, the average church leader, pastor, priest, evangelist, teacher today spends four minutes a day in prayer and you wonder why the church is powerless.
R.T. Kendall (Holy Fire: A Balanced, Biblical Look at the Holy Spirit's Work in Our Lives)
...why be an average person? All the great achievements of history have been made by strong individuals who refused to consult statistics or to listen to those who could prove convincingly that what they wanted to do, and in fact ultimately did do, was completely impossible
Eric Butterworth
In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with your problems. If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve? The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success. Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business. When achievers fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic. Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. Forget motivation. Just do it. Act your way into feeling, not wait for positive emotions to carry you forward. Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience. Life is playing a poor hand well. The greatest battle you wage against failure occurs on the inside, not the outside. Why worry about things you can't control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you? Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. If you are continually experiencing trouble or facing obstacles, then you should check to make sure that you are not the problem. Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living. Embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you're not failing, you're probably not really moving forward. Everything in life brings risk. It's true that you risk failure if you try something bold because you might miss it. But you also risk failure if you stand still and don't try anything new. The less you venture out, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically the more you risk failure — and actually fail — the greater your chances of success. If you are succeeding in everything you do, then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. And that means you're not taking enough risks. You risk because you have something of value you want to achieve. The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get. Determining what went wrong in a situation has value. But taking that analysis another step and figuring out how to use it to your benefit is the real difference maker when it comes to failing forward. Don't let your learning lead to knowledge; let your learning lead to action. The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying? Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals. Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline. Successful people have learned to do what does not come naturally. Nothing worth achieving comes easily. The only way to fail forward and achieve your dreams is to cultivate tenacity and persistence. Never say die. Never be satisfied. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Integrity is a must. Anything worth having is worth striving for with all your might. If we look long enough for what we want in life we are almost sure to find it. Success is in the journey, the continual process. And no matter how hard you work, you will not create the perfect plan or execute it without error. You will never get to the point that you no longer make mistakes, that you no longer fail. The next time you find yourself envying what successful people have achieved, recognize that they have probably gone through many negative experiences that you cannot see on the surface. Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.
John C. Maxwell (Failing Forward)
Knowing what’s truly normal or average in a big country like America requires some work.
Andrew Yang (The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future)
Certainly, the average fashion magazine gives women ridiculous relationship advice that makes it easy to understand why women are so eager to overcompensate: “Play hard to get, then cook him a four-course meal … bake him Valentine’s cookies with exotic sprinkles shipped from Malaysia (just like Martha Stewart). Don’t forget the little doilies and the organic strawberries that you drove two hours to get. Then serve it all to him on the second date, wearing a black lace nightie.” And what is this a recipe for? Disaster.
Sherry Argov (Why Men Love Bitches: From Doormat to Dreamgirl-A Woman's Guide to Holding Her Own in a Relationship)
Everybody in!" I said. Which was when we discovered the final problem. Little Echos aren't designed to hold six, count them six, larger-than-average-sized children. And their wings. And a dog. "This is like a clown car," Total grumbled front my lap in the front seat. "Why does the dog get to sit in your lap?'' Gazzy asked plaintively, as we rattled and banged down the dark streets. "How about a kid?" "Oh. 'The dog.' Very nice," said Total. "Because you're not allowed to have people on your lap in the front seats," I explained. "It's not safe. If a cop saw us, we'd be stopped for sure. You want Total back there?" Everyone in the back screamed no at the same time.
James Patterson (School's Out—Forever (Maximum Ride, #2))
The inconsistencies that haunt our relationships with animals also result from the quirks of human cognition. We like to think of ourselves as the rational species. But research in cognitive psychology and behavioral economics shows that our thinking and behavior are often completely illogical. In one study, for example, groups of people were independently asked how much they would give to prevent waterfowl from being killed in polluted oil ponds. On average, the subjects said they would pay $80 to save 2,000 birds, $78 to save 20,000 birds, and $88 to save 200,000 birds. Sometimes animals act more logically than people do; a recent study found that when picking a new home, the decisions of ant colonies were more rational than those of human house-hunters. What is it about human psychology that makes it so difficult for us to think consistently about animals? The paradoxes that plague our interactions with other species are due to the fact that much of our thinking is a mire of instinct, learning, language, culture, intuition, and our reliance on mental shortcuts.
Hal Herzog (Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals)
The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Why do we do this? Are we making 150 conscious choices?
Tristan Harris
A study of over seven hundred American millionaires showed their average college GPA was 2.9.
Eric Barker (Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong)
I have also heard and read various accounts of why they [Sheldon Leonard and Carl Reiner] liked me. My favorites? I wasn't too good-looking, I walked a little funny, and I was basically kind of average and ordinary. I guess my lack of perfection turned out to be a winning hand. Let that be a lesson for future generations.
Dick Van Dyke (My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business)
That's just how time travel looks like to the untrained eye. The reason why there aren't more travelers is that your average physicist refuses to be eaten by a giraffe in the name of science.
Bradley Sands (It Came from Below the Belt)
Female sexual turn on begins, ironically, with a brain turn off. The impulses can rush to the pleasure centers and trigger orgasm only if the amygdala- the fear and anxiety center of the brain- has been deactivated. The fact that a woman requires this extra neurological step may account for why it takes her on average three to ten times longer than the typical man to reach orgasm.
Louann Brizendine (The Female Brain)
There are two kinds of sufferers in this world: those who suffer from a lack of life and those who suffer from an overabundance of life. I’ve always found myself in the second category. When you come to think of it, almost all human behavior and activity is not essentially any different from animal behavior. The most advanced technologies and craftsmanship bring us, at best, up to the super-chimpanzee level. Actually, the gap between, say, Plato or Nietzsche and the average human is greater than the gap between that chimpanzee and the average human. The realm of the real spirit, the true artist, the saint, the philosopher, is rarely achieved. Why so few? Why is world history and evolution not stories of progress but rather this endless and futile addition of zeroes. No greater values have developed. Hell, the Greeks 3,000 years ago were just as advanced as we are. So what are these barriers that keep people from reaching anywhere near their real potential? The answer to that can be found in another question, and that’s this: Which is the most universal human characteristic – fear or laziness?
Louis MacKey
In the end, people don’t view their life as merely the average of all of its moments—which, after all, is mostly nothing much plus some sleep. For human beings, life is meaningful because it is a story. A story has a sense of a whole, and its arc is determined by the significant moments, the ones where something happens. Measurements of people’s minute-by-minute levels of pleasure and pain miss this fundamental aspect of human existence. A seemingly happy life may be empty. A seemingly difficult life may be devoted to a great cause. We have purposes larger than ourselves. Unlike your experiencing self—which is absorbed in the moment—your remembering self is attempting to recognize not only the peaks of joy and valleys of misery but also how the story works out as a whole. That is profoundly affected by how things ultimately turn out. Why would a football fan let a few flubbed minutes at the end of the game ruin three hours of bliss? Because a football game is a story. And in stories, endings matter. Yet we also recognize that the experiencing self should not be ignored. The peak and the ending are not the only things that count. In favoring the moment of intense joy over steady happiness, the remembering self is hardly always wise. “An inconsistency is built into the design of our minds,” Kahneman observes. “We have strong preferences about the duration of our experiences of pain and pleasure. We want pain to be brief and pleasure to last. But our memory … has evolved to represent the most intense moment of an episode of pain or pleasure (the peak) and the feelings when the episode was at its end. A memory that neglects duration will not serve our preference for long pleasure and short pains.” When our time is limited and we are uncertain about how best to serve our priorities, we are forced to deal with the fact that both the experiencing self and the remembering self matter. We do not want to endure long pain and short pleasure. Yet certain pleasures can make enduring suffering worthwhile. The peaks are important, and so is the ending.
Atul Gawande (Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End)
Why do men feel threatened by women?' I asked a male friend of mine. So this male friend of mine, who does by the way exist, conveniently entered into the following dialogue. 'I mean,' I said, 'men are bigger, most of the time, they can run faster, strangle better, and they have on the average a lot more money and power.' 'They're afraid women will laugh at them,' he said. 'Undercut their world view.' Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, 'Why do women feel threatened by men?' 'They're afraid of being killed,' they said.
Margaret Atwood
Sorry, the points are already deducted. And taking into account his schedule, and then the standard deviation from the average man’s schedule, I figure ninety percent of his time would go elsewhere. I’d never get uninterrupted coitus.” “Penis math,” Amy said. “Impressive.” She looked at Mallory. “See, this is why a guy shouldn’t date an accountant.
Jill Shalvis (Forever and a Day (Lucky Harbor, #6))
he believed that the more people were connected on social media, the lonelier society became. ‘That’s why everyone hates each other nowadays,’ he reckoned. ‘Because they are overloaded with non-friend friends. Ever heard about Dunbar’s number?’ And then he had told her about a man called Roger Dunbar at Oxford University, who had discovered that human beings were wired to know only a hundred and fifty people, as that was the average size of hunter-gatherer communities.
Matt Haig (The Midnight Library)
94 per cent of us think we do above-average work.
Michael Foley (The Age of Absurdity: Why Modern Life makes it Hard to be Happy)
So the average American worker has less than an associate’s degree and makes about $17 per hour.
Andrew Yang (The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future)
Sequestered in the depths of the average pacifist—as one will invariably discover—resides a killer. That is why the person has become a pacifist in the first place.
Norman Mailer (The Castle in the Forest)
According to a 2008 study by the National Sleep Foundation, American adults now get two hours less sleep per night than the average in 1960.
Kelly McGonigal (The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It)
the average necromancer is forced to run from angry villagers at least seven times over the course of their life, which may explain why so few necromancers are overweight.
L.G. Estrella (Two Necromancers, a Bureaucrat, and an Elf (The Unconventional Heroes #1))
In a complex world where people can be atypical in an infinite number of ways, there is great value in discovering the baseline. And knowing what happens on average is a good place to start. By so doing, we insulate ourselves from the tendency to build our thinking - our daily decisions, our laws, our governance - on exceptions and anomalies rather than on reality.
Steven D. Levitt (SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance)
The most common theory points to the fact that men are stronger than women and that they have used their greater physical power to force women into submission. A more subtle version of this claim argues that their strength allows men to monopolize tasks that demand hard manual labor, such as plowing and harvesting. This gives them control of food production, which in turn translates into political clout. There are two problems with this emphasis on muscle power. First, the statement that men are stronger is true only on average and only with regard to certain types of strength. Women are generally more resistant to hunger, disease, and fatigue than men. There are also many women who can run faster and lift heavier weights than many men. Furthermore, and most problematically for this theory, women have, throughout history, mainly been excluded from jobs that required little physical effort, such as the priesthood, law, and politics, while engaging in hard manual labor in the fields....and in the household. If social power were divided in direct relation to physical strength or stamina, women should have got far more of it. Even more importantly, there simply is no direct relation between physical strength and social power among humans. People in their sixties usually exercise power over people in their twenties, even though twenty-somethings are much stronger than their elders. ...Boxing matches were not used to select Egyptian pharaohs or Catholic popes. In forager societies, political dominance generally resides with the person possessing the best social skills rather than the most developed musculature. In fact, human history shows that there is often an inverse relation between physical prowess and social power. In most societies, it’s the lower classes who do the manual labor. Another theory explains that masculine dominance results not from strength but from aggression. Millions of years of evolution have made men far more violent than women. Women can match men as far as hatred, greed, and abuse are concern, but when push comes to shove…men are more willing to engage in raw physical violence. This is why, throughout history, warfare has been a masculine prerogative. In times of war, men’s control of the armed forces has made them the masters of civilian society too. They then use their control of civilian society to fight more and more wars. …Recent studies of the hormonal and cognitive systems of men and women strengthen the assumption that men indeed have more aggressive and violent tendencies and are…on average, better suited to serve as common soldiers. Yet, granted that the common soldiers are all men, does it follow that the ones managing the war and enjoying its fruits must also be men? That makes no sense. It’s like assuming that because all the slaves cultivating cotton fields are all Black, plantation owners will be Black as well. Just as an all-Black workforce might be controlled by an all-White management, why couldn’t an all-male soldiery be controlled by an all-female government?
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
The first thing they do to you when you go into New-Path," Charles Freck said, "is they cut off your pecker. As an object lesson. And then they fan out in all directions from there." "Your spleen next," Barris said. "They what, they cut -- What does that do, a spleen?" "Helps you digest your food." "How?" "By removing the cellulose from it." "Then I guess after that --" "Just noncellulose foods. No leaves or alfalfa." "How long can you live that way?" Barris said, "It depends on your attitude." "How many spleens does the average person have?" He knew there usually were two kidneys. "Depends on his weight and age." "Why?" Charles Freck felt keen suspicion. "A person grows more spleens over the years. By the time he's eighty --" "You're shitting me.
Philip K. Dick (A Scanner Darkly)
The average person checks their phone 150 times a day. Why do we do this? Are we making 150 conscious choices? One major reason why is the #1 psychological ingredient in slot machines: intermittent variable rewards . . . Addictiveness is maximized when the rate of reward is most variable.
Tristan Harris
Great teachers are wonderful. They change lives. We need them. The problem is that most schools don’t like great teachers. They’re organized to stamp them out, bore them, bureaucratize them, and make them average. Why
Seth Godin (Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?)
The study found widespread dissatisfaction with our town's public library, and, when considering the facts, it's easy to see why. The public computers for Internet use are outdated and slow. The lending period of fourteen days is not nearly long enough to read lengthier books, given the busy schedule of all our lives. The fatality rate is also well above the national average for public libraries.
Joseph Fink (Mostly Void, Partially Stars (Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, #1))
But why, why all the hurt? Because, said Mr. Halloway. You need fuel, gas, someting to run a carnival on, don't you? Women live off gossip, and what's gossip but a swap of headaches, sour spit, arthritic bones, ruptured and mended flesh, indiscretions, storms of madness, calms after the storms? If some people didn't have something juicy to chew on, their choppers would prolapse, their souls with them. Multiply their pleasure at funerals, their chuckling through breakfast obituaries, add all the cat-fight marriages where folks spend careers ripping skin off each other and patching it back upside around, add quack doctors slicing persons to read their guts like tea leaves, then sewing them tight with fingerprinted thread, square the whole dynamite factory by ten quadrillion, and you got the black candlepower of this one carnival. All the meannesses we harbor, they borrow in redoubled spades. They're a billion times itchier for pain, sorrow, and sickness than the average man. We salt our lives with other people's sins. Our flesh to us tastes sweet. But the carnival doesn't care if it stinks by moonlight instead of sun, so long as it gorges on fear and pain. That's the fuel, the vapor that spins the carousel, the raw stuffs of terror, the excruciating agony of guilt, the scream from real or imagined wounds. The carnival sucks that gas, ignites it, and chugs along its way.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
But history shows that most human beings would literally rather die than objectively reconsider the belief systems they were brought up in. The average man who reads in the newspaper about war, oppression and injustice will wonder why such pain and suffering exists, and will wish for it to end. However, if it is suggested to him that his own beliefs are contributing to the misery, he will almost certainly dismiss such a suggestion without a second thought, and may even attack the one making the suggestion.
Larken Rose (The Most Dangerous Superstition)
What would you prefer? Life in a maximum-security prison or trapped in Jurassic Park?" "Do I have a social standing in this prison?" "No. You're just an average Joe." "Then I guess I have to go with Jurassic Park." "Why?" "Well, I'll have constant fresh air, for a start, and also if I'm going to be anyone's prey, I'm going to be the prey of an animal that's acting out of instinct rather than psychopathy." "Good answer, babe. As always." "You?" He shrugged casually. "If you're in Jurassic Park, I'm in Jurassic Park.
Samantha Young (Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3))
Averages are bad measures. I want to see actuals, highs, lows and why—not an average. An average is just lazy.
Brad Stone (Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire)
What a well-designed forecasting system can do is sort out which statistics are relatively more susceptible to luck; batting average, for instance, is more erratic than home runs.
Nate Silver (The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don't)
You don’t believe you are an average person, but you do believe everyone else is. This tendency, which springs from self-serving bias, is called the illusory superiority effect.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
Why, then, would we expect sleep—and the twenty-five to thirty years, on average, it takes from our lives—to offer one function only?
Matthew Walker (Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams)
No man can ever be half of what an average woman is. Men have known this since time immemorial. That’s why they have always denied women their rights!
Saidi Mdala (Know What Matters)
One survey conducted in 2010 estimated that the average parent spends $6,800 on baby items before a child’s first birthday.7.9
Charles Duhigg (The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business)
We think we’re better than average at not being biased in thinking that we’re better than average.
Robert Wright (Why Buddhism is True: The Science and Philosophy of Meditation and Enlightenment)
What if economic security and guilt-free sexual friendships were easily available to almost all men and women, as they are in many of the societies we’ve discussed, as well as among our closest primate cousins? What if no woman had to worry that a ruptured relationship would leave her and her children destitute and vulnerable? What if average guys knew they’d never have to worry about finding someone to love? What if we didn’t all grow up hearing that true love is obsessive and possessive? What if, like the Mosuo, we revered the dignity and autonomy of those we loved? What if, in other words, sex, love, and economic security were as available to us as they were to our ancestors? If fear is removed from jealousy, what’s left?
Christopher Ryan (Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships)
Clotilde stammered. "Why didn't you hang yourself? You were just saying that art is eternal. I destroyed your eternal art. Why are you still alive, man?" "What's eternal is eternal, but I still have to get my commissions done on time," said Vasya. "What did you think?" Vasya was just an everyday hack sculptor of average talent. And Clothilde was reading too much Schiller.
Ilya Ilf (The Twelve Chairs)
Behavioral genetics confirms that aggressive tendencies can be inherited, and that gives natural selection material to work with in shifting the average violent tendencies of a population.
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
the universe is big and old and, as a result, rare events happen all the time. Go out some night into the woods or desert where you can see stars and hold up your hand to the sky, making a tiny circle between your thumb and forefinger about the size of a dime. Hold it up to a dark patch of the sky where there are no visible stars. In that dark patch, with a large enough telescope of the type we now have in service today, you could discern perhaps 100,000 galaxies, each containing billions of stars. Since supernovae explode once per hundred years per, with 100,000 galaxies in view, you should expect to see, on average, about three stars explode on a given night.
Lawrence M. Krauss (A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing)
The average expert was a horrific forecaster. Their areas of specialty, years of experience, academic degrees, and even (for some) access to classified information made no difference. They were bad at short-term forecasting, bad at long-term forecasting, and bad at forecasting in every domain. When experts declared that some future event was impossible or nearly impossible, it nonetheless occurred 15 percent of the time. When they declared a sure thing, it failed to transpire more than one-quarter of the time.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
When society questions a victim’s reluctance to report, I will be here to remind you that you ask us to sacrifice our sanity to fight outdated structures that were designed to keep us down. Victims do not have the time for this. Victims are also students, teachers, parents, who can’t give up work or education. The average adult can barely find time to renew their license at the DMV. It is not reasonable to casually demand that victims put aside their lives to spend more time pursuing something they never asked for in the first place. This is not about the victims’ lack of effort. This is about society’s failure to have systems in place in which victims feel there’s a probable chance of achieving safety, justice, and restoration rather than being retraumatized, publicly shamed, psychologically tormented, and verbally mauled. The real question we need to be asking is not, Why didn’t she report, the question is, Why would you?
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
Then arises the third and inexorable question: If Civilisation has increased the producing power of the average man, why has it not bettered the lot of the average man? There can be one answer only—MISMANAGEMENT.
Jack London (The People of the Abyss)
As Atwood concludes after a random and informal sampling, men and women differ markedly in the 'scope of their threatenability': 'Why do men feel threatened by woman?' I asked a male friend of mine....'[M]en are bigger, most of the time...and they have on the average a lot more money and power.' 'They're afraid women will laugh at them,' he said. 'Undercut their world view.' Then I asked some women students in a quickie poetry seminar I was giving, 'Why do women feel threatened by men?' 'They're afraid of being killed,' they said'.
Shuli Barzilai (Tales of Bluebeard and His Wives from Late Antiquity to Postmodern Times)
What is the next thing you need for leadership? It is the ability to make up your mind to make a decision and accept full responsibility for that decision. Have you ever wondered why people do not make a decision? The answer is quite simple. It is because they lack professional competence, or they are worried that their decision may be wrong and they will have to carry the can. Ladies and Gentlemen, according to the law of averages, if you take ten decisions, five ought to be right. If you have professional knowledge and professional competence, nine will be right, and the one that might not be correct will probably be put right by a subordinate officer or a colleague. But if you do not take a decision, you are doing something wrong. An act of omission is much worse than an act of commission. An act of commission can be put right. An act of omission cannot.
Sam Manekshaw
US soil, 3,172 people died from terrorism over the last 20 years—an average of 159 a year. During those same years, alcohol contributed to the death of 1.4 million people in the United States—an average of 69,000 a year.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
A remarkably consistent finding, starting with elementary school students, is that males are better at math than females. While the difference is minor when it comes to considering average scores, there is a huge difference when it comes to math stars at the upper extreme of the distribution. For example, in 1983, for every girl scoring in the highest percentile in the math SAT, there were 11 boys. Why the difference? There have always been suggestions that testosterone is central. During development, testosterone fuels the growth of a brain region involved in mathematical thinking and giving adults testosterone enhances their math skills. Oh, okay, it's biological. But consider a paper published in science in 2008. The authors examined the relationship between math scores and sexual equality in 40 countries based on economic, educational and political indices of gender equality. The worst was Turkey, United States was middling, and naturally, the Scandinavians were tops. Low and behold, the more gender equal the country, the less of a discrepancy in math scores. By the time you get to the Scandinavian countries it's statistically insignificant. And by the time you examine the most gender equal country on earth at the time, Iceland, girls are better at math than boys. Footnote, note that the other reliable sex difference in cognition, namely better reading performance by girls than by boys doesn't disappear in more gender equal societies. It gets bigger. In other words, culture matters. We carry it with us wherever we go.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
The majority of my generation decides to move back in with their parents after college. Unemployment, for them, is twice the national average. According to one 2011 study by the University of Michigan, many graduates aren’t even bothering to learn how to drive. The road is blocked, they are saying, so why get a license I won’t be able to use? We whine and complain and mope when things won’t go our way. We’re crushed when what we were “promised” is revoked—as if that’s not allowed to happen. Instead of doing much about it, we sit at home and play video games or travel or worse, pay for more school with more loan debt that will never be forgiven. And then we wonder why it isn’t getting any better.
Ryan Holiday (The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage)
One of the things you never really see in a romance book is a woman who has self-esteem issues. I mean, I’m sure they’re out there, but they’re few and far between. Like they can have eating disorders, post-traumatic stress from sexual assault or mental abuse. They can be sold into sex trafficking and they can carry epic amounts of grief. We have female characters who have suffered every loss imaginable and ones who are scarred physically and mentality, but where in the hell are the average women? Ones who look in the mirror and cringe a little? Like, why are all those others acceptable to women, but reading or knowing another woman who has a low self-esteem is, like, worse than all that drama llama?
J. Lynn (Dream of You (Wait for You, #4.5))
The average Negro is born into want and deprivation. His struggle to escape his circumstances is hindered by color discrimination. He is deprived of normal education and normal social and economic opportunities. When he seeks opportunity, he is told, in effect, to lift himself by his own bootstraps, advice which does not take into account the fact that he is barefoot.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Why We Can't Wait)
Fifty-eight members of the Forbes 400 either avoided college or ditched it partway through. These fifty-eight—almost 15 percent of the total—have an average net worth of $4.8 billion. This is 167 percent greater than the average net worth of the four hundred, which is $1.8 billion. It’s more than twice the average net worth of those four hundred members who attended Ivy League colleges.
Eric Barker (Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong)
We have a predator that came from the depths of the cosmos and took over the rule of our lives. Human beings are its prisoners. The Predator is our lord and master. It has rendered us docile, helpless. If we want to protest, it suppresses our protest. If we want to act independently, it demands that we don't do so... I have been beating around the bush all this time, insinuating to you that something is holding us prisoner. Indeed we are held prisoner! "This was an energetic fact for the sorcerers of ancient Mexico ... They took us over because we are food for them, and they squeeze us mercilessly because we are their sustenance. just as we rear chickens in chicken coops, the predators rear us in human coops, humaneros. Therefore, their food is always available to them." "No, no, no, no," [Carlos replies] "This is absurd don Juan. What you're saying is something monstrous. It simply can't be true, for sorcerers or for average men, or for anyone." "Why not?" don Juan asked calmly. "Why not? Because it infuriates you? ... You haven't heard all the claims yet. I want to appeal to your analytical mind. Think for a moment, and tell me how you would explain the contradictions between the intelligence of man the engineer and the stupidity of his systems of beliefs, or the stupidity of his contradictory behaviour. Sorcerers believe that the predators have given us our systems of belief, our ideas of good and evil, our social mores. They are the ones who set up our hopes and expectations and dreams of success or failure. They have given us covetousness, greed, and cowardice. It is the predators who make us complacent, routinary, and egomaniacal." "'But how can they do this, don Juan? [Carlos] asked, somehow angered further by what [don Juan] was saying. "'Do they whisper all that in our ears while we are asleep?" "'No, they don't do it that way. That's idiotic!" don Juan said, smiling. "They are infinitely more efficient and organized than that. In order to keep us obedient and meek and weak, the predators engaged themselves in a stupendous manoeuvre stupendous, of course, from the point of view of a fighting strategist. A horrendous manoeuvre from the point of view of those who suffer it. They gave us their mind! Do you hear me? The predators give us their mind, which becomes our mind. The predators' mind is baroque, contradictory, morose, filled with the fear of being discovered any minute now." "I know that even though you have never suffered hunger... you have food anxiety, which is none other than the anxiety of the predator who fears that any moment now its manoeuvre is going to be uncovered and food is going to be denied. Through the mind, which, after all, is their mind, the predators inject into the lives of human beings whatever is convenient for them. And they ensure, in this manner, a degree of security to act as a buffer against their fear." "The sorcerers of ancient Mexico were quite ill at ease with the idea of when [the predator] made its appearance on Earth. They reasoned that man must have been a complete being at one point, with stupendous insights, feats of awareness that are mythological legends nowadays. And then, everything seems to disappear, and we have now a sedated man. What I'm saying is that what we have against us is not a simple predator. It is very smart, and organized. It follows a methodical system to render us useless. Man, the magical being that he is destined to be, is no longer magical. He's an average piece of meat." "There are no more dreams for man but the dreams of an animal who is being raised to become a piece of meat: trite, conventional, imbecilic.
Carlos Castaneda (The Active Side of Infinity)
No,” Phoebe said hastily, “I meant I wouldn’t think about it.” But he looked more disgruntled with each passing second. “That didn’t count as a real kiss. I’d just started.” “I know. But all the same, it was very nice, so there’s no need to—” “Nice?” “Yes.” Phoebe wondered why he looked so insulted. “If I have only one chance in a lifetime to kiss you,” he said grimly, “I’ll be damned if it’s going to be second rate. A man has standards.” “I didn’t say it was second rate,” she protested. “I said it was nice!” “The average man would rather be shot in the arse than have a woman call his lovemaking ‘nice.’” “Oh, come, you’re making too much of this.” “Now I have to do it over.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels #5))
But then why, when talking on the phone, did they quarrel, on average at least once every four sentences? Maybe, though the inspector, it was an effect of the distance between them becoming less and less tolerable with each passing day, since as we grow old - for every now and then one must, yes, look reality in the eye and call things by their proper names - we feel more keenly the need to have the person we love beside us.
Andrea Camilleri (The Smell of the Night (Inspector Montalbano, #6))
You are the average of the people you spend the most time with. And that’s why it’s not always where you are in life, but who you have by your side that matters most. Some people drain you and others provide soul food. Spend more time with nice people who are smart, driven and open-minded about personal growth and opportunity. There’s no need to rush into a relationship you are unsure of, or socialize with those who hold you back. Be sure to get in the company of those who feed your spirit, and give the gift of your absence to those who do not appreciate your presence.
John Geiger
Joe was so tired that he had slept through first hour Spanish, second hour history, and most of third hour English. The English teacher, Mrs. Lane, hadn't taken a liking to that. She decided to send Joe to the principal to discuss why he was so sleepy, which Joe hadn't taken a liking to.
Belart Wright (Average Joe and the Extraordinaires (Average Joe #1))
We are poor in spite of all our wealth because we have much, but we are little.' As a result, the average man feels insecure, lonely, depressed, and suffers from a lack of joy in the midst of plenty. Life does not make sense to him; he is dimly aware that the meaning of life cannot lie in being nothing but a 'consumer.' He could not stand the joylessness and meaninglessness of life were it not for the fact that the system offers him innumerable avenues of escape, ranging from television to tranquilizers, which permit him to forget that he is losing more and more of all that is valuable in life.
Erich Fromm (On Disobedience: Why Freedom Means Saying No to Power)
Chaos, the eternal feminine, is also the crushing force of sexual selection. Women are choosy maters (unlike female chimps, their closest animal counterparts). Most men do not meet female human standards. It is for this reason that women on dating sites rate 85 percent of men as below average in attractiveness. It is for this reason that we all have twice as many female ancestors as male (imagine that all the women who have ever lived have averaged one child. Now imagine that half the men who have ever lived have fathered two children, if they had any, while the other half fathered none).41 It is Woman as Nature who looks at half of all men and says, “No!” For the men, that’s a direct encounter with chaos, and it occurs with devastating force every time they are turned down for a date. Human female choosiness is also why we are very different from the common ancestor we shared with our chimpanzee cousins, while the latter are very much the same. Women’s proclivity to say no, more than any other force, has shaped our evolution into the creative, industrious, upright, large-brained (competitive, aggressive, domineering) creatures that we are.42 It is Nature as Woman who says, “Well, bucko, you’re good enough for a friend, but my experience of you so far has not indicated the suitability of your genetic material for continued propagation.
Jordan B. Peterson (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos)
After dinner, I went upstairs and found Ren standing on the veranda again, looking at the sunset. I approached him shyly and stood behind him. “Hello, Ren.” He turned and openly studied my appearance. His gaze drifted ever so slowly down my body. The longer he looked, the wider his smile got. Eventually, his eyes worked their way back up to my bright red face. He sighed and bowed deeply. “Sundari. I was standing here thinking nothing could be more beautiful than this sunset tonight, but I was mistaken. You standing here in the setting sun with your hair and skin aglow is almost more than a man can…fully appreciate.” I tried to change the subject. “What does sundari mean?” “It means ‘most beautiful.’” I blushed again, which made him laugh. He took my hand, tucked it under his arm, and led me to the patio chairs. Just then, the sun dipped below the trees leaving its tangerine glow in the sky for just a few more moments. We sat again, but this time he sat next to me on the swinging patio seat and kept my hand in his. I ventured shyly, “I hope you don’t mind, but I explored your house today, including your room.” “I don’t mind. I’m sure you found my room the least interesting.” “Actually, I was curious about the note I found. Did you write it?” “A note? Ah, yes. I just scribbled a few notes to help me remember what Phet had said. It just says seek Durga’s prophecy, the Cave of Kanheri, Kelsey is Durga’s favored one, that sort of thing.” “Oh. I…also noticed a ribbon. Is it mine?” “Yes. If you’d like it back, you can take it.” “Why would you want it?” He shrugged, looking embarrassed. “I wanted a memento, a token from the girl who saved my life.” “A token? Like a fair maiden giving her handkerchief to a knight in shining armor?” He grinned. “Exactly.” I jested wryly, “Too bad you didn’t wait for Cathleen to get a little older. She’s going to be very pretty.” He frowned. “Cathleen from the circus?” He shook his head. “You were the chosen one, Kelsey. And if I had the option of choosing the girl to save me, I still would have picked you.” “Why?” “A number of reasons. I liked you. You are interesting. I enjoyed listening to your voice. I felt like you saw through the tiger skin to the person underneath. When you spoke, it felt like you were saying exactly the things I needed to hear. You’re smart. You like poetry, and you’re very pretty.” I laughed at his statement. Me, pretty? He can’t be serious. I was average in so many ways. I didn’t really concern myself with current makeup, hairstyles, or fashionable, but uncomfortable, clothes like other teenagers. My complexion was pale, and my eyes were so brown that they were almost black. By far, my best feature was my smile, which my parents paid dearly for and so did I-with three years of metal braces. Still, I was flattered. “Okay, Prince Charming, you can keep your memento.” I hesitated, and then said softly, “I wear those ribbons in memory of my mom. She used to brush out my hair and braid ribbons through it while we talked.” Ren smiled understandingly. “Then it means even more to me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
So why do these local governments continue to resist? The answer is as bleak as it is obvious: money. The average American funeral costs $8,000 to $10,000—not including the burial plot and cemetery costs. A Crestone End of Life funeral costs $500, technically a donation “to cover wood, fire department presence, stretcher, and land use.
Caitlin Doughty (From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death)
The average office worker now spends 40 percent of their work time wrongly believing they are "multitasking"--which means they are incurring all these costs for their attention and focus. In fact, uninterrupted time is becoming rare. One study found that most of us working in offices never get a whole hour uninterrupted in a normal day.
Johann Hari (Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention- and How to Think Deeply Again)
On Editors: "... The chief qualification of ninety-nine per cent of all editors is failure. They have failed as writers. Don't think they prefer the drudgery of the desk and the slavery to their circulation and to the business manager to the joy of writing. They have tried to write, and they have failed. And right there is the cursed paradox of it. Every portal to success in literature is guarded by those watch-dogs, the failures of literature. The editors, the sub-editors, associate editors, most of them, and the manuscript readers for the magazines and book-publishers, most of them, nearly all of them, are men who wanted to write and failed. And yet they, of all creatures under the sun the most unfit, are the very creatures who decide what shall and what shall not find its way into print–they, who have proved themselves not original, who have demonstrated that they lack the divine fire, sit in judgment upon originality and genius. And after them comes the reviewers, just so many more failures. Don't tell me that they have not dreamed the dream and attempted to write poetry and fiction; for they have, and they have failed. Why, the average review is more nauseating than cod-liver oil....
Jack London (Martin Eden)
the Germans have got to be stopped. They think they’re entitled to rule the world!” Da said: “We’re British. Our empire holds sway over more than four hundred million people. Hardly any of them are entitled to vote. They have no control over their own countries. Ask the average British man why, and he’ll say it’s our destiny to govern inferior peoples.
Ken Follett (Fall of Giants (The Century Trilogy #1))
Tanaka’s lab has pioneered new research on swimming’s effects on two of the biggest hallmarks of aging: high blood pressure and arthritis. “Over the last four or five years, a funky thing happened—we realized that the effects of swimming actually surpassed the magnitude of the effects of walking or cycling,” he tells me. “None of us knew that before.” Average reduction in blood pressure after land-based exercise training is five to seven points. Swimming, he found, reduces blood pressure by an average of nine points—in the blood-pressure world, that’s significant. It also decreases arterial stiffness, a condition in which the walls of your arteries become less elastic and add strain to the heart muscle.
Bonnie Tsui (Why We Swim)
human phenomenon: our species’ preference for “positively skewed outcomes”—ones with low-probability but enormous payoffs, even if the average of all payoffs is negative.
William J. Bernstein (The Delusions Of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups)
I read recently that Americans are buying used cars for an average of $12,000, and I thought, Why don't they take the bus to work and make a feature film instead?
Rick Schmidt (Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices)
Memory, it turns out, is often more a reconstruction than a reproduction.
Joseph T. Hallinan (Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average)
In sales, you don’t have to be good to earn a living. There are many average sales people who earn a decent living. But why just earn a living? Why not be extraordinary?
Eric Lofholm (The System: The Proven 3-Step Formula Anyone Can Learn to Get More Leads, Book More Appointments, and Make More Sales)
Why isn't every woman a feminist? Feminism tells a tale of female injury, but the average woman in heterosexual intimacy knows that men are injured too, as indeed they are. She may be willing to grant, this average woman, that men in general have more power than women in general. This undoubted fact is merely a fact; it is abstract, while the man of flesh and blood who stands before her is concrete: His hurts are real, his fears palpable. And like those heroic doctors on the late show who work tirelessly through the epidemic even though they may be fainting from fatigue, the woman in intimacy may set her own needs to one side in order better to attend to his. She does this not because she is "chauvinized" or has "false consciousness," but because this is what the work requires. Indeed, she may even excuse the man's abuse of her, having glimpsed the great reservoir of pain and rage from which it issues. Here is a further gloss on the ethical disempowerment attendant upon women's caregiving: in such a situation, a woman may be tempted to collude in her own ill-treatment.
Sandra Lee Bartky (Femininity And Domination: Studies In The Phenomenology Of Oppression)
Each boy’s socialization is unique. Even two siblings close in age do not learn identical values. Culture is thus transmitted on a continuum. In a culture that is fairly religious, for example, some children will grow up to be devout believers; others will reject the faith completely; and most will fall in with the average level of religious observance for their community. Where a child will land on this continuum partly depends on how strong a set of messages he or she receives from the social environment and partly on his or her personal predispositions. The family rebel, for example, might become an atheist, while the child who is most focused on pleasing the parents might become even more religious than they are.
Lundy Bancroft (Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men)
We are blinded by the effects of habit and hubris and hobbled by a poor understanding of our own limitations. We don't see all that we observe, and yet we sometimes “see” things we don't know we've seen. We can judge someone's honesty or likability in the blink of an eye, for instance, yet not notice a change in the identity of a person carrying a door right by us.
Joseph T. Hallinan (Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average)
The U.S. has so many rules and regulations, because of fear of being sued, that kids give up on the opportunity for personal exploration. A pool has to be fenced so that it’s not an ‘attractive nuisance.’ Most New Guineans don’t have pools, but even the rivers that we frequented didn’t have signs saying ‘Jump at your own risk,’ because it’s obvious. Why would I jump unless I’m prepared for the consequences? Responsibility in the U.S. has been taken from the person acting and has been placed on the owner of the land or the builder of the house. Most Americans want to blame someone other than themselves as much as possible. In New Guinea I was able to grow up, play creatively, and explore the outdoors and nature freely, with the obligatory element of risk, however well managed, that is absent from the average risk-averse American childhood. I had the richest upbringing possible, an upbringing inconceivable for Americans.
Jared Diamond (The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?)
If one thing was clear, it was that the average American civilian lived under the constant threat of a chemical or biological attack. Even with the strides the government had made over the past two decades with organizing first responder teams, they were all just one accident or attack away from Armageddon. If Gibson had his way, the public would remain in the dark. That’s why Beckham was sitting with a team of ‘ghosts’ in an Osprey. They existed for the sole purpose of making sure the average civilian had no idea just how close they were to the apocalypse.
Nicholas Sansbury Smith (Extinction Horizon (Extinction Cycle, #1))
We no longer have those principled and informed arguments. The foundational knowledge of the average American is now so low that it has crashed through the floor of “uninformed,” passed “misinformed” on the way down, and is now plummeting to “aggressively wrong.” People don’t just believe dumb things; they actively resist further learning rather than let go of those beliefs.
Thomas M. Nichols (The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters)
No," Foyle roared. "Let them hear this. Let them hear everything." "You're insane, man. You've handed a loaded gun to children." "Stop treating them like children and they'll stop behaving like children. Who the hell are you to play monitor?" "What are you talking about?" "Stop treating them like children. Explain the loaded gun to them. Bring it all out into the open." Foyle laughed savagely. "I've ended the last star-chamber conference in the world. I've blown that last secret wide open. No more secrets from now on.... No more telling the children what's best for them to know.... Let 'em all grow up. It's about time." "Christ, he is insane." "Am I? I've handed life and death back to the people who do the living and the dying. The common man's been whipped and led long enough by driven men like us.... Compulsive men... Tiger men who can't help lashing the world before them. We're all tigers, the three of us, but who the hell are we to make decisions for the world just because we're compulsive? Let the world make its own choice between life and death. Why should we be saddled with the responsibility?" "We're not saddled," Y'ang-Yeovil said quietly. "We're driven. We're forced to seize responsibility that the average man shirks." "Then let him stop shirking it. Let him stop tossing his duty and guilt onto the shoulders of the first freak who comes along grabbing at it. Are we to be scapegoats for the world forever?" "Damn you!" Dagenham raged. "Don't you realize that you can't trust people? They don't know enough for their own good." "Then let them learn or die. We're all in this together. Let's live together or die together." "D'you want to die in their ignorance? You've got to figure out how to get those slugs back without blowing everything wide open." "No. I believe in them. I was one of them before I turned tiger. They can all turn uncommon if they're kicked awake like I was.
Alfred Bester (The Stars My Destination)
Every tree, therefore, is valuable to the community and worth keeping around for as long as possible. And that is why even sick individuals are supported and nourished until they recover. Next time, perhaps it will be the other way round, and the supporting tree might be the one in need of assistance. When thick silver-gray beeches behave like this, they remind me of a herd of elephants. Like the herd, they, too, look after their own, and they help their sick and weak back up onto their feet. They are even reluctant to abandon their dead. Every tree is a member of this community, but there are different levels of membership. For example, most stumps rot away into humus and disappear within a couple of hundred years (which is not very long for a tree). Only a few individuals are kept alive over the centuries, like the mossy "stones" I've just described. What's the difference? Do tree societies have second-class citizens just like human societies? It seems they do, though the idea of "class" doesn't quite fit. It is rather the degree of connection-or maybe even affection-that decides how helpful a tree's colleagues will be. You can check this out for yourself simply by looking up into the forest canopy. The average tree grows its branches out until it encounters the branch tips of a neighboring tree of the same height. It doesn't grow any wider because the air and better light in this space are already taken. However, it heavily reinforces the branches it has extended, so you get the impression that there's quite a shoving match going on up there. But a pair of true friends is careful right from the outset not to grow overly thick branches in each other's direction. The trees don't want to take anything away from each other, and so they develop sturdy branches only at the outer edges of their crowns, that is to say, only in the direction of "non-friends." Such partners are often so tightly connected at the roots that sometimes they even die together.
Peter Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate: Discoveries from a Secret World)
elected leaders can’t get along at all. Hateful comments have become normal in Washington, and that’s made for some of our greatest disappointments. In their personal lives and businesses, average Americans have to work with people they don’t necessarily agree with all the time—but they can set that aside, be constructive, and get results. So, they ask, why can’t Members of Congress do the same?
Dana Perino (And the Good News Is...: Lessons and Advice on How to Put Your Best Self Forward)
Whatever you had him do, Shindo was always better than average. He was quick to grasp just about everything. But on the other hand, up to the last, he was never best in anything. I think maybe he was scared. Deathly afraid of a moment when he'd devote himself to something, then blank out and think "What was I doing?" So he could never give all of himself to just one thing. I wished I could be like that. And that must be why Shindo always liked things which were clearly pointless. Games from generations past, useless music, his unreasonably huge vacuum tube radio. I love that sense of productiveness.
Sugaru Miaki (いたいのいたいの、とんでゆけ)
My great-grandmother was born in 1863, when Sweden’s average income level was like today’s Afghanistan, right on Level 1, with a majority of the population living in extreme poverty. Great-grandmother didn’t forget to tell her daughter, my grandmother, how cold the mud floor used to be in the winter. But today people in Afghanistan and other countries on Level 1 live much longer lives than Swedes did back in 1863. This is because basic modernizations have reached most people and improved their lives drastically. They have plastic bags to store and transport food. They have plastic buckets to carry water and soap to kill germs. Most of their children are vaccinated. On average they live 30 years longer than Swedes did in 1800, when Sweden was on Level 1. That is how much life even on Level 1 has improved.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
Now let’s close the trap, and capture the misconception. We now know that people believe that life in low-income countries is much worse than it actually is. But how many people do they imagine live such terrible lives? We asked people in Sweden and the United States: Of the world population, what percentage lives in low-income countries? The majority suggested the answer was 50 percent or more. The average guess was 59 percent. The real figure is 9 percent. Only 9 percent of the world lives in low-income countries. And remember, we just worked out that those countries are not nearly as terrible as people think. They are really bad in many ways, but they are not at or below the level of Afghanistan, Somalia, or Central African Republic, the worst places to live on the planet. To summarize: low-income countries are much more developed than most people think. And vastly fewer people live in them. The idea of a divided world with a majority stuck in misery and deprivation is an illusion. A complete misconception. Simply wrong.
Hans Rosling (Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think)
Know what I think?" said Perry. "I think there must be something wrong with us. To do what we did."' "Did what?" "Out there." Dick dropped the binoculars into a leather case, a luxurious receptacle initialed H. W. C. He was annoyed. Annoyed as hell. Why the hell couldn't Perry shut up? Christ Jesus, what damn good did it do, always dragging the goddam thing up? It really was annoying. Especially since they'd agreed, sort of, not to talk about the goddam thing. Just forget it. "There's got to be something wrong with somebody who'd do a thing like that," Perry said. "Deal me out, baby," Dick said. "I'm a normal." And Dick meant what he said. He thought himself as balanced, as sane as anyone - maybe a bit smarter than the average fellow, that's all. But Perry - there was, in Dick's opinion, "something wrong" with Little Perry.
Truman Capote (In Cold Blood)
I knew a young fellow once, who was studying to play the bagpipes, and you would be surprised at the amount of opposition he had to contend with. Why, not even from the members of his own family did he receive what you could call active encouragement. His father was dead against the business from the beginning, and spoke quite unfeelingly on the subject. My friend used to get up early in the morning to practise, but he had to give that plan up, because of his sister. She was somewhat religiously inclined, and she said it seemed such an awful thing to begin the day like that. So he sat up at night instead, and played after the family had gone to bed, but that did not do, as it got the house such a bad name. People, going home late, would stop outside to listen, and then put it about all over the town, the next morning, that a fearful murder had been committed at Mr. Jefferson's the night before; and would describe how they had heard the victim's shrieks and the brutal oaths and curses of the murderer, followed by the prayer for mercy, and the last dying gurgle of the corpse. So they let him practise in the day-time, in the back-kitchen with all the doors shut; but his more successful passages could generally be heard in the sitting-room, in spite of these precautions, and would affect his mother almost to tears. She said it put her in mind of her poor father (he had been swallowed by a shark, poor man, while bathing off the coast of New Guinea - where the connection came in, she could not explain). Then they knocked up a little place for him at the bottom of the garden, about quarter of a mile from the house, and made him take the machine down there when he wanted to work it; and sometimes a visitor would come to the house who knew nothing of the matter, and they would forget to tell him all about it, and caution him, and he would go out for a stroll round the garden and suddenly get within earshot of those bagpipes, without being prepared for it, or knowing what it was. If he were a man of strong mind, it only gave him fits; but a person of mere average intellect it usually sent mad.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
An average teenager today, if he or she could time-travel back to 1950, would have had an IQ of 118. If the teenager went back to 1910, he or she would have had an IQ of 130, besting 98 percent of his or her contemporaries. Yes, you read that right: if we take the Flynn Effect at face value, a typical person today is smarter than 98 percent of the people in the good old days of 1910. To state it in an even more jarring way, a typical person of 1910, if time-transported forward to the present, would have a mean IQ of 70, which is at the border of mental retardation. With the Raven’s Progressive Matrices, a test that is sometimes considered the purest measure of general intelligence, the rise is even steeper. An ordinary person of 1910 would have an IQ of 50 today, which is smack in the middle of mentally retarded territory, between “moderate” and “mild” retardation.
Steven Pinker (The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined)
Ordinary men wonder why those of only average intelligence so often rise to the highest levels of power, while highly intelligent people generally do not. They fail to understand that reaching the highest levels of power has nothing to do with admired attributes such as intelligence and competence. The predominant characteristic of those who rise to the highest levels of power is a total disregard for the consequences – including death – that will befall thousands, or hundreds of thousands, or millions of human beings if it is deemed necessary to attain his (or her) goals. Generally speaking, it is this total disregard for humanity that has distinguished ‘rulers’ throughout history.
Dave Champion
Intellectual freedom depends upon material things. Poetry depends upon intellectual freedom. And women have always been poor, not for two hundred years merely, but from the beginning of time. Women have had less intellectual freedom than the sons of Athenian slaves.(...) That is why I have laid so much stress on money and a room of one's own. However, thanks to the toils of those obscure women in the past, of whom I wish we knew more, thanks, curiously enough, to two wars, the Crimean which let Florence Nightingale out of her drawing-room, and the European War which opened the doors to an average woman some sixty years later, these evils are in the way to be bettered. Otherwise you [the female students listening to the talk] would not be here tonight, and your chance of earning five hundred pounds a year, precarious as I am afraid that it still is, would be minute in the extreme. A Room of One's Own Chapter 6
Virginia Woolf
The first school shooting that attracted the attention of a horrified nation occurred on March 24, 1998, in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Two boys opened fire on a schoolyard full of girls, killing four and one female teacher. In the wake of what came to be called the Jonesboro massacre, violence experts in media and academia sought to explain what others called “inexplicable.” For example, in a front-page Boston Globe story three days after the tragedy, David Kennedy from Harvard University was quoted as saying that these were “peculiar, horrible acts that can’t easily be explained.” Perhaps not. But there is a framework of explanation that goes much further than most of those routinely offered. It does not involve some incomprehensible, mysterious force. It is so straightforward that some might (incorrectly) dismiss it as unworthy of mention. Even after a string of school shootings by (mostly white) boys over the past decade, few Americans seem willing to face the fact that interpersonal violence—whether the victims are female or male—is a deeply gendered phenomenon. Obviously both sexes are victimized. But one sex is the perpetrator in the overwhelming majority of cases. So while the mainstream media provided us with tortured explanations for the Jonesboro tragedy that ranged from supernatural “evil” to the presence of guns in the southern tradition, arguably the most important story was overlooked. The Jonesboro massacre was in fact a gender crime. The shooters were boys, the victims girls. With the exception of a handful of op-ed pieces and a smattering of quotes from feminist academics in mainstream publications, most of the coverage of Jonesboro omitted in-depth discussion of one of the crucial facts of the tragedy. The older of the two boys reportedly acknowledged that the killings were an act of revenge he had dreamed up after having been rejected by a girl. This is the prototypical reason why adult men murder their wives. If a woman is going to be murdered by her male partner, the time she is most vulnerable is after she leaves him. Why wasn’t all of this widely discussed on television and in print in the days and weeks after the horrific shooting? The gender crime aspect of the Jonesboro tragedy was discussed in feminist publications and on the Internet, but was largely absent from mainstream media conversation. If it had been part of the discussion, average Americans might have been forced to acknowledge what people in the battered women’s movement have known for years—that our high rates of domestic and sexual violence are caused not by something in the water (or the gene pool), but by some of the contradictory and dysfunctional ways our culture defines “manhood.” For decades, battered women’s advocates and people who work with men who batter have warned us about the alarming number of boys who continue to use controlling and abusive behaviors in their relations with girls and women. Jonesboro was not so much a radical deviation from the norm—although the shooters were very young—as it was melodramatic evidence of the depth of the problem. It was not something about being kids in today’s society that caused a couple of young teenagers to put on camouflage outfits, go into the woods with loaded .22 rifles, pull a fire alarm, and then open fire on a crowd of helpless girls (and a few boys) who came running out into the playground. This was an act of premeditated mass murder. Kids didn’t do it. Boys did.
Jackson Katz (Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and and How All Men Can Help)
For an idea to have survived so long across so many cycles is indicative of its relative fitness. Noise, at least some noise, was filtered out. Mathematically, progress means that some new information is better than past information, not that the average of new information will supplant past information, which means that it is optimal for someone, when in doubt, to systematically reject the new idea, information, or method. Clearly and shockingly, always. Why?
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets)
There is no greater example in apologetics than the apostle Paul speaking at Mars Hill. The irony of the talk Paul gave is in the difference in reaction the Easterner has when reading Paul’s address to that of a Westerner. The Easterner is thrilled at how the apostle wove the message starting from where the listeners were to bring them to where he was in his thinking. The average Westerner is quick to point out that few of his hearers responded. Such an attitude says volumes about why the church in the West has been so intellectually weak. To those in the West, the bigger the number of respondents, the more replicated the technique. The bigger the statistic, the greater the success. Westerners are enamored by size, largesse, number of hands raised, and so on. When the sun has set on these reports, we seem rather dismayed when statistics show the quality of the life of the believer is no different from that of the unbeliever.
Ravi Zacharias (Beyond Opinion: Living the Faith We Defend)
The average person walks into their doctor's office ready to accept whatever is said and handed to them. Without taking time to research or gain more insight, they accept pills and treatment without looking into other options. Our nation overeats. We put toxic fake food into our bodies, but wonder why we're sick. We continue a vicious cycle of consuming the wrong foods and drinks along with a stressful lifestyle, yet question why cancer is so rampant. Most of our society live in fear and believe they have no control. My positive message is that we do have control. We need to take back ownership of our bodies and minds. Don't blindly fill prescriptions without first checking into potential side effects, adverse reactions, and long-term damage to your body and mind. Be conscious of what you are consuming. Be informed. Take the initiative to gain more knowledge. Understand your options so you may be in a better position to make an informed choice.
Dana Arcuri (Harvest of Hope: Living Victoriously Through Adversity)
Oh, it is true enough. I may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb (an old country saying, not of much account, but it will do for a rough soldier), and so I will speak my mind, regardless of your pleasure, and without hoping or intending to get your pardon. Why, Miss Everdene, it is in this manner that your good looks may do more harm than good in the world." The sergeant looked down the mead in critical abstraction. "Probably some one man on an average falls in love with each ordinary woman. She can marry him: he is content, and leads a useful life. Such women as you a hundred men always covet—your eyes will bewitch scores on scores into an unavailing fancy for you—you can only marry one of that many. Out of these say twenty will endeavour to drown the bitterness of despised love in drink; twenty more will mope away their lives without a wish or attempt to make a mark in he world, because they have no ambition apart from their attachment to you; twenty more—the susceptible person myself possibly among them—will be always draggling after you, getting where they may just see you, doing desperate things. Men are such constant fools! The rest may try to get over their passion with more or less success. But all these men will be saddened. And not only those ninety-nine men, but the ninety-nine women they might have married are saddened with them. There's my tale. That's why I say that a woman so charming as yourself, Miss Everdene, is hardly a blessing to her race.
Thomas Hardy
...tell me something of your other existence.... At least you can tell me if it's a happy state," persisted Lucy. "That depends on the individual," replied Captain Gregg. "If a man has lived on earth merely for earthly desires of ambition, possessions, drink, and women, he'll have a hell of a time at first because he'll find no means of satisfying his lusts―but here's something for you to think about, Lucia. Have you ever heart of a happy ghost?" "No," replied Lucy. "No," said the Captain, "and why not? Because only the unhappy return to earth―the haunted―that's a new idea for you. The souls that return are haunted in the next state by what has happened on earth. The average after-lifer never wants to return." "But isn't that very selfish?" asked Lucy. "I mean when they see their relations and friends weeping their hearts out for one word of reassurance and comfort, don't you think they might come back just once to tell them all is well?" "Why," asked the Captain, "when all that's wanting is their own faith?
R.A. Dick (The Ghost and Mrs. Muir)
You’re afraid.” Cooper nodded, then let his head tip back, gasping, when Oliver pulled him closer still and moved to nuzzle over the scars on his belly. “Why?” “Because you can hurt me.” It slipped out without Cooper thinking, and he almost kicked himself when Oliver pulled away to stare at him seriously. “I would never.” “Not like that. You could hurt me because I... I care.” The last words were nothing more than a mumbled exhale that your average person wouldn’t have heard. Oliver heard. He stood, their bodies pressed together, and he leaned in so his mouth was hovering over Cooper’s. “In that case, you scare me, too.” Cooper’s heart pounded and he tingled all over. “Yeah?” He felt Oliver’s smile on his lips. “Special Agent Dayton, I’m absolutely terrified, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Charlie Adhara (The Wolf at the Door (Big Bad Wolf, #1))
And when I started at NYU and I met all those kids right out of undergrad, I thought, Hell, yeah, I’m a fucking Marine. Some of them, highly educated kids at a top five law school, didn’t even know what the Marine Corps did. (“It’s like a stronger Army, right?”) Few of them followed the wars at all, and most subscribed to a “It’s a terrible mess, so let’s not think about it too much” way of thinking. Then there were the political kids, who had definite opinions and were my least favorite to talk to. A lot of these overlapped with the insufferable public interest crowd, who hated the war, couldn’t see why anybody’d ever do corporate law, didn’t understand why anyone would ever join the military, didn’t understand why anyone would ever want to own a gun, let alone fire one, but who still paid lip service to the idea that I deserved some sort of respect and that I was, in an imprecise way that was clearly related to action movies and recruiting commercials, far more “hard-core” than your average civilian. So sure, I was a Marine. At the very least, I wasn’t them.
Phil Klay (Redeployment)
Q: Assume everything about your musical tastes was reversed overnight. Everything you once loved, you now hate; everything you once hated, you now love. For example, if your favorite band has always been R.E.M., they will suddenly sound awful to you; they will become the band you dislike the most. By the same token, if you’ve never been remotely interested in the work of Yes and Jethro Tull, those two groups will instantly seem fascinating. If you generally dislike jazz today, you’ll generally like jazz tomorrow. If you currently consider the first album by Veruca Salt to be slightly above average, you will abruptly find it to be slightly below average. Everything will become its opposite, but everything will remain in balance (and the rest of your personality will remain unchanged). So—in all likelihood—you won’t love music any less (or any more) than you do right now. There will still be artists you love and who make you happy; they will merely be all the artists you currently find unlistenable. Now, I concede that this transformation would make you unhappy. But explain why.
Chuck Klosterman (Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas)
Sarah drew a deep breath and released it slowly, waiting for her voice to steady before she spoke. “It’s a ve ry good story. Are those the things you want for yourself? ” He nodded and began folding the advertisement. “But I can’t have them,” he said matter-of-factly. “Why not?” He shrugged as if it was obvious and she remembered that earlier he had declared, “I’m not normal.” She had to admit it was hard to picture this strange man living a normal family life in an average community. His differences were stamped all over his body as well as hidden deep inside him.
Bonnie Dee (Bone Deep)
If you are doing what everyone else is doing, you are doing something wrong. Why? Because most people are not obtaining results that are considered extraordinary. "If your thinking is causing you to do what everyone else is doing, you are only contributing to the average. Even if you are contributing to the average at a high level, it is still...average. "Do you want to be average? Do you want an average life span or an average lifestyle? Do you want an average marriage? Do you want to raise average children? Do you want an average spiritual life? Do you want average financial results? Do you want an average amount of influence for good in your community? "...to produce results that are extraordinary - you cannot afford to think like average people think. You cannot act like average people act. You cannot be what average people are...which is normal.
Andy Andrews (The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective, and Sometimes Perspective Finds You)
Francis blew out a breath. 'While I appreciate your concern, Mr. Murdock, Drucilla is not your average lady. She's a highly competent investigator who used to work for the government before she began working for Theodore. She's quite handy with a pistol, uses the fact she's a lady to lethal advantage, and I wouldn't dream of telling her I'm putting an end to anything, especially since I'm fairly certain she'd shoot me.' Drucilla's eyes widened, and then she smiled a lovely smile. 'Why, that's the nicest thing you've ever said about me, Francis.' 'Don't let it go to your head.
Jen Turano
And yet, it's the last place on earth the average person will turn to for help. You know why? You know why people don't automatically turn their own vast mental resources on when faced with a problem? It's because they never learned how to think. Most people will go to any length to avoid thinking when they're faced with a problem. They will ask advice from the most illogical people, usually people who don't know any more than they do: next-door neighbors, members of their families, and friends stuck in the same mental traps that they are. Very few of them use the muscles of their mind to solve their problems.
Earl Nightingale (How to Completely Change Your Life in 30 Seconds)
Bowel transit time, as it is known in the trade, is a very personal thing and varies widely between individuals, and in fact within individuals depending on how active they are on a given day and what and how much they have been eating. Men and women evince a surprising amount of difference in this regard. For a man, the average journey time from mouth to anus is fifty-five hours. For a woman, typically, it is more like seventy-two. Food lingers inside a woman for nearly a full day longer, with what consequences, if any, we do not know. Roughly speaking, however, each meal you eat spends about four to six hours in the stomach, a further six to eight hours in the small intestine, where all that is nutritious (or fattening) is stripped away and dispatched to the rest of the body to be used or, alas, stored, and up to three days in the colon, which is essentially a large fermentation tank where billions and billions of bacteria pick over whatever the rest of the intestines couldn’t manage—fiber mostly. That’s why you are constantly told to eat more fiber: because it keeps your gut microbes happy and at the same time, for reasons not well understood, reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, bowel cancer, and indeed death of all types.
Bill Bryson (The Body: A Guide for Occupants)
Compared to the Tiger Mother’s tome, a parenting manual oriented toward creative achievement would have to open with a much shorter list of rules. In offering advice to parents, psychologist Adam Grant noted that creativity may be difficult to nurture, but it is easy to thwart. He pointed to a study that found an average of six household rules for typical children, compared to one in households with extremely creative children. The parents with creative children made their opinions known after their kids did something they didn’t like, they just did not proscribe it beforehand. Their households were low on prior restraint.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
my purpose here is to scrutinize the tacit Democratic boast about always being better than those crazy Republicans. In truth, what Bill Clinton accomplished were things that no Republican could have done. Thanks to our two-party system, Democratic politicians carry a brand identity that inhibits them in some ways but allows them remarkable latitude in others. They are forever seen as weaklings in the face of the country’s enemies, for example; but on basic economic questions they are trusted to do the right thing for average people. That a Democrat might be the one to pick apart the safety net is a violation of this basic brand identity, but by the very structure of the system it is extremely difficult to hold the party accountable for such a deed. This, in turn, is why only a Democrat was able to do that job and get away with it. Only a Democrat was capable of getting bank deregulation passed; only a Democrat could have rammed NAFTA through Congress; and only a Democrat would be capable of privatizing Social Security, as George W. Bush found out in 2005. “It’s kind of the Nixon-goes-to-China theory,” the conservative Democrat Charles Stenholm told the historian Steven Gillon on this last subject. “It takes a Democrat to do some of the hard choices in social programs.”19
Thomas Frank (Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?)
We have already compared the benefits of theology and science. When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few. To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were clad in rags and skins—they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones. The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegancies than the princes and kings of the theological times. But above and over all this, is the development of mind. There is more of value in the brain of an average man of to-day—of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago. These blessings did not fall from the skies. These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars—neither were they searched for with holy candles. They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience—and for them all, man is indebted to man. —Robert Green Ingersoll
Jerry A. Coyne (Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible)
The average American watches more than four hours of TV each day. In a 65-year life, that person will have spent nine years glued to the tube. Why? Simple. Life sucks. Life needs an escape. Life is no good. Show me someone who spends hours online playing Mafia Wars or Farmville, and I'll show you someone who probably isn't very successful. When life sucks, escapes are sought. I don't need television because I invested my time into a real life worth living, not a fictitious escape that airs every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. Again, majority thinking yields mediocrity, and for that majority, time is an asset that is undervalued and mindlessly squandered.
M.J. DeMarco (The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime!)
Nearly eighty years of research on answer changing shows that most answer changes are from wrong to right, and that most people who change their answers usually improve their test scores. One comprehensive review examined thirty-three studies of answer changing; in not one were test takers hurt, on average, by changing their answers. And yet, even after students are told of these results, they still tend to stick with their first answers. Investors, by the way, show the same tendencies when it comes to stocks. Even after learning that their reason for picking a stock might be wrong, they still tended to stick with their initial choice 70 percent of the time.
Joseph T. Hallinan (Why We Make Mistakes: How We Look Without Seeing, Forget Things in Seconds, and Are All Pretty Sure We Are Way Above Average)
Maybe they do. Maybe every stupid person you know cancels out every smart person you know and every good person you know cancels out every evil person you know.” “That’s right. That’s probably why everyone forgot about Jesus and Hitler, and just remembers their un-cancelled out contemporaries Average Jane and Average Joe,” I said.
Audrey Bell (Love Show)
History, practical experience, common sense and economic theory all agree: economic competition is probably one of the greatest ideas humans ever came up with. When people compete to achieve the same goal, great things seem to happen that otherwise would not. Things get done faster, cheaper, and better; new methods for lifting a weight or quenching a thirst are invented; the average guy ends up with more of the stuff he likes at a lower price than before. That is why, in the end, socialism collapsed like a rotten wall: it did not allow its people to compete and, as a result, it not only made their economic life miserable, but strangled their hearts and souls.
Michele Boldrin (Against Intellectual Monopoly)
Purpose, meaning, identity, fulfillment, creativity, autonomy—all these things that positive psychology has shown us to be necessary for well-being are absent in the average job.” Most jobs today are a means for survival. Without their structure and support, people suffer psychologically and socially, as well as financially and even physically.
Andrew Yang (The War on Normal People: The Truth About America's Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future)
About 15,000 BC, the Ice Age came to an end as the Earth’s climate warmed up. Evidence from the Greenland ice cores suggests that average temperatures rose by as much as fifteen degrees Celsius in a short span of time. This warming seems to have coincided with rapid increases in human populations as the global warming led to expanding animal populations and much greater availability of wild plants and foods. This process was put into rapid reverse at about 14,000 BC, by a period of cooling known as the Younger Dryas, but after 9600 BC, global temperatures rose again, by seven degrees Celsius in less than a decade, and have since stayed high. Archaeologist Brian Fagan calls it the Long Summer.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty)
Two large trials of antioxidants were set up after Peto’s paper (which rather gives the lie to nutritionists’ claims that vitamins are never studied because they cannot be patented: in fact there have been a great many such trials, although the food supplement industry, estimated by one report to be worth over $50 billion globally, rarely deigns to fund them). One was in Finland, where 30,000 participants at high risk of lung cancer were recruited, and randomised to receive either ß-carotene, vitamin E, or both, or neither. Not only were there more lung cancers among the people receiving the supposedly protective ß-carotene supplements, compared with placebo, but this vitamin group also had more deaths overall, from both lung cancer and heart disease. The results of the other trial were almost worse. It was called the ‘Carotene and Retinol Efficacy Trial’, or ‘CARET’, in honour of the high p-carotene content of carrots. It’s interesting to note, while we’re here, that carrots were the source of one of the great disinformation coups of World War II, when the Germans couldn’t understand how our pilots could see their planes coming from huge distances, even in the dark. To stop them trying to work out if we’d invented anything clever like radar (which we had), the British instead started an elaborate and entirely made-up nutritionist rumour. Carotenes in carrots, they explained, are transported to the eye and converted to retinal, which is the molecule that detects light in the eye (this is basically true, and is a plausible mechanism, like those we’ve already dealt with): so, went the story, doubtless with much chortling behind their excellent RAF moustaches, we have been feeding our chaps huge plates of carrots, to jolly good effect. Anyway. Two groups of people at high risk of lung cancer were studied: smokers, and people who had been exposed to asbestos at work. Half were given 3-carotene and vitamin A, while the other half got placebo. Eighteen thousand participants were due to be recruited throughout its course, and the intention was that they would be followed up for an average of six years; but in fact the trial was terminated early, because it was considered unethical to continue it. Why? The people having the antioxidant tablets were 46 per cent more likely to die from lung cancer, and 17 per cent more likely to die of any cause,* than the people taking placebo pills. This is not news, hot off the presses: it happened well over a decade ago.
Ben Goldacre (Bad Science)
Why was there no fucking TrueDaddy? The answer was clear. Because men wouldn't fall for it. Not that they were smarter- Amara firmly believed she could trounce the average man in a battle of wits- but because they weren't primed from birth like women were, told that they could be anything they wanted to be while handicapped at every turn by invisible forces, told that they were more than just their looks while also culturally programmed to believe that their value was tied to their desirability. Men aged into silver foxes while women aged into obsolescence. And when you added in children, oh, that was when everything really went to shit. Because even though father stamped their children with their last names, the world didn't ask as much of them. No one really expected fathers to consider giving up their careers to put their children first, to stop managing a company and start managing a household. Women had to grapple with a choice that men never did while remaining uncomplaining and generous so that they didn't nag their husbands straight into the arms of uncomplicated lovers.
Laura Hankin (Happy & You Know It)
Illness in this society, physical or mental, they are not abnormalities. They are normal responses to an abnormal culture. This culture is abnormal when it comes to real human needs. And.. it is in the nature of the system to be abnormal, because if we had a society geared to meet human needs.. would we be destroying the Earth through climate change? Would we be putting extra burden on certain minority people? Would we be selling people a lot of goods that they don't need, and, in fact, are harmful for them? Would there be mass industries based on manufacturing, designing and mass-marketing toxic food to people? So we do all that for the sake of profit. That's insanity. It is not insanity from the point of view of profit, but it is insanity from the point of view of human need. And so, in so many ways this culture denies and even runs against counter to human needs. When you mentioned trauma.. given how important trauma is in human life and what an impact it has.. why have we ignored it for so long? Because that denial of reality is built in into this system. It keeps the system alive. So it is not a mistake, it is a design issue. Not that anybody consciously designed it, but that's just how the system survives. Now.. the average medical student to THIS DAY (I say the average.. there are exceptions) still doesn't get a single lecture on trauma in 4 years of medical school. They should have a whole course on it, Because I can tell you that trauma is related to addiction, all kinds of mental illness and most physical health conditions as well. And there is a whole lot of science behind that, but they don't study that science. Now that reflects this society's denial of trauma, the medical system simply reflects the needs of the larger society, I should say, the dominant needs of the larger society.
Gabor Maté
If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” (Exodus 33:15) As a reminder, where was here? It was the place of lack, adversity, stress, and hardship—the desert. Moses gave a reply that’s perplexing, even mind-boggling, to the average person. In essence he declared, “If I have to choose between Your presence and Your blessing, I’ll take Your presence—even if it’s in a place of lack and hardship—over Your blessing in a great environment.” Was Moses delusional? Had the desert sun distorted his sense of judgment? No. His internal GPS was set on what was best. It was directing him to make the best choice even when God was offering him a good choice, one that common sense and uncomfortable circumstances would have dictated he accept.
John Bevere (Good or God?: Why Good Without God Isn't Enough)
Brockhurst, the champion of individualism, was soon launched on his favorite topic. "The great fault of the American nation, which is the fault of republics, is the reduction of everything to the average. Our universities are simply the expression of the forces that are operating outside. We are business colleges purely and simply, because we as a nation have only one ideal—the business ideal." "That's a big statement," said Regan. "It's true. Twenty years ago we had the ideal of the lawyer, of the doctor, of the statesman, of the gentleman, of the man of letters, of the soldier. Now the lawyer is simply a supernumerary enlisting under any banner for pay; the doctor is overshadowed by the specialist with his business development of the possibilities of the rich; we have politicians, and politics are deemed impossible for a gentleman; the gentleman cultured, simple, hospitable, and kind, is of the dying generation; the soldier is simply on parade." "Wow!" said Ricketts, jingling his chips. "They're off." "Everything has conformed to business, everything has been made to pay. Art is now a respectable career—to whom? To the business man. Why? Because a profession that is paid $3,000 to $5,000 a portrait is no longer an art, but a blamed good business. The man who cooks up his novel according to the weakness of his public sells a hundred thousand copies. Dime novel? No; published by our most conservative publishers—one of our leading citizens. He has found out that scribbling is a new field of business. He has convinced the business man. He has made it pay.
Owen Johnson (Stover at Yale)
Well,” I said, trying to keep my tone light as I walked over to put my arms around his neck, though I had to stand on my toes to do so. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You told me something about yourself that I didn’t know before-that you didn’t, er, care for your family, except for your mother. But that didn’t make me hate you…it made me love you a bit more, because now I know we have even more in common.” He stared down at him, a wary look in his eyes. “If you knew the truth,” he said, “you wouldn’t be saying that. You’d be running.” “Where would I go?” I asked, with a laugh I hoped didn’t sound as nervous to him as it did to me. “You bolted all the doors, remember? Now, since you shared something I didn’t know about you, may I share something you don’t know about me?” Those dark eyebrows rose as he pulled me close. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this could be.” “It’s just,” I said, “that I’m a little worried about rushing into this consort thing…especially the cohabitation part.” “Cohabitation?” he echoed. He was clearly unfamiliar with the word. “Cohabitation means living together,” I explained, feeling my cheeks heat up. “Like married people.” “You said last night that these days no one your age thinks of getting married,” he said, holding me even closer and suddenly looking much more eager to stick around for the conversation, even though I heard the marina horn blow again. “And that your father would never approve it. But if you’ve changed your mind, I’m sure I could convince Mr. Smith to perform the ceremony-“ “No,” I said hastily. Of course Mr. Smith was somehow authorized to marry people in the state of Florida. Why not? I decided not to think about that right now, or how John had come across this piece of information. “That isn’t what I meant. My mom would kill me if I got married before I graduated from high school.” Not, of course, that my mom was going to know about any of this. Which was probably just as well, since her head would explode at the idea of my moving in with a guy before I’d even applied to college, let alone at the fact that I most likely wasn’t going to college. Not that there was any school that would have accepted me with my grades, not to mention my disciplinary record. “What I meant was that maybe we should take it more slowly,” I explained. “The past couple years, while all my friends were going out with boys, I was home, trying to figure out how this necklace you gave me worked. I wasn’t exactly dating.” “Pierce,” he said. He wore a slightly quizzical expression on his face. “Is this the thing you think I didn’t know about you? Because for one thing, I do know it, and for another, I don’t understand why you think I’d have a problem with it.” I’d forgotten he’d been born in the eighteen hundreds, when the only time proper ladies and gentlemen ever spent together before they were married was at heavily chaperoned balls…and that for most of the past two centuries, he’d been hanging out in a cemetery. Did he even know that these days, a lot of people hooked up on first dates, or that the average age at which girls-and boys as well-lost their virginity in the United States was seventeen…my age? Apparently not. “What I’m trying to say,” I said, my cheeks burning brighter, “is that I’m not very experienced with men. So this morning when I woke up and found you in bed beside me, while it was really, super nice-don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much-it kind of freaked me out. Because I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of thing yet.” Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t prepared for how ready I was…
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
Steerpike of the Many Problems,” said the Doctor. “What did you say they were? My memory is so very untrustworthy. It’s as fickle as a fox. Ask me to name the third lateral bloodvessel from the extremity of my index finger that runs east to west when I lie on my face at sundown, or the percentage of chalk to be found in the knuckles of an average spinster in her fifty-seventh year, ha, ha, ha! – or even ask me, my dear boy, to give details of the pulse rate of frogs two minutes before they die of scabies – these things are no tax upon my memory, ha, ha, ha! But ask me to remember exactly what you said you problems were, a minute ago, and you will find that my memory has forsaken me utterly. Now why is that, my dear Master Steerpike, why is that?” “Because I never mentioned them,” said Steerpike. “That accounts for it,” said Prunesquallor. “That, no doubt, accounts for it.
Mervyn Peake (Titus Groan (Gormenghast, #1))
Thus Marx begins his attack on the liberal concept of freedom. The freedom of the market is not freedom at all. It is a fetishistic illusion. Under capitalism, individuals surrender to the discipline of abstract forces (such as the hidden hand of the market made much of by Adam Smith) that effectively govern their relations and choices. I can make something beautiful and take it to market, but if I don’t manage to exchange it then it has no value. Furthermore, I won’t have enough money to buy commodities to live. Market forces, which none of us individually control, regulate us. And part of what Marx wants to do in Capital is talk about this regulatory power that occurs even “in the midst of the accidental and ever-fluctuating exchange relations between the products.” Supply and demand fluctuations generate price fluctuations around some norm but cannot explain why a pair of shoes on average trades for four shirts. Within all the confusions of the marketplace, “the labour-time socially necessary to produce [commodities] asserts itself as a regulative law of nature. In the same way, the law of gravity asserts itself when a person’s house collapses on top of him” (168). This parallel between gravity and value is interesting: both are relations and not things, and both have to be conceptualized as immaterial but objective.
David Harvey (A Companion to Marx's Capital)
From 2002 to 2008, the United States was fighting bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; among active military personnel, there were an average 1,643 fatalities per year. But over the same stretch of time in the early 1980s, with the United States fighting no major wars, there were more than 2,100 military deaths per year. How can this possibly be? For one, the military used to be much larger: 2.1 million on active duty in 1988 versus 1.4 million in 2008. But even the rate of death in 2008 was lower than in certain peacetime years. Some of this improvement is likely due to better medical care. But a surprising fact is that the accidental death rate for soldiers in the early 1980s was higher than the death rate by hostile fire for every year the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. It seems that practicing to fight a war can be just about as dangerous as really fighting one. And,
Steven D. Levitt (SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance)
The implication is that the models generally agree. But that isn’t at all the case. Comparisons among models within any of these ensembles show that, on the scales required to measure the climate’s response to human influences, model results differ dramatically both from each other and from observations. But you wouldn’t know that unless you read deep into the IPCC report. Only then would you discover that the results being presented are “averaging” models that disagree wildly with each other.
Steven E. Koonin (Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters)
If you want to know why the human primate behaves the way it does, I can easily explain: 1. human life span 2. human physiology at each stage of life="hormones" 3. our current state of evolution (still primitive in many ways). Humans are the only species on earth aware of their own deaths. They aren't here for long so they are very concerned with the quality of their lives more so than the quality of the lives that will come after them. It is our life spans that trap us, make us truly incapable of long-term decisions which would require sacrifice we as a species are not willing to make. Hormones: at each life stage, we are influenced heavily by hormones-raging levels in the young male or not, descending in the middle aged man or woman. Hormones also influence our behavior. Lastly, we are not out of the oven yet as far as evolution goes, still prone to settle our differences through primitive means--greed and violence. Here is a thought question for you-how would things differ if the average human could expect to live 200 years instead of 70+-?
Virginia Arthur
Rousseau saw the invention of farming as one big fiasco, and for this, too, we now have abundant scientific evidence. For one thing, anthropologists have discovered that hunter-gatherers led a fairly cushy life, with work weeks averaging twenty to thirty hours, tops. And why not? Nature provided everything they needed, leaving plenty of time to relax, hang out and hook up. Farmers, by contrast, had to toil in the fields and working the soil left little time for leisure. No pain, no grain. Some theologists even suspect that the story of the Fall alludes to the shift to organised agriculture, as starkly characterised by Genesis 3: ‘By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread.’29 Settled life exacted an especially heavy toll on women. The rise of private property and farming brought the age of proto-feminism to an end. Sons stayed on the paternal plot to tend the land and livestock, which meant brides now had to be fetched for the family farm. Over centuries, marriageable daughters were reduced to little more than commodities, to be bartered like cows or sheep.30
Rutger Bregman (Humankind: A Hopeful History)
Ignorance of the character structure of masses of people invariably leads to fruitless questioning. The Communists, for example, said that it was the misdirected policies of the Social Democrats that made it possible for the fascists to seize power. Actually this explanation did not explain anything, for it was precisely the Social Democrats who made a point of spreading illusions. In short, it did not result in a new mode of action. That political reaction in the form of fascism had 'befogged,' 'corrupted,' and 'hypnotized' the masses is an explanation that is as sterile as the others. This is and will continue to be the function of fascism as long as it exists. Such explanations are sterile because they fail to offer a way out. Experience teaches us that such disclosures, no matter how often they are repeated, do not convince the masses; that, in other words, social economic inquiry by itself is not enough. Wouldn't it be closer to the mark to ask, what was going on in the masses that they could not and would not recognize the function of fascism? To say that, 'The workers have to realize...' or 'We didn't understand...' does not serve any purpose. Why didn't the workers realize, and why didn't they understand? The questions that formed the basis of the discussion between the Right and the Left in the workers' movements are also to be regarded as sterile. The Right contended that the workers were not predisposed to fight; the Left, on the other hand, refuted this and asserted that the workers were revolutionary and that the Right's statement was a betrayal of revolutionary thinking. Both assertions, because they failed to see the complexities of the issue, were rigidly mechanistic. A realistic appraisal would have had to point out that the average worker bears a contradiction in himself; that he, in other words, is neither a clear-cut revolutionary nor a clear-cut conservative, but stands divided. His psychic structure derives on the one hand from the social situation (which prepares the ground for revolutionary attitudes) and on the other hand from the entire atmosphere of authoritarian society—the two being at odds with one another.
Wilhelm Reich (The Mass Psychology of Fascism)
There are only 24 hours in a day. The average man has to sleep about 8 hours. And work for 8 hours. That leaves 8 hours to run some errands, drive to and from work, eat, and have some spare time. And in that little bit of spare time, a man has to figure out how to get the one thing he likes more than anything else: sex. So when a man has to choose whether or not he will hang out with a female and spend any time, money or attention on her, the question of whether the resources he spent will result in sex plays a very big factor. If your male "friend" chooses to spend his time and money on you, it's because he thinks there is a chance it might pay off in sex at some point. If he hangs out with you instead of with some other female, it's because he thinks you are his best bet to getting sex. The more likely there will be sex, the more willing he is to spend his little bit of free time with you. If he thinks his chances of having sex are higher with a different female, he will spent more time, money and attention on her. That's just common sense, and using his limited resources wisely.
Oliver Markus (Why Men And Women Can't Be Friends)
Did you ever think much about jobs? I mean, some of the jobs people land in? You see a guy giving haircuts to dogs, or maybe going along the curb with a shovel, scooping up horse manure. And you think, now why is the silly bastard doing that? He looks fairly bright, about as bright as anyone else. Why the hell does he do that for living? You kind grin and look down your nose at him. You think he’s nuts, know what I mean, or he doesn’t have any ambition. And then you take a good look at yourself, and you stop wondering about the other guy… You’ve got all your hands and feet. Your health is okay, and you make a nice appearance, and ambition-man! You’ve got it. You’re young, I guess: you’d call thirty young, and you’re strong. You don’t have much education, but you’ve got more than plenty of other people who go to the top. And yet with all that, with all you’ve had to do with this is as far you’ve got And something tellys you, you’re not going much farther if any. And there is nothing to be done about it now, of course, but you can’t stop hoping. You can’t stop wondering… …Maybe you had too much ambition. Maybe that was the trouble. You couldn’t see yourself spending forty years moving from office boy to president. So you signed on with a circulation crew; you worked the magazines from one coast to another. And then you ran across a little brush deal-it sounded nice, anyway. And you worked that until you found something better, something that looked better. And you moved from that something to another something. Coffee-and-tea premiums, dinnerware, penny-a-day insurance, photo coupons, cemetery lots, hosiery, extract, and God knows what all. You begged for the charities, You bought the old gold. You went back to the magazines and the brushes and the coffee and tea. You made good money, a couple of hundred a week sometimes. But when you averaged it up, the good weeks with the bad, it wasn’t so good. Fifty or sixty a week, maybe seventy. More than you could make, probably, behind agas pump or a soda fountain. But you had to knock yourself out to do it, and you were standing stil. You were still there at the starting place. And you weren’t a kid any more. So you come to this town, and you see this ad. Man for outside sales and collections. Good deal for hard worker. And you think maybe this is it. This sounds like a right town. So you take the job, and you settle down in the town. And, of course, neither one of ‘em is right, they’re just like all the others. The job stinks. The town stinks. You stink. And there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it. All you can do is go on like this other guys go on. The guy giving haircuts to dogs, and the guy sweeping up horse manute Hating it. Hating yourself. And hoping.
Jim Thompson (A Hell of a Woman)
On Individualism: "Because I say Republicans are stupid, and hold that liberty, equality, and fraternity are exploded bubbles, does not make me a socialist," Martin said with a smile. "Because I question Jefferson and the unscientific Frenchmen who informed his mind, does not make me a socialist. Believe me, Mr. Morse, you are far nearer socialism than I who am its avowed enemy." "Now you please to be facetious," was all the other could say. "Not at all. I speak in all seriousness. You still believe in equality, and yet you do the work of corporations, and the corporations, from day to day, are busily engaged in burying equality. And you call me a socialist, because I deny equality, because I affirm just what you live up to. The Republicans are foes to equality, though most of them fight the battle against equality with the very good word on their lips. In the name of equality they destroy equality. That is why I called them stupid. As for myself, I am an individualist, and individualism is the hereditary and eternal foe of socialism." "But you frequent socialist meetings," Mr. Morse challenged. "Certainly, just as spies frequent hostile camps. How else are you to learn about the enemy? Besides, I enjoy myself at their meetings. They are good fighters, and, right or wrong, they have read the books. Any one of them knows more about sociology and all the other ologies than the average captain of industry. Yes, I have been to half a dozen of their meetings, but that doesn't make me a socialist any more than hearing Charley Hapgood orate made me a Republican." "I can't help it," Mr. Morse said feebly, "but I still believe you incline that way.
Jack London (Martin Eden)
Well,Anna.It's Matt or the minivan. I'm not making the choice for you." I choose my ex.We used to be good friends,so I'm sort of looking forward to seeing him again. And maybe Cherrie isn't as bad as I remember.Except she is. She totally is. After only five minutes in her company,I cannot fathom how Bridge stands sitting with her at lunch every day.She turns to look at me in the backseat,and her hair swishes in a vitamin-enriched, shampoo-commercial curtain. "So.How are the guys in Paris?" I shrug. "Parisian." "Ha ha.You're funny." Her lifeless laugh is one of her lesser attributes.What does Matt see in her? "No one special?" Matt smiles and glances at me through the rearview mirror. I'm not sure why,but I forgot that he has brown eyes.Why do they make some people look amazing and others completely average? It's the same with brown hair. Statistically speaking, St. Clair and Matt are quite similar. Eyes: Brown. Hair: Brown. Race: Caucasian. There's a significant difference in height,but still. It's like comparing a gourmet truffle to a Mr. Goodbar. I think about the gourmet truffle. And his girlfriend. "Not exactly.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
I don’t like cops. I mean, it’s all well and good that they’re out there defending us against anarchy and all, but most of the cops I’ve met are suspicious of everything and everyone. Every little thing needs to have a motive behind it. As a rule I find them cynical and too analytical, very one-plus-one-equals-two types. There’s no way a cop would take me at my word. I mean, I could just see myself walking up to the police counter and saying, ‘Hey, I have some information about a murder. I’m a psychic, so please take me seriously.’ They’d laugh in my face as they locked me up in the looney bin. And what if I was right? What if the information I had did help them? You can bet that instead of taking my gift seriously they’d think I had something to do with the crime. No, I don’t want any part of it. There’s no way I can prove how I got my information, and cops are big on proof. They’d want some evidence as to how I knew such and such. Well, in my profession, proof is a hard thing to come by. I live in an intangible world. I don’t know why I know things, I just do, and that doesn’t translate well in the world of your average lawman.
Victoria Laurie (Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye (Psychic Eye Mystery, #1))
At its most elemental level the human organism, like crawling life, has a mouth, digestive tract, and anus, a skin to keep it intact, and appendages with which to acquire food. Existence, for all organismic life, is a constant struggle to feed-a struggle to incorporate whatever other organisms they can fit into their mouths and press down their gullets without choking. Seen in these stark terms, life on this planet is a gory spectacle, a science-fiction nightmare in which digestive tracts fitted with teeth at one end are tearing away at whatever flesh they can reach, and at the other end are piling up the fuming waste excrement as they move along in search of more flesh. I think this is why the epoch of the dinosaurs exerts such a strange fascination on us: it is an epic food orgy with king-size actors who convey unmistakably what organisms are dedicated to. Sensitive souls have reacted with shock to the elemental drama of life on this planet, and one of the reasons that Darwin so shocked his time-and still bothers ours-is that he showed this bone crushing, blood-drinking drama in all its elementality and necessity: Life cannot go on without the mutual devouring of organisms. If at the end of each person’s life he were to be presented with the living spectacle of all that he had organismically incorporated in order to stay alive, he might well feel horrified by the living energy he had ingested. The horizon of a gourmet, or even the average person, would be taken up with hundreds of chickens, flocks of lambs and sheep, a small herd of steers, sties full of pigs, and rivers of fish. The din alone would be deafening. To paraphrase Elias Canetti, each organism raises its head over a field of corpses, smiles into the sun, and declares life good.
Ernest Becker (Escape from Evil)
The Logic of the Double or Triple Threat On “career advice,” Scott has written the following, which is slightly trimmed for space here. This is effectively my mantra, and you’ll see why I bring it up: If you want an average, successful life, it doesn’t take much planning. Just stay out of trouble, go to school, and apply for jobs you might like. But if you want something extraordinary, you have two paths: 1) Become the best at one specific thing. 2) Become very good (top 25%) at two or more things. The first strategy is difficult to the point of near impossibility. Few people will ever play in the NBA or make a platinum album. I don’t recommend anyone even try. The second strategy is fairly easy. Everyone has at least a few areas in which they could be in the top 25% with some effort. In my case, I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare. And when you add in my business background, suddenly I had a topic that few cartoonists could hope to understand without living it.
Timothy Ferriss (Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers)
Are the religious individuals in a society more moral than the secular ones? Many researchers have looked into this, and the main finding is that there are few interesting findings. There are subtle effects here and there: some studies find, for instance, that the religious are slightly more prejudiced, but this effect is weak when one factors out other considerations, such as age and political attitudes, and exists only when religious belief is measured in certain ways. The only large effect is that religious Americans give more to charity (including nonreligious charities) than atheists do. This holds even when one controls for demographics (religious Americans are more likely than average to be older, female, southern, and African American). To explore why this relationship exists, the political scientists Robert Putnam and David Campbell asked people about life after death, the importance of God to morality, and various other facets of religious belief. It turns out that none of their answers to such questions were related to behaviors having to do with volunteering and charitable giving. Rather, participation in the religious community was everything. As Putnam and Campbell put it, “Once we know how observant a person is in terms of church attendance, nothing that we can discover about the content of her religious faith adds anything to our understanding or prediction of her good neighborliness.… In fact, the statistics suggest that even an atheist who happened to become involved in the social life of the congregation (perhaps through a spouse) is much more likely to volunteer in a soup kitchen than the most fervent believer who prays alone. It is religious belongingness that matters for neighborliness, not religious believing.” This importance of community, and the irrelevance of belief, extends as well to the nastier effects of religion. The psychologist Jeremy Ginges and his colleagues found a strong relationship between religiosity and support for suicide bombing among Palestinian Muslims, and, again, the key factor was religious community, not religious belief: mosque attendance predicted support for suicide attacks; frequency of prayer did not. Among Indonesian Muslims, Mexican Catholics, British Protestants, Russian Orthodox in Russia, Israeli Jews, and Indian Hindus, frequency of religious attendance (but again, not frequency of prayer) predicts responses to questions such as “I blame people of other religions for much of the trouble in this world.
Paul Bloom (Just Babies: The Origins of Good and Evil)
Bearing witness takes the courage to realize the potential of the human spirit. Witnessing requires us to call forth the highest qualities of our species, qualities such as conviction, integrity, empathy, and compassion. It is easier by far to retain the attributes of carnistic culture: apathy, complacency, self-interest, and "blissful" ignorance. I wrote this book––itself an act of witnessing––because I believe that, as humans, we have a fundamental desire to strive to become our best selves. I believe that each and every one of us has the capacity to act as powerful witnesses in a world very much in need. I have had the opportunity to interact with thousands of individuals through my work as a teacher, author, and speaker, and through my personal life. I have witnessed, again and again, the courage and compassion of the so-called average American: previously apathetic students who become impassioned activists; lifelong carnists who weep openly when exposed to images of animal cruelty, never again to eat meat; butchers who suddenly connect meat to its living source and become unable to continue killing animals; and a community of carnists who aid a runaway cow in her flight from slaughter. Ultimately, bearing witness requires the courage to take sides. In the face of mass violence, we will inevitably fall into a role: victim or perpetrator. Judith Herman argues that all bystanders are forced to take a side, by their action or inaction, and that their is no such thing as moral neutrality. Indeed, as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel points out, "Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." Witnessing enables us to choose our role rather than having one assigned to us. And although those of us who choose to stand with the victim may suffer, as Herman says, "There can be no greater honor.
Melanie Joy (Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism)
When we tell ourselves that misogyny is simply an import from overseas, we are saying that it’s just not a problem here. David Cameron probably shouldn’t be too quick to insinuate that extreme misogyny is a foreign import to the British Isles. When the Office of National Statistics shows that, on average, seven women a month in England and Wales are murdered by a current or former partner,13 and 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales alone every year,14 we know that this is simply not the case. Misogyny is not a problem that can be solved with closed borders, nor a crash course in Received Pronunciation. It exists in the psyche of what it means to be a man in every country.
Reni Eddo-Lodge (Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race)
Many white Americans of good will have never connected bigotry with economic exploitation. They have deplored prejudice, but tolerated or ignored economic injustice. But the Negro knows that these two evils have a malignant kinship. He knows this because he has worked in shops that employ him exclusively because the pay is below a living standard. He knows it is not an accident of geography that wage rates in the South are significantly lower than those in the North. He knows that the spotlight recently focused on the growth in the number of women who work is not a phenomenon in Negro life. The average Negro woman has always had to work to help keep her family in food and clothes.
Martin Luther King Jr. (Why We Can't Wait)
Here’s a Reader’s Digest version of my approach. I select mutual funds that have had a good track record of winning for more than five years, preferably for more than ten years. I don’t look at their one-year or three-year track records because I think long term. I spread my retirement, investing evenly across four types of funds. Growth and Income funds get 25 percent of my investment. (They are sometimes called Large Cap or Blue Chip funds.) Growth funds get 25 percent of my investment. (They are sometimes called Mid Cap or Equity funds; an S&P Index fund would also qualify.) International funds get 25 percent of my investment. (They are sometimes called Foreign or Overseas funds.) Aggressive Growth funds get the last 25 percent of my investment. (They are sometimes called Small Cap or Emerging Market funds.) For a full discussion of what mutual funds are and why I use this mix, go to daveramsey.com and visit MyTotalMoneyMakeover.com. The invested 15 percent of your income should take advantage of all the matching and tax advantages available to you. Again, our purpose here is not to teach the detailed differences in every retirement plan out there (see my other materials for that), but let me give you some guidelines on where to invest first. Always start where you have a match. When your company will give you free money, take it. If your 401(k) matches the first 3 percent, the 3 percent you put in will be the first 3 percent of your 15 percent invested. If you don’t have a match, or after you have invested through the match, you should next fund Roth IRAs. The Roth IRA will allow you to invest up to $5,000 per year, per person. There are some limitations as to income and situation, but most people can invest in a Roth IRA. The Roth grows tax-FREE. If you invest $3,000 per year from age thirty-five to age sixty-five, and your mutual funds average 12 percent, you will have $873,000 tax-FREE at age sixty-five. You have invested only $90,000 (30 years x 3,000); the rest is growth, and you pay no taxes. The Roth IRA is a very important tool in virtually anyone’s Total Money Makeover. Start with any match you can get, and then fully fund Roth IRAs. Be sure the total you are putting in is 15 percent of your total household gross income. If not, go back to 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, or SEPPs (for the self-employed), and invest enough so that the total invested is 15 percent of your gross annual pay. Example: Household Income $81,000 Husband $45,000 Wife $36,000 Husband’s 401(k) matches first 3%. 3% of 45,000 ($1,350) goes into the 401(k). Two Roth IRAs are next, totaling $10,000. The goal is 15% of 81,000, which is $12,150. You have $11,350 going in. So you bump the husband’s 401(k) to 5%, making the total invested $12,250.
Dave Ramsey (The Total Money Makeover: Classic Edition: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness)
The same kind of situation complicates many public debates, like that over global warming. Many scientists predict that altered atmospheric conditions will raise the average global temperature by several degrees. But such changes can also cause extreme weather, which may mean worse snowstorms in the southern United States. Global warming may alter ocean currents like the Gulf Stream and ultimately turn northern Europe into a much colder Siberian-type icebox. Anomalies like this fuel the global warming naysayers: scientists say the world is getting hotter, but you’ve just suffered through the biggest snowstorm in your region’s history. How should you respond? A judicious response is that nature is amazing—rich, varied, complex, and intricately interconnected, with a messy, long history. Anomalies, whether in planetary orbits or North American weather, are not just inconvenient details to brush aside: they are the very essence of understanding what really happened—how things really work. We develop grand and general models of how nature works, and then we use the odd details to refine the original imperfect model (or if the exceptions overwhelm the rule, we regroup around a new model). That’s why good scientists revel in anomalies. If we understood everything, if we could predict everything, there’d be no point in getting up in the morning and heading to the lab.
Robert M. Hazen (The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet)
The proportion of Americans who read books for pleasure is now at its lowest level ever recorded. The American Time Use Survey--which studies a representative sample of 26,000 Americans--found that between 2004 and 2017, the proportion of men reading for pleasure had fallen by 40 percent, while for women, it was down by 29 percent. The opinion-poll company Gallup found that the proportion of Americans who never read a book in any given year tripled between 1978 and 2014. Some 57 percent of Americans now do not read a single book in a typical year. This has escalated to the point that by 2017, the average American spent seventeen minutes a day reading books and 5.4 hours on their phone.
Johann Hari (Stolen Focus: Why You Can't Pay Attention- and How to Think Deeply Again)
Ten years ago a book appeared in France called D'Une foi l'autre, les conversions a l'Islam en Occident. The authors, both career journalists, carried out extensive interviews with new Muslims in Europe and America. Their conclusions are clear. Almost all educated converts to Islam come in through the door of Islamic spirituality. In the middle ages, the Sufi tariqas were the only effective engine of Islamisation in Muslim minority areas like Central Asia, India, black Africa and Java; and that pattern is maintained today. Why should this be the case? Well, any new Muslim can tell you the answer. Westerners are in the first instance seeking not a moral path, or a political ideology, or a sense of special identity - these being the three commodities on offer among the established Islamic movements. They lack one thing, and they know it - the spiritual life. Thus, handing the average educated Westerner a book by Sayyid Qutb, for instance, or Mawdudi, is likely to have no effect, and may even provoke a revulsion. But hand him or her a collection of Islamic spiritual poetry, and the reaction will be immediately more positive. It is an extraordinary fact that the best-selling religious poet in modern America is our very own Jalal al-Din Rumi. Despite the immeasurably different time and place of his origin, he outsells every Christian religious poet. Islam and the New Millennium
Abdal Hakim Murad
... television looks to be an absolute godsend for a human subspecies that loves to watch people but hates to be watched itself. For the television screen affords access only one-way. A psychic ball-check valve. We can see Them; They can’t see Us. We can relax, unobserved, as we ogle. I happen to believe this is why television also appeals so much to lonely people. To voluntary shut-ins. Every lonely human I know watches way more than the average U.S. six hours a day. The lonely, like the fictive, love one-way watching. For lonely people are usually lonely not because of hideous deformity or odor or obnoxiousness—in fact there exist today support- and social groups for persons with precisely these attributes. Lonely people tend, rather, to be lonely because they decline to bear the psychic costs of being around other humans. They are allergic to people. People affect them too strongly. Let’s call the average U.S. lonely person Joe Briefcase. Joe Briefcase fears and loathes the strain of the special self-consciousness which seems to afflict him only when other real human beings are around, staring, their human sense-antennae abristle. Joe B. fears how he might appear, come across, to watchers. He chooses to sit out the enormously stressful U.S. game of appearance poker. But lonely people, at home, alone, still crave sights and scenes, company. Hence television. Joe can stare at Them on the screen; They remain blind to Joe. It’s almost like voyeurism.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments)
Open a dictionary at random; metaphors fill every page. Take the word "fathom." for example. The meaning is clear. A fathom is a measurement of water depth, equivalent to about six feet. But fathom also means "to understand." Why? Scrabble around in the word's etymological roots. "Fathom comes from the Anglo-Saxon faethm, meaning "the two arms outstretched." The term was originally used as a measurement of cloth, because the distance from fingertip to fingertip for the average man with his arms outsretched is roughly six feet. This technique was later extended to sounding the depths of bodies of water, since it was easy to lower a cord divided into six-foot increments, or fathoms, over the side of a boat. But how did fathom come to mean "to understand," as in "I can't fathom that" or "She's unfathomable"? Metaphorically, of course. You master something- you learn to control or accept it-when you embrace it, when you get your arms around it, when you take it in hand. You comprehend something when you grasp it, take its measure, get to the bottom of it-fathom it. Fathom took on its present significance in classic Aristotelian fashion: through the metaphorical transfer of its original meaning (a measurement of cloth or water) to an abstract concept (understanding). This is the primary purpose of metaphor: to carry over existing names or descriptions to things that are either so new that they haven't yet been named or so abstract that they cannot be otherwise explained.
James Geary (I is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How it Shapes the Way We See the World)
Make a List (or lists) • Make a list of all the things that you can look at and think: Why did we even bother to move that the last time? Now will be your last and best chance to give or throw away unwanted items until your next move (5-7 years on average). Give unwanted clothes, furniture, kitchen items, etc. to a charity that allows you to use your donation as a tax write-off. Yard sales are another option. • Make a list (and/or get one online) of household hazardous materials. These are common items in your home that are not or might not be safe to transport: flammables like propane tanks (even empty ones), gasoline or kerosene, aerosols or compressed gases (hair spray, spray paint), cleaning fluids in plastic containers (bleach, ammonia) and pesticides (bug spray) and herbicides (weed killer) and caustics like lye or pool acid. There is more likely to be damage caused by leakage of cleaning fluids-- like bleach--than there is by damage caused by a violent explosion or fire in your truck. The problem lies in the fact that any leaking fluid is going to drip its way to the floor and spread out--even in the short time span of your move and more so if you are going up and down hills. Aerosols can explode in the summer heat as can propane BBQ tanks. Gasoline from lawnmowers and pesticide vapors expand in the heat and can permeate everything in the truck. Plastic containers that have been opened can expand and contract with a change in temperature and altitude and crack.
Jerry G. West (The Self-Mover's Bible)
Rach-Uh, my mom says they'll help me blend in better. She says the color would just draw attention to me." Emma snorts. "Oh, she's definitely right. Blue eyes make you look so much more average. In fact, I almost didn't notice you standing there." "That hurts my feelings, Emma." He grins. She giggles. He says, "I'd consider forgiving you-if you come with me to the beach." She sighs. "I can't go with you, Galen." He runs a hand through his hair. "Honestly, Emma, I don't know how much more rejection I can take," he blurts out. In fact, he doesn't remember ever being rejected, except by Emma. Of course, that could be due to the fact that he's a Royal. Or maybe it's because he doesn't spend a lot of time with his kind anyway, let alone the females. Actually, he doesn't spend a lot of time with anyone except Rachel. And Rachel would give him her beating heart if he asked for it. "I'm sorry. It's not about you this time. Well, actually, it kind of is. My mom...well, she thinks we're dating." Her cheeks-and those lips-deepen to red. "Dating?" What is dating again? He tries to remember what Rachel told him...She said it's easy to remember because it's almost the same as...what is the rhyme for it? And then he remembers. "It's easy to remember, because dating rhymes with mating, and they're almost the same," she'd said. He blinks at Emma. "You're mom thinks we're ma-Uh, dating?" She nods biting her lip. For reasons he can't explain, this pleases him. He leans against the passenger door of her car. "Oh. Well. What does it matter if she thinks that?" "I told her we weren't dating, though. Just this morning. Going to the beach with you makes me look like a liar." He scratches the back of his neck. "I don't understand. If you told her we weren't dating, then why does she think we are?" She relaxes against his driver-side door. "Well, this is all actually your fault, not mine." "I'm obviously not asking the right questions-" "The way you acted toward me when I hit my head, Galen. Some people saw that. And they told my mom. She thinks I've been hiding you from her, keeping you a secret. Because she thinks we've been...we've been..." "Dating?" he offers. He can't understand why she'd have a difficult time discussing dating, if it means what he thinks it does-spending time with one human more than others to see if he or she would be a good mate. The Syrena do the same, only they call it sifting-and sifting doesn't take nearly as long as dating. A Syrena can sift out a mate within a few days. He'd laughed when Rachel said some humans date for years. So indecisive. Then an echo of Toraf's voice whispers to him, calling him a hypocrite. You're twenty years old. Why haven't you sifted for a mate? But that doesn't make him indecisive. He just hasn't had time to sift and keep his responsibility watching the humans. If it weren't for that, he'd already be settled down. How can Toraf think Emma's the reason he hasn't sifted yet? Up until three weeks ago, he didn't even know she existed.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Why it was that upon this beautiful feminine tissue, sensitive as gossamer, and practically blank as snow yet, there should have been traced such a coarse pattern as it was doomed to receive; why so often the coarse appropriates the finer thus, many thousands years of analytical philosophy have failed to explain to our sense of order. One may, indeed, admit the possibility of a retribution lurking in the catastrophe. Doubtless some of Tess D'Urberville's mailed ancestors rollicking home from a fray had dealt the same wrong even more ruthlessly upon peasant girls of their time. But though to visit the sins of the fathers upon the children may be a morality good enough for divinities, it is scorned by average human nature; and it therefore does not mend the matter.
Thomas Hardy (Tess of the D’Urbervilles)
What else can you do with the law of gravitation? If we look at the moons of Jupiter we can understand everything about the way they move around that planet. Incidentally, there was once a certain difficulty with the moons of Jupiter that is worth remarking on. These satellites were studied very carefully by Rømer, who noticed that the moons sometimes seemed to be ahead of schedule, and sometimes behind. (One can find their schedules by waiting a very long time and finding out how long it takes on the average for the moons to go around.) Now they were ahead when Jupiter was particularly close to the earth and they were behind when Jupiter was farther from the earth. This would have been a very difficult thing to explain according to the law of gravitation—it would have been, in fact, the death of this wonderful theory if there were no other explanation. If a law does not work even in one place where it ought to, it is just wrong. But the reason for this discrepancy was very simple and beautiful: it takes a little while to see the moons of Jupiter because of the time it takes light to travel from Jupiter to the earth. When Jupiter is closer to the earth the time is a little less, and when it is farther from the earth, the time is more. This is why moons appear to be, on the average, a little ahead or a little behind, depending on whether they are closer to or farther from the earth. This phenomenon showed that light does not travel instantaneously, and furnished the first estimate of the speed of light. This was done in 1676.
Richard P. Feynman (The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Vol. I: The New Millennium Edition: Mainly Mechanics, Radiation, and Heat: Volume 1)
Security is a big and serious deal, but it’s also largely a solved problem. That’s why the average person is quite willing to do their banking online and why nobody is afraid of entering their credit card number on Amazon. At 37signals, we’ve devised a simple security checklist all employees must follow: 1. All computers must use hard drive encryption, like the built-in FileVault feature in Apple’s OS X operating system. This ensures that a lost laptop is merely an inconvenience and an insurance claim, not a company-wide emergency and a scramble to change passwords and worry about what documents might be leaked. 2. Disable automatic login, require a password when waking from sleep, and set the computer to automatically lock after ten inactive minutes. 3. Turn on encryption for all sites you visit, especially critical services like Gmail. These days all sites use something called HTTPS or SSL. Look for the little lock icon in front of the Internet address. (We forced all 37signals products onto SSL a few years back to help with this.) 4. Make sure all smartphones and tablets use lock codes and can be wiped remotely. On the iPhone, you can do this through the “Find iPhone” application. This rule is easily forgotten as we tend to think of these tools as something for the home, but inevitably you’ll check your work email or log into Basecamp using your tablet. A smartphone or tablet needs to be treated with as much respect as your laptop. 5. Use a unique, generated, long-form password for each site you visit, kept by password-managing software, such as 1Password.§ We’re sorry to say, “secretmonkey” is not going to fool anyone. And even if you manage to remember UM6vDjwidQE9C28Z, it’s no good if it’s used on every site and one of them is hacked. (It happens all the time!) 6. Turn on two-factor authentication when using Gmail, so you can’t log in without having access to your cell phone for a login code (this means that someone who gets hold of your login and password also needs to get hold of your phone to login). And keep in mind: if your email security fails, all other online services will fail too, since an intruder can use the “password reset” from any other site to have a new password sent to the email account they now have access to. Creating security protocols and algorithms is the computer equivalent of rocket science, but taking advantage of them isn’t. Take the time to learn the basics and they’ll cease being scary voodoo that you can’t trust. These days, security for your devices is just simple good sense, like putting on your seat belt.
Jason Fried (Remote: Office Not Required)
Consider almost any public issue. Today’s Democratic Party and its legislators, with a few notable individual exceptions, is well to the right of counterparts from the New Deal and Great Society eras. In the time of Lyndon Johnson, the average Democrat in Congress was for single-payer national health insurance. In 1971, Congress overwhelmingly passed the Comprehensive Child Development Act, for universal, public, tax-supported, high-quality day care and prekindergarten. Nixon vetoed the bill in 1972, but even Nixon was for a guaranteed annual income, and his version of health reform, “play or pay,” in which employers would have to provide good health insurance or pay a tax to purchase it, was well to the left of either Bill or Hillary Clinton’s version, or Barack Obama’s. The Medicare and Medicaid laws of 1965 were not byzantine mash-ups of public and private like Obamacare. They were public. Infrastructure investments were also public. There was no bipartisan drive for either privatization or deregulation. The late 1960s and early 1970s (with Nixon in the White House!) were the heyday of landmark health, safety, environmental, and financial regulation. To name just three out of several dozen, Nixon signed the 1970 Clean Air Act, the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the 1973 Consumer Product Safety Act. Why did Democrats move toward the center and Republicans to the far right? Several things occurred. Money became more important in politics. The Democratic Leadership Council, formed by business-friendly and Southern Democrats after Walter Mondale’s epic 1984 defeat, believed that in order to be more competitive electorally, Democrats had to be more centrist on both economic and social issues.
Robert Kuttner (Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism?)
Gerontologists studying the aging process find increasing evidence that most of us will age with a fair degree of success. There’s far less institutionalization and disability than one might have guessed. While the size of social networks shrink with age, the quality of the relationships improves. There are types of cognitive skills that improve in old age (these are related to social intelligence and to making good strategic use of facts, rather than merely remembering them easily). The average elderly individual thinks his or her health is above average, and takes pleasure from that. And most important, the average level of happiness increases in old age; fewer negative emotions occur and, when they do, they don’t persist as long. Connected to this, brain-imaging studies show that negative images have less of an impact, and positive images have more of an impact on brain metabolism in older people, as compared to young.
Robert M. Sapolsky (Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: The Acclaimed Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases, and Coping)
One feature of our own society that seems decidedly anomalous is the matter of sexual advertisement, As we have seen, it is strongly to be expected on evolutionary grounds that, where the sexes differ, it should be the males that advertise and the females that are drab. Modern western man is undoubtedly exceptional in this respect. It is of course true that some men dress flamboyantly and some women dress drably but, on average, there can be no doubt that in our society the equivalent of the peacock's tail is exhibited by the female, not by the male. Women paint their faces and glue on false eyelashes. Apart from special cases, like actors, men do not. Women seem to be interested in their own personal appearance and are encouraged in this by their magazines and journals. Men's magazines are less preoccupied with male sexual attractiveness, and a man who is unusually interested in his own dress and appearance is apt to arouse suspicion, both among men and among women. When a woman is described in conversation, it is quite likely that her sexual attractiveness, or lack of it, will be prominently mentioned. This is true, whether the speaker is a man or a woman. When a man is described, the adjectives used are much more likely to have nothing to do with sex. Faced with these facts, a biologist would be forced to suspect that he was looking at a society in which females compete for males, rather than vice versa. In the case of birds of paradise, we decided that females are drab because they do not need to compete for males. Males are bright and ostentatious because females are in demand and can afford to be choosy. The reason female birds of paradise are in demand is that eggs are a more scarce resource than sperms. What has happened in modern western man? Has the male really become the sought-after sex, the one that is in demand, the sex that can afford to be choosy? If so, why?
Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene)
This is related to the phenomenon of the Professional Smile, a national pandemic in the service industry; and noplace in my experience have I been on the receiving end of as many Professional Smiles as I am on the Nadir, maître d’s, Chief Stewards, Hotel Managers’ minions, Cruise Director—their P.S.’s all come on like switches at my approach. But also back on land at banks, restaurants, airline ticket counters, on and on. You know this smile—the strenuous contraction of circumoral fascia w/ incomplete zygomatic involvement—the smile that doesn’t quite reach the smiler’s eyes and that signifies nothing more than a calculated attempt to advance the smiler’s own interests by pretending to like the smilee. Why do employers and supervisors force professional service people to broadcast the Professional Smile? Am I the only consumer in whom high doses of such a smile produce despair? Am I the only person who’s sure that the growing number of cases in which totally average-looking people suddenly open up with automatic weapons in shopping malls and insurance offices and medical complexes and McDonald’ses is somehow causally related to the fact that these venues are well-known dissemination-loci of the Professional Smile? Who do they think is fooled by the Professional Smile? And yet the Professional Smile’s absence now also causes despair. Anybody who’s ever bought a pack of gum in a Manhattan cigar store or asked for something to be stamped FRAGILE at a Chicago post office or tried to obtain a glass of water from a South Boston waitress knows well the soul-crushing effect of a service worker’s scowl, i.e. the humiliation and resentment of being denied the Professional Smile. And the Professional Smile has by now skewed even my resentment at the dreaded Professional Scowl: I walk away from the Manhattan tobacconist resenting not the counterman’s character or absence of goodwill but his lack of professionalism in denying me the Smile. What a fucking mess.
David Foster Wallace (A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: An Essay)
When Benjamin Bloom studied his 120 world-class concert pianists, sculptors, swimmers, tennis players, mathematicians, and research neurologists, he found something fascinating. For most of them, their first teachers were incredibly warm and accepting. Not that they set low standards. Not at all, but they created an atmosphere of trust, not judgment. It was, “I’m going to teach you,” not “I’m going to judge your talent.” As you look at what Collins and Esquith demanded of their students—all their students—it’s almost shocking. When Collins expanded her school to include young children, she required that every four-year-old who started in September be reading by Christmas. And they all were. The three- and four-year-olds used a vocabulary book titled Vocabulary for the High School Student. The seven-year-olds were reading The Wall Street Journal. For older children, a discussion of Plato’s Republic led to discussions of de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, Orwell’s Animal Farm, Machiavelli, and the Chicago city council. Her reading list for the late-grade-school children included The Complete Plays of Anton Chekhov, Physics Through Experiment, and The Canterbury Tales. Oh, and always Shakespeare. Even the boys who picked their teeth with switchblades, she says, loved Shakespeare and always begged for more. Yet Collins maintained an extremely nurturing atmosphere. A very strict and disciplined one, but a loving one. Realizing that her students were coming from teachers who made a career of telling them what was wrong with them, she quickly made known her complete commitment to them as her students and as people. Esquith bemoans the lowering of standards. Recently, he tells us, his school celebrated reading scores that were twenty points below the national average. Why? Because they were a point or two higher than the year before. “Maybe it’s important to look for the good and be optimistic,” he says, “but delusion is not the answer. Those who celebrate failure will not be around to help today’s students celebrate their jobs flipping burgers.… Someone has to tell children if they are behind, and lay out a plan of attack to help them catch up.” All of his fifth graders master a reading list that includes Of Mice and Men, Native Son, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, The Joy Luck Club, The Diary of Anne Frank, To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Separate Peace. Every one of his sixth graders passes an algebra final that would reduce most eighth and ninth graders to tears. But again, all is achieved in an atmosphere of affection and deep personal commitment to every student. “Challenge and nurture” describes DeLay’s approach, too. One of her former students expresses it this way: “That is part of Miss DeLay’s genius—to put people in the frame of mind where they can do their best.… Very few teachers can actually get you to your ultimate potential. Miss DeLay has that gift. She challenges you at the same time that you feel you are being nurtured.
Carol S. Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success)
Parenting pressures have resculpted our priorities so dramatically that we simply forget. In 1975 couples spent, on average, 12.4 hours alone together per week. By 2000 they spent only nine. What happens, as this number shrinks, is that our expectations shrink with it. Couple-time becomes stolen time, snatched in the interstices or piggybacked onto other pursuits. Homework is the new family dinner. I was struck by Laura Anne’s language as she described this new reality. She said the evening ritual of guiding her sons through their assignments was her “gift of service.” No doubt it is. But this particular form of service is directed inside the home, rather than toward the community and for the commonweal, and those kinds of volunteer efforts and public involvements have also steadily declined over the last few decades, at least in terms of the number of hours of sweat equity we put into them. Our gifts of service are now more likely to be for the sake of our kids. And so our world becomes smaller, and the internal pressure we feel to parent well, whatever that may mean, only increases: how one raises a child, as Jerome Kagan notes, is now one of the few remaining ways in public life that we can prove our moral worth. In other cultures and in other eras, this could be done by caring for one’s elders, participating in social movements, providing civic leadership, and volunteering. Now, in the United States, child-rearing has largely taken their place. Parenting books have become, literally, our bibles. It’s understandable why parents go to such elaborate lengths on behalf of their children. But here’s something to think about: while Annette Lareau’s Unequal Childhoods makes it clear that middle-class children enjoy far greater success in the world, what the book can’t say is whether concerted cultivation causes that success or whether middle-class children would do just as well if they were simply left to their own devices. For all we know, the answer may be the latter.
Jennifer Senior (All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood)
In 1970, psychologists Bibb Latane and John Darley created an experiment in which they would drop pencils or coins. Sometimes they would be in a group, sometimes with one other person. They did this six thousand times. The results? They got help 20 percent of the time in a group, 40 percent of the time with one other person. They decided to up the stakes, and in their next experiment they had someone fill out a questionnaire. After a few minutes, smoke would start to fill the room, billowing in from a wall vent. They ran two versions of the experiment. In one, the person was alone; in the other, two other people were also filling out the questionnaire. When alone, people took about five seconds to get up and freak out. Within groups people took an average of 20 seconds to notice. When alone, the subject would go inspect the smoke and then leave the room to tell the experimenter he or she thought something was wrong. When in a group, people just sat there looking at one another until the smoke was so thick they couldn’t see the questionnaire. Only three people in eight runs of the group experiment left the room, and they took an average of six minutes to get up. The findings suggest the fear of embarrassment plays into group dynamics. You see the smoke, but you don’t want to look like a fool, so you glance over at the other person to see what they are doing. The other person is thinking the same thing. Neither of you react, so neither of you becomes alarmed. The third person sees two people acting like everything is OK, so that third person is even less likely to freak out. Everyone is influencing every other person’s perception of reality thanks to another behavior called the illusion of transparency. You tend to think other people can tell what you are thinking and feeling just by looking at you. You think the other people can tell you are really worried about the smoke, but they can’t. They think the same thing. No one freaks out. This leads to pluralistic ignorance—a situation where everyone is thinking the same thing but believes he or she is the only person who thinks it. After the smoke-filled room experiment, all the participants reported they were freaking out on the inside, but since no one else seemed alarmed, they assumed it must just be their own anxiety.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart: Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook, Why Your Memory Is Mostly Fiction, and 46 Other Ways You're Deluding Yourself)
The idea of you lynching anybody! It’s amusing. The idea of you thinking you had pluck enough to lynch a man! Because you’re brave enough to tar and feather poor friendless cast-out women that come along here, did that make you think you had grit enough to lay your hands on a man? Why, a man’s safe in the hands of ten thousand of your kind—as long as it’s day-time and you’re not behind him. “Do I know you? I know you clear through. I was born and raised in the South, and I’ve lived in the North; so I know the average all around. The average man’s a coward. In the North he lets anybody walk over him that wants to, and goes home and prays for a humble spirit to bear it. In the South one man, all by himself, has stopped a stage full of men, in the day-time, and robbed the lot. Your newspapers call you a brave people so much that you think you are braver than any other people—whereas you’re just as brave, and no braver. Why don’t your juries hang murderers? Because they’re afraid the man’s friends will shoot them in the back, in the dark—and it’s just what they would do. “So they always acquit; and then a man goes in the night, with a hundred masked cowards at his back, and lynches the rascal. Your mistake is, that you didn’t bring a man with you; that’s one mistake, and the other is that you didn’t come in the dark, and fetch your masks. You brought part of a man—Buck Harkness, there—and if you hadn’t had him to start you, you’d a taken it out in blowing. “You didn’t want to come. The average man don’t like trouble and danger. You don’t like trouble and danger. But if only half a man—like Buck Harkness, there—shouts ‘Lynch him, lynch him!’ you’re afraid to back down—afraid you’ll be found out to be what you are—cowards—and so you raise a yell, and hang yourselves onto that half-a-man’s coat tail, and come raging up here, swearing what big things you’re going to do. The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that’s what an army is—a mob; they don’t fight with courage that’s born in them, but with courage that’s borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any man at the head of it, is beneath pitifulness. Now the thing for you to do, is to droop your tails and go home and crawl in a hole. If any real lynching’s going to be done, it will be done in the dark, Southern fashion; and when they come they’ll bring their masks, and fetch a man along. Now leave—and take your half-a-man with you...
Mark Twain (The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)
In North America, there is no nostalgia for the postwar period, quite simply because the Trente Glorieuses never existed there: per capita output grew at roughly the same rate of 1.5–2 percent per year throughout the period 1820–2012. To be sure, growth slowed a bit between 1930 and 1950 to just over 1.5 percent, then increased again to just over 2 percent between 1950 and 1970, and then slowed to less than 1.5 percent between 1990 and 2012. In Western Europe, which suffered much more from the two world wars, the variations are considerably greater: per capita output stagnated between 1913 and 1950 (with a growth rate of just over 0.5 percent) and then leapt ahead to more than 4 percent from 1950 to 1970, before falling sharply to just slightly above US levels (a little more than 2 percent) in the period 1970–1990 and to barely 1.5 percent between 1990 and 2012. Western Europe experienced a golden age of growth between 1950 and 1970, only to see its growth rate diminish to one-half or even one-third of its peak level during the decades that followed. [...] If we looked only at continental Europe, we would find an average per capita output growth rate of 5 percent between 1950 and 1970—a level well beyond that achieved in other advanced countries over the past two centuries. These very different collective experiences of growth in the twentieth century largely explain why public opinion in different countries varies so widely in regard to commercial and financial globalization and indeed to capitalism in general. In continental Europe and especially France, people quite naturally continue to look on the first three postwar decades—a period of strong state intervention in the economy—as a period blessed with rapid growth, and many regard the liberalization of the economy that began around 1980 as the cause of a slowdown. In Great Britain and the United States, postwar history is interpreted quite differently. Between 1950 and 1980, the gap between the English-speaking countries and the countries that had lost the war closed rapidly. By the late 1970s, US magazine covers often denounced the decline of the United States and the success of German and Japanese industry. In Britain, GDP per capita fell below the level of Germany, France, Japan, and even Italy. It may even be the case that this sense of being rivaled (or even overtaken in the case of Britain) played an important part in the “conservative revolution.” Margaret Thatcher in Britain and Ronald Reagan in the United States promised to “roll back the welfare state” that had allegedly sapped the animal spirits of Anglo-Saxon entrepreneurs and thus to return to pure nineteenth-century capitalism, which would allow the United States and Britain to regain the upper hand. Even today, many people in both countries believe that the conservative revolution was remarkably successful, because their growth rates once again matched continental European and Japanese levels. In fact, neither the economic liberalization that began around 1980 nor the state interventionism that began in 1945 deserves such praise or blame. France, Germany, and Japan would very likely have caught up with Britain and the United States following their collapse of 1914–1945 regardless of what policies they had adopted (I say this with only slight exaggeration). The most one can say is that state intervention did no harm. Similarly, once these countries had attained the global technological frontier, it is hardly surprising that they ceased to grow more rapidly than Britain and the United States or that growth rates in all of these wealthy countries more or less equalized [...] Broadly speaking, the US and British policies of economic liberalization appear to have had little effect on this simple reality, since they neither increased growth nor decreased it.
Thomas Piketty (Capital in the Twenty-First Century)
Qualities such as honesty, determination, and a cheerful acceptance of stress, which can all be identified through probing questionnaires and interviews, may be more important to the company in the long run than one's college grade-point average or years of "related experience." Every business is only as good as the people it brings into the organization. The corporate trainer should feel his job is the most important in the company, because it is. Exalt seniority-publicly, shamelessly, and with enough fanfare to raise goosebumps on the flesh of the most cynical spectator. And, after the ceremony, there should be some sort of permanent display so that employees passing by are continuously reminded of their own achievements and the achievements of others. The manager must freely share his expertise-not only about company procedures and products and services but also with regard to the supervisory skills he has worked so hard to acquire. If his attitude is, "Let them go out and get their own MBAs," the personnel under his authority will never have the full benefit of his experience. Without it, they will perform at a lower standard than is possible, jeopardizing the manager's own success. Should a CEO proclaim that there is no higher calling than being an employee of his organization? Perhaps not-for fear of being misunderstood-but it's certainly all right to think it. In fact, a CEO who does not feel this way should look for another company to manage-one that actually does contribute toward a better life for all. Every corporate leader should communicate to his workforce that its efforts are important and that employees should be very proud of what they do-for the company, for themselves, and, literally, for the world. If any employee is embarrassed to tell his friends what he does for a living, there has been a failure of leadership at his workplace. Loyalty is not demanded; it is created. Why can't a CEO put out his own suggested reading list to reinforce the corporate vision and core values? An attractive display at every employee lounge of books to be freely borrowed, or purchased, will generate interest and participation. Of course, the program has to be purely voluntary, but many employees will wish to be conversant with the material others are talking about. The books will be another point of contact between individuals, who might find themselves conversing on topics other than the weekend football games. By simply distributing the list and displaying the books prominently, the CEO will set into motion a chain of events that can greatly benefit the workplace. For a very cost-effective investment, management will have yet another way to strengthen the corporate message. The very existence of many companies hangs not on the decisions of their visionary CEOs and energetic managers but on the behavior of its receptionists, retail clerks, delivery drivers, and service personnel. The manager must put himself and his people through progressively challenging courage-building experiences. He must make these a mandatory group experience, and he must lead the way. People who have confronted the fear of public speaking, and have learned to master it, find that their new confidence manifests itself in every other facet of the professional and personal lives. Managers who hold weekly meetings in which everyone takes on progressively more difficult speaking or presentation assignments will see personalities revolutionized before their eyes. Command from a forward position, which means from the thick of it. No soldier will ever be inspired to advance into a hail of bullets by orders phoned in on the radio from the safety of a remote command post; he is inspired to follow the officer in front of him. It is much more effective to get your personnel to follow you than to push them forward from behind a desk. The more important the mission, the more important it is to be at the front.
Dan Carrison (Semper Fi: Business Leadership the Marine Corps Way)
Can't you just let it go? Move on?" His face darkened. His eyes glared in response and he was silent a long time while his jaw worked over a toothpick. She'd used the same line that the prophet and his representatives had been using for years. Even if these things did happen, there is no point in being bitter. You should forgive and forget and let bygones be bygones. Kind of galling, considering the insistence upon forgiveness was being made by the people who had done the hurting and done nothing to make up for it. But then, that was the standard 'blame the victim' abuser mentally, and to be expected. Gideon seemed to work through this slap in the face and let it slide. He said, "For a while I thought maybe, you know, if I could talk to the people responsible. If I could show them how difficult life has been because of them, that maybe they would care. I don't know. I thought maybe if they apologized, it would be so much easier to forget this shit. You know? To do what they say and 'let it go'. But nobody will take any personal responsibility. My own parents have nothing to offer but a bunch of whiny excuses. They try to convince me that my life wasn't as bad as I remember it." "Fuck that," he said, "They weren't even there. They don't even know what went on with me. I just..." He paused and pulled his fingers through his hair. "Christ," he said. He paused again, eyes to the sky, and then back to her. "Even the people who never personally raised a hand against me still propped up the regime that made it happen. They stood by and allowed it. Played a part. All of them. Every single one was a participant. Either directly or by looking away. Institutionally, doctrinally, they abused us. Sent us into the streets to beg, denied us an education, had us beaten, starved, exorcised, and separated from our parents. They broke up our families, gave our bodies to perverts, and stole our future. And then they turn around and say we're supposed to just forget it happened and move on from it. If instead we bring up the past, then they'll call us liars. Say we're exaggerating or making it up completely. Why the hell would be make any of this shit up? What's the point in that? To make our lives seem worse than they were? Not that I would, but do you have any idea how much exaggeration it would take for the average person to even begin to grasp how fucking miserable it was? And then, if they ever do admit to any of it, they say that 'mistakes were made'. " "Mistakes." he said. He was leaning forward again, punctuating the air with his finger. "Michael, they commit crimes against children. You know, those things people in society go to jail for when they're caught. And then to the public they do what they always do. Deny. Deny. Deny. And we're left more raped than ever. Victimized first by what they did, and again by their refusal to admit that it happened. They paint us as bitter apostates and liars to a world that not only doesn't give a shit, but also couldn't possibly understand even if it did." "I do," Munroe said. And Gideon stopped.
Taylor Stevens (The Innocent (Vanessa Michael Munroe, #2))
Yes, there is a human nature and that human nature is build for love and contact. It is build for connection, it is build for mutual protection, it is build for mutual aid. And when we rear people in base of all society on the lines that transgress those needs, we're gonna get exactly what we have today. Which is a society which is increasingly conflicted, increasingly fractured, increasingly disconnected and where human pathology is, despite all the advances of medicine, chronic human pathology is on the rise. Western medicine does not recognize that the pathologies are manifestations of our life, that diseases don't have a life of their own, that diseases express the life of the individual. And if that individual's life is changed, so can the disease in many, many cases. And furthermore, that human beings have an innate healing capacity. There is a healing capacity in all living beings, plant or animal. And along with the wonders and contributions of Western medicine we could do so much more if we actually respected and evoked and encouraged that healing capacity that is within the individual, which is very much connected to the emergence of the true self. Now, for that, you need the truth. That means, we actually have to look at what is going on. And there is so much denial in this society. My own profession is a prime example. The average doctor does not hear the information I gave you about asthma. They couldn't explain it, even though the physiology is straightforward. For all the trauma in this society, the average physician does not hear the word "trauma" in all their years of training. Not that they don't get a lecture, not that they don't get a course, they don't even hear the word, except in the physical sense, physical trauma. Teachers are not taught that the human child's brain is still developing and that the conditions for healthy brain development is the presence of nurturing and responsive adults. And that schools are not knowledge factories, they are places where human development needs to be nurtured. That's a very different proposition for an educational system. And the courts don't get it. The courts think that if a human is behaving badly, it is a choice they're making, therefore they need to be punished. For some strange reason, certain minority groups have to be punished more than the average, like in my country 5% of the population is native, and they are 25% of the jail population now. And of course when we ask the question if the science is straightforward — as I believe it to be — and the conclusions are as clear as I believe them to be, why don't we just embrace it and follow it and do something about it? Well.. the reason for that is obvious, because if everything I just said happens to be true, which I firmly believe to be true, and if it is.. everything would have to change. How we teach parents would have to change, how we treat family would have to change, how we support young parents would have to change, how we pass laws, how we educate people, how we run the economy. We have to do something different. Getting to that something different has to begin with an inquiry and I hope I've said enough to encourage you to continue on that path of inquiry.
Gabor Maté
Simonton finds that on average, creative geniuses weren’t qualitatively better in their fields than their peers. They simply produced a greater volume of work, which gave them more variation and a higher chance of originality. “The odds of producing an influential or successful idea,” Simonton notes, are “a positive function of the total number of ideas generated.” Consider Shakespeare: we’re most familiar with a small number of his classics, forgetting that in the span of two decades, he produced 37 plays and 154 sonnets. Simonton tracked the popularity of Shakespeare’s plays, measuring how often they’re performed and how widely they’re praised by experts and critics. In the same five-year window that Shakespeare produced three of his five most popular works—Macbeth, King Lear, and Othello—he also churned out the comparatively average Timon of Athens and All’s Well That Ends Well, both of which rank among the worst of his plays and have been consistently slammed for unpolished prose and incomplete plot and character development. In every field, even the most eminent creators typically produce a large quantity of work that’s technically sound but considered unremarkable by experts and audiences. When the London Philharmonic Orchestra chose the 50 greatest pieces of classical music, the list included six pieces by Mozart, five by Beethoven, and three by Bach. To generate a handful of masterworks, Mozart composed more than 600 pieces before his death at thirty-five, Beethoven produced 650 in his lifetime, and Bach wrote over a thousand. In a study of over 15,000 classical music compositions, the more pieces a composer produced in a given five-year window, the greater the spike in the odds of a hit. Picasso’s oeuvre includes more than 1,800 paintings, 1,200 sculptures, 2,800 ceramics, and 12,000 drawings, not to mention prints, rugs, and tapestries—only a fraction of which have garnered acclaim. In poetry, when we recite Maya Angelou’s classic poem “Still I Rise,” we tend to forget that she wrote 165 others; we remember her moving memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and pay less attention to her other 6 autobiographies. In science, Einstein wrote papers on general and special relativity that transformed physics, but many of his 248 publications had minimal impact. If you want to be original, “the most important possible thing you could do,” says Ira Glass, the producer of This American Life and the podcast Serial, “is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work.” Across fields, Simonton reports that the most prolific people not only have the highest originality; they also generate their most original output during the periods in which they produce the largest volume.* Between the ages of thirty and thirty-five, Edison pioneered the lightbulb, the phonograph, and the carbon telephone. But during that period, he filed well over one hundred patents for other inventions as diverse as stencil pens, a fruit preservation technique, and a way of using magnets to mine iron ore—and designed a creepy talking doll. “Those periods in which the most minor products appear tend to be the same periods in which the most major works appear,” Simonton notes. Edison’s “1,093 patents notwithstanding, the number of truly superlative creative achievements can probably be counted on the fingers of one hand.
Adam M. Grant (Originals: How Nonconformists Move the World)
All A players have six common denominators. They have a scoreboard that tells them if they are winning or losing and what needs to be done to change their performance. They will not play if they can’t see the scoreboard. They have a high internal, emotional need to succeed. They do not need to be externally motivated or begged to do their job. They want to succeed because it is who they are . . . winners. People often ask me how I motivate my employees. My response is, “I hire them.” Motivation is for amateurs. Pros never need motivating. (Inspiration is another story.) Instead of trying to design a pep talk to motivate your people, why not create a challenge for them? A players love being tested and challenged. They love to be measured and held accountable for their results. Like the straight-A classmate in your high school geometry class, an A player can hardly wait for report card day. C players dread report card day because they are reminded of how average or deficient they are. To an A player, a report card with a B or a C is devastating and a call for renewed commitment and remedial actions. They have the technical chops to do the job. This is not their first rodeo. They have been there, done that, and they are technically very good at what they do. They are humble enough to ask for coaching. The three most important questions an employee can ask are: What else can I do? Where can I get better? What do I need to do or learn so that I continue to grow? If you have someone on your team asking all three of these questions, you have an A player in the making. If you agree these three questions would fundamentally change the game for your team, why not enroll them in asking these questions? They see opportunities. C players see only problems. Every situation is asking a very simple question: Do you want me to be a problem or an opportunity? Your choice. You know the job has outgrown the person when all you hear are problems. The cost of a bad employee is never the salary. My rules for hiring and retaining A players are: Interview rigorously. (Who by Geoff Smart is a spectacular resource on this subject.) Compensate generously. Onboard effectively. Measure consistently. Coach continuously.
Keith J. Cunningham (The Road Less Stupid: Advice from the Chairman of the Board)
Spellbinders are characterized by pathological egotism. Such a person is forced by some internal causes to make an early choice between two possibilities: the first is forcing other people to think and experience things in a manner similar to his own; the second is a feeling of being lonely and different, a pathological misfit in social life. Sometimes the choice is either snake-charming or suicide. Triumphant repression of selfcritical or unpleasant concepts from the field of consciousness gradually gives rise to the phenomena of conversive thinking (twisted thinking), or paralogistics (twisted logic), paramoralisms (twisted morality), and the use of reversion blockades (Big Lies). They stream so profusely from the mind and mouth of the spellbinder that they flood the average person’s mind. Everything becomes subordinated to the spellbinder’s over-compensatory conviction that they are exceptional, sometimes even messianic. An ideology emerges from this conviction, true in part, whose value is supposedly superior. However, if we analyze the exact functions of such an ideology in the spellbinder’s personality, we perceive that it is nothing other than a means of self-charming, useful for repressing those tormenting selfcritical associations into the subconscious. The ideology’s instrumental role in influencing other people also serves the spellbinder’s needs. The spellbinder believes that he will always find converts to his ideology, and most often, they are right. However, they feel shock (or even paramoral indignation) when it turns out that their influence extends to only a limited minority, while most people’s attitude to their activities remains critical, pained and disturbed. The spellbinder is thus confronted with a choice: either withdraw back into his void or strengthen his position by improving the ef ectiveness of his activities. The spellbinder places on a high moral plane anyone who has succumbed to his influence and incorporated the experiential method he imposes. He showers such people with attention and property, if possible. Critics are met with “moral” outrage. It can even be proclaimed that the compliant minority is in fact the moral majority, since it professes the best ideology and honors a leader whose qualities are above average. Such activity is always necessarily characterized by the inability to foresee its final results, something obvious from the psychological point of view because its substratum contains pathological phenomena, and both spellbinding and self-charming make it impossible to perceive reality accurately enough to foresee results logically. However, spellbinders nurture great optimism and harbor visions of future triumphs similar to those they enjoyed over their own crippled souls. It is also possible for optimism to be a pathological symptom. In a healthy society, the activities of spellbinders meet with criticism effective enough to stifle them quickly. However, when they are preceded by conditions operating destructively upon common sense and social order; such as social injustice, cultural backwardness, or intellectually limited rulers sometimes manifesting pathological traits, spellbinders’ activities have led entire societies into large-scale human tragedy. Such an individual fishes an environment or society for people amenable to his influence, deepening their psychological weaknesses until they finally join together in a ponerogenic union. On the other hand, people who have maintained their healthy critical faculties intact, based upon their own common sense and moral criteria, attempt to counteract the spellbinders’ activities and their results. In the resulting polarization of social attitudes, each side justifies itself by means of moral categories. That is why such commonsense resistance is always accompanied by some feeling of helplessness and deficiency of criteria.
Andrew Lobabczewski