Where Silicon Valley Is Going to Get in Touch With Its Soul

(New York Times)
BIG SUR, Calif. — Silicon Valley, facing a crisis of the soul, has found a retreat center.

It has been a hard year for the tech industry. Prominent figures like Sean Parker and Justin Rosenstein, horrified by what technology has become, have begun to publicly denounce companies like Facebook that made them rich.

And so Silicon Valley has come to the Esalen Institute, a storied hippie hotel here on the Pacific coast south of Carmel, Calif. After storm damage in the spring and a skeleton crew in the summer, the institute was fully reopened in October with a new director and a new mission: It will be a home for technologists to reckon with what they have built.

 

80-year Harvard study claims to have found the secret to health and happiness

(MarketWatch)
There are some things that money can’t buy. True friends and happiness are among them. In fact, an 80-year-long study at Harvard University claims good pals are the key to a happy life.

Scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938, and have continued the study over the past eight decades. The original participants included President John F. Kennedy and longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, according to the Harvard Gazette. The study originally only included men, as Harvard didn’t admit women at that time, but the ongoing research has expanded, and now includes 1,300 of the original participants’ offspring. In the 1970s, 456 Boston inner-city residents were added to the study.

“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” Robert Waldinger, director of the study and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, told the Harvard Gazette. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.” That, he said, is more important than money or fame. “Loneliness kills,” he added. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

Yes, Studying the Humanities Might Make You a Better Person

Slate
Researchers found that the higher the humanities exposure, the higher these students scored on measures of empathy, wisdom, tolerance of ambiguity, resourcefulness, and emotional intelligence, and the lower they scored in signs of burnout.

From personal experience, the people most in need of greater “empathy, wisdom, tolerance of ambiguity, resourcefulness, and emotional intelligence” are the last to ever think they are deficient in any way.  Additionally, they are also usually void of any interest in any aspect of the humanities.

 

 

 

Reading Aloud to Young Children Has Benefits for Behavior and Attention

(New York Times)

It’s a truism in child development that the very young learn through relationships and back-and-forth interactions, including the interactions that occur when parents read to their children. A new study provides evidence of just how sustained an impact reading and playing with young children can have, shaping their social and emotional development in ways that go far beyond helping them learn language and early literacy skills. The parent-child-book moment even has the potential to help curb problem behaviors like aggression, hyperactivity and difficulty with attention, a new study has found.

How Compassion Can Make You More Successful

(Knowledge @ Wharton)

You don’t have to be a jerk to get ahead — in business and in life, according to David DeSteno, a Northeastern University psychology professor. Instead, positive emotions lead to bigger wins. He spoke with Knowledge@Wharton about this concept, which he wrote about in his book — Emotional Success: The Power of Gratitude, Compassion, and Pride.

Podcast and Transcript at the source above.

 

Yale’s Psychology and the Good Life offered for free online

(New York Times)
NEW HAVEN — On Jan. 12, a few days after registration opened at Yale for Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life, roughly 300 people had signed up. Within three days, the figure had more than doubled. After three more days, about 1,200 students, or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates, were enrolled.

The course, taught by Laurie Santos, 42, a psychology professor and the head of one of Yale’s residential colleges, tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life in twice-weekly lectures.

“Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” Dr. Santos said in an interview. “With one in four students at Yale taking it, if we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.”

BUT WAIT!! THERE”S MORE!!! What would you pay for a course of this quality?  500 Dollars!  1000 Dollars! 10,000 Dollars!  Well you can have this course for FREE!

Coursera’s rolling enrollment is here

Course Description:
“The Science of Well-Being” taught by Professor Laurie Santos overviews what psychological science says about happiness. The purpose of the course is to not only learn what psychological research says about what makes us happy but also to put those strategies into practice. The first part of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The next part of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits. The last part of the course gives learners time, tips, and social support to work on the final assignment which asks learners to apply one wellness activity aka “
Rewirement” into their lives for four weeks.