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"Beginners is ultimately about more than learning. It's about the possibilities that reside in all of us." --Daniel H. Pink, New York Times best-selling author of When, Drive, and To Sell is Human The best-selling author of Traffic and You May Also Like gives us an inspirational journey into the transformative joys that come with starting something new, no matter your age Why do so many of us stop learning new skills as adults? Are we afraid to fail? Have we forgotten the sheer pleasure of being a beginner? Or is it simply a fact that you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Inspired by his young daughter's insatiable need to know how to do almost everything, and stymied by his own rut of mid-career competence, Tom Vanderbilt begins a year of learning purely for the sake of learning. He tackles five main skills (and picks up a few more along the way), choosing them for their difficulty to master and their distinct lack of career marketability--chess, singing, surfing, drawing, and juggling. What he doesn't expect is finding himself having rapturous experiences singing Spice Girls songs in an amateur choir, losing games of chess to eight-year-olds, and dodging scorpions at a surf camp in Costa Rica. Along the way, he interviews dozens of experts to explore the fascinating psychology and science behind the benefits of becoming an adult beginner. Weaving comprehensive research and surprising insight gained from his year of learning dangerously, Vanderbilt shows how anyone can begin again--and, more important, why they should take those first awkward steps. Ultimately, he shares how a refreshed sense of curiosity opened him up to a profound happiness and a deeper connection to the people around him--and how small acts of reinvention, at any age, can make life seem magical.
'Beginners belongs on the list of books that have changed the way I understand my own limitations.' Malcolm Gladwell For many of us, the last time we learned a new skill was during childhood. We live in an age which reveres expertise but looks down on the beginner. Upon entering adulthood and middle age, we begin to shy away from trying new things, instead preferring to stay nestled firmly in our comfort zones. Beginners asks the question: why are children the only ones allowed to experience the inherent fun of facing daily challenges? And could we benefit from embracing new skills, even if we're initially hopeless? Bestselling author Tom Vanderbilt sets out to find the answer, tasking himself with acquiring several new skills under the tutelage of professionals, including drawing, juggling, surfing and much more. Witty and often surprisingly profound, Beginners is an uplifting exploration of the science of brain plasticity and how we can learn how to learn anew.
Why do we get so embarrassed when a colleague wears the same shirt? Why do we eat the same thing for breakfast every day, but seek out novelty at lunch and dinner? How has streaming changed the way Netflix makes recommendations? Why do people think the music of their youth is the best? How can you spot a fake review on Yelp? Our preferences and opinions are constantly being shaped by countless forces – especially in the digital age with its nonstop procession of “thumbs up” and “likes” and “stars.” Tom Vanderbilt, bestselling author of Traffic, explains why we like the things we like, why we hate the things we hate, and what all this tell us about ourselves. With a voracious curiosity, Vanderbilt stalks the elusive beast of taste, probing research in psychology, marketing, and neuroscience to answer myriad complex and fascinating questions. If you’ve ever wondered how Netflix recommends movies or why books often see a sudden decline in Amazon ratings after they win a major prize, Tom Vanderbilt has answers to these questions and many more that you’ve probably never thought to ask.
Driving is a fact of life. We are all spending more and more time on the road, and traffic is an issue we face everyday. This book will make you think about it in a whole new light. We have always had a passion for cars and driving. Now Traffic offers us an exceptionally rich understanding of that passion. Vanderbilt explains why traffic jams form, outlines the unintended consequences of our attempts to engineer safety and even identifies the most common mistakes drivers make in parking lots. Based on exhaustive research and interviews with driving experts and traffic officials around the globe, Traffic gets under the hood of the quotidian activity of driving to uncover the surprisingly complex web of physical, psychological and technical factors that explain how traffic works.
On the road to Survival City, Tom Vanderbilt maps the visible and invisible legacies of the cold war, exhuming the blueprints for the apocalypse we once envisioned and chronicling a time when we all lived at ground zero. In this road trip among ruined missile silos, atomic storage bunkers, and secret test sites, a lost battleground emerges amid the architecture of the 1950s, accompanied by Walter Cotten’s stunning photographs. Survival City looks deep into the national soul, unearthing the dreams and fears that drove us during the latter half of the twentieth century. “A crucial and dazzling book, masterful, and for me at least, intoxicating.”—Dave Eggers “A genuinely engaging book, perhaps because [Vanderbilt] is skillful at conveying his own sense of engagement to the reader.”—Los Angeles Times “A retracing of Dr. Strangelove as ordinary life.”—Greil Marcus, Bookforum
A New Vision of Inclusive Leadership What makes someone a leader? Someone you vote for, work for, or listen to for their expertise? With Step Up, equality advocate Ash Beckham challenges us to embrace a different vision of leadership—to stop focusing on external authorities and start reclaiming our own ability to create change. “What we need most are everyday leaders,” she writes. “We need people to step up and be the change they wish to see in the world. Anyone can do it. You can do it.” Whether your path involves activism, political engagement, or simply being a positive voice in your workplace, home, and community, Beckham’s Step Up provides essential guidance on cultivating the eight pillars of everyday leadership: • Empathy—the art of relating to others with compassion for our shared humanity, regardless of whether we agree • Responsibility—how we can raise our awareness and consciously choose to behave in ways that heal instead of harm • Courage—understanding the nature of fear so we can move beyond our comfort zone one step at a time • Grace—how keeping our higher purpose always in sight helps us stop reacting with fear or anger • Individuality—learning to value and celebrate our uniqueness, including the parts of ourselves we often reject • Humility—ways to keep the ego in check and open the door to honest, collaborative relationships • Patience—guidance for disarming our tendency to rush ahead so we can act with greater deliberation and forethought • Authenticity—how we can embody our deepest truths and lead by example in any situation For each pillar, Beckham shares engaging stories of her own journey from isolation and anger to a place of greater openness and connection—supported by scientific research and everyday practices to mindfully change the way you relate to yourself and the people in your life. Step Up is a powerful call to action—to speak when it feels easier to be silent, to do good without being self-righteous, and to create a world of inclusion where everyone has a voice and everyone belongs.
If you’re not having fun, you’re not fully living. The author of How to Break Up with Your Phone makes the case that, far from being frivolous, fun is actually critical to our well-being—and shows us how to have more of it. “This delightful book might just be what we need to start flourishing.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Grant Journalist and screen/life balance expert Catherine Price argues persuasively that our always-on, tech-addicted lifestyles have led us to obsess over intangible concepts such as happiness while obscuring the fact that real happiness lies in the everyday experience of fun. We often think of fun as indulgent, even immature and selfish. We claim to not have time for it, even as we find hours a day for what Price calls Fake Fun—bingeing on television, doomscrolling the news, or posting photos to social media, all in hopes of filling some of the emptiness we feel inside.. In this follow-up to her hit book, How to Break Up with Your Phone, Price makes the case that True Fun—which she defines as the magical confluence of playfulness, connection, and flow—will give us the fulfillment we so desperately seek. If you use True Fun as your compass, you will be happier and healthier. You will be more productive, less resentful, and less stressed. You will have more energy. You will find community and a sense of purpose. You will stop languishing and start flourishing. And best of all? You’ll enjoy the process. Weaving together scientific research with personal experience, Price reveals the surprising mental, physical, and cognitive benefits of fun, and offers a practical, personalized plan for how we can achieve better screen/life balance and attract more True Fun into our daily lives—without feeling overwhelmed. Groundbreaking, eye-opening, and packed with useful advice, The Power of Fun won’t just change the way you think about fun. It will bring you back to life.
Book Being the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are Description/Summary:
A crisp and sparkling blend of cognitive science and human behavior that offers meaningful and attainable pathways towards becoming our best selves. Why do we feel like in order to be productive, happy, or good, we must sacrifice everything else? Is it possible to feel all three at once? Without even knowing it, we’re doing things everyday to sabotage ourselves and our societies, habits that prevent us from optimizing long term happiness. Where most books imagine solutions that, when enacted, fail to fundamentally improve our lives, Jim Davies grounds his research in cognitive science to show you not only what works, but how much it works. Being the Person Your Dog Thinks You Are shows us how we can use science to become our best selves, using resources we already have within our own brains. Davies's book challenges and inspires us to approach the big picture while also staying mindful of the everyday details in real life. Davies proves why multitasking is bad for you, when a little unmindfulness can be good for you, how to best justify which charities to donate to, and how to hack your brain. The most surprising truth Davies offers us spreads across these pages like wildfire: you too can lead an optimally good life, not through uprooting your life from the ground up, but from adapting your mentality to your given present. A better life doesn’t need to look like a massive change—like our beloved dogs who already view us as our best selves, it’s already much closer than you think.
A groundbreaking exploration of what it means to be a late bloomer in a culture obsessed with SAT scores and early success, and how finding one's way later in life can be an advantage to long-term achievement and happiness. We live in a society where kids and parents are obsessed with early achievement, from getting perfect scores on SATs to getting into Ivy League colleges to landing an amazing job at Google or Facebook--or even better, creating a startup with the potential to be the next Google or Facebook or Uber. We see software coders becoming millionaires or even billionaires before age 30 and feel we are failing if we are not one of them. But there is good news. A lot of us--most of us--do not explode out of the gates in life. That was true for author Rich Karlgaard, who had a mediocre academic career at Stanford (which he got into by a fluke), and after graduating, worked as a dishwasher, nightwatchman, and typing temp before finally finding the inner motivation and drive that ultimately led him to start up a high-tech magazine in Silicon Valley, and eventually to become the publisher of Forbes magazine. There is a scientific explanation for why so many of us bloom later in life. The executive function of our brains doesn't mature until age 25--and later for some. In fact our brain's capabilities peak at different ages. We actually enjoy multiple periods of blooming in our lives. Based on several years of research, personal experience, and interviews with neuroscientists and psychologists, and countless people at different stages of their careers, Bloom reveals how and when we achieve full potential--and why an algorithmic acuity in math is such an anomaly in terms of career success.
Kindness isn’t merely about getting along with people and being nice. It’s a game changer in business, the door-opener to opportunity, and the key to authenticity and confidence. Discover the true potential of kindness and harness its power. Through years of developing her own kindness practices and studying those of others, Good Morning America correspondent and ABC News journalist Adrienne Bankert has experienced firsthand the unbeatable power of kindness and witnessed its transformative impact on others. Adjusting our perspective from being closed off and self-centered to a mindset of kindness ripples into a staggering amount of personal fulfillment and growth. No matter our age or ethnicity, where we come from, or how much money we make, every one of us can be kind. Every one of us can be a change agent. In Your Hidden Superpower, Adrienne will help you: See simple acts of kindness from a new and empowering perspective; Learn how to make kindness a habit and experience more peace, inspiration, and impact; Engage kindness at work and enjoy remarkable opportunities—plus, know how to get from “here” to “there” quickly; and Activate kindness as a force to reconnect you to your authentic self, replenish your passion and creativity, and find your voice. Your Hidden Superpower describes how kindness is a superpower that can be honed through an intentional lifestyle of kindness and is especially important in these divisive times.
The best-selling author of Traffic and You May Also Like now gives us a thought-provoking, playful investigation into the transformative joys that come with starting something new, no matter your age Why do so many of us stop learning new skills as adults? Are we afraid to be bad at something? Have we forgotten the sheer pleasure of beginning from the ground up? Or is it simply a fact that you can't teach an old dog new tricks? Inspired by his young daughter's insatiable need to know how to do almost everything, Tom Vanderbilt begins a year of learning purely for the sake of learning. He tackles five skills, choosing them for their difficulty to master and their lack of marketability--chess, singing, surfing, drawing, and juggling. What he doesn't expect is that the circuitous journey he takes while learning these skills will be even more satisfying than any knowledge he gains. He soon finds himself having a rapturous experience singing R.E.M. in an amateur choir, losing games of chess to an eight-year old child, and avoiding scorpions at a surf camp in Costa Rica. Along the way, he explores the fascinating psychology and science behind the benefits of becoming an adult beginner. Through comprehensive research and surprising insight gained from his experiences, Vanderbilt shows how anyone can get better at beginning again. And he shares how his new sense of curiosity opened him up to a profound happiness and a deeper connection to the people around him. Beginners is not a "how to do" book as much as a "why to do" book. It's about how small acts of reinvention, at any age, can make life seem magical
Book The Power of a Positive No Description/Summary:
No is perhaps the most important and certainly the most powerful word in the language. Every day we find ourselves in situations where we need to say No–to people at work, at home, and in our communities–because No is the word we must use to protect ourselves and to stand up for everything and everyone that matters to us. But as we all know, the wrong No can also destroy what we most value by alienating and angering people. That’s why saying No the right way is crucial. The secret to saying No without destroying relationships lies in the art of the Positive No, a proven technique that anyone can learn. This indispensable book gives you a simple three-step method for saying a Positive No. It will show you how to assert and defend your key interests; how to make your No firm and strong; how to resist the other side’s aggression and manipulation; and how to do all this while still getting to Yes. In the end, the Positive No will help you get not just to any Yes but to the right Yes, the one that truly serves your interests. Based on William Ury’s celebrated Harvard University course for managers and professionals, The Power of a Positive No offers concrete advice and practical examples for saying No in virtually any situation. Whether you need to say No to your customer or your coworker, your employee or your CEO, your child or your spouse, you will find in this book the secret to saying No clearly, respectfully, and effectively. In today’s world of high stress and limitless choices, the pressure to give in and say Yes grows greater every day, producing overload and overwork, expanding e-mail and eroding ethics. Never has No been more needed. A Positive No has the power to profoundly transform our lives by enabling us to say Yes to what counts–our own needs, values, and priorities. Understood this way, No is the new Yes. And the Positive No may be the most valuable life skill you’ll ever learn!
Book Wherever the Sound Takes You Description/Summary:
David Rowell is a professional journalist and an impassioned amateur musician. He’s spent decades behind a drum kit, pondering the musical relationship between equipment and emotion. In Wherever the Sound Takes You, he explores the essence of music’s meaning with a vast spectrum of players, trying to understand their connection to their chosen instrument, what they’ve put themselves through for their music, and what they feel when they play. This wide-ranging and openhearted book blossoms outward from there. Rowell visits clubs, concert halls, street corners, and open mics, traveling from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland to a death metal festival in Maryland, with stops along the way in the Swiss Alps and Appalachia. His keen reportorial eye treats us to in-depth portraits of musicians from platinum-selling legend Peter Frampton to a devout Christian who spends his days alone in a storage unit bashing away on one of the largest drum sets in the world. Rowell illuminates the feelings that both spur music’s creation and emerge from its performance, as well as the physical instruments that enables their expression. With an uncommon sensitivity and grace, he charts the pleasure and pain of musicians consumed with what they do—as all of us listen in.
NATIONAL BESTSELLER • The #1 bestselling author of On Fire shows us how to recapture and harness our childlike sense of wonder in order to become more engaged, successful, and fulfilled. “Engaging . . . O’Leary encourages us to see the world through a child’s eyes.”—Mitch Albom, author of Tuesdays with Morrie There once was a time when we joyfully raised our hands to answer questions, connected easily with others, believed that anything was possible, and fearlessly jumped into new experiences. A time when we viewed each day not as something to endure, but as a marvelous gift to explore and savor—when we danced through our lives in awe of the ordinary moments and eager for the promise of tomorrow. Unfortunately, that’s far from our experience today. Instead, we feel disconnected and jaded. Social media reminds us that we don’t measure up, and the mainstream media barrages us with constant negativity. Many of us find ourselves caught in a life of dogged responsibility and mind-numbing repetition. The daily struggle to earn a living has caused us to lose the sense of wonder with which we once greeted every day. In his new book, bestselling author John O’Leary invites us to consider that it is possible to once again navigate the world as a child does. Identifying five senses children innately possess and that we’ve lost touch with as we age, O’Leary shares emotional, humorous, and inspirational stories intertwined with fascinating new research showing how each of us can reclaim our childlike joy, and why doing so will change how we interact with the world. In Awe reveals how we can regain that ability to see fresh insights, reach for new solutions, and live our best lives.
From cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Christian Jarrett, a fascinating book exploring the science of personality and how we can change ourselves for the better. What if you could exploit the plasticity of personality to change yourself in specific ways? Would you choose to become less neurotic? More self-disciplined? Less shy? Until now, we’ve been told that we’re stuck with the personality we were born with: The introvert will never break out of their shell, the narcissist will be forever trapped gazing into the mirror. In Be Who You Want, Dr. Christian Jarrett takes us on a thrilling journey, as he not only explores the ways that life changes us, but shows how we can deliberately shape our personalities to influence the course of our lives. Dr. Jarrett draws on the latest research to provide evidence-based ways to change each of the main five personality traits, including how to become more emotionally stable, extraverted, and open-minded. Dr. Jarrett features compelling stories of people who have achieved profound personality change such as a gang-leader turned youth role model, a drug addict turned ultra-runner, and a cripplingly shy teenager turned Hollywood mega-star. He also delves into the upsides of the so-called Dark Triad of personality traits—narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy—and how we might exploit their advantages without ourselves going over to the dark side. Filled with quizzes and interactive exercises to help us better understand the various aspects of our personalities, life stories, and passions, Be Who You Want will appeal to anyone who has ever felt constrained by how they've been characterized and wants to pursue lasting change.
Book People from My Neighborhood Description/Summary:
From the author of the internationally bestselling Strange Weather in Tokyo, a collection of interlinking stories that masterfully blend the mundane and the mythical—"fairy tales in the best Brothers Grimm tradition: naïf, magical, and frequently veering into the macabre" (Financial Times). A bossy child who lives under a white cloth near a tree; a schoolgirl who keeps doll's brains in a desk drawer; an old man with two shadows, one docile and one rebellious; a diplomat no one has ever seen who goes fishing at an artificial lake no one has ever heard of. These are some of the inhabitants of People from My Neighborhood. In their lives, details of the local and everyday—the lunch menu at a tiny drinking place called the Love, the color and shape of the roof of the tax office—slip into accounts of duels, prophetic dreams, revolutions, and visitations from ghosts and gods. In twenty-six "palm of the hand" stories—fictions small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand and brief enough to allow for dipping in and out—Hiromi Kawakami creates a universe ruled by mystery and transformation.
Book Start Now. Get Perfect Later Description/Summary:
What are you waiting for? Hardly anyone gets it right the first time, but many of us are crippled by indecision and fear of failure. The desire to get it right can inhibit us from getting started. In this book Rob Moore, the bestselling author of MONEY, shows that the quickest way to perfect is starting right now and improving as you go. This book will show you how to launch your business or idea, begin the next phase of your career, and overcome self-doubt - right away. Get perfect later, get started NOW.