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7 Essential Books on the Art and Science of Happiness

7 Essential Books on the Art and Science of Happiness
by Maria Popova From Plato to Buddha, or what imperfection has to do with the neuroscience of the good life. If you, like me, are fascinated by the human quest to understand the underpinnings of happiness but break out in hives at the mere mention of self-help books, you’re in luck: I’ve sifted through my personal library, a decade’s worth of obsessive reading, to surface seven essential books on the art and science of happiness, rooted in solid science, contemporary philosophy and cross-disciplinary insight. From psychology and neuroscience to sociology and cultural anthropology to behavioral economics, these essential reads illuminate the most fundamental aspiration of all human existence: How to avoid suffering and foster lasting well-being. The question of what makes us happy is likely as old as human cognition itself and has occupied the minds of philosophers, prophets and scientists for millennia. Human rationality depends critically on sophisticated emotionality. Donating = Loving

http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2011/01/25/must-read-books-happiness/

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Top 40 Useful Sites To Learn New Skills The web is a powerful resource that can easily help you learn new skills. You just have to know where to look. Sure, you can use Google, Yahoo, or Bing to search for sites where you can learn new skills , but I figured I’d save you some time. Here are the top 40 sites I have personally used over the last few years when I want to learn something new. Hack a Day - Hack a Day serves up fresh hacks (short tutorials) every day from around the web and one in-depth ‘How-To hack’ guide each week.eHow - eHow is an online community dedicated to providing visitors the ability to research, share, and discuss solutions and tips for completing day-to-day tasks and projects.Wired How-To Wiki - Collaborate with Wired editors and help them build their extensive library of projects, hacks, tricks and tips.

The Procrastination Matrix Note: To best understand this post, you should first read Part 1 of Wait But Why’s previous post on procrastination. PDF: We made a fancy PDF of this post for printing and offline viewing. Buy it here. (Or see a preview.) Back in high school, if you had asked me if I was a procrastinator, I would have said yes. Albertus Seba's Amazing Cabinet of Natural Curiosities by Kirstin Butler Getting a private viewing of the King Bird of Paradise, or how to set the exchange rate for flying squid. Lying at the intersection of art and science, the practice of natural illustration has long been the recipient of Brain Pickings adoration. So we swooned over the recent release of Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, a reproduction of the unequalled collection of Amsterdam apothecary Albertus Seba.

How to Be Alone: An Antidote to One of the Central Anxieties and Greatest Par... by Maria Popova “We live in a society which sees high self-esteem as a proof of well-being, but we do not want to be intimate with this admirable and desirable person.” If the odds of finding one’s soul mate are so dreadfully dismal and the secret of lasting love is largely a matter of concession, is it any wonder that a growing number of people choose to go solo? The One Thing You Need to Do to Find Real Happiness racorn/Shutterstock Our minds create many thoughts that can lead to our being unhappy, the key phrase being, our minds create. The thoughts and beliefs that we hold affect everything about us. Here in the United States, and in most of the developed world, people are consumed by consumerism.

Existential Crisis and How to Overcome it An existential crises is that point in our lives where we encounter the absurd as a formidable opponent. It has crept into our lives, uninvited, and challenging the very meaning of existence. The crisis is strong: it can take away the colors of the world around us making it dull. The Truth About Religion in America: The Founders Loathed Superstition and We Were Never a Christian Nation Once they begin to circulate, falsehoods—like counterfeit currency—are surprisingly tenacious. It doesn’t matter that there’s no backing for them. The only thing that counts is that people believe they have backing.

Jazz: A Rare Record of a Cultural Revolution by Maria Popova Last winter, The Jazz Loft Project was one of readers’ favorites — a rare and fascinating look at the secret life of a New York loft, where some of the most iconic jazz musicians of the 1950s came to play at night. This season brings us a greater treasure still: Jazz — a humbly titled yet absolutely amazing retrospective of the work of legendary photographer Herman Leonard, who passed away a few weeks before the book was published. Leonard had been photographing jazz musicians since the 1950s and developed close friendships with greats like Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, which gave him unique access to these innovators and their larger worlds beyond the stage. The book reveals a rare glimpse of the underbelly of a cultural revolution through stunning, luminous never-before-seen images of icons like Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and more.

16 cool things you can do on the Internet for free The Beatles sang it and countless philosophers have claimed it, the best things in life are free. But is it really the case? Well, if you’re hanging out on the Internet, the answer is a resounding “yes”. To see why, check out the sixteen fantastic free things you can do online down below. If all of this online awesomeness has you feeling a bit nostalgic for the old days of the Internet, take a trip back in time and check out 14 websites from the 1990s that are somehow still around. 1.

Why Our Passions Change, and Why That's OK Vlad Teodor/Shutterstock At a dinner recently I listened to a man describe his hobby. He likes to paint with watercolor. But he just lets them stack up. How to Build Self-Discipline Discipline is freedom. You may disagree with this statement, and if you do you are certainly not alone. For many people discipline is a dirty word that is equated with the absence of freedom. How to Name a Baby The first time a friend of mine had a child, it was intensely jarring. I’d be living my normal day, and then the thought would hit me—”Matt has a son”—and my whole world would get turned upside down. Three years and six friend babies later, I’m 32 and have numbed to the whole thing considerably. It’s still weird.

Ai Weiwei: Without Fear or Favour, a BBC Documentary by Maria Popova Exploring the role of art as an agent of change, or what 100 million porcelain seeds have to do with Twitter. Creative visionary, political activist and post-modern Renaissance man Ai Weiwei is China’s most widely known and politically vocal contemporary artist. His now-legendary Sunflower Seeds installation for the Tate Modern in October 2010, which took 2.5 years and 1,600 Chinese artisans to produce 100 million hand-crafted sunflower seeds from the finest Chinese porcelain, offered powerful commentary on consumerism, Chinese industry, human rights and collective labor. In February 2011, a 220-pound pile of the seeds sold for $559,394 at Sotheby’s in London. Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives “If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve,” Debbie Millman counseled in one of the best commencement speeches ever given, urging: “Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…” Far from Pollyanna platitude, this advice actually reflects what modern psychology knows about how belief systems about our own abilities and potential fuel our behavior and predict our success. Much of that understanding stems from the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, synthesized in her remarkably insightful Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (public library) — an inquiry into the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives. One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves, Dweck found in her research, has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality.

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