Three weeks into the New Year, sticking to that resolution to exercise more or stop eating sugar or drink less may feel a little extreme. So, what do you do? Shrug your shoulders and reach for another cupcake? Log onto veganlife.com? Head for the bookstore to find somebody, anybody, who can guide us to be fitter, happier, radiant human beings? From the meditations of Marcus Aurelius to Benjamin Franklin’s “Poor Richard’s Almanac,” people have been reaching for advice on how to be more fully actualized since long before being self-actualized was a term. The writer Jessica Lamb-Shapiro set out to explore the 11-billion dollar industry of self-improvement books, seminars, and coaching to figure out why people follow them so devoutly--if they work--and what happens when they don’t. She’s written a memoir called, Promise Land: My Journey Through America’s Self-Help Culture.
As the fizzy, busy holiday season draws to a close, we’re pausing to reflect on how we navigate a world so unlike that of our parents. Today, no job is a job for life... We live longer but will likely retire with less. We now interact with friends more online than in person, value is measured in page views and how we choose to live could have severe consequences for the future of the planet.
So, how to pursue a life that has meaning and richness in today’s world? Roman Krznaric suggests looking to the past. He’s out with a new book called “How Should We Live?” which peers into the near and ancient past for examples of how people through the ages approached love, work, family, time, money, death, creativity, and more.
Dear Prudence (or Prudie as she is known by her fans) has the answers to all manner of relationship issues, handling delicate matters with aplomb, sensitivity, and humor. Emily Yoffe, a.k.a. Prudence, writes the Dear Prudence column for Slate and joins us to offer some last minute advice on Valentine’s Day.