Tag Archives: favorite quotes

Celebrating Colorful Language

I realize that I do not have the most focused blog in the world. Some people blog about nothing other than, say, capital punishment or new developments in whiskey. I write about psychology, behavioral economics, ethics, the doctor-patient relationship, health … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

One of My Favorite Paragraphs from Being Mortal

Atul Gawande has received appropriate praise for his new book. Read it if you haven’t. Meanwhile, here is one of my favorite paragraphs from the book, to whet your appetites: Even as our bones and teeth soften, the rest of … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Mind-Boggling Partisan Dysfunction

I have done some research on political partisanship, as well as some writing. I think political dysfunction in this country threatens our future. So it was nice to read this opening paragraph, in a relatively recent and wonderfully written article … Continue reading

Posted in Political Psychology | Tagged ,

Heart-Wrenching Words from Beethoven on Deafness

It is an awful irony that Ludwig van Beethoven, who I consider the greatest composer in the history of the world, experienced deafness from an early age, a disability that did not seem to interfere with his musical productivity one … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Power of Analogy

From time to time in this blog, I take a moment to celebrate fine writing. Here is an example I came across in an article in Smithsonian magazine from May 2014. The author, Corey Powell , was trying to explain how astronomers … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Something I Have in Common with Beethoven

Friends and family are painfully aware of how obsessed I have become with Beethoven lately. My plan is to have 10 of his piano sonatas in my brain and fingertips at any one time, ready to play by memory on … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Influencing Young Minds

I really like teaching Duke undergraduates. They are an ambitious and intelligent group. But sometimes their ambition and intelligence get in the way of creative thinking, especially in regards to careers. They all want to remain high achievers, so they … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Emotional Adaptation and Desire

I’ve done a fair amount of research on how people emotionally adapt to life circumstances. My research is mainly in the context of illness and disability, where people bounce back from adversity more than expected. But people can also emotionally … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Economics and Public Policy | Tagged ,

Sagan the Quipster

In 1996, a man wrote to Carl Sagan asking him the distance to heaven. Sagan was a very public agnostic. He replied brilliantly: “Thanks for your letter. Nothing like the Christian notion of heaven has been found out to about … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Science Writing Prodigy

I’ve been teaching college for four years now, at a pretty darn good college. But I’m not sure I’ve seen student writing quite as good as this undergraduate writing sample: There is a wide yawning black infinity. In every direction … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged