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PhilosophersNotes(66)

  • The Distracted Mind Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World

    by Adam Gazzaley, Larry D. Rosen

    Adam Gazzaley, MD., Ph.D. is a leading cognitive neuroscientist. Larry Rosen is one of the world’s leading authorities on the psychology of technology. Together they give us a fascinating, scientifically rigorous look at how our ancient brains respond to a high-tech world. (Hint: They easily get distracted.) Big Ideas we explore include: goal interference, the pause, you and squirrels and foraging, metacognition, and the #1 prescription to deal with distraction.

  • The Philosophy of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Stoic Philosophy as Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy

    by Donald Robertson

    Got problems with your soul? These days, you’d see a psychotherapist. But, back in the day, it was the philosopher who’d help you optimize—they were the preferred physician of the soul. This book is about the philosophical roots of modern psychotherapy. Specifically, it outlines the connection between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Stoicism. Big Ideas we explore include being a warrior of the mind vs. a librarian of the mind, your highest human purpose, getting on good terms with your inner daimon, practicing the reserve clause and modeling your ideal sage.

  • Pursuing the Good Life 100 Reflections on Positive Psychology

    by Christopher Peterson

    Christopher Peterson was an award-winning professor at the University of Michigan. He was also one of the founders of the positive psychology movement. He worked closely with Martin Seligman to create one of my favorite surveys: the VIA (Virtues-in-Action) Survey of Character Strengths. This book is essentially a collection of 100 blog posts Chris created for his popular blog on Psychology Today. Big Ideas we explore include: good hope and bad hope, how to truly matter, how to avoid a sub-optimal epitaph and the keys to flourishing relationships.

  • Spiritual Evolution How We Are Wired for Faith, Hope, and Love

    by George Vaillant

    George Vaillant is a psychiatrist and Harvard professor who, for 35 years, led Harvard’s 70+ year Study of Adult Development. (You learn a thing or three when you follow the development of teenagers as they grew into great-grandparents.) In this book, he tells us that we can evolve spiritually. Leaning on his experience running Harvard’s study plus cultural anthropology, ethology and neuroscience, he walks us through the biological underpinnings of the positive emotions that make up our spirituality: faith, love, hope, joy, forgiveness, compassion and awe.

  • Fail Fast, Fail Often How Losing Can Help You Win

    by Ryan Babineaux, John Krumboltz

    Ryan Babineaux and John Krumboltz are two leading psychologists and career counselors. This book is a distillation of the wisdom they taught in their popular Stanford University continuing studies course ‘Fail Fast, Fail Often.” After working with thousands of people, they came to a compelling conclusion: “Happy and successful people tend to spend less time planning and more time acting”—which allows them to learn a TON and optimize along the way to mastery. Big Ideas we explore include dialing in your fun-meter, how to take action, being willing to be bad if we want to be good, think big—act small, and the fact that failure is what you make of it.

  • Love 2.0 Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection

    by Barbara Fredrickson

    Ready to upgrade your vision of love? Then you’re in for a treat with this fantastic book by Barbara Fredrickson. Barbara is one of the world’s leading positive psychologists. The book is incredibly well-written, deeply inspiring and incredibly practical as well. In fact, I just told Alexandra that this book might be the one that most positively impacts my life. Big Ideas we explore include: Love 1.0 vs. Love 2.0, taking a trip to Vagus, identifying our prevailing desire, #1 tip: create 3 loving moments today, exiting our cocoon of self-absorption via loving-kindness meditation, and Love 2.0 x 2: compassionate + celebratory love.

  • The Myths of Happiness What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn't, What Shouldn't Make You Happy, but Does

    by Sonja Lyubomirsky

    Sonja Lyubomirsky is one of the world’s leading positive psychology researchers. Her award-winning and very well-funded research is on “the possibility of permanently increasing happiness.” <— How cool is that? This book focuses on, you guessed it, the myths of happiness—those things we *think* will make us happy (or devastated) but don’t. The book has over 700 (!) scholarly references. I always love connecting ancient wisdom and fun self-help with SOLID research so this book was a great treat. Big Ideas: hedonic adaptation, #1 way to boost optimism (kinda surprising), the ultradian dip, affluenza virus, frequency > intensity and how to set goals.

  • Rapt Attention and the Focused Life

    by Winifred Gallagher

    Attention. If you want to optimize your life, this is the place to start. Winifred Gallagher gives us a beautiful target: rapt attention that leads us to live the focused life. Gallagher is a behavioral science writer who, five years before writing this book, received a cancer diagnosis that dramatically shifted the way she saw the world. That experience inspired her to understand the neuroscientific underpinnings of how attention works—which led to this book. Big Ideas we explore include: Attention 101, how to get it, the paradox of choice, grit + focus, focusing on virtue, how to be happier and waking up!

  • Influence The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

    by Robert Cialdini, PhD

    This is the classic text on the psychology of persuasion. Robert Cialdini is a professor of both psychology and marketing at Arizona State University. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of persuasion. The book is simultaneously kind of a consumer protection guide (how not to be duped) AND a manual for marketers (how to sell your stuff!). Cialdini has identified six core psychological principles of persuasion. We take a quick look at each, how they can be used for good or ill and how to apply the wisdom to our lives today.

  • The Charisma Myth How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism

    by Olivia Fox Cabane

    Charisma. The idea that you’re either one of the lucky few born with it or not is a MYTH. Fact is: We can all cultivate our personal magnetism. In this fun, quick-reading, compelling book, Olivia Fox Cabane walks us through the practical application of the art and science of deliberately dialing our charisma up. Big Ideas we cover: The Big 3 of charisma: Presence + Power + Warmth (and how to boost each), what gets in the way (and what to do about it), the power of visualization (#1 tip) and more.

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