Tag Archives: psychology

Why Do We Have Friends?

As someone who possesses a natural suspicion toward human beings, I tend to befriend only a few. With my college years coming to a close – well, with three and a half years left, but – and my already non-existent social life fading away, I’ve caught myself contemplating this question: why do I have friends? Why do I hang out with the people I hang out with? Is friendship intrinsically selfish? Why would others even consider associating with me when I make weird animal noises and overuse the words “pulchritudinous” and “twerk”? Continue reading

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Filed under Personal, Society

Stress Me In

I love my college. The people act with consideration and compassion, the academics keep my mind alive, and the opportunities available continue to amaze me. But all of this – the social life, the challenging schoolwork, the myriad of commitments – comes with a cost: stress. Continue reading

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How Children Succeed by Paul Tough

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

As someone possibly striving to become a teacher, I appreciated How Children Succeed. Paul Tough variegates his writing style enough to keep the book entertaining without losing track of the message he puts forth – one way he does this is by including various anecdotes. He does not just share stories about kids who have suffered in the current education system, but he reveals parts of his own journey, such as when he dropped out of Columbia University.

Tough connects these tales to psychology too, by examining several pertinent ideas like character, conscientiousness, and what it truly takes to succeed in an academic environment. Continue reading

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Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Stone Him to Death, They Shout

Took me about fifteen minutes to blur and upload this screenshot. Technology is not my strong point...

It took me fifteen minutes to blur and upload this screenshot. Technology is not my strong point…

I took the above screenshot about three weeks ago, from a Facebook thread about suspects of the Boston bombing. The irony strikes because the comment was not directed toward the actual bomber, and thus this person’s violent sentiment was wasted (as well as the support he/she got from five other people). However, it does serve its purpose in allowing me to smoothly transition into my oh so subtle argument against a practice we all know and love: the death penalty.

We all get emotional sometimes. Continue reading

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The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

From a psychological standpoint, The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion earns five stars. The book loses some of its appeal when Jonathan Haidt veers into political philosophy, however – especially when he raises the biased question “why are religious people better neighbors and citizens?”

Let me backtrack. The Righteous Mind is split into three sections. The first focuses on how intuitions come first and are followed by strategic reasoning, the second shows that there are six moral foundations (Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Liberty/Oppression, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation), and the third hones in on the belief that morality binds and blinds. By the end each part made sense in relation to one another and came together to pack a strong moral philosophy punch. Though the book had some dense sections – like the history and biology of moral philosophy – Haidt included interesting scenarios, research, and anecdotes to alleviate the doldrums. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Quiet by Susain Cain

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 5/5 stars.

I love reading on Friday nights, writing on Saturday afternoons, and having quiet get-togethers on Sunday. But I also enjoy giving presentations at school, tutoring peers in writing, and interacting with various people online and in real life. I’d describe myself as an introvert (and my Meyers-Briggs personality type agrees), though both introverts and extroverts would enjoy this fascinating book by Susan Cain. She provides an intriguing, in-depth perspective on introversion, its connotation in contrasting cultures, and the psychology behind it.

A profusion of the nonfiction I’ve read has contained too much of something – too many random anecdotes, too much scientific jargon, too many unnecessary statistics or explanations. Continue reading

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Filed under 5 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Is Having Babies Selfish?

Baby me. I used to be so innocent and adorable, I wonder what went wrong...

Baby me. I used to be so innocent and adorable, I wonder what went wrong…

Here’s my foreseeable future: go to college, get an undergraduate degree in English/Psychology/Philosophy, go to graduate school, solidify a successful career, get married, have kids. Sounds like a plan, especially after throwing in a mother with anger issues and the fact that I don’t know how to drive yet. As you can see, I’ve thought about my future a lot.

But here’s something I haven’t thought of yet: why do I want kids? Continue reading

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Cover via Goodreads.

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time revolves around Christopher, an autistic teen who discovers his neighbor’s dead dog one night. He is a genius in that he knows all of the prime numbers up to 7,057 and can solve logic puzzles quickly and efficiently; however, he can’t stand the colors yellow or brown or the thought of different foods touching on his plate. As Chris investigates the death of the neighborhood dog, he stumbles upon something that may change his life.

I loved how Mark Haddon maintained the consistency of Christopher’s voice and how he didn’t sacrifice the integrity of his character to make him any more likable. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 3/5 stars.

I won this book through First Reads, woo! Now I am obligated to review it, though I would have anyway.

Jonathan Fields has felt uncertain before. As a lawyer-turned personal trainer who launched a yoga center in NYC the day before 9/11, he must have faced fears and falls. They haven’t stopped him from writing Uncertainty, though. In this book he delves into the damaging effects of doubt and what we can do to defeat it. He draws from many fields, ranging from cognitive neuroscience, lifestyle reorganization, and more – and brings to light how the negative side of uncertainty can be beaten. Continue reading

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Filed under 3 stars, Book Reviews, Books

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Cover via Goodreads.

Rating: 4/5 stars.

A long book that requires real mental exertion, Thinking, Fast and Slow is a worthwhile read by Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman. It delves into the two complex systems of the mind. System 1 is impulsive, emotional, and often led astray, while System 2 is rational, thoughtful, and takes more time to makes decisions. He analyzes how humans use (and sometimes fail to use) both systems, and the resulting implications on topics ranging from how we perceive happiness to behavioral economics.

Thinking, Fast and Slow is one of the most in-depth Psychology books I’ve read. Continue reading

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Filed under 4 stars, Book Reviews, Books