9780553419634By Caroline Webb, author of How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life (Crown Business, February 2016).

Going to college is one of life’s big leaps. For the first time, students are expected to take responsibility for their choices – and there are a lot of them to make. They need to pick classes, sign up for extracurricular activities, and decide how often to do their laundry. They’re figuring out who they are and working out how to impress their new peers. And somehow, amid all that, they need to organize themselves to get work done. It’s as if they’re taking an unfamiliar new job in a foreign country, but without the benefit of any past life experience to draw on.

So how do they handle this wrenching, exciting transition? When I was a college student, I got feedback on my class contributions and term papers. But there was no guidance on the business of managing myself from day to day. As a result, I did what a lot of students do. I stayed up late. I ran every deadline to the last minute. I got upset when social situations felt challenging. I took on far too many activities – debating, singing, writing, student politics – then had something close to a breakdown when I finally started worrying about my grades in my senior year. That was when I was given some useful life advice for the first time. A favorite professor told me, “When you’re feeling overwhelmed, go sit in a park for a half-hour. Take some deep breaths. Think about what really matters.” I tried it, and of course it helped. I calmed down, refocused, and ended college in good shape. (more…)

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Photo credit by Isabelle Dervaux

Photo credit by Isabelle Dervaux

By Jessie Hartland, author of Steve Jobs: Insanely Great (Schwartz & Wade, July 2015)

Dear Reader,

Steve Jobs. He was willful and rebellious and did NOT like to follow rules. He dropped out of college after just one semester, grooved on psychedelic drugs, and delved into meditation. Then, at age twenty-one, he started a little business in his parents’ garage that became the world’s most valuable company. Who was this guy? I had to know more. Who wouldn’t want to know more?!

The result of that curiosity is my new graphic biography. No need to get crushed by a cinder block of a book—STEVE JOBS: Insanely Great is a quick but complete read, taking you from Steve’s roots in the early days of Silicon Valley to his ouster from and triumphant return to Apple to his role in creating all the cool iProducts everyone wants. (more…)

Quiet by Susan CainSusan Cain’s acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Quiet, is now in paperback. Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. This extraordinary book has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how introverts see themselves. This week, Educational Leadership, the flagship publication of ASCD (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) said this about the book: “Quiet will help teachers who hope to make classrooms more welcoming to introverted kids gain a greater understanding of how highly reserved children operate, how to respectfully coax them out, and how to help them learn to work comfortably in groups—in school and out.”  We couldn’t agree more. And to read Susan’s article, “What Do Teachers Really Think of Quiet Students?, click here.

Ecological Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

by Daniel Goleman, author of Ecological Intelligence: The Hidden Impacts of What We Buy

Near the start of the 20th century William James wrote that “an education in attention would be the education par excellence.” That was then.

Today, a century after James, I argue that the most crucial education would be in ecological intelligence—and that this demands rethinking and updating curricula in ecoliteracy in fields ranging from physics and chemistry to business and psychology.

Let me explain what I mean by ‘ecological intelligence’.  For the 10,000 or so years of human history before the Industrial Revolution—what geologists call the Holocene Age—survival for the vast majority of people depended on each group’s keen understanding of the ecosystem it inhabited, whether the Kalahari or the Siberian tundra. Failure in this basic ecological knowledge meant death. (more…)