How to Read The New York Times

Every time I check out a substantive New York Times article, I do this: 1) skim the article 2) go to the comments and sort them so that the ones most recommended *by readers* (not the paper’s editorial staff) come first. 3) read the most popular comments carefully, and learn from them how to interpret […]

Where Veal Comes From

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I hope none of my friends eats veal, but if you do, here’s where it’s from. A tiny, newborn calf separated from its mother and raised in terrible isolation. This should be (but alas isn’t) a scene from a horror movie. These are all unwanted male calves from dairy cows, so please try dairy alternatives. […]

New Study Shows “Tiger Mom” Wrong

Last year, I wrote about Amy “Tiger Mom” Chua, who wrote a book celebrating her abusive parenting practices, which she said were both typically Chinese American, and yielded a better outcome than supposedly permissive mainstream American ones. (“Better outcome,” of course, defined narrowly as a compliant child who excels in school and work). After widespread […]

Isolation and Invisibility as Key Tactics *and* Goals of Procrastination

From Chapter 6 of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific Procrastination makes you invisible and isolated. If you never finish your novel, you won’t be seen by agents, editors or your audience. If you never finish your thesis, you won’t be seen by your committee, colleagues and prospective hirers. Invisibility and isolation are, in fact, […]

Shortsightedness as a Barrier to Weight Loss, Writing Productivity and Other Goals

Shortsightedness is a hallmark of addictive behavior: the classic image of an addict is someone who can’t see past her immediate need for a fix, and who will sacrifice anyone or anything to get it. One of the primary aims of my weight loss efforts was to learn to defuse the urgency I often felt […]

Welcome AWP People!

I had a blast tabling at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs meeting this past weekend. I met so many fantastic writers and writing teachers, and left very inspired. So many people dedicated to the written word, and to expression in prose and poetry. If you’re here after meeting me at the AWP welcome! […]

Cool Science News: Paint-On Solar Cells for Any Surface

Imagine a world where any surface could be coated with solar cells, converting sunlight and even the glow of light bulbs into small amounts of usable energy. This is the goal of a new startup called Ubiquitous Energy, MIT Technology Review reports. – Link Repost This Article

How to Recognize and Cope with Success-Related Losses

I’ve become increasingly aware that: (a) success always involves some loss, compromise, disappointment, or sacrifice; and (b) that fear of that loss is a major barrier for many people. In the below excerpt from my forthcoming book How to Get Willpower for Weight Loss and Other Important Goals, I deal with this important topic. – […]

Harsh Parenting Linked to Depression, Unhappiness, and Other Problems in Kids and Adults

“A review of two decades worth of studies has shown that corporal punishment is associated with antisocial behavior and aggression in children, and later in life is linked to depression, unhappiness, anxiety, drug and alcohol use and psychological maladjustment. Beyond beating, parents can also hurt children by humiliating them, labeling them in harmful ways (“Why […]

Stephen King and Anthony Trollope on the Importance of Approaching Your Work With the Proper (Non-Grandiose) Attitude

From The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The prolific tend to see their writing not as some holy mission but their “work, “craft,” or even “job”: Stephen King: “Don’t wait for the muse…This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. […]

Welcome Tomorrow’s Professor People!

Glad you found your way here! There are plenty of free resources to help you. I’m very grateful to Dr. Reis for mentioning my book because I have a special admiration for graduate students and scholars in general. Your work is very important! The appendix to The 7 Secrets of the Prolific is devoted to […]

Video: The Truth About Procrastination

The Truth About Procrastination featuring Hillary Rettig from Hillary Rettig on Vimeo. Repost This Article

He Gets It!

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“We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect.” Barack Obama, 2d inaugural address, January 21, 2013 Repost This Article

“Procrastinating Surgeon Putting Off Coronary Bypass By Cleaning Entire Hospital”

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The Onion gives us a sterling example of procrastination as a mimic of productive work: “NEW YORK—Sources at Columbia University Medical Center reported Sunday that cardiac surgeon Dr. Robert Klinge, 44, was putting off an impending coronary bypass procedure by cleaning the entire hospital. “I know that guy’s arteries are a mess, but so are […]

This is Called “Situational Perfectionism”

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Situational perfectionism is when something happens that causes your perfectionism to spike. Examples include: *You’ve invested in your writing or other dream – say, by taking a class or buying a piece of equipment – and think, “Now, I’d better make that pay off.” *You’ve just finished a workshop or class, and are feeling all, […]