Sean Pearce

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Monoculture: How Our Era’s Dominant Story Shapes Our Lives

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms,” poet Muriel Rukeyser famously proclaimed. The stories we tell ourselves and each other are how we make sense of the world and our place in it. Some stories become so sticky, so pervasive that we internalize them to a point where we no longer see their …

Visualize This: How to Tell Stories with Data

Data visualization is a frequent fixation around here and, just recently, we looked at 7 essential books that explore the discipline’s capacity for creative storytelling. Today, a highly anticipated new book joins their ranks — <b>Visualize This: The FlowingData Guide to Design, Visualization, and</b> …

The Storytelling Animal: The Science of How We Came to Live and Breathe Stories

“The universe is made of stories, not atoms,” poet Muriel Rukeyser memorably asserted, and Harvard sociobiologist E. O. Wilson recently pointed to the similarity between innovators in art and science, both of whom he called “dreamers and storytellers.” Stories aren’t merely essential to how we …

How to Worry Less About Money: Financial Planning Lessons from Goethe

The question of how people spend and earn money has been a cultural obsession since the dawn of economic history, but the psychology behind it is sometimes surprising and often riddled with various anxieties. In <b>How to Worry Less about Money</b> (<i>public library</i>) — another great installment in The School …

Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation

Given my soft spot for famous diaries, it should come as no surprise that I keep one myself. Perhaps the greatest gift of the practice has been the daily habit of reading what I had written on that day a year earlier; not only is it a remarkable tool of introspection and self-awareness, but it also …

How To Stay Sane: The Art of Revising Your Inner Storytelling

<i>“I pray to Jesus to preserve my sanity,”</i> Jack Kerouac professed in discussing his writing routine. But those of us who fall on the more secular end of the spectrum might need a slightly more potent sanity-preservation tool than prayer. That’s precisely what writer and psychotherapist <b>Philippa Perry</b> …

Make Good Art: Neil Gaiman’s Advice on the Creative Life, Adapted by Design Legend Chip Kidd

Among the greatest commencement addresses of all time is an extraordinary speech beloved author Neil Gaiman delivered in May of 2012 at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. So potent and enlivening was his advice on courage and the creative life that the speech was adapted into <b>Make Good Art</b></i> …

How Not To Worry: Timeless 1934 Advice on Controlling Anxiety and Mastering Life

As far as vintage finds go, they hardly get more fortuitous than <b>You Can Master Life</b> (<i>public library</i>) — a marvelous 1934 compendium of sort-of-philosophical, sort-of-self-helpy, at times charmingly dated, other times refreshingly timeless advice on cultivating “the power to think, to create, to …

What the Psychology of Suicide Prevention Teaches Us About Controlling Our Everyday Worries

<i>“We must gain victory, not by assaulting the walls, but by accepting them,”</i> wrote James Gordon Gilkey in his 1934 guide to how not to worry. <i>“Don’t worry about popular opinion … Don’t worry about the past. Don’t worry about the future. … Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you,”</i> F. Scott …