Same House, Different Worlds: How Relationships Influence our Medical Choices

This is a repost of my February 16, 2021 article in Psychology Today. Two people can share the same home but live in different worlds. Family ties and close, reciprocal friendships influence much of our lives, from fashion to career choice to our emotions. Though we grow from children into adults whose sense of normal tends to resemble other members of … Continue reading Same House, Different Worlds: How Relationships Influence our Medical Choices

Introducing The Cross-Examined Life

I’m proud to announce that I now have a blog on Psychology Today titled The Cross-Examined Life! There, I’ll be talking about the social and psychological roots of success. Please visit, and if you like it, share and subscribe!

Presentation: “Channeling the River: Using Social and Cognitive Science to Steer Inclusion Efforts”

As of April, 900 people have listened to my presentation, Channeling the River: Using Social and Cognitive Science to Steer Inclusion Efforts. Here’s a brief description: In 2012, I was running Brooklyn Law School’s student newspaper when the school’s New York Bar Exam pass rate dropped for the third year in a row. No one knew … Continue reading Presentation: “Channeling the River: Using Social and Cognitive Science to Steer Inclusion Efforts”

How to Calm Your Fears

Fear has a bad reputation. It’s a negative emotion. It’s a weakness. It’s a path to the dark side of the Force. It’s a character flaw. Our fictional heroes rarely show fear, and when they do, it’s for five minutes in the second act of the second movie in the trilogy.

When Purpose Fades

My 92-year old cousin is dying. She’s had cancer for 15 years. No one knew; she never complained. The doctors just found out a few weeks ago when she went to the hospital for something else. Her death isn’t a complete surprise. Not because of her age, and not because of the cancer. You see, … Continue reading When Purpose Fades

Starbucks, Us, and Them

I didn’t know you could trespass in Starbucks. People bring their laptops there. People hold meetings there. One of my friends spent two months studying for the bar exam there. “Sit and stay awhile” embodies Starbucks’ business model. Even those of us who don’t drink tall half-caff soy lattes at 120 degrees know that Starbucks … Continue reading Starbucks, Us, and Them

The Bottom Line

I was in my suit, sitting in a chair that looked more comfortable than it was, waiting for my would-be employer to break the silence. The interview was going well, if you call correctly answering a set of standard questions “going well.” I passed the time by looking for useful information on the office walls … Continue reading The Bottom Line

On Difficult Conversations

Of all the definitions of “friend,” I prefer the one that says friends are people we share our secrets with. The idea is that we grant greater access to closer friends. Sure, we break this rule, trusting a new love interest too soon or crying in McDonald’s, rambling to a stranger while barely touching our … Continue reading On Difficult Conversations

We are What we Repeatedly Learn

“I can’t do it,” he said. So, he didn’t try. “With his disadvantages, he couldn’t possibly catch up,” they said. So, no one encouraged him. When I was younger, I kept hearing people say, “I can’t.” This wasn’t true. I had known these people my entire life. We had built elaborate clubhouses together, without tools, using … Continue reading We are What we Repeatedly Learn

How to be Lazy

“How are you so organized,” my friend asked me, wondering how I always seem to have time to myself despite a full-time job and several outside projects. “It’s simple,” I answered. “My life comes before my work. The more organized I am, the faster I get my work done, the more time I have for … Continue reading How to be Lazy

How to Work Smarter

Today, I invite you to take the Beat Your Brain Challenge™! The rules are simple: don’t think of something you’re good at! Seriously, that’s it! Don’t think of anything you’re better than most people at. Don’t consider how long you’ve been doing that thing, or how you started doing that thing in the first place. … Continue reading How to Work Smarter