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Quick Reads about Personal Growth
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The Atlantic
4 min read
Self-Improvement

Why Americans Smile So Much

On Reddit forums that ask “What’s a dead giveaway that someone is American?” one trait comes up over and over again: big, toothy grins. Here’s how one Reddit user in Finland put it: When a stranger on the street smiles at you: a. you assume he is drunk b. he is insane c. he’s an American Last year, I wrote about why some countries seem to smile less than average—and mistrust those who do seem unusually peppy. A country’s level of instability, that study found, might be why people who seem happy for no reason in, say, Russia, are considered foolish. But there’s an interesting line of research t
The Atlantic
4 min read
Religion & Spirituality

Why Educated Christians Are Sticking With Church

The idea is peppered through the writings of scholars, great thinkers, and New Atheist-types: Education is the cure for religion. Freud wrote that civilization “has little to fear from educated people and brain-workers” who have rejected religion. And “if religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason,” maintained Christopher Hitchens, “we would be living in a quite different world.” New data from the Pew Research Center doesn’t disprove these claims, but it does challenge them. While Americans with college experience are overall less likely to attend ser
The Atlantic
10 min read
Self-Improvement

The Virtues of Boredom

Boredom is in many ways an emotion of absence. The absence of stimulation, of interest, of excitement. But as Mary Mann reveals in her new book, Yawn: Adventures in Boredom, what’s lacking when we feel bored is often something much deeper than entertainment. She writes about her “fear that there was no overarching purpose for my time,” how boredom can paper over feelings of powerlessness or meaninglessness. It’s easier to label that itchy sensation “boredom” than it is to consider the feeling one gets sometimes that the train of life is stopped on its tracks, that the narrative is going nowher
  • audiobook
Alex K., Scribd Editor
From the Editors

Unconventional, pragmatic advice…

The book flies in the face of so much conventional self-help wisdom that it’s hard not to label the book as anti-self-help. And yet, that label undermines how pragmatic the book actually is. In the overcrowded, oversaturated, over-clichéd self-help genre, this is is a book well worth whatever f*cks you can muster.