Because it’s way more than salary and titles.

Image courtesy of Wharton.

If only work were more like love — with relationships, you can at least go on a couple dates before making a long-term commitment. But even if you’re the most thorough job seeker, it’s hard to tell how well you’re going to fit in when you choose one. Like a dear friend once observed to me: “It’s weird to get your dream job,” she said during a lunch where at least one of us was going through a career change, “and then realize it kind of sucks.”

Last week I visited the University of Pennsylvania on a reporting trip, and…


And not all of it is good.

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The famous quote has it, “power corrupts.” More precisely — and scientifically — power blinds.

When people are made to feel powerful, they lose some of the mental functions that form empathy, Jerry Useem reports in new story for the Atlantic. It’s an impairment that helps explain why Henry Kissinger thinks he’s sexually magnetic and why Donald Trump thinks he can say or do anything to anyone.

In the general population, neuroscientists have found that people’s brains will mirror the activity they see other people doing. When you watch a video of someone squeezing a rubber ball, your brain will…


“I rarely get to see my kids,” brags a cofounder in Apple’s first reality show. “That’s a risk you have to take.”

Image courtesy of Twitter.

Just last month, sociologists were telling us about how “busy” became cool. It’s a status play, a way of showing that everyone wants a piece. Displaying your busyness signs that you’re in demand on the job market. Instead of bragging about fancy jewelry or flashy cars, you portray yourself as the scarce resource.

But as soon as a status symbol is everywhere, they warned, it will no longer be cool.

We have officially hit that moment, and Twitter user @priyavprabhakar called it out in a now-viral tweet.

“I hate this celebratory genre of ‘be on the constant verge of…


“It’s not a way of thinking. It’s a way of being in the world.”

About two decades ago, a woman knocked on the door of Paul Hewitt, a clinical psychologist based in Vancouver, Canada. Outwardly, Anita — the pseudonym given in Hewitt’s new book — had everything meticulously together: she told her therapist of an idyllic childhood, the supportive family she came from, the daughter she felt close to, her broad network of friends. But the loss of her mom, who was her closest friend and confidant, was a big blow to her; it had happened ten years earlier, and it was a continued source of hurt and anger. More recently, she’d injured her…


It’s about way more than tasks.

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The to-do list and the calendar are like square pegs and round holes. With the rare (or deadline-driven) exception, the time spent completing a task doesn’t fit into polite half-hour chunks. My expectation used to be that I could just drop tasks into my calendar, with the guarantee that those things would get done in the precisely allotted amount of time.

Then I realized that you can’t really schedule tasks at all.

This insight came courtesy of Georgia Tech organizational psychologist Howard Weiss, who I saw present at this year’s Association for Psychological Science conference in Boston. He’s come up…


Stress, telomeres, and Richard Branson.

Image courtesy of DeRay Mckesson on Twitter.

If there’s one star of political theatre who’s looking good — really good — among all the madness of that past couple months, it’s Barack Obama.

As in:

“He’s rested & has a glow about him,” tweeted the activist DeRay Mckesson. “The man is back.”

And there’s a reason: That glow presents a study in the link between stress and appearance. Scientifically speaking, when the weight of the free world is off your shoulders, you’re liable to look good.

University of Dundee evolutionary psychologist Fhionna Moore and her team have studied the links between stress and facial attractiveness…


From an intriguing new study.

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We’ve all heard that death is scary: It’s the big unknown, the only thing that’s certain except for taxes. And Trump tweeting. But according to an intriguing new study, people actually feel pretty good about their last days.

In a paper published in Psychological Science, researchers analyzed the language used in the blogs of terminal cancer patients and the poetry and last words of death row inmates. …


Beware the ‘Trump 10.’

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Back in his mogul days, Donald Trump was hawking stuffed-crust pizza and the McDonald’s Dollar Menu. Now his relentlessly chaotic presidency has Americans eating in a whole new way: We are officially in the era of the “Trump 10.”

As 30 Rock actress Jane Krakowski told Stephen Colbert: “Now that I’ve put on my Trump 10, I’ve got to work out a little.” It’s “like the freshman 15,” she explained, referring to the 15 pounds that college students are purported to gain their first year on campus. (Studies indicate it’s more like 3 pounds.)

Krakowski isn’t the only one experiencing…


An interview with meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg, author of ‘Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection.’

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

When Sharon Salzberg was doing research for her new book Real Love: The Art of Mindful Connection, the celebrated meditation teacher met with lots of groups of everyday people to talk about what love meant to them. In the first of those sessions, a woman talked about her complicated relationship with her son: he was troubled in lots of ways, and though she loved him very much, she didn’t know how to help him. …


If you’re an American under 50, drugs are the thing most likely to kill you.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

If you’re under 50 in America, the biggest threat to your life is now drugs.

This is a detail collected in a staggering new data set compiled by the New York Times. Preliminary estimates suggest that the total number of drug overdose deaths in the US were over 59,000 in 2016, a 19 percent increase over the previous year. The Times’ Josh Katz reports that it’s only worsening into 2017.

The Times culled the data from contacting hundreds of state health departments and coroner’s offices. The Center for Disease Control will release their official stats in December.

The biggest increases…

Drake Baer

Senior writer at @thriveglobal covering the social and brain sciences. Formerly New York Mag, Business Insider, Fast Company.

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