Summary of “What Shakespeare Actually Wrote About the Plague”

Shakespeare lived his entire life in the shadow of bubonic plague.
After an interval of a few years, in cities and towns throughout the realm, the plague would return.
There were particularly severe outbreaks of plague in 1582, 1592-93, 1603-04, 1606, and 1608-09.
The theatre historian J. Leeds Barroll III, who carefully sifted through the surviving records, concluded that in the years between 1606 and 1610-the period in which Shakespeare wrote and produced some of his greatest plays, from “Macbeth” and “Antony and Cleopatra” to “The Winter’s Tale” and “The Tempest”-the London playhouses were not likely to have been open for more than a total of nine months.
It is all the more striking that in his plays and poems Shakespeare almost never directly represents the plague.
All things to end are made,The plague full swift goes by;I am sick, I must die.
Mortally wounded in the feud between the Capulets and the Montagues, Mercutio calls down “A plague on both your houses.” “Thou art a boil,” Lear tells his daughter Goneril, “A plague-sore, or embossed carbuncle / In my corrupted blood.” “Here’s gold,” the misanthropic Timon of Athens offers his visitor.
Plague constantly appears throughout Shakespeare’s works in the form of everyday exclamations: “a plague upon it when thieves cannot be true to one another”; “a plague of sighing and grief! It blows a man up like a bladder”; “a plague upon this howling”; “a plague of these pickle-herring!” But this is a sign less of existential horror than of deep familiarity, the acceptance of plague as an inescapable feature of ordinary life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What the Hero’s Journey Teaches About Happy Retirement”

Of course, some people enjoy retirement, but since I have been writing about happiness later in life, many people who were successful earlier in life have reached out to me to say that retirement has been brutal: They feel unhappy, aimless, and bored.
The hero’s journey is great when you’re in the middle of it.
This rage is born from a misunderstanding of the hero’s journey.
The literary scholar Joseph Campbell, author of the book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, notes that many great myths involve a subtle twist after the triumph in battle.
“The first problem of the returning hero is to accept as real, after an experience of the soul-satisfying vision of fulfillment, the passing joys and sorrows, banalities and noisy obscenities of life.” In other words, the end of the true hero’s journey is coming home and finding a battle to be waged not with an external enemy, but with one’s own demons.
From shepherd boy to supreme ruler of his nation, David’s journey is the hero’s journey.
The story doesn’t stop there-it continues in the second book of Samuel, where we find the exalted King David in his post-victory life, hanging around his palace with a lot of time on his hands.
In failing to live an ordinary life, David failed in the last, hardest phase of the journey: being the master of himself.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Goals Don’t Replace Systems -and Vice Versa”

People who claim that setting goals are a bad thing are out of their minds.
I know there’s a lot of confusion about goals and systems these days.
A lot of us share the idea that you either have a system or set goals.
So in this article, I’ll explain why goals and systems complement each other, and why I have both.
Why You Need Goals Every time I read about people who claim you shouldn’t set goals, I get upset.
One thing we must be aware of is that we keep an open mind: Goals and systems change all the time.
Change your goals and systems as your priorities change.
Why You Need Higher Goals We’ve established that we need both goals and systems to live a good life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What Advice Do You Wish You’d Gotten When You Graduated From College? 25 Ted Speakers Answer”

“If you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, you’re not a failure. Give yourself time and get yourself experience to figure things out.” – Angela Duckworth.
“It’s okay to quit your first job – even if it was really hard to get it, it paid well, and everyone seemed to admire you for getting it. If you hate your job, you’ll be wasting your life acquiring skills, contacts and a reputation that you don’t want to use. The sooner you find something you love, the better.” – Tim Harford.
“The advice that I wish I’d gotten when I graduated from college is: Pay attention to the difference between the quick hits of excitement that come from that first kiss of a new relationship or job and those feelings you get when you think about your strong connections with family or friends. Don’t get fooled by shiny things – that shine fades over time, while the gold of strong relationships never tarnishes. Remember the differences between these feelings to help you make decisions as you go forward.” – Judson Brewer.
“Never stop learning. When we graduate college and start our careers, we often understand that we have a lot to learn, so we approach our jobs with a learning orientation. We ask questions; we observe others; we know we may be wrong; and we realize we’re works in progress. But once we gain competence in our jobs, too many of us stop learning and growing. The most successful people – in work and in life – never stop deliberately continuing to learn and improve.” – Eduardo Briceño.
“Give yourself more time. So many college graduates immediately start wanting to make all their dreams come true at once – this can go wrong in many ways. The first is the frustration that you’re not ‘there’ yet. It’s going to take time to find your dream career. The second is burnout. If you find your career early, you can find yourself setting all sorts of unrealistic goals with arbitrary deadlines and chase them until you drop from fatigue. You can have it all – but not all at once.” – David Burkus.
“Whenever possible, get as uncomfortable as possible. Challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone regularly – spend time with people you deeply disagree with, read books about experiences you will never have, travel to places where you don’t speak the language, and take jobs in industries you’ve never worked in before. And if you feel yourself resisting, try again. Those experiences will help you build deep empathy, and we could all use more of that.” – Anjali Kumar.
“You don’t have to pursue what you studied. I followed my heart, and now I’m happier and more satisfied with life than I could have ever envisioned. We kill ourselves looking for jobs in our fields of study, while there are a million other things we are able to do. I also wish somebody had told me money doesn’t equate to happiness. When you get a job and start working, don’t forget to live.” – Kasiva Mutua.
“When you finish college and begin your first job or internship, you’ll be keen to learn all you can and impress your employer so you can start on the path to promotions and raises. But the important thing that you might not see amidst all this excitement is the great idea that could someday become a great business or entrepreneurial venture. I’ve found the most interesting employment that life offers is often something of your own creation that you do full time or in addition to your main job. So, after you graduate from college, take the time to identify a venture that you’d like to do by yourself or with friends, and start building it. One day, you’ll be glad you started early.” – Washington Wachira.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Meaning of Life”

Today we still don’t have a complete, agreed upon, picture of how life is initiated; how living systems might originate in an environment.
We can say with some certainty that life is when a system successfully propagates versions of itself into the future, by whatever means work in the face of a complex and variable environment.
Which brings us to what I think are some of the most critical unanswered questions in our efforts to characterize places in the cosmos where life might be.
In other words, the capacity of a planet to sustain life is potentially a very different issue to that of the capacity to initiate life.
Maybe a good run for life on an average planet is only a few million years, or even less.
I’m not sure there’s a reason to imagine that the history of life plays out in any very consistent way across the cosmos.
If things don’t work well enough life simply goes away.
Nor will we know how many worlds have had or will have life sprawling across them – if we’re lucky we will simply see the worlds that are at present ‘good enough’.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How To Quit Your Life, And Then Start It Over”

There is no manual for how to quit your life and start over.
The hardest part about quitting your life and starting over is making the decision to quit your life and start over.
For some reason, this foolish approach to life worked for me-more or less-for most of the nine years that I lived in New York.
Despite the fact that things were basically working for me in New York, they weren’t working for me in a bigger picture way.
As we stood idly on our office escalator, she laid it out for me: If you make a spreadsheet of your life-one column of good things that currently exist, another of the not so good things, and a third of things you say you want but don’t have-you’ll be able to make a conclusion, at least intellectually, about whether you should quit what you’re doing and start over.
I listened to my friend talk about the negative circumstances that filled her life in New York City, and what could be possible elsewhere.
Dating in New York felt like banging my head, over and over, against the same brick wall.
I’d been out the night before with the guy I was seeing and a close girlfriend, eating one final perfect New York meal, and ending the night with one final cocktails at my local bar, which meant that, fittingly, on my final morning in New York, I was hungover.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Aretha Franklin’s Ghostwriter on the Singer’s Enduring Mysteries”

During the winter of 1998, writer David Ritz traveled with Aretha Franklin to New York City where she was to sing at the Grammys.
Before going to Detroit to research a Motown project, I sent Aretha a postcard – probably my two hundredth – saying I’d love to see her.
During the process, Aretha and I remained civil to another, but she clearly rejected my approach and fashioned the book according to her fantasy of an idyllic life.
Her humor came in profiling the endearing characters who, like Aretha, were part of her father’s traveling religious revivals – Sammy Bryant, the pintsize powerhouse female singer who could tear the roof off any church, and James Cleveland, her visionary mentor who invented the modern mass choir but loved the raiding the Franklin refrigerator in the middle of the night, devouring every sweet in sight.
As we heard “How I Got Over” and “Surely God Is Able,” Aretha clapped her hands, stomped her feet and remembered the Fifties as the happiest decade of her life.
In spite of her parents’ acrimonious split when Aretha was a small child, she dedicated her book to them as “Coming together in love and marital bliss.” The glaring contradictions of her father – an intellectual progressive who read Plato, smoked pot and loved many ladies – were too confusing to compute.
During the winter of 1998, I traveled with Aretha to New York where she was to sing at the Grammys.
At the Grammys, she rendered a rousing rendition of “Respect.” A half hour later, Pavarotti was set to sing the same “Nessun Dorma” Aretha had sung three days before, but cancelled at the last minute.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the Beatles Wrote ‘A Day in the Life'”

“A Day in the Life” isn’t a song to sing, as are “Eleanor Rigby”, “Hey Jude”, or “In My Life”.
Nor is “A Day in the Life” guided by melody like so many Beatles creations.
Whose day in the life is it, anyway? The crowd’s life or simply the singer’s? And is it still your life if your crucial experiences are received secondhand, from articles and cameras? Was Lennon himself so famous now that he was forced to live life from the passive privacy of an easy chair?
If “In My Life” was Lennon’s autobiographical look back on the time before he joined the Beatles, “A Day in the Life” seems to be how he experienced the quotidian as a Beatle.
“A Day in the Life” makes me appreciate how close John and Paul were, how well they understood and appreciated each other as artists, how their songs came from an oscillating process of writerly separation and then joining together.
Which is exactly how they both described the writing of “A Day in the Life.”.
Nothing could be more banal, getting from bed to bus, just another day in the life caught in eight perfect lines.
In all cases, the goal is to move past literal life into the imagination to render the almost-to express the mysterious ambiguity that is more deeply life.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Perks of Trail Running in a Virtual World”

This was an easy kind of running for someone who did not really like running.
Now, after 14 months out west, I’m back at my normal home in New York City, where the pleasure of running is no longer tied to a casually transcendent experience in nature.
Treadmill running is identical to trail running in the way that shaking a carton of orange juice is identical to giving your lover a hand job-the gesture is the same, but the outcome is different.
The treadmill twists a sport into a riddle: How can you run forever without moving or uphill for miles without ever going down? If an old-fashioned treadmill simulates running, then the Life Fitness model goes above and beyond to simulate all the facets of human life.
While trail running passively quiets my brain, treadmill running tests the extent to which I can quiet my brain by force.
The feature approximates outdoor running well enough, but I find its failures most compelling.
For my first 20 indoor runs in New York, I could only figure out how to run the premade demo: a mashup route of several cities across New Zealand.
Inside the gym at my YMCA, running the rim of the virtual Grand Canyon, I thought of all the places I’d rather be: the tombs of ancient Egypt, the airspace above Manhattan, the halls of an abandoned 1980s shopping mall.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Life Gets Better After 50: Why Age Tends to Work in Favor of Happiness”

Academics have found increasing evidence that happiness through adulthood is U-shaped – life satisfaction falls in our 20s and 30s, then hits a trough in our late 40s before increasing until our 80s. Forget the saying that life begins at 40 – it’s 50 we should be looking toward.
He has written a book, The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 , which includes personal stories, the latest data and illuminating interviews with economists, psychologists and neuroscientists.
Life satisfaction statistics for the UK in 2014-15 show happiness declining from youth through middle age, hitting a low at 50 and rising to a peak at 70.
Rauch remembers himself at 20, keen to accomplish something worthwhile by middle age and believing that when he did, he’d appreciate it.
“Yet around the time I turned 40 I noticed this strange feeling of restlessness and discontent. This continued to grow as I got into my 40s to the point where I was 45 and I won the most prestigious award in magazine journalism and that gave me a great feeling of satisfaction with my life for approximately 10 days.”All these feelings of discontent and restlessness – and even sometimes worthlessness and this feeling I’d almost wasted my life – kept coming back.
Rauch tells the Guardian: “That’s a very profound insight because what we’re talking about here is not that the conditions of your life change in some huge way, but how you feel about your life changes.”
Older people feel relieved of a burden that makes it easier to savour other simpler pursuits such as spending time with grandchildren, a hobby or volunteer work.
As Rauch approaches 60, he feels ever more grateful for his life.

The orginal article.