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March 14, 2010 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Academic Musings, Ambition, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips, Self-Help, Uncategorized | | 2 Comments

Can Love Make You Rich?

I’m quoted — and my mate-preference research is cited — in a piece up now on CBS MoneyWatch.

The Beatles told us that all you need is love. And maybe that was true in 1967. But these days, love alone doesn’t pay the mortgage. So, as we approach Valentine’s Day, it’s a good time to consider the other side of the coin: Can love bring you money?

Check it out and learn how red hearts can make you see more green this Valentine’s Day… it’s part of a larger package on love and money, with other interesting articles, including

10 Ways to Stop Fighting About Money
Love and Money: He Spends, She Saves, They Fight
Money Tips for Gay Couples

February 12, 2010 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Are You A Little Bit Married?

Via my friend Ian Shapira, I e-met author and journalist Hannah Selgison as her excellent new book, A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door, came out last week. This is an useful and informative book for SWANS® (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse) who are sailing in circles in long-term relationships that don’t seem to be going anywhere.

Check out my HuffingtonPost blog about the book and my three top bits of advice for women who are “a little bit married” and struggling with what to do next.

For smart, successful women, you’re odds of marriage are great. (Want to know how great? Use my Odds-of-Marriage Indicator based on Census data to find out. And just out today, a report on marriage and divorce rates for college-educated women.) For more good news for SWANS–and advice on how to achieve your personal and professional goals–check out Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to True Love and A Little Bit Married today!

January 26, 2010 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Thank Your Wives, You Lucky Bastards!

Yesterday, the good folks at Pew put out a report about the “new economics” of marriage: Women are more likely than ever to earn more and have more education than their spouses.

The New York Times went into a tizzy about how this is terrible news for smart, successful women. But why does this have to be bad news? (I liked this posting complaining about the piece, too)

Maybe it’s time men started to really appreciate what we’re bringing to the table! Check out my analysis of the Pew report on the Huffington Post today.

January 20, 2010 Posted by | Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Top 10 Feelings Worldwide: We Feel Fine

Feel festive, cheerful and blessed around the holidays–but then slide into the doldrums in the first weeks of the New Year? Financially illiterate and then suddenly started blogging about how the ups and downs of the stock market impacted you emotionally? Felt patriotic–or depressed–when Obama was elected?

Oh yes, the internet knows.

Talk about following the zeitgeist: Computer programmers Sep Kamvar and Jonathan Harris have spent more than four years collecting some 12 million emotions posted on Internet blogs. Turns out we’re a pretty predicable bunch: Patterns of the calendar, news events and even the weather influence how we say we feel. And as an increasing number of bloggers worldwide share their lives publicly, we’re developing a new relationship with computers, our fellow bloggers and ourselves.

And this holiday season, you can track your emotions in their strikingly beautiful, glossy gift book, We Feel Fine (Scribner, Dec. 1), that uses sophisticated computer science to underpin its findings about modern human emotion. The brainchild of Kamvar, a professor of computational mathematics at Stanford University, and Harris, a systems designer, the data collected comes from a program that scans all blogs every few minutes and extracts the sentences that contain “I feel” or “I am feeling.” Since blogs often have public profiles, the duo was able to determine the gender, age, and location of the people expressing these emotions to boot.

Kamvar said he and Harris hope to tell both macro stories of emotional trends, including informational graphics and maps, and micro stories of individuals complete with a photo and corresponding feeling. “We wanted the reader to be able to seamlessly transition between the high-level statistics of emotion and the individual stories that make up these statistics.”

“Our [original] intent was to show that there was beauty and humanity in the web,” said Kamvar of their 2005 website born as social networking media was coming of age. ” As time went on and we collected large amounts of data, we realized that we were also building an archive of emotional history.”

As We Feel Fine: An Almanac of Human Emotion hit the shelves yesterday, Kamvar, a college classmate, sat down with me for a Q&A.

Check out my interview on the Huffington Post… and tweet it up for one and all!

December 30, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings, Self-Help | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

James Ray: Harnessing the Power of Psychology & Spirituality

What happened in Sedona is not an unfortunate coda to a crazy, fringe event. We have a long history of self-help in America, and to properly comprehend the horror of these deaths, we must first understand the inspiration and guidance that Ray offered. Ray, and many gurus like him, motivate thousands of smart, accomplished adults by borrowing from two very powerful thought traditions — modern psychology and esoteric spirituality — creating a one-two punch that’s nearly impossible to resist. If you had been there, you might be dead, too.

Check out my piece in Sunday’s Washington Post Outlook section–explaining the history and psychology of the Sedona sweat lodge. The horror of this tragedy continues to captivate us, so let’s learn an important lesson: Self-help is NOT harmless.

October 24, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings, Self-Help | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

James Ray Death Lodge: When Will We Learn?

Two people are dead and dozens more were hospitalized Thursday after collapsing from the heat of a sweat lodge at a James Ray spiritual retreat in Sedona, Arizona.

The sweat lodge experience was the culmination of a five-day nearly $10,000 “Spiritual Warrior Event” advertised as a retreat to “accelerate the releasing of your limitations and push yourself past your self-imposed and conditioned borders.”

More than 60 participants entered a makeshift structure where hot stones created intense heat. Rituals in sweat lodges are a common Native American purification practice intended to raise the body temperature to somewhere between 102 to 106 degrees. Given the intense heat, supervision is required — and in most sweat lodges, attendance is limited to 8 to 12 people. Participants should leave when the heat becomes too intense. However, after a week of brainwashing about pushing past “self-imposed” borders, human instinct was overridden by orders from a so-called great leader.

James Ray is one of the hottest new self-help gurus – featured on Oprah, Larry King Live, and The Secret – who has only become more popular during the last year’s economic uncertainty. Ray preaches that it is only our negative attitude and negative energy that holds us back from true wealth.

This week-long event was an advanced retreat, and most of the participants had attended his wealth-building seminars before. Ironically, several of the participants lack health insurance. So now in addition to the nearly $10,000 cost of the event, the ones fortunate enough to survive will be stuck with thousands in medical expenses – that is, of course, until the lawsuits begin.

The obvious question is: Why did these men and women stay in such a hostile environment, even as their lungs burned from the heat and they felt themselves slipping into unconsciousness? Why? Because they were brainwashed into believing that those sensations were merely their culturally prescribed limitations, and that they could push on, prove that they were stronger and stick it out.

Indeed, just hours before the deaths, James Ray posted this to Twitter: ”Still in Spiritual Warrior … for anything new to live something first must die. What needs to die in you so that new life can emerge?”

We often think of self-help as harmless and silly, but the charismatic leadership that these gurus wield is a powerful psychological force. Just because a ceremony is New Age or from a native tradition doesn’t mean that it’s benign. As with all powerful experiences, training and supervision is crucial. And when a leader encourages his followers to override their own bodily signals — encourages them to give up their free will — there are terrible consequences.

October 9, 2009 Posted by | Academic Musings, Self-Help | , , , , | 72 Comments

He saved a billion lives… do you know his name?

Quick — can you give me the latest on the divorce drama between Jon & Kate Gosselin? Or why Paula Abdul isn’t going to be judging this year’s American Idol? Odds are you can answer those questions but you can’t tell me the name of the man who died recently after saving more than a billion lives.

I’ll give you another hint: He was one of only six people ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

You can probably name most of the other five recipients of this trio of honors — Martin Luther King, Jr., Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi — but odds are you’ve never heard this man’s name.

You’ve never heard of him, yet when he died he was lauded as history’s “greatest human being.” You’ve never heard of him, yet he changed your life.

Dr. Christine Whelan, Dr. Norman Borlaug and Dr. Elizabeth Whelan

Dr. Christine Whelan, Dr. Norman Borlaug and Dr. Elizabeth Whelan

Dr. Norman Borlaug, who died September 12, 2009, at the age of 95, was humble and kind, and devoted his intelligence not to getting rich himself but to transforming the lives of those who needed help the most.

We spend so much of our time focusing on the goings-on of celebrities and reality TV stars — and that’s OK; it’s only human — but occasionally it’s important to give tribute to a person who is really changing our world, quietly, with no spotlight or paparazzi documenting their journey.

Check out my whole piece–including a link to a West Wing tribute here: http://www.bustedhalo.com/features/he-saved-a-billion-lives/

September 22, 2009 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Academic Musings | Leave a comment

“Single” Documentary: Sept. 15 release date

“Single,” an excellent documentary about single life in America, is being released in less than two weeks — and I’m one of the experts interviewed, so check it out! According to the press release, the documentary by filmmakers Richard Atkinson and Jane Scandurra is already winning awards including the Official Selection at the 2008 New York Filmmakers festival and Official Selection at the Berkshire International Film Festival and was called “…a really cool, cool documentary…” by Fox TV.

With over 100 million single adults in the U.S. – and a $1.6 trillion dollars in annual consumer spending – “Single” provides a timely and comprehensive look into what it means to be single in America and how singles regard marriage. Because today’s life is more complex, intense and demanding than ever, maintaining a lasting relationship has never been more challenging. Through thought-provoking interviews with a cast of social experts, performers and singles themselves, “Single” addresses the complexities of relationships in today’s world.

For more on the documentary (and academics, this would be a great one to use in any Family/Sociology class) visit: http://www.singlefilm.com/

September 2, 2009 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Academic Musings, Relationship Tips | Leave a comment

MSNBC and SexReally.com

Summertime is heating up — and I’m getting lots of press these days shattering myths and spreading good news for SWANS®.

Just up today on MSNBC.com is a piece by Brian Alexander, author of the popular Sexploration column who argues that marriage thrives despite our evolving sex lives. “Most women tie the knot by 40, statistics show — so why all the fretting?” He quotes me several times and offers lots of good news for SWANS®! Check it out on MSNBC.com.

And Monday, Laura Sessions Stepp quoted me on her great new website SexReally.com as she challenged that often-quoted statistic that 50% of marriages end in divorce. Check it out — and take a gander at the Sex. Really site in general.

July 16, 2009 Posted by | A Day in the Life, Academic Musings, Marry Smart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to True Love, Relationship Tips | , , , , , | Leave a comment