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Posts tagged "success"


Successful People Don’t Sleep

Steve Harvey is one of those pop-culture personalities so associated with his later-in-life career that his rise to fame is all but forgotten. If you asked the average millennial who Steve Harvey is and what does he do, the vast majority would tell you about his run as host of the daytime gameshow Family Feud. […]

Soraya Roberts Is Redefining Success

For Longreads, writer Soraya Roberts recently wrote a scintillating takedown of modern notions of success in her essay, “The Myth of Making It.” The central theme is the never-ending pursuit of “enoughness,” plus the suggestion that this nagging sense can never be appeased externally. Other topics include “comparing up,” the Skater of the Year Award, […]

Laughing at Our Trophies

A few years ago I ran my first half-marathon. And won. By accident. The northern panhandle city of Amarillo, Texas, boasts scant trees, passels of cowboys, and a handful of runners who—taking Bob Seger literally—are always “running against the wind.” It was no exception on September 1, 2009, when I lined up with hundreds of […]

The Graduates (Almost): Thoughts on College, Leisure, and Uncertainty for ‘Millennials’

This is Part 1 of a multi-part series about college, faith, and the expectations of millennials from the perspective of two near-graduates: David and Lizzie, Mockingbird’s finest interns. Emily Dickinson once wrote, “I have perfect confidence in God and his promises & yet I know not why, I feel the world holds a predominant place […]

Failed Confessions of a Success-o-holic

We’re told that learning how to handle failure is an important part of growing up. Yet we do everything we can to make sure our kids never experience it. What did Samuel Beckett actually mean when he told us to “fail better”? And what does it have to do–if anything–with the theology of the cross? All this and (not) much more!

The Difference Between Your Business Card and Your Mother

When it comes to articulating religious insights in secular terms, no one does it better than philosopher Alain de Botton, AKA he of Religion for Atheists fame. We’ve written about his rather Bultmannian genius before, but none of that prepared me for the TED talk he gave in 2009 about notions of success (and failure). Whereas elsewhere he mines Christian wisdom more generally, here he goes straight for law and grace, albeit in their aggressively lower-cased forms. The conclusion may naturally be a little fuzzy/abrupt–be sure to listen to the Q&A–the diagnosis is absolutely stunning. If you’re at all like me, you’ll be hooked from the first sentence, ht JD:

Speaking of de Botton, much to his credit, when asked by The New Statesman to select his favorite book of 2012, he went with the following:

This year, I was touched by Francis Spufford’s Unapologetic: Why, Despite Everything, Christianity Can Still Make Surprising Emotional Sense. As a non-Christian, indeed a committed atheist, I was worried about how I’d feel about this book but it pulled off a rare feat: making Christianity seem appealing to those who have no interest in ever being Christians. A number of Christian writers have over the past decade tried to write books defending their faith against the onslaughts of the new atheists – but they’ve generally failed. Spufford understands that the trick isn’t to try to convince the reader that Christianity is true but rather to show why it’s interesting, wise and sometimes consoling.

I can’t pass up the opportunity to link to Alan Jacobs’ rave review of the same liked-it-so-much-we-invited-the-author-to-speak-book, which just went live on the Books & Culture website.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Meaning To

And here we have this morning’s second reflection on Malcolm Gladwell’s must-read “The Gift of Doubt”. Malcolm Gladwell recently wrote a piece for The New Yorker on the quirky but charismatic economist Albert O. Hirschman and his unorthodox ideas about creativity and success.  Despite being a “planner” himself, Hirschman thought that creativity can only be […]

Another Week Ends: Rich Exhibitionists, Public Potheads, Political (L)aw, Sons of Bill, Gamer Success, and Dissociative Pornography

1. For every voyeur, there’s an exhibitionist – and social media sites are no exception. We try to post the most enviable pictures of ourselves possible on Facebook or, at the very least, the most desirable. And others obsess over other people’s pictures, thinking, “If I could just be in that group of people, doing […]