Sunday, February 24, 2013

5 Secrets of a Happy Family

A great blog post from Bruce Feiler on the Huffington Post

Here's a confession: I hate parenting books. I hate the ones that are earnest and repetitive. (If one more self-help guru tells me to listen actively, repeat what my child says... ) I hate the ones that promote a country. (Be strict like the Chinese! No, be lax like the French!) I hate the ones that have handy checklists. (What if I disagree with no. 2 or can't remember no. 4?)
And yet as a parent, I found myself incredibly frustrated. My wife and I were screaming ourselves hoarse in the mornings; beating ourselves up for not being home every night for family dinner; finding time to fight all the time but rarely seeing each other naked; and generally making every mistake those books try to prevent.
So I set out to write an anti-parenting parenting book. I wouldn't talk to any shrinks or other "family experts." (I violated this only once, when I met a Belgian sex therapist.) I wouldn't shill for a country or adopt a mascot. I would go looking for solutions wherever I could find them. This ultimately led me to elite peace negotiators at Harvard, top game designers at Zynga, a "Sex Mom" in Connecticut, and Warren Buffett's bankers.
And I certainly wouldn't make any lists.
Yet now that my book, "The Secrets of Happy Families," is being published, people keep asking me, "What's the most surprising thing you learned?" or "What's your favorite tip?" So I have no choice: Time to eat crow.
Here is my non-list of five secrets to make your family happier. All are backed by research. All have been tested by families. Feel free to ignore them. They're not all or nothing. They're just five of the 200 new ideas I've tried to gather in one place in the hopes that a few might be helpful.
See the list after the jump

Secrets of a Happy Family

Bruce Feiler's new book, Secrets of a Happy Family, is getting a lot of press lately.  Here are a few examples (Click on the links to get the full articles):

Washington Post

Books about families fall into two categories: those proclaiming that we’re all doing it wrong (delivered with a French accent or the roar of a tiger mom) and those detailing just how ­badly the author’s parents messed up.
Although New York Times columnist Bruce Feiler figured there had to be some happy families out there, he knew he wasn’t going to find them in the self-help section. “How-to manuals with their chirpy banalities pile up unread next to our beds,” he writes. “Even our metaphors are outdated. Sandwich generation? Linda wouldn’t dare serve processed luncheon meat to our kids. So what are we, then, just schmears of organic hummus in a vegetarian wrap?”

Carl Zimmer and his new TED Talk

Our own Carl Zimmer recently gave a TED talk.  Here it is:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Note from Tracey Capers

I was delighted to see and catch up Preston Kevin Lewis in NYC visting from Melbourne, Australia.  I've been chatting with David Pollay hoping that he will visit NYC to speak on Law of the Garbage Truck.  I recently checked in with my friend, suitemate and now opthamologist, Dr. Julia Katz Schonfeld.
Living and working in Brooklyn where I am Executive Vice President for Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation. I'm working on a personal project that I would like to get the word out about.  Inspired by brother's own illness nearly 20 years ago, I have started Familiar Minds, a blog dedicated to eliminating the stigma of mental illness, one story at time. This blog is the starting point for a book project that will compile essays written by people with mental illness and/or by the family members that support them.  Submissions of abstracts of 500 words are invited on personal perspectives and experiences on mental illness. 
Submission Instructions: email Please add Call for Submissions: Familiar Minds in the subject line.  For more information or questions, email and/or refer to