in: Odds & Ends

Odds & Ends: October 20, 2023

Give Up by The Postal Service. This week, Kate and I watched The Postal Service play the Hollywood Bowl (great venue!). It was the last stop on the tour they’ve been on to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the band’s one and only album: Give Up. It was a great show. Lots of nostalgia. This album takes me back to when Kate and I first got married and were living in a tiny apartment in Norman, OK, working at Jamba Juice together. The album still holds up.

Exploring the Happiness Premium for Ever-Married Men. I recently did a podcast interview with demographer Lyman Stone about some of the myths around marriage and family (look for that episode to go up in the near future). One topic we didn’t get a chance to discuss that he just released some findings on is whether or not marriage is a losing proposition for men. There’s a lot of online chatter that it is because of the significant chance of divorce and how unhappy divorce makes people. But Lyman’s research shows that ever-married men (which includes divorced men) are, on average, happier than never-married men. While men’s happiness levels do initially take a dip after a divorce, their happiness then simply returns to premarital levels without an enduring happiness cost. This suggests that, as divorce lawyer and AoM podcast guest James Sexton argued in one of my favorite episodes this year, marriage is a lottery worth playing.

The Frenzy of Renown by Leo Braudy. I read this tome of a book several years ago while researching our series on social status. I still think about insights I got from Frenzy today. Professor of English literature and former AoM podcast guest Leo Braudy takes readers through a sweeping cultural history of fame from Alexander the Great to modern social media influencers. The big takeaway from this book is that as history has progressed, fame has become more and more democratized. Two thousand years ago, only kings and emperors worried about crafting a public image that would spread throughout their realm; today, anyone with a smartphone can become famous and has to worry about maintaining widespread recognition. It’s a huge cultural change that has come with both upsides and downsides.

Todoist. I’ve been using Todoist to run my life and business for several years. It’s a simple checklist app, but it’s got a lot of features that make it really useful. You can turn emails into tasks, create recurring tasks, categorize tasks, prioritize them, etc. If you’ve been looking for a tool to track all the stuff you need to get done, I highly recommend it. Make sure to check out my comprehensive article on how I use Todoist

Quote of the Week

Biography, especially of the great and good, who have risen by their own exertions to eminence and usefulness, is an inspiring and ennobling study. Its direct tendency is to reproduce the excellence it records.

— Horace Mann

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