Essays

I’m fortunate enough to write a monthly column for 3quarksdaily. If you’re not familiar with 3qd, go here and learn┬ámore. Or check out the site for yourself. They do good work. I’m honored to be a contributor. PS – The bottom row is also 3qd originals. But due to user error (read: me) the permalinks are broken.
Being an emotionally responsible fan isn’t easy. Cheering for a historically bad team doesn’t help. As a Cleveland Browns fan, I support the 0-16 Perfect Season Parade in the name of coming closer to the reason why we’re fans in the first place.
This month I decided to celebrate the life of John Perry Barlow. From his work as a technologist and free internet pioneer, to a code of conduct he wrote in his 30s, to his most meaningful work (at least to me) as a lyricist for the Grateful Dead.
This month’s piece is a public service announcement about a potential danger we all face each and every day of our lives. Take a moment to read (or listen). Learn to protect yourself and your loved ones. Practice safe conversation.
TV and binge-watching. Wasteful time-sinks or potentially healthy and rewarding uses of time? Depends. Both the tool (TV) and the technique (binge-watching) are neutral with the benefit and determent determined by how they’re used. Are you pounding through some delicious CW trash (Love me some Sam and Dean) or eating enriching brainfood like TruTv’s Adam Ruins Everything?
This month we dip our toes into play therapy. It turns out you can learn a lot about a person by observing the way they play games. But more important, you can also nurture certain behaviors and qualities in yourself (and others) by the way you play. Connect to explore empathy or win to unleash your inner sociopath.
This is about the intersection and connection of ideas in seemingly disparate sources. It turns out, there are some ideas about Zen and wu wei in the lines of Faust. Geothe was a reincarnated Chinese monk was my way poetic and playful way of saying so.
For the last year I’ve been writing a book with a family play therapist named Mary Morgan. She’s been in practice for 40+ years and collaborating with her has been great. As a single guy, with no kids, who also happens to be an only child, I feel like I’ve learned some things I never knew about child development. Here’s a taste. An appetizer, if you will… (The main course, The Treasure of Toys, will be in print soon!)
We all know endings are sometimes hard. Two fundamental aspects of how the mind works, loss aversion and mnemonic salience, come together and amplify the impact of grief and loss. Understanding these processes doesn’t take the pain away, but it may offer a little solace of perspective…
This one is a little different from my previous essays. Because we live in the future, and Spotify is a thing, I decided to share with you the best medicine I discovered for managing grief – my feel good playlist. It’s 19 tracks of music, everything from Bone Thugs to Bowie, to get your head right.

2017

Let’s face it – change is hard. Most of us have tried to do it. Most of us have failed. The reason? Mind closets. “What’s a mind closet?” you ask. Well, guess you’ll have to read and find out.
It’s Presidents Day 2017! What better way to celebrate than learning about the 11th president? If Polk isn’t your polka (couldn’t resist) then check it out for the ideas on civil disobedience and wisdom from Kings.
Guess what – you have a superpower. Your superpower is storytelling. How you use it matters. You can be a hero. You can be a villain. The choice is yours. But remember what Uncle Ben (and Voltaire) say, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Building off of the previous column, this one features more practical information about using your superpower. It also delves into science and Einstein’s proficiency with luggage. There’s an audio format for your listening pleasure.
It’s only five letters long, but the most dangerous word has a lot going on. It weighs us down, it’s full of false promises, and has a tendency to do more harm than good. Any guesses? No? Well then you’ve got to read (or listen) to find out.
Doubt is a drizzle. Courage is wet socks. Confidence is a hot shower. Intrigued? Good. Take a more in-depth look at what confidence is and isn’t, how we get it, and why we’ve been wrong. (Free audio version – here.)
Often times we think there’s nothing we can do. The system is too big. We are too small. Based on Prof. Timothy Snyder’s book On Tyranny, here’s a list of things you can do today to fight the good fight. Plus, you get to learn to recognize the politics of eternity and inevitability and why they’re so dangerous…
This column goes into the psychological concepts of triggers, traumas, and implicit memory using examples from my own life and experience. Mental health is important and affects us all. Learn more. Live better.
You’ve been alive for awhile, right? Then it should be pretty easy for you to tell me your five favorite things. Wait. What? You’ve never thought about it. Hmmm…perhaps it’s about time you did.
Who doesn’t love getting down on the ground and playing with the little fluffballs? They’re so cute. With their wet noses and tiny barks… Unfortunately, that’s the problem. This month’s column is all about a serious threat, the terrible marketing/branding of it, and mother!.
Puerto Rico. Hurricanes. Rotterdam. Nazi bombs. As awful as the pain and terror of destruction is – there’s some light to be found. Rare is the opportunity to rebuild from scratch and take advantage of modern advances.
“As above, so below” is a hermetic phrase. Isaac Newton applied it’s wisdom vertically and “discovered” gravity. By looking at the milestones or life and death, I’ve added a horizontal dimension. “As it begins, so too it ends.”
Morality isn’t an easy thing to discuss. The concepts are nebulous. The words are imprecise. Lucky for us, there is a vocabulary our there we can use…it just comes from an unlikely source – Dungeons and Dragons.

2016

Based on things I’ve learned from Mihaly Csikszentmilay’s book Flow. This was actually the writing sample I submitted in order to be selected as a columnist. It’s practical advice for increasing your happiness.
Joshua Foer wrote a book called Moonwalking With Einstein. It’s about how he became a national memory champion. In it he lays out the methods and training he underwent. I distilled his lessons down further and applied them to something we can all relate to. Remembering names and faces.
Ever thought about the similarities between mixing a good margarita and having a healthy time-perspective? No? That’s OK. You don’t have to. Because I did. And I wrote a column about it. Based on Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd’s The Time Paradox.
A bit of a departure from my normal tone/style. It’s inspired by the 4th of July and a speech Fredrick Douglas gave on July 5, 1852. You can read his speech here. It’s eloquent, smart, disturbing, and great.
Alan Watt’s The Book is one of the most influential books I’ve read. It was only a matter of time before I worked some of his principles into one of my columns. It’s about the nature of opposites and features an easy-to-do experiment.
A column about love. It was inspired by the incredible Alain de Botton, Jonathon Haidt, and my own life experience. It’s all about romantic versus companionate love and some of our more toxic cultural narratives.
I’m a bit of a nonconformist. Especially when it comes to lifestyle and choices. This makes measuring success tricky. All the benchmarks society provides don’t really apply. So I made up my own metrics.
Expectations are a bitch. If you’d like to know why and what you can do to get better at dealing with them – then read on, friend! Learn all about Oreos of Insight, Nightmare Lists, and Joy Indexes.
There are three ideas I wish I could implant into everyone’s heads and hearts. One inspires wonder. One addresses drive. The last one is about levity. Check it out. It might make your 2017 better…