Alain de Botton, THE SCHOOL OF LIFE: AN EMOTIONAL EDUCATION

Alain de Botton, THE SCHOOL OF LIFE: AN EMOTIONAL EDUCATION

Alain: Here's an optimistic thing to bear in mind. No child needs a perfect parent. In fact, if you have a perfect parent, you'll end up psychotic. A parent who never disappoints you leads you towards a life of madness. The role of a parent is kindly disappointment. You want to try and gently initiate a child to the tragedies of existence until such point your job will long be done when it can accept the fact it’s going to die. It starts with, “I want to stay in the park all day. I want to eat as much chocolate cake as I like.” The job of a parent is, in a kindly way, to let them down. Some parents can never do any of the letting down because they have their own issues around disappointment. The notion is that the child must be happy all the time, which is very dangerous. There are some parents like that around.

Tiffany Shlain, 24/6: THE POWER OF UNPLUGGING ONE DAY A WEEK

Tiffany Shlain, 24/6: THE POWER OF UNPLUGGING ONE DAY A WEEK

Tiffany: Our daughters love it. It’s our favorite day of the week. I feel more creative, more productive. I'm happier on those days. I laugh more. It’s this secret sauce. It’s this ancient tradition that has so much wisdom in it. I'm so excited to get these ideas out. It’s not something I tried for a couple years or a couple months or digital detox. It’s not that. It’s a whole different way to live, to have a real structure around your week and have a true day of rest and a true day where we have a big Shabbat meal -- we have a big meal every Friday night with family and friends. No one brings their screen. It’s very different to be with people without their phones. Then the next day is the most delicious day of my week that I look forward to all week.

Adrienne Brodeur, WILD GAME: MY MOTHER, HER LOVER, AND ME

Adrienne Brodeur, WILD GAME: MY MOTHER, HER LOVER, AND ME

Adrienne: The truth of it is some part of me has been writing this story my whole life, mostly in my journal. At different points in my life, I tried to tackle it in different ways. There was some period in my life where I told this story entirely humorous as cocktail party patter or funny essays. I tried to write it as a romantic comedy at one point. Why now or why when I did start to write it, it was having children and starting a family of my own that made me realize I really needed to reckon with my past. I love my parents. I love my mother, but I did not want to parent or mother as I had been parented or mothered. That was probably the biggest impetus for writing it the way I've written it. Aside from the point that I think it’s worth noting that my daughter will be fourteen at the time of publication -- that was exactly the age I was when all this started in my own life. There's probably some unconscious timing and considerations that went on as well.

Matt Hall, ODDS ON: THE MAKING OF AN EVIDENCE-BASED INVESTOR

Matt Hall, ODDS ON: THE MAKING OF AN EVIDENCE-BASED INVESTOR

Matt: Writing what, for me, is a very personal story, writing a memoir is not easy. I heard one of your other podcast guests at one point say that it doesn't feel lonely if you're creating a work of fiction because you're getting to know this village of people that you're creating. For me, going back through my own experience, you have these moments where you go, is this going to be relevant? Is this going to connect with people? I loved the process. Writing the book has been transformational. I really wanted to do a personal narrative that was aimed at sharing the important truths I have found about modern investing. I had experience watching my mentor write many books that didn't really connect. If you go to any big bookstore and you look in the business section, it’s littered with books that are all doing the same thing. I really wanted to do something different.

Rachel Brathen, TO LOVE AND LET GO

Rachel Brathen, TO LOVE AND LET GO

Rachel: To Love and Let Go essentially is about a year in my life where I had the most amazing things happen and the most terrible things happen at the same time. My best friend passed away really tragically in a car accident. She was supposed to be the bridesmaid in my wedding. Three months after that, I got married to my husband, which was a highlight, of course. Then my grandmother passed away. Then we lost our dog. Then my mom tried to commit suicide. This all happened in the scope of one single year. It was a really big journey for me. Already then, I knew I wanted to write these stories down because I had so many intricate moments of things that felt like divine intervention, little miracles that happened in those really dark times. I wanted to write about it. It’s taken me five years to actually complete the book.

Carla Naumburg, HOW TO STOP LOSING YOUR SH*T WITH YOUR KIDS

Carla Naumburg, HOW TO STOP LOSING YOUR SH*T WITH YOUR KIDS

Carla: I met a mom once who was like, “You know, I just decided to stop yelling at my kids, and I stopped.” What? Are we speaking the same language? Are you a human? If I turn you around and open the little door on your back, will I push buttons and there's little wires? I don't understand how that works. If I could've done that, I would've done that. That's what I call a coulda/woulda strategy. Willpower is like a muscle. When we use it too much or even at all, over time, it gets tired. By the end of the day, it basically doesn't work, which is why we stand in front of the fridge trying to decide what to eat and we end up eating chips for dinner. It even takes willpower to make a decision like, should I eat this or that? Should I get out of bed or should I hit the snooze alarm? All these little things we do during the day. Am I going to fight with my kid about the shoes or let them wear flip flops to school?

Will Schwalbe, THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB

Will Schwalbe, THE END OF YOUR LIFE BOOK CLUB

Will: It’s a memoir. It is a memoir about living each day more purposefully and with more meaning as a tribute to those we've loved who aren't here to live anymore. I also wanted to inspire other people to do their own books for living, and put it forward as a way of understanding your life, and to remember your life through the books you read that gave you insight at the moments you needed the most, and to say to people, it can be any kind of a book. It can be a mystery novel. I write about The Girl on the Train. It can be a children’s book. I write about Stuart Little. It can be a cookbook. I write about A Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis, whatever books they are, not just as a kind of log, but really about a way of conjuring your whole life. The way books, getting back to what we talked about earlier, connect to you to people, they connect you to people, also, who are no longer here. When you read a book that you know someone loved who's dead, it brings them back. When you read a book that you think a friend who's no longer here might have liked or a parent or sibling or whoever you've lost, it allows you to be in a kind of dialogue with them.

Deborah Copaken & Daniel Jones, MODERN LOVE

Deborah Copaken & Daniel Jones, MODERN LOVE

Deborah: I said to you at the time, “You just emailed her? If you really love her, you've got to go after her.” I told him the story of this guy that I was dating back in 1989 who I met in Jamaica. Then we spent a beautiful week in London together. He was supposed to show up in Paris and never showed up. I thought he'd stood me up. I found out twenty years later, because that was back in the day before email and Facebook and being able to keep track of people, that he had showed up in Paris but had lost the piece of paper with my phone number on it and ended up staying at a youth hostel all weekend. It’s so sad. When this young man and I met up twenty years later, both married with three kids, love doesn't go away. It just is there. I told him the story. If you love her, don't end up like me twenty years later regretting not going after this person. I thought I was stood up. Put your body where your beliefs are.