Weekly Reading List

November 10, 2019

Dear Friends,

Welcome to another edition of   Weekly   Reading   List  !!  Thank you for joining.

We have three interesting pieces in this edition.

  1. If a question is asked to parents about the kind of kids they want to raise the answer may be ‘successful.’ We are living in an age which has an overemphasis on success and achievement.  However, it is also very important that our children pick up empathy as they grow up and become kind and caring individuals while aiming for personal success.  A kind and caring human being can make a difference in the society in which he/she lives. In this essay written by Adam Grant and Allison Grant we read about the change we can make in our attitude to growing kids to help them develop kindness and empathy.  It may involve very simple things such as what we enquire with them when they come home. Instead of always asking whether their team won or about the grades they scored we can also ask them how many classmates they helped or whether they stood up for someone who was bullied by other students. This gives them a feeling that parents value these traits in the same way they pay attention to their grades. At the end of the day as the writers feel, “ we should encourage children to do their best and to take pride and joy in their accomplishments—but kindness doesn’t require sacrificing those things. The real test of parenting is not what your children achieve, but who they become and how they treat others”.Read this beautiful piece here.
  2. There is an inalienable bond between speech and writing. For a writer who uses the medium of speech predominantly, the loss of that faculty can be devastating. In modern times, few writers represented the combination of talking and writing like Christopher Hitchens. When on a stage he was always on a song. Unbeatable. Absolute delight. So when he was diagnosed with oesophagus cancer and was moving closer to death, it was the most painful thing for him to lose the ability to talk. In this moving piece, he dissects the relationship between speech and writing. In his immortal words, “We may not be, as we used to boast, the only animals capable of speech. But we are the only ones who can deploy vocal communication for sheer pleasure and recreation, combining it with our two other boasts of reason and humour to produce higher syntheses. To lose this ability is to be deprived of an entire range of faculty: it is assuredly to die more than a little.” Read this touching piece.
  3. In this last piece, Toby Phillips from Oxford University reflects on why we are working more and more despite huge technological advancements. Everyone thought that advancements in technology will result in a global reduction in working hours and a huge increase in leisure for everybody. Economists were worried about the boredom which has to be tackled as a result of less working hours. However, we don’t find such a radical reduction in work and people across the world continue to slog more. One reason could be the fact that human beings are a species which want more and more. Humans live on a hedonic treadmill and not for us the life with mere subsistence. As the writer concludes at least in developed  countries, “ we have the technology and tools for everyone to work less and still live highly prosperous lives, if only we structure our work and society towards that goal.” On the other hand, if we are to fill our leisure time with new wants and a frantic chase to satisfy them, none of the new technologies are going to offer the freedom from our busy lives. Read on.


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