Why Prosperity Has Increased but Happiness Has NotThe New York Times, August 21, 2018

Observing that the impressive postwar rise in material wellbeing in the US has had zero effect on personal wellbeing, the author of The Happiness Curve: Why Life Gets Better After 50 elaborates on two key findings: (1) All happiness is local: people’s wellbeing depends mainly on their immediate surroundings; (2) All happiness is relative: we humans are walking, talking status meters, constantly judging our worth and social standing by comparing ourselves with others today and with our own prior selves. His conclusion: inequality is “immiserating.”

 

We Are All Accumulating Mountains of ThingsThe Atlantic, August 21, 2018

Online shopping – the possibility to shop from anywhere, at anytime and often cheaply – is turning people into hoarders. Last year, for instance, Americans spent $240 billion—twice as much as in 2002—on goods like jewelry, watches, books, luggage, and telephones and related communication equipment (over that time, the population grew just 13%). Another reason is that shopping online also feels good: we get a dopamine hit from buying stuff, and our brain tweaks us “to want more, more, more.”

 

Arianna Huffington, An Open Letter to Elon Musk (your 120-hour workweeks are an outdated concept)Thrive Global, August 17, 2018

In a surprising confession, Elon Musk just told The New York Times that he’s exhausted by his 120-hour work weeks. Arianna tells him why this is a “wildly outdated, anti-scientific and horribly inefficient way of using human energy”, reminding him that people are not machines. For humans, downtime is a critical necessity, and the science tells us that there’s simply no way someone can make good decisions and achieve world-changing ambitions while running on empty. Tesla short-sellers might want to take note…

 

What Would Happen If We Removed Cars from Cities?World Economic Forum, August 9, 2018

It would reduce air pollution, the fourth biggest killer in the world after smoking, high blood pressure and diet.

 

Finding It Hard to Focus? Maybe It’s Not Your Fault – The New York Times, August 14, 2018

This is about the rise of the new “attention economy”.

 

A Striking Stat:

How much does air pollution shorten your life? Worldwide it cuts life expectancy by one year. For instance, it cuts the average Egyptian’s life span by 1.9 years, the average Indian’s by 1.5 years, the average Russian’s by 9 months, and the average American’s by 4 months.

Source: Global study published in Environmental Science & Technology, 8/22
Access the study

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