NY Times: Sandeep Jauhar on the first heart transplant

Sandeep’s latest op-ed for the Times is on the anniversary of the first completed heart transplant.

Fifty years ago this Sunday, the first adult human heart transplant was performed in Cape Town. It was an epoch-making advance in science — and also, perhaps, in human culture. The heart, heavy as it is with symbolism, has always occupied a special place in our collective imagination. Despite our relatively sophisticated biomedical understanding of its function, many people still think of the heart as the seat of affection and courage. When Barney Clark, a retired dentist with end-stage heart failure, received the world’s first permanent mechanical heart in 1982, his wife worried he might not still be able to love her. [NYTimes.com]

Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard’s new book recommended by the NY Times

In a piece on new books which “address etiquette for every imaginable awkward circumstance,” the New York Times have recommended Berman and Bernard’s Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life.

It’s a little misleading to call TREATING PEOPLE WELL: The Extraordinary Power of Civility at Work and in Life (January 9th, 2018) a self-help book. It’s really a charming memoir about being a social secretary in the White House, by Lea Berman, who worked for the George W. Bush administration, and Jeremy Bernard, who worked for the Obamas. The book is divided into 12 lessons that describe the different facets of gracious behavior: self-confidence, humor and charm (with an emphasis on humor), consistency and so forth. Following their precepts will make you socially adept, which in turn will make you successful. But the meat of the book is in the funny and moving stories about what it takes to be the general of the White House’s social army; after all, those Easter eggs are not going to roll themselves. The grace-under-pressure lessons here are legion, whether it’s getting reluctant guests to leave without ordering them out (it’s a crowd-control maneuver known as the chicken walk) or refereeing two international interpreters vying for the place of honor next to their leaders while trying to shove each other off their chairs. Whatever your political persuasion, you will understand the meaning of “charm offensive.” [NYTimes.com]

5 Tips to Be More Awesome From a Pro Skater-Turned-Philosopher Nick Riggle

INC. has profiled Nick Riggle and his new book.

These days people use the word “awesome” to describe everything from a new episode of their favorite show to a tasty hot dog. It’s a far cry from the traditional meaning of the word – inspiring awe. So has the term become basically meaningless, just a sloppy way to say ‘very good’? Nope, argues University of San Diego philosopher professor Nick Riggle in his new book On Being Awesome: A Unified Theory of How Not to Suck. “I think there’s something deep behind the popularity of “awesome””, he insists. Being awesome, Riggle argues, actually has a specific if rarely understood meaning. And understanding more about what we mean when we use this everyday expression of praise can help unlock our own ability to be awesome at whatever it is we do. [INC.com]