Some Light Reading

I haven’t been feeling much like writing recently, instead, I’ve been doing a crap-ton of reading because I’ve read somewhere that if you’re about to be homeless, the best thing to do is read. I’m sure it was from a very reliable source, like the bathroom wall at my favorite dive bar, or holy sheeze, I made that up, but why question where I get my useful information anyhow?

What did I read? Well, I finished a book and a short story, started on another book and got further in three other books. I’m perpetually in the middle of reading at least five books. This may be a symptom of attention deficit disorder, but I can’t keep a straight thought long enough to look up a shrink for proper diagnosis.

The short story I finished is called The Death of Ivan Ilych, and I highly recommend it. Tolstoy has an amazing way of capturing human emotion and putting it down in words. I am recommending a classic, so better reviews and summary have been written before I was born, so I’ll not try to compete and stop here.

The newer book I finished is called Stumbling on Happiness and I think it’s pretty good far as pop-psychology goes but it’s definitely light on depth and data. It’s an interesting book that covers various studies done that shows how we have a way of tricking ourselves into being happy and how our happiness is easily influenced. One study that stood out in my mind is the study of how having control makes us happy.

There was a study done at a nursing home with the residents being given some extra company each week. In one group, the residents were allowed to dictate when they have visitors and in the other group, they were simply told they were having visitors stop by randomly. At the end of two months, the group that had control over visitors showed great improvement in health and took less medication. The study was successful and thus it ended. Then a short while after the study concluded more of the old folks that previously had control died than was the norm. The death rate of the other group was about the same.

Apparently having control then losing it, is more devastating than never having it to begin with. Moral of the story, stop being such a control freak, that shit could kill you.

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