Sometimes a single random event seems to influence the rest of our lives. When I started at my (Jewish) high school in London, our class of about 60 students was divided into an A, B and C group for Ivrit, or Modern Hebrew. On what basis were the students divided? Very simple. All of us were seated in a big hall, two teachers came in, and said things like: “Epstein, yes, his father... Read More About Random Events? »
Noise. There is plenty of it around, and sometimes it’s so loud, we can’t hear the important stuff that’s going on. When you yell at someone, or even come on really strong, your message may be excellent. Unfortunately, it won’t be heard. Or even if it is heard, it will raise up such a storm of resistance that the audience won’t want to hear it. My... Read More About Noise »
Many years ago, in a previous existence, I was invited to give an economics seminar at a college in small town, Indiana to see if I could be hired as a teacher. The day began inauspiciously. I arrived at O'Hare 1 1/2 hours before take-off, only to be informed that my plane had been cancelled. So I called the chairman of the economics department, and he suggested I rent a car... Read More About How are you? »
The great Yiddish writer Sholem Aleichem wrote: Lachen iz gezint; doktoirim heysn lachen. Laughter is healthy; doctors prescribe laughter. One of my most rewarding moments occurred in a visit to a man in considerable pain whose misery showed in his face. I played a recording of a soprano singing a Russian laughing song; she laughs, on pitch and in time with the music.... Read More About Laughter »
I am superstitious. I am also a worrier. This wonderful combination enables me to look at the world differently from most others. If, for example, we are going on a vacation, I do not talk about it ahead of time. That, after all, is inviting trouble. I have no clear notion of the mechanism that leads from my mentioning the trip to the sabotaging of it, no visions of goblins,... Read More About Superstition and Worry »
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