Month: November 2009


Back when I was reporting the book I went to see  neurologist George Bartzokis of UCLA. We were sitting in his tiny office, talking about myelin and how the brain can learn new behaviors, and Bartzokis said something that got my attention.
He said, “In a most basic sense, myelin is hope.”
Myelin is hope, I remember …

Good Reads, Links, Tunes

Tis the season and all, so here are a few things I’ve been enjoying lately, in no particular order:

Manhood for Amateurs, by Michael Chabon: Okay, I’m a huge Chabon fan and would probably love anything he scribbled, but this collection of nonfiction essays is uniquely great for its insights into parenting, kid freedom, and the …

Tina Fey’s Transformation

Check out this video of Tina Fey in her early days, back when she was growing her skills doing improv at Chicago’s Second City. A few things leap out:

Young Tina’s not all that funny.
Young Tina takes LOTS of risks (as evidenced by the sketch).
Young Tina sees the direct connection between taking smart risks and getting …

The Underrated Benefits of Faking

As kids, we do it all the time: we pretend we’re the quarterback with one second left in a tied Super Bowl, or we’re about to walk onstage with the Rolling Stones, or (if you grow up in Alaska like I did), we’re mushing our dogteam toward an Iditarod victory.  We invent fabulously detailed, pressurized …

Geek Power: How Peyton Manning is Like Warren Buffett

Never Mind the Book!

This just in: apparently some talents are natural-born.

The Genius of Screwups

One of my Sunday addictions, along with a triple hazelnut espresso, is “Corner Office,” Adam Bryant’s weekly interview of a bigshot CEO. Here’s the strange thing: At some point in each interview, every single CEO shares the same nugget of wisdom: the crucial importance of mistakes, failures, and setbacks. (Above, see Richard Branson of Virgin talking about …

Great Teachers Part I: The Hoops Whisperer

The best coach in the NBA is a short, 38-year-old former lawyer who never played high-level basketball. His name is Idan Ravin, and he’s master coach to the stars: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and a dozen others, who swear by his magical touch (which you can see on video here and here).
So why is …

Funny Business: How The Onion is like Toyota

Learning Cello in 20 Minutes: An Experiment