Today at Longreads (where I am also an editor), Atossa Abrahamian writes about her three favorite stories about taxes this year, highlighting pieces from The Washington Post, Vanit Fair, and Bloomberg. Add these to your never-ending reading lists!
Last night, I attended a fundraiser to raise money for a children’s literacy program that was organized by a friend. It’s the season of charitible giving, and there are a ton of these kinds events and programs going on.
Richard Lawson is starting his new job as an entertainment columnist for Vanity Fair today, and he wrote a lovely piece on his blog about joining the workforce after college, about his first job in New York City working in sales for Broadway shows, and about the role our jobs have in helping form a part of our identities. Here he is talking about leaving that sales job and moving onto something new:
When I worked in an office and was having a bad day, I coped by keeping to myself at my desk, and taking breaks to go outside and breathe. If something was bothering me, I tried to not let it show on my face. NPR’s The Salt asked some waiters how they cope with having a bad day while having to interact with customers and provide service with a smile.
Apparently, I’m on the “which seat is best” beat today, and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the best seats in a movie theater are two-thirds away from the screen and in the center. It’s because of the acoustics, but also because you’re not craning your necks like you would if you sat in the front.
At Nautilus, Chris Mooney examines the science of gratitude—how simply thinking about the things we should be grateful for makes us happier and how it’s a shame that it’s something we only really actively ask each other about around holidays like Thanksgiving. I’m grateful for a lot of things in my life—the people in my life, the jobs I have—and those feelings of gratitude have perhaps prevented me from spending money on things to help fill that void people sometimes get when they’re feeling unhappy. The next time I’m feeling out of sorts, I’ll pull a Mooney and make a list about how lucky I am.
Arindrajit Dube, an associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst whose focus includes labor economics, has an editorial about the rise and fall of the minimum wage. He writes that at the heart of the debate about wage standards is the idea of fairness—the Fair Labor Standards Act which established the minimum wage in 1938 was sent to Congress by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who declared that our country should be able to provide working men and women “a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work” and that “no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country.”
The latest episode of Freakonomics is about “fighting poverty with actual evidence” and features a discussion with economists Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago, and Dean Karlan from Yale, who examine studies (like the one by Give Directly), showing what kinds of methods are good at fighting poverty.
Tyler Cowen had the opportunity to try out 23andMe, the genetic testing company that uses a swab of your saliva to tell you things like inherited traits, genealogy and possible congenital risk factors. It’s backed by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, and advertisements have been everywhere (you may have heard about it on a radio program, or on an internet ad). Cowen’s main reasons for turning down the opportunity were “worry cost” (worrying about potential negative information he’d receive), and some privacy concerns (allowing a privately held company to store information about his genetic data).
In The Globe and Mail, Joyce Wayne has a column about leaving her full-time job after working for 37 years, and what retirement means to her: Being able to pursue a dream of writing books, while continuing to work part-time for additional income (so she can continue helping her daughter pay for her college education; her partner was also recently laid off). She says retirement has never meant ceasing to work for her.
How were your Thanksgivings and weekends?
We have a Thanksgiving plans roundup after this post, and then we’re off for the rest of the week! Feel free to use this thread if you’re lonely, or want to talk about something amazing you bought on Black Friday, or how you’re avoiding Black Friday. Have a good time, everyone!
No phones on planes. THANK YOU.