Wednesday, December 21, 2011

20 Best Books About the American Dream

Despite the fact that American society and culture have experienced radical, dramatic changes over the centuries, the whole concept of a unique "dream" associated with it typically remains constant. Perpetuating good and ill alike depending on the individual, it often involves idealistic portrayals of opportunity, family, freedom, and economic prosperity, particularly home ownership. Whether or not these factors work for everyone is another story entirely. Recent graduates now faced with forging a life of their own will inevitably encounter many, if not all, of its tenets at some point, regardless of whether they ultimately end up fulfilled. As most of these books illustrate, The American Dream may not always prove to be the apple pie ideal everyone thinks it is. Maybe, just maybe, it’s best to follow one’s own bliss instead, provided nobody ends up hurt in the process.

  1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey into the Heart of The American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson

    Both one of the quintessential nonfiction novels and a sterling example of gonzo journalism, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas sees author Hunter S. Thompson and his irascible lawyer bro embarking on the country’s weirdest road trip. One of their main goals involves attempting to seek out The American Dream while crammed with enough drugs and booze to turn a bull elephant inside-out. Instead of covering their assignments, the decidedly dastardly duo end up terrorizing Vegas searching for answers to vague, subjective conceptual questions instead.

  2. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming The American Dream by Barack Obama

    Written and printed before his successful 2008 presidential campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama blended memoir and reflections on his beliefs regarding America’s main values. He announced his candidacy with the Democratic Party three months after publication, and many fans and critics considered the book a detailed outline of what to expect from his platform. Regardless of whether you agree with what he has to say, the book still provides a glimpse into how some contemporary politicians interpret the concept of The American Dream.

  3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Jay Gatsby, on the surface, seems the physical embodiment of everything The American Dream supposedly entails: a bootstraps-pulling innovator with enough coin to throw lavish parties and probably to fill his pool with coins, Scrooge McDuck-style, if it weren’t destined as a grisly, watery murder scene. Considering F. Scott Fitzgerald meant for his now-classic to thoroughly skewer Jazz Age frivolities and fakeries, the glitz and glamour that citizens of the U.S.of A. are supposed to constantly chase ultimately signify nothing when its all lost in the end. Save for personal and intellectual emptiness and futility, anyways.

  4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

    Published prior to the Civil Rights Movement, Invisible Man brutally deconstructed The American Dream as exclusive only to white men, and mostly rich ones at that. Ralph Ellison noted how so many supposedly ideal situations came about because of exploiting African-Americans and other marginalized demographics. The nameless protagonist rails against this unjust machine by turning their dehumanizing, underhanded methods right back on the oppressors.

  5. The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

    Hollywood allegedly embodies everything Americans are supposed to want in life: exorbitant wealth and excess, slavish attention and fame, and conventional physical appeal. All of these things end up nurturing entitlement issues and narcissism, as horrifically depicted in this oft-overlooked novel by a former screenwriter. Like so many novels analyzing the concept of The American Dream, The Day of the Locust views the more lofty, self-centered components with utter contempt rather than fanciful wonder.

  6. How the Other Half Lives by Jacob Riis

    Published during the late nineteenth century, this heavy photojournalism work chronicled the grim lives led by immigrants in New York tenement housing. So many struggled their way to the States in order to pursue a more prosperous existence for themselves and loved ones alike. Values dissonance means contemporary audiences might pick out some unfortunate racial and ethnic stereotypes and commentary, but it remains an essential read for understanding some classist downsides to eking out The American Dream.

  7. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

    Willie Loman remains one of the most memorable central characters in American drama, owing largely to his sadsack reflection of how societal expectations can crush a man and his family. Financial and professional success mean so much to him that he cheats on his wife and marginalizes his sons, even though he wishes them to someday emulate him. All that despite the fact that Loman actually fails to accomplish much of anything both professionally and personally.

  8. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

    Two generations of Chinese-American women share their stories of family, loss, love, life, and plenty of other themes in one of the most notable examples of immigrant literature. Despite differing motivations for crossing the Pacific, the mothers still perpetuate the theme of starting over in America and hoping to take advantage of the available opportunities. As one can probably assume, the transition proves smoother for some than others, illustrating a number of possible outcomes.

  9. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis

    Like so many novels concerning themselves with making sense of The American Dream, Sinclair Lewis’ Babbitt satirizes the many flaws present in the system. Specifically, the empty materialism and crushing pressures to conform, which both receive plenty of much-deserved acidic analysis here. Although the author illustrates how more traditional approaches do, in fact, work for so many, he decries moments when they impress what works for them onto their unwilling and often unlistening peers and offspring.

  10. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

    The rise and fall of a popular mambo band, comprised largely of Cuban immigrants, serves as an apt narrative of how some successful individuals sabotage their own opportunities at happiness. Brothers Cesar and Nestor Castillo go from playing on I Love Lucy to obscure casualties of a fickle musical fad, though the former’s extravagant habits certainly play their role. Anyone hoping to achieve their own unique goals in America or elsewhere might find some valuable lessons in staying humble and moderate after garnering fame.

  11. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

    When frustrations stemming from expectations of societal conformity and possession worship mount, a formerly quiet little American worker drone snaps. And in his increasingly violent rebellion against all things homogenous, he ends up organizing a terrorist organization as relentlessly (if not more so!) rigid than the system against which they fight. Destroying something beautiful isn’t exactly the most productive way to deal with the Dream’s downsides, by the way.

  12. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

    Investigative journalist Barbara Ehrenreich spent 18 months working one or more minimum-wage jobs, attempting to reveal the very real fiscal struggles behind policies ostensibly meant to keep them afloat. So often, their economic situations have less to do with laziness and an inability to "Grab those bootstraps, boys" and stem almost entirely from a flawed system. Published in 2001, it proves that even now, class disparities exist and The American Dream is still out of reach for so many who desire — and deserve! — a slice of it.

  13. The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe

    Not every read exploring The American Dream necessarily takes a negative stance or worms its way through its darkest underbelly. Some, like Tom Wolfe’s landmark work of New Journalism, prefer asking questions about what it takes to be considered a hero here in the States. The Right Stuff tells the very complex, even more human story of the astronauts chosen to participate in Project Mercury and the political climate that prompted it.

  14. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

    Published in 1961, Richard Yates meant for his novel to be read as "an indictment of American life in the 1950s," particularly the push for stark raving homogeny, usually with classist, racist, homophobic, and sexist components. Taking place in a seemingly idyllic suburb, a condescending, stuffy couple begins sabotaging their own lives through deception and adherence to a rigid conformist agenda. They dream of hauling off to Paris and escaping the damages they constantly inflict, but grisly, bloody mistakes render it nothing more than a passing fancy.

  15. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

    At the center of this essential family drama sits a $10,000 insurance check, which causes some degree of discord among the wife and children the deceased Mr. Younger left behind. Prior to his death, the patriarch and matriarch adhered to the facet of The American Dream promoting home ownership as the ultimate goal: a near impossibility for most African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement. Despite some major setbacks, the survivors do manage to secure a new home, though their future remains rather uncertain.

  16. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Both an immigrant story and a very frank, insightful depiction of intersexuality, the Pulitzer-winning Middlesex takes a somewhat different approach to familiar immigrant narratives. Calliope’s (later Cal) oft-misunderstood medical condition can be traced back to her (later his) incestuous grandparents, who eventually eke out a comfortable middle-class existence while harboring their world-shattering secret. Here, their American Dream eventually veers on an unexpected course when the narrator receives a 5-alpha-reductase diagnosis.

  17. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

    Even a British writer can still provide incredible, provocative, and necessary commentary on The American Dream, as evidenced by one of the greatest graphic novels of the 20th century. Powerless superheroes and an alternate Cold War history shed light on the volatile emotions behind giving into political and social expectations so much that the citizenry snaps. "Heroes" of often questionable heroism — some of them lamenting the loss of a "simpler" time — simultaneously keep the peace and foster a more chaotic nation devoid of hope and drive.

  18. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

    Once the Great Depression hit, it challenged Americans to rethink their values and whether or not the goals and opportunities they were to ostensibly chase are worth it in the end. John Steinbeck’s English class staple follows a foreclosed family along Route 66 as they seek out employment and permanent shelter. Sometimes, the whole "American Dream" thing has to take a back seat to survival and keeping one’s family as safe from every stimuli meant to dissolve it as possible.

  19. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

    A creative pair of cousins harness their creativity creating popular comic books reflecting their respective inner and outer turmoil. One, a homosexual at a time when the community faced unfair arrest for no crime or sin, forces himself into the mold expected and ends up worsening the lives of his wife and son. The other ends up torn between his native Prague and America, wishing to provide them with everything The American Dream promises; love might not conquer all, but it certainly acts as a nice enough supplement.

  20. Pretty much everything Horatio Alger ever wrote

    Horatio Alger’s entire oeuvre pretty much embodies every single trope associated with The American Dream. But sometimes he’s exactly what a reader wants. Obviously, those turning an eye toward the serious problems and inequities present in the concept are absolutely necessary if positive change is to take place. There’s room for the ones painting it in a more lighthearted, optimistic manner as well.

Taken From Best Colleges Online

25 Tips Staying Sane Law School

Law school is stressful, and that’s by design: the rigors of earning your law degree are similar to the rigors you’ll endure as a budding legal professional, where only the strong survive. And although law school can be difficult, that doesn’t mean you have to become insane on the way to graduation. There are several ways to cope, prevent stress, and stop the insanity before it starts. We’ve outlined 25 tips that can help you stay sane and happy, and even live like a normal person now and then.

  1. Keep your goals achievable

    It’s great to set big dreams and work toward making them a reality, but be careful not to overdo it. Think about how you’re going to get there, and set achievable goals that you know you can reach along the way. Checking off goals that are realistic for you to achieve can really build your self confidence, and give you momentum to keep going for the big stuff.

  2. Give your mind a break after lectures

    After going through lectures and briefing, your mind needs a break. Although it’s tempting to go straight to the books, spending a little time vegging out is important to your mental health and energy. For an hour after your lectures are over, just take some time to do something else, like playing with your pets or watching TV. Anything that can temporarily get your mind off of law school and let you be yourself for a while.

  3. Practice time management

    It’s tempting to just jump in and do all you can without thinking about how it’s actually going to get done, but by budgeting your time, you can accomplish more and have less anxiety about it all. Manage your time by reviewing your weekly goals and tasks, then organize your time into daily task lists. You may not meet your goals perfectly every week, but by managing your time, you will likely get closer to perfect and have less worry about how it’s all going to get done.

  4. Eat a balanced diet

    Junk food is convenient and easy to mindlessly shove down your throat while you’re trying to focus on studying, but it’s terrible for your energy and health. Take the time to eat food that’s actually good for you, because junk food will catch up with you eventually. Healthy food including fruits and vegetables can be made accessible, and they will help keep your mind going when you need it the most.

  5. Spring clean your life

    Before you begin law school, tame all of the issues that might pop up as a distraction to your studies. Visit the dentist, organize your house, and take care of any nagging issues that can mess with your time management. Do whatever you can to automate your life, including paying bills, so that you can focus on what’s absolutely necessary. If you didn’t get a chance to do this before school started, be sure to take care of it during breaks.

  1. Figure out your financial situation

    Law school is scary on its own without the worry of financial ruin, but if you don’t have a clear picture of how you’re going to handle the six-figure student loans that come along with your law degree, you just might lose your mind while you’re working to get your degree in the first place. Have a plan for the investment and how you’re going to take care of your living expenses while you’re in school. It’s also wise to work hard to find scholarships so that you don’t have to bear the full weight of law school on your own.

  2. Use The Buzzer

    If you just can’t get anything done, avoid distractions, or focus, using The Buzzer method for law school can be incredibly helpful. With this method, you’ll set a timer for 45 minutes, work straight through without any interruptions, not even bathroom breaks, and then take a break and repeat. You may not get anything done, but chances are that at some point in the 45 minutes, you’ll get bored and want to start doing some sort of productive work. If this method works for you, it can help save your sanity and make you get things done so you can move on and do things that don’t revolve around law school.

  3. Hug a puppy

    Get some perspective and release endorphins by taking a minute to hug a puppy when you’re at your most stressed. At George Mason University School of Law, 15 homeless puppies were enlisted in the fight against exam stress, and made students feel like they could “get to be human again.” The Yale Law Library has added a therapy dog, Monty, as well, and the Washington Post reports that he helps to break the pressure on campus.

  4. Think about the exam on the first day of class

    The Girl’s Guide to Law School shares a secret: what’s tested in law school isn’t necessarily what’s taught in law school. It sounds weird, but it’s true. So that means you’ll need to consider what you really need to know from the very beginning, and save your energy by simply working on that. Shoot for a flexible understanding of the law, or, as The Girls’ Guide to Law School says, “figure out what’s set in stone, and what’s malleable.”

  5. Have an outlet

    When law school is consuming your life, it’s easy to forget that you’re a real person with interests other than legal briefings. But you actually are a real person with needs, and an outlet is a great way to meet them. Do something fun for yourself, like going to the gym on a regular basis, or taking the time to go to the movies on occasion. It’s essential that you indulge yourself from time to time so that you don’t burn out.

  1. Recognize and minimize procrastination

    If you’re feeling stuck and lonely during long nights of studying, it might feel like a good idea to log on to Facebook and spend a few hours connecting with your friends and family that you never seem to have time for anymore. But the more time you spend putting off studying, the less time you have to actually participate in real life. Buckle down when it’s time to do the work, and enjoy the fruits of your labor when it’s appropriate.

  2. Avoid coping through chemistry

    Drugs, alcohol, and overloading on caffeine can make a small stress problem even bigger. Don’t be a “drunken lawyer” and give the Bar a reason to refuse your application. Learn to cope through healthy outlets, and use, but don’t abuse, alcohol as an occasional way to relieve stress.

  3. Don’t be afraid to rely on the study skills you already know

    Plenty of people will tell you that law must be studied in a way that’s radically different from anything else, and you have to do things completely different from the methods you’re used to. But Ilya Somin of The Volokh Conspiracy does not agree, remarking that if it works for you, you can certainly study the same way you got through your work as an undergrad or graduate student. You may need to make minor modifications, but it’s certainly possible to go with what you know and avoid the stressful process of learning a brand new way to learn.

  4. Break large projects down into small tasks

    Make humongous efforts feel like less work by taking them one small step at a time. Identify tasks within large projects, breaking things into subtopics and assigning smaller time blocks so that you can focus on manageable pieces. This will help you keep things organized, and give you motivation to keep going as you accomplish small goals along the way.

  5. Don’t be a perfectionist

    Law school naturally attracts highly driven students who are bent on doing everything perfectly, but life is much easier if you accept that some things don’t have to be perfect. Many schools have a B- curve, and some professors simply don’t ever give As. Recognize that a good grade isn’t always an A plus, and that you don’t have to be in the top 10% of your class to become a good lawyer.

  1. Don’t get sick

    Law school can make for close quarters and a perfect environment for picking up germs that can knock you down and make studying even harder. Stay well and on the top of your game by putting up a good defense: maintain a regular sleep schedule, a healthy diet, and practice good hygiene and hand-washing techniques.

  2. Focus on what you really need to know

    As Listless Lawyer notes, 95% of what you want to achieve in law school will be based on your grades, which come from your exams. And while you’ll spend lots of class time looking over the minutia of cases, chances are, that same minutia isn’t going to show up in the relatively short exam. Focus on the “holding” that summarizes the rule that the case stands for, and anything else you may retain is gravy on top.

  3. Avoid taking on too much

    MSU Law recommends that you simply focus on the stress of law school without adding to it unnecessarily. Getting in over your head and overextending yourself with too many society and association groups can seriously bog down an already busy workload. Consider which opportunities offer the most value to you, and focus on doing well with them. And of course, know yourself and what you can reasonably handle.

  4. Put everything where it belongs

    Emily Rushing, law librarian, recommends that law students keep their lives neatly filed. Keep emails, notes, projects, and anything else you might collect in the right place. By putting information where it belongs, you can easily retrieve it when necessary. As she points out, being smart is often more of a question of whether you can find information, rather than how much you can absorb or retain.

  5. Take short breaks when you’re feeling the pressure

    It’s natural to feel a little overwhelmed in law school, and it’s also understandable for students to want to push through and work as hard as possible. It’s important to be human, and take short breaks before your stress and anxiety turns into full-blown panic and a situation in which you just can’t get anything done. Take short breaks, do mindful breathing, and allow information to sink in while you rest.

  1. Treat law school like a job

    If you let law school become your life, you truly will go insane. Set limits much like you would with a job. Plan to work on law school studies during certain hours, and then actually put in the time, but when it’s over, you really do have to put the books down and stop studying. If possible, study away from home, and when you get home, leave your books in the bag.

  2. Remember that it’s only temporary

    If you’re a first-year law student, it’s easy to feel the strain and feel that the reality you’re in will continue for years two and three as well. But UCLA law students Sylvie Levine and David Burke point out that things get more relaxed as you go. The second year becomes a little more relaxed than the first, particularly with fewer classes to attend. The third year is the most relaxed, as most students have already secured jobs, and with their eyes on the prize, are just hoping to get things done without screwing up enough to lose their jobs. All of this is to say that law school is a downhill battle, one that may be tough in the beginning, but gets easier as you go.

  3. Maintain relationships in law school

    As law school wears on, it’s easy to crawl into your own hole and buckle down with work, but maintaining relationships with your classmates and professors is important. Use the people you know in school for both positive reinforcement and references. You should also continue to build your network, as you’ll certainly find opportunities to call on them during your job search and career as a lawyer.

  4. Know your deadlines

    Always know when your assignments are due. This is a simple task that will save you time and allow you to better juggle your schedule. Whether they are papers, projects, or assignments as a summer associate, always find out the date and time an assignment is due, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you need it.

  5. Have friends outside of law school

    Although law school relationships are important, you should also make a point to maintain your friendships outside of law school as well. While you’re freaking out about exams, your law school friends can’t really help you: they’re dealing with the same issues. But people in the real world can bring you out of your dark hole when your law school friends fail to do so.

Taken From Online Colleges

8 Great Pep Talks for Generation Jobless

Let's be frank: life sucks a little bit for today's recent graduates. So many of them, despite having expensive college degrees, haven't been able to find the jobs they set out to get hired for. Often, they end up working in low-paying, low-skill jobs with dubious futures, or worse, can't find any jobs at all. This, of course, results in record numbers of college graduates who are now living with their parents, putting pressure on families that are likely to be struggling with both the current economic situation and impending retirement. And as both graduates and parents struggle to stay afloat, student loan bills often begin to roll in. Things just aren't great, and while plenty of people are quick to point out the problems of Generation Jobless, there are a few bright spots in all of the chatter. So if you're over the whole Generation Jobless pity party, take a moment to check out these inspiring pep talks, offering inspiration, ideas, and hope to those who may have run out.

  1. Mike Rowe celebrates dirty jobs

    Many students will immediately recognize Mike Rowe as the host of Dirty Jobs, a show in which Rowe embeds himself as a worker in the most disgusting, back-breaking conditions he can find. In the show, and in this talk, there's a lesson for Generation Jobless about the nature of hard work. As today's students look to careers in boardrooms that may or may not exist anymore, some smart students can get ahead and create a career in positions that may not be traditionally attractive, but nonetheless present a dependable, profitable niche that might actually be fun. Watch Rowe's talk to consider how dirty jobs can be an inspiration for someone who doesn't have a job at all.

  2. All Financial Matters: Generation Jobless

    JLP at All Financial Matters doesn't have a whole lot of advice for Generation Jobless, but what he has to say is meaningful. In this short and simple, but helpful post, JLP reminds young people caught up in the problems of Generation Jobless that although this situation may last a while, ultimately, it is temporary and students will be able to find a job. But while you're waiting for things to get better, you've got to have a plan for making things work in the short- or even long-term. He recommends sucking it up and finding a low-paying job, going back to school, or starting a business. No matter what, though, he recommends that Generation Jobless "accept anything but the feeling of helplessness."

  3. Generation Jobless: How and Why You Should Start a Blog if You're Unemployed

    When you're unemployed, it's easy to get bored and cut off from the world. After all, instead of heading out the door to spend time in an office each morning, you're more likely to plop down on your couch or log on to Facebook than get dressed and pound the pavement day after day. But the blog behyped recommends ditching your daily unemployed ritual for a new one that involves a blog. Blogs, behyped says, are a great way to open up new worlds to anyone who has been "temporarily cut off from society" whether it's from joblessness or disability. Sharing your interests and talents through a blog means that you're developing social proof, reputation, and a networking tool that might actually help you land a job. Beyond that is the possibility that your blog can become a money-making business. At the very least, a blog gives recent grads without a job a purpose, which without any other benefits is certainly enough, giving you the opportunity to say you're at least doing something.

  4. Generation Jobless: Five Years On

    The Wall Street Journal doesn't have any advice for Generation Jobless in this entry, but instead of advice, you'll find inspiration. This hopeful photo journal focuses not on the frustrations that Generation Jobless is dealing with today, but rather, what they hope to accomplish tomorrow. By looking at Generation Jobless five years out, The Wall Street Journal's photo journal shares inspiration, hope, and encouragement for pushing through and working toward a better future.

  5. Generation Jobless: How I Found My First Big Job

    It's easy to write off Generation Jobless as an entire mass of unemployed 20-somethings, and for so many, that's a true assessment, but the fact is that there are still many college graduates out there successfully snapping up jobs right out of school. In this article, The Wall Street Journal explores how and why some students are actually getting jobs, conveniently sharing their tips for success here. The big takeaway from this pep talk is that technology, math, science, and engineering seem to produce the most employed graduates. Others who have been successful in their job hunt share that aggressively pursuing and completing internships have been the key to their success, especially in fields that are typically difficult for finding jobs.

  6. Generation Jobless: Students Speed Through College to Save Money

    When college is expensive, and there's no guarantee of a job at the end of it all, students have to save money however they can. In fact, some have gotten quite smart, pushing through and working hard to complete their college degrees in three years instead of four or five. The thinking is that they are able to spend less on fees at school, and then get a jump start on their fellow classmates in the job market. This discussion from The Wall Street Journal takes an inspiring look at students who have used high school AP credits and old-fashioned hard work. One student in particular, Neha Gupta at UCLA, saved about $40,000, got a job, and went on the fast track to grad school. Her secret to success was taking summer school classes at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Although Gupta does admit wishing she'd "taken more of the random classes you get to take in college," money talks, and for her, those random classes just weren't worth the money and time she saved by getting ahead.

  7. Need a Career Pep Talk? Lessons from Teddy Roosevelt On Going "All In"

    Generation Jobless has it rough, without a doubt. Opportunities are scarce, and what is available is typically snapped up in an instant, often before you even knew it existed. But opportunities do still exist, and with the right attitude and hard work, it is possible to be the one who takes advantage of those opportunities. In this pep talk from Fast Company, you'll learn about dismissing ideas like, "Let's see what happens," or "I'll give it a shot," things that allow you to keep one toe still on the diving board. Instead of holding back, Fast Company says, you've got to go "all in," putting all of your energy into each opportunity so that you can give it everything you have, avoiding halfhearted approaches that may or may not lead to success. Citing Theodore Roosevelt, Fast Company reminds Generation Jobless, "It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

  8. Monday Morning Pep Talk: Create Your Own Opportunities

    Although going "all in" for an opportunity is a great idea if an opportunity exists, often, there just aren't any open doors for Generation Jobless. This talk from Launch While Working encourages anyone who needs an opportunity to simply create their own, giving readers a simple affirmation: "When one door closes, I push another open." Read this talk to find out how to capture opportunities that are placed in your path, and find ways to create them out of thin air. Through self-reflection questions shared here, you can consider how closed doors might become an opportunity, how you can use your strengths, and who you know that might be able to help you along the way.

Taken From Online College Courses

7 Reasons Silence is Important for Kids

Quiet time can be hard to come by in a house full of children, but it is important for your kids’ well being. Whether the time is spent relaxing and decompressing from an eventful day or focusing on homework, your children should have an uninterrupted block of time worked into their daily routine where they can find complete silence. Turning off televisions, cell phones and MP3 players should be strictly enforced, and here are some of the reasons why.

  1. Kids Get Stressed Out, Too – Though many adults idealize childhood and think of it as a carefree time, for many modern children, this simply isn’t true. The American Psychological Association conducted a survey indicating that children worry about their family’s financial situation and their grades, with older children showing marked stress over issues such as college acceptance and funding. This survey also showed that parents consistently underestimated the stress level of their children by 12-24 percentage points.
  2. Quiet Time Can Help Control Symptoms of ADD/ADHD – In order to properly concentrate on schoolwork, kids with ADD/ADHD need an uncluttered and quiet space to unwind and focus on the work at hand. Outside stimuli can greatly affect your child’s ability to keep their mind on one task; blocking out noise that can distract them and hinder productivity is a must.
  3. The Pursuit of Individual Interests – Quiet time is a chance for your child to explore self-contained activities and interests, boosting their independence. In the absence of video games and cartoons, your kids can focus their attention on reading, working on artistic projects or other relaxing hobbies. The ability to entertain themselves with limited outside stimuli will serve them well later in life.
  4. Improving Sleep Patterns – A child that spends their day being bombarded by over-stimulating noise and activity will often have trouble decompressing before bed without the aid of quiet time. This sleep disruption can affect everything from their mood to their physical health; setting aside a period of winding down before bed can help kids relax instead of jumping into bed with a racing mind.
  5. Preserving Parents’ Sanity- Your children are affected by your mood and stress level, and you are just as susceptible to the crankiness that comes from constant over-stimulation as they are. While your children are enjoying their quiet time, you’ll have the opportunity to decompress a bit as well; as a result, you’ll be better equipped to deal with the minor crises that crop up throughout the day. Keeping your cool in high-pressure situations will help them to do the same, so everyone wins.
  6. Quiet Time Can Be Family Time – Instituting a policy of “Quiet Time” in your household doesn’t have to mean that everyone retreats to separate rooms to isolate themselves. Spending your quiet time together can be just as relaxing, and it will help you maintain your connections to one another. Younger, excitable children may need the occasional reminder to be calm, but everyone can benefit from peaceful time spent together.
  7. Escaping The Demands of Siblings – Older children can be taxed by the rambunctious behavior of younger siblings, causing them to act out of anger when they’ve been pushed to their breaking point. A period of quiet time can give your older children a much-needed break from the little ones, helping them to treat them better and enjoy interacting with them more as a result.

Tailoring your Quiet Time to the needs of your family is essential to success; there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Working out a schedule and guidelines can be approached as a family, giving your children the chance to give their input as well. They’re more likely to respect a plan they helped to create.

Taken From eNanny Source

10 Ways Book Publishers Are Fighting Back

Against piracy! Against the digital encroach! Against illiteracy! Against each other! Publishing, that cheeky teaser of mind, body, and soul, enjoys the same level of excitement and drama as other fields, if not more. As with every industry out there, it plays host to a crazy ensemble cast of heroes, villains, threats, challenges, underdogs, and other archetypes. Then conflict happens — or at least publishers come across a conflict that needs addressing. What follows are just some of the few exciting adventures that go down in the publishing world.

  1. Partnering with news outlets

    E-book developers pose a threat to their more traditional predecessors, and their recent team-ups with periodicals and blogs make things even harder for them. In order to fight fire with napalm, some publishers have decided to fight the encroaching competition with a good old-fashioned team-up. For example, Politico and Random House are now working together on a series of e-books relevant to the 2012 presidential cycle. Both benefit from this deal when it comes to profits and producing quick content and may very well set the precedent for future collaborations between different media outlets.

  2. Launching self-publishing departments

    2011 saw a major publishing house launch its own services catering to the desires of promising authors seeking self-guided options. Penguin's Book Country initiative embraces all the very same tenets making self-publishing such an attractive option, charging between $99 and $549 for various printing and promotions services. Unlike many other similar offerings, the major publishing house provides far more resources and opportunities for aspiring writers — not to mention easy access to some great talents who might very well work in more traditional outlets. Some members in the Book Country bullpens have sold upwards of 1 million units, making them prime candidates for moving on up Penguin's talent ladder.

  3. Restricting e-book lending to libraries

    When publishers and Amazon put up their dukes over e-books and e-book lending, innocent libraries suffer more than anyone else. In an attempt to eke out an edge over their digital competition, Penguin ditched its lending services on the Kindle, pulling all but some very old titles, which will still only last until the end of the year. The American Library Association understandably finds this move distasteful, as it greatly lessens their opportunities to provide free e-books to the community. Many cite the publisher's decision as a slap in the face to Amazon over "'copyright security' concerns" that struck the ALA instead, when the real issue should've been over lending rights on the front end.

  4. Making readers pay for floundering ad sales

    Cash-strapped sponsors have been slowly pulling out of periodicals, leaving the publishers without the revenue needed to stay afloat. But soft! What solution through yonder conference room breaks? To make up for lost cash flow, consumers are the ones doling out the dollars for subscriptions, exclusive content, and other offerings. Some estimates believe advertising fell by around 35% over the past three years, which places quite a financial burden on readers, who themselves might not have the money to pay for the information they need.

  5. iPad-exclusive content

    Penguin and Amazon's not-so-little Kindle tiff isn't the only rumble happening over e-book readers and devices (such as the iPad) enabled to act like them. Apple's notoriously restrictive content policies mean some magazines don't reach the readership they want — a sad prospect when one considers the tablet an ideal technological makeover for the medium. Some enterprising publishers, however, have decided to hook up with the tech juggernaut and offer their most popular reads at a dollar less than the cover price. Hearst Magazines (Seventeen, O, Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and Marie Claire) and Conde Nast (The New Yorker, GQ, and Vanity Fair) stand as the most notable examples of businesses working with the system that so often works against its contemporaries.

  1. Keeping digital royalty rates the same, if not lowering them

    Piracy remains a concern across most media, but each must respond to it in its own beautiful and unique snowflake way. In order to address the problem on a digital front, many publishing companies such as Faber and Little, Brown delegate more and more money to combating it. But consistently mounting legal and technical costs mean the money has to come from somewhere — and digital royalties frequently end up the most likely candidate for redistribution. So the authors themselves end up the most fiscally screwed over in piracy situations, though many publishers feel as if they have no other choice.

  2. Promoting discourse

    Rather than raging against serious business within the publishing machine, Atticus Books turns its fighting spirits to something more societal in nature. Believing polite, intellectual discourse currently experiences a squelching, agonizing death at the hands of insult-hurling, condescension, and closed-mindedness, it debuted the Six Degrees Left initiative in 2011. The series brings together writers across multiple industries and mindsets in order to strip away controversies to the barest facts. Atticus Books prides itself on offering straightforward talks entirely devoid of the eye-rolling rhetoric of hate found on most political talking heads programs.

  3. Partnering with nonprofits

    As with the previous example, it's entirely possible for publishers to "fight back" far outside inherent industry issues and do things that DON'T make them appear silly and/or greedy. Establishing productive partnerships with charitable causes — particularly those promoting literacy, naturally — does nothing but help all participating organizations. A few, such as the relatively new PUBSLUSH Press, take some admirably creative routes towards combating social ills. Its innovative structure allows readers rather than editors to decide what books end up published, and every one printed means one donated to a charitable literary cause. Impoverished children the world over especially benefit from their work with nonprofits like Flying Kites Leadership Academy, a Kenyan school desiring a fabulous library.

  4. CrossCheck

    Bibliophiles make the best editors. With their vast knowledge of the written word, they're far better equipped to catch plagiarized submissions than most. But even the most ardent individuals adherent to all things literary can't read every book, pamphlet, and cereal box out there. As such, some ne'er-do-wells out there slip through the cracks and unjustly end up hogging shelf space. Whether they print journals, books, or other formats entirely, some publishing companies have started relying on services like CrossCheck to widen the traps. Run by the nonprofit CrossRef, it allows them to compare submissions with others in the database and check for plagiarism before acceptance. And it's been working. As Nature noted in its article on the subject, around 10% of Taylor & Francis' 216 checked submissions proved sketchy over the span of six months; findings they may not have otherwise noticed.

  5. Creative, engaging promotions

    Innovative tactics meant to tantalize readers toward exciting new reads weren't even new when they were new, but they do grant publishers an advantage when trying to fight the Amazons and the Apples and the other hoopla the kids are into these days. Smaller, independent printers like Melville House must compete not only with the digital "menaces," but the Big Six businesses to boot, which requires extra creativity. Their fight against humdrum advertising sees them providing copies to independent booksellers earmarked as free giveaways when customers utter given code words. On the social media front, they drop prices for every 10 tweets sporting a specific hashtag. Melville House used both these strategies when drumming up interest in Gianni Rodani's Lamberto, Lamberto, Lamberto, which earned it some Publishers Weekly love.

Taken From Accredited Online Courses

7 Signs Your Sick Child Needs a Doctor

Getting sick is part of being a child, but it can be scary for parents. Some illnesses can seem mild, and suddenly take a terrifying turn; some symptoms can seem very serious and turn out to be nothing. Knowing when to call the doctor or take that trip to the emergency room isn’t always easy; here are seven signs that you should seek medical attention for your sick child.

  1. Fever – A low-grade fever is a natural reaction to many illnesses, and isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. However, a high fever or one that persists for more than 48 hours is a definite sign that your child needs medical attention.
  2. Vomiting – Vomiting is unpleasant, but par for the course with children. However, there are times when it should be taken seriously. Dark green bilious vomit is a sign of intestinal obstruction, and should be treated immediately. Vomiting accompanied by a severe headache is also a sign you should call the pediatrician; vomiting with abdominal pain can be an indicator of appendicitis, which is quite serious.
  3. Coughing – Mild coughing in an otherwise-healthy child will normally go away on its own without intervention, but a cough that worsens after 3-5 days or isn’t improving within two weeks should be treated. Deep coughing accompanied by chest pain and wheezing or difficulty breathing should be considered urgent.
  4. Dehydration – Diarrhea and vomiting resulting from a stomach virus can quickly lead to dehydration. Dry mouth, sunken eyes and the inability to produce tears are all signs of dehydration; if your child has these symptoms and can’t keep fluids down, you should contact your pediatrician.
  5. Lethargy – In medical terms, a lethargic child is one that is difficult to wake up. An alert child who wakes normally when stimulated isn’t lethargic, even if their energy level is far below the normal threshold. Difficulty waking your child or severe disorientation is usually considered an emergency; call your pediatrician immediately.
  6. Rashes – Rashes are common in children, and aren’t typically cause for concern. However, if your child has a rash and is running a fever, you should contact your pediatrician. A rash that doesn’t blanch under pressure or is purple is also a sign that you should call the doctor.
  7. Weight Loss – Weight loss in children is almost never considered normal, and can be a sign of a chronic or serious illness. If your child has suffered a sudden weight loss, you should contact your pediatrician and describe any other symptoms they have in addition to losing weight.

In addition to these symptoms, you should also seek medical attention if your child is vomiting or coughing up blood, you suspect an allergic reaction or if symptoms of a chronic illness worsen. Above all, follow your instincts as a parent. You know what is and isn’t normal for your child; don’t be afraid to contact your pediatrician’s office because of symptoms that aren’t typically considered serious but are cause for concern to you.

Taken From Live in Nanny

10 Signs You Are Raising a Lazy Kid

Do you suspect your child of being lazy? Are there hints that maybe he or she suffers from what some doctors refer to as “output failure”? Clues like those cobwebs between your son’s head and his video console? Or your daughter tying the dog to the treadmill for its morning walk? Perhaps we can help. We’ve identified 10 sure signs that you are raising a lazy kid. If any of these red flag indicators describes your child, it may be time for a motivational intervention.

  1. Glacial Speed – Convinced that they’ve seen more signs of life on Mars than you have from your son, you petition NASA to point Landsat 7 away from Antarctica and toward your house, in order to detect his movements.
  2. Illegal Substitution – His gym teacher informs you that, during a track meet, your son attempted to send in a pinch runner for his leg of a relay race. After being advised that this was against athletic commission rules, he promptly hailed a cab.
  3. Fuzzy Math – While teaching your toddler to count to ten, you discover that the sequence she keeps repeating is the phone number for pizza delivery. On the bright side, you’re relieved to now know why she calls Dad “Papa John”.
  4. Help Wanted – After mistakenly believing that you’ve caught a neighborhood kid rummaging through your trash, you learn that your son was in fact sub-contracting out his chores to schoolmates.
  5. Still Life – While on a class field trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, the curator mistook your daughter for a painting. If that weren’t bad enough, her first job out of high school was as a mannequin at Macy’s.
  6. Cereal Offender – Whenever your boy sits down to breakfast, you could swear you hear the Rice Krispies go, “Snap, Crackle, and Plop”.
  7. Save the Guppies – Your daughter’s fish have written the message “Wash Me” in the algae on the aquarium glass.
  8. Labor Shortage – It takes more labor from you to get her out of the house these days than it took to get her out of you on the day she was born.
  9. Home Room Service – Her principal calls to tell you that your daughter is passing around a petition for the school cafeteria to provide room service. And, of course, by passing it around we mean via email.
  10. Toys For Lazy Tots – On her third birthday, she asked for a Tickle Yourself, I’m Tired, Elmo Doll.
Taken From Nanny Jobs

The 20 Best Books of 2011 You Should Read Over Winter Break

Bibliophiles, along with pretty much everyone else (except for maybe super harried parents), rejoice once school lets out for the winter holidays. No longer crunched beneath the stress of finals, projects, professors, extracurriculars, and other hallmarks of college-dom, they may now decompress with the simple, satisfying companionship of a hot drink and even hotter new read. Textbooks give way to something far more voluntary, and the break provides an excellent opportunity to catch up on everything assigned reading precluded. This year saw the publication (or English-language publication) of some truly fantastic fiction and nonfiction works, a few of which may very well enter the realm of the classics in due time. One could certainly do worse when picking out something to snuggle with next to the fire…


  1. Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

    Lovers of the magic realism style might want to spend their winters in Florida's sweltering Everglades, following the noble journey of a teen girl hoping to pull her beloved family from ruin. Their gator park livelihood stands threatened when the matriarch, as its main draw, winds up severely sick and sets off a chain reaction of total uncoolness.

  2. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

    The lives of three Brown seniors congeal into a strange love triangle that follows them through a year past graduation and pays homage to the romantic narratives of George Eliot and Jane Austen. While everything twists and turns and intertwines, the gorgeous story also plays as a lit crit tug-of-war between the postmodern and the more traditional tales from the nineteenth century.

  3. Pym by Mat Johnson

    University of Houston professor Mat Johnson possesses contemporary American literature's keenest pen for racial satire, as evidenced in his provocative, positively searing parody Pym. Tired of treatment as a token, an English professor indulges his lust for Edgar Allen Poe's only novel and sets forth to find an Antarctic utopia where he and his crew might very well find their niche…or not.

  4. The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

    Although unfinished, the late David Foster Wallace's 2011 release still earned it a right fair amount of attention and accolades, so fans of His Royal Footnote Enthusiast should certainly give it a read if they haven't already. Challenging and dense, The Pale King opens up crushing and humorous insight into human emotional suffering through an absurdist corporate espionage tale.

  5. Divergent by Veronica Roth

    In a dystopian future Chicago, all 16-year-olds are required to pledge their lives to specific virtues; protagonist Beatrice Prior (or "Tris") allies herself with Courage despite hailing from a family devoted to Selflessness. Young adult literature fanatics will love following the heroine as she learns that building up her stores of bravery requires more than just surviving a bit of the old ultra-violence.

  6. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

    Another haunting masterpiece by quintessential postmodernist author Haruki Murakami, this time exploring one woman's experiences trapped between two different realities in 1984. She eventually crash-lands in with a ghostwriter on a particularly strange assignment, and the pair unite to meander the brave new divergent reality world in search of something that makes sense.

  7. The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht

    Folklore and family collide when a doctor in the war-ravaged Balkans decides to investigate the myriad questions surrounding her grandfather's passing, believing answers may lie in the stories he used to tell and the books he used to read. Her research, however, unearths more tales he never spoke of – tales which might very well unlock some of the mysteries she's encountered along the way.

  8. Blueprints for Building Better Girls by Elissa Schappell

    Over the course of eight vignettes, a diverse selection of new twists on familiar female stock characters ruminate on the qualities that make them them and bridges between daughterhood and motherhood. Each narrative connects with the others around it, and they unfold over decades in order to illustrate how things have changed for women over time.

  9. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta

    Rapture fervor engulfed some demographics in 2011, and things only get crazier as 2012 conspiracy theorists edge closer to humanity's alleged date with doom; Tom Perrotta's The Leftovers, suffice to say, hit shelves at a very appropriate time. His lauded novel covers what happens to those remaining after something quite unexpected causes millions of people to just up and disappear one day.

  10. The Call by Yannick Murphy

    A hunting accident leaves a veterinarian's son in a coma, sending his formerly idyllic existence into a tense frenzy of finding out who's to blame for the tragic accident. Humor, strength, and a task delegated to him by an odd stranger guide Dr. David Appleton and his wife through their trying new situation.


  1. Bossypants by Tina Fey

    Whomever touts that women just can't write comedy – as well as those who know and love the fact that they can – should add Tina Fey's essays to their winter read pile. Here, she wrings humor out of pretty much everything imaginable, sprinkling it with liberal dashes of insight into the realities of nerd-dom, womanhood, and nerdy womanhood.

  2. Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

    Foodie bibliophiles eager to add something to their shelves alongside Anthony Bourdain and Fergus Henderson now have another critically-acclaimed culinary delight to explore. Popular Prune owner Gabrielle Hamilton covers her transition from lover of all things gustatory to a celebrated restaurateur, which involves some fascinating people, places and events that eventually molded her career.

  3. Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff

    Three survivors of a horrific plane crash during World War II must maneuver the potentially lethal New Guinea jungles, home to violent indigenous peoples and the Japanese military along with the usual milieu of toxic flora and predatory fauna. It's a strange-but-true adventure story about testing the very limits of everything the human body, mind, and spirit can endure.

  4. The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem

    Celebrated largely as a novelist, Jonathan Lethem allows audiences to witness the true extent of his literary knowledge in this lovely essay collection celebrating everything he finds inspiring. One can easily enjoy his musings on pop culture, family, Brooklyn, drugs, and other eclectic topics without previously picking Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude, As She Climbed Across the Table and other novels, though doing so certainly helps broaden understanding of his mindset and creative process.

  5. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson

    In 1933, William E. Dodd ended up serving as the U.S.' ambassador to Germany, which just so happened to coincide with the mounting persecution of Jews under the Third Reich. Despite all attempts to alert the State Department about their atrocities, his pleas for intervention end up largely ignored; add in the fact that his daughter harbored quite the Nazi fetish and one ends up with a glimpse into a complex, engaging historical moment.

  6. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

    Half journalistic research, half memoir, Moonwalking with Einstein stands as a super cool analysis of the human memory – specifically, why some people possess particularly adroit ones and what strategies they use to keep their skills in tippy-top shape. Author Joshua Foer ended up competing in the U.S. Memory Championship a year after embarking on his quest, utilizing many of the age-old techniques he picked up on along the way.

  7. Townie by Andre Dubus III

    Following his parents' divorce, the son of a recognized author ends up coming of age amongst grotesque violence, believing that physical prowess remains the only conduit for survival. What little time Andre Dubus III could muster with his father opened him up to the therapeutic benefits of writing, providing a far safer, peaceful outlet for frustration – not to mention an eventual escape from the cycle of horrors.

  8. 1493 by Charles C. Mann

    One year after Cristoforo Colombo started conquering the indigenous peoples of the Americas, massive biological changes began occurring around settler and native alike, forever altering the continents' ecosystems. Both botanical and zoological species hitched rides on Atlantic-spanning ships (oftentimes to the crew's complete ignorance) and only spread from there, resulting in what some believe to be one of the most significant life scientific moments in history.

  9. The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth by Alexandra Robbins

    Geek culture reigns as one of the more mainstream, influential lifestyles out there these days, up from the former fringes to which it was once pushed. High school, however, continues trying to suppress those who do not conform to some arbitrary (often media-induced) standards – but after graduation, the supposed "undesirables" frequently end up better off than their bullying peers.

  10. Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein

    Pretty, pretty pink princesses aren't inherently problematic, but an oversaturation of pastel royalty does lead to some interesting – and potentially damaging – sociological phenomena. Specifically, the creation of arbitrary gender norms, which lead to the ostracizing of those who do not sit inside a narrow definition of acceptability; not to mention the infantilizing of young girls who grow up into severely entitled adults.

Taken From Bachelors Degree Online