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This is the first of a series of comments on David Brooks’ book.

David Brooks nails it with his new book,The Social Animal.  After looking at all the great research going on these days into human behavior, one of his core conclusions is that the emotional connections we make throughout life determine who we are, and who we can become.

Brooks cites several research studies about the importance of student-teacher connection when it comes to student achievement. One comment from a great interview on San Francisco’s KQED radio show, “Forum” with Michael Krasny: “I came across one researcher who said that if you want to know who is going to drop out of school, go into… when you go into a school and ask the kid, ‘Who’s your favorite teacher?,’ and if they give you an answer to that question, that kid will not drop out.  If they look at you as if that question is absurd then those kids are at risk.”

That human connection is even more important than grades and SAT scores.  It’s about self-determination, which is so critical to happiness and productivity.

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In an industry that is full of drama queens and one shot wonders, people have responded to Shelly Lazarus. She’s got the accolades and longevity to prove it. Now, the Chairman of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, she has been a leader at the storied advertising agency for decades; starting as an account executive when most women were still relegated to the secretarial pool, and advancing through the ranks in a series of promotions that landed her the top spot: Chief Executive Officer.

Keep reading to view a video of Shelly talking about her passion for her work.
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Poosie Orr on Parenting (Traits #1 & #2)

Donald Van de Mark        March 22, 2011
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“You want them to have fun! You want them to be able to do what they want to do.”

This is a quote from Poosie Orr, whom I talk about at length in my book, The Good Among the Great. Poosie is a mother to four children and a grandmother to six, all of whom are terrific, independent-minded (Autonomous) people. You could say she’s an expert in raising great kids.

However, Poosie’s parenting style is in many ways the opposite of what we so often see today. She didn’t micromanage her children or worry incessantly over their safety. In fact, when asked how she feels about today’s hovering “helicopter parents,” she responds, “Oh, it makes me cry! Oh, and then they go visit them all the time at college!” Later she goes on to say, about a friend who visits her daughter four times a year at school, “Oh, how awful–for the daughter!”

Here she is, sharing her feelings about modern parenting:

Poosie may be on to a trend.

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This Wednesday, March 16 I will be reading from and talking about Chapter 10 of my book, The Good Among the Great, at Books, Inc. in San Francisco. Joining me will be the beautiful and talented dancer Muriel Maffre, whom I profile in my book. We’ll be talking about Trait #10: Performance and Process-Oriented. Below is a video of Maffre performing the Dying Swan from Swan Lake (Natalie Portman, beware!):

Talk/Signing Details:
Books, Inc.
601 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, C.A.
7-8PM

If you make it, please say hello.

Cheers from Sonoma,

Donald Van de Mark

I want your feedback!  Which of the 19 traits are you studying, and how are you incorporating them into your daily life?  Connect with me on:
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To raise awareness of my book, The Good Among the Great (April 2011), I’m doing a Goodreads Book Giveaway. If you’re a site member, or even if you aren’t yet, you can register for the Giveaway by clicking the button below.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Good Among the Great: 19 Traits of the Most Admirable, Creat... by Donald Van de Mark

The Good Among the Great

by Donald Van de Mark

Giveaway ends March 30, 2011.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

If you win, let me know and do share your comments with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts about the 19 Traits.

Cheers from Sonoma,
Donald Van de Mark