Audio

Shulem Deen

Shulem Deen was a Skverer— a member of one of the most insular Hasidic sects in the U.S.  Then he got curious about secular life and the world outside his small village in Rockland County, NY.  The community branded him a heretic and expelled him.

A discarded pen of a poet.

Renunciation can be a creative force. American scholar Ross Posnock tells stories of writers, philosophers and artists who've committed "acts of abandonment," leaving careers and creative lives behind. They weren't failures, Posnock says — they were necessary departures that led to creative and intellectual breakthroughs.

Cabin in the woods

Howard Axelrod was accidentally blinded in one eye in a freak accident when he was in college. Disoriented and depressed, he retreated to an off-the-grid cabin in the Vermont wilderness. 

One last drink

Could you give up alcohol for a whole month? No cocktails with friends, wine with dinner, or beer after a game. Ten years ago, John Ore and his wife started a new tradition and named it "Dry- nuary ." Today, people all over the world observe it. John says even after a decade, it's still a challenge — but worth it.

Where do you turn to for inspiration on how to live a meaningful life? Religion? Family? Great books? Poet David Whyte finds inspiration in everyday words. In his book Consolations, Whyte examines the deeper, often surpising meanings of 52 ordinary words.

Historian Darrin McMahon traces ideas around happiness from classical antiquity to the modern age. He says the Founding Fathers equated happiness with virtue instead of pleasure.

Psychiatrist Michael Bennett and his daughter, comedy writer Sarah Bennett, say it's time we stopped thinking about our feelings and instead focused on our actions.

Rock climber Alex Honnold burst onto the scene a few years ago with some breathtaking solo climbs in Zion and Yosemite, and he’s pushed the limits for what climbers thought possible.

Setting goals

Chrisoula Andreou offers some strategies that can help us stop putting things off.

Pages

Subscribe to Audio