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A former Googler who is now CEO of her own startup asks every employee to cold email their idol – here’s why

Liz Wessel’s story

Liz Wessel says she’s always been the type of person who has no shame in reaching out to someone, whether or not she knows them.

Wessel is the CEO and cofounder of WayUp , a site used by hundreds of thousands of college students tofind jobs at places like Microsoft, Uber, The New York Times, Disney, and Google – where Wessel previously worked.

Part of the reason she started WayUp with cofounder JJ Fliegelman was to combat nepotism, she explains, “so it should make sense that I don’t really care about whether I have connections to a person.”

“In college, my best cold email was to Roelof Botha, one of the top venture capitalists in the world,” she recalls. “He was a role model of mine, and I emailed him asking what he thought that I should do after I graduate in order to best position myself to one day start my own company: take a job offer at Google, or take a job offer at a venture capital fund. He told me the former, and the rest was history,” she explains.”It’s because of that first cold email that I have since always encouraged friends and colleagues to cold email people.”

Wessel says she and Fliegelman started their company when they were just 24 and 25 years old. “We had a combined four years of full-time work experience, so there were often times that employees would ask us questions that we couldn’t answer, or would ask us for advice that we didn’t want to get wrong,” she says. “So, we started encouraging the team to cold email people who would better know the answer. One of our company values is ‘Be a master at your craft, but know you’re not the master.’ So, I always encourage my team to cold email the actual ‘ masters’ in their respective fields.”

During a trip to California in early 2015, Wessel says she challenged her entire team to take advantage of the fact that they were surrounded by some of the greatest minds in tech. “I told everyone to cold email one expert in Silicon Valley who they normally wouldn’t have the guts to email, and who they wouldn’t be able to meet in New York City, where we’re based.”

Wessel led by example. She emailed her biggest role model with a very personalized message, asking for 15 minutes of her time. “The email was sent at 2 a.m. on a Monday , and at 8 a.m. I got a response: She invited me to come to dinner at her house the next night,” says Wessel. “This is a woman who probably gets more cold emails than 99% of the executives in the world, yet here she was, responding to me.”

The rest of the team followed suit. And it worked.

Nikki Schlecker, the leader of WayUp’s Brand team, for example, cold emailed Guy Kawasaki. The famous marketing exec, who was one of Apple’s early employees, not only agreed to grab coffee with Schlecker , but also live streamed the entire meeting.

I ‘dare’ my employees to do this because, in the past year and a half, I have learned more than I ever thought possible, and I want to make sure my employees are learning just as much,” explains Wessel. “As corny as it may sound, if you’re not learning, you’re not growing.”

Another reason she does this: She strongly believes everyone should have at least one mentor – and cold emailing someone you admire is a great way to develop that type of relationship with them.

“Having a good mentor can keep you humble and motivated,” she says. “Furthermore, it will help you learn more than reading a textbook or watching a how-to video. Nothing matters more to me than learning from great people, and when you’re having a conversation with someone whose opinion you trust and value, and whose work you admire, it can help outline what success means to you, and the goals that you are working towards.”

Wondering how to go about cold emailing your idol? Wessel shared a few tips:

  • Make the message personal. Do you have anything in common? Say what it is.
  • Keep the email short and sweet. If the person is busy, they won’t want to (or have time to) read an essay.
  • Say what you want to get out of the meeting, and let it be something small. “I’d like to pick your brain,” or “I’d love to get your advice on something” are appropriate asks. Never, ever ask for a job in this first email!
  • Have an eye-catching subject line.
  • Make yourself sound interesting enough so that the person wants to meet with you.
  • Thank them for their time and consideration.

“If you have someone in your field who inspires you to learn and understand how they got to where they are today, it helps you create that mountain top of your own,” Wessel concludes.

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Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

We all have things that we want to achieve in our lives — getting into the better shape, building a successful business, raising a wonderful family, writing a best-selling book, winning a championship, and so on.

And for most of us, the path to those things starts by setting a specific and actionable goal. At least, this is how I approached my life until recently. I would set goals for classes I took, for weights that I wanted to lift in the gym, and for clients I wanted in my business.

What I’m starting to realize, however, is that when it comes to actually getting things done and making progress in the areas that are important to you, there is a much better way to do things.

It all comes down to the difference between goals and systems.

Let me explain.

 

The Difference Between Goals and Systems

What’s the difference between goals and systems?

  • If you’re a coach, your goal is to win a championship. Your system is what your team does at practice each day.
  • If you’re a writer, your goal is to write a book. Your system is the writing schedule that you follow each week.
  • If you’re a runner, your goal is to run a marathon. Your system is your training schedule for the month.
  • If you’re an entrepreneur, your goal is to build a million dollar business. Your system is your sales and marketing process.

Now for the really interesting question:

If you completely ignored your goals and focused only on your system, would you still get results?

For example, if you were a basketball coach and you ignored your goal to win a championship and focused only on what your team does at practice each day, would you still get results?

I think you would.

As an example, I just added up the total word count for the articles I’ve written this year. In the last 12 months, I’ve written over 115,000 words. The typical book is about 50,000 to 60,000 words, so I have written enough to fill two books this year.

All of this is such a surprise because I never set a goal for my writing. I didn’t measure my progress in relation to some benchmark. I never set a word count goal for any particular article. I never said, “I want to write two books this year.”

What I did focus on was writing one article every Monday and Wednesday. And after sticking to that schedule for 11 months, the result was 115,000 words. I focused on my system and the process of doing the work. In the end, I enjoyed the same (or perhaps better) results.

Before we talk about how to get started, I wanted to let you know I researched and compiled science-backed ways to stick to good habits and stop procrastinating. Want to check out my insights? Download my free PDF guide “Transform Your Habits” here.

Let’s talk about three more reasons why you should focus on systems instead of goals.

1. Goals reduce your current happiness.

When you’re working toward a goal, you are essentially saying, “I’m not good enough yet, but I will be when I reach my goal.”

The problem with this mindset is that you’re teaching yourself to always put happiness and success off until the next milestone is achieved. “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy. Once I achieve my goal, then I’ll be successful.”

SOLUTION: Commit to a process, not a goal.

Choosing a goal puts a huge burden on your shoulders. Can you imagine if I had made it my goal to write two books this year? Just writing that sentence stresses me out.

But we do this to ourselves all the time. We place unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to succeed in business or to write a best-selling novel. Instead, you can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals.

When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time.

2. Goals are strangely at odds with long-term progress.

You might think your goal will keep you motivated over the long-term, but that’s not always true.

Consider someone training for a half-marathon. Many people will work hard for months, but as soon as they finish the race, they stop training. Their goal was to finish the half-marathon and now that they have completed it, that goal is no longer there to motivate them. When all of your hard work is focused on a particular goal, what is left to push you forward after you achieve it?

This can create a type of “yo-yo effect” where people go back and forth from working on a goal to not working on one. This type of cycle makes it difficult to build upon your progress for the long-term.

 

3. Goals suggest that you can control things that you have no control over.

You can’t predict the future. (I know, shocking.)

But every time we set a goal, we try to do it. We try to plan out where we will be and when we will make it there. We try to predict how quickly we can make progress, even though we have no idea what circumstances or situations will arise along the way.

 

Fall In Love With Systems

None of this is to say that goals are useless. However, I’ve found that goals are good for planning your progress and systems are good for actually makingprogress.

Goals can provide direction and even push you forward in the short-term, but eventually a well-designed system will always win. Having a system is what matters. Committing to the process is what makes the difference.

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How Exercise Shapes You, Far Beyond the Gym

When I first started training for marathons a little over ten years ago, my coach told me something I’ve never forgotten: that I would need to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I didn’t know it at the time, but that skill, cultivated through running, would help me as much, if not more, off the road as it would on it.

It’s not just me, and it’s not just running. Ask anyone whose day regularly includes a hard bike ride, sprints in the pool, a complex problem on the climbing wall, or a progressive powerlifting circuit, and they’ll likely tell you the same: A difficult conversation just doesn’t seem so difficult anymore. A tight deadline not so intimidating. Relationship problems not so problematic.

Maybe it’s that if you’re regularly working out, you’re simply too tired to care. But that’s probably not the case. Research shows that, if anything, physical activity boosts short-term brain function and heightens awareness. And even on days they don’t train — which rules out fatigue as a factor — those who habitually push their bodies tend to confront daily stressors with a stoic demeanor. While the traditional benefits of vigorous exercise — like prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and osteoporosis — are well known and often reported, the most powerful benefit might be the lesson that my coach imparted to me: In a world where comfort is king, arduous physical activity provides a rare opportunity to practice suffering.

Few hone this skill better than professional endurance and adventure athletes, who make a living withstanding conditions others cannot. For my column with Outside MagazineI’ve had the privilege of interviewing the world’s top endurance and adventure athletes on the practices underlying their success. Regardless of sport, the most resounding theme, by far, is that they’ve all learned how to embrace uncomfortable situations:

• Olympic marathoner Des Linden told me that at mile 20 of 26.2, when the inevitable suffering kicks in, through years of practice she’s learned to stay relaxed and in the moment. She repeats the mantra: “calm, calm, calm; relax, relax, relax.”

• World-champion big-wave surfer Nic Lamb says being uncomfortable, and even afraid, is a prerequisite to riding four-story waves. But he also knows it’s “the path to personal development.” He’s learned that while you can pull back, you can almost always push through. “Pushing through is courage. Pulling back is regret,” he says.

• Free-soloist Alex Honnold explains that, “The only way to deal with [pain] is practice. [I] get used to it during training so that when it happens on big climbs, it feels normal.”

• Evelyn Stevens, the women’s record holder for most miles cycled in an hour (29.81 – yes, that’s nuts), says that during her hardest training intervals, “instead of thinking I want these to be over, I try to feel and sit with the pain. Heck, I even try to embrace it.”

• Big-mountain climber Jimmy Chin, the first American to climb up — and then ski down — Mt. Everest’s South Pillar Route, told me an element of fear is there in everything he does, but he’s learned how to manage it: “It’s about sorting out perceived risk from real risk, and then being as rational as possible with what’s left.”

But you don’t need to scale massive vertical pitches or run five-minute miles to reap the benefits. Simply training for your first half marathon or CrossFit competition can also yield huge dividends that carry over into other areas of life. In the words of Kelly Starrett, one of the founding fathers of the CrossFit movement, “Anyone can benefit from cultivating a physical practice.” Science backs him up.

A study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology found that college students who went from not exercising at all to even a modest program (just two to three gym visits per week) reported a decrease in stress, smoking, alcohol and caffeine consumption, an increase in healthy eating and maintenance of household chores, and better spending and study habits. In addition to these real-life improvements, after two months of regular exercise, the students also performed better on laboratory tests of self-control. This led the researchers to speculate that exercise had a powerful impact on the students’ “capacity for self-regulation.” In laypeople’s terms, pushing through the discomfort associated with exercise — saying “yes” when their bodies and minds were telling them to say “no” — taught the students to stay cool, calm, and collected in the face of difficulty, whether that meant better managing stress, drinking less, or studying more.

For this reason, the author Charles Duhigg, in his 2012 bestseller The Power of Habit, calls exercise a “keystone habit,” or a change in one area life that brings about positive effects in other areas. Duhigg says keystone habits are powerful because “they change our sense of self and our sense of what is possible.” This explains why the charity Back on My Feet uses running to help individuals who are experiencing homelessness improve their situations. Since launching in 2009, Back on My Feet has had over 5,500 runners, 40 percent of whom have gained employment after starting to run with the group and 25 percent of whom have found permanent housing. This is also likely why it’s so common to hear about people who started training for a marathon to help them get over a divorce or even the death of a loved one.

Another study, this one published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, evaluated how exercise changes our physiological response to stress. Researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, in Germany, divided students into two groups at the beginning of the semester and instructed half to run twice a week for 20 weeks. At the end of the 20 weeks, which coincided with a particularly stressful time for the students — exams — the researchers had the students wear heart-rate monitors to measure their heart-rate variability, which is a common indicator of physiological stress (the more variability, the less stress). As you might guess by now, the students who were enrolled in the running program showed significantly greater heart-rate variability. Their bodies literally were not as stressed during exams: They were more comfortable during a generally uncomfortable time.

What’s remarkable and encouraging about these studies is that the subjects weren’t exercising at heroic intensities or volumes. They were simply doing something that was physically challenging for them – going from no exercise to some exercise; one need not be an elite athlete or fitness nerd to reap the bulletproofing benefits of exercise.

Why does any of this matter? For one, articles that claim prioritizing big fitness goals is a waste of time (exhibit A: “Don’t Run a Marathon”are downright wrong. But far more important than internet banter, perhaps a broader reframing of exercise is in order. Exercise isn’t just about helping out your health down the road, and it’s certainly not just about vanity. What you do in the gym (or on the roads, in the ocean, etc.) makes you a better, higher-performing person outside of it. The truth, cliché as it may sound, is this: When you develop physical fitness, you’re developing life fitness, too.

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Parents Shouldn’t Spy on Their Kids

Mandie Snyder’s story

For the past two years, Mandie Snyder, an accountant near Spokane, Washington, has been “monitoring” her daughter. With a handy tech tool known as mSpy, Snyder is able to review her 13-year-old’s text messages, photos, videos, app downloads, and browser history.

She makes no apologies for it. Last summer, she says, she was able to intervene when she discovered her daughter was texting her boyfriend to plan a sexual rendezvous. “I know my daughter isn’t as naïve as I was at her age, with the plethora of ways to socially interact in today’s world,” Snyder says. “As a parent of a teen, this age of technology scares me. But while technology might present terrifying new ways for kids to get into trouble, it also provides new ways for parents to watch their every move.

MOM AND DAD ARE WATCHING: Some child psychologists say that eavesdropping on kids’ social-media sites with apps like mSpy

 

With tracking technologies such as mSpy, Teen Safe, Family Tracker, and others, parents can monitor calls, texts, chats, and social media posts. They can view maps of every location a child (and his phone) has traveled. An app called Mama Bear even sends parents speeding alerts if their kid is traveling too fast in a car. But there’s a fine line between protection and obsession. The new digital spy tools present parents with a quandary. Adolescence is a critical time in kids’ lives, when they need privacy and a sense of individual space to develop their own identities. It can be almost unbearable for parents to watch their children pull away. But as tempting as it may be for parents to infiltrate the dark corners of their children’s personal lives, there’s good evidence that snooping does more harm than good. Taking the long view, the goal of parenting is to create a healthy, self-sufficient adult. The process of developing healthy autonomy starts as soon as kids can crawl away from you, says Nancy Darling, a developmental psychologist at Oberlin College. “What’s hard about parenting is balancing the kid’s desire for autonomy with safety concerns,” she says. Privacy is a key piece of developing that self-sufficiency. “The ability to experience privacy is probably a basic human need that transcends culture,” says Skyler Hawk, a social psychologist who studies adolescent development at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. During adolescence, kids’ brains, bodies, and social lives are changing rapidly. As they experiment with their identities and self-expression, they need space to figure it all out, Hawk says.

Privacy isn’t just important for adolescents, says Sandra Petronio, a professor of communication studies and director of the Communication Privacy Management Center at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. It’s their duty. “An adolescent’s main job is to individuate, to move away from being controlled by the parent. One very clear way they do that is in their demand for private space,” she says.

There’s considerable evidence that intruding on kids’ privacy damages the parent-child relationship, says Petronio. “When parents snoop, they show mistrust,” she says. “That overarching need for control really damages the relationship.”

And covert spying, Hawk adds, isn’t likely to stay covert for long. Most kids are more tech savvy than their parents. Odds are good they’ll discover those tracking apps and figure out how to hack the system—leaving their location-tracking phone in their locker when they ditch class, or setting up a second (secret) Instagram account.

Unsurprisingly, when kids don’t feel they can trust their parents, they become even more secretive. Hawk saw this effect in a sample of junior-high students in the Netherlands, where feelings about individualism and autonomy are similar to those in the United States. The researchers asked the kids about whether their parents respected their privacy. A year later, the children of snoops reported more secretive behaviors, and their parents reported knowing less about the child’s activities, friends, and whereabouts, compared to other parents.

“We can trace a path over time from feelings of privacy invasion to higher levels of secrecy to parents’ reduced perceptions of knowledge about their children,” Hawk says. “If parents are engaging in highly intrusive behaviors, it is ultimately going to backfire on them.”

The parent-child relationship isn’t the only thing that suffers when a child doesn’t have enough personal space. When kids feel their privacy has been invaded, it can lead to the types of mental health problems that experts call “internalizing” behaviors—things like anxiety, depression, and withdrawal. “There’s a lot of research indicating that kids who grow up with overly intrusive parents are more susceptible to those mental health problems, partly because they undermine the child’s confidence in their abilities to function independently,” says Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University and author of Age of Opportunity: Lessons From the New Science of Adolescence.

When parents don’t give children privacy to make their own decisions, kids don’t have a chance to learn from those decisions. While parents have an obligation to guide their children and protect them from harm, adolescence is still a time for testing limits, says Judith Smetana, a professor of psychology who studies adolescent-parent relationships at the University of Rochester.

Take alcohol use. Kids who experiment with drinking in adolescence but don’t become heavy drinkers tend to be psychologically healthier than those who never experiment, Smetana says. “I don’t want to condone kids getting into drinking, but we know this is a time of experimentation,” she says. “It’s the nature of adolescence.”

But even when parents know the importance of privacy, it can be hard to figure out where to draw the line. That boundary will look different for every family, even within a single socioeconomic strata or a single neighborhood, says Dalton Conley, a sociologist at Princeton University and author of the 2014 book, Parentology. Conley says he was shocked when he learned a professional colleague spied on her teens with a nanny cam while she was away at a conference. At the same time, he has no qualms checking his own kids’ debit card statements to find out where they’ve been and what they’ve been purchasing. “The technology of parental monitoring has evolved so rapidly, there aren’t clear norms of what’s acceptable,” he says.

Darling, too, has been tempted to dip a toe over the line between independence and privacy. As much as she advocates for giving kids space to develop healthy autonomy, she’s also a parent who worries. She asked her younger son to turn on his Find My iPhone feature so she can track him down if she’s unable to reach him. And when her older son, home from college, didn’t come home one night, “I nosed into his cell phone records so I could call his girlfriend,” she admits. “He was pissed about it, but it was 3 a.m. and I was worried.”

According to Darling, kids are more likely to feel their privacy has been invaded when parents intrude on personal issues, like eavesdropping on a conversation or secretly reading their texts. But most kids realize that parents have legitimate authority over safety issues, such as making rules about drug use and knowing where kids are going after school. “Parents are supposed to know where their children are,” she says.

Yet even safety issues aren’t clear-cut. In most communities, it’s a safe time to be a kid. According to FBI figures, the violent crime rate dropped 48 percent between 1993 and 2011. Child mortality rates are down. Reports of missing children are at record lows.

Nevertheless, some experts say the cultural pressures to keep close tabs on children has never been greater—evidenced by the now-frequent accounts of parents being arrested for letting their children walk alone to school or play unsupervised at the park.

Many experts attribute this shift to the modern media, which regularly delivers terrifying click-bait headlines of abduction and danger. “The media has increased the fear and that fear has turned into restrictions on children, teens, and even young adults,” says Petronio. “It has the potential to undermine the development of the array of skills [young people] need to become independent adults.”

Certainly, some kids live in dangerous neighborhoods. And those kids seem to do better with stricter parental monitoring. A study by researchers at the University of Virginia, for instance, found that for kids in middle-class neighborhoods classified as “low risk,” those whose mothers undermined their autonomy had worse parental relationships and worse social functioning with their peers. But kids in lower-income, higher-risk families reported better relationships with their moms, and exhibited less problem behavior, when their mothers were more authoritarian.

But in many communities, a parent’s desire to spy might have less to do with keeping kids safe, and more to do with a burning desire to lower his or her own anxiety. “The bottom line is that if you’re trying to satisfy your need to know, because you have a low tolerance for ambiguity, you don’t give your child a place to learn how to make better decisions,” Petronio says.

Hawk’s research shows that parents who snoop tend to have less confidence in their parenting abilities, more anxiety about their relationship with their child, and more worries—often unfounded—about their child’s behavior. “Based on my research, I think snooping might say as much about the parent’s adjustment as it does about the child’s—maybe even more so,” he says.

When it comes to establishing healthy boundaries, psychologists say, good communication trumps snooping, and kids who choose to share more with their parents tend to be better adjusted. “Ultimately, the best way to know what is going on with your child is for them to tell you what is going on,” Hawk says.

Some parents say monitoring improves communication with their kids. Snyder says using a tracking app on her daughter’s phone has acted as a launch pad to discuss issues like sex, drugs, suicide, and friends. “Because I read the conversations she has with friends, we can have impromptu conversations about what’s going on in her life,” Snyder says. “I don’t believe we would have such an open and respectful relationship without mSpy’s assistance.”

Still, it’s probably safe to say that most parents who download spy apps aren’t doing it to have quality conversations with their kids. Clearly, privacy and personal space are important for helping kids become healthy adults. Now that it’s easier than ever to invade that privacy, parents have some hard questions to ask themselves each time they’re tempted to cross that line.

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Boy Found With Throat Slit In School Toilet In Gurgaon

GURGAON: A Class 2 student was found murdered in the toilet of the Ryan International School in Gurgaon this morning, shortly after his father dropped him off. Seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur’s throat was slit and a knife was found next to his body. As news of the unspeakable tragedy spread, hundreds of anxious parents who had come to pick up their children barged into the school building, flung furniture around, broke windows and shattered glass award cases. They chanted slogans were finally cleared out the building by policemen.

A school official found the body when he visited the toilet around 8.45 am. The child had been dropped off not long before by his father Varun Thakur, a quality manager with a private company.

“I dropped him today at around 7:55 a.m. He was happy,” Mr Thakur told reporters. He received the phone call around 9 am.

He accused the school of negligence. “They told me he is bleeding, they are rushing to the hospital, asked me to come too. They did not take care of my son. He could have been saved if he had been taken to hospital in time,” he said. A large number of police officers have questioned the staff, teachers and Pradyuman’s classmates. They are hoping for some clue from a CCTV in the corridor outside the toilet. We are investigating the case from all angles – homicide, enmity and others. The police team is examining the CCTV footage from over 30 cameras installed on the school premises,” said Ravinder Kumar, Gurgaon Police spokesperson. Last year, a branch of the same school in Vasant Kunj was accused of criminal negligence after a six-year-old student of Class 1 was found dead in a water tank. The investigation is still on.

This is the worst thing to happen to anybody…There is a lot of anxiety among us after this incident,” said Ameeta Wattal, principal of Springdales School.

Posted in All, Books

Red and Black by Stendhal Summary

 

About this book Le Rouge et le Noir is a historical psychological novel in two volumes by Stendhal, published in 1830.

Short summary

Julien Sorel is just a poor carpenter’s son. His love of reading has given him all kinds of grand ideas about becoming a great man. The only problem is that Julien is living in early 19th-century France following the fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. The country is basically run by an unquestioned king and a bunch of superficial elites who wouldn’t know honor if it slapped them in the face.Julien catches a break when he’s hired to be a tutor for the children of the wealthy Monsieur de Rênal, mayor of Verrières. Julien has an affair with de Rênal’s wife and has to leave town to go to priest’s school to avoid the scandal. While at the seminary, he gets another new job as a personal secretary for the Marquis de La Mole, one of the most influential men in Paris.Julien goes to live with the Marquis, but is quickly disillusioned by how superficial and boring life in the upper-class parts of Paris can be. No one says anything with any conviction and the world is just filled with a bunch of snarky social climbers. Julien forms a romantic relationship with the Marquis’ beautiful daughter Mathilde. The problem is that both he and Mathilde only want what they can’t have, and this creates a certain love-hate dance between them.

Acting on the advice of a Russian friend, Julien beats Mathilde at her own love games and secures her affection. She also reveals to him that she’s pregnant with his child. The two decide to get married. Mathilde’s dad is furious that Mathilde wants to marry a peasant, but he eventually agrees and gives Julien everything he’ll need to live as a wealthy man.Unfortunately, the Marquis withdraws his support for the wedding when he receives a letter from Julien’s old flame, Madame de Rênal. Madame’s letter says that Julien is a dastardly opportunist who only seduced Mathilde to climb the social ladder. After losing his father-in-law’s trust and respect, Julien travels back to his hometown of Verrières and shoots Madame de Rênal. She lives, but he’s imprisoned and sentenced to death anyway.Julien makes sure to use his last days in the limelight to criticize France and all of its hypocrisy. He is then beheaded and everyone in France goes back to their insincere, superficial lives.

Plot Summary

M. de Rênal, ultra mayor of the small provincial town of Verrières, hires Julien Sorel, a young peasant who aspires to the priesthood, as tutor for his children. The hiring of Julien is calculated to enhance Rênal’s prestige among the wealthy liberals. Julien, ambitious and amoral, had hoped to pursue a military career but has decided to enter the priesthood as the most likely means to success. He chooses hypocrisy as his weapon in his encounter with society. He sees his position as tutor as the first step in his ascension, which will culminate, he hopes, in Parisian aristocracy.Mme. de Rênal innocently falls in love with Julien after he has lived in the Rênal country home for some time. When Julien discovers that he is loved, he decides that he will seduce Mme. de Rênal as an expression of the scorn he feels for her husband. His plan of seduction would have failed miserably, so awkwardly does he execute it, were Mme. de Rênal not hopelessly in love with him. Succumbing to Julien’s natural charm, which he displays in unguarded moments, Mme. de Rênal becomes, in fact, Julien’s mistress. She educates him socially and in the local political intrigues. She succeeds in having Julien awarded a much coveted place in the guard of honor on the occasion of a visit by Charles X.Their love affair is idyllic until one of the Rênals’ sons falls gravely ill, which Mme. de Rênal interprets as divine punishment for her adultery. Soon M. de Rênal receives an anonymous letter accusing Julien of having seduced his wife. Mme. de Rênal succeeds in duping her husband into believing that the accusation is false. She convinces him that the letter comes from Valenod, Rênal’s rival and assistant, who has attempted in the past to court Mme. de Rênal. Her husband believes her because he is comfortably established and is horrified at the thought of a scandal. In order to quiet the rumors, Julien moves into the Rênals’ townhouse in Verrières. Because of his brilliant reputation as a tutor, he is invited to dinner by Valenod, who would hope to hire Julien as the tutor for his own children.A servant girl from the Rênal household, also in love with Julien but spurned by him, denounces the lovers to the former village priest, Chélan, who insists that Julien leave Verrières to enter the seminary in Besançon. Through Chélan’s influence with Pirard, rector of the seminary, Julien is awarded a scholarship. Julien’s affair with Mme. de Rênal is temporarily ended, but he visits her room for a final rendezvous.

Julien’s first attempts to succeed as a student meet with failure because he excels as a scholar, and the Church’s reactionary influence that prevails in the seminary requires of its future priests docility and intellectual conformity in mediocrity. Julien’s superiority, however, is appreciated by Rector Pirard, who makes Julien his protégé. One day as Julien is assisting in the decoration of the Besançon cathedral, he encounters Mme. de Rênal, who promptly faints at the sight of him.Pirard obtains a position for Julien as secretary to a powerful aristocrat in Paris, the Marquis de La Mole, to whom Pirard has been of invaluable assistance in a lawsuit. Pirard also leaves Besançon for a comfortable parish in Paris.Before going to Paris, Julien pays a last visit to Mme. de Rênal, presenting himself at her window late at night. At first rebuffed by his mistress’ virtue, Julien artfully destroys her resistance by announcing that his departure for Paris is imminent and that they will never see each other again. Mme. de Rênal acquiesces and Julien remains hidden to spend the following day with her.Book II finds Julien in Paris as secretary to the Marquis de La Mole. Soon Julien makes his services indispensable to his employer, although his provincial manners and inexperience in high society cause him constant embarrassment. The marquis’ proud daughter, Mathilde, takes an interest in Julien when she overhears the latter denouncing the sterility of the Mole’s salon. Mathilde is bored with the convention and barrenness of the aristocracy of which she is a part. She is in need of diversion, and Julien will provide it for her. The marquis finds Julien’s intelligence and wit very refreshing, and ultimately Julien becomes almost a son to the marquis. The latter sends Julien to London on a diplomatic mission in order that he may gain experience and as a pretext to have Julien awarded a decoration.

At the behest of Mathilde, Julien attends a ball, where he makes the acquaintance of a liberal aristocrat condemned to die. Mathilde is the most sought-after beauty of the season, but Julien hardly notices her, so inspired is he by the hero he has met. Mathilde, on the other hand, sees in Julien a reincarnation of her illustrious ancestor, Boniface de La Mole, a queen’s lover who was beheaded. Mathilde falls in love with Julien.Julien is unable to decide if he is loved or if Mathilde and her brother and their friends are trying to make of him a dupe. Julien’s attempt to leave Paris on a business trip for the marquis moves Mathilde to a declaration of love. Julien, still distrustful, takes precautions to safeguard his reputation, sending Mathilde’s avowal to his friend, Fouqué. Alleging another business trip, Julien receives an invitation from Mathilde to visit her in her room late at night. Still convinced that he is being tricked, Julien nonetheless appears at the appointed hour, and after much mutual embarrassment, Mathilde becomes his mistress.Mathilde now fears that she has given herself a master, and she repents of having compromised herself. Julien discovers that he is desperately in love with Mathilde, but her ardor has cooled. Unfortunately for Julien, Mathilde is only capable of loving him when she thinks that she is not loved by him. When in a moment of anger Julien one day appears to threaten her life, she is in love again. Their second rendezvous occurs, but Mathilde again repents immediately after.Julien, tormented by passion, is called upon by the marquis to serve as secretary at a secret meeting of reactionary aristocrats and to deliver a secret message to London. Successfully fulfilling his mission, Julien then goes to Strasbourg, where he meets a former acquaintance from London, who advises him how to reawaken Mathilde’s love by jealousy. Julien returns to Paris to execute his plan, choosing a prude to court by means of love letters furnished to him by his friend.Mathilde responds to the stratagem, but Julien realizes that to keep her love alive he must love her at a distance. Mathilde is pregnant, and after the marquis’ rage has subsided at the announcement of this news, the latter finally agrees to obtain an army commission for Julien and to encourage his career. Julien occupies his new post in Strasbourg but receives word from Mathilde to return to Paris, that all is lost. In checking on Julien’s past, the marquis has learned from Mme. de Rênal, in a letter dictated by her confessor, that Julien is an opportunist who succeeds by seducing women.

Learning this, Julien hurries to Verrières, arms himself, and shoots Mme. de Rênal at church. Imprisoned and awaiting trial for attempted murder, Julien is visited by Mathilde, who attempts to negotiate his acquittal with the Jesuits. Julien is resigned to die and in the solitude of his prison cell discovers that he is still in love with Mme. de Rênal, whom he had only wounded, and that his love for Mathilde has disappeared.During the trial, in spite of his resolution not to speak in his own defense, Julien informs the court that he is not being tried for attempted murder but for having attempted to rise above his social class. The jury finds Julien guilty and he is sentenced to be guillotined.During his last days in prison, Julien finds peace and happiness in his reflections and through the reunion with Mme. de Rênal, who visits him daily. Julien faces death courageously, and after the execution, Mathilde, in a re-enactment of a scene from the Mole family history, furtively steals Julien’s severed head and lovingly buries it with her own hands. Mme. de Rênal follows Julien in death.

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Middlemarch by George Eliot Analysis

One of the main characters of the novel is the narrator who tells the story from the multiple points of view of the characters, while adding her own reflective wisdom. This vantage point gives us compassionate insight into each character but within a certain social context, for the narrator stands for the collective wisdom gleaned from all the lives put together. This narrator is “omniscient” and anonymous, though we can think of her as close to George Eliot’s own viewpoint.
Immediately, the narrator begins to uncover the fact that most people are lost in their own illusions of reality, one of the themes of the book. She brilliantly weaves together the intersecting illusions of all the characters, showing us the profile of the town of Middlemarch, a fictitious small town in the rural English midlands in the early nineteenth century. Middlemarch stands for English life just before the impact of the industrial revolution. The time is just before the great Reform Bill of 1832. Life is still somewhat simple and conventional here in this backwater, and the citizens are not interested in anything but daily concerns. This sets the stage for their clashes with the more extraordinary and farsighted characters, Dorothea and Lydgate and Will Ladislaw who stand for the forces of change.
While it could be rather farcical that the beautiful Dorothea, who is constantly compared to the Blessed Virgin, is marrying Casaubon, the “dried bookworm of fifty,” Eliot treats Dorothea’s “soul hunger” as a real and tragic phenomenon in this society. She has no teacher or even comrade to whom she may tell of her own exalted thoughts and wishes. Even her sister Celia, though adoring her, criticizes her, and does not understand her need for living her religious vision in daily life. Dorothea thinks that Casaubon will understand and teach her, while he, it is clear, expects an obedient and self-abnegating wife. The narrator gives us foreshadowing of this problematic marriage by explaining Dorothea’s short-sightedness and “theoretic” nature, desire for “intensity and greatness.” Casaubon also has trouble with his vision and needs a secretary to help him with his life work, The Key to All Mythologies.

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You Should Know About Homeschooling

 

All children deserve a top notch education, but making that happen for your children does not have to mean expensive private schools or living in the most elaborate neighborhoods. Plenty of families have kicked public schools to the curb and start teaching their children at home. There are several ways to provide your children with the education they need from the comfort of your home. Keep reading if you would like to know more about it.

Do not neglect to give your kids some breaks through the day. Studying for hours on end can make them restless and tired of learning. Let them play or simply relax. It’s good for everyone.

Make all of life an opportunity to learn. Most children will excel and learn more by seeing how to put their lessons into practice rather than just reading it in a book. Aid them with their grammar when they are speaking or reading. You can cook together, for example. They are going to quickly learn, so they can make you proud.

Talk to other families near you who are homeschooling and set up field trips together. This allows your kids to socialize while learning. Also, you can save money over time with group rates.

While you want to protect your kids from negative influences by some children in the public school system, it is necessary to provide external interaction with other children. Take time out and go on play dates with the people in your neighborhood. Bring your children to the park so they can play with other kids. Organized activities, such as sports teams and clubs are an essential part of socialization, as well.

Posted in All, Books, Education

The Fetishism of Commodities and the Secret Thereof, in the Marx-Engels Reader

In this section we discover one more characteristic of the commodity. Its ability and tendency to be fetishist. Marx begins by elaborating on how the ostensibly concrete categories of mainstream political-economy, specifically the commodity, are not a complete account of the social relations of production. The problem is that the bourgeois political-economists take the commodity-form for granted . They grasp it at the level of appearance only, and thus fetishist it. Marx will go on to debunk the Robinson Crusoe example to illustrate this point. The hypothetical situation of a lone Briton on his sunny island is totally at odds with the social character of labor.

But to take a step back, Marx begins by provisionally agreeing with the political-economist. Yes, he concedes, the appearance of the commodity is an appropriate point of departure. It’s not a falsehood that commodities are created by human labor and they are useful. Moreover, the political-economists were right to see the value of a commodity as determined by the socially necessary labor-time involved in its production – this labor being social in nature, meaning that is is done for the purpose of exchange. This is all consistent with the Robinson Crusoe example.

It’s all obvious and not inaccurate, Marx says.

Yet, political-economy fails to see this social relation as existing between producers; instead it sees only the products of labor in relation to each other. In his words, “It (exchange-relations) is nothing but the definite social relation between men which assumes here, for them, the fantastic form of a relation between things.” (p.165) We can attribute this phenomenon to the nature of labor under capitalism. Specifically, we produce commodities so that they can be exchanged. Thus our only obvious exchange relation to other producers is that we interact with them only to the extent that they produce commodities. What we have are “material relations between persons and social relations between things.” (p.166)

Marx chooses to title this phenomenon “the fetishism of commodities”, borrowing a religious term signifying that the creations of human labor appear to be independent, to live a life on their own. Marx lists some of the attendant effects of the fetishism of commodities:-

1]  A failure to see social relations between producers of commodities even as they exchange commodities with each other.

2]  A reduction of all qualitatively different labor to the value-form, thus making all labor commensurable.

3]  Confusion over the substance of value; seeing it as something other than the crystalization of labor-power.

4]  Misrecognition of the social character of private labor.

Ultimately, the fetishism of commodities naturalizes that which is historically specific. A perfect example of this is that gold and silver, or any other metallic currency, are things whose values is assumed to be intrinsic to them, though of course if one were to rigorously interrogate the issue we would find that the values of such things exist purely as social relations. Revisiting the first chapter of Capital with this in mind, we see Marx’s argument to be that the commodity is not only a thing. It is also the structure of labor-in-capitalism, turning all labor in value-production and obfuscating its own specificity as a social form.

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Definition and the Concept of Value Education

what is the meaning of value Education?

Value education is the process by which people give moral values to others.It can be an activity that can take place in any organisation during which people are assisted by others, who may be older, in a position of authority, or are more experienced to make explicit those values underlying their own behaviour in order to assess the effectiveness of these values and associated behaviour for their own and others’ long term well-being, and to reflect on and acquire other values and behaviour which they recognise as being more effective for long term well-being of self and others. There is a difference between literacy and education. Values education can take place at home and as well as in schools, colleges, universities, jails and voluntary youth organisations. There are two main approaches to values education, some see it as inculcating or transmitting a set of values which often come from societal or religious rules or cultural ethics while others see it as a type of Socratic dialogue. Where people are gradually brought to their own realisation of what is good behaviours for themselves and their community.

Definition and 

Values education is a term used to name several things, and there is much academic controversy surrounding it. Some regard it as all aspects of the process by which teachers transmit values to pupils.
Others see it as an activity that can take place in any organization during which people are assisted by others, who may be older, in a position of authority or are more experienced, to make explicit those values underlying their own behavior, to assess the effectiveness of these values and associated behavior for their own and others’ long term well-being and to reflect on and acquire other values and behavior which they recognize as being more effective for long term well-being of self and others.
This means that values education can take place at home, as well as in schools, colleges, universities, offender institutions and voluntary youth organizations. There are two main approaches to values education. Some see it as inculcating or transmitting a set of values which often come from societal or religious rules or cultural ethics.
Others see it as a type of Socratic dialogue where people are gradually brought to their own realization of what is good behavior for themselves and their community. Value education also leads to success. It has values of hard work, how nobody is useless and loving studies
Explicit values education is associated with those different pedagogies, methods or programmes that teachers or educators use in order to create learning experiences for students when it comes to value questions.

Objectives of Value Education:

a. To improve the integral growth of human begins.
b. To create attitudes and improvement towards sustainable lifestyle.
c. To increase awareness about our national history our cultural heritage, constitutional rights, national integration, community development and environment.
d. To create and develop awareness about the values and their significance and role.
e. To know about various living and non-living organisms and their interaction with environment.

Value Based Environmental Education

1. Human Values: Preparation of text-books and resource materials about environmental education can play an important role in building positive attitudes about environment. The basic human value ‘man in nature’ rather than ‘nature for man’ needs to be infused through the same.
2. Social Values: Love, compassion, tolerance and justice which are the basic teachings of most of our religions need to be woven into environmental education. These are the values to be nurtured so that all forms of life and the biodiversity on this earth are protected.
3. Cultural and Religious Values: These are the values enshrined in Vedas emphasize that man should not exploit nature without nurturing her. Our cultural customs and rituals in many ways teach us to perform such functions as would protect and nurture nature and respect every aspect of nature, treating them as sacred, are it rivers, earth, mountains or forests.
4. Ethical Values: Environmental education should encompass the ethical values of earth-centric rather than human-centric world-view. The educational system should promote the earth-citizenship thinking. Instead of considering human being as supreme we have to think of the welfare of the earth.
5. Global Values: The concept that the human civilization is a part of the planet as a whole and similarly nature and various natural phenomena over the earth are interconnected and inter-linked with special bonds of harmony. If we disturb this harmony anywhere there will be an ecological imbalance leading to catastrophic results.
6. Spiritual Values: Principles of self-restraint, self-discipline, contentment, reduction of wants, freedom from greed and austerity are some of the finest elements intricately woven into the traditional and religious fabric of our country. All these values promote conservationism and transform our consumeristic approach