Maria Konnikova

Welcome to my blog. I’ll do my best to update it regularly (or semi-regularly, at the least…) with news, writing updates, and other assorted thoughts. Read, enjoy, and please share your thoughts and comments. If you’re looking for psychology pieces at the New Yorker, you can find them here. If you’re looking for my old blog about literature and psychology, Literally Psyched, you can find it here.

Hour glass illustration

Behind every great novelist…

May 11, 2012

This drawing would make a wonderful accompaniment to the recent Guardian piece on the (false though repeated ad infinitum) relationship between creation and pain or–though preferably, and–suffering.

Illustration by the wonderful Grant Snider.

My rules for reading (and borrowing) books

May 9, 2012

I just came across this image and absolutely loved it:


I realize the art of reading a hardcover is likely on its way out, but it makes me happy to see the physical book treated with such care and respect. My books are my babies. Each and every one is there for a reason. When I see someone mistreat or mishandle them, I cringe. I have to resist the urge to snatch the innocent victim from the offending hands. When Matthews writes, “I almost fainted,” I empathize with the sentiment completely. It doesn’t seem at all like exaggeration.

And I must admit, I hate lending books out. Ever. To anyone. I know it sounds selfish, but I can’t bear the thought of someone not treating them nicely. Sometimes, it’s impossible to say no. I hate those times. I wish I could avoid them altogether.

To Matthews’s wonderful guide to handling the book, I’d add the following common-sense-seeming tips, that I’ve seen violated uncommonsensically one time too many:

-Don’t eat or drink next to a book

-Don’t touch a book with dirty or wet hands

-Don’t leave a book out in the sun

-Don’t dog-ear pages. Ever ever ever.

-Don’t put a book down unless you know the surface is clean and dry

-Don’t bend back a biding, no matter how much easier it makes it to read the book; it is never necessary

-Always return books you’ve borrowed from someone else. In a timely fashion. Don’t be that person.

-And most important of all, always handle books with love and care. As Ray Bradbury once said, “Books are people.”

Maybe, that’s just me. But if you ever want to borrow one of my books, you’ve been warned.


Thanks, Malorie, for discovering this lovely image!

A flowchart to happiness

May 2, 2012

So simple. So true. So hard to implement in practice. And so easy to forget.

From Brainpickings.