52 Quotes of Jeffrey Kluger

” Vaccines save lives; fear endangers them. It’s a simple message parents need to keep hearing. “
” Psychopaths know the technical difference between right and wrong – which is one of the reasons their insanity pleas in criminal cases so rarely succeed; they just fail to act on that knowledge. “
” Overspending is as certain a part of the holiday season as overeating. But pushing away from both the table and the cash register at least a little bit sooner can make the post-holiday hangover hurt a little bit less. “
” Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities. But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless. “
” There’s only one thing harder than living in a home with an adolescent – and that’s being an adolescent. The moodiness, the volatility, the wholesale lack of impulse control, all would be close to clinical conditions if they occurred at another point in life. In adolescence, they’re just part of the behavioral portfolio. “
” A fishnet is made up of a lot more holes than strings, but you can’t therefore argue that the net doesn’t exist. Just ask the fish. “
” A cockroach likely has no less brainpower than a butterfly, but we’re quicker to deny it consciousness because it’s a species we dislike. “
” Spare a thought for the poor introverts among us. In a world of party animals and glad-handers, they’re the ones who stand by the punch bowl. In a world of mixers and pub crawls, they prefer to stay home with a book. Everywhere around them, cell phones ring and e-mails chime and they just want a little quiet. “
” Certainly, people can get along without siblings. Single children do, and there are people who have irreparably estranged relationships with their siblings who live full and satisfying lives, but to have siblings and not make the most of that resource is squandering one of the greatest interpersonal resources you’ll ever have. “
” Paul McCartney had a baby when he was 61; Rod Stewart was 66; Rupert Murdoch was a stunning 72. Not only does that mean they’ll have less stamina than the average dad, that means they’ll, well, check out a lot sooner too. “
” The mind and the body are inextricably entwined, and rarely are their inseparability clearer than when we’re under some kind of mental pressure. The moment we start trying to learn a new skill, make a decision or otherwise think on our feet, our nervous system reacts – with accelerated pulse rate, increased respiration, even sweating. “
” Suffering is always hard to quantify – especially when the pain is caused by as cruel a disease as Alzheimer’s. Most illnesses attack the body; Alzheimer’s destroys the mind – and in the process, annihilates the very self. “
” A close family member once offered his opinion that I exhibit the phone manners of a goat, then promptly withdrew the charge – out of fairness to goats. “
” It’s a deep and all but certain truth about narcissistic personalities that to meet them is to love them, but to know them well is to find them unbearable. Confidence quickly curdles into arrogance; smarts turn to smugness, charm turns to smarm. “
” Your parents leave you too soon and your kids and spouse come along late, but your siblings know you when you are in your most inchoate form. “
” At the root of the shy temperament is a deep fear of social judgment, one so severe it can sometimes be crippling. Introverted people don’t worry unduly about whether they’ll be found wanting, they just find too much socializing exhausting and would prefer either to be alone or in the company of a select few people. “
” If you’re an older sibling and you have a younger sibling who needs mentoring or is afraid of the dark, you develop nurturing and empathic skills that you wouldn’t otherwise have. “
” Scarily, football helmets, which do a fine job of protecting against scalp laceration and skull fracture, do little to prevent concussions and may even exacerbate them, since even as the brain is rattling around inside the skull, the head is rattling around inside the helmet. “
” Spending $1 for a brand new house would feel very, very good. Spending $1,000 for a ham sandwich would feel very, very bad. Spending $19,000 for a small family car would feel, well, more or less right. But as with physical pain, fiscal pain can depend on the individual, and everyone has a different threshold. “
” Athletes often start life at the opposite end of the wealth and prestige spectrum, but as soon as they exhibit an unusual talent for swinging a bat or sinking a free-throw they may find that the rules have been suspended for them. They are waved through school and into the pros, and incidents of bad behavior are overlooked or covered up. “
” What makes spinal-cord injuries as devastating as they are is that everything about them plays out in absolutes: they are instantaneous, utterly disabling and horribly permanent. “
” All behavioral or mood disorders – including depression, OCD, ADHD and addiction – have some neurochemical components, but sufferers can still work to overcome them. “
” There’s no one place a virus goes to die – but that doesn’t make its demise any less a public health victory. Throughout human history, viral diseases have had their way with us, and for just as long, we have hunted them down and done our best to wipe them out. “
” Humans have a fraught relationship with beasts. They are our companions and our chattel, our family members and our laborers, our household pets and our household pests. We love them and cage them, admire them and abuse them. And, of course, we cook and eat them. “
” No one ever pretended that shopping for anything is a rational experience. If it were, would there be Fluffernutter? Laceless sneakers? Porkpie hats? Would the Chia Pet even exist? “
” There’s a sort of sibling moratorium when you’re establishing yourself as an adult. So much of your energy has to be focused on other things like work and kids. But when people become more settled, siblings tend to regroup because now you’re building a new extended family. “
” Indeed, the best way to think of willpower is not as some shapeless behavioral trait but as a sort of psychic muscle, one that can atrophy or grow stronger depending on how it’s used. “
” We’re learning how important it is both to preserve sibling relationships if they work and repair them if they’re broken. We’re also learning a lot about nonliteral siblings – stepsiblings, half-siblings – and the surprising power they can have. “
” Is there anything sadder than the foods of the 1950s? Canned, frozen, packaged concoctions, served up by the plateful, three meals per day, in an era in which the supermarket was king, the farmer’s market was, well, for farmers, and the word ‘locavore’ sounded vaguely like a mythical beast. “
” What people fear most about tragedy is its randomness – a taxi cab jumps the curb and hits a pedestrian, a gun misfires and kills a bystander. Better to have some rational cause and effect between incident and injury. And if cause and effect aren’t possible, better that there at least be some reward for all the suffering. “
” There are a lot of ways to make people not like you, but one of the most powerful – if least fair – is to be really, really successful. Nobody resents the guy who just lost his job. But the guy whose Internet start-up made him a billionaire at 25? That’s a whole different kettle of envy. “
” Marriage is a lot of things – a source of love, security, the joy of children, but it’s also an interpersonal battlefield, and it’s not hard to see why: Take two disparate people, toss them together in often-confined quarters, add the stresses of money and kids – now lather, rinse, repeat for the rest of your natural life. What could go wrong? “
” Identical twins are ideal lab specimens for studying the difference between learned and inherited traits since they come from the womb preloaded with matching genetic operating systems. Any meaningful differences in their behaviors or personalities are thus likely to have been acquired, not innate. “
” The best thing about science is that hard, empirical answers are always there if you look hard enough. The best thing about religion is that the very absence of that certainty is what requires – and gives rise to – deep feelings of faith. “
” Kids whose puberty begins too soon face not just psychological risks, but physical ones too, with an increased likelihood of cancer, as well as skeletal changes that could prevent them from attaining their full adult height. “
” Sisters have ways of socializing brothers into the mysteries of girls. Brothers have ways of socializing sisters into the puzzle that is boys. “
” Kids are anarchy writ large. “
” Science has yet to isolate the Godiva Chocolate or Prada gene, but that doesn’t mean your weakness for pricey swag isn’t woven into your DNA. According to a new study of identical twins, it’s less TV ads or Labor Day sales that make you buy the things you do than the tastes and temperaments that are already part of you at birth. “
” Since narcissism is fueled by a greater need to be admired than to be liked, psychologists might use that fact as a therapeutic lever – stressing to patients that being known as a narcissist will actually cause them to lose the respect and social status they crave. “
” Older fatherhood isn’t all bad: testosterone rates drop about 1% per year as men age, making them less reactive and more patient, and a professionally established middle-aged man is likely to have more time and money to devote to his kids than a twenty-something who’s just getting started. “
” For years now, Chinese parents and teachers have lamented what’s known as the ‘xiao huangdi’ – or little emperor – phenomenon, a generation of pampered and entitled children who believe they sit at the center of the social universe because that’s exactly how they’ve been treated. “
” Well, I think of the folks who are the climate deniers as the flat Earthers and the people who say the moon landings never happened. “
” Tamerlan Tsarnaev is telling no tales. The older of the two brothers who committed the Boston Marathon bombings was likely the one who planned the attack, but when he died in a shootout with police just days after the blasts, his thoughts and motivations vanished with him. “
” As the National Football League and other pro sports increasingly reckon with the early dementia, mental health issues, suicides and even criminal behavior of former players, the risk of what’s known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is becoming clear. “
” Learning to speak was the most remarkable thing you ever did. “
” The mind of the polyglot is a very particular thing, and scientists are only beginning to look closely at how acquiring a second language influences learning, behavior and the very structure of the brain itself. “
” Humans are crude linguists from the moment of birth – and perhaps even in the womb – to the extent at least that we can hear spoken sounds and begin to recognize different combinations of language sounds. “
” There are a lot of downsides to being male. We age faster and die younger. But give us this: we’re lifetime baby-making machines. Women’s reproductive abilities start to wane when they’re as young as 35. Men? We’re good to go pretty much till we’re dead. “
” Every batch of sperm represents an opportunity for genetic typos – called de novo mutations – to be passed on. A 20-year-old man and woman will each pass on about 20 de novo mutations to a baby they conceive. By the time the couple is 40, a woman’s total has remained at 20, while a man’s has jumped to 65 – and it keeps climbing from there. “
” In both children and adults, there can be a hard-to-deny link between a robust sense of hope and either work productivity or academic achievement. “
” It’s far too much to say that effective hoping is the only – or even the biggest – part of what it takes to succeed. If 14% of business productivity can be attributed to hope, that means 86% is dependent on raw talent, fickle business cycles, the quality of the product you’re selling, and often pure, dumb luck. “
” I grew up in a suburb of Baltimore with an extremely high concentration of Jewish families – where the Levys and Cohens in the high school yearbook went on for pages, where I could count far more temples than I ever could churches. Anti-Semitism, in our cultural biodome, was mostly an abstract concept. “