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WorldView Good Reads: October 2019

Published: October 22, 2019

Here are good reads from around the globe that have caught our attention during the month of October.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know. Malcolm Gladwell, author of the number one New York Times best seller Outliers, reinvents the audiobook in this powerful examination of our interactions with people we don't know. Something is very wrong, Gladwell argues, with the tools and strategies we use to make sense of people we don't know. And because we don't know how to talk to strangers, we are inviting conflict and misunderstanding in ways that have a profound effect on our lives and our world.

Stillness is the Key. The Buddhist word for it was upekkha. The Muslims spoke of aslama. The Hebrews, hishtavut. The second book of the Bhagavad Gita, the epic poem of the warrior Arjuna, speaks of samatvam, an “evenness of mind—a peace that is ever the same.” The Greeks, euthymia and hesychia. The Epicureans, ataraxia. The Christians, aequanimitas. In English: stillness. To be steady while the world spins around you. To act without frenzy. To hear only what needs to be heard. Stillness is that quiet moment when inspiration hits you. It’s one of the most powerful forces on earth. We all need stillness, but those of us charging ahead with big plans and big dreams need it most of all, writes Ryan Holiday.

The Danger of a Single Story. Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice—and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? Social and Emotional Learning in a World Language Class. When Laura Lavery began teaching middle school Spanish, she sought a way for her students to practice their language while at the same time developing their social skills and creating positive change in their community. She introduced her students to neighbors in a nearby nursing home – and the results were amazing.

How Do We Measure Language Fluency? There are many ways of categorizing someone’s language skills, but the concept of fluency is hard to define.

The Beauty of Being Bilingual. Natalia Sylvester writes of her bittersweet discovery that language, and the stories it carries, is not a straight path.

What Makes Us All Radically Equal? Everyone has a soul, writes David Brooks.

Children’s Rights: Why is the United States the Global Outlier? The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child isn’t just a legal document. It also sends kids an important message: that they matter, that their voices are important and that they deserve to be heard. When countries join this agreement, which took effect in 1990, they pledge to work toward aligning their own laws with its principles. The U.S. is the only country that has refused to embrace what is the world’s most-ratified human rights agreement. It has 196 signatories including all UN member states except the U.S. Jessica Taft explains why, and what this means for children in the United States and around the world.

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