“Confidence Stops You from Learning”

(p. A15) Mr. Karlgaard, a former publisher of Forbes magazine, has plenty of vivid anecdotes to make his case for late bloomers.

. . .

Bill Walsh, the great coach of the San Francisco 49ers, got his first NFL head coaching job when he was 46 and won his first Super Bowl at 50. He was famously twitchy, self-deprecating and eager to learn, and had this to say about confidence: “In my whole career I’ve been passing men with greater bravado and confidence. Confidence gets you off to a fast start. Confidence gets you that first job and maybe the next two promotions. But confidence stops you from learning. Confidence becomes a caricature after a while. I can’t tell you how many confident blowhards I’ve seen in my coaching career who never got better after the age of forty.”

Late bloomers, Mr. Karlgaard argues, are not just people of great talent who develop later in their lives. They also possess qualities that can only be acquired through time and experience. They tend to be more curious, compassionate, resilient and wise than younger people of equal talent. This may be true, Mr. Karlgaard notes, of older people generally, who are being flushed out of the workforce much too early.

For the full review, see:

Philip Delves Broughton. “THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW; Standing Against Psychiatry’s Crazes.” The Wall Street Journal (Tuesday, April 30, 2019): A15.

(Note: ellipsis added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date April 29, 2019, and has the title “BOOKSHELF; ‘Late Bloomers’ Review: Please Don’t Rush Me.”)

The book under review, is:

Karlgaard, Rich. Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement. New York: Currency, 2019.

“Can We Stay Forever?”

(p. A8) “Anyone who knew my mom knew Disney was her happy place,” said Jodie Jackson Wells, a business coach in Boca Raton, Fla., who in 2009 smuggled a pill bottle containing her mother’s ashes into Walt Disney World.

Once inside, Ms. Wells helped spread ashes on the platform of It’s a Small World near a head-spinning bird, a moment in the ride that always made her mother laugh. Later in the day, overcome with grief, Ms. Wells hopped over the barricade surrounding the lawn outside Cinderella’s castle and ran across the grass, flinging them as she crossed.

“I had two fistfuls of the ashes and I literally leapt like I was a dancer,” she said.

. . .

Caryn Reker of Jacksonville, Fla., remembers her father growing emotional while watching the Wishes fireworks show outside the ice-cream parlor on Disney World’s Main Street. When time came for her to spread his ashes, in 2006, she opted to do it in numerous spots around the area.

“It’s a sweet way to giggle and remember—he’s here. . . and there. . . and a little over there. . . yep, there, too,” she wrote in an email. She returned to Disney World last week to spread the ashes of her brother, an Epcot enthusiast who died this year.

. . .

Shanon Himebrook, a 41-year-old state-government employee from Kansas City, Mo., grew up making summer trips to Disney World with her father, a worker at a plastic factory in Indiana.

At Disney, “he wasn’t my tired, graveyard-shift Dad,” she said. “He was, ‘Let’s get you the Mouse ears! Let’s get your name stitched in it!’ It’s like, ‘I love this dad! Can we stay forever?’”

Ms. Himebrook spread his ashes earlier this year near the park gates.

. . .

Kym Pessolano DeBarth, a 47-year-old optometrist-office worker from Northfield, N.J., dumped a small amount of her mother’s ashes in the water underneath It’s a Small World. “I didn’t want to clog the filter,” she said.

In December [2018], she’ll return to the park to commemorate the 15th anniversary of her mother’s death.

“Instead of going to a grave,” she said, “I go to Disney World.”

For the full story, see:

Erich Schwartzel. “Disney World Has a Secret: Family Ashes.” The Wall Street Journal (Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018): A1 & A8.

(Note: bracketed year, and ellipses between paragraphs, added; ellipses internal to a sentence, in original.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date Oct. 24, 2018, and has the title “Disney World’s Big Secret: It’s a Favorite Spot to Scatter Family Ashes.”)

92-Year-Old American Airline Mechanic

(p. A19) Azriel Blackman, an airline mechanic for American Airlines, is not allowed to climb ladders, drive on the airfield at Kennedy International Airport or even use any tools.
That’s understandable — Mr. Blackman turns 92 next month.
But those constraints have not stopped him from showing up to work at a job he started in an era when trans-Atlantic commercial flights were novel feats.
“He loves coming to work,” said Robert Needham, Mr. Blackman’s boss and the station manager for the airline’s New York maintenance base. “His work ethic is something I’d love every one of my 368 mechanics here to have.”
Five days a week, Mr. Blackman drives himself from his home in Queens Village to the airport long before sunup and well before his 5 a.m. start time. His job as crew chief is to review paperwork detailing what maintenance has been completed and what remains to be done on 17 jetliners that are kept overnight at the airport. Then, wearing a lime-green vest and clutching a paper containing a list of planes and service requests, he starts his walk through a massive hangar, often passing below an enormous mural on the wall featuring his portrait surrounded by four types of aircraft flown by American.
. . .
“Every day the job is different,” Mr. Blackman said. “You’re not doing the same thing repetitively, and that’s good. If in my journey around the hangar I see something I can help on, I do that.”

For the full story, see:
Christine Negroni. “For 75 Years, Helping to Keep Planes Aloft.” The New York Times (Tuesday, June 18, 2017): A19.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date June 17, 2017, and has the title “For 75 Years, a Mechanic Has Helped Keep Planes Aloft.” The online version identifies the page number of the New York edition as A18. The page number in my copy of the National edition was A19.)

U.S. Population Growth Rate Is Slowest in 80 Years

(p. A13) The population of the United States grew at its slowest pace in more than eight decades, the Census Bureau said Wednesday [December 19, 2018], as the number of deaths increased and the number of births declined.
Not since 1937, when the country was in the grips of the Great Depression and birthrates were down substantially, has it grown so slowly, with just a 0.62 percent gain between July 2017 and July 2018. With Americans getting older, fewer babies are being born and more people are dying, demographers said.
The past year saw a particularly high number of deaths — 2.81 million — and relatively few births, 3.86 million.

For the full story, see:
Sabrina Tavernise. “Growth Rate In Population Is at Lowest Since 1937.” The New York Times (Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018): A13.
(Note: bracketed date added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Dec. 19, 2018, and has the title “Fewer Births, More Deaths Result in Lowest U.S. Growth Rate in Generations.”)

Buddhist Monks Fear Death

(p. C4) A recent paper in the journal Cognitive Science has an unusual combination of authors. A philosopher, a scholar of Buddhism, a social psychologist and a practicing Tibetan Buddhist tried to find out whether believing in Buddhism really does change how you feel about your self–and about death.
The philosopher Shaun Nichols of the University of Arizona and his fellow authors studied Christian and nonreligious Americans, Hindus and both everyday Tibetan Buddhists and Tibetan Buddhist monks.
. . .
The results were very surprising. Most participants reported about the same degree of fear, whether or not they believed in an afterlife. But the monks said that they were much more afraid of death than any other group did.
Why would this be? The Buddhist scholars themselves say that merely knowing there is no self isn’t enough to get rid of the feeling that the self is there. Neuroscience supports this idea.
. . .
Another factor in explaining why these monks were more afraid of death might be that they were trained to think constantly about mortality. The Buddha, perhaps apocryphally, once said that his followers should think about death with every breath. Maybe just ignoring death is a better strategy.

For the full commentary, see:
Alison Gopnik. “Who’s Most Afraid to Die? A Surprise.” The Wall Street Journal (Saturday, June 9, 2018): C4.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date June 6, 2018.)

The print version of the Cognitive Science article discussed above, is:
Nichols, Shaun, Nina Strohminger, Arun Rai, and Jay Garfield. “Death and the Self.” Cognitive Science 42, no. S1 (May 2018): 314-32.

To Bacharach, Retiring from Music “Is Like Dying”

(p. 6B) NEW YORK (AP) — At age 90, Burt Bacharach hasn’t lost faith in the power of music.
“Music softens the heart, makes you feel something if it’s good, brings in emotion that you might not have felt before,” he said. “It’s a very powerful thing if you’re able to do to it, if you have it in your heart to do something like that.”
. . .
Bacharach says he has no plans to stop writing or performing. He contributes music to a new album by Elvis Costello, a longtime admirer with whom Bacharach has worked with before, and he continues to tour.
“You can throw up your hands and say, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ but it’s what I do. I’m not just going to stop and retire, that is like dying, you know.”

For the full story, see:
AP. “School shootings inspire song by Bacharach, 90.” Omaha World-Herald (Tuesday, September 28, 2018): 6B.
(Note: ellipsis added.)

Growing Percent of Seniors Choose Entrepreneurship Over Retirement

(p. A17) Fed up, Mr. Grupper decided to try something new: being his own boss.
. . .
“The risks have paid off,” he said. “I’m making money doing what I love to do.”
. . .
These “encore entrepreneurs” are increasingly finding their niche: Their numbers are growing more than twice as fast as the population of New Yorkers over 50. Now a new report by the Center for an Urban Future, a nonprofit research and policy organization, has documented the trend using an analysis of census and labor data and dozens of interviews with organizations that work with entrepreneurs.
“Ask most New Yorkers to picture an entrepreneur, and they imagine a 20- or 30-something in jeans and sneakers. But the face of entrepreneurship across New York City is changing,” reads the report, “Starting Later: Realizing the Promise of Older Entrepreneurs in New York City.”
The number of self-employed New Yorkers who were at least 50 rose to 209,972 in 2016, up 63.7 percent from 128,282 in 2000. By comparison, the number of city residents overall who were at least 50 rose just 28.5 percent to 2.67 million from 2.08 million during that same period.
These older New York entrepreneurs are also part of a national trend, driven partly by the financial crisis a decade ago. Still, their numbers have grown even as the economy has rebounded. In August [2018], the national unemployment rate was 3.9 percent overall, and 3.1 percent for those 55 years and over, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
For many, it means no more answering to bosses half their age, or making do with part-time jobs bagging groceries to get by in their golden years.

For the full story, see:
Winnie Hu. “They’re Over 50, and Excited for a New Start(up).” The New York Times (Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018): A17.
(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date Sept. 17, 2018, and has the title ” of the New York edition with the headline: “Retire? These Graying ‘Encore Entrepreneurs’ Are Just Starting Up.”)