The Atlantic

Here’s 10,000 Hours. Don’t Spend It All in One Place.

Evidence shows that hyper-specialization is not the best strategy for happiness.
Source: Jan Buchczik

How to Build a Lifeis a weekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness.

On October 20, 1874, in Danbury, Connecticut, a child was born who would grow up to be one of the greatest American composers of classical music. More than a half-century ahead of his time, he combined late romanticism, American folk, and avant-garde techniques in a way that revolutionized music.

On the very same day, in the same town, a child was born who would grow up to transform the business of financial planning. An actuary, successful insurance entrepreneur, and well-known financial author, he devised ingenious life-insurance products and created the modern practice of estate planning.

It was not a coincidence that the great composer and the celebrated financial innovator shared a birthday and birthplace. They were the same man: Charles Edward Ives.

Want to stay to get an email every time a new column comes out.

You’re reading a preview, subscribe to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic4 min read
The New American Mall
This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. The mall isn’t what it used to be. But that doesn’t
The Atlantic6 min read
‘I Am Pleasing to Everyone’
Netflix is out with a new delectable documentary series, America’s Sweethearts, about tryouts for the 2023 Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. Why should I, someone who’s never reviewed anything other than a book, be the one to review it? For starters, a si
The Atlantic5 min read
Pain Doesn’t Belong On A Scale Of Zero To 10
Over the past two years, a simple but baffling request has preceded most of my encounters with medical professionals: “Rate your pain on a scale of zero to 10.” I trained as a physician and have asked patients the very same question thousands of time

Related Books & Audiobooks