Thursday, March 08, 2012

Spanx is a Happy Success Story

Sara Blakely is a self-made billionaire selling very effective women's underwear, Spanx.  She is, at 41, the youngest woman who made her own fortune on the Forbes list of the world's richest people.

She invented her product and her business herself, while also being married and a mother. This fact would not be remarkable for a man, but is very unusual for a female CEO.

She cites as her influences, all from afar at first, Wayne Dyer, Richard Branson, and Oprah Winfrey. She learned from failure.  She overcame her fears.  She seems to be a decent person. 

And now she promotes other female entrepreneurs, just to give back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Better is Better: A Response to Impossible Perfectionists

Bill McKenzie, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News and an old friend, asked a variety of religious leaders and professors in Texas to respond to my post on "The World is Getting Better." Some agreed with me, some disagreed.  A few, though, seemed not to accept the idea of "getting better."

My favorite response along these lines came from Cynthia Rigby, professor of theology at Austin Presbyterian Seminary.  She wrote:

Until every stomach is full, until every family is housed, until every child can go to school healthy, clothed, and with a pencil and notebook in hand, the world has not improved enough to throw around such generalities.

It is part of the Gruntled creed to believe that better is better.  Making things better is worth doing, even if we don't - or can't - make things perfect.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Least-Happy City is Still Overwhelmingly Happy

Gallup has a nifty new well-being index of the 350 largest metropolitan areas in the country.

One of the items measured was happiness. 

The lowest-scoring city: Springfield, OH, at 82.3%
The highest-scoring city: Caspar, WY, at 94.2%

You know what is even more important than the happiness gap between these two cities?  How high the happiness percentage is in both of them.  Even in the least happy city, the overwhelming majority of people are happy.

Monday, March 05, 2012

College Town Story Has Shocking Omission!

College Towns are Happy Towns.  Yes.

The omission: Danville, KY.

(And I thank my sister for the title of this post.)

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Is Hooking Up OK if Your School Is Far From Home?

I read a paper on premarital sex that offered a reason and reasoning about hooking up vs. seeking a serious relationship that I had not heard before.

In one case, a young man was going to school out of state.  He reasoned that he was not going to settle near the school, so any relationship he started there could only be temporary.  Thus, he justified hooking up - often and exclusively.

In another case, a young man went to a school near home.  The author, who knew both men, thought this was because the second fellow was looking for a wife who would settle with him in his hometown.

I have never run across this line of reasoning.  If I had only heard the first case, I would have thought it was a creative but particularly bogus way for a man to justify promiscuity.  But hearing the second case - and the author taking both kinds of reasoning as normal - makes me think I am meeting a subculture I have not met before.

My first guess is that these are working-class guys who always expected to settle near family, and find a job and wife in the area. They went to college because they were good athletes, not primarily for an education that would transform them as people.

Any thoughts on this matter?