On the Other Side

The social and economic uncertainties of our post-pandemic future make this a particularly opportune time to pause and reflect on how we want to inhabit that future. Are there aspects of our career or personal life we want to redesign or restructure? Pre-pandemic norms weren't working that well for many of us, so instead of returning to life as it was before 2020, these books provide guidance toward forging a new, improved normal.

According to Bill Burnett and Dave Evans, authors of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life and Designing Your Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work (both from Knopf), redesigning one's life is not about transforming into someone different; rather, good design "releases the best of what was already there waiting to be found and revealed." They offer hands-on exercises to help readers initiate important life changes by approaching the challenge as a designer would.

Some of us want to revamp dietary and lifestyle habits that stopped being effective but were difficult to jettison. It's a question of shifting one's visual perspective, says Emily Balcetis in Clearer, Closer, Better: How Successful People See the World (Ballantine). An expert in motivational training, Balcetis recommends strategies that harness the power of vision to remove obstacles to progress and achieve successful results.

The pandemic has underlined the importance of strong communities to weather difficult times. In Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World (Harper Wave), Dr. Vivek H. Murthy makes a compelling case for reaching across the aisle to befriend others who look and act different from us. Such actions may help alleviate the pre-existing epidemic of loneliness, which, like other societal challenges, was exacerbated by the global crisis. --Shahina Piyarali, writer and reviewer

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