Fall 2007 (Volume IV, Issue 2)


The 21st Century Family

This issue of Greater Good gets past overheated rhetoric to discover what recent research shows about how the American family is changing, and how this transformation has impacted all of our lives. Some of the contributors to this issue are famed scholars who have studied the family extensively; others are ordinary people who have seen their typically atypical families go through some extensive changes. What they have in common is a willingness to confront these changes head-on and seek real solutions to the problems they confront. Their essays offer suggestions for how contemporary families can still thrive during this period of intense change.

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From The Editors

From the Editors: Fall 2007 (01)

By Jason Marsh, Dacher Keltner | September 1, 2007


In Brief

The Altruistic Electorate (02)

By | September 1, 2007

New research debunks some conventional political wisdom.


Ages, Faces and Emotion (03)

By | September 1, 2007


Is guilt good? (04)

By | September 1, 2007


The State of Marriage (05)

By | September 1, 2007


What Makes a Rescuer (06)

By | September 1, 2007


Happiness in Flux (08)

By | September 1, 2007


Taxation without Vexation (09)

By | September 1, 2007


Your brain on yoga (10)

By | September 1, 2007


Brain Teaser

Does classical music make babies smarter? (11)

By | September 1, 2007


Guest Column

"Social software is not better than face-to-face contact--it's only better than nothing," says Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University.

Dousing the Flames (13)

By | September 1, 2007

How can we put social intelligence online?



Child Support (07)

By | September 1, 2007

Over the last 100 years, the American family has gotten more diverse and egalitarian, but also smaller and more isolated.

The Family Revolution (14)

By | September 1, 2007

The last century has seen a transformation of marriage and family life. But to address new challenges, argues Stephanie Coontz, we can’t delude ourselves into thinking there ever was a Golden Age for couples and families.


New Families, Few Role Models (15)

By | September 1, 2007


Binuclear Family (16)

By | September 1, 2007

Divorce is painful for children, but Ruth Bettelheim urges us to see what kids can gain when one family becomes two.


Helping Kids be Kids (17)

By | September 1, 2007


Q & A:  A Better Way (18)

By | September 1, 2007

An Interview with The Good Divorce author Constance Ahrons


New Americans, New Families (19)

By | September 1, 2007

At a time when people are lamenting the death of the American family, Ross D. Parke, Scott Coltrane, and Thomas Schofield discovered that many of its ideals are alive and well—and they’re being imported from Mexico.


Together Until the End (20)

By | September 1, 2007


Does Barbie Need a Man? (21)

By | September 1, 2007

Research shows that the children of gay and lesbian parents are normal. But Amie K. Miller’s family still faces some unique challenges.

The author with his son, Liko.

Playground Pioneers (22)

By | September 1, 2007

Kids will destroy your life, reports Jeremy Adam Smith. But don’t worry, parents: You’ll get a new one.


Bringing baby home (23)

By | September 1, 2007


Peace Among Primates (24)

By | September 1, 2007

Anyone who says peace is not part of human nature knows too little about primates, including ourselves.

Norman Frank is the caretaker for his wife Margie, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. "My biggest frustration comes from this accumulation of a lot of time spent being responsible," he says.

Circles of Care (25)

By | September 1, 2007

Before Alzheimer’s becomes a national crisis, new programs are trying to ease the pain and stress of caring for a loved one with the disease.


Book Reviews

The End of Childhood? (26)

By | September 1, 2007


Book Review: Evolution for Everyone (27)

By | September 1, 2007

By David Sloan Wilson
Delacorte Press, 2007, 400 pages


Book Review: Help for the Helper (28)

By | September 1, 2007

By Babette Rothschild with Marjorie Rand
W. W. Norton & Company, 2006, 231 pages


Book Review: Reconciliation in Divided Societies (29)

By | September 1, 2007

By Erin Daly and Jeremy Sarkin
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007, 352 pages


Book Review: The Brain That Changes Itself (30)

By | September 1, 2007

By Norman Doidge
Viking Press, 2007, 427 pages


Pop Culture Review

The Placebo Effect (31)

By | September 1, 2007

Does The Secret offer winning advice … or snake oil? Maybe a bit of both.


Ideas for the Greater Good

The Paradox of Humility (32)

By | September 1, 2007




Greater Good Events

Mindful Self-Compassion: Core Skills Training
International House
December 9-10, 2016

Mindful Self-Compassion: Core Skills Training

This workshop is an introduction to Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC), an empirically-supported training program based on the pioneering research of Kristin Neff and the clinical perspective of Chris Germer.


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Jon Kabat-Zinn

Talks by inspiring speakers like Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dacher Keltner, and Barbara Fredrickson.


Greater Good Resources


Book of the Week

How Pleasure Works By Paul Bloom Bloom explores a broad range of human pleasures from food to sex to religion to music. Bloom argues that human pleasure is not purely an instinctive, superficial, sensory reaction; it has a hidden depth and complexity.

Is she flirting with you? Take the quiz and find out.
"It is a great good and a great gift, this Greater Good. I bow to you for your efforts to bring these uplifting and illuminating expressions of humanity, grounded in good science, to the attention of us all."  
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best-selling author and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program

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