Thanksgiving: Know the “Three and Out” Gratitude Rule?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Thanksgiving
Ari Weinzweig Managing Ourselves from Zingermans

Click this cover to visit Zingerman’s webpage for the book.

Yesterday was a traditional day of giving thanks, but we’re surrounded by opportunities to express gratitude every day—if only we look for them.

For example, do you know the “three and out” rule?

Thanksgiving is our theme this week. So far, we’ve discussed how more Americans traveled yesterday than at any time since 2007, the rise of gigantic “mutant turkey” on the Thanksgiving menu, the cost of the holiday, and whether we should boycott big-box stores that were open Thanksgiving.

Today, we end the week with a positive practice about thankfulness. This positive practice comes from Ari Weinzweig, CEO and co-founder of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In his latest book, Managing Ourselves, he recounts the rule:

“When I feel my energy sliding into the negative realm, I find someone around me—whether in person, on the phone, or via email, and I thank them. Sincerely. For something that they’ve done that I honestly do appreciate. I always get back positive energy. Then I immediately find someone else and do it again. Bingo. I get back more positive energy. Within a matter of minutes, I repeat my act of appreciation a third time. Voila! More positive energy.”

Psychologists who study happiness uniformly report that the expression of gratitude elevates positive emotions—in the giver and the receiver. Ari’s “three and out” rule is a good way of putting that insight into practice.

Who or what are you grateful for?
Would you try the “three and out” rule and tell us what happened?

Your viewpoint is important!

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Banned Books: What’s the No. 1 banned book in the last 10 years?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Banned Books
The American Library Association Banned Books Week

Want to find out more about the American Library Association’s plans to promote Banned Books Week this year? Click this ALA image to visit the group’s resource page for this year’s campaign.

Librarians nationwide already are getting ready for this year’s Banned Book Week—but are you ready? Can you identify the books that draw the most fire nationwide?

Recently, The Kite Runner and Chinese Handcuffs were on the educational chopping block at the public high school in Waukesha, Wisconsin, put there by a parent who objected to the “extreme violence” they depict. Just a few days ago, the Waukesha school committee rejected the parent’s challenge, keeping the books on the high-school reading list. But this is just the most recent challenge.

Do you know what book holds the top spot for the most frequently challenged and banned book? I’ll give you five choices. All of them made the Top 10 list of most frequently challenged books in the last decade. Can you spot No. 1?

  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green

Data on these and other challenged books are complied by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association. (See the complete lists here.)

The most frequently challenged book—and the most banned—is the 4th one on my list of five books: Captain Underpants. It topped the list in 2012 and 2013. If you are not familiar with this series (it sold 70 million copies worldwide), here’s a brief synopsis from Wikipedia:

Captain Underpants is a children’s novel series by American author and illustrator Dav Pilkey. The series revolves around two fourth graders, George Beard and Harold Hutchins living in Piqua, Ohio—and Captain Underpants, an aptly named superhero from one of the boys’ homemade comic books, that accidentally becomes real when George and Harold hypnotize their megalomaniacal principal, Mr. Krupp.

The book was challenged (and banned) in many schools and libraries because it was considered insensitive, not appropriate for the age group, and it condoned (and even encourage) kids to disobey people in authority.

What do you think of the recent attempts to ban The Kite Runner and Chinese Handcuffs?

Are you surprised to learn that Captain Underpants is the #1 most banned book?

Are any books challenged or banned in your school district?

Doing Good: Is the ALS Icebucket Challenge truly good?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Doing Good

Muppets Kermit the Frog takes the ALS Ice Bucket challengeNOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: Please welcome back guest writer Gayle Campbell. I’ll tell you more about Gayle at the close of today’s column. Here is the first of her five parts on “Doing Good” …

By now, you’ve certainly seen it exploding across your social media feeds: Friends, dumping buckets of ice water on their heads, and challenging their friends to do the same. The Ice Bucket Challenge is a social campaign designed to raise awareness and funds for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gerhig’s disease), a fatal neurodegenerative disease.

Celebrities from former President George W. Bush to Bill Gates to Lady Gaga have all partaken in the challenge, which has brought in over $53 million in donations for the ALS Foundation, compared to $2.2 million they raised in the same time period last year.

The marketing seems brilliant: Succumb to peer pressure to prove your altruism, or face judgment from your peers.

And it’s clearly working: Facebook announced last week that more than 28 million users were talking about the challenge and 2.4 million Ice Bucket Challenge videos were shared on Facebook between June 1 and August 17.

But it’s this same logic that’s caused the campaign to be criticized by some as “Slacktivism”—online engagement that requires very little time, effort or money, offering participants the satisfaction of doing good without actually making much of an impact. One blogger even argues that participation in a feel-good cause like the Ice Bucket Challenge might lead one to compensate by doing fewer good actions in the future, an effect known as moral self-licensing.

Criticism aside, it’s hard to argue with the over 2,000% increase in donations to the ALS Association, which will be used to fund global research for treatment and a cure for the disease that affects approximately 30,000 Americans.

What do you think? We want to hear from you!

Have you participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge? If so, what motivated you to get on board?
If you’ve avoided the campaign, why?
Do you think the challenge promotes activism, or “slactivism”?






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Long-time readers of OurValues may recall that Gayle Campbell once was Media Director of our online project. A University of Michigan grad, today, she’s a professional communicator in Washington D.C., working in the fields of international development and exchange. Gayle occasionally returns to write on millennial matters, social justice issues and doing good. Click here to enjoy her earlier columns in OurValues. (If you click here, you’ll see today’s column at the top of the new page, but you can then scroll down to read 10 more).

New British Invasion: Do we agree on marital infidelity?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series The New British Invasion
Photo of wedding rings by Jennifer Dickert, released for public use via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo of wedding rings by Jennifer Dickert, released for public use via Wikimedia Commons.

HOW WE FEEL about an extramarital affair is a morality litmus test.

How do you feel about it? Does it depend on the situation? Is it morally unacceptable? Or, is it even a moral issue?

This week, we’ve been comparing the U.S. and Britain on a number of issues, sparked by the infatuation many Americans have for British culture. Today, we look at the similarity and differences of these two nations (and a few others) on the hot button issue extramarital affairs, based on results from Pew’s Global Attitudes Project.

More than eight of ten Americans (84%) say they personally believe that married people having an affair is morally unacceptable. Only 4% say it is morally acceptable, with one of ten Americans (10%) saying that this is not a moral issue.

The British feel pretty much the same way. Over three-quarters (76%) agree that extramarital affairs are morally unacceptable. Only 4% say it is morally acceptable. But a larger percent (17%) say this isn’t a moral issue anyway.

The attitudes of Canadians about the moral acceptability of extramarital affairs are almost identical to the attitudes of the British.

In three European nations—and one African nation—many think marital infidelity is not a moral issue. At the top is France, with 40% saying that this is not a moral issue at all. About one of four Germans and Spaniards agree. Senegal is the other nation where an unusually large percent of people say extramarital affairs are just not a moral issue. Twenty-four percent of Senegalese believe that marital infidelity is not a moral issue.

What is your opinion of the moral acceptability of extramarital affairs?

Do you think marital infidelity is even a moral issue in the first place?

What surprised you the most about the facts reported today?

United America, Core Value 8: Pursuit of Happiness

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series United America

Coca Cola Great Happyfication animated filmAre you seeking happyfication?

You might find it in “The Great Happyfication,” an animated short film that’s one of Coca-Cola’s “Happiness Factory” series. It’s depicts a happy land devoted to producing and delivering happiness “one bottle at a time.” Since 1923, the company has associated the consumption of its cola drink with enjoyment, pleasure, and happiness.

Does a bottle of Coke make you happy?

The pursuit of happiness is one of America’s 10 Core Values, as I document in United America. It’s one of the principles enshrined in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Americans have pursued happiness with a passion, but often it has proved elusive. When the French aristocrat Alexis de Tocqueville traveled the country in the 1800s, he observed that many Americans were restless and anxious despite possessing ample material goods.

These days, happiness is a serious field of study. There are happiness psychologists and economists. In my new book United America, I discuss the practical advice proffered by happiness psychologists like Sonja Lyubomirsky and the father-son team of Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener.

Today in our series on the 10 core values, we are exploring Core Value 8: “Pursuit of Happiness”—“enjoyment, leisure, pleasure.”

Take a look at Coke’s video and see what you think … (If you see no video screen in your version of this story, try clicking on the headline to reload the column.)

What’s your opinion of marketing campaigns that link happiness and products?

For you, what is the secret of happiness?