Video Lecture: Jon Kabat-Zinn on Meditation and Mindfulness

Did you know Google has a “school of personal growth”? The school was created to encourage employee development in the “emotional, mental, physical” self and in the sphere of “beyond the self’.”

In the name of growth, the school has obtained many notable figures in the world of personal development to speak to their employees. Some, if not all, of these talks can be found on Google’s YouTube channels — Google, AtGoogleTalks, and GoogleTechTalks. Those channels would be a great place to find more videos like this one.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is the Professor of Medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Medical School. He is also a founding director of UMASS’s esteemed Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society. The Stress Reduction Clinic has been treating patients with Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training since 1979.

In this video, Kabat-Zinn talks about what mindfulness is and what it isn’t, and he covers common misconceptions and obstacles to meditating. While giving the lecture, Kabat-Zinn also guides the audience through a meditation which you can try too. If you haven’t “grokked” how meditation works or what mindfulness is, this is a great video to watch.

The work and research of Kabat-Zinn through the Stress Reduction Clinic has brought mindfulness into the awareness and acceptance of mainstream institutions — like corporations (reminder: this talk is at Google), hospitals, prisons, and schools — just to name a few.

The doctor has also produced numerous books and audio recordings on the topic. Just recently in Dublin, Ireland, 800 people showed up to listen to the doctor talk about mindfulness meditation.

Read about the long-term benefits of meditation for the mind and body in the Video Lecture post: Neuroscience of Buddhist.

Standard vs. Behavioral Economics


Dan Ariely — the guy playing Behavioral Economics, author of the book  Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University believes that “life with fewer market norms and more social norms would be more satisfying, creative, fulfilling and fun.

And he thought this while at Burning Man.

Finally! Someone gets it. Someone is talking about the giant pink elephant in the economics classroom. Human beings are not always rational decision makers in the economic market. I’ve worked in marketing, I should know. Even Adam Smith idealized that Christianity would be the social norm that kept people from exploiting capitalism; Look what happened with that. To me, this fully enforces Ariely’s idea that it would far more prudent to have formalized social norms than market norms.


Dan Ariely talking about his book at Google HQ below.

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