“Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve…A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals. What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.”

Martha NussbaumMartha Nussbaum

“We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being.”

Atul GawandeAtul Gawande

“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.”

Bertrand RussellBertrand Russell

“The practice of never assuming an experience you have is the whole story will support you in a life of possibility and equanimity. When we obsessively focus on these events they may appear catastrophic, but they are just a small aspect of a larger life. And the further you zoom back, the smaller each experience becomes. Zoom in and obsess. Zoom out and observe. We get to choose.”

Rick RubinRick Rubin

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Jiddu KrishnamurtiJiddu Krishnamurti

“Nutrition science, which after all only got started less than 200 years ago, is today approximately where surgery was in the year 1650 — very promising, very interesting to watch, but are you ready to let them operate on you? I think I’ll wait awhile.”

Michael PollanMichael Pollan

“Never ask the doctor what you should do. Ask him what he would do if he were in your place. You would be surprised at the difference.”

Nassim Nicholas TalebNassim Nicholas Taleb

“I commend to you, fellow physician, the pragmatically useless treatment called poetry, whereby we might leave our patients less alone when our medicine leaves us all alone.”

Jed MyersJed Myers