As we slowly emerge from the pandemic for many the fog of loneliness appears to be lifting.

Social avenues like coffee shops, bars, and restaurants are open for friends to congregate and catch up. Those wanting to be around crowds can attend concerts and movies. Those wanting to explore and feel the energy of vibrant places can jet off to New Orleans, New York, or Hawaii.

Though the spells of isolation may be subsided, what still lingers is a larger problem of social fragmentation. …


So often during sheltering in place, only the bright red floral shirts of Trader Joe’s staff broke up the monotony of my pandemic funk. The usual 30 minute wait was enough time to salivate in anticipation over the array of goodies such as dark chocolate peanut butter cups, dried mangos, and the shrimp fried rice. It gave me a moment to ponder which tasty spread, from the garlic hummus to kale-based pesto, I was likely to overpay for. Who could overlook their bevy of beverages such as their golden milk, their gingerbread coffee, or their growing selection of kombucha?

Aside…


How my in-person connections forever shaped me

Photo by 𝓴𝓘𝓡𝓚 𝕝𝔸𝕀 on Unsplash

For all those who speak about the wonders of remote work, I wonder if they’ve ever considered its impact on our everyday relationships, big and small. Remote work is becoming more of a norm than an exception. After experiencing a white collar grind where financial stability, commuting, affordable housing, and romantic relationships were a struggle, doing your gig at home sounds appealing.

As the pandemic subsides, most offices have pledged to move to a hybrid working model giving workers more flexibility. Some have even closed down offices permanently. Remote work will only accelerate.

But I fear that this trend overlooks…


Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

From the start of his tenure, President Joe Biden has made it clear that he plans to center his foreign policy around climate change. With the president appointing veteran diplomat John Kerry, as well as seasoned public servants such as Gina McCarthy and Samantha Powers, he clearly indicated his intention to infuse climate change considerations into trade policies, foreign aid programs, bilateral discussions, and military readiness.

President Biden’s reconfiguration of foreign policy has two goals. The first is to integrate climate risks into America’s national security agenda. …


Photo by Dave Lowe on Unsplash

One of the first people I met while living in New York was a funeral director named Michael Fengullo.

The Brooklyn-born, broad-shouldered, fifty-year-old man has made his living burying the dead for over three decades. The life-long Italian bachelor has helped thousands send off and put away their loved ones. When it comes to funerals, this typical, loud New Yorker has seen it all.

That was until the pandemic hit.

Mr. Fengullo’s world has been completely upended. Before the pandemic, Michael’s team usually took care of seven funerals per week. …


What we’re doing wrong and how to be authentically thankful

Photo by Morvanic Lee on Unsplash

Amidst the pandemic, so many of us have been encouraged to express gratitude.

The belief is that this emotion properly resets our value system for the better, helps us understand what matters most, and powers us through dread. Gratitude promoters tell us that showing appreciation for what we have curtails our anxiety while distracting us from potential despair in the future.

Gratitude can also make us better social animals. Two psychologists at Northeastern University conducted a study among 150 people to see the impact of gratitude (i.e. appreciation for what…


Since the creation of this cohort, millennials have been perpetually scolded for their perceived unhealthy financial habits.

Critics argue that this group is an entitled bunch of constant pleasure-seekers who sacrifice long-term financial security for short-term luxuries. Many pile up debt by living in pricey cities with low paying jobs that have minimal upward mobility.

While the criticism may not always be valid, there is no doubt millennials are in a pinch. According to The Economist, those under 35 have, on average, just $35,000 in assets (far below the $100,000 most financial advisers suggest people should have by this age)…


How to weed through dodgy data

Image by CustomInk

Knowledge seeking these days can be a tumultuous task. An influx of propaganda, false stories, and proliferation of dumbed down news has made the search for truth harder than ever. A deeply polarized and charged election will likely amplify this problem.

The only way to wade through the barrage of bullshit peddled our way is to build a better internal mechanism to discern between legitimate and illegitimate sources of news, take in new information, and analyze information astutely.

Many have tried to build an optimal framework for proper decision making. In 1952, Isaiah Berlin’s…


Hi friends,

Thank you for being a willing follower of my work. I have enjoyed hearing your comments and feedback. I have decided to make the switch to a newsletter…


Amidst a pandemic with no end in sight, Trump’s obfuscation and viral fibs have prompted a number of liberals to call for the cancellation of the presidential debates. They argue that engaging with a pathological liar on national television amounts to an exercise in futility.

As enticing as the thought of not having to witness President Trump slobber all over our norms may sound, this prevailing belief is deeply misguided.

I’ve spent the past few weeks combing through the past eight debate cycles, which included Obama’s tussles with McCain and Romney, Al Gore’s lock box, Reagan’s annihilation of Mondale, (Bill)…

Shounak Bagchi

Founder of Honest Wednesdays and pragmatic optimist.

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