Dear Charlotte: A Life of Self-Improvement

Chapter Excerpt: The Pursuit of a Unifying Theory

A lot of self-improvement is motivated by the quest for a panacea or cure-all. My early attempts involved coming up with unifying theories for living, which are outlined in this chapter excerpt.

May 2, 1997
Observe, Analyze, Apply

July 27, 1999
7 Habits of Highly Effective People

November 14, 1999
Just "Coast"

October 14, 2001
A Method for Finding Balance

May 2, 2003
Emotional Quotient

September 2, 2003
Common Sense, Round II

July 16, 2005
The Triarchic Theory of Intelligence (recommended)

December 2, 2007
The Secret of "Gnothi Seauton" (recommended).

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Chapter Excerpt: Dealing with Others

This is one of the largest and most important chapters of Dear Charlotte. Improving the way I socialize was one of the first things I struggled with in self-improvement. Charlotte gave me my first self-help book when I was 14, and that kicked off a life-long quest to better myself.

October 22, 1996
How to Win Friends and Influence People (recommended)

December 1, 1998
Repression

December 4, 1998
Creating Triggers for Social Tact

August 25, 2000
Self-Love

July 12, 2001
Problem with Making Eye-Contact (recommended)

September 6, 2003
Jaw Tension While Socializing (recommended)

August 20, 2005
Contextual Intelligence (recommended)

April 10, 2007
Stop Fighting Yourself to Make a Friendship Work

March 13, 2008
How to Relax While Socializing (recommended)

September 12, 2008
The Best Social Mantra is No Mantra

January 23, 2009
How Studying Body Language Changed the Way I Socialize (recommended)

December 30, 2010
Convincing Myself to be Quiet

March 1, 2012
Can Studying Character Change the Way You Socialize (recommended)

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Chapter Excerpt: The Pursuit of Happiness

I just finished editing probably the largest, and most important chapter of my book. This chapter, "The Pursuit of Happiness" is 80% composed of failed attempts at trying different happiness techniques, and 20% of successful ones. The successful ones are toward the end:

March 1, 2004
What If You Devoted Three Months To Improving One Aspect Of Your Personality?

March 11, 2007
How To Stop Thinking About Thinking About Thinking About Thinking

March 27, 2007
Confronting Stereotypes About Psychiatrists

December 19, 2008
My "Harajuku Moment" About Becoming Neurotypical

December 23, 2008
A Totally Legal, All-Natural, Over-the-Counter Hallucinogen (recommended)

February 25, 2009
Can Radio Stop You From Over-Thinking?

April 14, 2009
Example Of My Dogged Determination To Become Happy

May 10, 2009
My First Knock-Out Punch In the Pursuit Of Happiness (recommended)

November 23, 2010
Can Eclectic Music Stop You From Over-Thinking?

December 27, 2010
Can Cognitive Therapy Stop You From Over-Thinking?

February 20, 2011
Eight Changes To My Life After Just Four Weeks of Meditation (recommended)

March 11, 2011
My Second Knock-Out Punch In the Pursuit Of Happiness

January 25, 2012
How I Kept Up With Meditation For An Entire Year (recommended)

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Chapter Excerpt: How to Deal with Others at Work

Here are excerpts from my upcoming book Dear Charlotte, which tells the story of my life through lessons on self-improvement. This chapter shows how I adapted to social conditions in the office.

Dealing with Others at Work

March 18, 1997
The worst programmer in the world

Mar 25, 1997
How to motivate a stubborn programmer (recommended)

August 19, 1998
How to control your social behavior at work

January 18, 1999
How to maneuver office politics (recommended)

July 27, 2000
How to get along with your co-workers

Want to find out when Dear Charlotte comes out? Stay in the loop by following me on Twitter here.

About this Book

Dear Charlotte is a collection of imagined letters written to my friend Charlotte over the past 15 years. When I was 14, she gave me Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People, which kicked off a life-long habit of self-improvement. While I didn't write the letters at the time, the events re-told are very real, and tell a winding story of the triumph and the folly of forever trying to better yourself.

Hallmark Talk

Listen to my keynote talk at Hallmark Cards on "Everything is Amazing, Nobody is Happy" a.k.a. How I Became an Indie App Developer.

About the Author


(Credit: Keller Holmes)

Phil Dhingra lives in Austin, TX and makes iPhone apps, including the text editor Nebulous Notes and the best-selling Tarot app. Phil also blogs at Philosophistry.com. Read more about him here.

Contact phil@dearcharlottebook.com

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