Lux Narayan starts his day with scrambled eggs and the question: “Who died today?” Why? By analyzing 2,000 New York Times obituaries over a 20-month period, Narayan gleaned, in just a few words, what achievement looks like over a lifetime. In the TED Talks video below, he shares what those immortalized in print can teach us about a life well lived.
“I read the obituaries almost every day. My wife understandably thinks I’m rather morbid to begin my day with scrambled eggs and a “Let’s see who died today.” “But if you think about it, the front page of the newspaper is usually bad news, and cues man’s failures. An instance where bad news cues accomplishment is at the end of the paper, in the obituaries. In my day job, I run a company that focuses on future insights that marketers can derive from past data — a kind of rearview-mirror analysis. And we began to think: What if we held a rearview mirror to obituaries from the New York Times? Were there lessons on how you could get your obituary featured —even if you aren’t around to enjoy it?”
Featured Image: Jack Smith/New York Daily News
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