About the Author

Joan Duncan Oliver is an award-winning journalist and the author of five books—The Meaning of Nice, Happiness, Good Karma, Coffee with the Buddha (published as Q&A the Buddha in the UK), and Contemplative Living. She is also the editor of Commit to Sit, an anthology of articles on meditation practice from Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.

Joan Duncan Oliver

Emily Boland Photography

She was a founding editor of People, Us Weekly, and Self magazines, and served as editor-in-chief of New Age Journal and as an editor at The New York Times Magazine and the United Nations. Her articles on everything from design to disarmament, media to meditation, have appeared in various periodicals.

Oliver’s fascination with manners, mores, and seemly behavior dates back to her childhood. Early on, she pored over Emily Post’s Etiquette, mastering the intricacies of introductions, the trigonometry of table settings, and the rigorous rules of RSVPs. Along the way, she absorbed an array of arcane refinements familiar to viewers of Downton Abbey (such as how to supervise the head butler and dress the upstairs maids)—but those skills are, well, somewhat less likely to apply to her daily life.

Today, her interests range over the full spectrum of human behavior and beliefs, individual and collective, and the neuroscience of everyday life.

If you have any comments or suggestions, it would be nice of you to send her a note.

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