Apr 11, 2014
08:29 AMArts & Entertainment
Arianna Huffington, Who Wants Us to Disconnect, Coming to New Haven for Read to Grow
So says one of the greatest social networkers of our age; a woman whose website, The Huffington Post, perhaps the most successful of all time, has generated a million snappy headlines and likely trillions of clicks; who two months ago was named among the top 100 people to follow on Twitter.
That’s right. Arianna Huffington, powerhouse chairwoman and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post Media Group, who will appear as guest speaker at a Read to Grow benefit luncheon in New Haven on April 15, wants people to disengage from technology, sleep more and, in general, chill out.
The reason, she writes in her recently released “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-being, Wisdom, and Wonder”: it has “never been harder to tap into our inner wisdom, because in order to do so, we have to disconnect from… our gadgets, our screens, our social media — and reconnect with ourselves.”
Awakening to that revelation was an immensely painful experience for the digital media mogul. Literally. On the morning of April 6, 2007, in the midst of an endless, grueling stretch of 18-hour days, she fainted, cracking her head on her desk and breaking a cheekbone.
At the time, she had built what was initially ridiculed as a vanity site into a global brand. She was on the cover of magazines. She had been named by Time as one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
Still, she has said repeatedly, by any measure of success, “coming to while lying in a pool of your own blood is not success.” And money and power, she realized, as she put it in a recent email interview, “are far from the only matters that figure in creating a successful life.”
Arguably, it’s easy to scoff at Huffington’s so-called “Third Metric,” with its rallying cry to slow down, sleep seven hours a night, and live a more well-rounded life, that resulted from her collapse.
This is, after all, a woman who willed herself to Cambridge University, despite growing up Greek and poor with a single mother in a one-bedroom flat; with a determination so steely that, in spite of her accent and an evolving command of English, ascended to presidency of the Cambridge Union; with an ambition so free-ranging that she ascended to a prominent role on the national stage with a controversial counter-feminist tract at age 23.
This is a woman who, when Britain proved too small to contain her global aspirations, proceeded across the pond, where she married a billionaire oil magnate and supported his political career, before divorcing, launching the Huffington Post, and selling it to AOL for $315 million in 2011. Even her hair has yielded to her powers, blow-dried from its natural curliness into submission.