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Linda Flanagan
Linda Flanagan is a freelance writer, researcher, and editor, specializing in national security issues. Most recently she was Executive Editor for the HELP Commission, a federal body mandated to produce recommendations to reform foreign assistance. Before that, she worked on the design and development of a graduate seminar on business and national security at MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Ms. Flanagan also has produced case studies for the Defense Department’s Commission on Roles and Missions, and has provided editorial guidance to senior national security fellows at Harvard University. Ms. Flanagan was a national security analyst at the National Security Program, Harvard University, where she wrote case studies on defense and foreign relations She coaches high school cross country, and is a competitive long-distance runner. Ms. Flanagan lives in Summit, N.J. with her husband Robert and three children.

Entries by Linda Flanagan

Like This Post! My Self-Worth Depends on It

(5) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 1:53 PM


This morning I ran into a sad friend. She'd spent the previous evening with a couple of fabulous couples, all strappy sandals and flowery dresses and lively stories about lovely children. Their fabulousness all seemed so effortless, my friend said. None had...

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Playing With Fire and Facing Death in Savage Park

(0) Comments | Posted January 22, 2015 | 5:11 PM


It was the subtitle of Amy Fusselman's new book, Savage Park, that got my attention: A Meditation on Play, Space, and Risk for Americans Who Are Nervous, Distracted, and Afraid to Die. As a restless American who is tethered to her chirping phone,...

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Your Bad Back Is Boring Me

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2014 | 6:36 PM


I'm sorry, did I say your bad back? It's actually mine that's the problem. Every time I hear myself jabbering on about why I'm walking with a hunch, or why I haven't run for a couple of days -- it's some kind...

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Running From the 'Blerch'

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 12:13 PM


It must have been 10 years ago, maybe 12, but that sodden run with a group of middle-aged women, all of us eager to stay fit, stays with me. Together, we ran up and down a steep suburban road -- hill repeats, in...

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Don't Bother With Yale: Even the Most Excellent Sheep are Still Part of a Herd

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2014 | 4:54 PM


I finished reading Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite & the Way to a Meaningful Life after delivering my second child to his brand new life as a college freshman. Though our good-bye was bittersweet -- go find...

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Putting the Brakes on Adolescent Impulse

(2) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 2:29 PM

Teenagers do the dumbest things. Case in point: a reportedly intoxicated high school senior watching a championship lacrosse game recently in New Jersey came unglued when his team lost and he saw a parent on the opposing side filming the winners' celebration. Cursing the offending mother for daring to record...

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The Mysterious Makings of a Winning Team

(2) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 12:30 AM

What makes for a championship team?

If you think you'll find the answer from the athletes themselves, you'll likely be disappointed. It's the rare athlete who can articulate why he triumphed in any given game, or explain what drove him to defeat. After Rafael Nadal won his...

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College Admissions: All Over But the Waiting

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 4:28 PM

The emotional phases of college admissions, not unlike Elizabeth Kubler-Ross's five stages of grief, come in a predictable pattern: excitement, depression/anxiety, anger, disillusionment, and relief. "Closure" occurs for most of us when the deposit check is in the mail, and all the flotsam from the ordeal has been tossed --...

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Misery Never Felt So Rewarding

(0) Comments | Posted January 17, 2014 | 10:33 AM

Attention childless persons: If you're thinking of having kids, and are looking for an accurate assessment of the experience, disregard the holiday cards you may have received that portray merry families in various stages of triumph. Instead, read Jennifer Senior's book All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox...

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Hey, High School Senior: Dartmouth Wants YOU!

(5) Comments | Posted November 6, 2013 | 11:42 AM

"Jeffrey, you deserve a one-of-a-kind college experience."

"Jeffrey, what will you do after Dartmouth?"

"Jeffrey, simple acts can have extraordinary results."

For six weeks starting in the middle of August, the office of admissions at Dartmouth College sent email messages like this to my son Jeff, a...

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Forget About Controlling Your Thighs, and Other Wisdom from Debora Spar's Wonder Women

(1) Comments | Posted October 23, 2013 | 2:41 PM

The damn pumpkins are out again. And the mums, skeletons and hay bales, too. Whenever a third-rate holiday approaches that showcases a woman's domestic and mothering skills, I feel my usual sense of inadequacy and regret. Not once during my children's young lives did I create a Halloween costume out...

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Never Throw a Frozen Turkey Out a Car Window, and Other Essential Tips for My College-Bound Daughter

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 6:27 PM

Like many parents saying goodbye to their college-bound offspring, I'm struggling a bit. "I think I missed the memo," one friend wrote after depositing her daughter at Columbia. "Dropping off your firstborn on their first day of college leaves you with a hole in your heart." Another compared her son...

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Don't Be Nice

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 11:20 AM

"Just be nice," advised the superintendent of schools to the crowd assembled at my niece's graduation from Millburn High School last week. Static muffled his voice, and the microphone periodically shorted out like an old stereo speaker. It was a sweltering early summer evening, and spectators spread across...

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The (High School) Graduate

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2013 | 10:05 AM

My daughter graduated from high school on Sunday. She put on the school's graduation uniform, marched up when her name was called, shook hands with the head of school, and accepted the 8.5" by 11" scroll, tied with a green ribbon, which signified the official end of her high school...

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Boston Stronger

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2013 | 3:59 PM

As a runner, former Boston resident and frequent marathon attendee, I observed the mayhem in New England this week with special horror. The pressure-cooker bombs, which may have been packed with nails and ball bearings, seem to have been timed to explode when a high concentration of runners...

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There's No Rejecting the College Admissions Game

(5) Comments | Posted March 28, 2013 | 4:03 PM

Like most parents of high school seniors, we've been waiting all week to hear the news from the colleges our daughter applied to. We beseech thee, college admissions officers, to see the bright side in our eldest child, to find beauty in her imperfections, to regard the blemishes on her...

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Get Off the Couch, and Other Lessons from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

(1) Comments | Posted February 22, 2013 | 10:03 AM

The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue arrived last week in the mail, and there was Kate Upton, smiling distractedly, mouth open. She must have been cold, posing on a boat next to a glacier in Antarctica, and wearing nothing under her (unzipped) white ski jacket but a tiny bikini bottom. Her...

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Keep Your Arms, but Raise Your Voice

(2) Comments | Posted January 17, 2013 | 10:52 AM

It's fun to hate Washington, especially now. Between the inter-party cursing, purity pledges, and occasional weeping fits, our elected leaders, horns locked, manage to find a way to do not much of anything. And why should they? Having gerrymandered their way to job security, many in...

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We Binged on the Massacre, Let's Not Waste the Outrage

(2) Comments | Posted December 19, 2012 | 3:28 PM

Another shooting.

Those of us at a comfortable distance from the disaster follow the story, obsessively. We cry when we think of those children, when we consider the shattered parents, and all the ruined lives. For a few days, many of us will shake our fists at the gun...

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On Turning 50 And Remembering There's No Prize For The Most Beautiful Corpse

(95) Comments | Posted December 6, 2012 | 7:24 AM

I turned 50 last week. My younger friends smiled sympathetically and offered hugs, as if I'd just received a cancer diagnosis. Older ones grinned conspiratorially, as if I'd suddenly succumbed to their evil charms and crossed over to the dark side.

When a kind friend of the same age leaned...

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