ethan shapiro

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17 Writers On The Importance Of Reading

"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." —Lemony Snicket

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.” ― Pema Chödrön

14 Ways to Acquire Knowledge: A Timeless Guide from 1936

The quest for intellectual growth and self-improvement through education has occupied yesteryear’s luminaries like Bertrand Russell and modern-day thinkers like Sir Ken Robinson and Noam Chomsky. In 1936, at the zenith of the Great Depression, the prolific self-help guru and famous eccentric <b>James</b> …

The right’s inequality canard: They botch history and economics

With President Obama talking about the scourge of low wages, conservatives are completely confused by the problem<p>President Obama has recently attracted attention by acknowledging the problem of inequality and calling for a more aggressive, populist approach. But as he pivots toward income …

JFK and the hope that lingers

Fifty years ago this fall, as he broke ground at Amherst College for a library named in honor of Robert Frost, John F. Kennedy testified to the power of poetry in public life.<p>“When power leads man towards arrogance,” he said, “poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of …

How Not To Worry: Timeless 1934 Advice on Controlling Anxiety and Mastering Life

As far as vintage finds go, they hardly get more fortuitous than <b>You Can Master Life</b> (<i>public library</i>) — a marvelous 1934 compendium of sort-of-philosophical, sort-of-self-helpy, at times charmingly dated, other times refreshingly timeless advice on cultivating “the power to think, to create, to …

Ray Bradbury on Writing, Emotion vs. Intelligence, and the Core of Creativity

Between 1973 and 1974, journalist James Day hosted the short-lived but wonderful public television interview series <i>Day at Night</i>. Among his guests was the inimitable Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920–June 5, 2012) — beloved writer, man of routine, tireless champion of space exploration, patron saint of …

Rise and shine: the daily routines of history's most creative minds

One morning this summer, I got up at first light – I'd left the blinds open the night before – then drank a strong cup of coffee, sat near-naked by an open window for an hour, worked all morning, then had a martini with lunch. I took a long afternoon walk, and for the rest of the week experimented …

Modern GOP is still the party of Dixie

How the South poisons American conservatism and sabotages our politics<p>In two earlier articles (here and here), I argued that the Republican Party’s extremism can be traced to its increased dependence on an electorate that is largely rural, Southern and white. These voters, who figure prominently in …

Alain de Botton on How to Think More About Sex

<i>“When we hook up with another, in sex or love (or, more rarely, both) we prove that our isolation is not permanent,”</i> Dorion Sagan — son of Carl — wrote in his fascinating history of sex. And yet that very quest to end our isolation has been subject to centuries of stigma and incessant friction with …

The Man Behind NOM’s New War on Transgender Students

Exactly one year ago, Frank Schubert was on top of the world. California’s gay marriage-banning Proposition 8, which he had helped push through, was …

How to Write with Style: Kurt Vonnegut’s 8 Keys to the Power of the Written Word

<b>Kurt Vonnegut</b> (November 11, 1922–April 11, 2007) has given us some of the most timeless advice on the art and craft of writing — from his 8 rules for a great story to his insights on the shapes of stories to his formidable daily routine. But hardly anything examines the subject with a more potent …

Beer Experts Say These Are The 20 Best Beers In The World

Stanford University computer science post-doc Julian McAuley and assistant professor Jure Leskovec released a paper earlier this year outlining how our tastes change as we consume more products and gain more expertise.<p>Their theory was the more experience we have, the more we will like certain …

Marguerite Duras on Immortality, Life & the Art of Seeing, Illustrated

“<i>Fiction is a lie, and good fiction is the truth inside the lie,</i>” Stephen King proclaimed, and a beacon of this conviction is <b>The Lover</b> (<i>public library</i>) — a short and stirring 1984 autobiographical novel by <b>Marguerite Duras</b>, with a cover as iconic as the book itself, designed by the inimitable Louise …

The Most Complete Guide To Beer Ever [Infographic]

It's... it's beautiful.<p>The artists at Pop Chart Lab, who've created gorgeous visualizations of everything from classic Nintendo games to bicycles, are tackling beer. A lot of beer.<p>Pop Chart has already released two beer posters, but since you can never, ever have a problem because of too much beer, …

This is the first interesting search engine since Google

It’s hard to build a really new search engine. Microsoft has spent enormous resources trying to convince people that Bing’s search results are just as good as Google’s. Bing has won market share, but not at Google’s expense. Other Google alternatives like DuckDuckGo are growing rapidly because they …

AdWords

Why We’re More Creative When We’re Tired, And 9 Other Surprising Things About How Brains Work

You may be hardwired as an introvert or an extrovert. But don’t worry, there are ways to change how our brains work.<p><i>Editor’s Note: This is one of the most-read leadership articles of 2013. Click here to see the full list.</i><p>One of the things that surprises me time and time again is how we think our …

How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives: Annie Dillard on Choosing Presence Over Productivity

The meaning of life has been pondered by such literary icons as Leo Tolstoy (1904), Henry Miller (1918), Anaïs Nin (1946), Viktor Frankl (1946), Italo Calvino (1975), and David Foster Wallace (2005). And though some have argued that today’s age is one where “the great dream is to trade up from …

Kahlil Gibran's Stunning Declaration of Mankind's Nature

Around midsummer of this year, I was undergoing an inexplicable spell of irrational guilt.<p>These types of episodes have come to me before, but they’re …

James Gandolfini Reads Maurice Sendak’s Most Controversial Book

In June of 2013, I attended a wonderful event at New York’s Society of Illustrators celebrating the inimitable Maurice Sendak and the taboos explored in his work. Among the many memorable insights was a passing mention of a reading from Sendak’s 1970 classic <b>In The Night Kitchen</b> (<i>public library</i>)</i> …

In Defense of the Humanities Ph.D.: It's No Crazier Than Becoming a Journalist

Yes, the academic job market is a wasteland. But that doesn't make spending your twenties reading poetry for low pay irrational.<p>“Why haven’t humanities Ph.D. programs collapsed?” asks my colleague Jordan Weissmann this week. It’s a question that has drawn a host of reader responses, from “the job …

40 Must-See Photos From The Past

The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” was coined by American newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane in 1911. It’s a simple notion that applies …

Great Depression

30 Books You Should Read Before You're 30

The best books aren't static stories, but living entities with meanings that change and grow along with you. That's why we strongly recommend rereading the classics that were assigned to you in high school; you may find that they're nothing like they were before.<p>Still, some books are best …

Poets in Partnership: Rare 1961 BBC Interview with Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes on Literature and Love

In 1960, <b>Sylvia Plath</b> — beloved poet, little-known but masterful artist, lover of the world, repressed “addict of experience”, steamy romancer, editorial party girl, bed classifier — began recording a series of broadcasts for BBC’s celebrated series “The Poet’s Voice.” At least 17 known broadcasts …

On the Red Couch with Author Margaret Atwood

Inside Flipboard / September 19, 2013<p>The Guardian calls the writer Margaret Atwood “literature’s digital doyenne.” The author of more than 40 books …

A Field Guide to Procrastinators

This comic from twenty Pixels came out a couple of weeks ago, but I'm just now getting around to sharing it with you. But that's nothing compared to …

Jack Kerouac’s 30 Beliefs and Techniques For Writing Modern Prose

Jack Kerouac is the patron saint of every starry-eyed, born-too-late, wanderlusty hipster scribe who falls in love with the poetry and visionary …