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Magical Tokyo Cityscapes Seen Through Colorful Bokeh

In this ongoing series, photographer Takashi Kitajima blurs the details of Tokyo's buildings and bridges into beautifully abstract landscapes. He creates each gorgeous composition by standing on observation decks of high-rise buildings or overpasses throughout the city.<p>By gaining a bird's eye view …

Logo Design: Handwritten

We keep going through our weekly journey checking out great logos! We're thinking ahead and we want to find new topics, good ones, to share with you …

Graphic Design

One Step Closer to Hover Boards: Three-Dimensional Mid-Air Acoustic Manipulation | Colossal

<p>While we’ve seen examples of objects suspended mid-air using quantum levitation and acoustic levitation, a team of three Japanese engineers from The …

How to Take Notes Like an Alpha-Geek (Plus: My $2,600 Date + Challenge)

I take notes like some people take drugs.<p>There is an eight-foot stretch of shelves in my house containing nothing but full notebooks.<p>Some would call …

On Consuming Durables — Kill Your Darlings

Photo: Daniel Pink<p>Charity shops they’re called in the UK, opportunity shops here in Australia – both run by charitable organisations, they sell …

Storytellers have more fun.

“Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” —Ira Glass<p>We all want to be interesting. We want people to listen to us, to like us. We want them …

The Quartet of Creativity: 28-Year-Old Susan Sontag on the Four People a Great Writer Must Be

The most recently released volume of Susan Sontag’s diaries, <i>As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980</i> — which was among the best psychology and philosophy books of 2012 — gave us the author’s collected insights on writing.<p>But the journals of Sontag’s younger self,</b> …

Jack Kerouac’s List of 30 Beliefs and Techniques for Writing and Life

In the year of reading more and writing better, we’ve absorbed David Ogilvy’s 10 no-bullshit tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, John Steinbeck’s 6 pointers, and various invaluable advice from other great writers. Now comes <b>Jack Kerouac</b> (March 12, 1922–October 21, 1969) — cultural icon, symbolism …

Why Writers Write: George Orwell on the Four Universal Motives for Creative Work

Literary legend Eric Arthur Blair, better known as <b>George Orwell</b> (June 25, 1903–January 21, 1950), remains best remembered for authoring the cult-classics <i>Animal Farm</i> and <i>Nineteen Eighty-Four</i>, but he was also a formidable, masterful essayist. Among his finest short-form feats is the 1946 essay <b>Why I</b> …

Why I Write: Joan Didion on Ego, Grammar, and the Creative Impulse

The question of what propels creators, especially great creators, is the subject of eternal fascination and cultural curiosity. In <b>“Why I Write,”</b> originally published in the <i>New York Times Book Review</i> in December of 1976 and found in <b>The Writer on Her Work, Volume 1</b> (<i>public library</i>), <b>Joan Didion</b> — …

Neil Gaiman’s 8 Rules of Writing

In the winter of 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing published in <i>The New York Times</i> nearly a decade earlier, <i>The Guardian</i> reached out to some of today’s most celebrated authors and asked them to each offer his or her commandments. After Zadie Smith’s 10 rules of writing, here come …

The Nature of the Fun: David Foster Wallace on Why Writers Write

On the heels of the highly anticipated new David Foster Wallace biography comes <b>Both Flesh and Not: Essays</b> (<i>public library</i>) — a collection spanning twenty years of Wallace’s nonfiction writing on subjects as wide-ranging as math, Borges, democracy, the U.S. Open, and the entire spectrum of human …

Joseph Conrad on Writing and the Role of the Artist

Although <b>Joseph Conrad</b> (December 3, 1857–August 3, 1924) remains best-known for penning the high school English curriculum staple <i>Heart of Darkness</i> in 1899, much of his writing bears a profound philosophical quality, exploring the depths of psychology, morality, the creative impulse, and other …

E.B. White on the Art of the Essay and Why Egotism Is Essential for the Essay Writer

The question of what makes a great essay is an inexhaustible source of fascination, and there is hardly a greater master virtuoso at it than <b>E.B. White</b> (July 11, 1899–October 1, 1985) — champion of literary style, defender of the writer’s responsibility, custodian of the free press, little-known <i>New</i> …

E. B. White on Why Brevity Is Not the Gold Standard for Style

<i>The Elements of Style</i> endures as one of the most important books on writing ever published, a quintessential guide to composition and form. Though Strunk’s stern and directive tone was somewhat softened by White’s penchant for prose, the tome remains a stringent upholder of standards of brevity and …

Zadie Smith’s 10 Rules of Writing

In the winter of 2010, inspired by Elmore Leonard’s 10 rules of writing published in <i>The New York Times</i> nearly a decade earlier, <i>The Guardian</i> reached out to some of today’s most celebrated authors and asked them to each offer his or her rules. My favorite is <b>Zadie Smith’</b>s list — an exquisite balance …

The Philosophy of Style: Herbert Spencer on the Economy of Attention and the Ideal Writer (1852)

Today’s abundance of advice on the art and craft of writing makes the phenomenon appear a modern meta-trope of the written word. And yet it is anything but new. In his 1852 treatise <b>The Philosophy of Style</b> (<i>public library</i>; <i>public domain</i>), Victorian-era philosopher, scientist, and liberal political …

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck

If this is indeed the year of reading more and writing better, we’ve been right on course with David Ogilvy’s 10 no-nonsense tips, Henry Miller’s 11 commandments, and various invaluable advice from other great writers.<p>Now comes Pulitzer Prize winner and Nobel laureate <b>John Steinbeck</b> (February 27, …

Malcolm Cowley on the Four Stages of Writing: Lessons from the First Five Years of The Paris Review

The kind of literary voyeurism that concerns itself with why great writers write and how, exactly, they go about it has long held especial mesmerism to aspiring authors and voracious readers alike.<p>In 1953, a trio of literary enthusiasts founded <i>The Paris Review</i>. Spearheaded by George Plimpton, who …

Hemingway on Writing, Knowledge, and the Dangers of Ego

<i>“Writing, at its best, is a lonely life,”</i> <b>Hemingway</b> proclaimed in his short and memorable 1954 Nobel acceptance speech. In <b>Death in the Afternoon</b> (<i>public library</i>) — Hemingway’s exquisite 1932 meditation on the tradition of bullfighting, “the emotional and spiritual intensity and pure classic beauty” …

F. Scott Fitzgerald on the Secret to Great Writing: Letters of Advice to a Friend’s Teenage Daughter and to His Own

What is the secret of great writing? For David Foster Wallace, it was about fun. For Henry Miller, about discovery. Susan Sontag saw it as self-exploration. Many literary greats anchored it to their daily routines. And yet, the answer remains elusive and ever-changing.<p>In the fall of 1938, Radcliffe …

Susan Sontag on Writing

The newly released volume of Susan Sontag’s diaries, <b>As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980</b> (<i>public library</i>), from whence Sontag’s thoughtful meditations on censorship and aphorisms came, is an absolute treasure trove of rare insight into one of the greatest minds …

Stephen King on Writing, Fear, and the Atrocity of Adverbs

<i>“Employ a simple and straightforward style,”</i> <b>Mark Twain</b> instructed in the 18th of his 18 famous literary admonitions. And what greater enemy of simplicity and straightforwardness than the adverb? Or so argues <b>Stephen King</b> in <b>On Writing: A Memoir on the Craft</b> (<i>public library</i>), one of 9 essential books …

Order to the Chaos of Life: Isabel Allende on Writing

Literary history is ripe with eloquent attempts to answer the ever-elusive question of why writers write. For <b>George Orwell</b>, it resulted from four universal motives. <b>Joan Didion</b> saw it as precious access to her own mind. For <b>David Foster Wallace</b>, it was about fun. <b>Joy Williams</b> found in it a gateway …

10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy

How is your New Year’s resolution to read more and write better holding up? After tracing the fascinating story of the most influential writing style guide of all time and absorbing advice on writing from some of modern history’s most celebrated writers, here comes some priceless and pricelessly …

Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity

The third volume of Anaïs Nin’s diaries has been on heavy rotation in recent weeks, yielding Nin’s thoughtful and timeless meditations on life, mass movements, Paris vs. New York, what makes a great city, and the joy of handicraft.<p>The subsequent installment, <b>The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947</b> …

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing and His Daily Creative Routine

After David Ogilvy’s wildly popular 10 tips on writing and a selection of advice from modernity’s greatest writers, here comes some from the prolific writer and painter <b>Henry Miller</b> (December 26, 1891–June 7, 1980)<p>In 1932-1933, while working on what would become his first published novel, <i>Tropic of</i> …

The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses: Walter Benjamin’s Timeless Advice on Writing

<i>“Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open,”</i> Stephen King advised. <i>“Do back exercises,”</i> Margaret Atwood suggested. <i>“Know everything about adjectives and punctuation, have moral intelligence,”</i> Susan Sontag counseled. Each accomplished author seems to have a different secret to the craft …

Italo Calvino on Writing: Selected Wisdom from a Lifetime of Letters

Culled from the 600+ pages of <b>Italo Calvino: Letters, 1941-1985</b> (<i>public library</i>) — the same fantastic recently released tome that gave us Calvino’s prescient meditation on abortion and the meaning of life — are the beloved author’s collected insights on writing spanning more than four decades of his …

The Secret to Learning Anything: Albert Einstein’s Advice to His Son

Here comes a fine addition to history’s greatest letters of fatherly advice from none other than <b>Albert Einstein</b> (March 14, 1879–April 18 1955) — brilliant physicist, proponent of peace, debater of science and spirituality, champion of kindness — who was no stranger to dispensing epistolary …