“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” We have lost Nelson Mandela, unequaled patron saint of equality, peace, and human rights.
“Few things in life are as solid as they seem.” When she was give years old, Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley, born Vera Buchthal, fled Nazi Germany as a child refugee, escaping certain death and plunging into a life that would show her a quieter yet oppressively persistent kind of discrimination and injustice.
Imaginative maps, illuminating infographics, literary cats, vintage Soviet propaganda, Gertrude Stein’s favorite objects, and other treats for eye and spirit.
“Grief, when it comes, is nothing like we expect it to be.” “To lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago,” Montaigne wrote in his 16th-century essay on death and the art of living.
“Creative fantasy, because it is mainly trying to do something else … may open your hoard and let all the locked things fly away like cage-birds.” “I do not believe that I have ever written a children’s book,” the great Maurice Sendak once said in an interview.
“An artist who followed the logic of the machine to its comic climax.” Among history’s people who became nouns is American cartoonist Rube Goldberg (July 4, 1883 – December 7, 1970), legendary inventor of the eponymous chain reaction machines that now bear the status of pop culture tropes.
Find the best writers, pay them to write, and avoid typos at all costs. Recent discussions of why writing for free commodifies creative work reminded me of an old letter Ernest Hemingway sent to his friends Ernest Walsh and Ethel Moorhead when they were about to launch This Quarter — the influential experimental Paris-based literary journal that would go on to publish work by such greats as James Joyce, Ezra Pound, Kay Boyle, William Carlos Williams, Marcel Duchamp, Rainer Maria Rilke, Herman Hesse, Thomas Mann, and Hemingway himself over the course of its run between 1925 and 1932.
“Even after thirteen thousand years, avocado is clueless that the great mammals are gone.” In any market economy, it’s common sense that as soon as the consumer for a certain product ceases to exist, the product itself becomes moot and soon vanishes from stores.
“The young-old polarization and the male-female polarization are perhaps the two leading stereotypes that imprison people.” “Identity is something that you are constantly earning,” Joss Whedon observed in his fantastic Wesleyan commencement address on our inner contradictions, adding: “It is a process that you must be active in.” But ours is a culture that prefers to make our identities static and confine them to categories, often diametrically opposed to one another, with specific stereotypes attached to each.
Canine humanity from the beloved Gonzo cartoonist. After the ceaselessly delightful Big New Yorker Book of Dogs, John Homans’s poignant What’s a Dog For?
“It’s a wonderful idea: thoroughly conscious ignorance.” “Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind,” I reflected in the first of my 7 life lessons from 7 years of Brain Pickings — a notion hardly original and largely essential in life, yet one oh so difficult to adopt and embody.
A graphic novel “meant to be heard in the mind.” Over the past century, illustrations and riffs on Edgar Allan Poe have ranged from Harry Clarke’s stunning 1919 illustrations to today’s parodic Amazon reviews and literary action figures.
How to think like Sherlock Holmes, stay sane, make better mistakes, master the pace of productivity, find fulfilling work, and more.
“How to pursue the art of living has become the great quandary of our age… The future of the art of living can be found by gazing into the past.” “He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth,” Goethe famously proclaimed.
How a remarkable woman, at once mythical and legendary, saw herself. Almost a century before Mondrian made his iconic red, yellow, and blue geometric compositions, and around the time that Edward Livingston Youmans was creating his stunning chemistry diagrams, an eccentric 19th-century civil engineer and mathematician named Oliver Byrne produced a striking series of vibrant diagrams in primary colors for a 1847 edition of the legendary Greek mathematical treatise Euclid’s Elements.
From scientific miracles to literary criticism, by way of bodily functions and failures of common sense.
A visual taxonomy of lives and literary greatness. Almost as contentious as the questions of what the greatest books of all time are and what makes a classic is the question of what goes into the making of a literary masterpiece.
Not being American, I’ve always experienced Thanksgiving with an ambivalent blend of self-conscious alienation and genuine excitement over the opportune excuse to express gratitude for what makes life worth living.
“People react primarily to direct experience and not to abstractions; it is very rare to find anyone who can become emotionally involved with an abstraction.” In the spring of 1965, the physicist and prolific author Jeremy Bernstein wrote a short piece for The New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” about of 37-year-old director Stanley Kubrick, who was accelerating towards the zenith of his cultural acclaim after releasing Lolita and Dr.
The meaning of human existence in five lines. Given my soft spot for big thinkers’ answers to young people’s questions about life, I was thrilled when reader Dave Anderson shared the story of his mother’s exchange with none other than Albert Einstein.