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, the genius of dogs, and more, and more.
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9 Rules for Success by British Novelist Amelia E. Barr, 1901
"Genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do badly."
The secret of success – like its very definition – remains amorphous and forever elusive. For Thoreau, it was a matter of greeting each day with joy; for Jad Abumrad, it comes after some necessary "gut churn"; for Jackson Pollock's dad, it was about being fully awake to the world; for entrepreneur Paul Graham, it's about purpose rather than prestige; for designer Paula Scher, it means beginning every day with a capacity for growth. But perhaps, above all, success is about defining it yourself.
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Still, those who have succeed – by their own definition, as well as history's – might be able to glean some insight into the inner workings of accomplishment. From the 1901 volume How They Succeeded: Life Stories of Successful Men Told by Themselves (pub lic lib rary; pub lic domain) comes a wonderful essay by British novelist Amelia E. Barr (1831-1919) who, the despite devastating loss of her husband and three of their six children to yellow fever in 1867, went on to become a dedicated and diligent writer, eventually reaching critical success at the age of fifty-two.
What Makes a Great Essay?
Yan Nascimbene: Stunning Illustrations of Italo Calvino Classics . "Memory is dialogic and arises not only from direct experience b ut from the intercourse of many minds. Ray Bradbury's case for perseverance in the face of rejection. No opposition must be taken to heart." We learn to do things by doing them. in order to take a longer leap forward." No disappointment must discourage."The things that are most lasting and edifying are the things that lodge in the b rain most deeply. 3. 2. Plagiarism. One of the great secrets of success is "pegging away. enjoyab le." 1. Men and women succeed because they take pains to succeed. echoing some familiar themes – Tchaikovsky's insistence on work ethic over inspiration. They make determination and unity of purpose supply the place of ability." Barr offers nine tips for success. Industry and patience are almost genius. and a run back must often be allowed." Neurologist Oliver Sacks on Memory. and the Necessary Forgettings of Creativity At the end of her essay. Our enemies often help us more than our RIP. and fun. under a section titled "Words of Counsel. and successful people are often more distinguished for resolution and perseverance than for unusual gifts. Success is the reward of those who "spurn delights and live laborious days. which means they are emotional. the importance of having a good routine and working with joy. and the necessary reminder that success requires a deliberate investment of effort and good writing takes time.
An Addict of Experience: Sylvia Plath's Sexual Repression and Class Struggle A journey into "what compelled Plath to peek over the edge and stare into the ab yss of the human psyche. Slatternly work is never good work." 6. One of the great helps to success is to be cheerful. or we go empty away. This world is run with far too tight a rein for luck to interfere. to watch for opportunities. but whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing with consideration. untidy. but I think better of Oliver Cromwell's amendment – "make the iron hot by striking it. Who ever got anywhere in a dead calm? 4. or there is some radical defect in the intellect. I am a lawyer. are made to feel what people think of them. 5. We have been told. and who yet said. to go to work with a full sense of life. and without clearness and order. or a gentleman. in defiance of offensive demerit. we pay for her favors.friends. Go into details. In some form or other. for centuries. For genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do badly. Everything good needs time. The Shrinking of Treehorn: An Edward Gorey Illustrated Gem. Fortune sells her wares. Very good. Don't do work in a hurry. 7. I have had many letters from people who wanted all the emoluments and honors of literature. Apparent success may be reached by sheer impudence. a head-wind is better than no wind. Charlatanry may flourish. She is a mistress who demands the whole heart. or a doctor. there is no beatitude for the despairing. Besides. I would distrust even the spiritual life of one whose methods and work were dirty. but when its bay tree is greenest. it pays in every way. or a lady. to prevail over them and to get the mastery." . 1971 The unusual story of a little b oy who grows littler. Above all things else. Be orderly. she never gives them. and the whole time of a devotee. and to strike while the iron is hot. 8. A fatal mistake is to imagine that success is some stroke of luck. be cheerful. But men who get what they are manifestly unfit for. the whole intellect. it is held far lower than genuine Meditations on life in philosophical watercolors." Literature is no accident. It is either affectation. Mediocrity is always in a rush. sensitiveness at moments of trial. Never be above your profession. Time means power for your work. to be determined to put hindrances out of the way. "Literature is the accident of my life. Don't fail through defects of temper and over9.
For more of history's timeless wisdom on writing. Margaret Atwood's 10 practical tips. How Cinelli Revolutionized the Art and Design of the Bicycle My Brother's Book: Maurice Sendak's Posthumous Love Letter to the World "Because love is so enormous. The world is just. The foundations of my success were laid before I can well remember. Zadie Smith's 10 rules of writing. Pictures from Italy: A Whimsical Early Travelogue by Dickens. it was after at least fortyfive years of conscious labor that I reached the object of my hope. rather than b ehind nations. P." A visual history of how Italian designer Cino Cinelli shaped the standards for modern cycling.effort. It is better to have the opportunity of victory. Kurt Vonnegut's 8 keys to the power of the written word. David Ogilvy's 10 no-bullshit tips. Many a time my head failed me. John Steinbeck's 6 pointers. Blake. Now. my heart never failed me. thank God. Scott Fitzgerald's letter to his daughter. Newly Illustrated . Lovecraft's advice to aspiring writers. We have b ecome more than nation states – we are corporation states. half a century after his iconic Where The Wild Things Are comes My Brother's Book (pub lic lib rary. but it never puts them on a level with true men. illustrated in vibrant. and the music of Mozart. it does. infinitely warm heart. :: READ FULL ARTICLE :: Obey: How the Rise of Mass Propaganda Killed Populism We unite b ehind b rands. and Susan Sontag's synthesized learnings. little-known illustrator of velveteen rabbits. UK) – a bittersweet posthumous farewell to the world. In fact. than to be spared the struggle. patronize quacks. Keats. b ehind celeb rities. for success comes but as the result of arduous experience. my feet failed me. Jack Kerouac's 30 beliefs and techniques. my hands failed me. infinitely witty mind – his death in 2012 was one of the year's greatest heartaches. the only thing you can think of doing is swallowing the person that you love entirely. F." For those of us who loved legendary children's book author Maurice Sendak – famed creator of wild things. a foreword by Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt reveals the book is based on the Bard's "A Winter's Tale. dreamsome watercolors and written in verse inspired by some of Sendak's lifelong influences: Shakespeare. Neil Gaiman's 8 rules. it may. see H. Henry Miller's 11 commandments. but.
a longtime close friend of Sendak's and one of his most heartfelt mourners. but Sendak fans were quick to honor both historic moments with a bittersweet homage. the only thing you can think of doing is swallowing the person that you love entirely. psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn.A b eautiful modern resurrection of the author's lesser-known early work. space travel. the story is also about the love of Sendak's life and his partner of fifty years. Playwright Tony Kushner. devouring – because love is so enormous. the theme of all-consuming love manifests viscerally in Sendak's books. sub mersib le warfare. whose prolonged illness and eventual loss in 2007 devastated Sendak – the character of Guy reads like a poetic fusion of Sendak and Glynn. it is in equal measure a private love letter to Glynn. Why Birds Sing There's a lot of consuming and devouring and eating in Maurice's books.) Indeed. Jack and Guy. you know. Though on the surface about the beloved author's own brother Jack." as NPR's Renee Montagne suggests in Morning Edition. And I think that when people play with kids. Science vs. torn asunder when a falling star crashes onto Earth. and fuel cells. And while the story might be a universal "love letter to those who have gone before. romance. Jules Verne: Prophet of Science Fiction It tells the story of two brothers. tells NPR: How the father of science fiction presaged airplanes. or how evolutionary theory holds up against poetry and . (Sendak passed away the day before President Obama announced his support for same-sex marriage. there's a lot of fake ferocity and threats of. who died 18 years ago.
philosophy. Love in the Age of Data: How One Woman Hacked Her Way to Happily Ever After Reverse-engineering the algorithms of romance. tender and poignant in its posthumous light: And Jack slept safe Enfolded in his brother's arms And Guy whispered 'Good night And you will dream of me. The Science of Which Came First. one picky data point at a time. Animated What the ancient protochicken has to do with how wolves b ecame dogs. Stephen King on Gun Control and Violence My Brother's Book ends on a soul-stirring note. the Chicken or the Egg.' :: READ FULL ARTICLE :: .
not lower them down. White advocated for the responsibility of the writer to "to lift people up. and "Gut Churn": Jad Abumrad on the Secrets of Creative Success Our stories give shape to our inchoate. They bring together the past and the future into the present to provide us with structures for working towards our goals." How To Make Great Radio: An Illustrated Guide Starring Ira Glass . though. UK). Will waste. when thou yield’st to me. Perhaps we have evolved like this so that we are able to tell the younger generation about the stories and experiences that have formed us which may be important to subsequent generations if they are to thrive. as this flea’s death took life from thee. Perry goes on to cite research indicating that people who watch television for more than four hours a day see themselves as far more likely to fall victim in a violent incident in the forthcoming week than their peers who watch less than two hours a day. At the heart of Perry's argument – in line with neurologist Oliver Sacks's recent meditation on memory and how "narrative truth. As we get older it is our short-term memory that fades rather than our long-term memory.How To Stay Sane: The Art of Revising Your Inner Storytelling "Our stories give shape to our inchoate. … We are primed to use stories. about what might happen to our minds if most of the stories we hear are about greed. nonself-helpy." so too is our responsibility as the writers of our own life-stories to avoid the welldocumented negativity bias of modern media – because." shapes our impression of the world – is the recognition that stories make us human and learning to reframe our interpretations of reality is key to our experience of life: "Assault weapons will remain readily availab le to crazy people until the powerful progun forces … accept responsib ility." Jack Kerouac professed in discussing his writing routine. fleeting impressions of everyday life. Storytelling." "[I] pray to Jesus to preserve my sanity. most importantly. part of The School of Life's wonderful series reclaiming the traditional self-help genre as intelligent. war and atrocity. They give us a sense of identity and. Richard Burton Reads John Donne's Poem "The Flea" "Just so much honor." Science. disparate. Part of our survival as a species depended upon listening to the stories of our tribal elders as they shared parables and passed down their experience and the wisdom of those who went before. "you are a mashup of what you let into your life. disparate." rather than "historical truth. yet immensely helpful guides to modern living." Perry writes: "I don't think change can b e planned – I think it's only something that can b e recognized after the fact. That's precisely what writer and psychotherapist Philippa Perry offers in How To Stay Sane (pub lic lib rary. fleeting impressions of everyday life. But those of us who fall on the more secular end of the spectrum might need a slightly more potent sanity-preservation tool than prayer. recognizing that responsib ility is not the same as culpab ility. as artist Austin Kleon wisely put it." On diving head-first into the unknown. I worry. Just like E. serve to integrate the feelings of our right brain with the language of our left. B.
Yet despite the adaptive optimism bias of the human brain. Perry argues a positive outlook is a practice – and one that requires mastering the art of vulnerability and increasing our essential tolerance for uncertainty: You may find that you have been telling yourself that practicing optimism is a risk. radio can b e as emotional. somehow. […] Optimism does not mean continual happiness. as though.Be careful which stories you expose yourself to. It is too easy for us to fall into the rap of believing that being right is more important than being open to what might be. as funny and as satisfying as the b est motion pictures or television shows. we might find that our thinking belongs to an older. and different. Perry concludes: Why We Write: Mary Karr on the Magnetism and Madness of the Written Word We need to look at the repetitions in the stories we tell ourselves [and] at the process of the stories rather than merely their surface content. Then we process further evidence not with an open mind but with a filter. Morality. … The trouble is. entwined with our damaging fear of the unfamiliar. if we do not have a mind that is used to hearing good news." We all like to think we keep an open mind and can change our opinions in the light of new evidence. it can b e used against truth as well as for it. The trick is to increase your tolerance for vulnerable feelings. only acknowledging the evidence that backs up our original impression. will have an impact on how optimistic you are: it's how we evolved. … I am not advocating the kind of optimism that means you blow all your savings on a horse running at a hundred to one. story to the one we are now living. Then we can begin to experiment with changing the filter "Be willing to b e a child and b e the Lilliputian in the world of Gulliver. a positive attitude will invite disaster and so if you practice optimism it may increase your feelings of vulnerability. and the stories you hear. … If you do not know how to draw positive meaning from what happens in life. When I talk about the desirability of optimism I do not mean that we should delude ourselves about reality. If we practice detachment from our thoughts we learn to observe them as though we are taking a bird's eye view of our own thinking. the neural pathways you need to appreciate good news will never fire up. but most of us seem to be geared to making up our minds very quickly. glazed eyes and a fixed grin. and Science "Passive resistance is a force which is not necessarily moral in itself. we do not have the neural pathways to process such news. I am talking about being optimistic enough to sow some seeds in the hope that some of them will germinate and grow into flowers." . rather than avoid them altogether. Perry cautions: "When correctly harnessed. Another key obstruction to our sanity is our chronic aversion to being wrong. When we do this. But practicing optimism does mean focusing more on the positive fall-out of an event than on the negative." The Mahatma and the Poet: Tagore's Letters to Gandhi on Power. … The meanings you find.
UK. :: READ FULL ARTICLE :: How Chemistry Works: Gorgeous Vintage Science Diagrams. start to edit the story and thus regain flexibility where we have been getting stuck. hard things. poor dear fellow. I can honestly report that he went away. Scott Fitzgerald. and (Harry said) had broken down in the railway carriage after leaving Higham station." History has given us its fair share of deeply moving letters of fatherly advice. 1854 A Timeless Letter of Advice from Charles Dickens to His Youngest Son "Never take a mean advantage of anyone in any transaction. Dickens recounts the parting scene: Illustrated retro reactions from the father of Popular Science.through which we look at the world. God bless him! . He was pale. but they might have to be done without means or influence. found in The Letters of Charles Dickens (pub lic lib rary. When his youngest and favorite son. Edward Bulwer Lytton. chief among them gems by Sherwood Anderson. but not painfully. pub lic domain). and then they would be far harder. Ted Hughes. John Steinbeck. Just before the train started he cried a good deal. F. Complement How To Stay Sane with radical psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich's 1948 list of the six rules for creative sanity. and never be hard upon people who are in your power. but only for a short time." left for Australia on September 26th of 1868 to attend university. In a letter to his wife. and Jackson Pollock's dad. Dickens had an unexpectedly strong emotional reaction to his departure – as did the boy. as well as could possibly be expected. … These are hard. and had been crying. nicknamed Plorn and often referred to by his father as "the noble Plorn" and "the darling Plorn. But count on the great Charles Dickens – born 201 years ago this week – to raise the bar with unparalleled tenderness and wisdom.
It is my comfort and my sincere conviction that you are going to try the life for which you are best fitted. I think its freedom and wildness more suited to you than any experiment in a study or office would ever have been. But this life is half made up of partings. Eventually.Edward 'Plorn' Dickens On October 4th. It was a hard parting at the last. I write this note to-day because your going away is much upon my mind. he laments: I find myself constantly thinking of Plorn. . you could have followed no other suitable occupation. and these pains must be borne. very sorry in my heart to part with you. I need not tell you that I love you dearly. on Christmas day that year. and am very. Dickens can hardly contain his sadness in a letter to his good friend Charles Fechter: Poor Plorn is gone to Australia. he pens Plorn this beautiful and timeless letter of advice: My dearest Plorn. and because I want you to have a few parting words from me to think of now and then at quiet times. and I did not think I could have been so shaken. He seemed to me to become once more my youngest and favourite little child as the day drew near. And on October 11th. and without that training.
that you had a kind father. You will therefore understand the better that I now most solemnly impress upon you the truth and beauty of the Christian religion. Your affectionate Father. I was not so old as you are now when I first had to win my food. I therefore exhort you to persevere in a thorough determination to do whatever you have to do as well as you can do it. the less we are disposed to hold forth about it. I have written to each such words as I am now writing to you. and I have never slackened in it since. I hope you will always be able to say in after life.What you have already wanted until now has been a set. and with the very same hopes that made me write an easy account of it for you. than that you should. and the impossibility of your going far wrong if you humbly but heartily respect it. I have always been anxious not to weary my children with such things before they are old enough to form opinions respecting them. or make him so happy. as by doing your duty. as you would have them do to you. one by one. Never take a mean advantage of anyone in any transaction. when you were a little child. Only one thing more on this head. and do not be discouraged if they fail sometimes. and never be hard upon people who are in your power. Never abandon the wholesome practice of saying your own private prayers. and do this out of this determination. The more we are in earnest as to feeling it. and I know the comfort of it. because it is the best book that ever was or will be known in the world. You will remember that you have never at home been wearied about religious observances or mere formalities. I put a New Testament among your books. and because it teaches you the best lessons by which any human creature who tries to be truthful and faithful to duty can possibly be guided. Try to do to others. for the very same reasons. night and morning. I have never abandoned it myself. :: READ FULL ARTICLE :: The Genius of Dogs: A Dimensional Definition of Human Intelligence . constant purpose. and have entreated them all to guide themselves by this book. putting aside the interpretations and inventions of men. steady. as it came from Christ Himself. You cannot show your affection for him so well. As your brothers have gone away. It is much better for you that they should fail in obeying the greatest rule laid down by our Saviour.
who all dropped out of college and became billionaires. But they do not measure the full capabilities of each person. photographic admiration. and so dear to us? Despite the mind-numbing title. evolutionary anthropologist and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center. from how the self-domestication of dogs gave them a new kind of social intelligence to what the minds of dogs reveal about our own. scientific curiosity. . GREs. In fact. Barr. In examining the definition of genius. They do not explain Ted Turner. and even some cutting-edge data visualization. tests such as IQ tests. But what is it that makes dogs so special in and of themselves. Hare echoes British novelist Amelia E. and analytical abilities."Genius means that someone can be gifted with one type of cognition while being average or below average in another. dogs have inspired a wealth of art and literature. The tests are favored because on average." Hare points out that standardized tests provide a very narrow – and thus poor – definition of genius: As you probably remember. Bill Gates. UK) by Brian Hare. Ralph Lauren. deeply personal letters." For much of modern history. and SATs focus on basic skills like reading. The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think (pub lic lib rary. who wisely noted in 1901 that "genius is nothing more nor less than doing well what anyone can do b adly. and Vanessa Woods offers a fascinating tour of radical research on canine cognition. one of the most compelling parts of the book has less to do with dogs and more with genius itself. they predict scholastic success. profound philosophical meditations. and Mark Zuckerberg. writing.
the sixties. Hare offers a conception of genius that borrows from Howard Gardner's seminal 1983 theory of multiple intelligences: A cognitive approach is about celebrating different kinds of intelligence.Instead. Instead of the brain being either more or less full of intelligence. the brain is more like a computer. like a computer. her extraordinary understanding of animals has allowed her to reduce the stress of millions of farm animals. at Colorado State University. and has done more for animal welfare than almost anyone.keyboards. Hare points to reconstructionist Temple Grandin: Temple Grandin. For a perfect example. a processor helps digest and alter the information into a usable format. The cognitive revolution changed the way we think about intelligence. Genius means that someone can be gifted with one type of cognition while being average or below average in another. like a glass of wine. many parts of the brain are specialized for solving different . USB ports. and modems bring in new information from the environment. Although Grandin struggles to read people's emotions and social cues. It began in the decade that all social revolutions seemed to have happened. including Animals Make Us Human. while a hard drive stores important information for later use. where different parts work together. is autistic yet is also the author of several books. Rapid advances in computer technology allowed scientists to think differently about the brain and how it solves problems. Neuroscientists realized that.
If you have a good memory in one of these areas. we usually think of geniuses as people who have an extraordinary memory for facts and figures. There is memory for events. since such people often score off the charts on IQ tests. there are different types of memory. which we already know is fascinating in its fallibility: One of the best-studied cognitive abilities is memory. faces. it does not necessarily mean your other types of memory are equally good. In fact.types of problems. But just as there are different types of intelligence. An example of this comes from the study of memory. . things that occurred recently or long ago – the list goes on. navigation.
the notion of multiple intelligences is what informs the research on dog cognition: There are many definitions of intelligence competing for attention in popular culture.) . A mental skill that is strong compared with others. including humans – has two criteria: 1. either within your own species or in closely related species. But the definition that has guided my research and that applies throughout the book is a very simple one. (This second criterion comes strikingly close to famous definitions of creativity. 2. for that matter.Ultimately. The ability to spontaneously make inferences. The genius of dogs – of all animals.
and Politics of Man’s Best Friend. and the unique ways in which they go about asking for help. :: READ FULL ARTICLE :: . Science. Pair it with John Homans's indispensable What’s a Dog For?: The Surprising History.The Genius of Dogs goes on to explore the specific types of intelligence at which dogs excel. Philosophy. including their empathic acumen of taking another's visual perspective and learning from another's actions. their ability to interpret and act upon human communicative gestures.
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