Nabokov on Inspiration and the Six Short Stories Everyone Should Read

From brain pickings:

“A prefatory glow, not unlike some benign variety of the aura before an epileptic attack, is something the artist learns to perceive very early in life.”

For me, whatever part of artist I might be, it came late in life.

Black Swan

Black Swan Theory: “The black swan theory or theory of black swan events is a metaphor that describes an event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight.”


Nassim Nicholas Taleb‘s book on the subject is excellent.

Quote of the day

As Charlie Brown says in a strip, after looking into the vastness of the starry sky, “Let’s go inside and watch television. I’m beginning to feel insignificant.”

From Intelligent Life—The Big Question: What’s the Point?

How Humans Spend Their Time

From Business Insider:

Most human beings get about 75 years of existence.

That’s about 3,900 weeks. Or 27,000 days. Or 648,000 hours.

We spend about a third of those hours sleeping, a number that hasn’t changed much over the centuries.

What has changed is what we do with the remaining time.

As the following two charts show, over the past 150 years, thanks to the irrepressible inventiveness and ingenuity of the human animal, we have engineered a profound shift in what we do with our waking hours.

Check out the charts.

What Book Changed Your Mind?

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:

The Chronicle Review asked 12 scholars what nonfiction book published in the last 30 years has most changed their minds—not merely inspired or influenced their thinking, but profoundly altered the way they regard themselves, their work, the world.

Take a look. I haven’t come to a conclusion on which books “changed my mind.” Although I have favorite non-fiction books that were highly educational and rewarding, becoming more knowledgeable about a subject isn’t quite the same as altering one’s  worldview, e.g. reading Christopher Hitchens, who I’ve enjoyed very much, didn’t make me an atheist.

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