GQ&A: Kobe Bryant

Do you ever think that the qualities that make you great are actually problems?

Oh, yeah. But the things that make a person average are also problems. The things that make someone not good at anything at all are a problem. If you want to be the greatest of all-time at something, there’s going to be a negative side to that.

GQ&A: Kobe Bryant

Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 158, Shelby Foote

On research and not being tooooo organized:

I’ve never had anything resembling a secretary or a research assistant. I don’t want those. Each time I type, it gives me another shot at it, another look at it. As for research, I can’t begin to tell you the things I discovered while I was looking for something else. A research assistant couldn’t have done that. Not being a trained historian, I had botherations that led to good things. For instance, I didn’t take careful notes while reading. Then I’d get to something and I’d say, By golly, there’s something John Rawlins said at that time that’s real important. Where did I see it? Then I would remember that it was in a book with a red cover, close to the middle of the book, on the right-hand side and one third from the top of the page. So I’d spend an hour combing through all my red-bound books. I’d find it eventually, but I’d also find a great many other things in the course of the search.

Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 158, Shelby Foote

Vanguard after the Revolution: Bill James sparked a baseball insurrection, but he has regrets about the world he wrought

Vanguard after the Revolution: Bill James sparked a baseball insurrection, but he has regrets about the world he wrought

For Arianna Huffington and Kobe Bryant: First, Success. Then Sleep. – NYTimes.com

Kobe Bryant: Exactly. I’ll give you an example. When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?

Arianna Huffington: That’s amazing.

KB: Inspiration surrounds us.

Maybe it was a cheetah named Dirk Nowitzki. Also really interesting in this interview: both of them weaning themselves from the “I only need {{very small number}} hours of sleep” lie. They both wised up and made changes to sleep more.

For Arianna Huffington and Kobe Bryant: First, Success. Then Sleep. – NYTimes.com

15 Questions for San Antonio’s Matt Bonner

15 Questions for San Antonio’s Matt Bonner

Don’t focus too much on this idea that your influences will be similar to people whose films you admire. In fact, it’s really the opposite: You like people who are doing something completely different, and it’s very relaxing to you because they’re dealing with all kinds of problems you don’t have to deal with.

M: Roger Angell, A Hall-of-Famer at 93

I don’t go for nostalgia. I try not to. It’s so easy to sentimentalize the good old days, but I don’t ever do that. I’m aware that things have changed, but I try not to go there. It’s very easy, and you get sort of a mental diabetes.

I also liked this:

If you do enough reporting, then you don’t have to gush about the emerald field, the white streak of the ball, and that.

M: Roger Angell, A Hall-of-Famer at 93

Kanye West

I was a music producer, and everyone was telling me that I had no business becoming a rapper, so it gave me the opportunity to tell everyone, “Hey, I need some time to recover.” But during that recovery period, I just spent all my time honing my craft and making The College Dropout. Without that period, there would have been so many phone calls and so many people putting pressure on me from every direction—so many people I somehow owed something to—and I would have never had the time to do what I wanted to.

Kanye West

Jerry Seinfeld on how to be funny without sex and swearing

And:

To this day, Seinfeld still marks crosses on a calendar, keeping regular hours (albeit relaxed ones: most days, he says, he’ll meet a friend for a two-hour breakfast) and spending 20 minutes a day doing Transcendental Meditation, which is the only topic to jolt him from his default nonchalance into real enthusiasm: “I could do the whole interview about TM, to be honest, but we’d just lose everybody. I’ll describe it very simply: it’s like you have a phone, and somebody gives you a charger for it. And so now you can recover from this exhausting experience of being a human, twice a day. It’s deep rest. Now that’s something that can help people. As opposed to this idiotic calendar thing.”

Jerry Seinfeld on how to be funny without sex and swearing

Critical thinking #4: Daniel Mendelsohn

I always tease them at the beginning of the semester about their writing—I say, “Whenever you write me at 11 o’clock on a Thursday night begging me for an extension on the paper, the prose is always so beautiful and the email is so wonderfully structured.” It’s a joke, but it’s also not a joke—in that situation they understand the rhetoric of the form to which they’re committing themselves: They understand who they are as a writer and a beseecher, they understand who I am as the person in charge, they understand what evidence to adduce in their favour—their dog died, their computer broke or whatever. Which is why the email begging for the paper extension is always a well-written piece. But whenever they have to write three paragraphs about women in Genesis or whatever—when they have to make an argument—it’s basically “word salad,” because they’ve never read anything that presents a text, wrestles with it and comes up with some conclusions. For that reason, I think it’s better that they should be reading Pauline Kael reviews in the New Yorker than Derrida.

Filed under: Daniel Mendelsohn.

Critical thinking #4: Daniel Mendelsohn