English is a mutt and it’s the best thing. I love dives like this, into the history of a language. Well, at least this one.
Each of us is born with a series of built-in confusions that are probably somehow Darwinian. These are: (1) we’re central to the universe (that is, our personal story is the main and most interesting story, the only story, really); (2) we’re separate from the universe (there’s US and then, out there, all that other junk – dogs and swing-sets, and the State of Nebraska and low-hanging clouds and, you know, other people), and (3) we’re permanent (death is real, o.k., sure – for you, but not for me).
Ray Lewis visits Elon Football Team. Inspirational Speech. The thunder is a nice touch.
When you wake up in the mornings, don’t let your alarm clock be the only thing that wakes you up.
What was very interesting is that the words Tony writes are 90% illegible. He is expressing ideas and scribbling with the marker but does not have time for accuracy. For example, on one slide that I remembered, I saw that the word FINANCE was not even slightly legible, SUCCESS looked like a jumbled signature, then there were lots of swirly lines and arrows. Without the context of Tony, it would have made no sense. But the ideas were conveyed better with the aid of these notes.
Preface otherwise banal life wisdom with “My father once taught me…” (or similar) and it then becomes rich with generational credibility.
I never knew the word was connected with the Spartans. Awesome:
“concise, abrupt,” 1580s, probably via L. Laconicus, from Gk. Lakonikos, from Lakon “person from Lakonia,” the district around Sparta in southern Greece in ancient times, whose inhabitants were famously proud of their brevity of speech. When Philip of Macedon threatened them with, “If I enter Laconia, I will raze Sparta to the ground,” the Spartans’ reply was, “If.”
What can it mean to devote oneself to a discipline that likes to think that it is timeless, that it has cheated the centuries, the millennia?
6. Read obituaries. They are just like biographies, only shorter. They remind us that interesting, successful people rarely lead orderly, linear lives.
7. Your parents don’t want what is best for you. They want what is good for you, which isn’t always the same thing. There is a natural instinct to protect our children from risk and discomfort, and therefore to urge safe choices.
Writers, it seems to me, should write, not make speeches. But speeches, like quasi-journalistic writing assignments, can come attached to plane tickets, to hotel rooms in cities one might never have thought of visiting otherwise. In writing speeches, curiously, one sometimes finds out what one thinks, at that moment, about something. The world at large, say. Or futurity. Or the impossibility of absolutely grasping either. Generally they make me even more uncomfortable to write than articles, but later, back in the place of writing fiction, I often discover that I have been trying to tell myself something.
Until recently, the universal self-actualizing creative ambition was to write a novel. Everyone has a novel in them, it was said. Now the fantasy has changed: Everyone has a TED Talk in them.
“The Magazine’s recent piece on Americanisms entering the language in the UK prompted thousands of you to e-mail examples.” Picky picky.
You can tell when rhetoric is empty — and therefore should be cut — because it would never be possible to say the alternative.
Martin Luther King, Jr. – I’ve Been to the Mountaintop, 3 April 1968, Mason Temple (Church of God in Christ Headquarters) in Memphis, Tennessee. Transcript. What an amazing speaker.
If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern: people allocating fewer and fewer resources to the things they would have once said mattered most.
College is such an amazing time of freedom. For many of you, this is the first time in your life when it’s completely up to you, and you alone, to decide what you study, what activities you engage in, and how you structure your day. One idea I came up with as an undergrad was to try to maintain balance by making sure I engaged in four different types of activities every single day. These were:
-something intellectual (not so difficult at school);
-something physical (like running, biking, a team sport);
-something creative (like music, art, or writing); and
-something social (like lunch with a friend).
It matters a great deal if people have to write out questions in advance, or during the talk, and a moderator then reads out the question. That mechanism improves question quality and cuts down on the first three motives cited. Yet it is rarely used. In part we wish to experience the contrast between the speaker and the erratic questioners and the resulting drama.
I like the second commenter’s suggestion: “Take multiple questions at once. The moderator will take say three questions from three audience members before giving the presenter a chance to answer them one-by-one.”
David Foster Wallace reads Laughing with Kafka, which was later published in Consider the Lobster. Other speakers at the Metamorphosis: A New Kafka symposium included Paul Auster, E.L. Doctorow, Susan Sontag, and David Remnick. (via bibliokept)