Human beings of any age need to approve of themselves; the bad times in history come when they cannot.
Barbara W. Tuchman
Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara W. Tuchman (born January 30, 1912) created her own law of historical research. Tuchman’s Law—first coined in her 1978 book, A Distant Mirror—is a psychological principle of “subjective probability” that leads chroniclers of history to depict events’ negative effects as being much more pervasive than they might actually be.
There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.
Happy birthday, Stephen Chbosky! The American author spent five years thinking about the main plot ideas that would lead him to write The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The main character, Charlie, is loosely based on himself, and “countless details” in the novel are taken from his own adolescence.
There are shortcuts to happiness and dancing is one of them!
Shortly after writing her internationally bestselling Grand Hotel, Austrian novelist Vicki Baum (born January 24, 1888) took up boxing. She trained with Turkish prizefighter Sabri Mahir and sparred with both men and women.
Swords can win territories but not hearts, forces can bend heads but not minds.
Mirza Tahir Ahmad
Mirza Tahir Ahmad (born December 18, 1928) popularized unique Question & Answer sessions during his reign as Caliph. He welcomed questions from people all over the world and took particular pride in answering without assistance or prior preparation.
December 6, 1902: On this day, James Joyce told his family about his marvelous London adventure with William Butler Yeats. The Dublin novelist was most impressed by the fact that Yeats had insisted on paying for everything.
A book too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.
On her 40th birthday, Madeleine L’Engle (born November 29, 1918) tried to give up writing. She was drowning in rejection letters and unable to help support her family. The writing break didn’t last long, though—L’Engle couldn’t stop jotting down her ideas. Five years later, she finally found success with her beloved science fiction classic, A Wrinkle in Time.
Nothing whets the intelligence more than a passionate suspicion, nothing develops all the faculties of an immature mind more than a trail running away into the dark.
Jewish Austrian novelist Stefan Zweig (born November 28, 1881) had his celebrated literary career cut short by Hitler’s rise to power. To escape persecution, he fled his home country—briefly living in England and America before settling in Petrópolis, a German-colonized mountain town in Brazil.
I’m a candle flame that sways in currents of air you can’t see. You need to be the one who steadies me to burn.
South African writer Nadine Gordimer (born November 20, 1923) was heavily involved in the anti-apartheid movement. She helped Nelson Mandela edit his famous speech “I Am Prepared to Die”—and when Mandela was finally released from prison, she was one of the first people he asked to see.
A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.
Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren (born November 14, 1907) created her most famous character, Pippi Longstocking, to amuse her young daughter. Today Lindgren is the third most translated children’s book author after Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimm brothers.
See, the world is full of things more powerful than us. But if you know how to catch a ride, you can go places,
Happy birthday, Neal Stephenson! The Snow Crash writer is actively involved in turning science fiction into science fact. In 2014, tech startup Magic Leap hired the author as Chief Futurist to aid in the development of their augmented reality devices.