Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.
~Peter F. Drucker
Peter F. Drucker (born November 19, 1909) was a management consultant, educator, and author, whose prolific outpouring of books for more than half a century served as guideposts for the business world. His best-known works include The Effective Executive, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, The Practice of Management, and Concept of the Corporation. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.
The nicest veterans…the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who’d really fought.
It’s Veterans Day and Kurt Vonnegut’s birthday. The bestselling author of Slaughterhouse-Five (born November 11, 1922) drew on his experiences during World War II to craft his satirical antiwar novel. He had been captured by the Germans and survived the firebombing of Dresden—an event that appears in the book. Among his other popular works are Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions, and God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
It is my belief that books are living things…. And as living things, they need to be protected.
Holly Black (born November 10, 1971) is a bestselling author of fantasy fiction for children and teens, including the Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, and the Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi). In 2008, the Spiderwick Chronicles was adapted into a film.
The great thing about being a writer is that you are always re-creating yourself.
~Martin Cruz Smith
Martin Cruz Smith (born November 3, 1942) is a bestselling mystery novelist known for his series featuring Russian investigator Arkady Renko (titles include Gorky Park, Red Square, and Stalin’s Ghost). He never rereads his books after they’re published. “All I see is shortcomings and errors,” he says. Early in his career he used various pseudonyms, transforming himself multiple times, with names like Simon Quinn, Nick Carter, and Jake Logan.
Unlike baked beans, loaves of breads or Fuji apples, books once consumed, do not disappear.
John Sutherland (born October 9, 1938) has built a distinguished career as a British academic scholar specializing in Victorian fiction. He’s taught at schools like University College London and Caltech, written regular columns for The Guardian, and produced popular works on literary history (So You Think You Know Jane Austen?) in addition to titles that celebrate his lifelong passion (How to Read a Novel). His autobiography is called The Boy Who Loved Books—which simply says it all.
Creativity requires a state of grace. So many things are required for it to succeed.
Magda Szabó (born October 5, 1917) was a prominent Hungarian writer, known for her poetry, plays, and novels that attracted a wide readership even as she faced censorship under Stalin’s communist government. She received numerous literary prizes during a career that produced popular works like Abigél, Old-Fashioned Story, Mural, The Fawn, Honey-Cake for Cerberus, and the memoir Für Elise. She was married to the writer and translator Tibor Szobotka, and The Door—written in 1987—is modeled after events in her own life.
A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
Will Self (born September 26, 1961) is an English novelist and TV personality who is married to the Scottish journalist Deborah Orr. He’s best known for his novel Dorian, which reimagines Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and his novel Umbrella, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2012. As a journalist, his writing has appeared in The Guardian, The New York Times, and GQ, among other publications.
Ideas aren’t magical; the only tricky part is holding on to one long enough to get it written down.
Lynn Abbey (born September 18, 1948) studied astrophysics and European history in college before becoming a computer programmer. But encouraged by sci-fi writer Gordon Dickson, she returned to her childhood love—storytelling—and produced her first book, Daughter of the Bright Moon. The sci-fi/fantasy author went on to write for and coedit (with her then-husband, author Robert Asprin) the Thieves’ World series, and she has published many other novels.
It is easy to crush an enemy outside oneself but impossible to defeat an enemy within.
Japanese novelist Eiji Yoshikawa (born August 11, 1892) is best known for his historical work Musashi, a vivid account of the life of a samurai. The author’s real name was Yoshikawa Hidetsugu, and primary school was the extent of his formal education. But he went on to write more books on Japanese historical figures, and he won major awards and was highly regarded for his literary achievements, historical knowledge, and psychological insight.
Serious literature does not exist to make life easy but to complicate it.
Polish novelist and playwright Witold Gombrowicz (born August 4, 1904) produced works that examined humanity from a psychological standpoint and were considered forerunners of the genre known as Theatre of the Absurd. His first novel, Ferdydurke, exposed the fundamental immaturity of people. Gombrowicz had trained as a lawyer at the University of Warsaw, and throughout his life he didn’t hesitate to challenge established opinions.