Who knew?

This time last year none of us had any idea about most of the important things that 2020 would hold. Do we ever? Here’s to optimistic plans held lightly – to big ideas and humility – for 2021. Happy New Year.

“Led by pleasure and wonder”: Dana Gioia on creating a new generation of readers

You can’t force young people into literature. They need to be led by pleasure and wonder. Creating a new generation of readers is important. When a society loses the capacity to read fiction, it loses one of the most powerful ways by which we grow and refine our inner lives, our understanding of ourselves, and our understanding of other people.…

Colin Marshall: Cultural Nexus / An album a week

I never listened to The Beatles until age thirty-five… it just seemed like, The Beatles are so popular they are the image of a popular, influential band. “I don’t need to listen to the -, other people have taken care of that.” But I realised as I went on, The Beatles are a cultural nexus: if you understand The Beatles…

Recommendation: Better Explained with Kalid Azad

I recently came across Kalid Azad’s Better Explained, and recommend that you check it out. It’s a fantastic resource in itself, and has lots of helpful thoughts about teaching and learning. Developing your Intuition for Math, Prehistoric Calculus (about Pi) and Intuitive Understanding of Sine Waves are great introductions to how he teaches. His main point is that most of…

If they knew what you know (2)

“I’m an imposter. If they knew what I knew I’d never work again.” This may be true. If it is, you’ve got some work to do. (Even if it isn’t you’ve got work to do anyway). At the same time it’s worth bearing in mind that you don’t know what they know or see what they see. It’s possible that…

First from the source, then from the sides: Seth Godin on how change happens

Your wishes are pure, the change is important, and it’s going to make things better. And you probably believe that things would be better if everyone got on board. But everyone won’t. Everyone won’t hear you. They won’t understand you. And most of all, they won’t act. … Sooner or later, the culture changes. But not because you brought everyone…

If they knew what you know (1)

Sometimes it feels awkward to ‘sell’ an idea or product, but persuading people to agree / sign up / buy what you’re selling is fine under the following conditions: You’re respectful: your briefest of pitches is an invitation-to-give-you-an-invitation to share. You avoid interrupting, and ask for permission. You’re honest: you tell the truth about what you’re selling. You believe: you…

Katherine Rundell on learning from children’s books

Children’s books today do still have a ghost of their educative beginnings, but what they are trying to teach us has changed. Children’s novels, to me, spoke, and still speak, of hope. They say: look, this is what bravery looks like. This is what generosity looks like. They tell me, through the medium of wizards and lions and talking spiders,…

Page 37

If you find it hard to give up on a book without a guilty conscience – a sense that you’ve wasted something, neglected a duty, left a job unfinished and one of the windows of your mind ajar – it’s time to start thinking differently. Time spent on a bad book is time wasted. Money spent on bad books is…