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What’s the Story?
A discovery engine for meaningful knowledge, fueled by cross-disciplinary curiosity.
A Brain Pickings project edited by Maria Popova in partnership with Noodle.
Twitter: @explorer
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We now know that 24 hours without sleep, or a week of sleeping four or five hours a night induces an impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .1 percent. We would never say, ‘This person is a great worker! He’s drunk all the time!’ yet we continue to celebrate people who sacrifice sleep for work.
The difference between a Not Writer and a Writer is the difference between someone who *could* write and someone who *does*. A Not Writer is someone who experiences blocks and obstacles and timing issues and lets them prevent him or her from actually writing. A Not Writer may certainly be creative, insightful and capable of writing lyrical prose, but most of the time they’re too busy Not Writing to get any Writing done. That’s such a shame, such a waste, and that’s the reason I so often deploy Tough Love upon those who ask for advice.

Alex Vance considers the problem of the Not-Writer, a fine addition to our ongoing archive on writing.  

The daily routines of famous writers should leave little doubt that the single most important skill in writing is the art of showing up.

If you read one thing today, make it Andrew Sullivan on why friendship is a greater gift than romantic love.

If you read one thing today, make it Andrew Sullivan on why friendship is a greater gift than romantic love.

Happy World Book Day! (As if we need a special dayto love books, but let’s just go with it.) Celebrate with Maira Kalman’s illustrated wisdom. 

Happy World Book Day! (As if we need a special dayto love books, but let’s just go with it.) Celebrate with Maira Kalman’s illustrated wisdom

Upside Down Day – lovely vintage children’s book about those days when nothing seems to be right, penned by the director of NASA’s Public Affairs Office.

Upside Down Day – lovely vintage children’s book about those days when nothing seems to be right, penned by the director of NASA’s Public Affairs Office.

Shake It: A Modern Polaroid Love Story – wonderful radio documentary about our connection with instant photos, featuring Christopher Bonanos, author of the fantastic Instant: The Story of Polaroid., who discusses the many parallels between Polaroid founder Edwin Land and Apple’s Steve Jobs.

Pair with Susan Sontag on how photography enabled “aesthetic consumerism.” 

SoundCloud / modernpolaroidlovestory
The variety of worlds science fiction accustoms us to, through imagination, is training for thinking about the actual changes—sometimes catastrophic, often confusing—that the real world funnels at us year after year. It helps us avoid feeling quite so gob-smacked.
Oh, hello. Steven Pinker's new book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, is now out for pre-order and looks like an absolutely delicious addition to these essential books on writing.

Oh, hello. Steven Pinker's new book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, is now out for pre-order and looks like an absolutely delicious addition to these essential books on writing.

Andrew Sullivan on why friendship is a greater gift than romantic love – such a beautiful and important read.

Andrew Sullivan on why friendship is a greater gift than romantic love – such a beautiful and important read.

Susan Sontag on beauty vs. interestingness – fantastic read

Susan Sontag on beauty vs. interestingness – fantastic read

The issue of craft is the difference between good and great. When you go from good to great, there’s this element of delight and magic that has to happen in design… That’s where great design comes from — great design changes us. We smile, we laugh.

Fantastic Design Matters conversation with Maria Guidice, director of product design at Facebook and author of Rise of the DEO: Leadership by Design.

Giudice’s full conversation with Debbie Millman is well worth the listen.

Happy Earth Day! Celebrate with Richard Feynman’s wonderful poem on the glory of evolution 
What an amazing story: Beloved children’s book illustrator Eric Carle spent his life fascinated by a photograph of him at age 3, embracing a little girl whose name he never found out. His most recent book, Friends, was inspired by that enchanting and mysterious photograph. Now, 82 years later, Carl and his little friend were reunited.

On Easter Sunday, almost 82 years after the photograph was taken, Eric Carle learned his friend was not only alive. She was ready for his call. Her name is Florence Ciani Trovato; at 85, she’s a few months older than Eric, and shares his vibrancy. 

Read the full story here, and treat yourself to his wonderful Friends.

What an amazing story: Beloved children’s book illustrator Eric Carle spent his life fascinated by a photograph of him at age 3, embracing a little girl whose name he never found out. His most recent book, Friends, was inspired by that enchanting and mysterious photograph. Now, 82 years later, Carl and his little friend were reunited.

On Easter Sunday, almost 82 years after the photograph was taken, Eric Carle learned his friend was not only alive. She was ready for his call. Her name is Florence Ciani Trovato; at 85, she’s a few months older than Eric, and shares his vibrancy. 

Read the full story here, and treat yourself to his wonderful Friends.

What time various cities wake up. Complement with the wakeup times of famous writers, then see the science of our internal time.

What time various cities wake up. Complement with the wakeup times of famous writers, then see the science of our internal time.

On April 22, 1985, Newsweek put the great Elmore Leonard on its cover. Wryly witty as ever, he remarked to his son: "After writing 23 books they’re saying I’m an overnight sensation."
Complement with Leonard’s 10 rules of writing, then revisit this excellent read on why grit is the single most important element of success. 

On April 22, 1985, Newsweek put the great Elmore Leonard on its cover. Wryly witty as ever, he remarked to his son"After writing 23 books they’re saying I’m an overnight sensation."

Complement with Leonard’s 10 rules of writing, then revisit this excellent read on why grit is the single most important element of success