Quotes From 10 Entrepreneurs on the Importance of Failure

Quotes From 10 Entrepreneurs on the Importance of Failure

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When Albert Einstein said, “I think and think for months and years. Ninety-nine times, the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right,” he was making a powerful statement about failure: It’s inevitable — but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Failure is one of the most powerful motivators we can encounter. It pushes us to do better (after we get over the initial sting of the loss, of course). It encourages us to keep trying. And in a lot of cases, it can show us just how close we are to success. The trick is to think of it in a positive light: Failure is an agent of growth, not of defeat.

Entrepreneurs and innovators around the world have been using failure as motivation for centuries. Whether it’s something as simple as realizing that a single setback isn’t going to ruin your progress, or something more complex, like using the details of the failure to grow a success, it’s almost always a benefit. These 10 quotes show that while everyone experiences failure at some point — and sometimes repeatedly — it doesn’t have to be a roadblock. Failure can actually be a force of positivity in our lives, even a necessary step in achieving our dreams.

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
 Thomas Edison

Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely.
 Larry Page

Failure and invention are inseparable twins.
 Jeff Bezos

I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.
 Michael Jordan

With engineering, I view this year’s failure as next year’s opportunity to try it again. Failures are not something to be avoided. You want to have them happen as quickly as you can so you can make progress rapidly.
 Intel co-founder Gordon Moore

Failure is an event, not a person. Yesterday ended last night.
 Motivational speaker and business coach Zig Ziglar

In my experience, each failure contains the seeds of your next success — if you are willing to learn from it.
 Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen

There’s no such thing as failure. There are only results.
 Motivational speaker and business coach Tony Robbins

In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.
 Mark Zuckerberg

If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.
 Elon Musk

7 Epigraphs That Start Novels Off Right

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Nothing sets the tone of a novel quite like a great opening sentence — nothing, that is, except an equally great epigraph. Not every book begins with a quotation or excerpt from another work, but those that do offer a sense of what you’re about to read; for that reason, they often resonate even more after you finish the novel they introduce. Even so, these seven exemplars of the genre are compelling no matter when you read them.


You are all a lost generation.
 Gertrude Stein

Ernest Hemingway is a luminary of the “Lost Generation,” but he didn’t actually coin the phrase. That honor belongs to his mentor, Gertrude Stein, whom he quoted at the beginning of The Sun Also Rises — a vital text of that movement, which represents those born at the turn of the 20th century who came of age during World War I and found themselves disenchanted in its aftermath. In literary terms, it refers specifically to the likes of Hemingway, Stein, and American expatriate writers who traveled abroad to find themselves — and write some of the 20th century’s defining works.


Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me Man, did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?
 John Milton, “Paradise Lost, X, 743-45”

Whether you call the reanimated corpse at the center of Mary Shelley’s timeless classic Frankenstein or Frankenstein’s Monster, neither name is entirely accurate: the former because Frankenstein is the man who made him, the latter because he isn’t truly a monster. More than anything, he’s a victim — a being created in a lab to deny the laws of physics who, like Adam in this quote from John Milton’s epic poem, didn’t ask for any of this. It’s relatable to anyone who’s ever felt as though their circumstances were thrust upon them and they had no say in the matter — which is to say, everyone.


Death is but crossing the world, as friends do the seas; they live in one another still. For they must needs be present, that love and live in that which is omnipresent. In this divine glass, they see face to face; and their converse is free, as well as pure. This is the comfort of friends, that though they may be said to die, yet their friendship and society are, in the best sense, ever present, because immortal.
 William Penn, “More Fruits of Solitude”

Only one book in the Harry Potter series begins with an epigraph: The Deathly Hallows, which concludes J.K. Rowling’s seven-part epic. It does so in part by saying goodbye to many more characters than you’d expect of a fantasy series aimed at children, with several fan favorites meeting devastating ends. Beyond that, there’s also the villain Voldemort’s obsession with achieving immortality no matter the cost, and the hero Harry’s growing realization that to confront his arch rival is also quite literally to confront death. With all that in mind, it would have been strange not to open the book with Penn’s ruminations on mortality, especially as the epigraph is also about the comfort our friends bring us: Harry Potter is about many things, but few through-lines are as ever-present in its pages as the importance of friendship.


The slenderest knowledge that may be attained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge attained of lesser things.
 Saint Thomas Aquinas, “Summa Theologica”

The Little Friend isn’t as acclaimed as Donna Tartt’s other two novels, The Secret History and The Goldfinch, but her overlooked sophomore effort is essential reading for admirers of the Pulitzer Prize–winning author. A kind of mystery following a little girl coming of age in 1970s Mississippi, the book is concerned with nothing if not knowledge — especially because its central question is who murdered the protagonist’s older brother years before.


More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones.
 Teresa of Ávila

Speaking of lesser-known works from revered authors, Truman Capote’s unfinished novel went so far as to take its title from this musing attributed to Teresa of Ávila. The missing chapters of Answered Prayers have been the subject of much speculation since the book was published posthumously in 1986; one confidante claims to have read them in the years before Capote’s death, and that he gave her the key to a safe-deposit box supposedly containing them, though no such container was ever found. The book’s own editor’s note suggests that Capote may have destroyed those chapters himself.

In its own way, this behind-the-scenes intrigue touches on the epigraph’s meaning: If the book’s existence may itself be thought of as a kind of answered prayer, the effort to make it whole shows that getting what we want — or think we want — rarely solves our problems the way we expect it to.


One night I was sitting on the bed in my hotel room on Bunker Hill, down in the very middle of Los Angeles. It was an important night in my life, because I had to make a decision about the hotel. Either I paid up or I got out. That was what the note said, the note the landlady had put under my door. A great problem, deserving acute attention. I solved it by turning out the lights and going to bed.
 John Fante, Ask the Dust

Not everyone confronts their problems head-on — especially in the books of Bret Easton Ellis. The opening paragraph of John Fante’s masterwork could have served as the epigraph of several of Ellis’ books, but the fact that he chose it for The Informers is no accident. The collection of short stories is set in Los Angeles, as is Fante’s Ask the Dust (and, for that matter, most of both writers’ bodies of work), and its criss-crossing characters are beset with an ennui that makes them even less proactive than Arturo Bandini, Fante’s tragicomic hero.


Lawyers, I suppose, were children once.
– Charles Lamb

You wouldn’t think that a single quote could touch upon the perspectives of both Atticus and Scout Finch, but the epigraph that opens To Kill a Mockingbird does just that. Harper Lee’s all-timer of a novel is required reading for a reason, offering readers of all ages a profound lesson on how to treat those who are different from us and, really, how to look at the world. Too many of us forget what it was like to be a kid, whether by choice or through the simple passage of time, and few books remind us of that age of wonderment quite like To Kill a Mockingbird.

Why Alaska and the Arctic are Critical

Why Alaska and the Arctic are Critical to the National Security of the United States


Sir David Attenborough – Quotes

Sir David Attenborough’s career as a broadcaster and natural historian has spanned almost 70 years, from the early days of black-and-white film to the age of HD and 3D imagery. His work as a writer and presenter with the BBC Natural History Unit has taken him all over the world, and made him one of the most well-traveled people on the planet. For his groundbreaking 1979 series Life on Earth, he traveled 1.5 million miles, and since then, he has made nine more Life series of similar scope.

Attenborough is considered one of the most trusted voices in his home country of Britain, and his unique narrative style is instantly recognizable, whether he’s talking about penguins or narrating one of Adele’s music videos. In 2016, Prince William paid tribute to Sir Attenborough, saying, “He’s a national treasure, and it is very fitting that he is having his 90th birthday only a few weeks after the Queen. They are two incredible national treasures who have done so much over the years.” He is equally popular among the scientific community; at least 15 animals and plants — both living and extinct — have been named in his honor, including a Peruvian frog (Pristimantis attenboroughi) and a plesiosaur from the Early Jurassic called Attenborosaurus.

During the last two decades, Attenborough has become increasingly outspoken about the impact of human society on the natural world. His warnings are often stark and urgent, and his words have motivated generations to take up the cause, including young activists like Greta Thunberg, who thanked Attenborough for inspiring her. But while his recent documentaries have focused more heavily on the destruction of the environment, Attenborough’s passion for the natural world has never diminished. From his earliest works to the present day, his quotes about our planet still inspire the same sense of awe.


There are some four million different kinds of animals and plants in the world. Four million different solutions to the problems of staying alive.
 “Life on Earth,” 1979


Our planet, the Earth, is, as far as we know, unique in the universe. It contains life. Even in its most barren stretches, there are animals. Around the equator, where those two essentials for life, sunshine and moisture, are most abundant, great forests grow. And here plants and animals proliferate in such numbers that we still have not even named all the different species.
 “The Living Planet,” 1984


I am at the very center of the great white continent, Antarctica. The South Pole is about half a mile away. For a thousand miles in all directions, there is nothing but ice. And, in the whole of this continent, which is about one-and-a-half times the size of the United States and larger than Europe, there is a year-round population of no more than 800 people. This is the loneliest and coldest place on Earth, the place that is most hostile to life. And yet, in one or two places, it is astonishingly rich.
 “Life in the Freezer,” 1993


These trees and bushes and grasses around me are living organisms just like animals. And they have to face very much the same sort of problems as animals face throughout their lives if they’re to survive. They have to fight one another, they have to compete for mates, they have to invade new territories. But the reason that we’re seldom aware of these dramas is that plants of course live on a different time-scale.
 “The Private Life of Plants,” 1995


Birds were flying from continent to continent long before we were. They reached the coldest place on Earth, Antarctica, long before we did. They can survive in the hottest of deserts. Some can remain on the wing for years at a time. They can girdle the globe.
 “The Life of Birds,” 1998


If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if [the invertebrates] were to disappear, the land’s ecosystems would collapse.
 “Life in the Undergrowth,” 2005


A hundred years ago, there were one-and-a-half billion people on Earth. Now, over six billion crowd our fragile planet. But even so, there are still places barely touched by humanity.
 “Planet Earth,” 2006


Our planet may be home to 30 million different kinds of animals and plants, each individual locked in its own lifelong fight for survival. Everywhere you look, on land or in the ocean, there are extraordinary examples of the lengths living things go to stay alive.
 “Life,” 2009


A blue whale, 30 meters long and weighing over 200 tonnes. It’s far bigger than even the biggest dinosaur. Its tongue weighs as much as an elephant, its heart is the size of a car, and some of its blood vessels are so wide you could swim down them. Its tail alone is the width of a small aircraft’s wings.
 “Blue Planet,” 2001


The savage, rocky shores of Christmas Island, 200 miles south of Java, in the Indian Ocean. It’s November, the moon is in its third quarter, and the sun is just setting. And in a few hours from now, on this very shore, a thousand million lives will be launched.
 “The Trials of Life,” 1990


Experience has taught me how amazingly big and unpredictable the natural world is. When you’re young, you think you know it all about the natural world — “Yawn, yawn, everyone knows about that.” But in fact we only know a tiny proportion about the complexity of the natural world. Wherever you look, there are still things we don’t know about and don’t understand, as recent discoveries about, say, the behaviors of pufferfish and peacock spiders prove. There are always new things to find out if you go looking for them. They will last me out!
– Interview with “The Independent,” two days before his 90th birthday


With or without us, the wild will return … It seems that, however grave our mistakes, nature will be able to overcome them, given the chance.
– “A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future,” 2020

Seasoned Nuts Quotable

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” — Fyodor Dostoevsky


Part of speech: adjective
Origin: Latin, mid-17th century

(Of an atmosphere or event) friendly, lively, and enjoyable; (of a person) cheerful and friendly; jovial

Examples of Convivial in a sentence

“The housewarming party was convivial and welcoming.”

“Thérèse was a charming, convivial dinner host — and a good cook, too.”

15 quotes to inspire self-love

15 Quotes to Inspire Self-Love

June 16, 2021

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Like love for others, self-love can take many forms, from simple friendship with oneself to purposeful acts of self-care or self-protection. While specific routines and approaches may trend on and off, the concept of self-love is ancient. Religious and cultural leaders, popular artists, poets, and others around the world have long heralded the inherent lovableness and divinity of human beings.

Self-love is not the same as selfishness or ignorance of others’ needs; seeing our own inherent worth can sometimes help us remember the worth of others. Some people practice loving self-care from a practical and altruistic place in order to  better serve others, as in the oft-referenced airplane emergency directions to put your own oxygen mask on first. This mindset centers the understanding that if we ourselves are depleted, it is harder to be  generous with  others.

At the most basic level, we must learn to understand and meet our own needs in order to survive, and, certainly, if we hope to thrive and enjoy our lives to the fullest. Self-love can also be a simple appreciation of the traits that make us uniquely ourselves. For communities who have experienced oppression, self-love may even be a revolutionary choice.

Whatever form it takes, loving and caring for yourself is a positive force in the world. Here are 15 quotes that describe the myriad forms and special power of self-love.

At this moment, you are seamlessly flowing with the cosmos. There is no difference between your breathing and the breathing of the rainforest, between your bloodstream and the world’s rivers, between your bones and the chalk cliffs of Dover.
— Deepak Chopra

I’m in love with my future, can’t wait to meet her…
I’m in love but not with anybody else; just wanna’ get to know myself.
I know, supposedly, I’m lonely now,
know I’m supposed to be unhappy without someone
but aren’t I someone?
— “My Future,” Billie Eilish (written by Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell)

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
— Audrey Lorde

It’s about waking up in the morning and saying that I’m worthy of love, belonging, and joy. It’s about engaging with the world from a place of worthiness.
— Brené Brown

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
— Mary Oliver

The most wonderful thing about Tiggers is that I’m the only one.
— A.A. Milne

I figured out I gotta be my own type… It’s a me, myself kinda attitude.
‘Cause I’m my own soulmate, I know how to love me.
— “Soulmate,” Lizzo (written by Lizzo, Sean Douglas, and Warren Felder)

May I be happy, may I be well.
May I be kind toward my suffering.
May I cultivate more kindness within my heart.
May I cultivate more peace within my heart.
— Traditional Buddhist Metta (loving kindness meditation)

The sky could fall down, the wind could cry now,
the strong in me, I still smile.
I love myself.
— “i,” Kendrick Lamar (written by Ernie Isley, O’Kelly Isley, Rudolph Isley, Ronald Isley, Marvin Isley, Christopher Jasper, Kendrick Lamar, and Rahki)

No matter what troubles have befallen you or what difficulties you have caused yourself or others, with love for yourself you can change, grow, make amends, and learn… Real love does not encourage you to ignore your problems or deny your mistakes and imperfections. You see them clearly and still opt to love.
— Sharon Salzberg

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?
— St. Paul, the Bible

All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.
— Carl Sagan

The way to get kindness with(in) yourself is spending time being nice to yourself, spending time getting to know and (dare I say it!) getting to love yourself… Loving yourself helps you love other people.
— Jeffrey Marsh, American writer, activist, and social media personality

No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity
because the greatest love of all is happening to me.
I found the greatest love of all inside of me…
Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.
— “Greatest Love of All,” Whitney Houston (written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed)

I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is… We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.
— Alice Walker

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is the birthday of Kate Beckinsale (1973), Sandra Bullock (1964), and Helen Mirren (1946). Grab some popcorn and watch your favorite movie with a female lead!


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“Each of us has been put on earth with the ability to do something well. We cheat ourselves and the world if we don’t use that ability as best we can.”

— Gracie Allen


Pulchritudinouspəl-krə-TOOD-ən-əsPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: English, 15th century
Examples of Pulchritudinous in a sentence “Her pulchritudinous looks charmed everyone at the table.” “The wedding planner provided lush, pulchritudinous flower arrangements.”

Newsletters I like: Brainpickings.org

This is the weekly email digest of the daily online journal Brain Pickings by Maria Popova. If you missed last week’s edition — do people change, the art of ending painful relationships, Hannah Arendt on what forgiveness (really) means, poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s advice on writing — you can catch up right here. If my labor of love enriches your life in any way, please consider supporting it with a donation – for a decade and a half, I have spent tens of thousands of hours, made many personal sacrifices, and invested tremendous resources in Brain Pickings, which remains free and ad-free and alive thanks to reader patronage. If you already donate: THANK YOU.

Art and Aliveness: Willa Cather on Attention and the Life of the Senses as the Key to Creativity


“Her voice is deep, rich, and full of color; she speaks with her whole body, like a singer… Whatever she does is done with every fibre,” a Nebraskan journalist observed on the pages of the Lincoln Star after meeting the brilliant and reclusive Willa Cather (December 7, 1873–April 24, 1947) while she was working on the novel that would soon win her the Pulitzer Prize, having already written the one that prompted F. Scott Fitzgerald to despair that The Great Gatsby is a failure by comparison.

Perhaps because they conversed while walking in the autumn sunshine — something Cather, who found her greatest happiness in nature, had requested — and perhaps because the interviewer was also a woman in an era when so few women’s words and thoughts and experiences appeared on the printed page, the conversation that unfurled, later published in Willa Cather in Person: Interviews, Speeches, and Letters (public library), remains the most candid and revealing glimpse of Cather’s creative credo, process, and philosophy of art — which is at bottom, always, a philosophy of life.willacather_blue.jpg?resize=583%2C840

Willa Cather

The two meandered beneath the fiery autumnal canopy near the home Cather shared with the love of her life, the conversation meandering accordingly in that natural synchrony between the foot and the mind, leaving the interlocutor to marvel:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe longer Miss Cather talks, the more one is filled with the conviction that life is a fascinating business and one’s own experience more fascinating than one had ever suspected it of being. Some persons have this gift of infusing their own abundant vitality into the speaker.

Cather had honed her own love of life — that essential wellspring of creative vitality — in childhood, roaming the wilderness on foot, on horseback, and in her parents’ farm wagon. As a young writer — not privileged, not straight, not resigned to the era’s conventional domestic destiny for a woman — she often worked until the small hours, ate no breakfast to save time and money, and learned to inhabit the world with the full-body presence that would soon give her novels their uncommonly transportive sensorial enchantment.hasuikawase1.jpg?resize=680%2C1014

Spring Moon at Ninomiya Beach by Hasui Kawase, 1931. (Available as a print.)

Contemplating the subject of creativity, Cather laments that nothing is more “fatal to the spirit of art” than the rise of what she aptly terms “superficial culture” — the commodification of art not as an instrument of aliveness but as a status symbol, pursued by rich ladies who “run about from one culture club to another studying Italian art out of a textbook and an encyclopedia and believing that they are learning something about it by memorizing a string of facts.” To her, the young black boy on the porch improvising a Verdi opera on his fiddle by ear — with no formal knowledge of what he is playing and no theoretical rationale for why it is so stirring his soul — “has more real understanding of Italian art than these esthetic creatures with a head and a larynx, and no organs that they get any use of, who reel you off the life of Leonardo da Vinci.”

The creative experience, Cather insists, is a matter of tuning into the inner feeling-tone strummed not by our cerebrations but by our creaturely relishment of the world.etiennedenisse_celestine_sm.jpg?resize=680%2C1018

Blue bindweed by Étienne Denisse, 1840s. (Available as a print, a cutting board, and stationery cards, benefitting the New York Botanical Garden.)

Decades before poet and science historian Diane Ackerman rooted our creaturely and creative vitality in the delights of the senses, Cather echoes her contemporary Egon Schiele’s exhortation to “envy those who see beauty in everything in the world” and observes:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngArt is a matter of enjoyment through the five senses. Unless you can see the beauty all around you everywhere, and enjoy it, you can never comprehend art.

A generation before the star teacher of Black Mountain College made her exquisite case for creativity as a way of being, arguing that art is made “with food, with children, with building blocks, with speech, with thoughts, with pigment, with an umbrella, or a wineglass, or a torch,” Cather adds:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngEsthetic appreciation begins with the enjoyment of the morning bath. It should include all the activities of life… The farmer’s wife who raises a large family and cooks for them and makes their clothes and keeps house and on the side runs a truck garden and a chicken farm and a canning establishment, and thoroughly enjoys doing it all, and doing it well, contributes more to art than all the culture clubs. Often you find such a woman with all the appreciation of the beautiful bodies of her children, of the order and harmony of her kitchen, of the real creative joy of all her activities, which marks the great artist.

Lest we forget, there are infinitely many kinds of beautiful lives.

In consonance with Rilke’s beautiful reflections on the reservoir of experiences required for creativity, Cather adds:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngMany people seem to think that art is a luxury to be imported and tacked on to life. Art springs out of the very stuff that life is made of. Most of our young authors start to write a story and make a few observations from nature to add local color. The results are invariably false and hollow. Art must spring out of the fullness and the richness of life.

Complement with James Baldwin on what it means to be an artist, then revisit Cather on the life-changing advice that made her a writer and her moving letter to her brother about making art through times of inner turmoil.

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The Theory of Everything (We Know So Far): The Ultimate Animated Primer on the Most Successful Model of Reality in the History of Humanity and Its Fertile Limits


Between the time Hypatia of Alexandria first pointed her pre-telescopic eye to the cosmos millennia before the notion of galaxies and the time Vera Rubin stood at the foot of the world’s most powerful telescope to confirm the existence of dark matter by observing how distant galaxies rotate, and in all the time before, and in all the time since, we have hungered to understand the forces that move the stars and the Moon and the mind. Ever since Galileo leaned on his artistic training in perspective to draw his astronomical observations intimating that the universe might not be what the theologians have claimed it to be, humanity has been on a passionate and disorienting quest to understand the nature of the mystery that made us.thomaswright_galaxies3.jpg?resize=680%2C977

Art from An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, 1750. (Available as a print, as a face mask, and as stationery cards.)

In the centuries since, we have made staggering discoveries of fundamental forces swirling exotic particles into “the ricochet wonder of it all: the plain everythingness of everything, in cahoots with the everythingness of everything else.” Along the way, in our longing for a final theory of everything, we have been staggered by revelation after revelation that things are not what we previously thought them to be and beneath each layer of reality we have unpeeled lies another. The heavens are not a clockwork orrery of perfect orbs revolving around us in perfect circles. The cosmic wilderness is overgrown with a species of mystery we call dark matter and the fabric of spacetime is pocked with black holes the rims of which gape our Munchian scream at the sense that the universe remains a sweeping enigma whose native language we are only just beginning to decipher, naming our particles and composing our equations in the alphabet of a long-gone civilization that believed the Earth was flat and the stars were at its service.thomaswright6.jpg?resize=680%2C753

Art from An Original Theory or New Hypothesis of the Universe, 1750. (Available as a print, as a face mask, and as stationery cards.)

Our yearning for a Theory of Everything has culminated in what we call the Standard Model — a conceptual map of all the known particles and the fundamental forces that govern them to make the universe cohere into everything we know and are. It is the most successful scientific theory in the history of our species. But it is rather a Theory of Everything We Know So Far, at once triumphal and tessellated with incompleteness.

The essence of that theory, its central contradictions, and how it contours the next layer of reality awaiting discovery is what theoretical physicist David Tong details in this animated primer for Quanta Magazine, drawing out discoveries and questions that punctuate the excellent anthology Alice and Bob Meet the Wall of Fire: The Biggest Ideas in Science from Quanta (public library).


Complement with an animated look at the little loophole in the Big Bang model, then revisit the remarkable story of how Johannes Kepler revolutionized our understanding of the universe while defending his mother in a witchcraft trial.


Rocky Mountain Flowers: The Daring Life and Art of Pioneering Plant Ecologist Edith Clements

“There is one book that I would rather have produced than all my novels,” Willa Cather rued in her most candid interview about creativity. That book was Rocky Mountain Flowers: An Illustrated Guide For Plant-Lovers and Plant-Users (public library | public domain) by the pioneering plant ecologist and botanical artist Edith Clements (1874–1971).rockymountainflowers_edithclements16.jpg?resize=680%2C1013

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)rockymountainflowers_edithclements10.jpg?resize=680%2C1029

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

Together with her husband, the influential botanist Frederic Clements, she pioneered the science of plant ecology, lending empirical substantiation to her contemporary John Muir’s poetic observation that “when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” In her 1960 memoir Adventures in Ecology: Half a Million Miles: From Mud to Macadam (public library), penned shortly before Rachel Carson awakened the modern ecological conscience with Silent Spring and half a century before the climate calamity we are now living, Edith Clements prophesied:

2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThere seems little doubt that the application of the principles of ecology to human affairs, whether personal, national or world-wide, would go far in solving the problems that beset us.


Edith and Frederic Clements, early 1900s.

Having begun as Frederic’s doctoral student — the first woman awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska, then an epicenter of botany and earth science — Edith went on to be his partner in science and life.

Young, passionate, and poor, they headed for the Rocky Mountains to build a research station for controlled study of how various environmental conditions impact plants, their acclimatization, and their relationships.

Nothing like this had been attempted before.

They called it The Dream.

In a stroke of necessity-dictated entrepreneurship, they set out to fund it into reality by coupling their scientific knowledge with Edith’s artistic talent to create an unexampled guide to the wildflowers of the Rockies, which they would then sell to scientific institutions.rockymountainflowers_edithclements17.jpg?resize=680%2C1022

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)rockymountainflowers_edithclements2.jpg?resize=680%2C1014

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

Two centuries after the young self-taught botanist and artist Elizabeth Blackwell painted her astonishing encyclopedia of medicinal plants and as a century after the young Emily Dickinson composed her delicate herbarium of native New England wildflowers, the young Edith Clements began collecting, classifying, photographing, and painting 533 plant specimens from the mountains of Colorado for a meticulously annotated herbarium, completed in 1903 and followed by a second volume in 1904. It became the foundation of the book that would so enchanted Willa Cather a decade later.rockymountainflowers_edithclements18.jpg?resize=680%2C1030

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

With the income from the first herbarium, Edith and Frederic purchased a tiny cabin beneath a colossal pine on the side of a Colorado hill and set up the scientific instruments the university had lent.

The Dream became rugged reality and the shack became the first building of their Alpine Laboratory.

Over the years to follow, the single shack grew to a five-room cottage with a glass-enclosed veranda. Graduate students came to study with Edith and Frederic. Scholars visited from Japan, China, India, Australia, England, and continental Europe.clements_alpinelaboratory.jpg?resize=680%2C543

With graduate students and visiting scholars at the Alpine Laboratory.clements5.jpg?resize=680%2C449

Edith, Frederic, and graduate students descending the hill near the Alpine Laboratory.

Eventually, the government recognized how invaluable this work would be to the National Parks. Frederic was offered a paid position. Edith was not. They took the assignment anyway, together, and set out to study the reproduction of conifers in forests.clements4.jpg?resize=680%2C455

Edith and Frederic’s car stuck in a mud-hole during a field trip.clements3.jpg?resize=680%2C433

Edith and Frederic at work.

They climbed hills, crossed prairies, trekked into meadows and marshes, Frederic making notes and charts of the vegetation, Edith painting the wildflowers “until swarms of mosquitos made it impossible.”

As they worked, he whistled and she sang.rockymountainflowers_edithclements1.jpg?resize=680%2C1032

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)rockymountainflowers_edithclements14.jpg?resize=680%2C1021

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

In quiet, bold contrast to the era’s appetite for impressionistic and abstract flower blossoms — this was the golden age of Georgia O’Keeffe — Edith painted the whole plant in its natural colors, with the correct number of petals and stamens. She called her paintings “portraits,” reflecting her determination to show people what plants are really like, with all the dazzling scientific complexity undergirding the aesthetic splendor.rockymountainflowers_edithclements9.jpg?resize=680%2C1029

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)rockymountainflowers_edithclements4.jpg?resize=680%2C1008

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)rockymountainflowers_edithclements11.jpg?resize=680%2C997

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

In 1926, the editor of National Geographic encountered Edith’s plates of flower family trees, depicting the relationships and evolution of different plant families, and found them to be just the sort of thing to make readers “sit up and take notice.” He was right. When thirty-two of Edith’s paintings backboned a 7,000-word magazine feature about plant ecology in May 1927, the issue sold out in record time. Recognizing the allure of the framable flower illustrations, enterprising young people bought extra copies to resell at manyfold the price.

Plant ecology entered the popular imagination for the first time, via the portal of Edith’s botanical art.rockymountainflowers_edithclements15.jpg?resize=680%2C1021

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)rockymountainflowers_edithclements8.jpg?resize=680%2C1042

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)rockymountainflowers_edithclements7.jpg?resize=680%2C1036

Wildflowers from Rocky Mountain Flowers by Edith Clements, 1914. (Available as a print and as stationery cards, benefitting The Nature Conservancy.)

Edith and Frederic went on to consult the newly founded Bureau of Soil Erosion, helped the Navajo Indian Reservation of New Mexico rewild a dismally overgrazed pasture, opposed the building of dams along the Missouri River, and were called on by numerous panicked government agencies when poor understanding of ecology in agriculture unleashed the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, which devastated the ecosystem of an entire continent, made refugees of thousands of farmers, and inspired Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.clements_dustbowl.jpg?resize=680%2C472

Frederic Clements atop a dust-swallowed farm during the Dust Bowl years. Photograph by Edith Clements.

The Clementses devised soil conservation methods for leveling Dust Bowl dunes and replanting them with native grasses and corn crops, mechanisms for diverting and conserving flood water, techniques for rewilding fire-denuded slopes.

As Edith and Frederic Clements pioneered the study of plant ecology together, they were celebrated as “the most illustrious husband-wife team since the Curies.” But their work was also seen as quixotic for its countercultural ethos, decades ahead of its time. In an era of world wars, when science was reduced to military technology and coopted as a handmaiden of dueling nationalisms, Edith and Frederic endeavored to advance the conservation of this one indivisible planet by better understanding the role of climate and the relationships between life-forms. Along the way, they raised and began answering such complex and previously unasked questions as what makes a forest a forest — questions that would unravel some of the most astonishing science of our time.clements.jpg?resize=680%2C581

Edith and Frederic Clements, 1911.




Sunday Brain Food: a weekly newsletter full of timeless ideas and insights for life and business.

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The problem is that our culture does not recognize that the true nature of math is art. So we teach it in a manner that would just as easily ruin any other art. … What if music education was all about notation and theory, with listening or playing only open to those who somehow persevered until college

— Math isn’t boring

Explore Your Curiosity

★ “Looking back on my career, my favorite managers allowed me to own decisions, even if they disagreed with me. They couldn’t do this for every decision — some were just too expensive or difficult to reverse. But if they spotted an opportunity for me to own a decision, they let me run with it. This would often be preceded by spirited debate, where they challenged my assumptions and forced me to think through various outcomes. Then they gave me the space to decide and room to fail and learn (and to sometimes surprise them).”

— High Impact Managers

★ A fascinating look at how nature uses speed (centralized decisions) and acquires accuracy (decentralized decisions).

“[N]ervous systems can implement multiple forms of government simultaneously. A neuronal dictatorship can coexist with an oligarchy or democracy. The dictator, acting fastest, may trigger the onset of a behavior while other neurons fine-tune the ensuing movements. There does not need to be a single form of government as long as the behavioral consequences increase the probability of survival and reproduction.”

— Is Your Nervous System a Democracy or a Dictatorship?

★ “Despite being one of the most familiar and widely recognized natural phenomena, lightning remains relatively poorly understood. Even the most basic questions of how lightning is initiated inside thunderclouds and how it then propagates for many tens of kilometers have only begun to be addressed.”

— The Physics of Lightning

Timeless Insight

“When you focus on the past, that’s your ego. … When I focus on the future, that’s my pride. I try to focus on the present. That’s humility.”

— Giannis Antetokounmpo (source)

Focusing on past accomplishments creates obstacles to success in the present. If you’re still talking about something great you did 20 years ago like it was yesterday, your ego is getting in the way.

What you did in the past makes a good story. What you’re doing now makes a difference.

Tiny Thought

Lack of courage sabotages more people than lack of ability.
Don’t beat yourself before you start.

Wisdom From the Kitchen of Julia Child

For many of us, one of our first memories of cooking is listening to the jovial voice of a very tall woman on PBS, chuckling as she methodically deboned a chicken or loaded a dish with butter.

Julia Child was — and still is — an icon in the cooking world. She was born in California in 1912, and in 1949 moved with her husband to Paris, where she enrolled in the French cooking school Cordon Bleu as the only woman in her class. In 1961, after co-writing Mastering the Art of French Cooking, she returned to the United States, and two years later, officially introduced the country to the art of French cuisine with the debut of her television show The French Chef.

Her shows were drenched in joy and butter. Viewers loved her cheerful wobbly voice, her zeal to brandish a large knife, her ability to make fancy cooking accessible, and her bowlful of quips and life lessons in each episode.

Child didn’t just have sage wisdom about food, though. She looked at life through the lens of cooking, and many of her insightful comments can apply both in and out of the kitchen. Whether it’s using a dropped piece of meat as a metaphor for moving forward after making a mistake, or reflecting on how flipping something in a pan is a way to break free from fear, the multiple layers of meaning make her words all the more delicious. The 10 quotes below are some of the tastiest. In the words of Child herself, bon appetit!


Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?


A cookbook is only as good as its poorest recipe.


The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.


The only way you learn how to flip things is just to flip them.


The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile. I think of my strawberry souffle. I did that at least 28 times before I finally conquered it.


Just speak very loudly and quickly, and state your position with utter conviction, as the French do, and you’ll have a marvelous time!


You must have discipline to have fun.


I was 32 when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.


People are uncertain because they don’t have the self-confidence to make decisions.


The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.

Word of the day

Compendiouskəm-PEN-dee-əsPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: French, late 14th century
1Containing or presenting the essential facts of something in a comprehensive but concise way.
Examples of Compendious in a sentence “Jared’s compendious recitation of archaic literature impressed his professors.” “The book was a compendious study of film history. “
Compendiouskəm-PEN-dee-əsPart of speech: adjectiveOrigin: French, late 14th century
1Containing or presenting the essential facts of something in a comprehensive but concise way.
Examples of Compendious in a sentence “Jared’s compendious recitation of archaic literature impressed his professors.” “The book was a compendious study of film history. “

Scaling sustainable aviation fuel today for clean skies tomorrow

From farm to sky: Feedstocks fuel India’s path to cleaner skies

How the European Union could achieve net-zero emissions at net-zero cost

* “Let the market fix it”

* “Let the market fix it” [ https://p.feedblitz.com/r3.asp?l=179670557&f=1081591&c=7842865&u=5102652 ]

After all, the marketplace is scalable, independent, self-funding, convenient and persistent.

Except there are problems that the market hasn’t solved, and probably can’t. A century into this worldwide experiment, the market hasn’t solved mass education, it’s made obesity and health problems worse, and it has dumped an enormous amount of long-term toxic waste into the world where we all live.

Patient capital can work wonders, but networked economies are becoming ever more impatient in their race for basis points and shortcuts.

When we hand a chronic problem over to the market, it might be because we can’t bear to look at it or take responsibility for the hard work and sacrifice it will take to solve it.

If the market can solve a problem, it’s a bargain. Markets are effective listening devices and resilient and often self-coordinating. But expecting the market to solve every problem isn’t useful.

Sometimes, the specific tools of the open market aren’t aligned with the problem at hand. Externalities, patience and incentives are all worth considering before we decide the problem will solve itself.

English Channel Flight Day

Did you know…

… that today is English Channel Flight Day? In 1909, French aviator Louis Bleriot became the first person to fly a heavier-than-air machine across the English Channel. He did it in only 36 minutes. Be proactive for 36 minutes and see what you can achieve!


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.”

— Thomas Jefferson

26 July

Kargil Vijay Diwas – 26 July 2021

Kargil Vijay Diwas July 2021

This day commemorates the day Indian soldiers successfully conducted Operation Vijay.

Content marketing ideas:   

  • Listicle idea: X Movies about army operations you should watch
  • Infographic idea: The most victorious army operations conducted by India
  • Video idea: X Stories of Kargil war heroes
  • Podcast idea: What were the events that led to the Kargil war?

Best Newsletters : Luke’s 4 minute book summaries.

Now let’s dive into this week’s books!

Thinking Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Say what you will, they don’t hand out the Nobel prize for economics like it’s a slice of pizza. Ergo, when Daniel Kahneman (the first non-economist to win this particular Nobel prize) does something, it’s worth paying attention to.

His 2011 book, Thinking Fast And Slow, deals with the two systems in our brain, whose fighting over who’s in charge makes us prone to errors and false decisions.

It shows you where you can and can’t trust your gut feeling and how to act more mindfully and make better decisions. Click the image below to watch our brand new video summary of it right now!

The Art Of Stopping Time by Pedram Shojai

1-Sentence-Summary: The Art of Stopping Time teaches a framework of mindfulness, philosophy, and time-management you can use to achieve Time Prosperity, which is having plenty of time to reach your dreams without overwhelm, tumult, or constriction.

Top 3 Lessons:

  1. Not all time is created equal, its usefulness depends on your energy, mindfulness, and what you’re doing.
  2. Think of your time like a garden that you have a limited amount of resources to nurture.
  3. Slow time down by being mindful.

If you want to learn how to “slow down” time so you can do more, this book is for you.

How To Change by Katy Milkman

1-Sentence-Summary: How To Change by Katy Milkman identifies the stumbling blocks that are in your way of reaching your goals and improving yourself and the research-backed ways to get over them, including how to beat some of the worst productivity and life problems like procrastination, laziness, and much more.

Top 3 Lessons:

  1. Fresh starts are a great time to start changing.
  2. Beat impulsivity and procrastination with a few easy strategies.
  3. Reaching your goals will be easier if you choose your acquaintances wisely.

If you want to get over bad habits like procrastinating, this book is for you.

How To Fail by Elizabeth Day

1-Sentence-Summary: How To Fail shows the surprising benefits of going through a difficult time through the experiences of the author, Elizabeth Day, including the failures in her life that she’s grateful for and how they’ve helped her grow, uncovering why we shouldn’t be so afraid of failure but instead embrace it.

Top 3 Lessons:

  1. Your twenties are a great time to mess up and learn from your mistakes.
  2. Failing in a relationship can teach you a lot about yourself.
  3. You can be successful and also experience failure in other areas of life.

If you want motivation after failing in something, this book is for you.

25 July

World Drowning Prevention Day – 25 July 2021

Drowning day 2021

This day highlights the tragic and profound impact of drowning on families.

Content marketing ideas:   

  • Listicle idea: X Ways to make your family’s beach vacation safe
  • Infographic idea: X Steps to perform CPR on someone
  • Video idea: What happens to your lungs when you drown?
  • Podcast idea: How can public pools focus on safety?

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is the anniversary of Stephen King’s The Plant? Stephen King became the first big-name writer to self-publish a novel via serialized format on the Internet. He published the first installment of his novel The Plant on July 24, 2000, via his website. He posted the second installment four weeks later on August 21. More than a half a million people viewed the novel.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.”

— Stephen King

Famous Lines Written By Women Authors With Male Pen Names

It’s commonly believed that female authors throughout history often chose to write under a male pen name, or at least a gender-ambiguous pseudonym, because the publishing industry was a male-dominated world that simply rejected the work of women. And while an underlying gender bias was certainly the case in many instances, the truth is more complicated.

In some cases, publishers have asked women authors to write under a male name or, more commonly, with initials, to appeal to a specific market — normally boys or men — that might shy away from a female author. Such was the case with J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series. Sometimes, it was more a question of anonymity, whereby the female writer simply wanted to separate her public life from the private. George Eliot wrote under a pen name in part to shield herself from what was then considered a scandalous aspect of her love life.

At times, it’s been a simple preference of the writer. Harper Lee, whose full name was Nelle Harper Lee, apparently didn’t want people to mistake Nelle for Nellie and so dropped it completely. Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, was born Margaret Shriver but changed her first name in her teens: “I was a tomboy,” she told The Guardian. “I grew up with brothers. So I chose a boy’s name.”

The famous female authors below had their own individual reasons for writing under a male pen name, whether it was due to sexism in the industry, a desire for anonymity, or personal preference — and in some cases a combination of all of these factors.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.
 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, writing as Currer Bell

This quote from Jane Eyre displays the titular character’s quest for love, freedom, and being valued, sentiments likely shared by the author. Charlotte was the eldest of the three Brontë sisters, all of whom wrote under male pen names. She explained that their decision was due to “a vague impression that authoresses are liable to be looked on with prejudice.”

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
 “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott, who previously wrote as A.M. Barnard

When Louisa May Alcott published the first volume of Little Women in 1868, she did so under her real name. Earlier in her career, however, she sometimes used the pen name A.M. Barnard, a gender-neutral name that allowed her to write more sensational, and at times lurid, short stories that were not deemed appropriate for women readers or writers at the time.

“First of all, I would like to make one thing clear: I never explain anything.”
 “Mary Poppins” by Pamela Lyndon Travers, writing as P.L. Travers

Pamela Lyndon Travers, who was born Helen Lyndon Goff, created one of the most famous female characters in children’s literature: the indomitable Mary Poppins. In 1970, Travers told a Los Angeles Times reporter that she used initials in her pen name because “so often very sentimental books are written by women, supposedly for children, and I didn’t want to be lumped together with those.”

It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same, and [Edgar Linton’s] is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.
 “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Brontë, writing as Ellis Bell

The Brontë sisters used male pen names because they suspected that female writers were “looked on with prejudice.” They didn’t consider their own writing to be unfeminine, as Charlotte Brontë explained in her “Biographical Notice of Ellis and Acton Bell.” Another great female author, Virginia Woolf, later wrote how much she admired both Jane Austen and Emily Brontë for standing firm in a patriarchal society: “It is another feather, perhaps the finest, in their caps. They wrote as women write, not as men write. Of all the thousand women who wrote novels then, they alone entirely ignored the perpetual admonitions of the eternal pedagogue — write this, think that.”

The law of the land has made you my master. You can tie up my body, bind my hands, control my actions. You have the right of the stronger, and society confirms you in it. But over my will, Monsieur, you have no power. God alone can bend and subdue it.
 “Indiana” by Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, writing as George Sand

During her lifetime (1804–1876), George Sand was one of the most popular writers in Europe. She changed her name when submitting her writing to La Revue De Paris, whose editor refused to publish women’s work. The name stuck, and she used it to publish her first novel, Indiana. Some of her friends and family also called her George. Sand became a feminist icon, known for defying the norms of 19th-century society, both in her writing — as evidenced in the passage above — and in the way she lived.

They had entered the thorny wilderness, and the golden gates of their childhood had forever closed behind them.
 “The Mill on the Floss” by Mary Ann Evans, writing as George Eliot

The close of the second book of The Mill on the Floss marks the end of Maggie and Tom Tulliver’s childhood. Here, the siblings pass from youthful innocence into the “thorny wilderness” that they will face going forward. Writer George Eliot brought a complexity to themes such as growing up and falling in love. She used a male pen name partly to ensure her works were taken seriously in a time when female authors were typically associated with romantic novels, as well as to hide her problematic social position — she was living as an unmarried woman with a married man.

Up in this high air you breathed easily, drawing in a vital assurance and lightness of heart. In the highlands you woke up in the morning and thought: Here I am, where I ought to be.
 “Out of Africa” by Karen Blixen, writing as Isak Dinesen

Karen Blixen’s memoir, first published in 1937, recounts her 17 years living in Kenya, then called British East Africa. At the beginning of the book’s first chapter, the Danish author makes it clear that her farm was a place of harmony and freedom, a place of purity where she truly felt at home, where she “ought to be.” Blixen wrote under a number of pen names during her career, sometimes depending on the country of publication. In Denmark she was known by her real name, while in Anglophone countries she used Isak Dinesen (Dinesen was her maiden name), and Tania Blixen in German-speaking countries. No one quite knows why she did this, but it created some strange anomalies between the various translations of her work, with passages as well as situations differing widely in the Danish and American editions of her texts.

What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world-machine.
 “The Women Men Don’t See,” a science fiction novelette by Alice Bradley Sheldon, writing as James Tiptree Jr.

In science fiction circles, the name James Tiptree Jr. is well known. The prolific writer, however, was in reality a woman by the name of Alice Bradley Sheldon, and she kept her true identity hidden for 10 years. Robert Silverberg, the acclaimed sci-fi author and editor, likened the style of “The Women Men Don’t See” to Ernest Hemingway and noted that the novelette was “a profoundly feminist story told in an entirely masculine manner.” Only later did he find out that Tiptree was a woman.

To Have and To Hold: 24 Quotes About Marriage

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Marriage is an enduring and evolving tradition, and one that each married couple redefines for themselves. While matrimony takes different forms around the globe, it remains one of the most significant personal milestones and universally honored cultural practices in the world. And, slowly but surely, marriage is becoming more inclusive: There are currently 29 countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Every day, engaged couples recite their vows and become newlyweds, establishing a commitment to one another that they hope will deepen and grow throughout the years. Many philosophers and writers throughout history have tried to describe this courageous and loving practice of pairing up for life. Some have compared marriage to a ship at sea or a garden passing through the seasons. Passion, friendship, laughter, and the ability to maintain both closeness and individuality are often cited as some of the most important components of a lasting union. Here are 24 quotes that speak to the love and appreciation that underlie and uplift marriage.

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
— Mignon McLaughlin, writer

That we have become
as one, deep rooted in the soil
of Life and tangled in the sweet growth.
— J.R.R. Tolkien

However important it is that love shall precede marriage, it is far more important that it shall continue after marriage.
Samson Raphael Hirsch, Jewish theology writer

Marriage is the fullness of time.
— Søren Kierkegaard

So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
— Pablo Neruda

To have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.
— Book of Common Prayer, Solemnization of Matrimony

May this marriage offer fruit and shade like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter, our everyday a day in paradise…
I am out of words to describe how spirit mingles in this marriage.
— Rumi

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing the opportunity for solitude.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

She’s talkin’ to me with her voice down so low, I barely hear her,
but I know what she’s sayin.’
I understand, because my heart and hers are the same,
and in January, we’re gettin’ married.
— The Avett Brothers

Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
— Khalil Gibran

Here’s the advice I give everyone about marriage — is she someone you find interesting? … Does she make you laugh? And I don’t know if you want kids, but if you do, do you think she will be a good mom? Life is long. These are the things that really matter over the long term.
— Barack Obama

can i picture us in old age
conquering the world
like we’ve got young blood
running in our veins
— Rupi Kaur, poet

What is called for is an ability on the part of the couple to “see” each other, to constantly apprehend the essence of the other.
— David Whyte, poet

You are a language I have learned by heart.
— Dana Gioia, poet

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
— Friedrich Nietzsche

Happy and thrice happy are they who enjoy an uninterrupted union, and whose love, unbroken by any complaints, shall not dissolve until the last day.
— Horace

To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow — this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life — to strength each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow.
— George Eliot

Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
when I’m 64?
— The Beatles

There is no more lovely, friendly, and charming relationship, communion or company than a good marriage.
— Martin Luther

A happy marriage is a long conversation which always seems too short.
— André Maurois

The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they’re right if you love to be with them all the time.
— Julia Child

What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility.
— Leo Tolstoy

Marriage is a risk; I think it’s a great and glorious risk, as long as you embark on the adventure in the same spirit.
— Cate Blanchett

11 Turns Of Phrase Commonly Misused

11 Turns Of Phrase Commonly Misused

It’s not always easy to hear things correctly the first time. Sometimes common phrases get bungled in transit, and we’re stuck saying them wrong for years. Here are some of the most common phrases that people say wrong — see how many you’ve been using incorrectly.

Nip it in the butt

It’s not a pleasant image when you put it that way. The actual phrase is “nip it in the bud,” meaning to end something before it grows and gets out of hand. No butts involved.

On accident

It’s correct to say “on purpose,” so naturally “on accident” is the opposite, right? Wrong. The correct usage is “by accident.”

I could care less

If you could care less about something, that means you still care about it. If you really want to tell someone how few rat tails you have to give, tell them you “couldn’t care less.”

Could of

Yes, it may sound like “could of” when said out loud, but it’s spelled “could’ve.” It’s a contraction of two words — could and have.

Worse comes to worse

If worse comes to worse, isn’t that just the same thing? But if “worse comes to worst,” then you can worry. Get in your bunker and prepare for the worst.

Deep seeded

This one kind of makes sense — a seed is planted deep in the ground. But the metaphor is still wrong. The correct phrase is “deep seated,” to mean it’s rooted in place and likely hidden.

Do a 360

If you’re trying to change yourself, a 360 will land you right back at the starting position, as it’s a full circle. If you’re trying to be different, try doing a 180.

Statue of limitations

While there’s no “statue” dedicated to limitations, there is a “statute (law) of limitations” that dictates how long justice can legally be served after a crime was committed.

Pawn off

This one is tricky because you could indeed get rid of unwanted items in a pawn shop. Except the correct usage is “palm off,” and it means to trick someone into doing something so you don’t have to.

Hone In

Skills can be honed, but you can’t hone in on something. The term is “home in,” like a homing pigeon bred to find its way home. If you’re homing in, you’re getting close to your goal.

Extract Revenge

If you want revenge on someone, you don’t want to extract it. You want to exact it. “Exacting revenge” means you demand your desire for revenge is satisfied.

Main photo credit: busracavus/ iStock

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Here’s your weekly rundown of the global security landscape, highlighting key incidents that have taken place from each region in the last seven days; 
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Asia?
MIDDLE EAST & ASIAKhuzestan Province, IranProtesters gathered in multiple locations in Iran’s Khuzestan Province earlier this week over chronic water shortages in the area. Authorities responded to the protest with force and cut off internet connection in certain regions to limit communication. Despite internet blackouts, multiple videos have been released online showing clashes between security forces and protesters, with security forces firing live rounds and tear gas at protesters leading to unknown numbers of casualties. Protesters have also been seen in possession of firearms and are reported to have engaged in shootouts with police. Casualties from armed clashes are unclear, but Iranian media has reported the death of a police officer during a shootout with unidentified gunmen. In response to the protest, the Iranian government has attempted to resolve the underlying water shortage issues which have plagued the region for decades. However, the harsh response to protests and accusations of shortages being worsened by government mismanagement and corruption will likely broaden the divide between the government and the region, raising the likelihood of similar protests in the future.
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EUROPEProtests Across EuropeOver the last seven days there have been numerous protests across France against government moves to introduce a ‘Pass Sanitaire (Health Pass) requirement as well as a riot in Syntagma Square in Athens, Greece following government efforts to impose mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. While France has large-scale, nationwide protests on a regular basis and Syntagma Square protests often descend into riots, the potential for mandatory vaccination regulations has featured in numerous countries across Europe; the UK government is currently mulling the possibility of mandatory vaccinations. In addition, this weekend will see another effort at Worldwide Rally for Freedom protests in major cities. These recent developments surrounding mandatory vaccination will provide a potential rallying call for these protests. Given the numerous occasions where anti-lockdown protests have descended into riots, these upcoming protests have the potential to attract large numbers of attendees due to recent developments surrounding mandatory vaccination regulations; which will increase the potential for rioting to break out.
Intelligence Insight Weekly - What's Happening in Africa?
AFRICATunisiaWith cases of COVID-19 rapidly rising in Tunisia, President Kais Saied has put the military in charge of managing the crisis after Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi sacked Health Minister Faouzi Mehdi. Lockdowns have been imposed in the country and a number of hospitals have also reported shortages of oxygen supplies. Before his sacking, the Minister of Health called on public and private health establishments to ration oxygen use. In parallel to the COVID-19 crisis, political tensions also remain high with the “July 25th Movement” recently calling for protests in Tunisia. Among their demands is the dissolution of Parliament. Since the start of 2021, there have been anti-government protests and general strikes have also been called to condemn marginalisation in some regions of the country, living conditions, unemployment and poor development. The resurgence of COVID-19 cases will put further pressure on the Tunisian government and the economy, and add to deteriorating living conditions.
Insight Weekly - North America Image
NORTH AMERICAMexicoOn the 17th July, four armed members of the Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo) rescued a military deserter who was under guard at the Reynosa General Hospital. The suspects allegedly threw caltrops on the road leading from the hospital to impede the pursuit of authorities. It was later reported that the Special Operations Group detained the men, including the injured military deserter, several hours after they fled the hospital. The incident follows on from an encounter on the 13th July where a group of 30 armed men wearing military uniforms rescued a leader of the Gulf Cartel known as “Metro 27” from the State Attorney’s Office facilities. The leader had been detained the previous night in the municipality of Diaz Ordaz. It was during the initial operation to rescue “Metro 27” that the military deserter had been injured; reports suggest he was amongst the group of Gulf Cartel members who stormed the State Attorney’s Office facilities. The Gulf Cartel has a history of involving military personnel, with Mexican Special Forces soldiers recruited to form the military armed wing of the cartel in the 1990s. Despite in-fighting between factions of the cartel, individuals associated with the group remain responsible for a large proportion of drug trafficking and migrant smuggling activities at the U.S.-Mexico border. Significant profits gained by cartel associates from such activities, alongside accusations of poor pay amongst state security personnel across Tamaulipas has contributed to high levels of corruption and involvement in illegal activities amongst the military.
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SOUTH AMERICAComplexo do Salgueiro, BrazilOn the morning of Friday 16th July, Brazilian police responded to reports of a hostage-taking in Complexo do Salgueiro, a neighbourhood just outside Rio de Janeiro. Police shot and killed four suspects, including two local leaders of the criminal group Comando Vermelho (CV), or Red Command. The alleged hostages have not yet been located. Red Command has a significant social leadership role in many of Rio de Janeiro’s marginalised neighbourhoods, including in Complexo do Salgueiro, where the group ordered residents to stay indoors and close their businesses following the incident. Although continued gunfire was reported in the area, no significant retaliatory attacks have been reported so far. Earlier in June, Red Command unleashed a wave of violence after one of their leaders was killed by police in Manaus, when retaliatory attacks were reported in eight different cities across the state of Amazonas.
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How is the Libyan civil war impacting the oil and gas industry in 2021? In the latest episode of The Insight video series, Intelligence Fusion’s Senior Intelligence Analyst for Africa, Viraj Pattni, explains what’s happening with the Libyan civil war in 2021 and the current and future threats facing the country’s vital oil and gas industry.
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Ensconce en-SKANSPart of speech: verbOrigin: Unknown place of origin, late 16th century
1Establish or settle (someone) in a comfortable, safe, or secret place.
Examples of Ensconce in a sentence “The top government officials were safely ensconced in a windowless office.” “Barbara ensconced herself in the world of academia.”

Did you know…

Did you know…

… that today is First Female Space Flight Commander Day? On July 23, 1999, space shuttle Columbia blasted off with the world’s most powerful X-ray telescope and Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a U.S. space flight. Collins, a retired NASA astronaut and United States Air Force colonel, was awarded several medals for her work.


Today’s Inspirational Quote:

“I don’t think of myself as being a woman and having anything to prove.”

— Eileen Collins

Our need for true connection is giving rise to phone-free spaces


Gestalt ɡə-SHTaltPart of speech: nounOrigin: German, 1920s
1An organized whole that is perceived as more than the sum of its parts.
Examples of Gestalt in a sentence “Gestalt in art refers to an ability to recognize patterns and group objects.” “Families form their own unique gestalt over time.”