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Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time in 4,000 Years of Mapping the Universe


A visual catalog of our quintessential quest to understand the cosmos and our place in it. Long before Galileo invented the telescope, antagonizing the church and unleashing a “hummingbird effect” of innovation, humanity had been busy cataloging the heavens through millennia of imaginative speculative maps of the cosmos.

Follow the Footnote: Ben Schott on the Value of the Ungoogleable and What Virginia Woolf Can Teach Us About Great Design


Celebrating the significance of small things and the iron bolts that hold butterfly wings together. In 2002, a small and confounding book titled Schott’s Original Miscellany (public library) was released to very little fanfare by British independent press Bloomsbury, publishers of such diverse and beloved offerings as Harry Potter and Lost Cat.

William James on Choosing Purpose Over Profit and the Life-Changing Power of a Great Mentor


“There might be some anguish in looking back from the pinnacle of prosperity (necessarily reached, if not by eating dirt, at least by renouncing some divine ambrosia) over the life you might have led in the pure pursuit of truth.” William James is celebrated as one of the most influential philosophers of all time.

Jazz Legend Bill Evans on the Creative Process, Self-Teaching, and Balancing Clarity with Spontaneity in Problem-Solving


“The person that succeeds in anything has the realistic viewpoint at the beginning and [knows] that the problem is large and that he has to take it a step at a time.” In a 1915 letter to his young son, Albert Einstein advised that the best way to learn anything is “when you are doing something with such enjoyment that you don’t notice that the time passes.” Many decades later, psychologists would give a name to this distinctive, exhilarating state of immersive, self-initiated learning and creative growth: flow.

The Hand Through the Fence: Pablo Neruda on What a Childhood Encounter Taught Him About Writing and Why We Make Art


“To feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know … widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.” Since our cave-dwelling days, the question of why we make art and why we enjoy it has haunted us as a perennial specter of the human experience.

The Hand Through the Fence: Pablo Neruda on What a Childhood Encounter Taught Him About Writing and Why We Make Art


“To feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know … widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things.” Since our cave-dwelling days, the question of why we make art and why we enjoy it has haunted us as a perennial specter of the human experience.

Evolution: A Coloring Book


A die-cut history of how the dinosaurs became birds and humans rose from the sea. We were once amoebae, and here we are today, singing opera and typing on iPhones with opposable thumbs.

At Home with Themselves: Sage Sohier’s Moving Portraits of Same-Sex Couples in the 1980s


A tender, thoughtful lens on life and love in the margins. By the second half of the twentieth century, same-sex love had undergone a tumultuous journey — in the middle ages, widely held male bonding ceremonies condoned the same love that would become punishable by death just a couple of centuries later; and yet in the 19th century, America’s first gay bar appeared, while women engaged in “romantic friendships” and even married each other, all within society’s transparent closet; but by the early twentieth century, the closet had become increasingly opaque — even luminaries like Virginia Woolf, Oscar Wilde, and Margaret Mead celebrated their same-sex love only in private and queer couples lived in secret; those who dared not to conceal their lives were persecuted and punished — public tragedies like the fate of computing pioneer Alan Turing were only the tip of a chilling iceberg of injustice.

25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy: Andy Warhol’s Little-Known Collaborations with His Mother


The cat listicle goes pop art half a century before cat listicles existed. In the 1950s, long before he had invented himself as pop art’s pioneer, Andy Warhol was making ends meet by working as a freelance children’s book illustrator for Doubleday.

Neil Gaiman Reimagines Hansel & Gretel, with Gorgeous Black-and-White Illustrations by Italian Graphic Artist Lorenzo Mattotti


“If you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up.” J.R.R.

How to Get a Raise: Wisdom on the Art of Asking and the Secret of Success from Walter Benjamin’s Lost Radio Broadcasts


“And please believe me when I tell you: successful people are never sore losers.” Walter Benjamin may be best known as a literary critic, philosopher, and essayist — with enduring insight on the written word that includes his thirteen rules of writing and his advice on how to write a fat tome — but he was also a pioneer of early German radio.

Kahlil Gibran on the Absurdity of Self-Righteousness


A simple reminder that nothing undoes dignity like peevish indignation. Decades before artist Anne Truitt pondered the cure for our chronic self-righteousness, another extraordinary creative mind tussled with this human pathology.

What It Really Means to “Live Our Mission”


A beautiful meditation on how we learn to stand at the gates of hope in troubled times. “How are we so optimistic, so careful not to trip and yet do trip, and then get up and say OK?

Sylvia Plath on Poetry and a Rare Recording of Her Reading the Poem “The Disquieting Muses”


“Darker emotions may well put on the mask of quite unworldly things.” In 1957, Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932–February 11, 1963) — beloved poet, secret artist, dedicated diarist, passionate lover, little-known children’s book author, youthful beholder of the transcendence of nature, repressed “addict of experience” — submitted a few of her poems for consideration for broadcast in the BBC’s celebrated series The Poet’s Voice.

The Paradox of Active Surrender: Jeanette Winterson on Ignorance vs. Distaste and How Learning to Understand Art Transforms Us


“True art, when it happens to us, challenges the ‘I’ that we are.” I recently attended an event at which a celebrated public radio personality attempted to interview a celebrated artist.

How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself: A Timely Vintage Field Guide to Self-Reliant Play and Joyful Solitude


A celebration of makers and hackers from half a century before they were called makers and hackers. Legendary psychoanalyst Adam Phillips has written beautifully about why the capacity for boredom is essential for a full life and Susan Sontag contemplated the creative purpose of boredom.

Mark Twain on Slavery, How Religion Is Used to Justify Injustice, and What His Mother Taught Him About Compassion


“She never used large words, but she had a natural gift for making small ones do effective work.” Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, is celebrated as America’s greatest humorist — from his irreverent advice to little girls to his snarky stance on creativity to his masterwork on masturbation.

How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself: A Timely Vintage Field Guide to Self-Reliant Play and Joyful Solitude


A celebration of makers and hackers from half a century before they were called makers and hackers. Legendary psychoanalyst Adam Phillips has written beautifully about why the capacity for boredom is essential for a full life and Susan Sontag contemplated the creative purpose of boredom.

What Is Philosophy For? A Beautiful Animated Manifesto for Undoing Our Unwisdom, Cultivating Our Character, and Gaining Perspective


“The points at which our unwisdom bites and messes up our lives are multiple and urgently need attention, right now.” “Philosophy’s main task is to respond to the soul’s cry,” Sharon Lebell wrote in her classical manual for the art of living.

Once Upon an Alphabet: Oliver Jeffers’s Imaginative Illustrated Stories for the Letters


A warm and wonderful celebration of the paradoxes and perplexities that make us human. In the 1990s, three decades after the debut of his now-iconic grim alphabet book, the great Edward Gorey reimagined the letters in a series of 26-word cryptic stories.


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