Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Being “The People’s Author” (And Loving It)

Question: Do you like\r\nthat you're known as “The People’s Author?"

\r\n\r\n

Anne Lamott: I\r\ncan honestly say there is nothing I would rather be known as than “The \r\nPeople’s\r\nAuthor.”  I’ve never heard that,\r\nand I’m thinking you got it from some blog from some guy who is like \r\ncompletely\r\nwasted on ecstasy and cheap red wine when he said it.  But\r\n if it were true, I would love that. 

\r\n\r\n

And, being a person who believes that all truth is \r\nparadox\r\nand contradiction, I just get a sucked in as any writer into the jungle \r\ndrums\r\nof publication and wishing that I were on the “Today” Show this morning \r\ninstead\r\nof David Remnick and how it’s not fair and how it’s not fair that he’s \r\nnot this\r\nand that and he’s on “Fresh Air” and so I have a kind of bitterness that\r\n goes\r\nalong with this sense of being “The People’s Author,” and really feeling\r\n like a\r\nmissionary most of the time and just wanting to tell people... the truth\r\n of my\r\nexperience is that we are all a lot more alike than we are different. \r\nAnd that\r\nif I share something that seems kind of intimate, or autobiographical, \r\nit’s\r\nbecause I assume it’s true for you too. \r\nAnd I’ve told it so many times and everybody said, “Oh yeah, me \r\ntoo.”  I’m not telling anything that isn’t\r\ntrue for most of us.  And it just\r\nhas to do with it.  We can seem\r\nsort of spiritual and hippy-dippy like I think I come across, and tree \r\nhugger\r\nand San Francisco and all that. \r\nAnd at the same time be sort of enraged that the New York \r\nglitterati are\r\ngetting the great spots in the media the week that I’m on tour on the \r\nEast\r\nCoast. 

\r\n\r\n

Question: Do you\r\nconsciously try to win more fans?

\r\n\r\n

Anne Lamott: I\r\n would say the most important thing is to pretend that you’re\r\nabove all of that.  But certainly,\r\nI’m just finding this week—we’re taping this the day of publication—and \r\nI’m\r\nfinding just so much manipulation and kind of desperado stuff going on \r\ninside\r\nme, and I’m trying to suck people into my web, and I’m trying to use old\r\ncontacts kind of in the most casual way to try to get them to shoehorn \r\nme onto\r\nCNN maybe later today after I sign stock at the Riverhead office.  So, I find a lot inside me. 

\r\n\r\n

The thing is, I’ll be 56 at the end of the week and\r\n I don’t\r\nact on it as much as I used to. \r\nBefore, I would have done it all and I would have just been \r\ndancing as\r\nfast as I could to try to suck in and please everyone and seduce \r\neveryone and\r\npush everyone harder to get—and now I just feel too tired, and I’m kind \r\nof achy\r\nfrom the long flight and so, the impulse is there, and probably this \r\nside of\r\nthe grave.  It just comes with the\r\nterritory; it comes with the turf of being a well-known writer is that I\r\n have a\r\ndisease called "More."  And if I\r\nhave a huge audience, I’d like a bigger audience; maybe slightly a \r\nslightly\r\nmore illustrious audience.  Maybe\r\nif Susan Sontag were alive she would want to be my best friend.

Recorded April 6, 2010
\r\nInterviewed by Austin Allen
\r\n

Anne Lamott embraces her reputation as a popular novelist, but admits that she sometimes gets caught up in the pretentious side of her profession.

The “new normal” paradox: What COVID-19 has revealed about higher education

Higher education faces challenges that are unlike any other industry. What path will ASU, and universities like ASU, take in a post-COVID world?

Photo: Luis Robayo/AFP via Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Everywhere you turn, the idea that coronavirus has brought on a "new normal" is present and true. But for higher education, COVID-19 exposes a long list of pernicious old problems more than it presents new problems.
  • It was widely known, yet ignored, that digital instruction must be embraced. When combined with traditional, in-person teaching, it can enhance student learning outcomes at scale.
  • COVID-19 has forced institutions to understand that far too many higher education outcomes are determined by a student's family income, and in the context of COVID-19 this means that lower-income students, first-generation students and students of color will be disproportionately afflicted.
Keep reading Show less

R.P. Eddy wrote about a coming pandemic in 2017. Why didn't we listen?

In his book with Richard Clarke, "Warnings," Eddy made clear this was inevitable.

Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Coronavirus
  • In their 2017 book, "Warnings," R.P. Eddy and Richard Clarke warned about a coming pandemic.
  • "You never get credit for correctly predicting an outbreak," says science journalist Laurie Garrett in the book.
  • In this interview with Big Think, R.P. Eddy explains why people don't listen to warnings—and how to try to get them to listen.
Keep reading Show less

Creativity: The science behind the madness

Human brains evolved for creativity. We just have to learn how to access it.

Videos
  • An all-star cast of Big Thinkers—actors Rainn Wilson and Ethan Hawke; composer Anthony Brandt; neuroscientists David Eagleman, Wendy Suzuki, and Beau Lotto; and psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman—share how they define creativity and explain how our brains uniquely evolved for the phenomenon.
  • According to Eagleman, during evolution there was an increase in space between our brain's input and output that allows information more time to percolate. We also grew a larger prefrontal cortex which "allows us to simulate what ifs, to separate ourselves from our location in space and time and think about possibilities."
  • Scott Barry Kaufman details 3 brain networks involved in creative thinking, and Wendy Suzuki busts the famous left-brain, right-brain myth.

What if Middle-earth was in Pakistan?

Iranian Tolkien scholar finds intriguing parallels between subcontinental geography and famous map of Middle-earth.

Image: Mohammad Reza Kamali, reproduced with kind permission
Strange Maps
  • J.R.R. Tolkien hinted that his stories are set in a really ancient version of Europe.
  • But a fantasy realm can be inspired by a variety of places; and perhaps so is Tolkien's world.
  • These intriguing similarities with Asian topography show that it may be time to 'decolonise' Middle-earth.
Keep reading Show less

New study explores how to navigate 'desire discrepancies' in long term relationships

With the most common form of female sexual dysfunction impacting 1 in 10 women, this important study dives into how to keep a relationship going despite having different needs and wants in the bedroom.

NDAB Creativity / Shutterstock
Sex & Relationships
  • A new study highlights the difficulties faced by women who struggle with decreased sexual desire, and explains how to navigate desire discrepancies in long-term relationships.
  • Hypoactive sexual desire disorder is one of the most common forms of female sexual dysfunction, impacting an estimated 1 in 10 women.
  • Finding other ways to promote intimacy in your relationship is one of the keys to ensuring happiness on both sides.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast