Re: What inspires you?
Virginia Postrel: I really wish I had a good answer to that. You know, it’s kind of like, “Well, I walk around and I look at things, and I read a lot.” And when I find out about an interesting person I will sometimes try to interview them, particularly if I can come up with an article, and I sleep on it. Quite literally, I get a lot of these ideas while I’m asleep or in that sort of twilight zone. And the process of writing actually helps too, because just as somebody who does mathematical modeling has to sit down and actually take their vague notion and to turn it into equations, in the case of me writing, while I take, you know, I usually start with some sort of intuition and then I refine it. And while I’m actually sitting there I’ll have other ideas. And I’ll realize, “Oh that doesn’t really logically follow” What about this? What about that? I look for interesting academic research, which is often hard to find because if you don’t have a popularizer who’s already popularized it, how do you find it? It’s easier for me within the world of economics because I know a lot of economists. I wrote an economics column for the New York Times for six years, and over the course of doing that I learned a lot. But I learned how to do it in other fields, and you follow footnotes. You read an interesting book, it has footnotes. You go look up the things that they’ve footnoted. I read a lot of history. I think that we have a tremendous amount to learn about the present and the future from studying the past. Not just in the sense of where we got here, but in less sort of linear sense of analogy, and inspiration, and synthesis.
Inspiration is intuition, refined.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
- The Yugoslav Wars started in 1991, but never really ended
- Kosovo and Serbia are still enemies, and they're getting worse
- A proposed land swap could create peace - or reignite the conflict
The death of Old Yugoslavia
Image: public domain
United Yugoslavia on a CIA map from 1990.
After the wars
Image: Ijanderson977, CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons
Kosovo divides the world
Image: public domain
Land for peace?
If others can do it...
Image: Ruland Kolen
The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.
- Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
- The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
- Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
- Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
- But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.