What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters

What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters
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Updated 29 November 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters

What We Are Reading Today: The Roman Republic of Letters

Author: Katharina Volk 

In The Roman Republic of Letters, Katharina Volk explores a fascinating chapter of intellectual history, focusing on the literary senators of the mid-first century BCE who came to blows over the future of Rome even as they debated philosophy, history, political theory, linguistics, science, and religion.

It was a period of intense cultural flourishing and extreme political unrest—and the agents of each were very often the same people.

Members of the senatorial class, including Cicero, Caesar, Brutus, Cassius, Cato, Varro, and Nigidius Figulus, contributed greatly to the development of Roman scholarship and engaged in a lively and often polemical exchange with one another. 


What We Are Reading Today: Talking Cure; An Essay on the Civilizing Power of Conversation

What We Are Reading Today: Talking Cure; An Essay on the Civilizing Power of Conversation
Updated 28 January 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Talking Cure; An Essay on the Civilizing Power of Conversation

What We Are Reading Today: Talking Cure; An Essay on the Civilizing Power of Conversation

Edited by Paula Marantz Cohen

“Talking Cure” is a timely and enticing excursion into the art of good conversation. Paula Marantz Cohen reveals how conversation connects us in ways that social media never can and explains why simply talking to each other freely and without guile may be the cure to what ails our troubled society. 

Drawing on her lifelong immersion in literature and culture and her decades of experience as a teacher and critic, Cohen argues that we learn to converse in our families and then carry that knowledge into a broader world where we encounter diverse opinions and sensibilities.


What We Are Reading Today: Three Roads Back

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Updated 28 January 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Three Roads Back

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Author: Robert D. Richardson

In “Three Roads Back,” Robert Richardson, the author of magisterial biographies of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and William James, tells the connected stories of how these foundational American writers and thinkers dealt with personal tragedies early in their careers. For Emerson, it was the death of his young wife and, 11 years later, his five-year-old son; for Thoreau, it was the death of his brother; and for James, it was the death of his beloved cousin Minnie Temple.

Filled with rich biographical detail and unforgettable passages from the journals and letters of Emerson, Thoreau, and James, these vivid and moving stories of loss and hard-fought resilience show how the writers’ responses to these deaths helped spur them on to their greatest work, influencing the birth and course of American literature and philosophy. In reaction to his traumatic loss, Emerson lost his Unitarian faith and found solace in nature.

Thoreau, too, leaned on nature and its regenerative power, discovering that “death is the law of new life,” an insight that would find expression in Walden. And James, following a period of panic and despair, experienced a redemptive conversion and new ideas that would drive his work as a psychologist and philosopher.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Empire of Ice and Stone

What We Are Reading Today: Empire of Ice and Stone
Updated 26 January 2023

What We Are Reading Today: Empire of Ice and Stone

What We Are Reading Today: Empire of Ice and Stone

Author: Buddy Levy

In the summer of 1913, the wooden-hulled brigantine Karluk departed Canada for the Arctic Ocean. At the helm was Captain Bob Bartlett, considered the world’s greatest living ice navigator. 

The expedition’s visionary leader was a flamboyant impresario named Vilhjalmur Stefansson hungry for fame.

Set against the backdrop of the Titanic disaster and World War I, filled with heroism, tragedy, and scientific discovery, Buddy Levy’s “Empire of Ice and Stone” tells the story of two men and two distinctively different brands of leadership: one selfless, one self-serving, and how they would forever be bound by one of the most audacious and disastrous expeditions in polar history.


What We Are Reading Today: ‘Nine Things Successful People Do Differently’

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Updated 25 January 2023

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Nine Things Successful People Do Differently’

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Author: Heidi Grant Halvorson

“Nine Things Successful People Do Differently” is a self-help book written by Heidi Grant Halvorson.

An easy read, the book highlights the key attributes of high achievers in helping them to achieve their goals.

It cites research showing that people achieve things not because of who they are, but because of what they do, and identifies nine strategies used by successful people to hit their targets.

They include being specific, seizing the moment, being a realistic optimist, focusing on getting better rather than getting good, showing determination, and focusing only on what needs to be done.

Halvorson explains the importance of knowing exactly what must be accomplished and keeping track of every action toward that set goal.

On being a realistic optimist, she points out the need to aim high, have a clear plan, and stay motivated.

And thoughts and ideas should be written down and acted upon as soon as possible.

A psychologist, researcher, and author, Halvorson has written for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and was one of Thinkers50 most influential management thinkers.

She is director of research and development for EY Americas Learning, and associate director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Land Beneath the Ice by David J. Drewry

What We Are Reading Today: The Land Beneath the Ice by David J. Drewry
Updated 24 January 2023

What We Are Reading Today: The Land Beneath the Ice by David J. Drewry

What We Are Reading Today: The Land Beneath the Ice by David J. Drewry

From the moment explorers set foot on the ice of Antarctica in the early nineteenth century, they desired to learn what lay beneath.

David J. Drewry provides an insider’s account of the ambitious and often hazardous radar mapping expeditions that he and fellow glaciologists undertook during the height of the Cold War, when concerns about global climate change were first emerging and scientists were finally able to peer into the Antarctic ice and take its measure.