Notes on “The Hedgehog and the Fox” by Isaiah Berlin

Thread on the famous essay. One quick point. I was first attracted to this essay because of hedgehog and fox dichotomy. Berlin suggests that thinkers can (or tend to be?) one or the other. Simply, foxes know many things, while hedgehogs know one big thing. I wanted to learn more about the two categories. Unfortunately, the essay says very little about this. The categories are mostly a springboard or a backdrop for an investigation into Leo Tolstoy’s conception of history, epistemology, and philosophy. Still, I ended up learning and thinking about the way people fall into different categories, in terms of their outlook, thinking, and personality, and the way this seems seems to frame or influence debates about key topics in philosophy and politics. I’ll try to go into that in the next comment section.

Four Pieces of Writing That Must Be Read in the Trump Era

I really enjoy the experience of coming across a new idea that changes my perception or understanding in a significant way. I’ve been thinking about four pieces of writing that did that for–all of them crucial, I would say, to Americans. I list those articles, with a brief description, in the first comment. (Note: The title is more of an attention-getter than something I literally believe.)

Notes on Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012) by Susan Cain

I read this book shortly after its publication, in order to write a review of it for my side gig. I have to admit I didn’t take my time, and not much of it really stuck, although I was impressed by how scholarly and accessible it is.

Since then, of course, the book has become something of a conversation-starter all over the country, especially in workplaces, and Cain has become a champion for an interesting cause. Also since then, I’ve grown to admire other writers who call her a friend and colleague (most notably Adam Grant). I haven’t seen her TED Talk yet, because mostly I don’t care for TED Talks, but I think I’ll give it a look when I get through this re-read.

2020 is my year of finishing unfinished books (2019 was my year of re-reading long-loved titles from my past), so I’m starting with Quiet, a book I technically finished but didn’t actually finish since I read it so quickly. Here will be some notes for posterity.