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.

Notes on His Excellency by Joseph Ellis

This is a short biography on George Washington. In addition to the fact that I really like Ellis as a writer and historian, Ellis offered something that appealed to me–namely, to provide a reason Washington garnered tremendous respect and admiration from all the other Founding Fathers, even though many were more well educated and intellectually superior. I’m not sure if Ellis provides a clear answer to this question, but here is my sense of the reasons Washington had universal respect from the Founding Fathers. Continue reading “Notes on His Excellency by Joseph Ellis”