Know what the best-selling self-help books on Amazon are right now? A Hollywood celebrity, an internet celebrity, two books on stoicism, a book by an alt-right anti-feminist, a book on crystal healing and Dale Carnegie, who seems to be perpetually there. Plus, a bunch more not unlike those.
Self help books are a bit like fashion. There’s trends and fads.
Ideas, thoughts and concepts become popular for a while, and then slowly fade away, as if they’re moving over for the next wave of self help ideas and authors in an endless parade of how broken we are.
When Elizabeth Luxford found out her husband James had another wife, she marched down to the Court of Assistants in the Massachusetts Bay Puritan Colony and got the first divorce in America.
They fined him 100 pounds, gave all his property to Elizabeth, and threw his butt in the stocks. When he was released, they sent him back to England.
That was December, 1639. The second divorce was 3 years later when Anne Clarke petitioned for divorce in 1643. She’d married her husband, Denis and they had two kids. Then he moved in with another woman and had two kids…
When I was a kid, my uncle used to do magic. The best was when he’d pull coins out of our ears.
He’d open his hands and make a big production of turning his pockets inside out so we could be sure he wasn’t hiding coins.
Then he’d wave his hands and voila — he’d pull coins out of our ears.
He’d look at Mom with a mock frown and ask why there’s coins growing in our ears. We’d laugh and ask how he did it but he wouldn’t tell.
He’d just wink and say magic.
Sometimes, that’s how I…
When Albert Einstein was born, his mother took one look at him and started to cry. “His poor head,” she wailed, “His poor big head.” At birth, his head was larger than normal for a newborn. It was March 14, 1879
3.14. Known as Pi Day. How apropos that would turn out to be.
Yesterday, Substack emailed to say they’ve updated how their stats work. Writers can now see how readers are engaging with their writing in a visual medium that makes it easy to wrap your head around.
So I logged in to see how it works. Omg, you guys, it’s gold stars. lol.
But not like the rest of the internet does gold stars, because they turned it around backwards and it’s freaking brilliant.
Substack is what you’d get if Medium and Mailchimp had a child. Plus, a little more because it’s the gifted child.
Sam Smiles was kind of a failure in his youth, at least by his own criteria. Opposite of the Midas touch, it seemed everything he touched failed.
He was schooled in medicine, but his medical practice failed so badly, he abandoned it and became an editor at a local paper. When that didn’t get him the upward progress he wanted, he went into railroad administration.
When he left the railroad after a decade or so, he thought he should team up and go into business with a partner.
He joined several cooperative business ventures, but they all failed because of…
Headlines are like a mosquito in the room on an otherwise lovely summer night. I really just want to nail that sucker, but I mostly miss.
Some people (me) sometimes debate whether headlines even matter. After all, some of the best writers suck at titles. I don’t read them for their titles. I read them because I know I like their writing.
Which is a lovely warm and fuzzy feeling, but does nothing to get new readers. Because new readers don’t know they like my writing yet. Or yours.
So yes, headlines do matter. Especially if you want to grow…
Ah, Victorian women. So delicate and genteel in their long, feminine gowns with cinched waists and petticoats. Prim and polite, morning to night. Right?
Well, no. Apparently not, as one magazine discovered when some man thought it was a good idea to ask single women why they’re not married.
I don’t say “some man” in a feminist snark manner. The editor of said magazine was George Newnes, Sherlock Holmes fan and son of a Congregational minister.
Despite that he was not born into a publishing family, Newnes inaugurated what would become known as “New Journalism,” an editorial strategy that included…
King Tut was a child king who ascended to the throne at age nine and was dead by nineteen, but for centuries we knew hardly anything about him other than a few details. We didn’t even know how he died.
Historians knew he took power around 1332 B.C. and ruled for a decade until he died at nineteen. But we didn’t know much more than that.
Until British archaeologist Howard Carter stumbled upon his tomb.
Or rather, his water-boy did.
There’s a lot of hate and vitriol on the internet. Some places, you expect it. Political spaces. Twitter. Reddit. It’s almost part of the terrain, there.
It’s not just places. It’s topics, too. Write about feminism under a woman’s name and you’ll see savagery real quickly. You get to expect it, in some topics and spaces.
You know where I didn’t expect blistering rage?
In a horticulture group.
Plant lovers, for gosh sakes! Where our daily conversations are about pest management, cuttings, brag shots and general industry chatter like which greenhouse is propagating the new variegated monstera.
Sometimes, plant people…