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Posts tagged "success"

Apr 16, 2014
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“Success” (from Krazy Kat)

“Success” (from Krazy Kat)

Mar 16, 2014
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What made The Scarlet Letter a bestseller

Interesting bit from The Writer’s Almanac today:

It was on this day in 1850 that Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, was published. He was living at a time when there was almost no such thing as American literature, in part because the American publishing industry was so behind the times. In order to publish a book, a single printer would edit the manuscript, set the type, operate the printing press, bind the pages into books, and then sell them. It was remarkably inefficient, and so it was almost impossible to produce a best-seller, since so few copies were available to be sold.

But by 1850, books were being printed by machines. Long, continuous sheets of paper were fed into steam-powered printing presses, and factories of workers folded, pressed, and stitched the pages into books. The Scarlet Letter became the first great American novel in part because it was the first novel that could reach a large audience.

…On March 16, 2,500 copies of The Scarlet Letter were published, and they sold out within 10 days.

We think of “the classics” as all inevitable successes, but so often there was a specific cultural context that made or broke them. For contrast, see the fate of Hawthorne’s buddy, Herman Melville.

Nov 24, 2013
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The real ending to Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Aug 05, 2013
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Success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it.

Jul 02, 2013
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What do we do now, now that we are happy?
— Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot

May 31, 2013
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What Willy Wonka should have said.

  • Willy Wonka: But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted.
  • Charlie Bucket: What happened?
  • Willy Wonka: He had to run a fucking chocolate factory!

May 26, 2013
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For a while, it seemed like I was getting sent this article, “Creative People Say No” at least twice a day. The idea is that creative geniuses say “no” to a lot of requests (like, a psychology professor researching processes of creative genius) in order to get their work done, so if you want to be a creative genius, you have to say no a lot so you can get your work done.

A bunch of people asked me what I thought about it, and I said, “It’s good advice for the rich and famous.”

Ian Bogost explains it nicely, here:


  [Y]ou have to say ‘yes’ for a long while before you can earn the right to say ‘no.’ Even then, you usually can’t say ‘no’ at whim. By the time you can say ‘no’ indiscriminately, then you’re already so super-privileged that being able to say ‘no’ is not a prerequisite of success, but a result of it.


There was a little index card in the back of Steal Like An Artist that didn’t make it into the book that sums up my own point of view: “Be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.”

(Thx @ayjay.)

For a while, it seemed like I was getting sent this article, “Creative People Say No” at least twice a day. The idea is that creative geniuses say “no” to a lot of requests (like, a psychology professor researching processes of creative genius) in order to get their work done, so if you want to be a creative genius, you have to say no a lot so you can get your work done.

A bunch of people asked me what I thought about it, and I said, “It’s good advice for the rich and famous.”

Ian Bogost explains it nicely, here:

[Y]ou have to say ‘yes’ for a long while before you can earn the right to say ‘no.’ Even then, you usually can’t say ‘no’ at whim. By the time you can say ‘no’ indiscriminately, then you’re already so super-privileged that being able to say ‘no’ is not a prerequisite of success, but a result of it.

There was a little index card in the back of Steal Like An Artist that didn’t make it into the book that sums up my own point of view: “Be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.”

(Thx @ayjay.)

May 11, 2013
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Frank Sinatra tells George Michael to suck it up and embrace his success


  Talent must not be wasted…those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it, and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.


(thx @aweissman)

Frank Sinatra tells George Michael to suck it up and embrace his success

Talent must not be wasted…those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it, and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.

(thx @aweissman)

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  “Get sick, get well,
  Hang around an ink well
  Ring bell, hard to tell
  If anything is goin’ to sell…”
  —Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

“Get sick, get well,
Hang around an ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin’ to sell…”
—Bob Dylan, Subterranean Homesick Blues

Apr 14, 2013
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Patti Smith’s advice to young artists

A writer or any artist can’t expect to be embraced by the people. I’ve done records where it seemed like no one listened to them. You write poetry books that maybe 50 people read. And you just keep doing your work because you have to, because it’s your calling.

But it’s beautiful to be embraced by the people.

Some people have said to me, “Well, don’t you think that kind of success spoils one as an artist? If you’re a punk rocker, you don’t want to have a hit record…”

And I say to them, “Fuck you!” 

One does their work for the people. And the more people you can touch, the more wonderful it is. You don’t do your work and say, “I only want the cool people to read it.” You want everyone to be transported, or hopefully inspired by it.

When I was really young, William Burroughs told me, “Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises. Don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work. And make the right choices and protect your work. And if you can build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.”

So, so good.

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