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Comment - An Anti-Biography

I love the quality of commenting and discussion on this site - with how bad comments are on most of the internet, I've been really blown away with the amounts of wisdom and smart things we've gotten in the comments.

I try to take sharp and thought-provoking comments and make them into their own top level post, so they get full exposure. I try to do especially do this for comments on older entries that otherwise wouldn't be seen.

Now, it's really exciting when comments on comments are generating good discussion. This is what I've been looking for - a place where smart, ambitious, expansive, cool, good people communicate and talk and work on things.

Anyways, a while back Stefanie left a comment that became the entry "Life Manifest."

Roy just replied to her work with an exercise that I think worthy of some consideration -

8 Books that Changed the Way I Work and Live in Graduate School

On The Tao of Graduate School

I'm always searching for the books that actually matter, for those books that will make a significant change to my life. Indeed, one of my favorite openers in a conversation is "What books have changed your life?" It makes for interesting conversation, but the question also acts as a filter, allowing me to vet certain books based on personal recommendations.

Consider me your filter. Through my research and conversations with students and faculty across the curriculum, I've found some fantastic resources to which I turn time and time again. What follows are the cream of the crop, the books that will stand the test of time and change the lives of those who read them.

Writing

The Elements of Style, Strunk and White

Originally written in 1918, but with a ton of new editions along the way, this book single-handedly changed the way I thought about writing. I've read it a zillion times, and I find myself coming back to it often. Now, you'd think that an old book on writing, having the gumption to name itself The Elements of Style, would be boring and pedantic. Let me assure you: it's exactly the opposite. It's practical and, at times, hilarious. For example, the authors intentionally break their own rules in order to make a point (and, I think, to jab the reader). They do this so subtly that many critics argue the authors don't follow their own advice. For me, these mistakes are purposeful. I kept it in the bathroom for a year, as it makes for great morning reading! (Yes, I know. Crazy.)

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