Great Minds: Barack Obama

Bestseller lists are filled with politicians-cum-authors, many of whom publish their memoirs in the twilight of their careers to cash in on their fame (or infamy). But there is a noble quality to those who first express their ideas in print even before they have constituents to cater to, such as the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Before Obama first took a public office in 1996 he had already penned Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. In it, Obama searches for meaning as a black American who was raised by his white mother, covering hi... keep reading

Great Minds: Under the Covers with Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd’s home and office walk the fine line between collectible and cluttered, full of comic books, action figures, and other “Kidd-friendly” paraphernelia. The ad artists in Mad Men wouldn’t be caught dead with a collectible lunchbox, but Kidd displays his front and center.

Kidd isn’t a hoarder–he’s an award-winning book cover designer for Knopf, and has created both fiction and nonfiction covers for authors such as John Updike, Katharine Hepburn, Cormac McCarthy, David Sedaris, Neil Gaiman, and countless others. He’s perhaps mos... keep reading

Great Minds: How J.K. Rowling Brought Order to the Order of the Phoenix

J.K. Rowling famously thought up a school of witchcraft and wizardry while on a delayed train. Of course, as it often is when the muse decides to strike, she was penless (and, she admits, too shy to ask for one).

Rowling, of course, was eventually able to find a pen, and 400 million copies later, Harry Potter and his world of magic has become one of the most beloved stories of our time. But, as Rowling wrote each book, that world got bigger and bigger until not even a delayed train ride could help her organize it.

Instead, Rowling took to organizing on paper, creating a massiv... keep reading

The world’s most prolific author: How Philip M Parker published 200,000 titles

What does it mean to be a prolific writer? Well, by the book it means to “write in large quantities or with great frequency”. The prolific writers are the ones who’ve figured out all the secrets of the productivity game. And while there are a number of notable writers in this vein–say, Isaac Asimov with his 506 published works, or Alexandre Dumas who churned out hundreds back when paper was a luxury–there is one who has not just mastered the rules of writing pro... keep reading

Word Stylists: Four writers who inject their writing with personality

Stylistically, writing is boundless. And yes, that applies to nonfiction too. Pick up a newspaper and compare the day’s editorial to a news segment, or even the sports section; they’re remarkably different in style, making each one a unique reading experience. So what’s the secret to bringing a distinctive flavour to your writing? It all starts with your authentic personality. Here are four great non-fiction writers who injected their personality into their writing to create a writing style that led to multi-dimensional classics that transport their readers to another world.

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