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Want to Write Better? Become a Better Reader!

Busy with exams this month, so leaving you with this Austin Kleon post with tonnes of quotes on reading.

Here’s a few of my favourite ones …

“You can’t be a good writer without being a devoted reader.”
—J.K. Rowling

“Read, read, read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read!”
—William Faulkner

“When I’m reading, I’m looking for something to steal. Readers ask me all the time the traditional question ‘Where do you get your ideas from?” I reply: ‘We are all having ideas all the time. But I’m on the lookout for them. You’re not.’”
—Philip Pullman

Go, read.

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Why I use Gender Neutral Pronouns

A young friend of mine had this to say a while back, when I suggested he use gender neutral pronouns in his writing.

the gender thing. I thought a lot about it and came to the conclusion that it is okay to be biased in your writing. Me being a male, it is only natural for me to use 'he' more often than 'she'. But the idea of flipping the roles1 seems interesting :) I'd keep that in mind.

And I don’t know why that bothered me.
Am I imposing my view on a young, impressionable mind by insisting he write a certain way?
Why did I branch out of my normal, grammatical/typo corrections to suggest this?

Then it struck me. Seth Godin, saying, “People like us, do things like this.”
I believe in a certain manner of treating people.
I believe that every one needs to be treated with inclusiveness.
I believe that half of our species has never been treated with the respect they deserve. (and some others have been ruthlessly shunned)
I believe language deepens such prejudice.

And so, this is my little rebellion.
I will do my utmost to treat people with respect.
I use my pronouns so that any thing desirable or powerful or important is not automatically associated with men.
I use my pronouns so that anything associated with grunt work is not just something women do.
I want my language to be as inclusive as possible.
This is my tribe.

This was my realisation and what set me at peace.
Everyone is not like me or shares my views. I should be ever more cognisant of this fact.
I have my tribe of like minded people.
People like me, do things like me :)

As for you, my young friend, I hope to welcome you someday into my tribe!

P.S. If you like my writing, you should share this with your friends and ask them to subscribe!


  1. The role flipping was another suggestion. Flip genders when describing stuff. A male receptionist. A female surgeon. A male seamstress. A female truck driver. Copied as always, from the always wise Seth 

The Safal Niveshak Wall of Ideas

These weekly posts will slow down until the end af April.
Hard at work, studying for exams.

Link for this week is the Safal Niveshak Wall of Ideas.
Vishal’s little scribbles have been as influential in shaping my ideas and views of the world around (and within) me, as Shane’s Mental Models page.

Each doodle is deceptively simple to read, yet will profoundly affect your life, should you choose to apply its teaching.

My personal favourite is his Reading Spectrum.
But I’m biased. There are a whole lot more that you will find more important or interesting.

Click here, (or the image above) to go see his entire wall of ideas.

P.S. If you like what I share, you should go subscribe!


Want to do Great Things?

Then be willing to look like an idiot.

(Claude) Shannon had courage. Who else but a man with almost infinite courage would ever think of averaging over all random codes and expect the average code would be good? He knew what he was doing was important and pursued it intensely. Courage, or confidence, is a property to develop in yourself. Look at your successes, and pay less attention to failures than you are usually advised to do in the expression, “Learn from your mistakes”. While playing chess Shannon would often advance his queen boldly into the fray and say, “I ain’t scaird of nothing”. I learned to repeat it to myself when stuck, and at times it has enabled me to go on to a success. I deliberately copied a part of the style of a great scientist. The courage to continue is essential since great research often has long periods with no success and many discouragements.

From Farnam Street’s article on doing great things.
There’s plenty more to do, than just be willing to look like an idiot though.
Go read the entire article.


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