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#161 Dr. Seuss
January 4th, 2021 | E161

What I learned from reading Becoming Dr. Seuss: Theodor Geisel and the Making of an American Imagination by Brian Jay Jones.


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[6:32] Both his parents would inspire and encourage Ted’s love for books. Reading was a pastime the entire family took seriously. 

[9:24] Ted came to appreciate the considerable discipline and commitment it took to hone expertise

[10:15] He was an inspiration. Whatever you do, he taught me, do it to perfection. 

[10:53] No matter what discipline you are in there’s a common denominator in how we approach our craft. The attention to detail, the level of commitment. Those things are the same across the board. That is my message. Don’t look at what I did but how I did it. The how. And then you can transfer that over to any profession and any discipline. —Kobe Bryant. 

[20:07] Unlike many of his classmates, Ted wasn’t entirely certain what to do next. 

[22:51] You’re not very interested in the lecture she told him plainly —then leaned in and pointed at one of his drawings. I think that is a very good flying cow. 

[23:04] Maybe the most important thing anyone ever said to him: You’re crazy to be a professor she told Ted. What you really want to do is draw. 

[23:48] Ted’s notebooks were always filled with these fabulous animals. So I set to work diverting him. Here was a man who could draw such pictures. He should earn a living doing that. 

[26:57] I don’t know. But I know one thing. My policy is to laugh my god damned head off. Occasionally I depress myself and work myself into one of those delightful funks. And I seek out subway tracks on which to toss myself. And then it strikes me as very comical and I laugh instead. 

[30:08] The money he earned through his advertising work would buy him his artistic freedom. What would eventually become the Dr. Suess empire would be laid on a foundation built and paid for with Standard Oil money. 

[33:01] To his increasing distress, the responses were all negative. He would later recall being rejected by 27 publishers. 

[45:12] We can live on $100 a week. If I could get $5,000 a year in royalties I’d be set for life. 

[46:58] If you want to write good books spend a little time studying the bad ones

[48:02] Your capacity for healthy, silly, friendly laughter was smothered. You’d really grown up. You’d become adults. Adults—which is a word that means obsolete children. 

[49:28] Even after 9 books he still wasn’t earning enough from them to make a living

[54:29] I’m subversive as hell! I’ve always had a mistrust of adults. And one reason I dropped out of Oxford was that I thought they were taking life too damn seriously, concentrating too much on nonessentials. 

[1:02:47] For me, success means doing work that you love, regardless of how much you make. I go into my office almost every day and give it 8 hours. Though every day isn’t productive of course. 

[1:03:08] All he wanted was for people to read:
The more that you read, 
The more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
The more places you’ll go. 


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